Author Archives: tomdoel

Blue Ink

Blue Ink is inspired by the fairy-tale Bluebeard. It explores the traps of domestic violence and the struggle for self- empowerment.

Blue Ink is Ishbelle Bee’s first poetry chapbook. It is published by Dancing Girl Press.

The Chiswick Cannibals

A mini peculiar Christmas adventure of John Loveheart Esq.
Ishbelle Bee ©2015

 

Scotland Yard, Christmas Eve

This entire blasted Christmas holiday, Constable Walnut and I have been investigating a nefarious flesh eating cult located within Chiswick, a west district London slum pit whose residents have become deformed over centuries of interbreeding and tripe worship.

This particular cult has proved tricky to catch, despite several ingenious attempts to lure the acolytes out- one such being, Walnut disguised as a poor Little Match Girl selling her wares on the steps of Chiswick town hall. Unfortunately this plan was abandoned as Walnut proved surprisingly popular to the locals, who mistook him for a prostitute. The ensuing fracas ended in several arrests including that of Walnut who in the defence of his innocence had head-butted a local dignitary.

Now it is Christmas Eve; exasperated, we are in my office re-reading old case notes, hoping to find some clue as to their exact whereabouts before the police Christmas supper later this evening, which I’m informed involves a shadow puppet re-enactment of the Jack the Ripper killings by our newest recruit, Constable Spud.

Outside, great handfuls of snow are falling, obscuring the city in a thick blanket of white.

Glancing up, to my surprise I see Mr Loveheart with a sprig of holly in his hair leaning mischievously against the door, dressed in festive silver embroidered with scarlet hearts, nibbling on a mince pie which he has no doubt plucked from Mrs Sultana’s tea trolley

‘A very merry Christmas Detective White and dear Walnut,’ he says, ‘How goes the hunt for those naughty cannibals?’

Walnut waves

‘Not well,’ I reply, ‘If only we could get even a fragment of a clue.’

‘They’re in the basement of the Old Nut tavern,’ and he winked

‘And you’ve failed to mention this before because!?’ I said aghast

Loveheart raised an eyebrow, ‘Well, I rather enjoyed seeing Walnut dressed up as The Little Match Girl.’

Infuriated, I gathered my pistols and Walnut his rocket launcher and the three of us headed off to Chiswick without further delay.

Under a full, rather glorious Christmas moon we arrived outside the Old Nut which was drenched in snow dust.

I picked the lock of the cellar door while Mr Loveheart decided to construct a snowman near the outdoor privy.

As the door creaked open, we descended on tiptoe into the gloom while Loveheart stayed behind engrossed in his artistry.

Slipping on the remnants of what I can only hope was a piece of plum pudding, we fell screaming to the bottom of the cellar steps.

‘The element of surprise has been lost I fear,’ squeaked Walnut, as we landed

‘I concur,’ replied a sinister hooded figure sat round a table with two other hooded acolytes. The table was ornamented with flickering black candles, a heap of human organs and a solitary Christmas card.

I whipped out my pistol and aimed it at the one I suspected was the leader.

‘Enough tongue flapping! I am Detective White of Scotland Yard and I am arresting you for the procurement and consumption of human flesh. Kindly stand up and follow my Constable, whom you will notice is gripping a rocket launcher and has been given no formal training in the handling of such a formidable unlicensed weapon,’

‘That’s right, none whatsoever. It didn’t come with a manual,’ said Walnut

The leader of the Chiswick cannibals smiled nervously, ‘I think you may be over reacting. Let me introduce my little group – this is Duncan and Frank (both hooded figures waved), and I (and he flipped off his hood) I am Gordon. Please, it is Christmas – don’t jump to irrational conclusions- this is not what it appears.’

‘Oh really, would you like to explain to me why three grown men are wearing hooded robes in a basement with a pile of intestines. What conclusion would you like me to jump to?’ I waited for an answer

A flash of inspiration crossed Gordon’s face, ‘I can explain. Duncan had a terrible accident and his bowels just fell out.’

‘SILENCE,’ I screamed

Duncan gulped, ‘I have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with this. I was kidnapped. Knocked over the head,’

‘Me too,’ said Frank, ‘I don’t know who these people are,’

I waved the pistol, ‘All of you get up and start moving,’

Gordon stared at Walnut, ‘Wait a minute, you bloody weirdo- you’re that cross dressing little match girl!’

Walnut fired the rocket launcher.

BOOM

After an hour, Walnut and I managed to dig ourselves out the rubble. Mr Loveheart had finished his snowman and looked rather critically at his creation, ‘I must find a carrot for the nose.’

I dusted debris, a plank of wood and a human scalp from my coat and tried to focus as my vison was blurry, disorientated and probably in need of a surgeon, ‘Walnut, are you alright?’ I shouted out.

‘I’m not sure Sir,’ was the reply, ‘I’ve been blown up. Should I get a shovel and scoop the remains of that cult into an evidence sack?’

‘No, we need some medical attention first.’ My legs wobbled beneath me and I gripped Loveheart for balance

‘Fear not, I’ve summoned the police surgeon, that ghoulish fellow Doctor Manglefoot,’ said Loveheart holding me upright.

Walnut hobbled towards us before collapsing face down in a heap of snow. I felt myself losing consciousness – a harem of glittering stars above me, winking and disappearing into black galactic soup.

I awoke on a stretcher carried away under starlight with the beady black eyes of Dr Manglefoot peering down upon me.

‘Is Constable Walnut alive?’ I asked half delirious through a chloroform soaked rag that he had applied to my mouth.

‘Tish tosh! Hee hee hee do not worry yourself Detective, your constable is fine. In shock of course but I can’t foresee any permanent brain damage ha ha ha HA

HA

HA

HA

‘What are you laughing at?’

HA

HA

HA

HA

‘Help! Mr Loveheart, I’m not sure he’s medically qualified,’ I shouted. Before passing out I heard the swoop of a blade through icy air and glimpsed a freshly decapitated head zooming off into the darkness.

I awoke inside Mr Loveheart’s ancestral home to the sound of manic church bells tolling in Christmas morning. Mr Loveheart and Walnut were sitting by a roaring fire.

‘Happy Christmas Sir,’ said Walnut whose arm was in a sling

Sitting up I suddenly noticed with horror the head of Dr Manglefoot impaled on the top of the Christmas tree. The baubles glowed with weird delight.

Mr Loveheart offered me a bag of small sticky sweets.

‘Humbug?’ he said

The end

The Singular and Extraordinary Tale
of Mirror and Goliath

The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath


The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath.
Cover illustration by John Coulthart.
Purchase on Amazon

In the summer of 1887 my grandfather stole a clock.

It was six feet high

and the shape of a coffin.

1888. A little girl called Mirror and her shape-shifting guardian Goliath Honeyflower are washed up on the shores of Victorian England. Something has been wrong with Mirror since the day her grandfather locked her inside a mysterious clock that was painted all over with ladybirds. Mirror does not know what she is, but she knows she is no longer human.

John Loveheart, meanwhile, was not born wicked. But after the sinister death of his parents, he was taken by Mr Fingers, the demon lord of the underworld. Some say he is mad. John would be inclined to agree.

Now Mr Fingers is determined to find the little girl called Mirror, whose flesh he intends to eat, and whose soul is the key to his eternal reign. And John Loveheart has been called by his otherworldly father to help him track Mirror down…

The Contrary Tale
of the Butterfly Girl

The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl

The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl.
Cover illustration by John Coulthart.

Purchase on Amazon

The enchanting sequel to The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath . . .

Two orphans, Pedrock and Boo Boo, are sent to live in the sinister village of Darkwound. There they meet and befriend the magical and dangerous Mr Loveheart and his neighbour Professor Hummingbird, a recluse who collects rare butterflies. Little do they know that Professor Hummingbird has attracted the wrath of a demon named Mr Angel-Cakes.

One night, Mr Angel-Cakes visits Boo Boo and carves a butterfly onto her back. Boo Boo starts to metamorphose into a butterfly/human hybrid, and is kidnapped by Professor Hummingbird. When Mr Loveheart attempts to rescue her with the aid of Detective White and Constable Walnut, they are turned into butterflies.

Caught between Professor Hummingbird and the demon Angel-Cakes, Loveheart finds himself entangled in a web much wider and darker than he could have imagined, and a plot that leads him right to the Prime Minister and Queen Victoria herself . . .