AUSCHWITZ IN ESSEX.
The moon shone glumly over the lonesome spires of London.
A chill breeze filled the air, as every solemn square was filled with trembling, dread anticipation.
A lonely bell or two pealed, in solitude.
Nobody paid attention to such clarion prayers of beauty.
Their attention was upon the wireless.
Could it be true?
Could it possibly be true that Chamberlain was dead?
The crackling, and the fizz.
The first, familiar, tentative coughs.
Prompt, impetuous; almost imperious.
The world was on the edge of their seats.
And not just this pretty, frail and fragile corner of the Grand Unreckoned.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The old familiar drawl; snarling honey, treacled salt.
It is my great and inestimable displeasure to announce that the recent fog and innuendo of rumours is not, by any means, far from the truth.
I must not hesitate to break the silence, nonetheless. In such a time of terror and of trauma, the peals of consolation needs must breach the solemn, autumnal waves of August Albion.
A few grey, old eyes rolled and rumbled at the pretentious diction. Some had heard it all before.
They well knew how ‘those people’ liked to talk.
Mr Neville Chamberlain is, or rather WAS…
A man of great character, honor, and unimpeachable dignity of spirit.
Myriad maids and mothers immediately broke into inconsolable weeping.
It is perhaps not by any means to the point, to inquire whether those who remain, aye, we among the living, are not perhaps also without our stern nobility of spirit, and rigorous concern for justice?
A few scattered shouts of glory.
But glory-seeking must ever ring hollow, at a tremendous time of fear.
Now, my dear compatriots of these islands; permit me to be crystal clear.
The man, Neville Chamberlain, who you once loved and honoured as a treasured friend, is no longer among us, here in the land of the living. But in the valley of the shadow of death, it shall truly be said…
I. SHALL. FEAR. NO. EVIL.
The confidence trick was surprisingly effective. Old maids and old madams alike swooned over every pounding throb; the wily old Jesuit had certainly discerned the pulse of the nation. Now that was one thing for certain!
I hereby announce, with the greatest of sorrow for a long-departed friend and fellow-traveller, but at the same time, with the greatest reverence conceivable for the dignity conferred about me, that our revered monarch King George VI has consented to permit his humble servant, Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, to take the reins of the chariot of Boudicca, at this most inhospitable, and yet most courageous and honorable of ages.
Did he linger rather too long or lovingly over his own name? Read more Forget the Man in the High Castle, there’s Only One Game in Town for Edgy Alt-History Novels of WWII!