The child who disappeared from Pallid Rock Orphanage along with Miss Calder, has now been found. The girl seemed dazed and could offer no explanation of where she had been all this time, who had taken her, or what had happened. Perhaps when she has had chance to recover from the trauma, she will be able to speak of her experiences. Pride requires me to add that I was the one who found the girl, aided by Doc Willoughby.
It is always odd finding myself part of the news, but on this occasion, I am delighted to have been of service. I have not yet had chance to speak with the ghost of Miss Calder regarding her demise.
I find myself wondering why some folk return from the dead and others do not, and what happens to those who do not walk amongst us.
(from Frampton Jones) I can only apologise for the abysmal quality of last week’s Vendetta. Apparently they had to tie me to a chair. It has been most embarrassing, but I have since been able to educate my nephew in the correct use of the press! Doc Willoughby says that I can start going out again now. They have taken away my old camera and smashed it up. I regret this. I feel there were mysteries I was close to solving, and now that knowledge is lost.
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.
Last night’s meeting at the Town Hall was a remarkable gathering, and I’ve not seen the place so crowded in years. Balthazar Lemon’s bridge plan has everyone talking. For anyone who wasn’t there, the man responsible for our island’s lighthouse plans to build a bridge connecting us to the mainland.
Unlike many of us, Mister Lemon was not born on Hopeless, and has seen something of the world. He is certain it can be done, and that science will defeat the currents where seamanship cannot. The bridge project calls for flotation devices, and a modest quantity of wood, which might be salvaged from derelict houses so save on work. On paper, it looks tremendously complicated to me, but one cannot help but be impressed by the sheer scale of Balthazar Lemon’s vision.
Imagine the possibilities, dear readers, if we are able to walk across the sea to the mainland! Think of the wonderful benefits, the opportunities for our younger people! We will be able to import coffee rather than depending on the odd shipment washing ashore! There might be proper whiskey on a regular basis rather than the eye watering stuff Doc Willoughby ferments – from what I dare not speculate! Balthazar Lemon needs your help, your spare timber, and whatever time you can donate to this most excellent cause. Let us build our way out of isolation and into a bright future!
Normally I do little more than naming the dead. It is the end of a story and I would rather share interesting news, things we can do something about. This morning, the word ‘Dead’ appeared, crafted from fish just outside my house. From the word came a trail of debris – shells, fish, driftwood, stones, leading all the way across town to the O’Stoat house. Others had found and followed the trail and a crowd had gathered there before I arrived. As no one else seemed inclined to venture in, I did so myself. The house was entirely empty, aside from human remains. Doc Willoughby is investigating and hopes to identify the body. It would appear that one of the O’Stoats is dead, and the other two have fled. Another sad chapter in the life of this cursed family.
Digging for a new privy in his back garden this week, Jasper Fingle uncovered what may be the oldest grave on the island. Bones and artefacts found in the grave raise questions about who was here first and how long the island has been settled. Local historian and schoolteacher Arlingham Jones told me “It’s the most exciting find the island has ever seen. The body is very old. It predates all records of settlement here. The remains are being kept in the town’s library for further study, and the items with them will go on display there.”
Alongside the remains were found a copper mirror, a pot, and several items as yet unidentified. Reverend Davies said “Clearly this wasn’t a proper Christian burial. We should carry out a proper funeral at once.” Doc Willoughby has been asked to examine the remains and Jasper Fingle is proposing to dig over the rest of his garden in the hopes of finding more graves.
Last week, dear readers, you may recall I was rather strident about The Vendetta being a free press. As those copies return to me for pulping and re-use, I feel I am eating my words. Since the last publication, I have suffered the most vile outbreak of boils on every part of my body. I will spare you the details.
Annamarie Nightshade visited me as I was poised to compose this week’s paper. She tells me that the boils are of her own making, and that, if I cease printing Doc Willoughby’s adverts, my discomfort will cease. As a journalist, I feel troubled. But, my journalism has not benefited from not wanting to show my face, nor from being unable to sit down comfortably.
I have reached a compromise in that I will print no further articles from either party, at least on the subject of medicine. However, if I am still disfigured and suffering when the time comes to write next week’s news, you can be quite sure whose side I shall be taking henceforth. Equally, if Annamarie Nightshade proves to my satisfaction that she does indeed have the power to give, and remove such afflictions, I will be obliged to hold her skills in much higher esteem in the future.
Annamarie Nightshade is a liar and a fraud. I am the only formally trained medical man in Hopeless. If you want cures that consist of weeds, toenails and charcoal, then by all means go to her. This is just the kind of thing I meant when I said we needed a proper council to sort things out in this town. A proper council, proper laws, proper order and structure. That’s what we need, and an end to this kind of quackery.
Editor’s note: This is a free press. Anyone can pay to have their words published. I don’t agree with the Doc where councils are concerned, but he’s welcome to have his say. That’s one of the main differences between him and me, and why I don’t want a council.
Every year countless people suffer when they meddle with the occult and enlist the dangerous powers of witchcraft. Are you risking your soul as well as your health? Do you know what terrible dangers await you when you invite satanic influences into your life? Some prices are not worth paying. For honest, god-fearing medicine that won’t bring you eternal damnation and see your family in the fiery pits of hell, speak to Dr Willoughby.