Category Archives: Births, Deaths, Marriages

Dr. Corvus Marconi has held his last séance

By Frampton Jones

 

Mentalist magician and séance conductor Dr Corvus Marconi has died suddenly in confusing circumstances.

Doc Willougby, who was himself present at the fatal séance ascribes the death to Dr Corvus Marconi banging his head repeatedly onto the table. “It was a silly way to go,” he told me. “I don’t know what he was thinking, but these magical types are a funny lot.”

Mithra Stubbs, also present at the séance told me that it was hard to tell whether Corvus was beaten to death by angry ghosts, or having some kind of fit after Doc Willoughby put a little drop of something in his tea, or both.

“There are no ghosts,” Doc Willoughby said. “The man was a charlatan. Definitely no ghosts. He pretended to call up some of my recently deceased patients, which was, frankly, offensive. But not so offensive as to give me a motive for killing him, obviously. He may have reacted badly to the whiskey, people do sometimes.”

Mithra Stubbs said “As far as I could make out, the ghosts were angry at having been called back and afraid they’d be stuck here. They were also pointing at Doc Willoughby a lot and shouting at him but as there were a lot of them, it was hard to make out words.”

Séances have always been a controversial activity – those who are dead and present to us find it preferable if people just visit them to chat. People who have departed, it is often argued, should not be brought back. We do not know why some of the dead remain and others do not, and it does not seem wise to interfere with the process. Currently the question of whether Corvus will return, and whether there should be a séance held to talk to him, is being hotly debated amongst fans of his work.

Nick could not outrun death

By Frampton Jones

It is my sorry duty to announce that Nick Rossert has departed this life, and his other life, having failed to get out of the way of a slow moving piece of machinery.

We’ve grown used to werewolves in recent years. We’ve all learned not to go out at full moons – not that many of us go out in the dark anyway. We learned to cope with the more threatening eyebrows, the weird food cravings, the occasional psychotic rampage. Despite that, none of us ever really came to terms with what Nick did in his other skin.

Many of us have known for some time now that Nick transforms. It’s not at the full moon, always. It’s hard to predict. But transform he did, into something slower, hairier and less able to flee from peril. In his were-form, Nick often retreated to the trees and it wasn’t unusual to find him hanging upside down from a branch, waiting for the effects to wear off.

No one seems to know what manner of creature he became, or why he felt so moved to eat leaves when in this state. Why not blood, like the rest of our uncanny citizens? Why shift into the skin of something so slow, so unable to defend itself?

No one knows.

Witnesses at the scene described to me the experience of watching the old, wheeled device crawl slowly towards Nick, while Nick in his transformed state began to lift one limb, clearly unable to make a getaway. The witnesses, who wish to remain anonymous, say that they would have helped him if it hadn’t been so funny, and that by the time they stopped laughing it was too late. They tell me they feel bad about that – and so they should.

One three toed paw remained intact after the machine passed over him. It has been laid to rest. No one will ever know the truth about him now, and we are the poorer for that.

 

On an entirely unrelated note… Nick runs Sloth Comics, which publishes Hopeless Maine.  http://www.slothcomics.co.uk/

Don’t say you weren’t warned

By Frampton Jones.

Jasper Horace Ganache should, it turns out, have paid more attention to this year’s horrorscopes. Granted, it’s never easy to tell who exactly will die from these readings of the night sky, but paranoia is your friend. We now know that Jasper was the person for whom the warning about bagpipes were intended all along.

The bagpipes washed ashore all by themselves. I am told that numerous beachcombers saw them, but, mindful of this year’s predictions, did not approach the sodden instrument as it lay at the high tide line. A wise decision for which you can feel rightfully smug.

Jasper not only approached the washed up bagpipes, but went so far as to pick them up and take them home. No one claims to have tried to stop him. And while the horrorscope itself predicted that the squealing of bagpipes would presage death, no one thought to rush in and slash the bag before any harm could occur. Who knows how many people might have suffered if Jasper had made his home in a busier part of town? It has not been a noble day for us.

The noise that came from the bagpipes caused nose and ear bleeds amongst residents in the Silver Street area. There was a great deal of spontaneous wailing as well, but no additional deaths that anyone has noticed. Did Jasper attempt to inflate the unwholesome bag? Or was there something inside the instrument all along, waiting to find a suitable victim.

Having observed the body, Doc Willoughby noted that there is an odd resemblance between the deceased’s skin and the fabric of the bagpipe. “The body often expresses sympathy with the mode of death,” he told me. “I’ve seen this myself when marks in the shape of my own hands have appeared on the bodies of people I was trying to save.”

As there is some concern that Jasper is becoming a set of bagpipes himself, he has been carefully bound ahead of burial and will be weighted down with a substantial cairn just to be on the safe side. There will be no music of any sort at the funeral.

Lindsay died of hairy coffee

By Frampton Jones

The Brown Lining coffee shop is usually a quiet place. Few people who drink there once are moved to re-visit. For most of us, a single cup of Master Scutcheon Bugleblower’s infamous brew is more than enough. There is the lure of the novelty, the desire to test one’s robustness against the effects of the hairy coffee. It may be something of a rite of passage to down a cup of the hideous brew.

Lindsay was a recent arrival to the island. I can only assume she came to us from a place where coffee is not a thing to mistrust. Truly, she had a remarkable constitution. Eye-witnesses claim that she has been to The Brown Lining every day since her arrival, often downing more than one cup of the infamous hairy coffee, and showing every signs of enjoying it. Such an unusual occurrence was this, that crowds had started to gather to watch through the window as she smiled at Master Scutcheon and drank cups of the beverage, seemingly oblivious to the hairiness of it.

Consequently there were many witnesses to that final cup. Apparently the hairy coffee reached up towards her face, flowing upwards in a truly disturbing manner and killing her instantly.

Her body remains where she sat in life. The hairy coffee remains active. No one has ventured into The Brown Lining, although Master Scutcheon himself has been out into the street several times. He told me he is hoping that he will be able to harvest fungi from Lindsay, who may, he tells me, be the Goddess Kafeteria herself, manifesting physically so as to bring us even hairier coffee for the future. Thus far, no one has tried to stop this gruesome plan.

Doc Willoughby, having viewed the body through the window told me, “this is what happens when you let women go out by themselves, they never…” but was unable to finish the statement as three Miss Joneses laid into him with assorted blunt weaponry.

 

Islanders who do not properly appreciate the dangers and delights of hairy coffee can find out more here – https://hopelessvendetta.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/master-scutcheons-hairy-coffee/

Christopher Miles had it coming

By Frampton Jones

Who could have killed Christopher Miles? There are so many people with motives that I fear we shall never know the truth.  It could have been any of us, so let me be first to say… but of course it was not me…

Currency here on the island has always been a simple business. The number on the coin is generally taken to indicate the worth of the coin. Exceptions may be made if the substance of the coin is deemed more valuable than the number suggests, but we’ve always been able to settle that in traditional ways. Bargaining, pleading, shouting, punching, threatening and so forth. On the whole, our systems worked very well.

Then Christopher Miles shipwrecked here, with his notions of exchange rates, relative values, currency fluctuations, market prices and a thousand other terms that were as impressive as they were impenetrable.

As is always the way of it, there are always ears open to ideas here. Always people ready to break with custom for the sake of personal advantage. But none of us really knew what we were doing and so it came down to Christopher himself to determine the relative value of coins, and settle disputes.  It was only natural that anyone on the wrong end of his judgements would hold him personally responsible for the consequences. There were so many of us with grudges.

But now he has dead, and we can stop hitting each other with blunt objects and settle back down to using the numbers on the coins to measure their worth again, and we can all have pies, and pints, and hairy coffee and all the simple joys that make life bearable. And you can all go back to paying what you used to pay for copies of The Hopeless Vendetta, thank you very much.

Doc Willoughby said to me, “Much as I hate to ever accuse anyone of murder, there were an awful lot of stab wounds, more than a chap might do to himself in despair. It’s hard to stab yourself in the back, although you’d be surprised about how many people do that to themselves. I have no idea who did it of course. I never met any of them. I wasn’t there. Someone else might have seen it, but I most certainly did not, he was dead long before I saw his body.”

And for once, I find myself in absolute concurrence with the wisdom of our good Doctor.

Gary Sanders, inexplicably struck down

By Frampton Jones

It’s rare that we have thunder storms and lightning on the island. Tradition has it that when we do it is firstly a sign of unwholesome magical acts, and secondly, that it will always kill someone.  I cannot speak to the first claim with any confidence, but our first lightning strike of the year has killed Gary Sanders.

What he was doing on the roof of the town hall is anyone’s guess. Helpfully, the lightning strike knocked him from the roof and into the street so there was no awkwardness about a body in such a public location or the difficulty of persuading anyone to retrieve it!

Doc Willoughby viewed the body in situ and pronounced the cause of death to have been “Jumping from a great height having set himself on fire.” When pressed about the lightning, he assured the assembled people that it is a myth and superstition that lightning can kill people and that he himself had been struck by lightning on several occasions and had never suffered any ill effects from it whatsoever.

Gary will be missed by his comrades at the Society of Technicians. A representative (Calista Fromage)  told me, ‘we were totally shocked by this. We’ve always prided ourselves on having a very good survival rate, unlike the Scientific Society.’ She could not confirm whether Gary had been killed in pursuit of some technical aim, but said she sincerely hoped he hadn’t and that there are enough things round here trying to kill you without going looking for them.

Gary’s funeral will be held tomorrow, ahead of which his coffin will be carried through the streets by an automaton.

“It will be dignified, dramatic and totally safe,” Calista promised me.

Francesca Dare has been denied a proper burial

By Frampton Jones

Witnesses say that Francesca Dare had gone to the old, ruined lighthouse above the harbour looking for rare plants that could be turned into ink. It seems most probable that she lost her footing on the damp rocks, and fell to her doom, but here her story definitely takes a strange twist.

Friends attempting to recover Francesca’s body from the rocks below found a small but rather aggressive creature standing on her remains. “I am Ctholin,” it yelled. “Fear me, for I shall kill you all. I’m very scary!”

I am told that Ctholin would perhaps have been scarier had they been larger and less prone to lisping, but onlookers did find it off-putting.

I have been to view the scene myself, and can confirm that the creature called Ctholin remains in place, shouting improbable threats and emitting small sparks. I was obliged to put out a small fire in my own trousers, which did not incline me to move closer.

“She is mine forever,” Ctholin shouted. “I killed her, I’m the one, it was definitely me. I did it with my monster powers!”

Viewing the body from the established safe-trouser distance, Doc Willoughby observed he thought it very likely that Francesca Dare had simply fallen from the rocks and only been claimed by the beast after her untimely descent. “Stands to reason, he said. “Nothing that small could kill an adult.”

I felt obliged to mention poisonous fungi, poisonous fish, extra-stingy jellyfish, fire-drakes, and chicken demons in their chick stage.

“But look at it,” said Doc Willoughby, “It couldn’t kill anything.”

Ctholin responded with a small explosion, and the Doc was obliged to retreat to preserve what little of his dignity and trousers remained.

 

Find out more about Ctholin here – https://hopelessvendetta.wordpress.com/2018/10/05/ms-lovelace-and-ctholin/

Lizz-Ayn Shaarawi will not return from the forest

By Frampton Jones

Most years we lose someone to the trees. Or to what lurks among the trees. Most of us do not venture further than the edges of the woods and rightly so – the heart of this island is a heart of wooded darkness and those who go seldom return.

Lizz-Ayn Shaarawi was, depending on who you ask, either a remarkable pioneer or a total idiot. The Hopeless Maine Scientific Society described her as ‘a tireless seeker of truth, an absolute stalwart whose work has greatly enhanced our understanding of the woods.’ Having survived for nine years as a member of that notorious society, Lizz-Ayn bucked the trend for rapid demise in the name of science. Ignorance may not be bliss, but knowledge so often proves fatal.

For the past three years, Lizz-Ayn had been studying evidence for strange, humanoid life forms living in our woods. She made many forays into the trees, coming back with stories that were troubling, entertaining, wonderful or terrible, depending on who you ask about it. On her last foray, two gentlemen of the Hopeless Maine Scientific Society accompanied her – Jethro Necropolis and Newtonian Jones (previously Godfearing Jones). Only Newtonian survived.

Newtonian Jones told me, “We were attacked. Jethro Necropolis tried to defend us with a new weapon he’d been developing, which blew up and killed him outright. Lizz-Ayn was saved from the blast by a massive, hairy creature that swung in and carried her off. I expect by now it will have eaten her.” He could not absolutely confirm her death, but it seems a fair inference as it took Newtonian a week to make it back to the town and there has been no sign of her in that time.

The Hopeless Maine Scientific Society calculates that a person who goes missing for a day has a fifty percent chance of reappearing. For every day that passes, the odds of survival radically diminish, and after seven days, there is a one in six hundred chance of not being dead. This is the second time Newtonian has managed those one in six hundred odds, and it will be Lizz-Ayn’s third time beating the probabilities if she does return.

Kim Lakin-Smith has finally run out of time

According to my best mathematical efforts, Kim Lakin-Smith lived to be one hundred and three years old. She confusingly first appeared on the island seven years ago, while her second appearance reputedly pre-dates that of the Founding Families. Her third appearance, and the one for which she is best known, occurred twenty years ago and for most of us, she has continued as a resident since that time.

Despite her best efforts, Kim was unable to persuade her time travelling machine to take her anywhere other than here. Prior to entering our uncanny environs, she had been able to wander at will through space and time. Hopeless however thwarted her, as it has thwarted so many people over the years. Technologies we are assured worked just fine when they were built develop strange quirks when they come here. I blame the demons.

Through Kim we have learned that our little island home might have a slightly odd relationship with time. It is hard to tell from those who shipwreck where they have come from, and ‘when?’ is such an awkward question when we have so little to compare our local calendars with. However, as a confident and experienced traveller in the realms of time, Kim was certain that something here isn’t as it should be.

There is nothing any of us can do about this, but it suggests that attempts at building our own time travel devices will likely prove futile. This may be as well, because while Kim was able to handle the risk of paradox rather well and had the restraint not to meet herself when visits one and three collided, many of us do not have the good sense for this sort of thing. I dread to think what the young folk of today would do if they had the means to go poking about in either the past or the future!

As an extra precaution, Kim is to be buried in her time travel device, and has expressed an intention to haunt it so that no one can do anything foolish. These arrangements were carefully laid out in her will, assuming, as she commented there, that she cannot finally get out by having deceased.

Heike Harding is dead, but who should we blame?

By Frampton Jones

Heike Harding will be well known to anyone who has spent time around the docks of Hopeless Maine. She has fed the feral cats there for many years, and taken in cats rescued from shipwrecks. Anyone wanting a regular cat who can prevent small, antisocial entities from infesting home or workplace, will have appreciated her good work.

It is a mystery then, why this well-liked islander has suffered a sudden and violent death.

Doc Willoughby told me: “She most likely had a little turn and fell in the water. No one lasts long in that water.” When I asked him about the shocking neck wound, he said, “Sea monsters, I expect. They come right into the dock you know, especially at night after the pub has closed.”

A number of citizens who wished to remain anonymous expressed to me their opinions that someone from our unnatural community is to blame. Several anonymous vampires have told me that it was far too violent to be a vampire bite, and looked far more like the sort of thing a were-person would do.  One gentleman self-identifying as a werewolf told me that a werewolf just wouldn’t waste food like that and it must have been a vampire.

On the day after her death, all of Heike’s cats made a slow and solemn march from the docks, to the Hopeless Home for Uncanny Cats. I feel they know something we do not.

Since the recent deaths of Crysta, and Erekiel, The Hopeless Home for Uncanny Cats has been an unsafe place for human visitors. The cats are angry. Cats have congregated from across the island as far as I can tell. I had no idea we had so many dustcats and shadowcats.

I advise extreme caution, if you own a cat, are owned by a cat, see a cat, or find someone breaking into your home after dark.