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Jeff Fallow
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seraphim2.jpg

seraphim.jpg
Art by Jeff Fallow 2010

seraphim3.jpg
Seraphim is by Jeff Fallow-2011

theotter.jpg
Art by Paul Dick 2011

THE OTTER

Jeff Fallow

 

       I found it lying on the road near the wildlife sanctuary ten miles north of here.  That’s right, the one where they dug up these skinned bodies a coupla years ago.  It was just getting light and at first I thought it was a cat, but when I got out of the car to look, I saw it was an otter.  And I had never done an otter before.  A beautiful specimen.  The poor thing must have been hit by a car, but it was in perfect condition.  Unmarked roadkills are not uncommon.

       I picked it up and looked it over.  A female.  Otters have sad, pleading eyes.  Help me, this one seemed to say.  Help me.  Too late to save your life, I thought, but I can save your body.

       I think everyone should have a hobby.  OK, I know the guy in Psycho said that, but at least I don’t do human beings, right?  Anyway, I’m sure there are worse hobbies than taxidermy.

       Chloe is not very supportive of my hobby, which is surprising seeing as she works in a museum.  OK, she’s an illustrator and not involved in the taxidermy side, but I would have thought it should be a prerequisite for working in a museum that you aren’t squeamish about stuffed animals.  That’s like working in a hospital and being squeamish about disease.

       I skinned the otter carefully, patiently.  Laid the skin in the disinfectant solution to lie for a week.  Chloe pointed to the skinned head, glistening and bloody, the long bare fangs, the boggly eyeballs.

       ‘Look at that.  That’s the stuff nightmares are made of’.

       ‘It’s only anatomy.  You’d never make a vet’.

       ‘Vets are helping animals.  You’re not.  What you’re doing is undignifying to the animal’.

       ‘Where would your museum’s taxidermy department be if they took that attitude?’

       ‘Yeah, I suppose’.

       I boiled and cleaned the skull, fleshed it out with air-hardening clay, gave it a fake tongue and glass eyes.  Then I decided to try something different.  I used a doll’s body to stuff the torso and legs.  I added false eyelashes to the otter’s face.  When I’d finished, I had an anthropomorphic, sexy she-otter.

       She was beautiful, standing upright in a provocative come-on pose; flirty, inviting, curvy.  Chloe didn’t like her, but I thought my creation looked cute and funny.

       I had given her a sexy smile, yet the eyes seemed to be saying something else to me:

       What have you done to me, you son-of-a-bitch?

       The dreams began soon after, waking me in terror.  She appeared to me out of darkness, sexy furry body but skinned head.

       What have you done to me?

       After two weeks I could stand no more.  I buried the thing in the garden, but still the nightmares continued.  I was breaking down and had to take sick leave from work.  I dug the thing up and skinned it.  Burned the lot.

       But now the visions appeared in my waking life.  I saw it in the patterns of carpets and the shapes of trees.

       What have you done to me?

       I still see it.  In the folds of my bed covers, in the walls of the wards, in the curtains in this room.  Can’t you see it?  Can’t you guys do anything?  Your medication isn’t working.  It takes time, you say?  How long?  Help me, for Chrissake!  Help me!  Help me!  HELP ME!

       Otter!  What have you done to me?

 

 

Jeff Fallow lives in Scotland, where death and blood make up its history. He has written and illustrated a number of history comic books, mainly about Scotland, and currently has a children's book out called Scotland the Grave, the first of a series of horror histories introduced by “Nice Mr Death.” He creates weird art using taxidermy but doesn't kill animals (only roadkill).

Jeff Fallow is a graphic designer and illustrator from Scotland, where he lives with his wife, son, cats and weird collections, including his own steampunk and taxidermy creations. He has had a number of history comic books published, which can be found by doing a Google or Amazon search.

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