The March Patreon stuff is up!

I had to abandon a story with ten days to go, then finish another one that I abandoned a while back, and I know that this breaks a bunch of writing rules, supposedly. And yet, there’s a short story up. So I don’t know how you score that.


  • Short Story: DOCTOR RYPMAW’S METHOD. This rather badly wanted to be cosmic horror, but I wasn’t having any of that.
  • RPG Material: THE RESURGANCE, PART 1. We’re starting a new RPG setting! This one is more or less in the superhero genre. Also, it’ll be designed to be deliberately unstable! Whee!

Thanks for reading!

03/29/2024 Snippet, DOCTOR RYPMAW’S METHOD.


“He’s, ah, you know. Mister W[*],” Edgar stammered, in a way that I found oddly gratifying. “I’m sure you know that name, Georgie! I sent for him when you had your, ah, trouble.”

“Trouble? I haven’t had any trouble.” Georgie guffawed, and I blinked. That didn’t sound like his regular laugh at all. My hackles didn’t like it, either, and I wasn’t even sure that I possessed any. “Everyone else had the troubles this evening.”

“Including our friend here,” I interjected, controlling my own sudden, primitive instinct to run a boar-spear through him, or anything else with enough reach. “You did run away, and it was a chore to clean up your messes afterward. You should be grateful, Georgie. Edgar has done you several favors tonight.” Well, Edgar had actually only paid for them, but that was close enough for this conversation. I still wasn’t sure if it would end in a fight or not, but confidence and sternness had seen me through sticky situations before.

For one horrible moment, Georgie looked at me blankly — no, not blankly. He looked at me like nothing about me had any meaning for him, including quite possibly my life. Just then I didn’t want a boar-spear; I wanted a revolver, and at least twenty feet of range. Then his face cleared, and he smiled like a human for the first time. “Oh, Harry! I’m so very sorry not to recognize you from the start. It’s been an evening.” His brow furrowed. “Oh, dear. If you’re here, then there’s been a problem. I hope I haven’t been too much of a problem tonight.”

03/28/2024 Snippet, DOCTOR RYPMAW’S METHOD.


In the end, I ended up attending one of Rypmaw’s public lectures on my own. It slightly pained me to have to pay my own money for a whim this trivial, but I was determined to put my best face on it. Clearly this was a lesson for me to arrange my circumstances better in the future.

The hall was not crowded in a physical sense, but what it lacked in bodies it more than made up for in money. Most of the old families had several representatives on display, including more than a few that I knew personally — or professionally, in my way. Those latter I merely exchanged nods with, although I don’t know what I would have done if any of them had been people who still owed me recompense.

By that I really don’t know what I would have done. There was an air in the room that I did not care for. It felt like there had been a flaming row going on, just before I arrived, and now everyone was carefully holding their tongues, lest they say something regrettable. No-one acted hostile to me, but I could feel myself step back a pace in my own head, the better to observe for trouble. What kind of trouble? Damned if I knew —

“Harry!” boomed someone behind me, and I jumped, just a touch. That earned me a laugh as I turned to see… Georgie, of all people. He shook his head, grinning. “You jumped like a rabbit hearing a wolf!”

03/27/2024 Snippet, DOCTOR RYPMAW’S METHOD.

Got to really buckle down for this one.

I was very worried that I might have to beat Victor senseless, or worse, with my cane. I didn’t want to, and wouldn’t have liked to; but when you’re following a man who murdered a man with his nails and teeth, then dined on rabbits and squirrels for dessert, the decision is not always yours to make. If Victor was rational by now, I was sure we could get him somewhere for a nice rest cure; if he wasn’t, well, it wasn’t like he was a major heir. I could get away with some rough handling. What I hadn’t expected was to discover Victor simply… placid. Although from the way his mouth and lower face was black in the moonlight, I suppose ‘sated’ would be a better term.

He was lolling on a park bench as we approached, head up and looking calmly at the moon. He did not turn to look at us; instead he sniffed, deeply. “Oh, hullo, Eddie,” he rumbled. “I’m so sorry; I left you behind! And, hah, the girl too. I never did get to grips with her.” His head snapped forward, and I could see his white grin in the gloom. “Maybe I’ll go back tomorrow night. Who’s your friend?”

“He’s, ah, you know. Mister W[*],” Edgar stammered, in a way that I found oddly gratifying. “I’m sure you know that name, Vic! I sent for him when you had your, ah, trouble.”

“Trouble? I haven’t had any trouble.” Victor guffawed, and I blinked. That didn’t sound like a dandy’s laugh at all. My hackles didn’t like it, either, and I wasn’t even sure that I possessed any. “Everyone else had the troubles this evening.”

03/27/2024 Snippet, DOCTOR RYPMAW’S METHOD.

This has been a hard week to stay focused.

I flipped back the sheet, to the shudders of the madam and Edgar both. I tsk-tsked them both. “The dead don’t care if you’re rude.” I looked down, at the one eye left behind to stare at me. “Besides, this poor bastard’s past caring about anything.”

Which was all for the best. Besides the eye, the face was battered, with gouges ripped through cheeks, and chunks of scalp missing. I suspected that if I bothered to open the mouth, I’d find it full of broken teeth, but why bother? The man was dead. More importantly, I’d never seen him before. I flicked my eyes down, assessing his clothes. “I take it this was not your companion, then.”

Edgar looked over, gulped, and turned his head. “No, Ha– sir. He was gone by the time I was called for.”

The madam spoke up. “The two gentlemen arrived together, sir.” She wasn’t gulping, I noted. Well, it probably wasn’t her first corpse, either. “When the commotion started, I naturally sent for him, so that he could restrain his friend.”

“Restrain him from what? …Right,” I sighed. “Why don’t we start from the beginning?”

03/25/2024 Snippet, DOCTOR RYPMAW’S METHOD.

Got snared on a little project, had to push myself to get some of this done.

The business I was upon was the sort that needed no gossipy cabbie to see, so I was half-soaked by the time I reached the disreputable house that was my destination. And there in front of me was young Edgar W[*], shivering and sniveling under the spluttering gaslight. His finery was soggy and his expression woebegone, neither of which were normal for him. But then; if the boy had been quite himself, he would never have needed to send for me.

These night-time enterprises typically go the same way, so I raised a hand to forestall him. “I do not care what you did or did not mean to do, my boy.” My tone at these little moments is much sterner than is my usual wont. It saves time. “That is not important. What is important is, who witnessed it, and who has been told already?”

“No! No!” he exclaimed, as if on cue. “It’s not like that, Harry!”

“On the contrary: it is always like that,” I told him, severely. “And no names. Names cost extra to wash away in the rain.”

03/24/2024 Snippet, DOCTOR RYPMAW’S METHOD.

The first one simply wasn’t gelling right. I’m going back to this one, instead.

“One wonders how much better a personal meeting might go,” I suggested, curious as to how it would be received this time. It was agreed that you had to know the right sort to get an introduction to the man, which I thought was rather clever of him. What surprised me was how difficult it was proving for me to know the right sort. I was almost starting to wonder if I had lost my touch.

“Oh, I have yet to meet him myself!” she cried, with a simper that made her somehow seem ten years younger. “I am assured by those who would know that it is no reflection on me. The poor man is so beset with would-be hanger-ons and creatures, it falls upon his true friends to ensure that only those advanced enough to understand his work are given the privilege of conferring with him directly.” The simper turned into a real smile, with just the hint of white. “I was most put out when I was first told this, of course. But now that I have studied his Method some, I quite understand their reasoning. I would have simply wasted his time before.”

“I find that impossible to believe,” I murmured more or less automatically. “At any rate, clearly I must attend one of the good doctor’s lectures, without delay. There is one this Friday, is there not?”

“Every Monday and Friday,” she told me immediately: I nodded, to cover the odd flicker of apprehension I felt from seeing her flashing eyes. “Seven PM sharp, at the Gibbons Building. The Doctor suggests that we refrain from eating for an hour before attending a lecture, and to drink nothing but broth. ‘A Clear stomach makes a Clear mind,” he always says.”

06/12/2023 Snippet, DOCTOR RYPMAW’S METHOD.


Peddlers of nostrums have a certain look about them, and so I did not expect Doctor Rypmaw to embody his name. I anticipated seeing a thin man, either too tall or too short, with no chin worth speaking of and a twitch to his limbs. At least, that would be if he was the sort of naturist who believed his own patter. If not? Then the doctor would be a slippery fellow, smooth-haired and smooth-voiced, with a trim goatee and cold, calculating eyes. I honestly expected the latter, rather than the former: Rypmaw was moving far too easily in Society to be an honest health fanatic. Our upper crust responds far better to the well-oiled charlatans.

I was mistaken.

My first impression of Doctor Rypmaw was ‘vigor.’ He was full of the stuff — perhaps a little too full. He was easily six feet, and had the build of an outdoorsman. Or, given his European background, he was a hussar or grenadier of some kind. Certainly he walked like a man who had once marched.

06/11/2023 Snippet, DOCTOR RYPMAW’S METHOD.

This is going to be a weird one.

“Nothing?” I raised my brows. “Then how does he expect to make his pile?” I held up my hand, to forestall more disquieting looks. “I mean nothing insinuating by that, Georgie. Even an honest entrepreneur needs to generate an income. What is this good doctor’s method?”

Fortunately (I would later realize, just how fortunately), Georgie had thoroughly taken hold again of his usual good mood. “Oh, he has some ways. There is a book, of course…”

“Of course,” I murmured.

“…and his lectures are well-attended. A ticket for one is quite the ‘get’ right now, in fact. Worth it, though: the man is a mesmerizing speaker. He has a way of explaining his Method that makes it so easy to understand, and almost as simple to follow. You’ll feel that he’s speaking to you, Harry…” Georgie shook himself slightly. “Forgive me: Doctor Rypmaw is an amazing hypnotist. I’ve seen him enthrall an entire room. Wonderful stuff, wonderful!

“He also offers consultations for a select number of individuals. A session with him is even harder to acquire; I’ve yet to manage one myself. Once a person’s on his list, it’s the very Devil to convince some of them to get off it.”

06/05/2023 Snippet, DOCTOR RYPMAR’S METHOD.

Name change.

He certainly tolerated me. “Harry!” he called out to me, one night at Delmonico’s. “Join me in my magnificent repast!” The invitation was welcome, if not the inviter — but when I looked down at his table, I started to wonder about that, as well. Georgie’s plate looked… rather sparse. He was a man who would think nothing of two lobsters at supper, then follow them with a bucket of oysters, but tonight he was contenting himself with a mere soup and salad.

Georgie caught my look, and oinked laughter. “You look like my waiter did! Alphonse had to take my order three times before he would believe it. Sit anyway! I’m sure you can find something more to your liking on the menu.”

“My sincere apologies, Georgie,” I said (a touch insincerely) as I sat down. “Are you feeling quite well? If so, I hope it’s nothing too dire.” That, I meant. If there was any harm or meanness in Georgie, it was busily drowning in his flesh.

“On the contrary, Harry! I feel better than I have in some time.” Georgie gave his peculiar laugh again. “This new Method I am on is quite the thing. I only wish I had sought it out earlier.”