Life, Death, Policemen, and the Mole of Woe

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Death browses the Obituaries page

What follows are genuine entries from the Journal of Peregrine, 22nd Duke of Earl:

smiley - skullsmiley - skullsmiley - skullsmiley - skullsmiley - skullsmiley - skullsmiley - skull


14/2/03 - continued

11.30pm, Saturday the 15th. I sat on the topmost battlement of the Keep. I had not been to such a height since I was a small child, and I required a couple of tots of armagnac and the steady hand of Francisca to get up there at all. I kissed her upon the cheek, and sent her back to the stables. God Bless Her, she left me with tears in her eyes.

It was a cloudless night, and the view from my new eyrie was panoramic. In the moonlight, I could make out the line of oaks which marked the end of the North lawns. From the oaks to the moat, the lawns were absolutely flat and grey; they seemed to suck the eye in, and leave one dizzy. Or perhaps that was the armagnac.

I looked at my hands. They were calloused and trembling, after their hard day of work.

Six hours I had spent on developing the munitions which I hoped would send the Mole of Woe to a fiery fate. I had determined that I would shoot the thing - have I not shot moles all my life ? The extermination of this Beast however, required a distinct alteration to my customary practices.

I had set aside my trusty Bravo 51 sniper rifle, and picked out something a little more.... robust. For this job, only the Steyr IWS 2000 would suffice.

I broke down a 15.2mm shell and, into the top, I carefully inserted my own charge - fragments of the crushed skullbone of Peregrin, 1st Duke of Earl. I said a short prayer in his memory, and hoped that he wouldn't object too much. This was, after all, in the best of causes.

I prepared three more such shells; at the end, I was quite exhausted, my nerves tingling.

One more shell went into the clip. There would be no need to modify that one. I left what remained of old Peregrin in a kerchief on the worktop; if I should live through the night, then this brave warrior would not lose his head forever.


11.55 pm. I put my eye to the IR sight, and swept across the lawns. Nothing moved. After a little while, I rested.

'A watched kettle...' I muttered to myself.

A few more minutes passed, and I began to feel a certain amount of discomfort in my arse. The night was cold, and my bones are not what they once were. I stretched, then sighted again.

Gadzooks ! There it was !

Just south of the treeline, a grey shape, the size of a large badger, was ambling towards Gedditon Hall. Did I tremble ? Did I scream ? No, I laughed inwardly, for Francisca had been right. Before the Beast, a line of tiny white objects stretched in a straight line to the edge of the moat, where was deposited a mound of the same. At each of the mysterious blobs, the Mole of Woe halted, and, when it moved on, the object was no more.

Plover's eggs. Holcold's best, hard-boiled that day by Francisca. Who could have guessed the Mole's secret passion? Soon, I prayed, they would prove to be Its downfall.

Hours seemed to pass. The Mole was a slow eater, of that there can be no doubt. Despite the distinctly chilly nature of the night, a sweat had broken out upon my brow, and my eye, pressed to the sights, began to water. I blinked, and blinked, and still the Beast seemed no closer. With my present weapon, I could no doubt have picked it off at up to a kilometer in distance, but I had to be sure. And so I waited, and waited.

As the loathsome thing came closer to the moat, and to its doom, the most extraordinary thing occurred. From out of the grass on all sides, appeared the snouts of hundreds of ordinary moles. They burst from the burrows, and scurried up to the Beast, thronging round it, as bridesmaids around a bride. They bowed and snuffled, and rubbed their claws together, producing a rustling noise of the type I imagine has not been heard on this Earth since the plague of locusts in ancient Egypt.

'Closer, my pet,' I murmured into the stock, 'Closer'...


The Mole of Woe had now reached the pile of eggs at the edge of the moat. I blinked one more time, and re-sighted. Through the lens, the Beast assumed an enormous size, its eyes like red-hot bowling balls, it's furry body a behemoth, its claws the scoop of a JCB. The other, corporeal, moles held back, standing upon their hind legs, and sniffing the air. They looked like nothing less than a field of grey wheat, swaying in the breeze.

I zeroed the cross-hairs and, as it reared up for an instant to swallow an egg, I squeezed the trigger.

My shot did not go awry, striking the Evil Thing right between the eyes, and exploding in a memorable and most satisfactory firework display. I fancied I saw the face of the 1st Duke, finally released from his awful last earthly grimace, smiling at me through the crimson mulch.

I shall not forget 'til my dying day the horrid and unearthly screams which then rent the air. It seemed that all the Banshees, Harpies and other foul things of the night had gathered together to chorus the Mole's last breath in this World.

When I cleared the powder from my face, and sighted again, the lawn was bare - nothing was to be seen, save a few half-nibbled plover's eggs.

I was free!


And so, Alice, that is the tale.

Inspector Digglesworth? Ah yes. Here is the letter he received that day:

'Dear Boss,

Should you wish to nab the Dukeyness for his awful crimes, be on the lawns before the moat at midnight, this night.

There will be more murder afoot, I promise 'ee that.

A Freind.'

Trust D to be late. I had hoped that he and the Mole would become very close acquaintances before I fired the shot, but that was not to be. He turned up at 12.24, and lollopped across the grass below my eyrie. I had just raised the rifle to finish the night's work, when the Beast's earthly companions re-surfaced. Obviously decidedly unhappy with the turn which the night's events had taken, they set upon Digglesworth. I shall not record here the events which transpired; suffice it say that even small claws can find purchase.

I walked the grass today, and not even a button remains.


And what of my future? Dear Alice, when I dispatched that Thing, I saw in its face, your dear face. That I (accidently) dispatched you in a similar fashion will haunt me for the rest of my days.

I shall not remarry. I know that Francisca has, over the years, formed a very close attachment to me, and indeed, I have felt some warmth towards her. It would be unfair however, on both of us, were I to let emotions take the place of common sense. After all, were it not for the wonders of modern surgery, she would still be a sailor called Francis. She shall never be able to bear an heir to Gedditon.

I shall write today to a group of whom I have read many wondrous things. Perhaps these Raelians are the answer.

Goodnight, dear Alice. Goodnight...

smiley - smiley - smiley -

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