The Brightonomicon (Brentford Book 8)

The Brightonomicon (Brentford Book 8) by Robert Rankin Read Free Book Online

Book: The Brightonomicon (Brentford Book 8) by Robert Rankin Read Free Book Online
Authors: Robert Rankin
many times. Have you fathomed it yet?’
    ‘No,’ I said. ‘I have not. It appears to be a large-scale map of Brighton, but it has all kinds of figures drawn all over it, following the patterns made by the roads. A bat, a cat, a horse – I think.’
    ‘And the head of a dog,’ said Mr Rune, ‘in the Hangleton area ofBrighton. You will observe that the house we visited was in Tudor Close, in the very eye of the hound.’
    ‘Oh,’ I said. ‘And that is significant, is it?’
    ‘Most,’ said Mr Rune. ‘Entirely. This map is the means by which I will discover the Chronovision’s location and achieve my goal – its recovery and destruction. If the Chronovision is the single most significant discovery of this century, then what is drawn upon that map must rank as number two.’
    ‘So what is it?’ I asked.
    ‘It is my discovery, young Rizla. The figures you see traced on to that map are the Carriageway Constellations, the work of a Victorian magician who influenced the Brighton Borough Town-Planning Committee to lay out the roads and byways of Brighton to a particular pattern, one that would later be discovered by myself. There are twelve figures, you see. Each represents a case or conundrum that we together must solve in order to acquire the Chronovision. What you see before you on that map, young Rizla, is the Brighton Zodiac.’
    Mr Rune paused, awaiting applause.
    I raised my glass and said, ‘Can I have another drink?’
    PART II
     
    All right. I was not impressed. Perhaps I should have been, but after the tale of the television set that enabled its viewer to witness scenes of the past, the Brighton Zodiac seemed a bit of a disappointment. And, you might think, hardly something upon which to end a chapter.
    But then, this is
my
account of the events that occurred and if
I
feel that that is where the chapter should end, that is where the chapter will end! And in the light of events that were soon to occur, please be assured that I know what I am talking about.
    After all,
I was there!
    ‘The Brighton Zodiac,’ I said. ‘Well, blow me down.’
    ‘You are singularly unimpressed,’ said Mr Hugo Rune, ‘but then you have yet to understand its significance.’
    ‘Well.’ I shrugged. ‘I suppose I will have to take your word for it.’
    Mr Rune sighed mightily. ‘I am confiding in you matters,’ said he, ‘that I have never confided to another soul. I am doing so because in a future time, indeed, a far future time, you will write these matters down, indeed, compose them into a book that will become a bestseller.’
    ‘Do you really think so?’
    ‘I have no doubt of it. The past and the future are one and the same to me. I am Rune, whose name is legend. Rune who fathoms the unfathomable. Rune who makes the impossible a strong probability. Rune—’
    ‘I hate to interrupt,’ I said, ‘but about this Brighton Zodiac—’
    ‘Ah yes. The key to it all. Allow me to explain.’
    ‘Please do.’
    ‘Back in the nineteen twenties, there existed a notable lady by the name of Kathleen Maltwood. She was a native of Glastonbury and also a visionary. She had the gift of overview: she could see beyond the everyday, glimpse the bigger picture – a gift that I possess to overabundance. It was her conviction that imprinted upon the landscape about Glastonbury was a great zodiac, formed from the rivers and hills, the roads and the natural features. She studied aerial photographs of the area and she joined the dots, so to speak. She discovered the Glastonbury Zodiac. *
    ‘Ten years ago, another lady, one Mary Caine, put forward her belief that if the Glastonbury Zodiac existed, then so too should the Kingston Zodiac, surrounding the area where the ancient Celtic kings were crowned. She studied the Ordnance Survey maps of the surrounding territories and she, too, found her zodiac. †
    ‘I am Hugo Rune,’ said Mr Rune, ‘and so it was inevitable that I, too, would find
my
zodiac.’
    ‘But what does your

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