Guide to Moral Living in Examples: The World's Fair Part 2

Walter climbed off of Professor Cookshill's sledge. His foreman followed him with the dead woman, wrapped in her makeshift death shroud, and their luggage.

"Sorry, Wicky, but this part of the Fair is for exhibitors only, so you'll have to hop off here," Professor Cookshill said, gesturing towards an arch up ahead, beyond which was an enormous, domed vault crowded with all manner of exotic contraption. Walter spied many fellow members of the Candlebell Academy, an international organization of the finest men - and two women - of science.

"Tough luck, chap," Professor Cookshill said. "Better luck at next year's World's Fair. Oh wait! My mistake!"

Professor Cookshill's roaring laughter could be heard about the snarl of his steam engine as he cruised into the exhibitioner's hall. At least until the great bell tower tolled. It's bright ring snapped Walter to attention, and everybody else on the street. The crowd began to thin.

"Right, three o'clock, let's head to our accomodations. I booked us a room at the Ice Blind Inn," he said to his foreman.

"Listen, mate, I'm going to have to shuffle off. Amundsen is about to open the World's Fair."

"But what about the woman?" Walter asked.

"I don't know, and not to be a cold heart about the matter, but people die every day. Amundsen only opens the World's Fair once. Sorry," the foreman said. He laid the tarp down with the rest of their bags and melted into the crowd shuffling towards the Shackleton Coliseum.

Walter stared into the sky, the same blue as a flaming sapphire. The air was crisp but the everlasting polar Sun warmed Walter's face. Dawn would never break on the World's Fair, nor would the Sun.

The same Sun would also illuminate his next moves. It now occurred to him that having a corpse wrapped in a tarp, especially that of a pretty young woman, might not be viewed as the respectful gesture that Walter had intended it. Forced to abandon the rest of the suitcases in the middle of the street, he half-carried and half-dragged the corpse off towards the inn. He checked in, took her up the flight of stairs, and took a load off next to the fire that the housekeeper had thoughtfully set in the fireplace. Gentleman concerned with giving a corpse a proper burial or no, he had worn himself out.

Walter wasn't sure how long he'd been asleep for. He hadn't reset his watch when he'd arrived in Antarctica and the Sun was absolutely no help at all.

At first, he thought that the tolling bell of the great tower had woken him, but as the fog of sleep left him, he realized that the source of his waking was much closer. Someone shuffled in the room behind him.

He remained motionless in his chair, lest he betray his plan. He remembered that there was a rather sturdy iron poker in a stand next to the fire. And he kept a pistol in his luggage, wrapped in one of his older waistcoats. Let's hope that the burglar hasn't stumbled upon it yet, Walter thought.

In a swift move, he erupted from his chair and snatched up the iron poker. He whirled to face...nobody. Nothing, even. The door to his room was closed and bolted. As were the windows. There were no either entrances or exits.

Then the noise happened again, and this time he saw its source. The tarp. The tarp that wrapped the dead woman.

Walter's blood ran as cold as the Antarctic ice. He'd heard stories about the revived dead, cursed to eternal undeath by some dark art. They must be destroyed by a swift crack to the skull. He swallowed. It was the only way, while the creature was still constrained by the tarp.

He crept forward, poker raised for the re-killing blow. With his off-hand, he gripped the edge of the tarp, and pulled.

"Aaahhhhh!" Walter yelled like an ancient warrior, swinging the poker down and adjusting its arc at the last moment, so that it stroked against his own shin. He toppled over. His limb throbbed.

"Oh my!" exclaimed the woman, half-wrapped in the tarp. She sat up in alarm.

To be continued

The Moral: if it's hanging out with you versus hanging out with Roald Amundsen, ask yourself: would you want to hang out with somebody who picked you, anyway?

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