Mama Gloom and Papa Doom's son has been acting strangely. They take little Pain to Doctor Frown, who offers a cure...
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"The dear boy is deficient in melancholic acid," said Doctor Frown, to which Mama Gloom turned her head into Papa Doom's chest to weep.
"Is there a cure?" cried Papa Doom. Doctor Frown peered at little Pain across his bone-rimmed glasses. The boy was absurdly placid, a pool of limpid water in a poisonous valley. There was peace in his smile. A smile! Doctor Frown shook his head and said, "I believe so..."
He walked to a cabinet and extracted a vial of emerald liquid that made one think of venom glistening on a crushed orb weaver. It shone in the light, and the breath caught in Mama Gloom's chest. A simple skull was etched on the faded, peeling label. "Death," said Doctor Frown. "Death."
"Oh! My poor boy!" Mama Gloom renewed her lamentations with much vigor. Papa Doom harbored secret thoughts of transforming a suddenly vacant room into an office even as his face took upon expressions of sorrow. "Is it the only way?" asked Papa Doom, ever the dutiful father. Pain was a sun-kissed island in the eye of a vast hurricane. There was joy in his eyes. The doctor's upside down smile grew.
"Yes," said Doctor Frown, relishing the moment of parental agony. "But not for the boy." Mama Gloom seemed to deflate and a strange look flickered across Papa Doom's face. "Does he have a pet?" asked Doctor Frown.
"Yes," said Mama Gloom. "A horrid little thing." She twisted her fingers into claws and scrabbled at her breath, making strange choking noises. "Forgive me," she said, composing herself. "I've forgotten how to laugh. A giggler. Like a rat, but not as nice."