I wrote earlier of how dark comedy can be just the thing in hard times, and recommended some works by current Indie authors.
Here is some dark comedy of my own in the form of two extracts from the sequel to ‘That Scoundrel Émile Dubois‘. In this, the vampire Kenrick makes an attemtped return to this world, along with his handsome confidential manservant Arthur Williams and a troop of monster men trained to follow his bidding.
Naturally, there is a violent clash with Émile, who joins forces with his cousin and fellow ex-highwayman Reynaud Ravensdale and his now wife the former highwaywoman Isabella. But Émile’s own wife Sophie has her own ideas about how to combat the menace…
A stooped, brawny, leathery looking creature with hair like string had appeared by the side of the lane. It stood glowering from eyes which might have been a pair of marbles pushed into its lumpy face. It wore tattered breeches and shirt, and addressed them in a grating drone: “Filthy robbers’ lackeys.”
Longface was lost for words. How had talk of Lord Ravensdale and Émile Dubois’ villainies reached the ears this outcast? He spoke with lordly disdain. “What, you poor lubbard?”
The man – if this was human –seemed eager to explain: “Your masters were smugglers and highwaymen. The Great Kenrick says they belong on Tyburn, and you lackeys as well.” It moved to the middle of the road, slightly crouched.
Longface raged. “You lubbard: Judge Jenkins cleared His Lordship and me. Mind what you say of your betters.”
“Master Kenrick says it was corruption.” The being was contemptuous.
“Kenrick’s dead, fellow; don’t you know that?” Longface spoke pityingly, but he suddenly he felt a chill, as if a cloud had passed over the sun.
“He’s too clever for that, though I like Arthur best, when he smiles.” Suddenly, it clapped a hand to its lipless mouth, its voice rising to an anxious gibber. “Arthur will be angry I talked. If I drive you away, maybe he won’t.” It moved forward in a threatening crouch.
Longface brandished his whip, while Guto roused from astonishment to bunch his fists: “Get away with you!”
The being blundered into the bushes at the side of the lane to force its way through. Longface saw a thorny bush catch and tear one of the exposed arms, and green droplets appear on the leathery skin.
Guto shook his head as if to clear it of the grotesque image, and then stared down the lane, to where the donkey was tethered. “Diawl: There’s the donkey cart down there, by the Kenrick place!” …
…Longface settled with dignity at the desk in the library. He saw that it was his duty to warn Lord Ravensdale (his former robber chief) about these dangerous goings-on, particularly as his cousin Monsieur had mixed with this mad inventor before. That, of course, would have the young hotheads rushing up looking for trouble, but there was nothing he could do about that, except give them the benefit of his wisdom.
He was proud of his lucid and diplomatic letter.
‘My Lord Ravensdale and Your Honour Monsieur Dubois, It is with regret that I set pen to paper as has no wish to be worrying of Your Honours, but things is come to a pretty pass here, with a green simpleton walking about the mountain as bold as brass as can’t be human as with my own eyes I’ve seen green blood coming from it.
It is fair insulting in free talk of Your Honours as belonging on Tyburn when Judge Jenkins un-outlawed us all after that time when, though loath to blow my own trumpet, I did save your life.
The green simpleton do maintain that Kenrick ain’t dead, and him a bitter enemy of Monsieur, who has been most obliging in appointing me here.
It’s a fact that insolent ex-sailor ain’t dead neither as I’ve seen him, and after the flighty French wench we call Ellie who we had to take from that place and won’t let us see her neck, so I must ask her aunt to deal with her to maintain propriety as they say. So I must pick up my pen and trust to Your Honours’ discretion as one who has ever been willing to give you the benefit of my wisdom.
Unluckily for him, this note, along with a handful of others, fell from the postboy’s sack into the mud when he took up another’s challenge to a game of pitch and toss at the roadside against an outbuilding wall.
It was only one that he missed seeing. Days later, the farmer spotted it and took it to the post office, and it arrived torn and illegible ten days late at Dubois Court.
Blissfully ignorant of this, Longface began to make up an envelope. “Them females. When I saw them shameless hen robins at it as a lad, I learnt all I needed about their flighty ways.”
For those interested in buying the whole novel, it is on offer at Amazon Here