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.
Two nights ago, panicked members of the Chevin family called Reverend Davies out to one of their cottages. I happened to be visiting the orphanage when the summons came, went along, and so was witness to the horrendous screams, terrifying cries and eye-watering smells emerging from that place. Even though certain of the Chevins have reputations for not maintaining standards, it was clear something far worse than normal was afoot. Instructed to remain outside, I watched our brave Reverend enter the property, Bible in one hand, bottle of holy water in the other.
In the poor light, I could see little, but I give you my words, dear readers, that something vile and unnatural was inside that cottage. I saw it leave, but have not words to express the horror of it. The dry rustle of its wings, the clatter of bone, or chitin, or many beaks – it seemed to have all of these attributes and more. For a moment it turned its single, glowing eye towards me, and I thought my heart would stop beating from fear. Reverend Davies emerged, and the monstrosity fled from him.
When I asked our Reverend to explain what I had seen, he shook his head. “There are some things it is best not to know, but we are not alone here. Where there is faith, there is hope.”
Some bright spark left the word ‘Why’ outside my front door the day after last week’s Vendetta came out. Once again, the word was formed out of sea life, although this time there were several crabs and a starfish. At least I assume the word was ‘why’ as what may have been part of the central bar of the ‘h’ was still alive and some distance down the road. I beleive this to have been a childish prank.
No big news story this week, dear readers. The excitement with the new grave has led to much speculation, but as yet no answers. Science is slow, I am told. Anyone wishing to view the bones and grave goods can do so at the library.
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.