On Thursday of last week, I woke to find my house in utter darkness. By my watch, it was early morning, and wondering at the lack of light, I lit a candle and drew back the curtains. Beyond the window was darkness, and in the darkness there were eyes. The vision was horrible beyond words, but I checked other windows and found the same. I confess, dear readers, to feelings of terror and did not venture beyond my door. I could only imagine what nightmare had befallen our town.
I might have remained cowering in my house for more than the three days I endured, had it not been for the timely arrival of Jesper Peeps bringing old paper back for reuse. I was persuaded that however things may appear, it was safe to venture out. While my house had been covered in what I can only describe as an infestation, life in Hopeless appeared otherwise untroubled. Darkly furred things clung to every available surface, blotting out the light while their hideous eyes stared in upon me.
Why did this nameless dread affix itself to my windows? Is there meaning behind it, or just the whim of fate? Annamarie Nightshade sold me a charm which did indeed remove them, but she refused to comment on what they might be, or why they had attached themselves to my home.
It is not the habit of this reporter to write himself into the news. I aspire to be nothing more than a careful observer, but circumstances this week mean I know nothing beyond my own experience. I cannot include births, deaths or marriages, having spent too long a prisoner in my own home, and the rest of the week removing the creatures that had taken me hostage!
As you may remember, dear readers, slightly over two weeks ago, three of our number attempted to leave. Oedipus Raft (21), Titus Raft (19) and Sam Raft (17) set sail in a rowing boat, declaring their intention to reach the mainland. It will come as no great surprise when I tell you they failed. Theirs, by my reckoning, is the 27th such attempt in the last decade, and no more effective than any other. Still, managing sixteen days in the unfriendly waters beyond our shores is no small achievement and they should be commended for their determination.
None of the boys are in good health. When I attempted to interview them, Titus repeated the words ‘It’s looking at me. It keeps looking at me.’ I asked them what they found out there, and Oedipus claimed ‘It goes on forever,’ but would not add any details. Thus adding very little to our knowledge of the state of the world.
The next batch of wood pulp won’t be useable for at least three weeks. Please remember to bring back your old paper for recycling. If you use this news sheet in your toilet, you are wasting a precious resource! Shame on you! I know who you are and if this continues, I will be printing names. The rest of us do perfectly well with leaves. Keep paper out of privies!
Abigail Looming has given birth to a fish, or so I have been told. The creature was returned to the waters on Tuesday last, and swam off. It has not been seen since, but the mother is recovering well. The father of Abigail Looming’s unlikely offspring remains unknown, although questions are now being asked about his species.
I can’t imagine anyone missed the major event of last week, but as nothing else of note happened, I’m reporting it anyway as there may be more to this than meets the eye.
On Tuesday night, a bloodstorm swept the island, covering people, buildings and streets. We were lucky in that the rain on Wednesday washed away the worst of it. I consulted Doc Willoughby who confirmed that the red rain was definitely blood, but he could not say if it was animal or human. Where did all the blood come from? Does it represent some unimaginable horror that has happened beyond the boundaries of our beloved island? How could so much blood have become airborn, with no trace of any bodyparts? I fear this latest mystery may go unsolved, but if you have possible answers, do share them.
Last week we reported the death of Regan Higsbottom. This appears to have been an error. Regan accosted me in my office yesterday to point out that she is still very much alive. Apparently she walked out on her husband after a row, and has been living in one of the old fishing cottages on the West side of the island. Please do not scream and run away if you see her, as apparently this is getting on her nerves.
Once again the Jones’s opened Meadow Farm to the public to share the delights of spring. Families flocked to see flowers, chicks and lambs. Nothing quite equalled last year’s mutant goat, but the three legged chickens were as popular as ever. Other attractions included the traditional pie fight, a tour of the farm and assorted contests. The spitting contest was won by Ethan Miller while the wife carrying contest was won by Reginald Aubergine. However, this caused some controversy as Mrs Asumpta Aubergine is of course dead, and as a ghost, weighs nothing and cannot technically be carried, which many feel gave him an unfair advantage. No prize was given for best cake, as the cakes were enlisted in attempts to solve the problems over the wife carrying contest. Whether cake throwing will replace pie throwing for next year remains to be seen! This reporter feels that the jam involved provided a nice change from the less appetising pie contents we get most years.
Regan Higsbottom, 42, missing for two weeks, declared dead. Church service Friday.
Births and Marriages. It is to be noted that we didn’t have any of either this week, and by my calculation if we keep this up for too long, we won’t have a population at all in fifty years time. I call upon the parents of Hopeless to take a responsible stance and ensure that your offspring are encouraged to go for nice walks with suitable others! You hardly see any courting couples about on the island. It’s a scandal!