10 December 2007
The Horrifying Horror of the Undead Bounder
When one dies, I firmly believe that one should stay dead. It is rather bad form to suddenly spring back to life, and considerably worse form still to then attempt to eat the brains of anyone else in the vicinity. People tend to frown upon such cannibalistic actions in polite society.
Yet it was precisely this predicament with which I was faced on this November evening, as a rather obnoxious gentleman whom I had witnessed expiring mere moments earlier, was now very much not-dead and eager to tuck into my lordly grey-matter. Some people can be frightfully rude, sometimes.
“Bugger off!” I yelled out, as the recently-deceased ragamuffin clawed at me. “Just bugger off to buggery, you foul fucking fiend!” My words seemed to have no discernible effect upon the being, so I decided to reiterate my demands by thwacking the creature around the head with my cane. The wretch staggered back, and then tripped over his own feet, landing in a rather comical bundle upon the floor.
Meanwhile, the surprise return of the dead man had triggered yet another outbreak of panic among the assembled theatre-goers, who were frantically taking to their collective heels and heading for the nearest exit.
“Please, ladies and gentle-men,” I said, my voice disappearing amongst the hubbub of the crowd. “Do not be panicked! Everything is entirely under control!”
“He’s behind you!” cried out a voice from the audience. It was Botter, trying his best not to get swept away in the stream of terrified people, but failing rather spectacularly.
“Please, Botter, this is not a pantomime,” I explained patiently.
“No, really – he’s behind you!” Botter repeated as he was carried out of the auditorium, forcing me to swing around to look behind me. Surely enough, the blaggard was there, arms stretched out, moving towards me with slow, shuffling steps.
“Please,” croaked the fellow. “I just wish to masticate upon your mind!”
“My word, you are rather persistent for a dead blighter, aren’t you?” I sighed.
“Maybe he’s not dead!” cried out the doctor who, just moments ago, had pronounced this gentleman well and truly finished.
“I would gladly welcome a second opinion!” I shouted back, doing my best to fend off the hungry apparition with my cane. The monster still came at me, and with surprising strength, snapped my cane clean in half, as if it was a twig or a sparrow’s neck.
“I…I think I shall leave a re-examination until later,” whined the doctor, as the creature stumbled towards me.
“I would be much obliged if you would just permit me to have a quick nibble upon your brain,” the dead man implored, in a manner so polite I almost relented, before I came to my senses and remembered how attached I had gotten to my brain over the years.
“Never, you foul entity!” I roared, pushing the creature back with all my strength. Then, I removed my trusted pistol from within my coat, and fired off a few shots towards the demon. As befitting such a fine marksman as myself, all the bullets I fired found a home within the carnivorous cadaver’s corpse, yet the effect was distinctly underwhelming.
“Please, I would rather you refrain from doing that,” the former gentleman complained, continuing to advance upon me. I cursed a thousand Gods under my breath, then took steady aim and squeezed off another shot, right between the beastly bounder’s eyes.
At first, it seemed my latest attempt to put this wretched mockery of humanity out of its misery had also failed, as the undead swine continued his advance unabated. However, after a couple of faltering steps towards me, the monstrosity stopped, lifted a hand slowly up to the new wound, then withdrew it, his fingers covered in his own blood.
“Oh, I say,” the creature remarked. “That is dashed unsporting, you know.” Then, he fell loudly to the floor, seemingly finally fully-dead.
“Well, thank you for all rushing to my aid so quickly,” I snapped, addressing the pitiful figures of the doctor and Archie, the latter of whom still seemed to be catatonic with shock. “Of course, this was always well within my control, but still, it would have been nice if one of you had offered to lend me a hand.”
“I…I killed him,” mumbled Archie, staring at the doubly-deceased body on the ground.
“Only the first time,” I said, reassuringly. “I take full credit for the second time.”
“But…but I killed him…” Archie repeated.
“Hmmmm,” I mused, as I bent over the body to examine it in closer detail, at which point a fetid hand reached up and made a final, futile swipe for me, causing my accomplices to leap in fright, while I, naturally, did not flinch at all. Instead, I simply brought the heel of my boot down firmly upon the abomination’s face, causing it to crack noisily underfoot, like a walnut.
“He’s a scoundrel, isn’t he?” I smiled. My companions looked on with shock and terror written clearly upon their faces. “Please yourselves,” I said, bending back over the corpse. I reached down to the playing-card still firmly embedded in the man’s head, and swiftly pulled it from its resting place. It came away easily, albeit with a rather sickening squelching sound. I held the card up to the light, and turned it over and over, deep in concentration. Finally, I turned to face my two associates.
“I think, Archie, that you are not to be blamed for this unfortunate incident,” I said in a slow and steady voice.
“What?” Archie replied, agog with astonishment. “But…then…but then who is responsible?”
“The King of Spades!” I beamed, triumphantly holding the card aloft.
“Of course!” the doctor chimed in. “I always said those Negroes could not be trusted!”
There was an uncomfortable silence.
“Thank you for your invaluable insight,” I sarcastically remarked, “No, gentlemen, I refer, in fact, to this playing card, here. I do believe it has been tampered with!”
“What? How? Who? Why?” Archie gabbled.
“I think there is only one man who can answer those questions,” I said mysteriously.
“The King of Spades?” ventured the doctor.
“Do shut up, you idiotic arse-crack,” I said sternly. “Gentlemen, I think we shall have to have a word with the only other magician on the bill to-night – Mr. Silas Surprise.”
“That is surprising,” agreed Archie.
- Lord Likely.