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The Adventure Of Cecil Scumbleby
About the Author: Aggie lives with her wife by the beach in Australia, where she spends most of her time hiding from the sun and heat. She writes around studying for her pharmacy degree and entertaining her three dogs. She loves all kinds of speculative fiction and often draws inspiration from Slavic folklore and mythology. When not writing she can be found drinking tea and reading everything in sight.

Cecil slowly poured his sister a cup of tea, not breaking eye contact. It was horrifically over-brewed, and she winced as she sipped the bitter beverage.

“Sybil, Sybil, Sybil.”

He raised his own tea to his lips and blew at the steam, imagining he exhaled smoke from a cigar.

His sister squirmed on her overturned crate. Uncomfortable. Just where he wanted her.

“Cecil, what are we doing in the garden shed? And why are you wearing that hat? You look ridiculous.”

He lifted a hand to his head. He’d found the moth-eaten deerstalker hanging on the door. It covered his thinning hair nicely—Great Aunt Edna had many hidden treasures.

“I wanted to speak to you privately.”


“I know what you did, Sybil.”

“What are you talking about?”

He leaned forward, easily closing the space between them. It was a small shed.

“I think that’s rather obvious. Our Great Aunt, stabbed, leaving behind untold wealth. You, destitute.”

Sybil blinked back at him, confused.

“I know you need money. I heard you complaining to Mum about it at Christmas. You wouldn’t be the first Scumbleby after Great Aunt Edna’s fortunes. I know you did it.”

She stood, backing up against the wall. “My God, Cecil! What is wrong with you? Stop playing detective in the garden shed and come help me clean the kitchen. My money is none of your business.”

“It is when you go to such lengths for it! I know you’d do anything for your daughter. I know she’s been on a waiting list for that stupidly expensive school. What is it, Ingrid’s Institute for Incurable Infants?”

“Saint Ingrid’s School for Girls.”

“Exactly. It’s not just about the money. This is about Poppy—no Polly—


“This is about Penny’s future. She acts out. She needs this school. You need it. If only you had enough for the tuition fees. We both know Pol—” A glare. “Penny won’t be winning a scholarship anytime soon. Just admit the truth.”

“The truth, Cecil, is that I’m selling my car and borrowing money from our parents. There. Does that make you feel better? Knowing I’ve had to crawl to Mummy and Daddy for help? Do you believe me now?”

Sybil always had been disgustingly honest.

“You can go.”

Cecil opened the shed door to reveal a girl dressed entirely in ripped black things that probably cost a pretty penny.

“Good afternoon, uh,” he paused, “Penny. Do come in.”

She stared at him. “Uncle Cece? I think something died on your head.”

His cheeks reddened. “You know that’s not my name. And it’s a perfectly fashionable hat.”

Penny sank onto the crate, shoulders slouched. “You made Mum cry.”

“Your mother is just a bit upset about Great Aunt Edna.”

“Mum hated Great Aunt Edna.”

“Right. Well. I’m glad you’re here. We need to talk about what you did.”

“I didn’t do anything.”

Unlike her mother, Penny had been lying practically since she exited the womb.

“I find that difficult to believe. Your mother is a good person, but I have no such illusions about you.”

Penny pushed a strand of ratty black hair from her face.

“The only time I’ve heard Mum swear is to call you a dick. Now I know why.”

“Are you calling me—?” Cecil took a deep breath. “Never mind. I know you did it.”

“Did what, exactly?”

This story appears in our JUL 2024 Issue
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