h2g2 Storytime II: Part IX

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London, England. 18971
The autumn fog had crept up through the streets, choking the avenues and alleys in what could charitably be
called a pea-souper. Dark shapes of carriages and pedestrians moved through the thick veil. Occasionally the dark shapes of the carriages moved through the dark shapes of the pedestrians and there were brief, damp protests.

The Thames lay languid in its bed like a student with a hangover.
ZOOM IN: Over various roofs, chimneys etc. (This is what is known in the trade as an establishing shot. We might even include Big Ben and some Cockneys shouting, so there can be no mistake that this is definitely London.)
CUT TO: The inside of an attic room.

The room was littered with all the junk collected by a man who was interested in everything the universe contained, but particularly the parts of it that are to be found inside animals, or can only be bought from disreputable men in pubs. Things glistened on every surface. Weird carvings leered down from the shelves.

There were charts plastered over all the available wall space; star maps, diagrams of defunct monasteries, details of the
London Sewer System and next to that a hastily drawn sketch with the distinctive shaky-handed script of the Medium, it was a mess of coloured lines and the scrawl at the top indicated this vas a vision of the 'Toobs.'

There was a pervading stink of acid and decay. This is the workshop of Alastair Crowley, twisted occultist. Here he is, at the centre of a small patch of empty floor, triumphantly twitching a stained sheet off his latest creation. And yes, it's a cast-iron laundry wringer, not at all unlike one we've seen before.

"The Diabolical Engine," he twittered "Right now it can only perform small feats. But if I could place it correctly, I could bend the Earth's energy to do my will. When placed at the correct fulcrum - which I and you, my educated friend, know to be the navel of the world, that fine collection of ancient masonry, Stonehenge), it can cause the rise and fall of continents, the distortion of the material world... ohh, the possibilities!"

It should be clear from this that Mr Crowley is a mad scientist of the Igor-fetch-brain-No.42 variety. His audience seemed unimpressed. Steepling his fingers, he said "Convince me".

Consulting a small hand-written sheaf of notes, Crowley began twisting the handle of the wringer, first clockwise, then anti-clockwise, ever faster. As he grunted at his toil, a small jar with a dodo's head preserved in formaldehyde lifted from the shelf and began dancing across the room. Crowley's guest reached out and caught it out of the air.

"Very impressive, Al. You always were a clever swine. Tell me, how many of these have you made?"

"Just the one. The time I spent casting charms on it, well, you wouldn't believe. The druids certainly laid them on thick."

"And those are the instructions?"

"Um...yes." It was beginning to dawn on Crowley that the greasy monk opposite him was taking a more-than-benevolent interest in the Project. This was confirmed moments later, when he found himself laying face-first down on the cobbled street moments later with a broken neck.

A crowd of fishwives, hucksters, policemen and other assorted scum gathered round.

Rasputin beamed down at them from the shattered attic window then, tucking the instructions into his robe, left the building by the back door. It's always worthwhile looking up old friends.

"But that's just left me more confused" Gonzaroolio whined, "What has a dead Russian monk got to do with you kidnapping me?"

"Mm - yes of course." Annabel obviously found this amusing - "Have you turned on the TV recently?"

"Well of course I haven't you've had me locked up in this broom cupboard of yours and I - oh."
"IT'S A LANDSLIDE! The United States has a new President. Ex-Russian Monk has risen from the grave and defeated the incumbent Republican candidate by 30%, convincing many observers that 'things are looking up'.

In his inauguration speech, Mr Rasputin gave a fiery denunciation of such things as the Constitution, votes for women, gun control and immigrants, and promised "ethnic warfare on an unimaginable scale."

"He also announced that he will be leaving for Britain shortly. Asked why, he had a Washington Post reporter liquidated.

We at Sky News welcome Mr Rasputin to our puny, insignificant country, only pleading with him to spare our quivering, pathetic lives.

The Special Relationship lives on into the 21st century! And now, over to Sam for the sports news...

It was another underground chamber several hundred miles away.

Interesting things were beginning to happen. There was an almighty creak, and the lid slid off the great sarcophagus in the centre of the chamber, shattering on the floor. For centuries it had beamed its silent message onto the silent ceiling, but now it was too broken up to tell anyone that this was the tomb of 'Arthur, Rex Quondam Rex Futorum'.

A stiff figure in chainmail clambered out of the Stone coffin, pulling cobwebs out of its hair and coughing up dust. Finally composed, the king croaked:

"Thif better be important", speaking in the Old Tongue, which was around before spelling was invented.

Suddenly but not unexpectedly, there was a burst of white light to fricassee the eyeballs, illuminating the chamber - so it was a good job that the animated corpse perched on the lid of his own tomb didn't have any.

ARTHUR." a voice spake.

"Aye, that I am. Thou'd be'st God, then?"

"Arthur, your hour of glory is upon you. The final mission that will lift you up and exalt you into the Communion of the Saints. The land of Britain is in mortal peril - the entire world, my son. Go forth, to the rocks of Stonehenge, and there - !"

"Bide a moment - thou wishest me to do thou a FAVOUR?"

"Well, if you wouldn't mind." said the Voice of God.

"Hah!" scoffed King Arthur.

"Let's review our relationship - thou had me born a bastard, made mine wife cuckold me with my trustiest friend and then allowed mine own son to kill me. And thou'rt asking me for a FAVOUR?"

The Deity rallied tremendously.

"Arthur, I command you - "

But the king of the Britons was having none of it, and clambered back into his tomb.
"Command shmommand!!" he muttered, in a tone of disgust. "Push off!"

"But this is your divine purpose! Your reason for being!" argued God, somewhat taken aback. The Lord couldn't remember being this vexed since the Reformation. "Don't you know who I AM?!?
"La-de-da, I canst hearest thou!" chanted Arthur, hands clamped over his ears.

"I'll bloody smite you.. you... you ungrateful pimp!" shouted God.

"Summer is a-comin in, loudly sings the cuckoo!!" Arthur was singing incoherently at the top of his voice and with a decisive thud pulled the lid of his coffin back down. The tomb was once again silent.

"Fine, be like that. Hellfire and B*****y, where am I going to find a divine champion at this hour?"

h2g2 Storytime II: Archive

h2g2 Storytime I: Archive

13.02.03 Front Page

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1This is a sequel: Sequels have bigger budgets then their forebears - therefore we can afford to have a flashback - sit back and enjoy.

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