12 December 2009
Something Strange in Mr. Scrooge’s Neighbourhood
~ A Christmas Carry On, Part Two ~
For the previous chapter, do please click hither.
WE HOT-FOOTED it to Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge’s house, or rather we would have, had it not been so ruddy freezing. Thus, we actually cold-footed it to Mr. Scrooge’s house, to investigate the paranormal activity of which he had spoken.
Mr. Scrooge’s abode was well suited to its inhabitant; tall, angular, gloomy, rather spooky-looking and covered in no small amount of grime and muck. If houses could talk, I was in no doubt that this one would spend all of its time moaning to the other houses, complaining about the happy new houses down the road.
“This is where the trouble started,” Scrooge said, as he walked nervously up to the large, imposing door of his home. “It was here, on this very knocker, that I beheld what appeared to be the face of my deceased business partner, Mr. Jacob Marley!”
“Hmm,” I pondered, scrutinising the door in question. “I would not be overly concerned about that, Mr. Scrooge. Why, there have been frequent occasions where I have found my face upon many a knocker.”
Scrooge scowled at me, and unlocked the door, motioning for Botter and I to enter. We exchanged slightly concerned glances, and then duly advanced inside the building.
The inside of Mr. Scrooge’s house was even more depressing and dreary than the exterior, dressed as it was in nothing more than darkness and dismay. And simply cock-awful wallpaper.
“Well then, gentlemen, don’t stand there gawking! If you will accompany to my bedroom, I shall attempt to reveal all…” said Scrooge, heading to the staircase.
“Hold on!” I exclaimed, putting a hand out to halt my man-servant. “I think I see what is going on here! Is this all some kind of sordid ruse to get my noble form into your bed-chamber, whereupon you will leap upon me and bugger me six ways to Sodom?”
Scrooge looked at me in disgust. “Good heavens no! You are here purely to see off these spirits, of that I can assure you! The moment you have done so, you’ll be slung out on your ear so that I may finally have some peace to-night!”
“Well,” I said, straightening my tie. “I am glad that is cleared up, then. But at the first sign of you getting inclined toward my behind, I shall bash your nose into an even more ridiculous shape, sir.”
“Enough of this blithering nonsense! We have business to attend to, you silly little man. Now then, I know not of what horrors await us, so we had best prepare ourselves…” Scrooge picked up a nearby candle-holder, and lit the candle within. “A little bit of light shall help, hmmm?”
“Whatever you think, Mr. Scrooge,” I replied, reaching into my inside-coat pocket and pulling out my trusty pistol. “Personally, I favour blasting the fluid effluence out of whate’er demons lie in wait.”
Scrooge shrugged and ascended the staircase, with Botter and I following on behind. As we climbed, each step gave rise to a loud, ominous creaking sound.
“Is that the stairs, or your aged knee-joints?” I asked of our host, but Scrooge seemed in no mood to join me in a spot of banter, and waved his hand furiously to convey his desire to hear no more.
“Look! We are here! My bed-chamber!” hissed Scrooge, advancing cautiously into his room. We followed on, surveying the unsurprisingly dismal surroundings, which were dominated by a large, four-poster bed, covered at all sides by white sheets. It seemed to me that until the earlier appearance of Mr. Jacob Marley’s ghost, this was a bedroom that had seen precisely no action at all.
“So! What do you think, Mr. Likely?” Scrooge asked, waving the candle near my face.
“I think…” I began, taking in the stale air. “I think that if you knocked down this entire building, and built a morgue in its place, the atmosphere would be lightened considerably.”
“Bah! Piffle! What do you think about this ghost business, sir?”
“I am sure I do not know, Mr. Scrooge. It sounds all so fantastical to me, that I am not sure – ” Suddenly, an unseen grandfather clock chimed in the hour of one in the morning, the time at which the first of Mr. Scrooge’s spectral visitors was due to appear.
We waited. Nothing happened.
“Well,” I said, snapping shut the lid of my pocket-watch. “I think we can safely say that you are a gibbering nut-bag, Mr. Scrooge, and that this entire evening has been rather wasted. Now, if you shall excuse me…”
I brushed past Mr. Scrooge, and then paused. A frown crossed my handsome face, and I stepped back. Mr. Scrooge seemed to be frozen solid, a single, bony hand pointing to something behind me. I turned to Botter, who was similarly affected; his mouth was agape, his eyes filled with horror, fixed upon an unseen terror.
“Well, well, well,” I sighed, retrieving my pocket-watch from my pocket and flipping it open. “You are three minutes late, you realise? Awfully bad form, even for a ghoul.”
And with that, I snapped my watch shut, spun around and faced the apparition now in front of me.
“Good day, madam,” I smiled, tipping my hat.
- Lord Likely.