It all started with a life-long obsession.
Something of an addict of what might be called the genre of crime-fiction and a bibliophile to the extreme, I'd been visiting family and enjoying a well-deserved vacation. My sister had bought a joke gift on the way over; a huge box of consignment novels that had been for a garage sale some weeks back.
Most were so damaged as to be unreadable, but the gesture touched me - and more then that, there were so many I hadn't even heard of! Most were from later on and past my field of interest; the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, lovingly dog-eared and obviously much read by the previous owners. At the bottom of the box, however, what treasures lay waiting to be found! There were books from quite a few continental crime writers of the turn of the century, including a book by G.K. Chesterton I had never heard of - The Autumnal Angles I mentioned earlier on in the thread.
Now, 12AngryOwens has been really helpful with identifying the cover as actually having come from a 1960's album cover, but I still can't say for certain if that was intentional or not. What was certain is that most of the Father Brown novels - for those of you who aren't used to them - are collections of short stories, whereas my new find was a stand-alone novel, and in near-mint condition. I don't think I have to tell all of you why that seemed like a pretty big find at the time. ; )
But I hadn't had the time to crack the book open until I returned home, this weekend. I'd built up an image in my mind of what it was going to be - given the title, I'd assumed it would be a revisit of the themes of secret heathenry, perhaps, or someone using the guise of it to achieve some nefarious end - at least until the good Father Brown sets his mind to it.
To my surprise, however, and initial disappointment, the book didn't feature Father Brown at all - not at first. Instead it started as a diatribe that I can only describe as unstable - targeting the reader and anyone involved in the publication as being complicit in some sort of plot, the vague nature of which was never stated. I'd reproduce it, but honestly - imagine the most embarrasingly hamfisted conspiracy you've ever rolled your eyes at, and you've probably got a good idea.
Just at the point when I was going to declare the book either a fake or a lost cause, however - and I think about seventeen pages in - the font changed, a pagenumber signifed that we'd entered the book proper, and suddenly I was in the village of Wiltshire, walking alongside the good Father as we looked into the mysterious disappearance of the villagers and a strange and unseasonal flood along the coast. The two seemed to be disrelated, but as we all know - it's never that simple.
Not too long after, the titular Autumnal Angles came in to play; a longitude and latitude that apparently listed the village of Wiltshire as being completely underwater, despite the fact it was as bright as day outside.
And that's when things got weird. I'm going to turn it over to Fiat for now; you've been an awesome archivist. Thanks for helping me through this. Wimseyfan121 (talk) 11:21, May 15, 2014 (UTC)
Hey all! Sorry for the delay. This is hard to slog through, not just counting the spelling errors later on. Wimsey left off on a pretty compelling note, but I'm going to tell you straight up that things weren't exciting all that. There's a chapter break, and then it's revealed the entire town - and world - has been underwater the whole time, and with the realization that water is flooding their lungs, everyone starts to drown.
This is described in graphic detail, with the writer, who I'm convinced wasn't Chesterton, going to great lengths to describe the way people are clawing at wet dirt, trying to avoid breathing at all, floundering about and swimming 'up' to no avail. Eventually - well, eventually, everyone dies, but that isn't the end of the story. Not at close.
Father Brown continues to narrate, bemoaning his fate and the complete lack of power he had and discounting the ability of "Man to know the fate of man, for the only knowledge we have comes from heaven." The writing turns to some sort of amateur religious-political screed, nothing like the stuff you'd expect from Chesterton... Who appears as a character not too much later.
Chesterton is long dead, and described as such. I'll spare you the details, but whoever wrote this had a real sick mind, and some sort of grudge. Also too much time, because this where the writing alternates between bad Latin, and worse Sanskrit. Thanks, everyone who helped - I'll put out a list later, but you should be able to find contributions by name. (Edit: Sorry, names removed.)
At this point, the ground itself opens upon the Autumnal Angles, and swallows them both, describing in the mixed-up language how heroes are never killed, but instead eaten alive and consumed - and from their fallen blood, born anew. It then instructs to 'teach you how to born again a new hero', with the unquiet earth patiently giving us a list of things we need to do and things that need to be ingested in order to become a famous person after we die. Given that I'm pretty sure most people would die before digesting half a pound of broken glass, the author was definitely off their gourd.
We're still not over yet, though. Nope, this crazy-train has just gotten started. Fiat (talk) 09:42, May 18, 2014 (UTC)
What lies at the Angles of Autumn? Unsigned
Fiat isn't posting anymore. They privately requested that they be banned from the wiki, simply because they don't want to associate with us or the thread any longer, and don't want the 'compulsion' to come back on their own volition. I'm sorry, I know you're all as disappointed and surprised as I am, but that's just the way these things go. Fiat was kind enough to let me take the work they hadn't posted here, but it wasn't necessary. The last bit is in English, anyway.
The story ends with everything having been a hallucination caused by tainted well water, where the badly drowned and decomposed corpses of the missing villagers are found, having rotted to such indistinguishable grime that they completely tainted the water supply - giving extreme nausea and cramping to all those who ingested it, with such severe delerium among the affected as for some to fall into the well and contribute to the process. All in all, fifteen recognizable corpses are so exhumed, with Father Brown asking the reader inquisitively how such a tragedy could have gone unnoticed.
But then things jump back to the extremely weird as Father Brown begins rattling off a list of names and places, none of which I've been able to trace to any incident, major or minor, modern or medieval. The book ends half-way through a sentance, as if the author ran out of time during printing, or the press ran out of ink.
Hey, you can't lurk around such fine people without picking up a head for hunches, though. I tried the trick with lemon juice and was pleasantly surprised to find a bit more text, a dedication page that dedicated the book - and I'm reprinting this here 'In The Memory of All Great Crimers Everywhere Who Are Unrecognized and Unknwon', spelling is correct. In the end, it left me wanting more, but there doesn't seem to be much more to go off of. I'm sorry, looks like our little mystery has come to an end! ;D Wimseyfan121 (talk) 8:12, May 19, 2014 (UTC)
First of all, I want to apologize to everyone here. I made the whole thing up as a hoax. Sorry for getting your hopes up, first at the promise of a new novel, and then at our own little mystery.
But I'm not sorry - I just wanted to make life a little exciting for me, and for all of us, and I thought what if there had been a mysterious book at the bottom of that box? What if it had brought the community together? And it did!
I'm still not sure why Fiat drowned themselves, but you can't realistically expect me to respond to claims that I'm somehow responsible for a crime halfway across the globe, can you? That's ridiculous. I'm sad, but we have to move on. Wimseyfan121 (talk) 4:09, May 24, 2014 (UTC)
Until further notice, consider this topic closed to further comments; we've already lost two members of the community to this mess, and you can stop making duplicate topics on other pages. And don't think we don't notice that ASCII art of the well. Frankly, I find it not just distasteful, but disgusting. Admin
What lies at the Angles of Autumn? Unsigned
That's it, I'm locking this down. Admin