The Case That Never Was
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by David Langford
Category: Dark Fantasy/Humor
Description: Dagon Smythe, Psychic Investigator, tackles the most baffling, sinister and generally unbelievable haunting of his career. It is the case that he will be unable to remember...."
eBook Publisher: Fictionwise.com, 2001 Weird Tales
eBookwise Release Date: August 2002
45 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [15 KB]
Reading time: 6-8 min.
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
"There are some things," old Hyphen-Jones complained, "that it should be impossible to forget."
Conversation at our usual table in the King's Head pub was wandering, with the remorseless focus of a drunken bluebottle, around that day's lead story in the Times. One of the top secret installations at the Robinson Heath research centre not far from our town had incontinently blown itself to smallish pieces.
"Forgotten is what it says here," Major Godalming grumbled. "Ministry of Defence spokesman in love with the sound of his own voice. 'A technician may have forgotten to check the safety interlocks on the tachyon beam generator,' or some such scientific gobbledegook. There's no bloody discipline these days."
"Speaking of forgetfulness," said Dagon Smythe the celebrated psychic investigator, watchful as ever for narrative openings, "I am irresistibly reminded of what must be my own least unforgettable case...."
We sensed at once that to query the odd phrase "least unforgettable" would lead us neatly into the trap of another Smythe reminiscence. With practised diversionary tactics the Major offered another round of drinks, while Hyphen-Jones said in his most unencouraging tones: "I suppose you investigated some phenomena at Robinson Heath? Jolly good. Someone wrote a book about the place, I seem to remember, and..."
"I have never in my life been to Robinson Heath," said Smythe with unnatural portentousness, subtly different from the man's routine, daily portentousness. "That, in a way, is the heart of the matter."
Short of pressing a handkerchief to one's nose and running to the door shouting "The blood! the blood!"--a technique over-used in past sessions at the King's Head--there seemed no way of deflecting another occult anecdote. Resignedly we sipped at the fresh pints the Major had brought from the bar, and settled ourselves to listen.