During this difficult time with so many folk being sick, young people have really been letting the side down. Vortigern Frog says that non-return of library books is at an all time high. He said ‘I understand its hard for people when they are ill, but I suspect some people of deliberately retaining books for their own nefarious purposes.’ Questioned further, he revealed that the worst offender is none other than Owen Davies, son of Reverend Davies. I caught up with the miscreant at his house, and challenged him about non-return of library books. Owen claimed he had intended to take them back and merely forgotten. I also note that that the young offender had a number of spoons in his possession and can only wonder if he is responsible for all these spoons going missing lately as well. Revered Davies told me he would look into the matter.
Miss Calder (we think) buried last Wednesday. The remains were impossible to identify, but her ghost is very much in residence at the Pallid Rock orphanage and she says this was her. Reverend Davies says its’ peculiar burying someone when you have only just been talking to them.
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.
Miss Calder, employee of Pallid Rock Orphanage is reported missing, apparently having disappeared during the night, along with one of the orphans – a young girl. According to Reverend Davies, there were signs of a violent struggle. Citizens are asked to be vigilant. Volunteers for search parties should report to the Church or the Orphanage for guidance.
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.”
There was a peculiar scene at the Church last Wednesday when Balthazar Lemon appeared with a very large and dead cod that he demanded to be formally married to. The union did not take place, Reverend Davies having carefully explained that the sacrament of marriage involves one man and one woman, not one man and one expired fish. Mister Lemon’s longstanding and well known fish obsession has caused some speculation as to whether he is the one using them as a writing medium.
Not only do we have a disturbing number of missing persons in Hopeless this autumn, we also have a most perplexing missing body. The recently exhumed remains, as displayed in the Memorial Library, have gone missing. Librarian Vortigern Frog claims to have seen nothing, and to have no idea how the bones disappeared. Thieves left the grave goods, making this look more like a joke than not. It depresses me that anyone might find such pointless things amusing. Dear citizens, can we not do better than this?
Reverend Davies tells me that vandalism has been a problem in the graveyard lately, with signs of digging and other disturbances. What is becoming of the young people of Hopeless? How have we let this come to pass? Each of us has a responsibility to install better morals into our young people, and to make sure they are kept busy and productive, rather than being left to run amok.
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.
The annual Church picnic takes place this Saturday, everyone welcome. Bring food to share. After last year’s unfortunate incident, Reverend Davies asks those attending to make sure that the food is either properly dead at the outset, or suitably restrained. No alcohol. Everyone welcome for a day of family fun in an atmosphere of spiritual communion.