The Erebus Accounts: His Last Christmas – Chapter II

The Erebus Accounts: His Last Christmas – Chapter II

The conversation that followed was no less mundane than the conversation with my father that had preceded it. She enquired as to Evelyn’s health (she was well, if tired), the havoc the infant had wrought upon our sleeping patterns (minimal, in my case, as I had the surprisingly rare wisdom not to insist on sleeping in the nursery), and how I myself felt about becoming a father. It surprised no one more than myself that I faltered in finding an answer to this question.

I had not acquiesced to my young wife’s yearning for a child without a clear sense of our offspring’s ultimate purpose in the grand design, and so I was continually perplexed to discover the primal concern – affection, even – I had somehow developed for it – for her – in the process. Before, my confidence in my plan for the child, be it son or daughter, had been unshakeable; yet, of late, I found myself assailed by doubts, uncertainties, perhaps even fears, which I had not felt since my earliest days in Her Majesty’s service. To interrogate them rationally was to reveal all to be exaggerated, if not outright unfounded. Yet, I nonetheless could not silence the paranoid whispers in the recesses of my mind, and so found myself in conscious combat at all hours of the day with unwelcome perturbances; dark visions, elaborating all conceivable evils this grim world of mine might slip past me to assail my infant daughter.

I realised I had been silent for several moments. I began to concoct an answer; one generic and noncommittal, with which to mask my tumultuous thoughts without the need for outright lies. It proved unnecessary, however: Her Majesty simply looked at me, nodded slightly, and said with a wry, knowing smile,

“I thought as much.”

A little light had returned to her eyes.

Written by James Hart. Illustrated by Andrea Miranda

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