Monthly Archives: August 2015

Village of the Doomed…

From the Diary of Doctor Watson

It has been almost a week now since I sent off my reply to my companion’s last letter. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t worry too much at his silence, since it is a trait of his that I’ve learned to live with. However, given the very real possibility of danger in his current location, I have determined to journey back to the Village tonight. Mrs Watson is not happy, but there you go.

The Village was in darkness when I arrived last night, and as the station was deserted, I was forced to walk to Zellaby’s with only an eerie moon to light my way. Zellaby’s home is on the outskirts of the Village and I had hoped that, even given the late hour, I might find a welcoming light. Yet, the house too, was in darkness and it was with not a little trepidation that I tried the handle of the front door.

I stood for a long moment on the hall carpet, listening for something, anything, that might tell me I was not alone, but the only sound was the echoing tick of the old grandfather clock along the passageway. As I gazed around me, it occurred to me that something was very wrong. It took me only a few seconds to realise what it was: tick, tick, kerr-tick, kerr-tick…

With a single, Holmesian bound, I leapt towards the clock and threw open the door to its mechanism. There in the darkness, mewling like a wounded cat, was Zellaby, staring up at me with what I can only describe as utter relief.

After making up fire in the front parlour, I poured another cup of Horlicks for Zellaby, who’s general demeanour had not altered much since I dragged him from inside the clock. Nevertheless, he has been able to tell me something of the last few days…

“Mr Holmes was certain he could negotiate, with the Children (though they were in a state). By the time your letter he did see, he’d made up his mind how to proceed…”

He went on in this fashion for some time and I was beginning to weary of his poetic ramblings when he finally got to the point:

“So Holmes went out to start the car, but Children came they from afar, and soon surround him too they did, til Mr Holmes near flipped his lid…”

It transpired that Holmes had endeavoured to drive Zellaby’s old pony and trap to the police station with the aim of discussing tactics with the sergeant. The Children, who had been gathering outside the house, crowded around and as Holmes pulled away, he inadvertently ran  the cart over several of the Children’s feet. Holmes immediately hauled on the reins but as he tried to speak to them, the Creatures surrounded the vehicle and exerted a strange force over him: Holmes climbed back into the cart and drove it straight towards a large oak tree at the end of the lane. (The pony appears to have aided the children by veering away at the last minute, forcing the trap onto its side, throwing my companion into the ditch).

By mid-morning I was at the Village hospital, having detoured through the fields beyond Zellaby’s house in order to avoid contact with the Children. I found Holmes in the conservatory, sitting quite comfortably in an old bath chair reading The Times.

“Thank God, Holmes,” said I, rushing up to him.

He turned his piercing eye on me and simply blinked. “Excuse me, do I know you?”

(To be continued)

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Posted by on August 29, 2015 in Detective Fiction


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Children and Other Sideshow Attractions…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

It has been two full days since your last letter and as I am unable to leave Mrs Watson’s side without a jolly good excuse, I am curious as to how the situation vis-à-vis The Children is progressing. I trust things are in hand with the weird beings?

On the subject of strange creatures, I had a correspondence from our old acquaintance P.T. (Plonker Twatface) Barnum this morning. It seems he has heard of our investigation and is keen to learn the outcome (if any) of the current state of affairs in Midwich. Apparently, there are a great many ‘openings’ for a group of ‘white-haired, smart-alicky, freaky little kids’ (his words) in Barnum’s particular line of work (dwarves, two-headed men, bearded ladies, cat-faced women etc).

Mrs Watson’s ailment has, sadly, returned and she regaled me this morning on the virtues of fresh milk – a speech that began while I was at my toilette and continued during dressing, breakfasting, and throughout my morning surgery. I can only say that I am now well-versed in the health benefits of this traditional, bovine-generated drink.

If you could see your way to requiring my assistance as a matter of some urgency, I should be heartily grateful.

Yours, milkily


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Posted by on August 16, 2015 in Detective Fiction


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Breakfast at Jellaby’s…

From Sherlock Holmes Esq to Doctor Watson:

How inconsiderate of Mrs Watson to relapse in to one of her ever-more-frequent Episodes, just when our latest Investigation had begun, thus requiring your Departure in order to be at her bedside, apropos her hysterical demands for your Presence…never mind the fact that this entails my being left with the insufferable nincompoop Jellaby. I swear that I may commit Murder myself, as his interminable outbursts in rhyming couplet form are driving me to distraction. How much more can one man take?

Earlier this morning, we had just sat down to a rather presentable spread of Kedgeree, Summer Fruit Compote and a nice piece of Toast with Home-made Marmalade and Quince Jelly, when two of The Children happened to walk by the window. Without missing a beat of his Jelly-spreading technique, our host carolled out, in that infuriating sing-song manner – “There they go, do come and see! –  a pair go by, past you and me!”

I tell you, man, it was all I could do to restrain myself from strangling him with his own dressing-gown cord…silk tassels and all…I would almost have put up with Mrs Watson convalescing at 221B as an alternative Hell on Earth, in order to have the ground open up and swallow the blighter whole. I avoided 20 years of Hard Labour by excusing myself from the table and taking myself on a brisk walk to further acquaint myself with The Situation.

Yours, fervently hoping for Mrs Watson’s Recovery – or at least enough of it to ensure your Speedy Return.


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Posted by on August 11, 2015 in Detective Fiction


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The Children…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

(From the Diary of Dr John Watson)

I have to admit to being rather ticked off with Holmes at his lack of response, leaving me to make the journey to Midwich alone. However, as it turned out, my journey was delayed due to Mrs Watson’s ‘trouble’ playing up as I was about to leave the house. My dear wife had to be rushed into hospital with running-away-at-the-mouth syndrome, which has unfortunately plagued her on and off for several years. It’s a rather debilitating condition that seems only to affect the female of our species and manifests itself in a curious manner: the sufferer finds it impossible to limit herself to only three or four words in conversation, and instead employs three or four thousand (the condition has been well documented by the Yorkshire Chanson Jake Thackray).

It was therefore with a mixture of frustration and sympathy that I sat by my wife’s bedside throughout the night until her symptoms abated the following morning (though she was clearly touched that I’d decided to forgo my trip on her behalf). When she began to feel better, I finally trudged my weary way homewards, by which time my companion’s note had arrived, enabling me to meet him at the appointed hour. Nevertheless, Holmes seemed to imagine that I’d simply dropped everything to fit in with his plans, and all attempts to communicate the reality of the situation washed over his silken locks like a dose of cheap shampoo.

Our first evening in Midwich was a relatively quiet one – on arrival at the tiny station, Zellaby met us with open arms and a degree of relief that we had finally arrived. He greeted Holmes like a long lost brother:

“My dear Mr Holmes, how glad I am, mad I am, sad when you’re gone, I’ve been sitting here waiting since twenty to one.”

Apparently old Gordon fancies himself as a poet, but this small fact was lost on Holmes, who simply grasped the fellow’s hand and shook it firmly. Zellaby took us to his own house on the edge of the village and as the pony and trap trundled along, we noticed how passersby turned to look, their eyes filled with tears (although Holmes pointed out that these were not tears but simply water, due to the fact that it was pissing down with rain at the time).

As we approached Zellaby’s house, he cautioned us to take care:

“The children are closing, do not meet their eyes – I have seen some folk crumble (some twice your size!)”

Holmes did not (as I would have imagined) guffaw loudly at this, but instead cast his curious gaze towards two of the blonde creatures as we pulled into Zellaby’s driveway.

“Indeed, they are an interesting brood,” said he. “Mark you, Watson, take the utmost care with these seemingly innocent, child-like beings.”

We passed the rest of the evening in the living room, drinking large quantities of tea and enjoying one of our host’s rather delightful date and toffee sponge cakes (I must get the recipe for Mrs Watson). The only interruption was the occasional shout from Zellaby that another of ‘the children’ was walking past the house, gazing in at us. Each time this happened, we’d jump up and stare out at them (taking care not to make eye contact). I could not help but wonder what was going on in their heads, and if they are as curious about us as we are about them.

(to be continued)


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Posted by on August 1, 2015 in Detective Fiction


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