Nest: Letter Ten

My dear Professor Prendick,

It has been a long time and I hope you will forgive the undoubtedly unwelcome intrusion of your ‘retirement’. You understand I would not be writing if it was not urgent.

It seems a series of errors have released our dear relations’ work back into the world. An epidemic has begun, the communicability of which appears more virulent – dare I say weaponised – than before.

This morning I received correspondence from the Dstl, apparently oblivious to our background, the islands, our work at the MoS or our dear Captain. Either someone has been doing their job well in the wake of that Operation Antler fiasco, or this Wilson is doing his job rather poorly. When the parent oviposited at the house (right beside the old aviaries) he describes it as having ‘absconded’ here rather than having returned.

I will explain my own errors in person if we are able to meet. Implausibly, they begin (and end) with Ebay and an address in Cornwall, where reports of petrifaction and hyper-aggression are beginning to emerge in the tabloids. Unless this is part of a bigger play, why Wilson has not embargoed the story is beyond me.

So I write to enquire to what extent you are aware of, or indeed involved in this escape, but also to ask of you a favour. I do not wish to probe too deeply, but if you are still connected to the laboratories I would appreciate a petition for discretion targeted far above Wilson. You know the scale of what is at stake here. I have no intention of getting involved again, nor of replying to this oblivious official.

No doubt we are looking at some adaptation of our cockatrice, presumably related to the DAI-7 in vivo composite. They say they have captured the parent, which of course is the least of their concerns. Most urgent is a problem I think you cannot help me with, but again, perhaps you know the best person to inform. The nest is said to have held 6 eggs when it arrived in Cornwall. One was lost, presumably hatched and the root of the petrifaction. The other five were said to have been collected by my couriers some time ago. The problem is, they never arrived.

Perhaps I am worrying for nothing. Perhaps Wilson is not the fool I take him for. Perhaps he has it all under control. And since they have developed the communicability of the infection let us hope they have also developed the antidote. Containment does not seem an option if the worst has already happened.

With all best wishes,

Your friend,

Dr McDonough

by Luke Thompson

About Nest

Nest is our epistolary project, written collaboratively by students and staff and published every fortnight right here on Falwriting. You can find out more about Nest here, and read Letter Nine here.

If you just arrived to this series or want to reread the letters, you can find Letter Eight, Letter Seven, Letter Six, Letter Five, Letter Four, Letter Three, Letter Two and Letter One here.

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