First Look Friday: The Key of Eidolon: When Love is More Than Love


Note: Robin Roberts and Little John Tamboli are a pair of Cockney ghouls whose human lives ended during the influenza pandemic of 1918. They are currently visiting the ghoul carnival in Xura, the land of lost dreams.

“He laid awake and said the name into the night.”

The burly ghoul turned to look at his wiry companion, who was gazing wistfully at the moon. He noticed tendrils of fog starting to curl through Xura’s ghoul carnival. He surmised that the fog must be rolling off the sea, as the sky was still clear.

“How’s that then, Rob?” Little John inquired.

Robin Roberts was normally a roguish fellow with a sharp wit and an untamed tongue. It was extremely unusual for him to wax poetic in this fashion or for his countenance to reflect such a melancholy expression. Robin’s zeal for unlife was inspirational. For his bold manner to dissolve into such maudlin affect concerned his companion.

“I know you are aware, Johnny me boy, of the bloomin' ways in which a golden dove can affect a man's chuffin’ Horse and Cart. Sophisticated folk giraffe at a lad's starry-eyed longin' for 'is Damien Hirst Briny Marlin, but sometimes the loss of that one Newington Butts a fella fer Porridge Knife even if 'e never kissed 'er.”

“Rob, ya 're a puzzle, old Currant Bun,” Little John declared. “The bloody pair of us 'ave been undead for far longer than we was jack's, but ya Beechams Pill manage ter take me by surprise. Ya always seemed ter be the sort of Heap of Coke ter enjoy a Jack Palance and a Tiddley Win' wif various vixens. Most of the nickel and dime, it's ya cheerin' me chicken pen I'm feelin' melancholy for wot I long for in vain. Let me be the wahn ter bolster ya up na, lad. Tell me of the Gooseberry Puddin' what's makin' yer unbeatin' Horse and Cart bleed.”

“She wasn't a Gooseberry Puddin' but a twist n twirl, old Fruit Gum, and I was but a lad of twelve,” Robin explained quietly, wiping a gelatinous tear from his undead eye. “We attended the same Bo-le and Glass at the old Lyon school. 'Er name was Betsy Bowes and 'er mum, Bess, taught arts and crafts and sewin' and the loike, tryin' 'er Mae West ter 'elp young folk get ready for Porridge Knife in the 'ardscrabble world. Ya kna when love is more than love, John. 'Eaven and 'ell, that's 'a it was for me and Bets, and I counted meself lucky ter 'ave found the wahn at a young age.”

“Oi, just Elephant and Castle that carrion for us, would ya, Old Pot and Pan?” Little John asked the Corpse-monger, who proceeded to wrap a moldering human buttock and a corrupt chunk of calf with the shinbone still intact in a decaying old sack made from clothing worn by the departed. The gleeful ghoul screwed a lid on a rusty bucket of putrefied entrails and parceled a collection of eyes and ears into a moldy pickle jar, handing them to the pair.

“C'mon, Rob, let's take a mo ter sit and Bowler Hat, just the pair of us. Ter 'ave carried this Pieces of Eight on your soul aw these Donkey's Ears and never even told your Mae West mate--it must cut ya deep, old chap. Let's get it Frank Bough your Bird's Nest, yeah?”

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

This is a chapter from Naughty Netherworld Press’ WIP novel, The Key of Eidolon, which is a sequel to our first Tales from the Dreamlands book, Ketil and Yitzy’s Adventure in the Xura Dream House.

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