The Finale of Magic Most Foul
“There are some qualities – some incorporate things,
That have a double life, which thus is made
A type of that twin entity which springs
From matter and light, evinced in solid and shade.”
– Edgar Allan Poe
THE NEW YORK HERALD:
MADISON MADNESS – “MOURNING” HOOLIGANS WAGE RAMPAGE ON CITY
Saturday night, a hoard of black-clad youths, men and women in an altered state, recklessly endangered themselves and others in a sprawling public fit following a “wake” at the home of the British Emissary’s daughter Lavinia Kent. The Kents have lived in New York City for nearly six years. While her family was out of town, it seems Miss Kent threw a soiree that Poe in all his ridiculous dark abandon would have envied for one of his tall tales. Even Miss Kent’s poor chaperone was persuaded to partake in “The Cure”: a chemical concoction promised to obliterate melancholy and despair.
Miss Kent chairs the group known as “Her Majesty’s Association for Melancholy Bastards”, a group affiliated with British actor Nathaniel Veil. When asked why they were all dressed in funereal attire, one girl known only as Raven– presumably in honor of Mr. Poe- said she’d come not only to partake of the cure but for a wake. (Though no one had died.) They were, it was said, in “mourning for their life.”
Those who took the substance, which could be inhaled as a powder or mixed into a fluid and consumed, were then purportedly changed mentally and physically. An hour after imbibing the concoction, the party charged up Madison Avenue, howling and tossing aside anything or anyone in their paths. Witnesses described super-human strength, mesmerism and suggestion. Those who encountered the mob said the youths held onlookers in thrall, even as they were rough-housed and bullied.
After a while, horrified onlookers said the crowd simply collapsed, silk frocks and coat-tails ruined, mourning veils shredded. Strewn on lawns and street corners, the youth had to be roused by various officers of the peace. Most, once roused, fainted dead away again or began weeping. “We’re not animals,” Raven insisted. “We don’t lose our heads like this. Nathaniel will be so angry with us.” Miss Kent herself declined to comment.
Whether Nathaniel Veil had any hand in this mess is unclear save for the association with his Association. The fact that this could be a mere publicity stunt has escaped no one. Veil recently returned to England to continue his run of ACROSS THE VEIL, a show on Gothic themes, musings on life, death and dramatic explorations of the paranormal. (A show, this newspaper might add, that did not receive a favorable review within these pages.) After this little interlude he may want to be wary of his welcome back as he is slated to return for another run at the Astor by the end of next month.
Participants in the incident were charged with disrupting the peace and public drunkenness. A search for the provider of said “cure” is being launched by police, albeit with skepticism. Is there really a drug at work here or was this an excuse to lash out? Surely its merely sheer, overdramatic hooliganism at its morbidly-dressed worst.
I set the paper down slowly enough to see the thin edges shake as the full, personal impact of the newspaper article hit me.
“Natalie, what is it?” Jonathon asked, staring at me with those eviscerating blue eyes of his. I opened my mouth but no sound came out. Damn my unpredictable, inconstant voice.
For the past many months now, I’d been pummeled by one strange event after another, pulled into the center of a paranormal whirlpool. At least in this case, we had an inkling, some sense of the next onslaught. Still, a foreshadow was hardly a comfort. We couldn’t have guessed the scope.
Now it wasn’t just myself or Jonathon Whitby, Lord Denbury in danger, with the occasional collateral victim. Now it was a crowd. I knew the Association. I adored them. They weren’t hooligans or criminals, they were gentle souls, artistic and individual. Overdramatic, yes, but a threat? Hardly. This maligning was the work of The Master’s Society, turning lambs into lions in ungodly experiments, leaving them for fodder in sensational, indelicate journalism. It could only get worse. Exponentially worse.
“It’s begun,” I finally managed to reply quietly, sliding the paper across the lacquered console table behind the sofa toward Jonathon’s reach. “Another phase. They’ve gone after the Association. And the papers will vilify those poor dears, every last one of them. Jonathon, the demons won’t give up…”
Read more here and check back tomorrow for my interview with the author.