Thursday, 2 February 2012


Hi folks, I thought today that I'd introduce you to the arch bad guy in The Scorpian Visitant, evil sorcerer Morgan Digbone. However, Morgan is a bad guy with a difference. Unlike many present day monsters who rot in prison to ripe old age, Morgan's contracted cancer in his late fifties. Travel between Oakwood (Mizar) and Maldervale involves racing at near light speeds, and according to Einstein's theory of relativity we have time dilation, a slowing down of the traveller's time relative to their starting point. Hence Morgan is stalling the advance of his lung tumour by remaining in Maldervale. And so, his motivation for staying put and sending Robbie and Louise to get the Death Stone of Izar, the last prism in the set of power stones that will make his all powerful, and his disease irrelevant.

Here's Morgan at the chest clinic in Maldervale General Hospital.

Stripped to the waist, the old emaciated man sat on the hospital bed, a small plaster covering a vein in his arm where a blood sample had been drawn.

The doctor, who was a big sandy-haired man, withdrew a spatula from the patient’s tongue and switched off his pen light, ‘Mr Fanshaw’s notes say non-smoker – is that correct?’

‘Never in my life,’ said Morgan Digbone.

‘Hmm,’ said the Doctor, taking an ophthalmoscope. ‘Don’t look at the light - rather look up here at my forehead.’ After examining the patient’s eyes, he reached for his otoscope and carefully inspected both ears.

On leaving the Royal Army Medical Corps, Dr Frank Dunbar had recently taken up the post of consultant physician at Maldervale General. One of the first cases referred to him was a most unusual one that was causing some brows to be furrowed in the Surgery Department. Mr Fanshaw had hoped a new mind might throw some light on the matter.

‘Have you ever lived in an area built on granite,’ said the doctor, taking up his stethoscope.

‘No, I can’t say that I have.’

The doctor listened to Morgan’s heart and lungs.

‘Hmm…somewhere like the Southwest or Far North perhaps?’


‘It has been known for some homes built upon granite to have relatively high levels of the radioactive gas Radon,’ said Dunbar. With long freckled hands he began to probe the rack of ribs and the spare supporting muscles.

‘Ow,’ winced Morgan, when the doctor found a tender area on the right side just below the clavicle.

The physician smiled knowingly, ‘That’s where it is, I’m afraid.’ He then began to feel for and press the lymph nodes in the neck and armpits. ‘Hmm…no sign of anything there.’

‘Is that good?’

The doctor gave his patient a strange look and flicked over another page of the case notes, ‘You’ve been coming here for nearly fourteen years?’ he asked incredulously.

‘Yes, indeed,’ said Morgan, ‘I’m not getting any better though. This damn cough is terrible at times -’

‘Oh, I’ll grant you are far from a well man – but – can you just lie down, please?’

The doctor tapped and pressed on his patient’s hollow belly. Finding no evidence of fluid build up or enlarged liver, he knew the examination of the lymph nodes in the groin was going to be unremarkable. A professional displeasure began to arise in him: he had not found what he had expected and was just as confounded as Fanshaw, his senior colleague in Surgery, whose competence he had inwardly questioned when first briefed about this case. ‘Have you ever worked with asbestos?’

‘I have come across it from time to time in the scrap yard.’

‘That could have been it. But then again, it says here that until only a couple years before diagnosis your background had been entirely rural?’

‘All fresh air and fields.’

‘Hmm…could you get on the scales for me?’

Morgan rose and obliged.

‘Eight stone two – same as last time.’

Just then there was a quiet knock on the door and a pretty dark haired nurse entered. She wore a red and white striped blouse and a spotless white pinafore. Her waist was pinched tightly with a broad black belt, which accentuated her figure.

Morgan winked at her, and she smiled back while depositing two large envelopes and a smaller brown one on the desk. The doctor immediately opened the latter. ‘Your blood count is fine, Mr Digbone,’ he said, as the nurse left the room, then under his breath added, ‘nothing short of a blooming miracle after so long.’

Dunbar opened the large envelopes, withdrew two X-ray plates and fixed them to the viewing screens. He turned on the light to reveal a white shadow on the right lung in both plates, ‘Humpff – adenocarcinoma for sure – non-small cell cancer arising in the mucous glands. The left hand plate was taken for diagnosis, the one on the right was taken today – incredibly they are identical.’

Morgan buttoned up his shirt, spluttered and then swallowed the sputum.

The doctor looked over from the desk and took up a prescription pad, ‘Oh, yes, you have a small infection for which I’ll give you some antibiotics – but as for the tumour…well…it appears to be frozen in time.’

You can sample this and and the first seven chapters of The Scorpian Visitant at

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