Tales From The Town #14: The Little Drummer Girl

The little drummer girl walked barefoot through the woods, her hair fluttering in the breeze like the flag of a forgotten kingdom. She had walked these lands since the civil war. She would walk them till the next. A trail of blood, a trail of bones. This country of ours is an endless grave. Only the beat of her drum keeps the dead asleep.

“She’s definitely a ghost,” Ethel said, as she peered out from behind the tree to a get a better look.

“She’s not a ghost,” said Claire. “She’s a musician.”

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Notes:

1. Written on May 6th, 2021
2. The title is from a John le Carre novel
3. But mostly I was thinking of this Tom Vek video
4. Which I love more than I should

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Tales From The Town #13: An Alphabet Of Absences

A

They decided to write this story without specific letters.

B

So each sentence would have a different one missing (in order).

C

It was harder than it looked at first.

D


Especially without cheating.

E

But Tina had a plan.

F

So what they did was write each sentence out however they liked.

G

And then they would use the thesaurus to find alternatives to any words that didn’t fit.

H

Claire said it still sounded like deviousness.

I

Ethel expressed an opposed theory.

J

While Daniel didn’t even know how the thesaurus worked.

K

So he just inspected up words in the dictionary that he loved the sound of.

L

His favourite was ‘phantasm’.

M

Or perhaps ‘pennyweight’.

N

‘Periwig’ was also a good word.

O

He didn’t get passed P.

P

Claire wanted to know what the book was actually going to be about.

Q

Tina said that it didn’t have to be about anything.

R

Except itself.

S

Claire pronounced that that verbalized like a load of old garbage.

T

Which was probably verifiable.

U

“We deserved to have chosen something simpler,” Ethel said.

V

“Like an acrostic!”

W

“Acrostics are the most terrible of all things!” Claire said.

X

By now Daniel was playing on his glockenspiel.

Y

And Tina had gone off sailing on her large boat that is used for the most part for pleasure cruising.

Z

So Claire and Ethel abandoned the story and went outside to feed the hippotigris.

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Notes:

1. Written on May 5th, 2021
2. The actual name for books written without specific letters is a lipogram
3. Which is a strangely rubbish word
4. For a quite pleasing concept

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Tales From The Town #12: The Sky At Night

“What’s that one?” Selene asked, pointing at the brightest object in the night sky.

“Which one?” Patricia said.

“The one I’m pointing at! The brightest one.”

“Oh, that’s the moon.”

“It is not the moon,” Selene said. “I think I know which one the moon is. I lived there long enough.”

“It is the moon,” Patricia said. “It’s definitely the moon.”

“If that’s the moon,” Selene said. “Then what’s that?”

Patricia screamed.

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Notes:

1. Written on May 5th, 2021

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Tales From The Town #10: The Speed Of Dreams

Daytime

Yulia didn’t count how many dreams she had in any particularly day. If she did, she would have discovered that today, for example, between the hours of 8am and 5.30pm, not including an hour for lunch (1pm-2pm) and two breaks for tea (10.15am-10.30am; 3.45pm-4pm), she had 23 distinct dreams, plus 3 subdreams, one of which also contained a single subsubdream, for a total of 27 dreams, occurring at a rate 3.375 dreams per hour.

That was the speed at which the day passed her by.

Nightshift

Yulia’s nights were somewhat slowe. Yesterday evening, for example, between the hours of 11pm and 6.30am, not including two toilet breaks (2.13am-2.17am; 3.49am-3.57am), an hour of acute anxiety (11.01pm-12.01am) and a short period of moongazing (12.02am-12.45am), she had only one dream, albeit experienced across three distinct (but linked) periods of sleep (12.46am-2.12am; 2.18am-3.49am; 3.58am-6.30am), at a rate of 0.18237082066 or 0.547112462 dreams per hour, depending on how exactly you wanted to count them.

In this dream, she dreamt of the shop, and everyone in it, in a detail so exact and complete it could have come direct from the shop’s CCTV. In some ways, the only difference between Yulia’s nights and days was that at night she no longer had her dreams to distract her from the monotony of the day.

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Notes:

1. Written between the 1st and the 4th of May, 2021

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Tales From The Town #9: The Doll’s Room

“Mum! Mum! We found a new room!”

“Another one?”

“Yep!”

“It’s the second one this week!”

“This room was full of dolls!”

“They’re so creepy.”

“They all look at you!”

“And keep looking at you!”

“The whole time you’re in there!”

“And then you can hear them laughing when you leave!”

“One of them winked at me,” Daniel said. “And then her eye fell out!”

“Well, I always wondered where they all came from,” Agnes said. “You must have found their nest.”

“It’s behind Ethel’s bedroom!”

“You have to crawl through a little tunnel to get there.”

“There’s a door in my cupboard,” Ethel said. “That’s how you get in to see them.”

“And how they get out to see us!”

“There never used to be a door there,” Agnes said. “I’d have noticed.”

“We know, Mum.”

“We already told you this is a new room.”

“Well, don’t tell Oya and Anna,” Agnes said. “They might not want to know they live in a house that grows. It might frighten them.”

“Anna’s not scared of anything!” Ethel said.

“Well, Oya might be,” said Agnes. “You did say these dolls were frightening, remember?”

“We did not,” said Claire. “We said they were creepy!”

“They make you all shivery just to look at them,” Tina said.

“But they’re not scary at all,” Ethel said.

“Not even when they wink at you!” Daniel told his mother.

“And their eyes fall out!”

“And they start bleeding doll’s brains out of their eyeholes!”

“I really don’t think you should tell Oya,” Agnes said firmly.

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Notes:

1. Written on May 4th, 2021

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If you like the things you've read here please consider subscribing to my patreon. Subscribers get not just early access to content and also the occasional gift, but also my eternal gratitude. Which I'm not sure is very useful, but is certainly very real. Thank you.