Two hours before dawn. St Giles’ churchyard. They crouched in the lee of a poison yew.
‘This the one?’
‘Dunno. What’s it say on the stone?’
‘Search me. I ain’t no good with letters.’
Graves the Spade reached down to finger the cold soil.
‘Fresh-turned. It must be him.’
Graves the Spade stood, bent his back, began to dig. Holles the Sack perched on the headstone.
‘What they want him for, anyway? Die of summink interesting, did he?’
‘Not ’less you think it’s interesting getting run down by a night-soil cart. Nah, it’s his brain they’re after.’
‘Disgusting what they get up to in them hospitals,’ sniffed Holles the Sack. ‘Cutting geezers open and that. Ain’t right, is it Graves? How’d you like having your giblets pickled in brine?’
‘Long as they wait while I’m dead they can do what they please.’
‘’S all right for a herring or similar,’ said Holles the Sack, ‘but it ain’t no way to treat a geezer.’
The spade hit wood. Holles the Sack dropped from the headstone. Drew a crowbar from his breeches-pocket.
He knelt in the dirt and reached into the hole. A thump, a creak; a wheeze of splintering wood.
‘He don’t look all that clever to me,’ Holles the Sack said, squinting critically. ‘Though I suppose we ain’t seeing him at his best.’
‘Finest mind in London, I did hear.’ Graves the Spade was leaning on the headstone. ‘A pioneer. Did experiments no-one else dared do.’
‘That’s doctors,’ Holles the Sack said. ‘Meddling in things what man ain’t meant to meddle in. Well, he ain’t going to meddle no more. Let’s have you, professor.’ He leaned again over the hole. ‘What was his experiments in, anyway?’
White hands. A ghastly white face. Holles the Sack screamed.
‘Reanimation,’ said the professor.