My dead diary – on the formidable aggression of Victorian authors and other inhabitants of Highgate Cemetery
Tuesday. Mostly fighting – an exhausting business but I think everyone’s glad the waiting’s over. The occupants of Highgate cemetery were always going to be a problem, having lorded it over the north London undead for so long. Luckily, while everyone else was off getting hammered on Irish liquor up and down the Kilburn High Road, I had some time to think through our strategy.
The difficulty with Highgate is that they’re unassailable on the west side of the hill because of the expanse of Hampstead Heath which everyone knows is overrun with tree spirits, trolls and other hostile neutrals. I certainly wouldn’t attempt a crossing after dark. So we followed a lower route, pressing our way with little resistance through wealthy Belsize Park and encountering their main force at Gospel Oak.
They struck us hard, and for a while it was touch and go. Their crack troops were led by George Eliot, wielding her customary shillelagh to ruthless effect. There’s something about the ghosts of 19th century humanists that lends itself to brutal combat capability – I guess the afterlife comes as a bit of a shock to them and they have to deal with it somehow. I’d always suspected that the combination of Ms Eliot and Karl Marx were behind most of Highgate’s aggressive politics.
Anyway, in the end we held them off for long enough. What Highgate didn’t know about were the conversations I’d been having with the Clerkenwell zombies and other dubious undead of Bunhill Fields and the City crypts. They’d been busily laying waste to Islington and Holloway on their way north and joined battle with us just in time to crush Highgate’s last assault. I let the Assyrians chase the remnants around for a while before pulling our troops back, digging in around the hillside and preparing the siege.
When I last saw George Eliot, she was running up the hill with a band of enthusiastic Soho vampires in hot pursuit. I can’t stand vampires and I’d specifically told my zombie contact not to involve them – they’re far too prone to getting ideas above their station. He insists that they’d just trailed behind his army as hangers-on. Certainly if I catch sight of them again, there’ll be trouble.