Four Uncanny Tales

Here are four stories, each of a hundred words. Earlier versions, a little shorter or longer, can be dug out from the Archives should you care to look.

I

I was sitting on a bench in a bower on a bright summer’s day. It was a Wednesday, or possibly a Thursday, in August, in the year after the Kennedy assassination, far far away in Dallas, and the air was heady with verbena, and hollyhock. I was eating my snack. All of a sudden, gruesome suppurations of foul-smelling extraterrestrial hideousness began oozing from my marmalade and fish-head sandwich, and I swooned. When I came to, I had a tiny radio transmitter implanted in my forehead, but I remained unaware of it for the rest of my sordid and sorry life.

II

They called him Blomqvist, and he was the village wrestler. He lived in a room above the post office. No other living being ever set foot in the room until the day Blomqvist died. They found him lying on his bed, as if he were asleep, but there was no doubt that he was dead, for hovering above his chest was a baleful phantom, emitting gruesome suppurations of foul-smelling extraterrestrial hideousness which it poured into a funnel inserted into Blomqvist’s right ear. They closed up the room and nailed the door shut. It remained unopened for the next hundred years.

III

The bell tower had bells in it, but that was not what caught the attention of Jarvis, the bird scientist.

“Look, there is a bird on the bell tower,” he said to his pneumonia-racked assistant Cubbit, who was doing something foolish with a pair of bicycle clips.

Jarvis pointed at the bird, expecting Cubbit to look, but the spindly youth was distracted by a passing pantechnicon all a-clatter with pots and pans. It was the neighbourhood Windy Man, on his rounds, and spookily, sitting next to him in the passenger seat, was a hideous extraterrestrial being, suppurating, greasy and malevolent.

IV

“Hand me that chaffinch, Cubbit,” said Jarvis to his lantern-jawed assistant. Jarvis was a bird scientist, devoted to the study of chaffinches. Wandering the hills, he had spotted one. As Cubbit picked up the chaffinch, he heard a scream. Spinning round, he saw Jarvis being engulfed by a gruesome suppurating monster. The poor lad scampered back to the lab and told what had happened to Mrs Purgative.

“Well! I never heard of such a thing!” she exclaimed. She hoisted her mop on her shoulder, took Cubbit by his withered hand, and led him far away, all the way to Gondwanaland.

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