Perhaps most intriguing to me was her photo album. This album contained photographs of every species that, she claimed, had ever lived on earth. It was a strange album for it was not large, yet we never managed to reach the last photograph for once opened it seemed near infinite. There were some strange pictures in there. Creatures unlike anything I had ever imagined and I longed to meet them—though she said I would never in my life for they were extinct millennia, but that I might meet them once I passed through—the socials beyond the door were a nice place to make new acquaintances. She would say this and then laugh.
When I was older, I stumbled upon some of these creatures in an illustration of a time and place called the Burgess Shale. Mabel said the creatures had existed on our planet at some point in the past, present and/or future—but for some of them, I had trouble believing. Yet there, in that illustration of a long ago undersea world, crawled these creatures, including Hallucigenia—a species so strange I had never forgotten its image in Mabel’s book.