Normally I don’t care much for the beautiful baby competition, but this year my camera cast the whole event in an entirely different shape.
All the usual array of mothers and bored dignitaries turned out to look at our island’s most recent offspring. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, to our eyes they looked so much like children. You could almost believe they were of human stock! The camera sees differently. Does it capture their true forms? I think it does.
The more pictures I take of you all, the more clearly I see you for what you are. Phantasms and nightmares. I have not yet managed to photograph myself. Am I the same as you? Am I the one true person here? Sometimes it feels like that. Do you know what you really are, beneath the surface? Or do you think you are real? People of Hopeless, look upon the beautiful babies, and know the horror of your own nature!
All this week, sea monster sightings have moved progressively closer to land. Many fisher folk have reported strange things in the water. On Monday morning, disaster struck, as a terrifying, tentacle beast from the deep tore into the bridge. Workers fled in panic as boards were smashed, and the furthest section reduced to little more than firewood. We lost a week’s work in half an hour. However, the bridge team are not defeated, although questions have been raised about the viability of the project. We must consider defending the bridge from hostile sea creatures.
During the half an hour of carnage, I was able to take this picture. I have new camera lenses, thanks to the ingenuity of Arthur Gibbous. However, the camera is still being peculiar. With the naked eye, numerous witnesses clearly saw the tentacles destroying our work. No one observed the floating entities with their disturbingly human faces. Does the camera lie? Is it capturing a truth beyond our perceptions? If these entities were present on Monday, I have no idea what they were. They appear to have emerged from the sea and do resemble jellyfish a little. Has anyone seen them before?
Since last week, Reverend Davies has exorcised my camera. Annamarie Nightshade has charmed it. Doc Willoughby took the lens off and cleaned it with alcohol, and Arthur Gibbous, glasses maker and inventor, took the whole thing apart and put it back together again.
Currently, photographs, once developed, all look like the image I have published alongside this article. Consequently I cannot tell you if this is the picture I took of Parables Chevins’ remarkable meese (they’re emerging early this year!) or my attempt to capture an image of the sea creature that appeared off our shores on Tuesday. It might, equally, have been the outrageous street scene that followed a fire in a house of ill repute on Wednesday, or the frankly improbable wedding dress worn by Chastity Jones for her marriage to Exodus Chevins on Friday last. I didn’t know we had that many rodents on the island, and the patience required to skin and stitch them must have been tremendous.
As several people pointed out to me, last week’s picture was odd. There is something growing on my camera. This week I can only offer you an image of that. I have no idea what it is, or how it got there, much less how to remove it without damaging the delicate equipment. Viewed from the outside, my camera appears perfectly normal, however, pictures taken with it look like this. Sometimes the fauna (or is it flora) moves when I look through the lens at it.
I assume they must be very small, and inside the camera. Peering in creates an impression of vastness, as though the imagine shows another place or time. It is most unsettling. If I watch for too long, it seems as though they become aware of me, and able to see me. I feel I should not look, but morbid fascination draws me back repeatedly.
Now that the undead are no longer under foot, work on the bridge has leapt forward. We have two floating units built and ready for attachment to the onshore base. A third is in construction and an air of excited optimism surrounds the project.
I consider myself a rational man, but the world is not a rational place and sometimes these things are hard to reconcile. Yesterday morning I watched as the only ship to successfully leave Hopeless in perhaps twenty years, set sail. I cannot explain how that ruined remnant of a boat floated, much less how it managed to leave out shores when so many others have tried and failed. What reason can you apply to a craft sailed by the undead? Sometimes, you can do no more than look, and wonder.
There is inspiration to be taken from their departure. Their sheer uncanniness undoubtedly played a role, but they prove it is possible to leave. Hopefully we will not all have to wait until we are animated bones on a floating wreck.
And so the ancestors have left us, and we will no longer see their bony figures on the shore at twilight. I for one will miss them, and wish them well, wherever they are bound. We return to work on the bridge, and turn our faces to the future once more.
An astonishing sight greeted the folk working on our bridge this Tuesday. Arriving at first light, we found work had already begun, but not on our construction. Clods of earth were flying through the air as excavation continued on the wrecked boat. Our own boys had given up when it became obvious that the ship might collapse. However, the workers on Tuesday morning knew no such fears.
We stood at a safe distance, watching in surprise as a dozen or more skeletal figures exhumed the boat. It was an eerie sight. They had clothed themselves strangely, although for what purpose I cannot imagine. Do those mobile remains feel the cold as we do? I can hardly believe it is so. They have no need for modesty either.
Work on the bridge is yet again delayed. No one, myself included, feels able to continue while that unnatural crew labours silently nearby. I wonder if the ship was theirs in distant times? What little of it remains is far from sound. Will there be more dead to release? As ever, we must be vigilant.