I woke to the drone of an irritating voice. I came upward into consciousness slowly... At first I couldn't make out what the words were saying. It was dark, but beneath me I could feel a soft and comfortable bed. It was tempting to let myself just drift back into sleep...
Then something clicked into place; the drone resolved itself into words:
"Professor Ichbonnsen was... A good man. A vagabond, yes, but good nonetheless. Down on his luck, with no place to call home... Surely he would now be lying in an unmarked grave, forgotten by all -- were it not for the kindness of this young lady.
"But, let us not dwell upon the sad state of this vagrant's short existence -- instead, let us celebrate the small victories he achieved. For instance, despite his obvious mental illness, he managed to show this girl some kindness in return -- in his own way. Were it not so, why would she now be spending her life savings just to buy him a decent, Christian burial?
"And if, in the throes of his madness, he took this poor child into life-threatening danger, let us not be too harsh in our judgement. The mentally infirm cannot be held accountable for what they do...
"No, rather than damning the man, let us look upon his life as a lesson to us all -- and be grateful. Remember: there but for the grace of God go I.
"Professor Ichbonnsen was--"
I throw open the lid of my coffin and burst forth, fire in my eyes.
Somewhere behind me I hear Scarlet's exclamation:
I'm a sucker for melodrama -- but perhaps I overdid it a little this time. When I threw open the casket, the lid smacked that vile little preacher squarely in the face. It hit with enough force, in fact, that I found my mystery voice now sitting flat on the floor -- nursing a fast-swelling bump on the forehead... And letting loose a most ungodly stream of profanities.
"Thank you for your kind words, Father... Scarlet, shall we be leaving?"
So, here we are in Rio again.
Despite my initial burst of...liveliness...I find that I still haven't fully recovered my strength. I think we'll stay here for a while. The warm weather should be conducive to my recuperation -- and there's plenty for Scarlet to see and do.
I'm happy to see that Scarlet posted the final creature for Monster Month. With that obligation completed, I think I might even indulge in... A vacation. A week or two at most, I should think. Then back on the trail.
We have more leads yet to follow, hunting down life forms heretofore unknown by science. Of course, now we will have have to be on the lookout for assassins... And there's the unsolved mystery of who paid the one-eyed pilot to maroon us at Desolation Island...
As I said once before: darker things beckon.
"Shall I leave it there?" I ask Scarlet. She suggests one more line. Yes, I think, a little campy -- but that will do.
Thus, Monster Month 2007 comes to a close. Thank you, fellow Monster Hunters and Cryptophiles, for joining us on our adventure. Until next year...
Professor Ichbonnsen & Scarlet
writing from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil