Autumn had fallen with a vengeance. Oh the leaves were all a pretty melody of scarlet, sunburnt orange and deep ochre, but this past week has been a doozy: windy, wet and frightfully cold.
Tonight it was dark early with a howling wind, (like those annoying dogs my neighbour Lady Harriet the Terror keeps and who howl most dreadfully at supper time), and lashing rain. Thunder rolled with bright white flashes of lightning.
It was quite gothic, with a capital G.
Fortunately I was snug indoors tending to personal business while Jeeves rested in an armchair reading some book or other, hopefully not an improving book but a tale suitable for the season.
"See you shortly Jeeves. Don't overheat that brain of yours!"
"I will endeavour to not overthink Sir," teased my man.
I rolled my eyes at Jeeves' persistent use of "sir", though he was getting better at calling me Bertie when not in company.
I waved as I departed the room to see to my personal business where my recent visitor awaited. My thoughts are all askew what with little sleep and the events of the day, but I found myself contemplating the last year even as tended to my visitor.
Fortunately my visitor was most obligingly quiet allowing my thoughts to run on and muse out loud to them as the spiffing G. weather raged outside.
Naturally, it is ungentlemanly not to start at the beginning and we Woosters take pride in being gentlemen and ladies, (despite my Aunt Agatha mimicking a dragon - except its poor besieged nephews in danger and not innocent Damsels in D.).
My visitor was silent as I donned my apron after shucking my jacket and shoes, leaving me in my socks.
So, where was I?
To be frank, life has its ways of bashing one around the head. Normally, mind you, when one has just become used to something and is thinking how jolly life is and all that malarkey.
Such acts can result in yours truly ending up in the kitchen chopping up meat for my poor valet Jeeves. The man protests but I won't have him facing his affliction alone!
Woosters do not abandon their friends.
Messy business though.
The blood does get everywhere.
Newspapers next time.
Right, back to my tale while I clean my chopper of the worst of the gristle.
It was an autumn day in a crisp chilly October when life struck our household with a wallop, resulting in a headache surpassing the ones brought about by one of Bingo's alcoholic beverages.
I had settled down nicely with Jeeves and his magnificent brain. Truly. I couldn't live without the chap. Not only did he help me and my friends out of all sorts of mischief (specialising particularly in saving one from marriages to distressingly determined ladies), Jeeves was splendid company.
Playing a jolly tune on the piano was so much more fun when Jeeves would join in and accompany me, or when he would explain an especially tricky concept in a book. My family would be appalled, but honestly, the man is better company than anyone I can think of.
So, we were gadding about like a couple of larks enjoying life, (J. hates that phrase, but one of the benefits of class privilege that my man adheres to, is his benevolence in letting me call us larks).
Jeeves took care of me while I ensured he had the best fish for his superior brain. My fish order had escalated I tell you, but it was a price this Wooster willingly took to maintain Jeeves' B. full of those good little fishy vitamins.
Life therefore was quite jolly and on that fateful day I was tinkering with playing a new song I had heard on the good old P. when life missed a key.
[ Children have You ever met the Bogeyman before?
No, of course You haven't for You're much too good, I'm sure; ]
For once though it wasn't my Aunt Agatha or Aunt Dahlia. If anything the whole event has been quite free of aunts. Excellent news for besieged nephews.
In short, the last few months have been full of illness and the Drones were batty about another Spanish F. Jeeves assured me that this disease was not the Spanish F. but something worse if you could imagine!
People dying but not. Suffering patients had their eyes turning amber, teeth growing sharp like the knife Jeeves uses to carve our roasts and gaining enormous strength like that Hercules chap.
If they didn't drop dead they developed ravenous appetites for flesh. I say, apparently some dead would rise and start consuming rotten flesh from decaying corpses! A bit uncivilised if you ask me.
Naturally I trusted Jeeves' word. He is simply fantastic with his fishy B.
At his insistence I stayed safe at home which is when life bashed my noggin and...undeath, I suppose, stuck like a limpet.
My poor Jeeves staggered home late that evening, as I tinkered away on the keys. He was breathing harshly and clutching a once pristine handkerchief to a bloody wound on his arm. His brolly was all twisted out of shape.
"I am most sorry Sir, but I had to defend myself against an inflicted personage. Unfortunately they wouldn't desist at my stern warning or right hook so I had to utilise my umbrella."
I wish I could have witnessed the fight, but I had a wounded man to tend to so I became a Nightingale. (I think that is correct? You know, that clever lady nurse?)
The following week was terrible. No matter how hard I cleansed, applied spirit and bandages or administered water my Jeeves grew sicker. I wept I admit, as my stalwart valet and dear friend took his last gasping breath.
The howling that spewed forth would put a banshee or yowling feline to shame. I flung myself on the now still body of Jeeves. Can't say how long I lingered there. I still clutched the precious B. of J. when both my Aunts visited.
For the first time in my life I ignored them and even my Aunt A. wisely left me be.
Eventually as the cruel sunny autumn day slipped into the empty chill of night, I felt Jeeves stir.
Amber eyes snapped open, gleaming with that same ferocious intelligence, but with a harder glint to it than was Jeeves' wont.
His skin was frightfully pale yet I couldn't care less. I flung my arms around his neck like a damsel in distress and clung on. I had no tears left to shed so could only hoarsely announce my happiness.
"Sir, this is unbecoming. I apologise for upsetting you-"
I stopped him by raising my head and glaring.
"Don't die on me again Jeeves and that is an order ! How...how am I meant to go on when you arranged my life so neatly? You keep my bally life straight, my keys in tune."
I blinked sore eyes and lapped broken lips, tasting salt and the metallic tang of blood. Jeeves' mouth parted, his bloodless lips framing teeth a shark would be proud of.
"My what teeth you have!" I squeaked.
Amber eyes turned dangerously soft and for once my brain was sufficient to the task and prevented any foolish acts of self-sacrifice.
This Wooster refused - and refuses - to let his Jeeves go unless saidJeeves is genuinely sick of one.
That autumn night I discovered what I would be willing to do for a loved one's sake, and for Jeeves in particular.
Rising from my position all cramped and painful, I dismissed his concerns with a haughty sniff, though a dry sob did escape.
After a wash and spritz of cologne I staggered out that night clad in my most glorious purple rose checkered suit, free of Jeeves' horrified damnation…which made the situation worse come to think about it.
I may not have a brain or wit like my man, but this Wooster knows the vices of his wealthy fellows. Gossip is everything .
So with a swish and sigh I snuggled close to an old pal of mine whose hands were always a tad loose.
I did blunder a bit, but my old friend's appetite was undimmed. He followed me home as I laughed discreetly in his ear and breathed hot kisses on his rough cheek. The streets were dark and devoid of life and undeath. We feared not the police or the undead.
My friend's wandering hands were quite hungry and twice I had to be stern. My poor noggin was quite under strain as were my nerves. I hadn't fed my brain with all the healthy F. I reserve for Jeeves so it was a struggle.
(Fortunately time makes a difference and now, as I put away my chopper after a final cleaving of joints and pick up the carving knife, it comes easily. Thinking and seducing is much more fluid with practice and with Jeeves helping. We make an excellent pair if I do say so. Even my monstrous Aunt A. agrees. No more talk of marriage these days, which is a blessing for this nephew.)
However, that night was my first attempt so I was hot and flustered by the time we arrived at my flat. The doorman was absent - on his customary break - so we sneaked in without trouble.
The lift to my flat was full of heated kisses and I revelled in the hot strong blood possessed by my old friend Mr Wandering Hands.
I unlocked the door and led Mr W.H. to his fate.
Jeeves was waiting all composed: he was breathtaking. Fresh after a bath, dark hair smoothed back, clothes casual - he had surmised my mission then - hands holding most appropriately, the latest medical publication on this invasie and contagious plague - Jeeves must have picked it up when we were visiting that bookshop for a suitable present for Spode (an attempt to soothe troubled waters after ANOTHER escapade involving lost medical bags, though I completely innocent mind you).
Yet he put it aside and rose at our presence. Amber eyes turned molten with rage at my friend's actions. His mouth curved around those fearsome teeth as he observed Mr W.H.'s movements over my body, trying to pry the buttons on my waistcoat open.
I met Jeeves' vengeful gaze with a challenge and well, Jeeves is simply remarkable.
For his first time he was quite neat. The bally rug did get a lashing of the old crimson stuff and I did have to hastily crank out a tune on the P. to cover a few garbled screams but all turned out well.
Being known to hold parties helps one when strange noises are overheard by one's neighbours.
So, there you have it: life really bashed us both and since then we have done our best to endure through the epidemic.
Parliament has dubbed it the "Zombie Plague" and due to certain members new status you wouldn't believe the new laws. However, it dashed well makes living and undeath simpler for us when you have the law on your side.
Well that is frustrating, the lights are flickering. The storm must be growing worse. The weather took my compliment a bit too much to heart and is trying to escalate the gothic feeling to extraordinary levels.
I best grab the candles. Fortunately, I have finished so I’ll just tidy myself and head off and feed Jeeves his supper.
Oh yes, but you know that don't you? You're supper after all.
Putting aside my carving knife I picked up the platter of human flesh and trotted out to Jeeves who was sitting at the piano.
He smiled and my heart leaped. He is not so pale now nor thin. Jeeves looks nearly healthy. Placing the plate on the P. I settled down to play a jolly tune on the girl as my zombie tucked in. Occasionally he would catch my fingers and lick blood and gore off.
It always made me giggle and miss a key. I was laughing by the time Jeeves finished his meal, crunching on a bit of bone, relishing the last sluro of marrow ere his deep voice joined mine.
I closed my eyes, relieved to have Jeeves still by my side. He was as proficient as ever as a Z. and remained my companion in undeath and life.
So as my fingers flew over the keys we sang the song I played when our new life and undeath began.
[ Just pretend he isn't really there
You will find that Bogey man will vanish in thin air
Here's one way to catch him without fail Just keep a little salt with you and put it on his tail. ]
Of course the lyrics are slightly wrong - the Bogeyman is very real and doesn’t vanish if you pretend he isn’t there and well, salt may help you if blessed, but then...not many people seem to keep blessed salt in their houses or certainly on their persons. Odd that.
Funny how a song can be so incorrect, yet so correct on the last line. Even funnier when people somehow miss the obvious, but Jeeves says that is normal considering the stressful times we live in.
I don’t mind, whatever keeps Jeeves safe is fine by me.
Beware the Bogeyman for he is real and hungry.