Jason brought the candle down the steps. The space in here had been dug out of the ground and lined with fieldstone and timber. the ceiling was a low, whitewashed arch. Air circulation was bad in here, and the few times Andrew had been down before he’d always had the uneasy sense that he was about to suffocate.
“Sure are a lot of jars here,” said Jason.
“This is where the hospital keeps its specimens,” said Andrew. “Someone’s foot gets amputated — we pull out some kidney stones — even if we cut out an appendix. It all goes here in a jar.”
“Not every time.” Andrew squinted at a line of jars filled with stones of various sizes. Thin sheets of effluvia drifted in the yellowish liquid. “But when there’s something remarkable about it. Something worth writing down. Then yes, we keep it.”
Jason looked hard at the jars. “Should be a lot of jars like that around here. They’re labeled and everything. What’re we looking for?”
“Not kidney stones from M. Cunningham,” said Andrew.
“Nor a testicle from L. Wharton,” said Jason. “A testicle! He can’t be too happy with how his life’s carrying on.”
Andrew chuckled. “I remember that one. I think he’s happy enough these days. See how big it is?”
Jason looked closer. “I thought that was just the magnifyin’ effect of the glass.”
“Oh no. In fact, it looks like it has contracted since the surgery.”
Jason whistled. “How’d a fellow walk, dragging something like that between his legs?”
“I wondered that too. And so I removed it.”