Hello. It is me, Bjørn again. I was telling you in the previous post how my life was saved by Dr Oskar Kopp and how I started to work as his assistant, while secretly wishing to study and become a great man like the Doctor himself.
One day I was brave enough to tell him of my dreams. He sat silent for some time and then a strange expression crossed his face.
“Bjørn, my boy,” he said, slowly, “you have not the heart, or the brain, for greatness. To do work like mine you need a strong, strong heart. You need a keen, keen brain. You are a good boy, but alas, you have neither… as things stand.”
Those last three words hung in the air, as if they held a promise.
“If you ver villing, though, zis could be altered. Wat if I ver to offer you a new heart and a new brain? You have seen ze marvels I can do. It would be ze most glorious experiment, in ze name of Science! If you ver villing, you could become a showcase of mein art! Your mechanised brain and heart on display for all to see ze vunders of ze clockverk body. You could achieve anything once zese adjustments had been made. You’d be as great as me. Maybe greater…”
Eagerly I agreed. My weak heart, which had almost killed me once, would be replaced with a dependable clockwork mechanism, encased in a glass dome, so that all could wonder at its strength, and at my master’s skill. I would be a walking advertisement for his abilities. He explained less about the alterations to my brain, but I was led to understand that my ability to learn, to reason and to imagine would be considerably enhanced.
With a delicious sense of anticipation, I lay on the slab, allowed him to cover my face with a cloth soaked in some sleep-inducing substance – and later awoke as you see me now.
Certainly now my mind and heart are stronger, keener than they were. I can work harder, faster, better and I hold information and make deductions at lightning speed. All this, the Doctor expected. Perhaps he feared it slightly. Yet he found a way to maintain his dominance.
Clockwork must be wound. Each day my heart must be wound up or I will cease to function. The winding mechanism has been set into the centre of my back – where only he can reach it. In this way, he ensures that I remain his servant.
Oh yes! I can’t blame him. He could not risk creating a monster who would overpower him. Each day I must stand meekly before him while he winds, and winds, and chuckles gently to himself.
I am grateful to Doctor Kopp. Yet I must think of myself too. Am I destined to be subservient to him for the rest of my life? Also, he is an old man. Who will wind my heart when he is gone? I must make plans.
It is indeed fortunate that in my ‘adjusted’ state, I no longer require sleep. That secret room, the alchemist’s study, with its ancient spell book and equipment is my domain while he sleeps. There are spells in the grimoire he has barely glanced at – spells that could create my freedom…
Bjørn is available at the Steampunk Dolls’ House.