By Frampton Jones
Where most of us have the good sense to stay away from anything that seems remotely creepy, Professor Stephen Candy seemed oddly attracted to all things uncanny. He was one of the few people shipwrecked here who gave every sign of actively enjoying the place. You might find him out voluntarily of an evening, admiring the way a ghost caught the moonlight, or listening attentively to the sound of a distant werewolf, howling and sneezing.
On several occasions, I saw his distinctive, tall figure from afar and was briefly convinced that Stephen himself was some unnatural entity on the prowl at night. One can never tell with confidence who has a second, secret life and whose secret life is tainted with magic or monstrosity. Gentlemen who find themselves unexpectedly meeting each other in the dark do not tend to ask questions.
I have never spoken of this before, but over a period of several years and many unexpected night encounters, I observed that Professor Stephen Candy was not always fully corporeal. Sometimes he seemed a regular fellow of flesh and blood. At other times, he was oddly translucent and his feet barely touched the ground. As though body and spirit were already pulling away from each other, or had never been quite as attached as is normal.
Late last night, as I was walking home, I met Stephen in the street. We raised our hats to each other. I noted that he was perhaps a foot above ground level, but said nothing. This morning, I heard that he had been found dead in his rooms yesterday afternoon, his landlady, Mrs Accuracy Jones, having found him slumped over his desk. She said “This happened a lot and at first I thought nothing of it. He keeps odd hours, and sleeps erratically. He’d stopped breathing – he often does when asleep, so I just let him be. Usually he wakes up in an hour or so and goes back to normal. But there he is, still not breathing.”
Doc Willoughby confirms that Professor Stephen Candy is dead. “I don’t know if he’s been dead before, I’ve never been asked to look at him. He could wake up I suppose.”
Professor Stephen Candy’s remains will be left at the mortuary for a while to see what, if anything, happens.