I wasn't going to write any more long stories until "Bliss Of Another Kind" was finished but, you know, when ideas call...
I was in HMV over the weekend browsing movies, and I came across the League of Gentlemen movie, and the tagline was something like "to save their world, they're coming to ours" - and I thought, what a spiffing idea for a fanfiction! Also, I love the idea of Howard and Vince meeting Noel and Julian (I've read some other stuff like that) so I thought I'd try my own.
Apologies for the title but as I said, I'm crap at titling. This has nothing to do with C.S. Lewis.
Also, sorry this is so long but I wanted to set the scene.
Also, I'm sorry Noel and Julian are so angsty, but they will cheer up. I needed a reason for the Boosh to be stopping, that was all. I also just had to make them like Howard and Vince as I don't know what they're really like (although, judging by interviews, they ARE just like Howard and Vince).
Disclaimer: made it quite clear it isn't mine, haven't I?
"Something breaking... tearing apart..."
Vince Noir didn't do anything. He honestly didn't. He had no idea why the table suddenly split down the middle.
He yelped with shock as the two halves tottered and crashed to the floor, one either side of the kitchen, leaving a strange-looking gap where the table should have been.
A door banged further off in the flat, and Howard Moon appeared.
"Not again," he said, when he saw the table.
Things had been happening. At first small things, then bigger things – much bigger things. At first, it was light bulbs going. One went, then another a week later. Then three went on one day. Then all the lights round Vince's mirror all blew up spontaneously, scaring the mod so much that he wouldn't go into his bedroom for the rest of the day. Then one of the sofas suddenly collapsed when someone sat on it. They might have assumed this was because of the person's weight, if that person hadn't been Naboo.
And now the table.
Howard looked at Vince's frightened, confused face. This was a mystery just begging to be solved. An adventure practically crawling on the floor, asking for him to have it. Only the most intelligent, brave, and daring man could hope to work out what was going on before the whole building fell down, or something equally undesirable. Clearly a job for Howard Moon, Man of Action.
But Howard Moon, Man of Action, was totally at a loss. So he exercised the skill and courage that was practically bursting out of him by calling Naboo, who was never pleased to be disturbed. So it was, he told himself, a courageous thing to have done.
Vince, meanwhile, had sat down on the sofa and wrapped his arms round his knees. "What's happenin', Howard?" he muttered.
Howard, on the phone, flapped a hand at him impatiently – somewhat annoyed that Vince didn't seem more impressed with his quick thinking and problem solving.
"Hey, this is Naboo, don't leave a message cause I won't reply…"
"Naboo! Hey. It's Howard here. Just calling to see how you are – and also to say that the table broke in half, so maybe, if you could just… come home? Tonight? Tomorrow? Not urgent. We can manage, of course. Well, Vince can't. I can. And I can look after Vince, so don't worry… but maybe, you know, if you felt like it…"
Howard hung up before he made things any worse. He turned to Vince, hoping he hadn't heard. But Vince was preoccupied with his hair. Not that there was anything particularly unusual about that – but this time, Vince was looking critically in the mirror on the wall. Looking critically at his own hair? This meant something was very wrong in the world of Vince Noir.
"Vince?" Howard asked, worried.
"It won't go right," said Vince.
Vince's hair always went right. This didn't sound good.
"What do you mean?"
"I dunno, it just doesn't look right. It looks wrong, Howard. I can't work out what it is."
Howard joined Vince by the mirror and looked at him. He couldn't put his finger on it, but maybe now Vince mentioned it, there was something a bit off about his style…
"Don't worry about it, little man. It looks fine."
"Don't worry about it! When I look like a hay stack on legs? Don't worry about it?" Vince turned distractedly back to the mirror. "Maybe I need to straighten it again…" He wandered off distractedly.
Half an hour later, Naboo returned.
Howard was surprised to see him. Naboo was normally reluctant to get involved in things like this. But when he came in, he seemed genuinely worried. "Where's the table, then?" he said.
"I moved it into the hall to get it out of the way," said Howard, proud of himself for thinking of doing this.
"Okay," said Naboo. "Bollo, I might need some stuff, so stand by, okay?"
"Okay," grunted the gorilla.
The three of them went into the hall. The two halves of the table sat silently. Naboo bent over them, while Howard watched and nodded knowingly so the others might think he had an idea what was going on.
Then he noticed Naboo was shaking his head, and so he shook his as well. This was obviously a worrying situation. Things like this didn't happen. It meant… it was a worrying situation.
"I don't understand it," Naboo said suddenly. "It's a clean break."
"What?" asked Howard, caught off guard by this unexpected comment.
"It's just split. It's like a rip," Naboo was saying, running his hands over the wood. "It feels weird, too…" His eyes started to glaze over.
"Shh. Trance," Bollo hissed.
"Oh. Of course." Howard went silent.
"It's… there's weird energy here…" Naboo muttered, swaying around a bit and groping at the table. "Something breaking… tearing apart…" He was starting to shake.
"What? What's breaking? What's tearing apart?" Howard asked.
"Shh," hissed Bollo.
But Naboo suddenly twitched and jerked. He blinked. The trance was over.
"Broke trance," Bollo groaned at Howard. "Big Northern idiot."
Howard decided not to dignify this comment with a reply. "Did you see anything else, Naboo?" he asked.
"There's pain here," Naboo murmured. He stroked the broken edges of the table almost lovingly. "But I can't see. Something's blocking me. I don't understand… I should be able to see."
Howard and Bollo exchanged worried glances and waited for Naboo to speak again. But he just went on stroking the table, swaying a little, not speaking.
Two days later.
A sudden shriek made Howard and Bollo jump.
Bollo jumped so much he spilt tea all over himself. He groaned as his fur was soaked.
"Vince!" Howard gasped. The sound had come from the mod's bedroom.
Things were serious. Naboo had been examining the table almost night and day, but he wasn't getting anything. Just pain, and something breaking. He was frustrated. He had never not been able to see before.
Howard understood just how serious this situation might be. He had no idea what was going on, but it was serious, yes sir. He rushed to his friend's room.
"Vince!" he cried, bursting through the door with Bollo behind him, almost crashing into Howard's back when he stopped suddenly. Vince was standing by his mirror, bent over.
"What's all this noise…?" Howard started to ask, confused because there didn't seem to be a problem. But he tailed off as Vince turned round. He was clutching his hair straightners in one hand – and something else in the other. He was shaking visibly. Howard peered at what Vince was holding. Black, silky strands, very obvious against Vince's pale skin…
"My hair's falling out!" Vince croaked, eyes wide with horror.
"What's going on?" asked Naboo, who had been pouring over various spell books in his own room, appearing in the doorway.
"My hair!" Vince rasped again, starting to tremble even more violently.
"Oh no," Naboo said.
"Glue it back in?" Bollo suggested.
"I can't glue it, I'm not a doll!" Vince screeched. "I'm gonna be ugly! I'm gonna be bald! I'll look old, old like Howard – maybe even older than Howard!" He clutched at his head.
"Vince, calm down!" Howard said, choosing to ignore Vince's remark about his age because he knew that Vince was in such a state he didn't really understand what he was saying.
"Calm down! Calm down!" Vince screamed. "When I might go bald? I'll have to be the Electro Monk! Bald as a vulture!"
"Vince…" Howard reached out for his friend.
"No!" Vince shrieked. "Don't touch me! You might make it worse! It might be Howard oldness rubbin' off on me!" He took his hands off his head to push Howard away. More hair came away with his fingers.
Vince started screaming. He curled up on the floor, hands over his head.
"Naboo, do something!" Howard cried in a panic.
"Bollo," said Naboo, "Get the amulet! We'll take Vince to the Fountain of Youth!"
Bollo crashed out of the room and returned a moment later.
"I'm gettin' old!" Vince howled in the background.
"Don't worry, no-one knows with me and they won't need to know with you either," said Naboo. He reached out for Vince's hand – and then had to grab his arm, because Vince was still covering his head, as though he thought the rest of his hair might fly off if he didn't hold it down. "Right. Back soon." Naboo pressed the middle of the amulet – and nothing happened.
There was a short silence.
"Maybe it needs new batteries," said Howard. "I'll get new batteries –"
"No. I changed 'em yesterday," Naboo said.
Naboo opened the amulet. "It's all connected. It should be workin'. I don't understand."
"What's happened to me?" Vince cried.
"Relax? Relax? When I'm shedding like – like a shed?"
"Like a shed?" Howard asked.
"I've got to get to the chemist! I need somethin' to stop it!" Vince leapt up, still clutching his head, and made a bid for the doorway. Howard seized him. "No! Calm down!"
"Let go of me!" Vince shrieked, struggling.
"Bollo, we need to knock him out," Naboo said. "Get the –" But he broke off, because Bollo reached over and thumped Vince on the head. He collapsed in Howard's arms, unconscious.
"Bollo! I meant drug 'im, not just take him out."
"Oh well. It's the same thing. Howard, get him into bed, yeah? I need to consult my books. Bollo, I'll need your help. There could be serious magic at work…"
Howard nodded as Naboo and Bollo left the room. He looked down at his prone friend.
"All right, little man. Let's get you into bed."
He lifted Vince up in his arms – he was heavier than he looked – and staggered awkwardly to the bed with him. He tried to place Vince gently on the mattress, but lost his balance as he bent over and fell forwards, landing on top of him.
This was not the kind of position that Howard Moon was used to being in at all. No, sir. And he didn't even fantasise about being in it with another man. He leapt up hastily.
Vince stayed sprawled on the bed, hair spread out round his head. He looked rather pale. Impulsively, Howard reached out and brushed his hair out of his face – carefully, so as not to dislodge any more.
Howard hoped Vince wouldn't get a bruise where Bollo had hit him. A combination of that and hair loss could probably drive his electro friend to suicide, and although he was Howard Moon, Man of Action, he didn't really want to have to climb the building to stop Vince throwing himself off the top.
A few hours later.
Vince was sitting miserably on the sofa. He'd come round about an hour after Bollo knocked him out, but had refused to leave his room – "I can't have people seein' me like this!" It was only after hours of pleading that Howard finally persuaded him to come out, and even then, it was only wearing the biggest hat Howard had ever seen. It was so big it was probably bigger than Naboo. Vince looked good in hats. But that one didn't really suit even him. It was bright red and very floppy, like an old-fashioned woman's sun hat, and it had horrible paper flowers. Given the circumstances, Howard had decided not to ask why Vince had bought it.
Naboo was sitting, equally miserably, on the other sofa. He wasn't even smoking hookah. He hadn't been able to work out what was going on. The spells didn't seem to work.
Howard knew that Naboo was very worried by this. Shamen spells shouldn't just stop working. Even he realised must really be something very serious going on.
He brought everyone food, attempting to look cheerful. Normally, Howard Moon's presence would be enough to lighten even the darkest of rooms. Or that was what Howard told himself. But not today.
Howard sat down on the sofa next to Vince (Bollo was taking up the cushions by Naboo). He tried smiling around at everyone but nobody reacted. Howard sighed, reached for the remote, and flicked on the television.
"In breaking news, a famous explorer has disappeared. Dixon Bainbridge was last seen two days ago going into his house. He was reported missing this morning by Mr Bob Fossil, the manager of the zoo he owns."
"What?" Howard said. Even Vince had looked up, peering under the rim of his hat.
"Turn it up," Naboo said. Howard pressed the volume control on the remote.
A picture of Bainbridge, in all his moustache-d glory, was being shown on the screen. The newsreader's voice said: "Police say they are baffled by the mysterious disappearance of the explorer. They say they have found no signs that Mr Bainbridge was taken against his will."
The picture changed to a police sergeant, talking animatedly into several microphones held out by excited journalists. "At this moment we are closely examining the theory that Mr Bainbridge disappeared of his own accord," he was saying. "However, we have not ruled out the prospect that he has been taken by a third party or parties. If anyone has any information, we would like to ask them to contact their nearest police station. It is vital that we locate Mr Bainbridge as soon as possible, before he comes to any serious harm."
Howard, Vince, Bollo and Naboo all exchanged bewildered looks.
The newsreader was back. "Some have linked Bainbridge's disappearance to the other mysterious disappearances of the famous musicians Rudi Van DiSarnio and Spider Dijon, who vanished last week from…"
"They went missing too?" Howard asked.
"Police are at pains to say they are still treating the two cases as separate. However, a chief inspector said that a link was a line of enquiry worth pursuing."
Naboo was staring at the television screen. "Oh, God," he mumbled.
"What?" Howard asked, trying to hide the fact that he felt quite frightened – not something a Man of Action was supposed to feel. "Do you know what's happening? Are more people going to vanish?"
"Yeah, what?" Vince asked. "And what about my hair? Is that gonna go missing, too?"
"There's something really wrong here," Naboo muttered. Shadows drew in around them. Howard shivered and leant closer to Naboo as the flat visibly darkened, clouds gathered, and lightning flashed outside…
"Is that all you can say?" Vince screamed suddenly.
Everyone jumped. Vince never shouted. The last time he'd really shouted had been about four years ago, while they were still at the zoo, when Howard told him Topshop was closing down. It was a joke. It was April Fool's Day. Howard thought it was witty and amusing. But Vince didn't find out that it was a joke until two days later, when any amusement had long since been lost, because he was so distraught that he locked himself in with the llamas and wouldn't see anyone except them for two days.
But now, he was on his feet – and blazing. "Is that all you can say, you midget? There's something really wrong here? Like you think we don't all know? Are you gonna do anythin' about it? Or are you just gonna sit there like a pair of blue curtains? We might all be gonna disappear and I'm losing my hair but oh no, Naboo has to stay mysterious and monotone and mope around like a rejected member of the Seven Dwarves!"
"Vince!" Howard said, shocked.
"And you're going to march round the flat with your stoopid moustache, like a clothes brush on legs, tellin' everyone how you're a Man of Action, but not actually doing anything!" Vince shrieked. "I'm losin' my hair and you're doing nothing!" And with that, he fled. They heard the door of his room slam a few moments later.
"Naboo…" Howard started, but Naboo was staring straight ahead at the television screen. And Howard realised he wasn't doing anything because he couldn't. He didn't know what to do.
Vince had stormed into his bedroom and kicked his bed a few times. Then he fell on it, wanting to cry, but of course no tears came. They never do when you actually have the opportunity to sob your heart out. So he just lay there, muttering insults about the other three people in the flat. But it was tiring. That and the stress of losing his hair. After about half an hour, he fell asleep…
A couple of hours later, Vince Noir was awoken by a voice shouting.
"Fuck, I can't deal with this shit any more!"
Vince jerked upright. Who was that? He sat on his bed, ears straining, heart pounding with the shock of waking up so suddenly.
Then came another voice: "You can't deal with this shit? You can't deal with this shit? This wasn't my idea!"
That sounded like…
"Howard?" Vince called softly.
It certainly sounded like Howard. But who was he talking to? The other person didn't sound like Bollo or Naboo.
Vince hurried to his bedroom door and opened it.
Then, the first voice was back. "So it's all my fault, is that it? Why d'you think I started this? D'you think I did it on a whim? D'you think I just felt like it? Wanted to see what would happen? Of course, it couldn't possibly be anything to do with you, could it?"
No, it definitely wasn't Bollo or Naboo. Although, now he came to think of it, there was something familiar about that other voice…
Vince waited, holding his breath, willing the people to speak again.
"I don't believe this. You're accusing me of being self-centred? I don't believe I'm hearing this!"
"Well, you better, because that's what I'm doin'!"
Vince suddenly realised that the voices were coming from inside his room.
"Excuse me, but I'm not the one who runs around like an electro prostitute, practically blowing the paparazzi to take my picture, getting smashed on tour, getting involved in all sorts of celebrity rumours and…"
The voices were coming from the wardrobe.
Vince crept over to. He opened the wardrobe cautiously and peered inside.
There was no-one in there. There was nothing at all unusual about it. Just his clothes, all hanging up – or on the floor, if he hadn't bothered to hang them.
But the voices were much louder now. "No, you sit at home every night with a cup of tea!"
And that was when Vince noticed a strange light at the back of his cupboard. A weird, pulsing, humming blue light.
Shaking, he stepped into the wardrobe, and blundered towards it, arms out in front of him because it was dark. He felt his clothes. The light got closer. Hangers rattled as he brushed them. He went on walking – and suddenly his hands touched wood. The back of the wardrobe? He groped around. No. A door.
He couldn't hear the voices any more. But, if he strained his ears, he thought he could hear muffled sounds coming from downstairs – muffled sounds like two people arguing.
Vince pushed hard on the doors and they swung open. He staggered out into a bedroom. But it was a bedroom he'd never seen before in his life.
Where was he? What was going on? He'd walked through his own wardrobe into someone else's bedroom. This beat those books Howard once tried to read to him about the lion and the witch and all that.
It was a pretty genius bedroom, actually. Colourful. There was a dressing table covered in make-up and hair products, and a very sturdy looking pair of straightners. Vince hurried to the mirror to check the trip hadn't harmed him. He grimaced when he saw the hat he was wearing and remembered his own hair. Maybe there was something here that could help…
But then: "You're like a little hooker! Letting everyone pay to have a piece of you! You make me sick!"
"And you make me sick, you great Northern waste of space!"
"There's no point arguing about this any more, is there?" snarled the man with the deeper voice. "We're doing it, aren't we? We're ending it."
There was a tiny silence. For a moment it almost seemed that the higher-voiced man was having second thoughts about whatever it was. But then he said, "Yeah. We're doin' it."
"We're killing them," hissed the man with the deeper voice.
"They're not alive, you fuckin' ponce!"
"It felt like it sometimes. So we're killing them off, then? Howard and Vince."
Vince gasped. He'd said their names! And he'd said – he'd said – killing them? He staggered, clutching the dressing table.
Make-up and hair products rattled violently, falling over onto each other, tumbling onto the floor.
"What was that?" came the voice of the higher-voiced man, the "electro prostitute".
"Maybe it was one of your groupies," sneered the "great Northern waste of space".
"Shut it. Hello? Is someone up there?"
Vince heard footsteps. Panicked, he turned tail and fled into the wardrobe – closing the door just as a man about Vince's age, with dyed black hair styled elegantly and very tight red jeans, pushed the door of the bedroom open.
No answer. Everything was still. There was nobody there.
"Well?" called his friend, who was concerned in spite of himself.
"Nothin'." Even though he was sure he hadn't left his make-up in such a state that morning…
Reviews? Like it? Hate it? Want me to continue it? Want me to spend the rest of my life in a cave? Tell me!
Also, I'm stopping "Bliss Of Another Kind", in case you're worried. I'll just update both simultaneously.