The Year is Almost Over

The feeling seemed to increase as I became more awake - some primal instinct warning of the presence of something predatory, something angry.

After living a happy but sheltered life as a librarian, Albert Butler suffers the double misfortunes of the boredom of retirement and the passing of his beloved wife. While still in his time of grief, he is vouchsafed a precious message which inspires him to travel. The Year is Almost Over is a collection of short, self contained episodes of similar genres, set in the 1930s. Conversations with strangers, detective stories, the improbable schemes of odd scientists, and tales of mystery, fear, and the supernatural go into the chronicles of Albert Butler as he explores Europe and beyond, growing and learning, even at so late a time of his life. Albert Butler's life, like the 'Year' of the title, is drawing toward its final chapters, and so the idea of the passing of the years, what they bring and what they leave behind, is also in his thoughts. And often, whether he wants to or not, he revisits memories of Genevieve, the girl he loved, married and grew old with. By Tim South

Contents
  1. Imago
    Life is lived as a journey, but remembered as a collection of stories - and each story is least understood by the one who is in it.
  2. The Umbrella Lady
    They say that sooner or later she talks to every person in the world.
  3. Anatole and Little Frets
    ...some dark force against nature had been harnessed to animate the body into a state of evil intent.
  4. The Horsemen of Avallon
    After that the voices of men could be heard in the valley, and some of them seemed to be softly weeping.
  5. Low Season
    ...through the cheap plaster and wallpaper, I began to hear someone talking softly.
  6. Par Avion
    I have never asked for power over people's lives. Every time I see these things I feel ill and haunted for days.
  7. The Skeptic
    You see something that you cannot explain, yet you are too eager to grasp the quickest explanation that you can...
  8. Sleeping City
    ...he began to talk of more trivial things, as if he was embarrassed at having told such personal matters to a stranger.
  9. The Mystery of the Missing Woodcutter
    Now the village is living in fear, he can walk the roads at night, carrying his gruesome possession, without being seen.
  10. The Case of the Portly Murderer
    The answer lies with one small but crucial clue that has been left behind on the carriage.
  11. The Music Lover
    Love... And tragedy. How often the two seem to go together.
  12. Paris, Summer 1933
    Imagine that you're on your deathbed, and an angel grants you an extra half an hour to live!
  13. The Story of Corporal Wistremy at Waterloo
    ...if something should happen to me, I beg you to destroy this letter, for the sake of my honour as a soldier.
  14. An Unwise Experiment
    What question would you ask me, so that you would know it was me?
  15. How the Stone Lost its Soul
    ...she replied that it was an old burial ground - 'since the Dreamtime' was how she put it...
  16. The Cork-Lined Box
    If I were killed, thrown overboard for the waiting sharks, who would find out?
  17. An Item of Such Rarity
    Tell me Mister Butler. Have you ever had to keep a secret?
  18. What the Mummy Told Me
    His soul cried out in terror unknown to man, but his lips could not move an inch to save him.
  19. The Time Traveller
    People need something to hope for, Albert, they want to see that mankind can do great things.
  20. The Grinning Turk
    But he is alive, sir. Well, alive in a manner of speaking.
  21. I'm Still Here!
    ...perhaps his rival had been sitting beside us throughout our conversation, and had written the message when Nathan wasn't looking.
  22. The Man-Eater of Nakuru
    He said that one such as she will always help those who can't help themselves.
  23. The Guests of the Duke
    I think that sometimes you see things that others cannot. Am I right? Think about it, Mister Butler.
  24. Days in Florence
    Suddenly all I could think of was that I wanted that time of my life again, to go back, to be there again.
  25. Skaadhu
    In that quick flash of light the creature sitting on the top of the cupboard was revealed...
  26. The Disappearance of a Girl in Amiens
    ...even after twenty-seven years she was driven by the memory of her loss...
  27. The Eclipse Island Lighthouse
    But you say the light wasn't shining the last two nights. Why didn't you try to contact them?
  28. Reflection in a Window
    ...there is time for happiness, without forgetting.
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About the Author
Tim was born in Melbourne in 1967. He briefly studied electronic engineering, then decided to become a musician. He moved to Perth to take up a position as a cellist with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. In his spare time he enjoys photography and web development.
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