Tag Archives: Gaunt Town

RIP Odebralski – The Scientific Society endures another loss

By Frampton Jones

The Hopeless Maine Musical society does not, in the normal scheme of things, actively seek out music that is likely to kill the performers. Our literary society does not seek out books that will drive it mad – although there is always the scope for death by boredom. The chicken fancier’s limit themselves to the kinds of chickens that are not demons.

And so I must ask, what is it inherent in the Hopeless Maine Scientific Society that drives members towards their doom? Is it a cursed organisation? Does the membership process accidentally include some dire formula that commits those joining to the certainty of a gruesome death?

I’ve wondered for a while if it might be their meeting place, in an otherwise unused warehouse in Gaunt Town. There are those who say that Gaunt Town itself sits upon the grave of a mad and deceased God, and that this accounts for it being so very haunted, dangerous, and largely free from human citizens. Even the vampires do not much like it.

The Scientific Society has been vague to say the least on the subject of RIP Odebralski’s death – which happened at their meeting place in Gaunt Town late last night. The body of the deceased was returned to the living side of town in a wheelbarrow.

Doc Willoughby’s assessment is as follows. “The deceased had filthy hands with dirt deep under the fingernails. Poor hygiene is so often a cause of death, and the look of horror on the face supports this hypothesis. You can get all kinds of nasty things from soil, which is probably why the hands are frozen in claw-like gestures.”

The Hopeless Maine Scientific Society reports… “Sometimes science requires sacrifices. It’s really unfortunate. There’s nothing even slightly irrational about the kinds of sacrifices that have to be made for science. We’re very clear that our members are responsible for their own choices and the prices they are willing to pay for knowledge.”

But as a precaution, they suggest that RIP Odebralski should be buried with a stone in the mouth, and a liberal quantity of feathers.

Skye Wilde was not cynical enough

By Frampton Jones

Longstanding residents of the island know that it pays to be a bit heartless sometimes. You only get to be a longstanding resident if you can protect yourself in this way. It is a sorry truth, and certainly it does not make us the best people imaginable, but we get to continue as people.

As a fairly recent arrival, Skye had not acquired the levels of deliberate apathy most islanders cultivate in self defence. However, there are no doubt others who can and will learn from this, and whose lives may be spared as a consequence. Perhaps this would provide the deceased with some consolation.

I grant you, it did sound very much like a small child. It sounded like a small child in great distress, crying and howling on the far side of the bridge over the River Gaunt. At twilight. I heard it myself on the previous evening, and hurried in the opposite direction.

Onlookers who had taken bottles to the bridge report that they had a brief conversation with Skye about what they were doing. When the wailing began, they reacted like sensible people turning their backs, intent on making a swift getaway. Skye, unused to such things, was understandably horrified. The longstanding islanders (who of course wish to remain anonymous, for there is little glory in this tale) did not want to hang around trying to explain why one does not hang around, much less offer assistance in such circumstances.

And so it was that Skye Wilde crossed the bridge and entered into the ruins of Gaunt Town, in search of a crying child.

We all know there was no crying child. There never was. Those wiser people who had left her to her fate report hearing a brief scream, after which there was no further note of youthful distress, and no further sign of Skye as the lengthening shadows consumed the landscape, and everything in it.

There will be no funeral, for there will be no body to retrieve. As Skye had no family on the island, I have made it my business to add a bottle at the bridge, as an offering, a warning, a small act of defiance.