An Egyptian tomb, an ancient curse, a unique bread recipe and a dietary fad; what could these possibly have in common? Very little at first blush, yet when joined they tell a strange story indeed. In order to secure the links of that peculiar chain, begin here, in this curious room, with sofas occupied about a table, the walls beyond adorned with weird and exotic ornamentation. Paintings of a fantastic and morbid cast, grotesque aboriginal masks from distant lands, figurines of fanciful animals and hideous, misshapen men, all suggested bizarre or eccentric tastes. The visitor, rapt in his own concerns, seemed oblivious to these sights.
Said Doctor T.K. Brock, “It’s like this, Professor Vorchek. I have a distinctive situation on my hands, one of supreme importance to me, and perhaps to the millions of people who rely on me. After some checking—I employ a fabulous team of brains for that—I learned that you’re the go-to guy for unusual stuff. You’ve earned quite a reputation for off-beat research. I figured this would be right up your alley.”
Professor Anton Vorchek stroked his short, well-manicured beard and replied in precise, slightly accented tones, “Perhaps so, Doctor Brock. I do specialize in the odd, the mysterious, even the uncanny, to a degree that occasionally antagonizes my more staid colleagues, but as yet I fail to see how that applies to the present matter. Your statements thus far, since you requested this appointment, have proved remarkably nebulous.”