There have been ghosts on this island for as long as there have been people. Most residents will have seen one or two in their time, I have no doubt. Most of our departed did not appear to stay on, but every so often some pale echo of a lost citizen would manifest. Tragic and disturbing though they are, these ephemeral echoes of the once living are a familiar part of life.
I have noticed this year that the numbers of ghosts have increased significantly. They have gone from being a rare, uncomfortable occurrence, to being a frequent sight across the island. Some, like Vortigern Frog and Miss Calder retain many of their human qualities and will even converse with the living. However, many of the shades we are now seeing are far less substantial. I can only speculate as to why the dead are no longer departing as they once did. Are these echoes, or are we seeing spirits, doomed to continue here for all eternity? It is a hellish thought.
This week’s photograph shows a trio of the dead. I cannot identify them, they retain so little of their original humanity. I have never before been especially fearful of dying, but the horror and pathos of these figures fills me with dread. I fear we will none of us sleep easily in our graves, nor ascend to some better place.
When I interviewed Mrs Witherspoon about recent events at the orphanage, she told me she slept soundly all through the night when one of the little girls was taken and Miss Calder was killed. I tried to talk to the little girl but she just stared at me. I guess she’s too traumatised to talk.
Apparently other people can see Miss Calder and talk to her, but I can’t see her, so that didn’t go very well either. Maybe she wasn’t there. How do you tell? But what Mrs Witherspoon did say is that all the spoons have gone missing from the orphanage kitchen too. I suspect a connection with the theft from The Crow. Did they break in to steal the spoons and kill Miss Calder by mistake? Or were the spoons an afterthought? All very mysterious.
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!
The evening was crisp with an unusually clear sky, which may be why we had one of the best 12th Night turnouts for many years. Torches and masks made a dramatic show as we paraded around the town centre, and the traditional dance was a great success. I know there are some who want to modernise the event with lively tunes, but the traditional, mournful dances and slow airs have a certain majesty that suits the dark time of the year.
Somewhere above us, hidden by the fog, strange and violent things are happening. The screams are enough to terrify the boldest man amongst us. The blood and feathers fall everywhere. Something in the clouds is killing the giant black birds that appeared last week. It doesn’t appear to be eating them, but pulling them apart and scattering their remains over the town.
What happens when there are no more birds? Will this latest fiend then unleash itself upon us, or will we be faced with something even worse? I dare not think.
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.
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!