Category Archives: Births, Deaths, Marriages

EP Eriksson and the enraged blue cheese

Perhaps it escaped from the Cheese Festival that killed Amanda Gardham. Perhaps it fermented alone in some forgotten bucket, infested with agents of change, or night potato extract. Given how eerily it glowed blue in the dark, perhaps it was a haunted cheese, full of a raging hunger for retribution. Over what, it is hard to say. EP Eriksson was a quiet, and thoughtful sort, unlikely to attract the rage of a ghost infested cheese, you might assume.

The blue cheese appeared to have attacked from above, smothering its victim and leaving EP Eriksson barely identifiable. Only the yapping of ghost-hound Roku alerted passers-by to the incident. They were unable to help. Or perhaps reluctant – the cheese gave off a terrible stench by all accounts, and seemed poised to strike again. After what happened to Amanda, cheese mistrust is at an all time high on the island.

Anyone who has met EP Eriksson will be used to the sight of ghost-hound Roku following along behind with one ear up and one ear down. They shipwrecked together – an unusual occurrence as we don’t normally get ghosts from off the island itself. Clearly a strong bond in life had continued beyond the grave.

Witnesses at the scene tell me they saw EP Eriksson depart in ghostly form, accompanied by Roku, leaving the body and the ominous cheese behind them. With the death process complete, the cheese relinquished its victim and oozed towards those nearest to it. It is my understanding that people simply screamed and ran away. Consequently, no one knows where the blue cheese is now, or whether it will strike again.

If you must go out at night, be alert to unusual smells and wear a hat to protect your head and face from attack. On no account should anyone risk eating a feral cheese, there is simply no knowing what it might do to you. Unless of course it attacks you and you are obliged to eat it in self defence of course. Whether this might work, remains to be seen.

Further Carnage at the Home for Uncanny Cats

By Frampton Jones

There were scenes of carnage last night at the Hopeless Home for Uncanny Cats. After the death of founder Crysta earlier this week, the cats have been uneasy. You’ve probably heard them. However, the yowling last night achieved new levels of volume and unease, drawing many of us out into the streets where we huddled together nervously. It’s never easy to tell whether one should face the horror, or hide under the bedclothes and pray for an easy death.

A bold few of us ventured towards the source of the sound. The cat’s home was covered in cats – far more than I think could have been living there. They covered the roof and surrounding garden, and the dim that they made was almost unbearable. It was clear from some distance that windows had been smashed, and the door broken down. Whoever attacked the establishment felt no need to be subtle about it.

Erekiel Morningstar Vaehne took over running the Home for Uncanny Cats only this week, after the sudden and still unexplained death of Crysta. There can be little doubt that whoever killed her must also have been responsible for this breaking, entering and murdering. Even Doc Willoughby, who is always reticent about blaming anyone for anyone’s death, had to agree that a man with a large, ornate knife sticking out of his chest probably hadn’t died of natural causes. Doc Willoughby concedes that while it could be suicide, it would seem odd to back violently through several items of furniture while trying to end yourself.

What did this violent intruder want? What was in the Home for Uncanny Cats that both Crysta and Erekiel were willing to protect at such costs? Should other cat owners now fear for their lives? Clearly, there is some horrific cat-related plot afoot, and it is one the perpetrator considers it worth killing for, and so dastardly is this plot that there has been no effort to disguise it. Who among us would do such a thing?

Erekiel has been left where he fell, on the understanding that resident dustcats would probably want to eat him. There have been suggestions muttered in the pub about whether the dustcats themselves may have turned psychotic, driven by a hunger for human flesh to start killing the people around them. It is my understanding that dustcats only eat the bodies of those they love, but even this long established truth now seems questionable.

He died for science

A report from the Hopeless Maine Scientific Society

For much of this year, Benjamin has been trying to establish that the reason boats sometimes appear in the sky over Hopeless, is that physics works differently here. It’s an interesting theory, and one that many of us have disagreed with. However, it’s been entertaining watching the various experiments as Benjamin has tried to prove that anyone can make a ship fly.

Having observed a number of these experiments, I can attest that Benjamin had for some time been confident that the main problem would be one of getting the boat into the air in the first place. As the least scientifically minded amongst us have observed, boats generally don’t float in the air when left to their own devices.

Back in the summer, Benjamin suffered significant injuries after trying to get a boat airborne from the roof of his workshop. His conclusion was that greater height must be required. It was an unfortunate conclusion.

So great was the concern about his studies that experimental occultist Salamandra O’Stoat took him up in her boat and did her best to explain to him about magic. Tragically, Benjamin remained unconvinced by this experience, and became ever more determined to get his own boat into the air.

The catapult method he finally settled on was entirely successful on its own terms. He launched a small dory into the sky at considerable speed. At reaching the highest point of its arc, the dory simply got on with doing exactly what all objects thrown into the sky like to do at this point – and headed down. Proof that our laws of physics are just as good as anyone else’s.

While Benjamin’s body has not been discovered, the scientifically minded of Hopeless are in agreement that no one could survive that sort of fall and that there might in fact be very little solid matter remaining to recover. We applaud his courageous efforts, but encourage residents not to follow in his footsteps.

Sadly we may have to throw Dan into the sea

By Frampton Jones

Many of the people who wash ashore on our less than gentle coast bring odd customs with them. Whether we are bemused, or amused, we longstanding residents tend to leave them to get on with it. Dan was no exception in this regard. He shipwrecked here some years ago with a pocket full of peculiar dice and has ever since devoted himself to the collecting and making of such oddities.

Other folk who were not born here have told me that it is normal for dice to be evenly weighted and to merely show a number when they land, and that this sort of dice need not be banned in the way that traditional island dice are, and that Dan didn’t know any of these things.

It has long been the responsibility of the library to keep the Book of Summoning safely under lock and key. No one has ever felt confident about trying to destroy it, but every time someone tries to read it, predictably terrible things happen.

I now find myself wondering whether Lady Selina Arkham Kyle managed to extract the ominous tome from the library before falling to her death. Certainly, it is not there now.

Dan shows all the signs of having tried to make a version of Endbert Fhtagen Jones’s Dice of Absolute Power. The name should have been a giveaway that this would not be a risk-free undertaking. One of the oldest Mrs Jones – Commemorative Jones – remembers when Endbert was on the island and told me that the unspeakable portal to a place of unnameable horror that is apparent on Dan’s forehead, is a sure sign he was trying to make the dice.

Legend has it that the person who can both make and control the dice will have the power to walk between worlds. The dice has an irrational number of sides and to successfully make one is apparently to break the physical laws of existence. So on the whole, I think we must rejoice in his failure, even though he was a nice chap and we’re all going to miss his cookies.

At this time, the unspeakable portal to a place of unnameable horror does not seem to have expanded. Whether we will have to throw Dan into the sea when the tide is going out, remains to be seen.

Our second mysterious cat death!

Crysta, founder of the Hopeless Maine Home for Uncanny Cats, was found dead outside her establishment this morning. Her body was surrounded by cats – the apparently regular ones, the half-demon shadow cats, and a selection of dustcats. I arrived at the scene while the cats were still protecting her body. It was an eerie sight, and when they broke into wails of obvious lament, it was an eerie sound, too.

When Doc Willoughby arrived at the scene to assess the body, he was unable to approach it – the cats became hostile. Viewing from a distance, he said “I expect it was her fault, one way or another.”

I suggested that she might have tripped over a cat and endured a fatal blow to the head as a consequence, or that she may have choked to death being caught in a dustcat sneeze, or that perhaps a demon cat had been involved. He agreed with my assessment. That the ground around her seemed curiously singed was not mentioned, but then, burned ground is not a medical condition.

I may be seeing a pattern here where none exists, but I think this is our second cat related death of late – Lady Selina Arkham Kyle died in most peculiar circumstances outside the library, with possible dustcat involvement. Aside from the cat connection, I can think of little that might link the two deaths.

Only when Erekiel Morningstar Vaehne turn up to the scene did the cats let anyone through. Erekiel being a longstanding volunteer at the home, they clearly recognised him. At this point, the damage to the back of the victim’s head became visible. It did not look accidental to me.

The Hopeless Maine Home for Uncanny Cats will continue to do its good work, I am told. Crysta will not be buried – apparently dustcats like to eat the bodies of those they truly love.

Edward L Moore’s death is more troubling than we are used to

By Frampton Jones

When Edward L Moore Jr came to the island, he spoke of service to the Lord. That was about six months ago, and for some of us, myself most assuredly included, this gradually raised questions.

It was rapidly clear that Reverend Davies did not like it when Edward spoke about serving the Lord. It seemed like professional resentment. The post of Reverend to Hopeless Maine has been handed down carefully over the years, with each man who passes picking the man who will follow on from him and handing over whatever secrets are intrinsic to the job. I know that there are secrets, that much has been alluded to, but no more, or it would largely defeat the object.

It became apparent that Edward L Moore Jr had a rather low opinion of our resident Reverend. This first appeared in the traditional way – loud arguments with the Reverend outside his church. Matters of theology, interpretation and tradition that were largely lost on those of us in earshot, but the intensity of the exchange could not be mistaken. In following weeks I became aware of a single, crucial fact – that the two gentlemen profess allegiance to two wholly different entities, both being addressed as ‘The Lord’ and both being deeply troubled by the other as a consequence.

And while survival is often the only measure of winning we have on this island, I am not sure it is fair to say that Reverend Davies has won, even though he has survived.

Last Sunday morning, many of us were gathered in the church as is usually the way of it. Most of us attend from habit rather than any particular belief, and because it is entertaining to discover what Reverend Davies is angry about this time. Some of us go along in the hopes of catching a few tunes from Edrie and the organ – although Reverend Davies tries to discourage this.

Edward entered the church, shouting at Reverend Davies that he serves evil and should choose a different path. Reverend Davies shouted back that it was unacceptable to come shouting thus into the house of the Lord, and that he was the only person entitled to shout angry things in this building, which he then proceeded to do – to the great entertainment of his congregation. It might have been a delightful morning, had things not taken a grisly turn.

A cluster of tentacles descended swiftly from the gloom of the church rafters, wrapped themselves around Edward L Moore’s form, and carried him away. It was a sudden, silent horror, and we sat frozen in the awe and awfulness of it all. He is gone. He may in fact have won his argument at the expense of his own life.

It is not the first time we have had cause to wonder who or what we reverence if we sit in Reverend Davies’ church. The Lord, he tells us, is dead and dreaming.  The material world is cursed and evil. Only the spirit can prevail. Are there always tentacles in the roof, waiting for those who disagree too enthusiastically? Perhaps there is good reason that traditionally we argue with Reverend Davies outside.

Lady Selina Arkham Kyle – death by misadventure?

Lady Selina Arkham Kyle’s death has created a bit of a conundrum. Her body was found in the street outside the library three days ago. Doc Willougby observed the body at the scene and pronounced the cause of death to be sudden migration of the womb, leading to asphyxiation. He assured us that the damage to the back of her head must have been due to the violence with which she fell when her womb went mad and attacked her lungs. “When I see a woman’s body covered in bruises, I know it’s because of her womb,” he told me.

Much as I dislike arguing with the good Doctor in public, I cannot help but think there might be a connection between her death, and a rope dangling from an upstairs library window. As though someone had tried to climb up there, and had fallen, banging their head on the pavement and dashing out their brains. But I’m just a simple journalist and not qualified to comment on medical matters.

Given Lady Selina’s tendency to ‘discover’ unusual artefacts, I had long assumed she must have a penchant for exploring abandoned houses. And what harm does it do? The risk is always to the explorer – often such houses have been abandoned for good reason, and it’s all too easy to come out with a cursed item if you aren’t highly sensitive to these things. But why the library? Granted, no one has been upstairs there for years. To the best of my knowledge, the rooms are empty and there is nothing worth exploring, or removing.

And yet, I am certain I saw a flicker of movement at the open window. Not a human face, something much more feline. The library has always had a sizeable dustcat population, so this seems the most likely explanation, but it only deepens the mystery. Did Lady Selina fall? If she was pushed, it seems hard to imagine that a dustcat would do such a thing. But then, we do not know why she was there in the first place. We do not know if she was exiting or entering the window when she fell. We do not know if she had attempted to remove something from the library – there was nothing on her body, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

This may prove to be one of those mysteries that remains unanswered. But I have a feeling in my bones that this will turn out not to be the end of the matter.

Let Amanda Rieth be a warning to us all

By Frampton Jones

 

It feels like every year now I have to write the same reminder. Most demons do not like the cold. When the temperature drops, demons seek warm places to roost. This may seem endearing when the demon looks mostly like a cat and alternates between purring and trying to eat your soul. Less so when the demon is only trying to eat your soul and has infested some part of your household.

This is your sadly regular reminder to check warm places for signs of demon activity, and be ready to flee if there are eyes where no eyes have been before.

Being new to the island, of course Amanda Reith knew nothing of this. She went ahead and moved into the shattered remains of Herr Doktor’s lab at just the moment when we were all feeling the awkwardness of not having a proper scientist of morally suspect intent at work in our community. And like several of our previous scientists, she made the fatal mistake of not allowing for demons. It’s all well and good being clever and rational, and not wanting to dabble with superstitions, but let me remind newcomers, our superstitions are exceedingly well founded.

Amanda Reith’s experiments glowed, steamed and bubbled into the night. Some of us tried to warn her. We said ‘you’ll attract demons’ but she laughed and said she was a woman of science and that she had no truck with demons.  It’s not usually the science that excites them, but the heat.  In the normal scheme of things, a lab, kitchen or workshop is unlikely to attract more than one demon at a time – they seem to be territorial. For some reason, whatever Amanda was up to, the demons found it intensely attractive. Who amongst us did not see their alarming forms peering from the windows at night?

And being used to such things, we all made the entirely sensible choice not to get further involved. Community spirit only goes so far, and it does not go into demon infested laboratories.  Of course, get that many demons into one place, and conflict is inevitable.

We could, in all fairness have been much more supportive when Amanda finally emerged, screaming with all the horror we are used to witnessing when people encounter demons. We could have been more sympathetic and less willing to go ‘I told you so’  and it probably wasn’t tactful to have a cake stall and a hot pie stand as the lab did what labs seem to do best here, and exploded behind her. I don’t know that it would have saved her life, but perhaps we should have tried. It was a horrible way to go.

 

Ash Peterson – the end of history

By Frampton Jones

Our resident historian Ash Peterson was found dead last night in a scene that can only be described as uncanny. Ash had been digging in the Norse burial mounds looking for insights into the lives of some of the island’s earliest inhabitants. I know technically that’s archaeology, but we’re short of written records. Ghosts associated with the mounds told me that they had discouraged this, but to no avail.

“The trouble is,” Olaf Svenson, deceased, told me, “People expect ghosts to tell them to leave, so they don’t take our warnings seriously. Often we’re only trying to help!”  There were assorted wails from other ghosts of what I can only assume were agreement. “It’s hard for us keeping up to date,” he said.  “I’ve gone to a lot of effort to keep my words  modern so that I can warn people, but no one takes me seriously! What is with you people?”

Closer inspection of the burial mound suggests that it had never been a place for the human dead, but was a prison made of metal and magical signs, covered over with stone, and grown grassy with time. This is a lot easier to tell now that it has been opened up! The metal showed signs of strange, rasping activity as though something had been trying to gnaw or cut its way out. There were similar marks on our departed historian’s body, only they were much bloodier and deeper. For reasons we may never properly understand, an array of ancient looking items were left in a careful circle around him.

My assumption is that some ancient evil, some unspeakable eldritch horror imprisoned successfully by our Norse ancestors, has now been released onto the island. We can no doubt expect more carnage.  I was unable to get a comment from occult expert Durosimi O’Stoat, but he did go so far as to laugh unpleasantly at me when I was leaving the scene. It is not an optimistic interpretation of these events.

This morning, Doc Willoughby entered the circle of objects to examine the body. While his scalp fizzed somewhat, there were no other discernible effects. He ascribes the death to food poisoning, most likely from ill advised mushroom foraging. He then started humming and swaying in a manner I found most peculiar.

This may well be the end of History on the island. It’s always been a problematic subject, but clearly the risks are higher than anyone suspected. The past is a dangerous place, and anyone hopeful for a future should probably try and avoid it.

The rise and fall of Ssieth Anabuki

By Frampton Jones

I do not think Ssieth Anabuki ever intended to fly with those wings. They were, I thought, a rather charming creation – an act of colourful whimsy in defiance of this grey and doleful world. Seeing the wings flutter by whenever she passed me in the street always brightened my day a little.

I have not found any witnesses who know how the situation arose. The first any of us knew that strangeness was afoot, Sseith was already airborne. I assumed it was deliberate – and more likely some act of uncanny magic than of science, for there was nothing mechanical in the wings to suggest they might carry a person into the skies.

I have, over the years, watched many people try to leave the island. There have been many deliberate attempts at flying machines and wings. The best of them have barely managed a few feet in altitude or more than a few yards in distance. I feel that I have something of an eye for these things, and I say those wings were only ever ornamental and that something else occurred. Perhaps Ssieth invoked something, or attracted something, or had quietly taken up experimental occultism. If a boat can be persuaded to take to the skies, then why not such wings as these? Who can say what arcane rules govern the possibilities?

She flew, and for a while, it was glorious to behold. Surely, just for once in this miserable place we might be allowed a moment of beauty without disaster following close upon its heels? But no. As she rose, she disappeared into the clouds, and for an uneasy moment, it almost looked as though the fog had wrapped itself around her, forming into an impossible hand. It seemed, to my eye at least, as though she was thrown from the sky. I have been told that I have an over-active imagination and read too much into the shapes of clouds, but there it is. As a witness, this is my evidence.

Perspicacity Jones told me, by way of contrast “She went up, and then she went down. Like someone doing a really big jump.” So there’s a more prosaic take on the tragedy.

Reverend Davies said: “This is why I counsel people against the use of sorcery. It never ends well.” Which I’m sure will be a comfort to us all.

After viewing the remains, Doc Willoughby told me, “It appears that her appendix burst.” In fairness, it probably had.

We made a cairn where she fell. It seemed more dignified than the available alternatives.