We have just arrived at Hoxton. Our boxes are yet unpacked, and the house has not been cleaned for us. Eliza and Everina are presently dusting and scrubbing with our maid. But I have been allowed some rest time because I said I was suffering from the headache. I do not like to lie, and in truth I do have the headache, but I must admit I do not perhaps need the rest as badly as I have given to believe. However 'tis all the same to them. Mother has gone straight to lie down, and father out to investigate the neighbouring ale houses. I am left in charge of my sisters. My older brother Ned is already gone to the house of our uncle where he is to learn the business, and my younger brothers, James and Charles, are bringing boxes in the house, still. All are accounted for but Henry.
We are not supposed to speak of him. If we are asked directly, we are to say that he was left behind in Yorkshire in apprenticeship. The people of London are not directly aware of the zombie infestation of the North. Of course there are stories, and people who travel to the North on business are sometimes maimed or killed, but they prefer to speak of it as highway men. 'Tis less fanciful and so less likely to put us in one of Hoxton's lunatics asylum (there are as many as three right by our doorstep, so we must be careful!)
But it is respectability more than the fear of the lunatic asylum that motivates our lie. For Henry did not die at the hands of zombies. He has married one.
It all started when I captured zombified Miss C. and held her in the disused out-house in the hope of teaching her some manners. Mother and Father found out, and were very displeased. I felt I had a duty to defend my actions and gave an impassioned speech at dinner regarding the rights of zombies. No one listened - or so I thought at the time. However, it turns out that Henry, dear boy that he is, took my advice to heart and after everyone was in bed, he sneaked out into the garden and freed Miss C. She was too weakened to harm him, and he was able to feed her the brains of a few chicken we kept.
Poor Henry does not have a fair share of the family looks, and has never been graced with female company other than that of his sisters. He was grateful to Miss C. for spending the time of night with him, and the following night he went out to find her again. She, hungry as she was, did not stray far, of course, and was still lurking nearby for him to find her. But she did not attack him, a fact which I feel goes some way towards proving my theory that zombies are moral creatures which ought to be given rights! He fed her, this time, a calf he had stolen from a neighbour, and let her go again. The next night she was of course stronger and ate his brains.
The next day we wondered where Henry was, but it was not 'till the evening that we discovered what had befallen him. He presented himself at our backdoor, Miss C. gnashing and growling beside him. The maid screamed and alerted my older brother, Edward, who upon seeing his zombified brother seized a kitchen knife and attacked him. Henry and Miss C ran, but not before Ned's knife came down on her wrist and cut off her hand. We saw amid the rotten flesh and the blood something shiny and I bent down to pick it up. It was my mother's mother's ring! Henry had gone to her willingly and made her his bride!
This is what we must hide from our new neighbours and why mother and father are depressed and letting me do very much as I like. No doubt they are worried that in a fit of dissatisfaction with them I will reveal our secret. I am only hoping that Henry and Miss C. may meet a kind soul who will help them in their journey to enlightenment, and I am glad I was able to set them on that route!
If you'd like to read about Mary's adventures in Yorkshire click here.
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Posted by Sandrine at 20:17