The missing manuscript.
Aleister’s manuscript is gone!
If you’re wondering what I’m doing running through the snow in the dead of night, in this medieval setting, in the moonlight, chased by a horde of raging werewolves, this is how our adventure started, by a beautiful summer night (literally). My name is Tyler Green. I’m a High School student and a Rock Star apprentice (more or less, let’s say, beginner apprentice). A few hours ago, I was happily strumming on my three-string ‘Cigar Box Guitar’ (thanks eBay) in the attic of our London home, a nifty brick house with a view of Regent’s Park.
Our rock band (‘Hashtag Overuse’) isn’t very well known yet. Still, we already have a dozen videos on YouTube (and thousands of views in total because I never get tired of watching them). My little brother, Jojo, is the drummer for the band. He developed a very effective percussion technique for the rhythmic of our tubes, using pots and lids of different sizes (pots that Svetlana, our father’s girlfriend, the high priestess of the microwave, never uses -ever-). We recently added to our percussion collection an empty oil barrel that we painted red with a spray can (just like our pans) to make it look classier.
Our neighbour, Mrs Horowitz, doesn’t complain much about our rehearsals since Svetlana assured her that we are not practising a form of satanic worship consisting of skinning cats alive but merely rehearsing our rock songs. Oddly enough, Mrs Horowitz seems to get along well with Svetlana. Both have a super-thick accent, which does not facilitate communication. Still, the dreaded granny visits up regularly with a homemade strudel, an excuse to chat over a cup of coffee. The strudel is her secret weapon to spy on the neighbourhood.
As the solo was drawing towards its conclusion and as Jojo furiously was hammering his finale on his pans with his improvised drum sticks, a horrible scream rang out. At first, I thought it was a fit of laughter from Svetlana and Mrs Horowitz. They both have that sort of repetitive laughter (reminiscent of a rusty machine gun), especially when they’ve been smoking weed (Svetlana stole it from my stash. She goes through all the drawers when we’re not around). I always lock everything up, but I think she also stole a copy of each key -I think she’s a former KGB spy. After having tumbled down the stairs at full speed, giving in to curiosity, Jojo and I found father (we call him ‘father’ because it sounds more classy) in front of the TV, his tie undone, his face an impressive aubergine colour, panting, the remote control in hand, furiously zapping TV channels.
“I don’t believe it … he’ll be the death of me …” blurted father.
Instinctively turning my gaze to the wall-mounted TV screen, surrounded by a solid gold frame (as if it was a masterpiece -decoration signed Svetlana, I saw the same news bulletins flashing in short succession on all the channels. A tall, stout character, decked out in a “duster” reminiscent of “Once Upon a Time in the West”, wearing a Stetson of the same style, staggering onto the set of the Graham Norton show. Graham Norton introduced him:
“Ladies and gentlemen, please applaud Aleister Blackstone, the famous author of the adventures of Harry Pendragon, the occult detective of the Highlands.”
Aleister Blackstone walked over to Norton, squeezed his hand, dropped like a sack of potatoes on the chair Norton pointed out. The host began his interview. “So, Aleister, what is your latest novel about?” As he tried to answer, Aleister jumped up, opened and closed his mouth several times like our goldfish, then collapsed immediately, foam on his lips, moaning, drooling, animated by a succession of jolts.
“Wow! Cool!” exclaimed Jojo.
“I’ve been enduring his whims for years,” Father exploded. “He’s always late for the deadline for his novels. If he weren’t so successful, I would have advised him a long time ago to seek another editor, “then, after a brief pause, “I’m sure he hasn’t completed his novel. It’s like that every time. Plus, he arrives jerked up to his eyes on the set and to top it off, he’s overdosing on me on live TV”.
After heaving a long sigh of exasperation, Father seemed to calm down and offered us the following plan:
“Tyler, this is Aleister Blackstone’s address, real name Harvey Stone. I don’t have his mobile number nor the one of his daughter Mel’s. Go to his house, with Jojo. Try asking Mel if Harvey’s manuscript is completed. Svetlana and I are going to find out in which hospital he was admitted. Then we will try to pay him a visit. If you manage to contact Mel, try to be diplomatic, be reassuring about her father. Try not to put your foot in your mouth, will you? “
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