4 of 5 stars.
Included in Chronology published by Curiosity Quills Press, this short story brilliantly weaves together three major [and 1 minor] points of view to retell a London legend with much cleverness and humor. Supernatural beings are wandering the desolate streets of London’s Whitechapel district at the end of the 19th Century. Abraham, pushing 70, is still able-bodied but getting too old to continue the hunt. However, he feels the power and potential to take up this mantle in perennial-failure Jackson:
[Jackson] “I was on stage.”
“You were terrible. You also weren’t a very good window washer.”
“Just how long have you been following me? And the window washing thing was just to make some extra money.”
“Along with the carpentry?”
“I got a lot of splinters.”
“You can never get the fish smell out. Never.”
“Now, hang on a minute, that was just one time, and he looked very feminine…”
An observant, mystery-solving horse named Wilbert provides the third major POV. He has his own dodgy work history to overcome.
After his refusal to race was duly noted by his owner, Wilbert was sold into slavery. For a while, he pulled a milk cart, something he thought would be better suited to a cow. They leaked the damn stuff, why shouldn’t they have to deliver it, too? The whole thing felt half-assed.
Meanwhile, Jackson, orphaned as a teen, does not realize his own family’s history with monster-hunting.
“Wait, you mean a birthright like my parents handed something down to me?”
“Yes. They had a duty.”
“That sounds like responsibility.”
“The noblest responsibility! And your parents were very good at it. Did you ever notice anything strange about your parents’ deaths?”
“No, they died of natural causes.”
“I’m sorry, Jackson, I thought you were aware that they were decapitated.”
“I am. I’d say death is a natural result of decapitation, wouldn’t you?”
With a sense of humor not unlike an Oscar Wilde / Joss Whedon collaboration, the tale follows Wilbert tailing the two men as Jackson goes to confront his destiny. “Jackson didn’t know what to do. Or did he? No, he definitely didn’t know what to do.”
I really enjoyed this story and highly recommend it. I was previously unaware of this author, but am glad for the introduction to his work.
[Check out my other reviews here.]