Fear not my mask, I am no demon. I am the plague doctor.
Set at 00:06 on February 11, 2013
When a mental hospital was established on Poveglia in 1922, the doctor came to Poveglia to oversee it. In the eight years of the hospital's existence, many of his patients complained of harassment by ghosts. The doctor mocked these as delusions, and performed lobotomies upon his patients to exorcise the ghosts. He only succeeded in making more, and one night in 1930, the doctor threw himself from the bell tower, supposedly driven by the ghosts of the area. His ghost remains in the area, especially near the bell tower, to this day.
Twenty years ago, Damyan Nikolovich was a household name. The twenty-three-year-old English-Bulgarian spoke a dozen languages perfectly, held two doctorate degrees, and cemented fame for himself by winning a Nobel Prize in science--at twenty-three. He was lauded as the next Einstein, or even greater than Einstein. He was handsome, charming, and named twice as the world's most eligible bachelor.
At twenty-four he disappeared from the public eye. The few people who cared enough to look him up found that he'd had a complete mental breakdown. Within five years he was forgotten.
Today, he has announced that he is opening a private international boy's school, on an island in Venice. It's a boarding school, English-speaking, with only the most qualified teachers. Open to rich boys from all across Europe and America, since the tuition is quite expensive. After all, the headmaster is a genius.
The opening of the school was just enough to make people forget twenty years of obscurity. Girls who had kissed pictures of Damyan in their teens now had children of their own, and could wish for nothing more than having their precious boys tutored by the genius of the century. If anything, the obscurity only added to the fame and peculiar appeal of the school, and most parents were perfectly willing to overlook the stray rumor of hauntings on the island.
Nights were still warm, at the end of August, wet and foggy in the Venetian lagoon. The island was quiet, unsure; even the obstinate bell tower was silent. Not in eighty years had the island seen such a flood of humanity; two hundred living, breathing humans who were here to stay. Spirits crept through the halls, peeking in on the sleeping children.
One ghost, at least, was not so shy.
The Mad Doctor Nikolovich was overjoyed. For the first time in decades, he had a fresh crop of patients. Young boys, spilling over with insecurities and mental peculiarities. Chuckling to himself, he paced the halls where all the little beasts were sleeping. Where to begin? Where to begin! So many choices, so many fresh young minds.
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Not all monsters live within the shadows, some walk among you.
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