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by Luc Reid

(A sequel to "And Then a Curious Thing Happened")

"Your wife? But God, man," said Ruggs, "What I want to know is where you got a second head!"

"Oh, this? I don't remember where I got that," said Albert Hedeby.

The second head stirred. It was not ruddy or full-cheeked, like Albert Hedeby's first head, and it didn’t have his brick-red beard. It was thin, and parched-looking, and nearly bald, with only a few white wisps across its pate. It opened its watery, gray eyes and turned to look at the first head, which had become overcome by drowsiness. When the second head stretched its neck and looked at Ruggs, the first closed its eyes entirely and dropped, snoring, onto Hedeby's chest.

"Ah, but I remember," said the second head in a voice that was little more than a whisper.

"Dear God," said Ruggs. "You can talk."

"I could always talk," the head said. "What my esteemed colleague failed to mention--" he spoke certain bitterness, "--was that the hospital where he was nursed back to health was not, shall we say, strictly traditional. No, in fact they did a great deal of experimentation there, and at the time they were regrowing limbs."

"Impossible! And Hedeby hasn't lost any limbs!" protested Ruggs.

"You mean, he isn't missing any limbs," said the head. "He most certainly lost one, his left arm, to a surgeon's saw. You see that it is a bit larger, a bit more robust than the right? They were successful with Hedeby, even if they weren't with some of their earlier cases."

"But that's unconscionable!"

The head smiled thinly. "I rather thought so myself."

"And after they regrew the arm, they thought they'd experiment with heads, and ... ?"

"Oh, no," said the second head. "It was just that the regrowing of limbs can have certain unfortunate side effects. But then, two heads are better than one, they say."

"But if it was then that you grew, then how can you--well, for the love of heaven, you seem to be very nearly a different person than Hedeby! And in the weeks I've known Hedeby, I had always assumed you were completely insensible! Where did you come from?"

"From Edwin and Mathilda Hedeby," the head replied. "I am, of course, the original head."

The healthy head snored peacefully, and as Ruggs watched, the sickly one turned and regarded it with a kind of brotherly hate.

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