By Andrew Brebner
Hope you're well. I've just chanced upon the following, which I penned in 1995 for a never published Fan Club Tribute fanzine. Please forgive the fresh-faced young author of 21.
In the chill of an English evening, the great house of Rawlinson End sat defiant and upright, barring out the world. Its occupants sat within, oranged with brandy and aglow. With the evening meal consumed, and the nightly game of 'Bugger Your Neighbour' ended in the traditional tie, Sir Henry was sinking into a comfortable booziness. With him in the sawdust-strewn smoking room, his faithful servants, hound, and wife, dozed in light ascendance. A single candle, left unsullied from the festivities, cast its encrusted light upon the curious faces on the wall.
Henry exuded a reflective belch and trousered heavily towards the industrial-strength brandy decanter which squatted amidst the dust of the card table. As he passed the gargantuan bay window, the dim candlelight flickered, accompanied by a chill breeze.
"God's teeth, Mrs. E!" he scowled, and was on the verge of repremanding her painfully for incorrect securing of her undergarments when he found his gaze diverted outside. Standing facing the glass, Henry saw illuminated in the garden, hazy, insubstanshall; a figure, clad in elegant purple finery, with dignified air, frockcoat buttoned, walking stick grasped, cigarette elegantly poised.
Henry's first indignant reaction was to demand of Hubert was in Clapton's name he hoped to achieve by night-time sentry duty, but, as he made to bellow, he realised the figure, though very like Hubert, was not he. His brother, Henry saw, was behind him in the room, weaving tadpoles into his beard and whistling.
No, this figure was.. another. Like Hubert, but older, the visitation's ginger beard was clipped, tonged, and precise, his hair knotted behind a balding brow. He wore curious spectacles of an octagonal design, and beneath.. eyes, sparkling, but whether with joy or sadness, Henry could not tell.
Henry had always embraced spirits whilst rejecting the spiritual, and yet.. and yet.. he felt uncomfortably as if someone from the Outside - beyond Conkreton? What was there beyond? - was passing through and observing his subjects, before moving on.. elsewhere.
Aware of his own silence, Henry attempted a hesitant salute, observing even as he did so, the mysterious figure begin to fade. Soon, only the spectacles and sparkling eyes remained, until they too cheshired into the night. Shakily laying down his untouched glass of freshly boiled brandy, Henry observed that the carefully cultivated dust on the card table had been disturbed.
Written there elaborately in the dust, as if traced by an unseen hand : "TOODLE-OO!"