The first house performance had gone rather well. I was still congratulating myself on a job well done and preparing for the second house performance when the evening took a turn towards the peculiar. At this point of course I had no idea how peculiar things would become, like all the others in the Palace Theatre I was simply astounded and intrigued by the headline act, Herr Drossel’s Little Town Of Marionettonsvile. What appeared to be a manikin the size of a man conducted a plethora of smaller child sized manikins in a four et of dance like movements around the miniature town set and I could identify no strings or mechanical sounds from my place in the wings.
Though astonishing something about the whole affair set me ill at ease. I even opened up my senses at one point to see if I could identify anything out of the ordinary but was left with the impression that what I was seeing was certainly mundane and I simply could not figure out the trick. This vexation certainly had its affect on me as my second house performance was certainly less than note worthy. My vexation was confounded further when in the second performance Herr Drossel’s troupe seemed to have gained an extra performer. A small rag doll had joined the original troupe in their capers but I could see no reason as to why this additional participant had been added as it did not affect the performance in the slightest.
The following day I returned to the theatre still puzzled and with the hope of meeting Drossel to discuss his act and my puzzlement. The press were present and all talk was unsurprisingly of the Austrian and his puppets. After a few words to the amassed reporters about how unfortunately Herr Drossel’s character was as much of a mystery to me as it was to everyone else I managed to politely excuse myself and make my way inside. After discussions with both the stage manager, Toolie, and the theatre manager, Mr Garrak I was able to ascertain that Herr Drossel had not been seen since shortly before commencement of the second house the previous night. He had left his puppets in the headline dressing room and I resolved to investigate these wonders that had me so unsettled.
My mood was not improved when I noticed a small red stain on the stage which looked suspiciously like blood. Something simply did not add up about the whole affair. It was around this moment that I made a new acquaintance. One Mr Harrison Scully had also noticed the stain and we both agreed that it was rather queer. He suggested we go and take a look at the puppets and as a gentleman I felt it only right that I give Mr Scully a thorough tour of the theatre.
Upon entering the room my senses began to fire. The tell tale malady of hauntings clung to the puppets like damp clings to one of the unfortunates living on the street in the east end. I could not believe I had not sensed it before. It was then I heard the sound of wood on wood. Scully and I turned and were faced with the polished blank wooden face of the man sized manikin staring back at us with eyes unseen. Unseen that is by most, my heightened senses now revealling to me the true nature of the thing that stood before us. I looked in to a visage so terrifying it would have turned the hair of even the most stead fast beast man white as it looked back at me with eyes burning brightly with demonic malice.