Fan Fiction : Discworld : Groppellar's Ghost Walk

Groppellar's Ghost Walk

Mik Calow mikchaos at hotmail dot com

A story from random ingredients:

Inspired by the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett, a British literary genius

Our story begins in the twin city of Ankh-Morpork, jewel [1] in the crown of the Discworld [2]. Home to such luminaries as the wizards of the Unseen University; the city's ruler Lord Vetinari; and its revitalised postal system, under the management of Moist Von Lipwig [3]. But our tale does not involve them; our attention is on a small section of pestilent Morpork, the half of the city widdershins of the River Ankh. Indeed, on a street right by the riverside, called Flood Walk, where a young entrepreneur by the name of Cut Me Own Throat (CMOT for short) Groppellar [4], is preparing to lead his first group of customers on his All Fallows Eve [5] ghost walk. The idea had come to him earlier in the year when the city had been brimming with the restless dead of all descriptions, from bogeymen to vampires, and the absence of anyone or anything to take them to the afterlife [6]. In the intervening months a semblance of normality had returned but Groppellar had come across a particular spirit that was still hanging around, with no intention of moving on anywhere.

He'd arranged to meet his clients at the Groaning Platter, an alfresco diner specialising in a la carte cuisine [7]. As he entered the courtyard-diner he had to avoid colliding with a pair of scruffy, long-haired dogs fighting over a dropped dollop of what appeared to be french-dressing or mayonnaise.

"Bloody Afghan's, always squabbling over the Hellman's Provence lately" called Berrick, the maitre de, as he tried to shoe the pair away.

Groppellar looked to Berrick and gave him one of those nods reserved for people you had "an understanding" with, the sort of nod that conveys an unspoken question. The problem with unspoken questions is that it's very easy to get the wrong end of the stick (or to miss the stick entirely in some cases), luckily Berrick's circle of associates was sufficiently small that he realised what Groppellar hadn't actually asked for and with his own non-verbal nod indicated a table by the hubward wall.

There were three figures seated at the table, the first was a young woman dressed all in black with long lacy gloves and her face made up to accentuate her gauntness. The style was becoming more popular of late amongst the younger generation of Ankh-Morpork's citizenship, they were calling themselves Goth's [8]. The second was a rather skinny man with a rough beard and what appeared to be wizard's robes [9]. The third figure was a large, auburn haired orang-utan dressed in a full length brocaded waist coat.

Groppellar put on his best welcoming smile (not a pretty sight, considering the average Morporkian's dental care consisted of waiting until you had toothache and then insulting the nearest stranger before presenting your face to their fist). "Well, well, well. What an excellent turnout for our premiere ghost walk. I am your guide, Cut Me Own Throat Groppellar, please have your ticket money ready" he said as he approached the trio, his only-moderately cleaner left hand held out expectantly before him.

"Eh, what?" replied the wizard, somewhat startled. "Sorry, we're just here for dinner. These were the only seats left empty."

His companion, the orang-utan [10], nodded and simply said "Oook".

"It appears it's just me Mr Groppellar" said the young lady, handing over her dollar, "Bella, Bella Donna Heartspring".

"Well miss if you're ready we'll get started" replied Groppellar, sweeping his arm toward the exit in an exaggerated gesture.

As they walked slowly out of the courtyard Groppellar began his long practiced introduction. "The spirit we're going to see tonight is a poor, wretched soul trapped here by the inability to complete his life's goal. We call him the screamin' ghost, you'll see why later on, but in life his name was Rhy De On. He was a native of Llamedos, a country famous for its druids, bards and of course, its rain. Indeed, until a young man by the name of Imp Y Celn [11], rain was their main export, now it seems that they have musicians and singers up the wazoo [12]."

He paused for moment, fishing out a box from the hidden depths of one of the numerous pockets in his overcoat. "Sausage bites?" he asked, holding the box towards Bella, "Three for a dollar, guaranteed fifty percent meat by-product". Bella peered nervously at the contents of the box before politely declining.

"Well," continued Groppellar "he entered a singing competition called the Eisteddfod Factor [13], where he finished in second place to a visiting skald, Lee Onjaksson, from Uberwald. The shame of losing to a foreigner hit him hard and so he set out to achieve his ambition of performing to a sell out crowd, eventually arriving here in Ankh-Morpork only to discover that the Guild of Musicians took a very grim view of non-guild sanctioned performances."

"And so he wound up here," Groppellar gestured dramatically out towards the seething river behind him, its crusty brown surface broken only by what appeared to be a large standing stone, "using the last of his meagre monies he rented a small home of typical Morporkian design [16]. As he rehearsed his performance he failed to hear the guild's enforcers sealing him indoors. It wasn't until they cut the supports from underneath the building that he knew something was wrong, but by then it was too late. The unstoppable force of the river seeped through the walls and he realised that he was trapped with the waters [17] rising. So, poor Rhy De On suffocated to death, with nothing to show his passing but the slowly eroding chimney stack of his once humble abode. Now his spirit returns to perform his songs until he can achieve his ambition."

Groppellar looked out to the chimney stone and saw the tell-tale signs of the ghost's imminent arrival, he took two of the sausage bites from his pocket and pushed them into his ears before announcing, loudly "Ladies and Gentleman, I give Rhy De On, the screaming ghost of Flood Walk!".

  1. If jewel is the word for an open, festering sore. Go back to 1
  2. A large flat disc, resting on the backs of four giant elephants, standing on the shell of a giant turtle as it swims through space. Go back to 2
  3. See "Going Postal" for details. Go back to 3
  4. A fully paid up member of the newly formed CMOT Guild and licensed vendor of whatever he can lay his hands on. Go back to 4
  5. The night before All Fallows Day, traditionally a day of rest for all witches and warlocks (usually because they're hung over from celebrating All Fallows Eve), the 600th day of the year (The Discworld has an 800 day yearly cycle a giant turtle can only go so fast you know!). Go back to 5
  6. See "Reaper Man" for details. Go back to 6
  7. Though most of its customers later complain that the platters are groaning in hunger and not through the strain of carrying their contents. Go back to 7
  8. Pronounced Go-th's, though it was actually meant to be Ghosts but the poor individual who came up with the idea had a terrible speech impediment. Go back to 8
  9. It was indeed a wizard, as could be plainly seen from the letters on his pointy hat that spelt out w-i-z-z-a-r-d. Though as wizard's go this one was possibly the most ineffective of the lot, despite having spent more time at the Unseen University studying to qualify as a fully fledged wizard than most of the faculty put together. Go back to 9
  10. Indeed, the wizard, Rincewind, and the Librarian (for that was who the orang-utan was it's a long story involving a magical accident see "The Colour of Magic") were just in the right place at a convenient time we did say at the start that the members of Unseen University were not involved. Go back to 10
  11. See "Soul Music". Go back to 11
  12. A Klatchian term for a person's posterior. _FNB12)
  13. A competition ran by Si Mon Cowl [14], where he would get members of the public to pay him to stop the singing [15]. Go back to 13
  14. His real name was Si Mon Hood, but due to his great uncle's (Ro Bin Hood) reputation he changed it to avoid any bad press. Go back to 14
  15. Cowl is currently putting together a discwide competition to find the most entertaining witch, wizard or warlock calling it "The Hex Factor". Go back to 15
  16. A design where the phrase "the walls were paper thin" is being generous. Go back to 16
  17. Water is only a minor constituent of the River Ankh, generally used only as a lubricant between the more solid pieces of effluent. Go back to 17

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