I think I am determined to drown myself! Really, I cannot remember the last time I found myself unintentionally thrown into the water twice in the same week!
It happened in New Babbage. I went to pay my rent and to inform my landlord that I had no more need of my room there. While in the vicinity of the canals, I happened across my friend Mr. Creighton, who is looking to expand his Steelhead enterprises into a branch office in New Babbage. I showed him the newly vacant room and discussed with him the possibility of including the observatory on one of his famous air tours. Of course, I warned him about the strange noises and that large spider web I discovered there last week, but he seemed undeterred. After a pleasant conversation, we took our respective leaves and continued on our own business.
Prompted by Wilson, a vagrant who enjoys vexing passers by as he sits idly upon a crate, I took the canal boat. I should have stopped when the boiler began all of that racket. I was determined to get home quickly, though, and so I did not heed my own better judgment. Before I could even blink, a roar accosted my ears and a bright flash of light burned orange and black splotches into my field of vision. I felt myself thrown as if by the hand of some ancient god. Fire, metal, and steam followed the blow, searing and cutting through my skin and clothes. I seemed to fly, blind and deaf but for a persistent ringing in my ears, for several minutes until a sharp pain slapped across my back. I inhaled, then, but breathed only water.
Somehow, I groped my way to the edge of the canal and used the last of my strength to pull myself up onto the paving stones. I coughed up gallons. The gritty pavers scratched, claw-like, against the raw skin of my palms. Pulling my injured limbs tightly against my chest, I huddled into a ball. I think I dreamed. I must have fainted. When I next opened my eyes, the foggy canal streets of New Babbage appeared blurry, yet visible. Though muffled and still accompanied by a faint ringing, the din of a busy metropolis greeted my ears. So did Wilson, the street person, whose lips were practically at my ears as he screamed for me to stand. I attempted it. Truly, Diary, I did! When I managed only to crawl, he picked me up and carried me to my old room.
I awoke some time later, the moon and stars shining dimly down through the fog. Wilson, it seemed, had cleaned and bandaged those wounds that he could see without breach of propriety. I would have thanked him, but he had gone to wherever it is he sleeps at night. With a trembling, limping gait, I made my weak way back to Caledon.
I look a fright, all burned and broken. I am just grateful to be alive.
–Miss Palabra Puddlegum–