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Arcana

The Portal

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Arcana

The Portal

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1. "Is there anyone there?"


It was a stormy night, rain dancing on rooftops, as if in some interminable waltz, wind groaning as it breathed down chimney stacks and lightning flickering through pitch black skies. All was as it should be, in some twisted nightmare, waiting to commence it's unfolding presence on an unsuspecting world.

Tiny hands played in idle curiosity, having found some strange new game to play. Hidden beneath hordes of empty decaying suitcases in a dusty, cobweb infested attic room, barred from entry, for fear of unsupervised misadventure. Childish naivety moved the planchette across the board, interrupted momentarily by the distant shriek of a wailing cat, as if caught in the dying throes of some unmentionable atrocity. "Is there anyone there?", whispered an adolescent voice, as another crack of thunder assailed the sound of cascading rain that hammered overhead, pouring in incessant torrents  down the skylight windows.

Despite the resounding cacophony of the tempest, an unwitting mission was at hand, lit by a flickering candle, as wax oozed over bare floorboards, marking the stream of time. Shadows pranced their grotesque shapes, stretching towards the surrounding darkness, as if anticipating some event in the making. "Is there anyone there?", repeated the voice, eager for some reply, yet hoping deep down that no response would manifest, to allow peaceful repose to follow. The air grew heavy, the musty odour of absent neglect, mixed with the smell of  burning wax filled the room.

Quite suddenly, without any warning, the planchette darted towards the word 'Yes', causing the candle to dance violently, set in motion by a fleeting gust of breeze. "Who is there?", came a startled, nervous response, taken aback, yet still unsuspecting any malevolence afoot. The planchette seemed to move with a will of its own, freely darting to and fro across the spirit board, as it spelled....."W-E-A-R-E-L-E-G-I-O-N". Albert was only twelve years old and had snuck into the attic room of the new house his parents had recently bought, having been left a tidy sum in the will of a recently bereft relative. It was meant to be nothing more than a mischievous adventure, the prior warning from his parents to stay out the attic, was like moth to a flame, for a young inquisitive mind such as his.

Albert was now confronted with something unexpected and was unsure how to deal with this strange message that seemed to make no sense. "How many of you are there?", was all he could think to ask, in the spur of the moment. "W-E-A-R-E-L-E-G-I-O-N", was spelled out in repetition, the planchette seeming to move more quickly in response. This was all becoming very unsettling for the youthful mind to comprehend, as an unexpected shiver descended down Albert's spine. Albert attempted to rationalize by asking, "What is Legion?". At this point, a loud thunderclap, accompanied by a bright flash of lightening shook the room. "A-N-G-E-L-S...", came the response, as without warning, the attic door flew open with a shrill creak, as a voice pierced the storm, "Albert, what on earth are you doing out of your bed and I thought I told you not to play in this room!" Albert's mother had seen the trickle of candlelight that filtered through the cracks in the attic door and promptly gone to investigate.

"I-I  c-couldn't sleep because of the noise the storm was making Mummy.", Albert stuttered nervously, knowing he was in hot water, as his mother only called him Albert when he was in trouble. "I-I didn't mean to wake you or disobey you on purpose.", he pleaded. "It's alright darling, I saw the light around the door and heard voices, so I wondered what was going on?", Albert's mother, Miriam, replied in a soothing, reassuring tone. "Who was you speaking to?", inquired Miriam. "Oh nobody.......just some angels.", replied Albert. Albert's mother let out a loud belly laugh, "Angels!", she spluttered......"Well I think it's well past time you went to bed Bertie, now put that game away and get yourself off to sleep sharpish, so those angels can sing you a lullaby!"

Without further ado, Albert did as he was told and blew out the candle, before descending the flight of stairs to his bedroom. As he lay in his bed, Miriam gently tucked him in beneath his sheets. Albert's mind was puzzled by the events that had taken place earlier and despite the discord of the raging storm outside, that evoked an uneasy atmosphere, he resolved to go to sleep, intently listening for his promised lullaby from those angels. A twirling nightlight painted images of teddy bears and rocket ships on his bedroom walls, all accompanying him on a tranquil journey towards the drowsy land of dreams. Aside from the sounds of the storm, as Albert focused his hearing, patiently awaiting his angelic serenade, to his uneasy surprise, all he heard was sporadic loud bangs and clatters coming from the attic.

Within the now empty attic room above, unseen by the family below as they lay at rest in their beds, a candle spluttered back to life, dancing wildly as if possessed. The spirit board placed atop the dusty pile of suitcases lay motionless, until accompanied by a scratching sound, the planchette began to move of its own accord. The storm howled and the rain still descended in sheets, as the sky wept inconsolably, as if it knew what was to follow. Punctuated by rolling thunder, a sudden series of prolonged sheet lightening bursts flashed through the attic skylight, just long enough to reveal the planchette spelling out......."W-E-A-R-E-H-E-R-E".

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To be continued....

Edited by Arcana
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The Portal

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2. Darvil House

The following morning dawned, with shafts of bright sunlight flooding through the sash mullioned windows. The year was 1927, as King George the Fifth sat on the throne. He had been unwell for some time and was exhibiting the advanced signs of respiratory disease, nurtured no doubt by his chain smoking addiction.

The house had a somewhat foreboding appearance with its neo gothic facade, though the fleeting glimpses of what lay inside, seen through parted brocade curtains, hinted at Georgian splendour within. This was indeed misleading, as once set foot inside, the house was a shadow of its former glory, with cobwebs everywhere, peeling walls and a graveyard of dead flies on every window pane. Miriam Blyth had purchased the property known as 'Darvil House' with the proceeds left to her by her wealthy aunt, Agnes Digby, who had passed away recently from a sudden heart attack. She shared the house with her husband Ernest and young son Albert, in the firm belief that this was to become their dream home. After all, all it needed was a thorough clean and dusting, the tiled floors scrubbing and a healthy dose of redecoration, to restore it to a semblance of its former grandeur.

The house had been neglected for many years prior to their ownership, as it had been owned by an elderly widow who was well known in those parts for dabbling with the occult. Local folk of the sleepy village of Chadwell Pickering, stayed well away from 'Darvil House', or Devil House as it was known locally. A dark reputation had been earned across the years, fueled by the nightly comings and goings of carriages, ferrying a plethora of clairvoyants, soothsayers and occultists, all adorned in black attire. It was oft' rumoured that some who had stayed on at the village inn 'til being unceremoniously thrown out after 'last orders', due to their drunken demeanor, had witnessed odd ceremonies taking place on the grounds of old Devil House.

It was said that huge bonfires were lit and people were seen cavorting naked and chanting, apparently involved in some fiendish, depraved practice that had no place, in this otherwise god fearing, sleepy, rural village. For this reason, the local gossips had spread word to all the 'decent' folk to stay away and not to venture near the Devil's House, lest they be damned and tainted by the unholy practices that took place there. As for the old widow who was the former owner of Darvil House, no-one knew for sure how she met her end? Some said she died from some hideous affliction, whilst others claimed she was snatched away and taken by the Devil himself.

Miriam and Ernest had paid no heed to local folklore and chose to ignore the rants of drunkards and nosy tittle tattlers, who in all probability, were jealous of the previous owner's lavish, eccentric lifestyle. This was to be the Blyth's very own slice of England, with all the trappings and promises of luxurious living that the old house seemed to hint at. One of the things that did make Miriam feel uneasy about the old place, was the red stains all over the attic floor and the faded, peeling pentagram painted on the floorboards. Furthermore, every door and window in the entire house was caked in stale salt and in every room the ashtrays were filled with foul smelling, burnt shrubs, that through taking a sample to the local Horticultural Club, Miriam was reliably informed, was Sage.

It was most perplexing, though not disconcerting, as it all seemed quite harmless. Whatever the poor old woman who lived there before, had been involved with,  it was most likely some deluded attempt to contact her dearly departed husband no doubt. After all, in this day and age, charlatans and those ready to prey on elderly rich widows were rife, especially in occult circles. No, Miriam was adamant that this was to be their chance at tasting the 'good life', a perfect home, in the perfect place, to share with her beloved Ernest and dear little Bertie.

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To be continued....

 

 

Edited by Arcana
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The Portal

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3. The Events

A few weeks had passed by since the Blyths had moved in to Darvil House. Although this was to be their dream, there was something oppressive about the house, that no amount of cleaning or redecorating could mitigate. The floors now swept, the dead flies all laid to rest and the cobwebs removed from every nook and cranny, the house did indeed look quite grand in the clear light of day. By night on the other hand, it was a much different story.

Hardly a night went by without incident. There were bangs, scratching and knocks, seeming to emanate from the very walls upstairs, so much so, that Bertie often sought the comfort of sleeping with his parents in their bedroom, finding himself unable to sleep through the barrage of random sounds that plagued the house by night. Ernest had put it all down to old plumbing and the house 'breathing' as he put it, due to the floorboards contracting due to fluctuations in temperature. Ernest was a very practical, scientifically minded sort of man, whose explanations seemed quite reasonable for such an old house. Nonetheless, noise is noise, and to a twelve year old boy who was unsettled in his new home, it felt more than a little frightening at times.

After further disturbances that continued their nightly disruption, patience began to become frayed in the household, accompanied by growing tempers fueled with insomnia. Ernest and Miriam began arguing and shouting aloud at each other, snapping over the least small thing. Bertie had not heard his parents argue and raise their voices like this before and he began to feel increasingly alone and insecure. He even thought he heard whispers at times when nobody else was around, it sounded like someone was calling his name from afar.

Things went from bad to worse, as the noises seemed to grow in severity with each passing night. By now Ernest was tearing his hair out with frustration, at his inability to rectify the chorus of sound that plagued their nightly slumber. He'd even called in architects, local plumbers, carpenters and electricians to investigate the cause of all the noises, but none of them were able to identify the source.

One night, as Bertie huddled up close to his mother in bed, seeking some semblance of comfort, Ernest heard something smash downstairs. He rose out of bed in a temper, shouting, "That's enough, I just can't take any more of this!" As he went out the bedroom door onto the landing, he saw the lightbulb fizzing and dimming, before it exploded into tiny shards, casting everywhere into pitch darkness. He groped blindly for the bannister rail and no sooner had he managed to feel his way to it, than a chorus of voices echoed, "We are here!", just as Ernest was violently thrown down the staircase, sent tumbling helplessly by some unseen force.

Bruised and barely conscious at the foot of the stairs, Ernest remained alert just long enough to see a crowd of dark figures that seemed enveloped by a dimly glowing mist, piercing the pitch. He felt a surge of pain, accompanied by something wet dripping into his eyes. He instantly knew his arm was broken, where he'd tried to protect himself during his fall. In a state of shock, just before he blacked out, he distinctly thought he saw what looked like wings on the ominous, grotesque shadowy figures.......followed by a numb descent into oblivion.

When Ernest awoke, he found himself in a hospital bed on a busy ward. "You were lucky.", a voice spoke. "You could have easily broken your neck instead of your arm," the voice continued. Ernest slowly regained his senses, only to discover he could only see through one eye, due to bandages across the other and his arm was in a plaster cast. As he tried to sit upright in the hospital bed, he felt a searing pain flood to his lower back and hips. "You'll be quite tender for a while I'm afraid, you have some severe trauma and bruising to your back. Don't worry though, I've seen your x-rays and luckily nothing more is fractured, but you'll have to stay in bed and get plenty of rest for a while.", spoke a friendly, bespectacled face in a white coat, beaming a reassuring smile. "By the way, my name is Doctor Livingstone and before you ask, I've not seen Stanley lately...", he chuckled. "Now take these to ease the pain," he continued, "When were you attacked?"

Ernest looked puzzled, "What do you mean by attacked?" he asked nervously. "Well, all those deep welts and gashes down your back look as though you've been attacked by some savage wild animal", the doctor asserted....."Surely you remember what kind of creature attacked you man?", he enquired.

 

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To be continued....

 

 

Edited by Arcana
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Chronus

This is really good

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The Portal

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4. A dark and deviant past

As Ernest lay in his hospital bed, he could not dislodge the thought from his head, about being separated from his wife and son, who were left to fend for themselves, all alone in that dreary old house. Since regaining consciousness, he'd had plenty of time to reconcile the bizarre events that took place the previous evening, peppered with a healthy dose of scepticism.

Being the practical, logical thinking man that he was, he'd decided to rationalize everything and came to the conclusion that sleep deprivation was the cause of his vivid hallucinations. This was what accounted for him imagining the voices he heard and images he thought he'd seen. Come to think of it, he vaguely remembered seeing some rusty nails protruding from some of the stairs on the staircase, therefore the gashes and wounds to his back must have occurred as he slid down the stairs. It all seemed to make sense to him now, but he was unable to share these comforting revelations with poor Miriam and Bertie, 'They must be going out of their minds with fear and worry,' he thought to himself.

The nurses had bolstered his back with plenty of pillows, so he could sit upright with some degree of comfort, whilst the painkillers began to take effect. Ernest had also been informed that the deep gashes on his back were now festering with a virulent infection and he needed to be kept under supervision in hospital, following a lengthy course of antibiotics.

Before long, he noticed an elderly man reading a newspaper in the bed next to his. His attention was drawn to the name printed on the newspaper, which was 'The Cranley Echo', coincidentally, Cranley being the county where the sleepy hamlet of Chadwell Pickering resides.
"Do you live in Cranley by any chance?", enquired Ernest. Somewhat startled by the talking mummy swathed in bandages, sat upright in the next bed, the elderly gentleman replied, "I beg your pardon?" "I asked if you're from Cranley?", Ernest replied. "Why yes, born and bred in a small rural village called Chadwell Pickering as it happens," the man retorted. "Heavens, that's where I live too!", exclaimed Ernest. The elderly gent pondered for a moment, then asked, "Have you lived there long, I don't recognize your voice from the local pub or church........allow me to introduce myself, my name is Giles Mycroft." "No I've not lived there very long at all as it happens, only a few weeks in fact. I live in the old Darvil House with my wife and son, on the fringe of the village,........my name is Ernest Blyth, pleased to meet you Giles," Ernest answered.

A sudden look of terror fell on the hapless old man's face, as he heard mention of Darvil House. "Dear God, whatever possessed you to buy that accursed relic, I take it you've heard all about the history of that infernal place?", he questioned. "I've heard all the rumours about strange goings on and wild parties held in the grounds, if that's what you mean? It all sounds like nothing more that a load of superstitious nonsense to me though?" Ernest stated. "Well let me tell you young man, those tales are far from rumours and superstitious nonsense!", Giles insisted.

Giles looked Ernest sternly straight in the eye and explained, "The old widow who used to live there was a well renowned Satanist, her name was Ruth Rose, or the 'Prickly Witch', as we all used to call her in the village,"....he continued, "I was in the pub one evening near closing time, 'The Morning Star Inn', when I overheard a conversation with a drunken stranger. He was slurring his words about how he was going to join the party there later and bragged about having his wicked way with those strumpets that dance naked round the fire. I didn't pay it much heed at first, but then he started ranting about how Ruth Rose was trying to create some kind of 'portal thingy' in the house, using ritualistic black magic to achieve it. Apparently he stated, she  hoped to gain great power and even immortality from the fallen angels cast down from Heaven to the fiery pit. Sacrifices were mentioned and drinking warm blood, it certainly gave me 'the willies' I can tell you!"  

Ernest couldn't help himself as he scoffed at the ridiculous drivel assailing his common sense....."Blood cocktails and strumpets on tap, sounds like The Morning Star Inn had some stiff competition to deal with there," he laughed. "You may well poke fun young'un, but we've all seen evidence of the goings on at that god forsaken hell hole. The old witch disappeared without a trace and they never found her body, it was as if Hell opened a gateway and swallowed her whole, never to be seen again!", the old man insisted without cracking so much as a smile......."Hmph, and you've gone and left your wife and child alone in that awful place, just take a look at yourself.......God help them!" he stated solemnly, returning to the agricultural supplement in his newspaper.

Ernest paused to contemplate the old man's words. He thought about all the local folklore he'd heard regarding the house, with tales of Black Magic, sacrifices, debauchery and wild orgies around a bonfire.......then he remembered an old saying his father often used to say to him......'There's no smoke without fire Ernie lad!'

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To be continued....

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The Portal

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5. The angels have come to play

Back at Darvil House, Miriam and Albert searched for comfort in each others company, seeking any distraction they could find, from the horrendous events that had befallen them since moving in. Ernest had been whisked away to the nearest hospital, which was a distant thirty miles away, making visiting awkward for them. Miriam could not drive the family's Austin Seven and poor little Bertie was beside himself with worry about his father and feared for what horrors the ensuing night may hold in store for them. Miriam dared not travel to visit Ernest by cab or coach, for fear of returning during nightfall, as by now, she felt something was definitely 'off' about Darvil House.

She even found her imagination beginning to run riot, with all manner of devilish images conjured up by tales of the house's unsavoury past. 'It just can't be,' she kept telling herself, trying desperately to maintain a brave face for the sake of her frightened young son. Albert asked his mother, "Daddy is going to be alright isn't he mummy?" Miriam staunched back a tear as she replied, "Of course he is darling, he just needs some rest and he'll be as good as new."

The daylight hours seemed to race by with such speed, that before they'd had time to register the setting sun, it had already dipped below the horizon, plunging Darvil House into darkness once more. Miriam decided to build a cosy fire in the sitting room, to try and make the place feel more homely, instead of  sinister and oppressive. Albert played with his toy lead soldiers by the fireside, whilst Miriam distracted herself by reading a romantic novel. "It's much quieter tonight isn't it Mummy?" said Albert, halfway between a statement and a question whether it would remain so. "Yes darling, there's nothing to be afraid of, I'm here and tonight you are the man of the house, my brave little soldier.", came an uneasy reply.

The ticking old clock on the mantelpiece chimed nine o'clock, as Albert yawned and stretched, his bleary little eyes signalling that he was about to surrender to sleep. After all, he'd only been able to grab the odd hour here and there these past weeks, mostly during daytime, due to all the nocturnal disturbances. Miriam felt a growing sense of uneasiness, mindful that her husband would not be there to protect them from whatever the house held in store for them that evening, nor for many more yet to come.

"Time for bed Bertie," Miriam cooed, as she swept him up in her arms, to carry him off to bed. "Mummy just has a few things left to do before I join you," she said softly. By the time Miriam had reached her bedroom, Bertie was fast asleep in her arms. She gently took off his clothes and slid his pyjamas on, tucking him in with a tender goodnight kiss on his cheek.

Back downstairs, Miriam went about her usual nightly patrol, switching off the lights, ensuring all the doors were firmly locked and making sure everything was safe and secure.  'Strange that everything seems so silent and still tonight', she thought to herself, 'I hope it's not the calm before the storm?', she wondered with trepidation.

Miriam remembers making herself a hot mug of cocoa to drink before retiring to bed, but somewhere between drinking it and finishing the chapter she'd nearly finished reading earlier, she must have dozed off by the glowing embers of the smouldering fire. The next thing Miriam remembered, was waking, upon hearing the clock strike midnight.

All seemed perfectly quiet and peaceful for a change, perhaps that was why she'd drifted off so readily she thought to herself. Ascending the staircase, Miriam heard the titter of stifled laughter coming from somewhere? By the time she reached the top of the staircase, she saw a faint glow flickering from the attic room on the second floor. As Miriam drew closer to investigate, she noticed that the faint glow had grown in intensity to a bright light, that radiated out through the cracks in the doorway. She threw the door open, only to discover to her absolute horror, that Albert was sitting by a swirling bright vortex, manifested above the old Ouija board.

"Look Mummy, the angels have come to play with me again, they told me that there are other children my age who want to play too, they're waiting for me inside this bright light.", Albert stated innocently. Miriam froze, paralyzed with fear, unsure whether she was awake or still dreaming in her fireside chair downstairs. She opened her mouth to scream, but nothing came out, as if she had somehow been struck mute. All she could do was watch petrified with horror, as a scaly, grey, taloned hand reached out from the intense whirlpool of light. It wrapped around his little hand, escorting Albert inside, until he'd completely vanished from sight.

No sooner had her Bertie disappeared, than the portal seemed to implode in a brilliant flash of light. Miriam suddenly regained her powers of movement and speech, sending forth a wailing scream that seemed as if it could pierce the farthest reaches of the universe, spewing forth grief in an eternal woeful cry. As she gasped to regain her breath, Miriam sobbed, "Bertie, where are you?" screeching at the top of her voice, through cascading tears. For the briefest of moments, her call was met with silence, until she heard a chorus of shrill laughter, ending with a faint reply, "He's ours now!"

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To be continued....

Edited by Arcana
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6. Home sweet home

Miriam was confused, traumatized and deeply in shock. She could not understand what had happened to poor little Bertie and was struggling to accept the reality of what she had just witnessed. None of it seemed real, it was like some horrific nightmare that she was unable to wake from. She knew all too well though, that the emptiness she felt and the aching yearning that filled her heart, were indeed very real. Her tortured mind pondered that wherever Bertie was now, it was certainly no earthly realm where she would ever find him.

Despite this, she could not help but search the entire house from top to bottom and even combed the grounds calling out to her absent son. She was just going through the motions like an automaton, knowing the whole time, that it was nothing more than an exercise in futility. Miriam simply could not allow herself to sit idly by and reflect on her negligence, for stupidly allowing herself to fall asleep downstairs and leave Bertie unattended. Wracked with guilt, she felt as though her heart would burst with anguish....what on earth to do, who would believe her, how could she explain any of this to Ernest?

A myriad of thoughts flooded her brain and none of them were good. 'Must think what to do,' she kept telling herself over and over, pacing throughout the house, unable to sit for even the briefest of moments. It was daylight before she eventually sat down. Miriam was not one for drinking alcohol, apart from the odd small glass of sherry she occasionally allowed herself on special occasions. On this occasion however, she gulped down a large brandy to try and calm her nerves.

Meanwhile, Ernest was growing increasingly unsettled about remaining in hospital, knowing his wife and son were all alone back at Darvil House. He decided the only sane course of action was to discharge himself and return to Darvil as fast as he could. He had to ask a nurse to help him get dressed, which in itself was an extremely painful ordeal and made sure he remembered to put his antibiotics safely in his jacket pocket. Giles Mycroft who was reading his newspaper in the next bed as usual, lowered the agricultural supplement and peered over it at Ernest, "Remember what I told you, you may not believe me now, but the time is fast approaching when you will! Take good care of yourself and your family and if you find you need help, speak to the local vicar at St Marys Church, his name is Father Murdock, he's an old friend of mine, tell him I sent you." "Thank you Giles, but I'm sure I can manage, it was good meeting you, perhaps I can buy you a drink at the Morning Star one day, when we're both in better health,"Ernest replied.  "You just get yourself home as fast as you can and keep your wits about you in that house", Giles said as he shook Ernest's hand, "And good luck to you sir, you're going to need it!" he said as he bid Ernest farewell.

Ernest took a cab ride home and offered to pay the cabbie a guinea if he made haste. The cabbie didn't hesitate in putting his foot to the floor and before long, they were pulling up outside Darvil House. "Here you are my good man and thank you for getting me home so promptly," Ernest said as he tossed a golden guinea to the driver. "Thank you very much sir, most generous sir, if I can ever be of further assistance sir, here's my business card," the cabbie replied, hardly believing his luck. As Ernest disembarked the cab, he felt a sudden inexplicable sense of dread as Darvil House loomed before him, as if it was waiting to pounce on him and never let go.

Ernest knocked the front door with the huge brass lions head door knocker and took a step back, eagerly waiting to be greeted by Miriam and Bertie. 'They will be surprised to see me home so soon', he thought, 'I wonder if anything has happened while I've been away?'

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To be continued....

 

Edited by Arcana
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Still Waters

Very good, Arcana :tu:

Ernest is in for a shock when he finds out what's happened to poor Bertie!

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2 hours ago, Still Waters said:

Very good, Arcana :tu:

Ernest is in for a shock when he finds out what's happened to poor Bertie!

Thank you SW, indeed he is as you are about to find out.:yes:

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7. Hope springs eternal

The whole atmosphere surrounding Darvil House felt draining and sinister, as Ernest gave the door knocker another firm rap. Quite suddenly, the door burst open, only to be greeted by a tearful Miriam. "Oh Ernest, I simply don't have the words to explain.....", blurted Miriam. "I'm so happy to see you my darling, you look dreadful, come and sit down, as I have much to try and tell you", she continued. Ernest entered the house filled with apprehension, knowing that Miriam's tearful welcome could not be heralding good news. "What's wrong darling?" he asked, as he entered the house, "You seem beside yourself, do try to calm down and tell me what has happened?", he enquired. "Oh Ernest, dear heart, I'm so sorry....please try to find it in your heart to forgive me, for I can find no solace myself within my conscience", Miriam exclaimed between floods of tears.

Ernest saw the state his wife was in and instantly asked, "Where's Bertie?" Miriam wailed as if her entire world had collapsed, then took a deep breath and paused, "He's gone." "Gone where?" asked Ernest, growing increasingly agitated. "I don't know, he was taken," came the shaky reply. "Taken where, by whom?", asked Ernest. "I don't know where and I don't know who took him?", replied Miriam, as she broke down in another torrent of tears. "You're not making any sense Miriam, what on earth has happened?", enquired Ernest, his pulse rising with dread. "Something took him......up in the attic, I saw it with my own eyes and even I still can't believe what I saw", cried Miriam. "What did you see?", Ernest asked nervously. "I saw our son abducted by something indescribable, something evil, that took him somewhere......I've no idea where?", sobbed Miriam.

Miriam poured another large brandy and passed it to Ernest, "Our son is gone and I don't know what to do, or where to go to get help?,  stated Miriam. "It's all my fault, I took him to bed and tucked him in safe and sound, but then I fell asleep downstairs. I woke at midnight, I remember that because of the clock chiming and when I went upstairs, he'd gone in the attic to play with that awful game again", Miriam tried to explain, "But as I entered into the attic room, I saw a bright light and something took him, something took our boy, oh Ernie, whatever are we going to do?", she cried as she collapsed inconsolably to the floor.

Ernest somehow managed to help Miriam back to her feet and hugged her with his uninjured arm, "Don't blame yourself my love, something isn't right here. I know we've been under a tremendous strain lately and our relationship has suffered because of it, but if there's one thing I do know with absolute certainty, it's that you would do anything to protect Bertie.", he said with a lump in his throat. "I spoke to someone in the hospital, someone local who knew about the history of this house and tried to warn me, but I was too stubborn to accept it then, now we have no choice it seems", Ernest exclaimed. He continued, "I've been given the name of someone who may be able to help us, it's the local vicar at St Mary's church, I'm going to go and see him and find out whether he can help us?"

That evening, Ernest and Miriam tried to console each other, as they did their level best to try and remain pragmatic and find some small comfort in knowing that someone may be able to offer them some hope of assistance. The house was unusually quiet that night, as though it had dined on something and having gorged its fill, had now sated it's appetite..... at least for the time being.

The following morning, Ernest set out bright and early, bound for St Marys church. He wondered what sort of man Father Murdock was and whether he'd believe the fantastic tale he had in store for him? His step quickened, accompanied by a searing pain in his back, serving a punishing reminder towards his attempts to ignore his injuries. Ernest was being prompted to face the fact, that he was in no fit state to confront the horrors that Darvil House had to offer, alone. On reaching St Marys, Ernest sat by the vestibule for a moment to steady himself and thought  about how he was going to convince Father Murdock that any of his rants bore any shred of truth and were not the mere ramblings of a mad man. As he entered the church, Ernest looked at the alter with the effigy of Christ on the cross, bathed in a rainbow prism of colours that shone through the stained glass window above. Although he'd never been a particularly religious man himself, nor a regular church goer, there was something about this place that felt peaceful, a notion that had escaped him of late.

The silence was broken by the sound of a door latch, as a man entered the room dressed in clerical robes, it could only be Father Murdock. As he walked in, Ernest saw him kneel before the alter, make the sign of the cross and mutter a silent prayer to himself, before approaching to speak to him. Father Murdock struck Ernest as a somewhat robust and serious looking man. He was bald, wore spectacles and had a learned look about him.  He studied Ernest intently, clearly concerned by the extent of his injuries which were still swathed in bandages. Without hesitation, he sat next to Earnest and spoke, "Bless you my son, I've not seen you here before, you obviously seem to have fallen on difficulties judging by your appearance, can I be of service in any way?", he asked in a kind and empathic tone.  ". "Giles Mycroft told me that you may be able to help me, you see I'm the new owner of Darvil House", Ernest explained.

"How have you found it since moving in?", asked Father Murdock with concern in his voice. "Oh father, I don't know where to begin, it sounds so ridiculous, but something awful has happened and our son has vanished without trace.", Ernest stated. "Listen, I know all too well about the history of that accursed house and it has been a blight on the history of this parish for far longer than I've been here, its reputation is well known around these parts.",  the vicar said reassuringly, "Whatever you tell me my son will be kept in strictest confidence, now what troubles you so?" "Well I know this may sound crazy father, but there's something evil in that house, something unspeakable that has stolen my son and I don't know who else I can turn to but you.", pleaded Ernest.

Father Murdock nodded and sighed knowingly, then proceeded to explain,"The parish records go back to when that house was built, did you know that it was built on the site of a confluence of ley lines, dating back to the time of the ancient druids", Father Murdock explained. He continued, "There used to be a stone circle there, but it was torn down during the early  Christian reformation. A wealthy man named Draven Hemlock commissioned the building of Darvil House, on that particular site back in 1720. He was a renowned adept practitioner of the dark arts back in his day, much like Aleister Crowley is today. He had the house erected in that spot for a reason and local folklore has it, that he used to perform blood sacrifices there to try and appease the Devil, in exchange for a gateway to another realm. I know it may all sound a trifle alarmist and far fetched, but that house has brought nothing but misery and misadventure to every poor soul who's ever lived there.", he asserted.

"Well all I know is that my son has been abducted by something in the attic after playing with an old spirit board, that had been left behind by previous owners. That's when everything seemed to start going wrong and now we don't know where to turn, to try and find a way of getting him back, is there anything at all you can do to help us father?", pleaded Ernest. "Though I know all too well about that house's reputation, retrieving your son from wherever he is being held is beyond my capabilities I'm afraid, but I know a man who may be able to help you, his name is Damien Devlin.", said the vicar. "That name is familiar to me, surely not  Damien Devlin the well known philanthropist, adventurer and a self styled occultist, who is the toast of high society and reputedly a distant relative of Lord Byron?", Ernest enquired.  "Indeed, I see his reputation precedes him", stated Father Murdock, further mentioning, "I have a close connection with Damien and let's just say he is familiar with your house and its reputation, he will not be intimidated by it and if anyone can help you find your son, then it is surely he." "I am truly desperate father and I know of no other options available to restore my son to us. If you think a man of his standing will listen and take an interest in helping us, I implore you with utmost urgency to contact him and ask if he will involve himself in our desperate plight," beseeched Ernest.   

"Rest assured my son, I shall get in touch with him this very day and knowing him as I do, I can say with certainty, that he will be in touch very soon, you can take my word for it!", exclaimed Father Murdock, "Now would be a good time to find some faith and invite God into your hearts, for when all seems lost, he will bring comfort and restore your spirit with renewed hope." stated the vicar.

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To be continued....

 

Edited by Arcana
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8. A dance with the devil

Many years ago, in his middle aged prime, Father Murdock had been ordained as parish priest to St Marys, which was his first position under the diocese of Bishop Meredith. During his early years there, an occasion arose where he was asked to minister last rites to a dying young man. The man was a stranger to the hamlet, who had met with some catastrophe in the vicinity of Darvil House and was apparently calling out for a priest to attend. He'd been discovered by a local farmer who'd heard screams whilst moving his cattle to greener pastures nearby. Father Murdock wasted no time in rushing to the dying call of this poor soul, who from the farmer's account, sounded as though he was about to meet his maker. On arrival, he saw that the man was naked and appeared to be covered in archaic pictograms from head to toe. His entire body was shaking violently, as if in the last throes of life itself and there appeared to be dark, heavy bruising covering most of his torso. He had also observed that the man's eyes were completely black, as though he was suffering from some kind of cranial haemorrhage.

As Father Murdock approached the unfortunate stranger, he quite suddenly reached out and grabbed the priest by the arm, muttering deliriously that his only salvation was the rite of exorcism. Father Murdock knew all too well that an exorcism could only be performed by a fully trained priest, under strict permission from the bishop himself. Though he had previously attended a brief course during his early years on how to administer the appropriate rites, he had never had call to use them before and felt ill equipped to deal with this unexpected plea.

He remembered most of his teachings from his trip to the Regina Apostolorum, on how to recognize and expel Satan and his various minions. He also recalled how to talk to the Devil, and how to recognize the tricks he uses. Yet here he stood, now faced with a terrible dilemma, as the only way to console this poor unfortunate victim, of God only knew what, was to do his bidding and break the strict chain of command, without seeking the bishops approval. The man started chanting something under his breath, at first it sounded like a prayer, but Father Murdock was unable to distinguish the precise words he was using, they sounded as though they may have been in Latin. At this point, the man let forth a blood curdling scream as a font of some black, foul smelling bile, vomited forth from his mouth and even began oozing from his eyes, as though he was crying ebony tears.

Father Murdock knew that whatever affliction ailed this poor wretch, his only hope of salvation appeared to be a spiritual cure. Though he was unprepared, Father Murdock prayed for God to help him in his plight and began reciting from buried memories, the words of the 'De Exorcismis et Supplicationibus Quibusdam'. The naked stranger began to writhe on the floor in a frenzy, before rising from the ground, suspended in mid air, posed in some profane, inverted crucifixion posture that he was powerless to resist. The stoic priest continued to cast out the evil entity by demanding in the name of Christ, the entity reveal its name. "Aaaaasmodeussssssss," hissed the reply, followed by a tirade of profanities spewed against Christ.

Father Murdock's faith remained resolute, as with God's grace and guidance, he appeared to gradually be gaining the upper hand against 'Asmodeus, the prince of demons'. As he continued with vehement fervour to speak the words of the exorcism rite, the battle raged on, until finally the stranger let forth an other worldly, ear splitting scream, as his naked body slowly floated back to the ground, no longer shaking. The black fluids discharging from his orifices had disappeared, as had the haemorrhaging to his eyes, which now gazed back at him with a piercing blue stare. "Are you alright my son?", asked Father Murdock, he continued, "Is your soul now at peace, freed from the hellish prison that beguiled you?"

The priest's question met with silence, as he took off his jacket and wrapped it around the naked man to preserve his modesty, before looking to the heavens and giving thanks for divine intervention. This was to later result in Father Murdock receiving a stern dressing down from the bishop, for disobeying and overstepping the bounds of his authority. He would have been kicked out of the church altogether, had it not been for certain mitigating facts, regarding where the stranger had been found and the history of that place, that were discussed in secret behind closed doors.

As it was, the punishment they finally arrived at, was to demote Father Murdock to vicar and take away the powers previously vested in him as parish priest. Oddly, though reduced in rank, no replacement, or senior figure, was ever sent to St Marys Church. Father Murdock was left instated there, which is where he still resides to this day, albeit in a supposedly lesser role. Father Murdock would later discover through the passing of time, the name of the eternally grateful stranger whom he had rescued that fateful day........it was  none other than Damien Devlin.

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To be continued....

Edited by Arcana
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9. The Inimitable Damien Devlin

Ernest and Miriam felt as though they were on a knife edge, as they waited impatiently to hear from Damien Devlin. Each passing moment seemed like an eternity to them, as their minds conjured all manner of horrific images, that poor little Bertie may be being subjected to while they delayed. As the sun sank lower in the sky, the twilight announced a black carriage arriving with a clatter of horses hooves on the gravel drive. The carriage door opened, followed by a shadowy figure dressed all in black from head to toe. He was a well dressed man, wearing a top hat and carrying a silver handled cane. Disembarking from his carriage, another figure scuttled behind him, eclipsed by the grandeur of Damien's entrance. As he stepped from the shadows towards Miriam and Ernest, he tipped his top hat to reveal eyes that glowed like sapphires in the fading light. "Forgive me for saying, but you look far younger than I expected", Ernest stated. "Not at all my good man, my body is my temple and I do try to keep up appearances, I have an image to maintain don't you know," he replied with a wink.

He looked towards the Blyths with his piercing stare and uttered, "Ernest and Miriam I presume, allow me to introduce myself, my name is Damien Devlin. I'm sure Father Murdock has already mentioned me in passing." He motioned to the figure scurrying behind him with his cane,"And this is my butler Boggs, he accompanies me wherever I go. Fetch my bags Boggs and be quick about it man, we need to make haste with this endeavour.", he stated. The butler was a curious looking fellow, with long straggly hair at the sides, balding on the top. He had a long moustache, as was fashionable for the day, but there was something slightly dishevelled looking about him, perhaps it was because of his ill fitting butler suit, with sleeves and trouser legs that were too short for his rather gangly frame. "Pleased to make your acquaintance sir and madam, don't mind me, I'll have all the luggage inside in a trice, just be kind enough to show me where it wants unpacking please?", Boggs asked. "Capital my good fellow, now let us crack on," Damien asserted, "First things first, can someone please fetch me a nice cup of tea, Lapsang souchong would do most nicely," he requested, "Boggs will make do with a glass of water to wet his whistle," he said, winking at the Blyths.

Miriam escorted Boggs to the spare room that she had prepared for her celebrated guest, having already made the bed with her finest silk sheets. "You can unpack in here," she told Boggs. "Thank you madam and don't mind Mr Devlin, he can be a bit forthright at times, but he means no offence, it's just his way,"explained Boggs. "I'll be sure to bear that in mind Boggs, your room is at the end of the landing by the way",replied Miriam. Miriam took Damian a refreshing cup of Lapsang in one of her finest bone china cups, "Capital, let's get to it," responded Damien, "Now show me the attic room on the second floor, I have a sense that there is something amiss there, I felt it as soon as entering your house," he stated. "Boggs,..... Boggs....where are you man, fetch my goggles will you, there's a good fellow." "Yes sir, right away sir, it's not as if I have anything else to do while unpacking all your luggage,.......be with you in a trice", Boggs shouted downstairs sarcastically.

Boggs fetched a pair of what can only be described as pilot goggles with red tinted glass in the lenses, "Here you are sir, will there be anything else?", Boggs asked. Damien frowned at Boggs and with a fluttering motion of his hand, gestured him to carry on unpacking upstairs. "These will help me see in different light spectrums, which may help me to detect any residual spiritual, or demonic energy impressions," Damien declared. Damien went upstairs, down the landing and straight to the attic room, as if he'd been in the house before and knew the layout instinctively. He paused to put on his goggles, then entered the room. "Ah, I see, yes, hmm, yes, by jingo, of course," he muttered to himself as he surveyed the room, still sipping his cup of tea. "What you have here is a portal and the ouija board is the key to opening it," he exclaimed, "Boggs,...... Boggs, where is that infernal man when you need him?", Damien called. Boggs came running into the room panting out of breath, "You called sir, would you like me to mop the beads of sweat from your brow sir?", Boggs asked facetiously. "Don't be ridiculous man, fetch me a match, a candle and take this cup with you.......don't break it, it looks like Mrs Blyth's finest bone china.", he ordered.

Boggs did as Damien had instructed and Damien lit the candle, placing it on the floor by the dusty pile of suitcases. Then he sat in front of the ouija board and closely inspected the planchette. "Ahhh, there's an inscription carved on this, it reads.......'place on board and ask if there's anyone there', how informative," he stated.  Damien swept his long flowing locks of jet black hair back and lifted his googles onto his forehead. "These simple instuctions carved on the planchette are obviously intended for the intellect of a child.", he concluded. "Was this already here when you bought the house?" Damien asked, as he pointed towards the faded, peeling pentagram painted on the floorboards. "Why yes, yes it was, does it mean anything?", asked Miriam. "It is my experience that the pentagram can act as a conduit to channel energy to the spirit board, thus boosting its ability to reach further across the dimensional planes, much like making a long distance telephone call.", he explained, continuing, "This energy can be further amplified by external sources of static electricity, like the conditions one might expect during a violent electrical storm, for example."

"There was a raging storm outside, the time I first caught Bertie playing with that damned spirit board," blurted Miriam, "Does that mean you can return our son to us Damien?", Miriam asked intently. "Possibly, but the question is not how to open the door, but what awaits us on the other side?", Damien replied. "Boggs,...... Boggs, be a good fellow and fetch me a bowl of salt and make me another cup of Lapsang while you're at it," Damien ordered. "I heard you the first time sir, I'm not deaf.", Boggs replied, whispering, "unfortunately", under his breath. Damien stood up and twirled round facing the Blyths, "I've seen all I need in here for now, let us continue formulating a plan downstairs, in more comfortable surroundings," he asserted. Boggs handed Damien the bowl of salt he'd demanded and another fresh cup of Lapsang. "Ahhh, capital", said Damien as he sipped his beverage. "Now be a good fellow and sprinkle salt across all the window ledges and by the front and back doors", he directed Boggs. "Yes sir, will sir be requiring me to perform a voodoo dance with that too, or will just the salt suffice?", Boggs retorted snidely. "Don't be an imbecile man, a voodoo dance will counter the salt's properties," replied Damien with a smile.

Damien turned to the Blyths and asked, "I don't suppose you have any Sage knocking about by any chance, do you? Miriam enquired what the salt and Sage was needed for and Damien explained it would help to cleanse any malevolent energies in the ether and prevent any unwanted negative entities, or practitioners of black magic, from either entering or leaving the house, until he first had a chance to discover their intentions. Miriam and Ernest were a little confused by Damien's unorthodox methods, but they followed all his instructions to the letter, for he now represented their only hope of ever seeing their beloved Bertie again.

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To be continued....

 

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10. The assessment

Night had fully descended and Miriam lit an open fire in the sitting room, its flames leapt and licked the hearth, crackling as the occasional ember spat at the fireguard. Apart from the fire, the house remained silent, save for the occasional clock chiming the hour. Damien sat in the Blyth's sitting room sipping his tea and made himself comfortable in the armchair, preparing to launch into a lengthy discussion about his deliberations and credentials. The Blyths sat attentively, hoping for some revelation about their missing son."I must confess that I've not been entirely honest with you, as there are facts known to me about this very house that I have failed to mention as yet," Damian explained.

"This is not the first time a child has gone missing in the vicinity of this house and many years ago I was called upon to try and find another poor unfortunate infant that had vanished in this house. Back then I was a lot younger, more impetuous and foolishly thought myself invincible in dealing with the malignant forces at work in this house. Little did I realize back then, just how ill prepared I was to deal with the potency of the evil that resides here. I was lucky to escape with my life, having failed in my undertaking to locate the child. It was only thanks to quick thinking on the part of Father Murdock that I thrived and escaped damnation." he explained.

"I have since dedicated my life to gaining a greater understanding of the occult and paranormal, by travelling the world, studying mysticism in many of its various forms. I like to consider myself something of an expert, though that isn't to say I've learnt all there is to learn, I still remain open to exploring new horizons," Damian proclaimed. "I believe that there is something, or someone behind the events taking place in this house and I am determined to get to the bottom of it, even if it's the last thing I do.", he stated. "It vexes me that it all seems centred around vulnerable children. The younger a person is, the greater their prana, or life force, I can only summise that this has a bearing on the events taking place here.", he continued.

"The portal here is very powerful, strong enough to allow something through, to pluck its hapless victims into another realm. From what Father Murdock told me about your observations and my own past experience here, it appears that an adept practitioner of the dark arts is summoning fallen angels to do their bidding, as yet, I'm uncertain to what end, but I shall venture to find out.",Damian stated.

"I must prepare myself fully for what lies ahead, which means.........oh that reminds me, Boggs,........Boggs........damn you man, why don't you come when you're summoned?", Damian shouted. Boggs came rushing into the room, wearing a gown, his nightcap and slippers, having been awoken from his bed by Damian's calls. "Pour me a brandy will you, there's a good chap and bring us some salmon and cucumber sandwiches, oh and cake if there's any, I must have cake!", Damian demanded petulantly. Boggs shuffled off and returned with a large glass of Brandy, before going to the kitchen, muttering obscenities under his breath. "Now where was I, ah yes, preparing myself for what lies ahead. After tonight I must fast, all I can drink is water and nothing at all to eat.", he exclaimed. "I will be inviting some guests to join us in a few days time, don't be alarmed, you may find them rather unusual.", he announced. I will also need to send for Father Murdock to accompany us for spiritual fortitude," Damian added.

"We are most grateful for any assistance you can give us Mr Devlin and our house is yours to do with as you please and feel free to invite whoever you want, all we want is our dear little Bertie back beside us.", pleaded Miriam. "Do not worry my dear, I shall move the heavens to return your child to you.", Damian proclaimed, as Boggs entered the room yawning, holding a plate of salmon and cucumber sandwiches, neatly cut into quarters with the crusts removed and a large slice of jam sponge cake. "Ahhh capital, simply capital," Damian declared.

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To be continued....

 

 

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11. Past bad habits

After listening to Damian's account that nearly ended in disaster, during the last time he fought a battle to rescue a child at Darvil House, Ernest and Miriam felt unsure whether Damian could succeed now, where he had failed previously. Still, they had little choice, as there probably wasn't anybody else who would even believe them, let alone risk their life to try and help. The following daybreak, Ernest and Miriam were both up at the crack of dawn, having hardly slept a wink the previous evening. How could they possibly relax, knowing the danger that their son was in? Miriam went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast, as she had to try to keep herself busy, in order to try and deflect the constant dread eating away at her soul. As she was buttering some toast, Boggs stepped in and asked if he may be of assistance?

"I must say you have the patience of a saint Boggs, the way Damien orders you around, have you been in his service for long?", she enquired. "I have served Damien these past ten years madam and were it not for him, I would most likely be rotting in my grave by now," Boggs explained, "Ten years ago I was a homeless beggar on the streets of Covent Garden, desperate for any change I could scrounge or steal to feed my opium habit. I was very ill at the time, suffering from pneumonia and barely alive, as I lay choking in the gutter in the pouring rain. Damian was passing by with a group of toffs, all dressed to the nines, on their way to a show at the local theatre. I was so ill I could barely speak, let alone beg for change, but Damian saw me and stopped, then ushered his friends on to the theatre, telling them he'd catch up with them before the end of the show.

He knelt down and looked at me with one of those piercing stares of his, as if he was looking deeply into my very soul, then he put my arm around his neck for support and helped me to my feet. He called a cab and took me to his mansion, where he summoned his own personal physician to come and attend to me. He cared for me and slowly nursed me back to health, helping me to overcome the bitter agony of going through withdrawel. Then he shared his home with me and gave me a job as his butler, to keep me off the streets and prevent me from falling back into old habits. So though he may be infuriating at times, I owe him a far greater debt than I could ever hope to repay, he is my salvation and I will remain forever grateful for all he has done for me Mrs Blyth," Boggs recounted.

 "I had no idea, please forgive me Boggs, I meant no disrespect to Damian, I just wondered how you managed to cope with all his demands, with such forbearance?", Miriam exclaimed. "He may seem a bit pompous, bordering on arrogant at times, but he has a heart of pure gold that one," stated Boggs. "Incidentally, did you say you've been in his employ for ten years Boggs, just  how old is he, he looks so young?", asked Miriam inquisitively. "Truth is I have no idea Mrs Blyth, he never seems to age a day, perhaps he has a portrait hidden away somewhere like Dorian Grey," Boggs chuckled.

Miriam saw a different side to Boggs and also started seeing Damian in a different light too. She already knew his heart was in the right place, or he wouldn't have volunteered to help them and put himself in danger the way he had. Miriam now began to understand the relationship Boggs shared with Damian, which she had to admit, did manage to raise the odd smile, despite the enormous strain she was under. "Damian won't be requiring any breakfast this morning and he's only drinking water for the time being, so with any luck I should be able to put my feet up for a short while. If there's any of that toast going spare I'd love a slice with some marmalade please Mrs Blyth.", asked Boggs cheekily. "Looks like I have a new job too, as the butler's maid," Miriam quipped.

No sooner had Boggs taken a bite from his freshly buttered toast, with marmalade oozing down his chin, than the serenity was shattered by calls of, "Boggs,........Boggs, where the devil are you?" Boggs shrugged then smiled at Miriam, replying "I'm in the kitchen sir, it's being a tad adventurous I know, but I'm risking some of Mrs Blyth's marmalade on toast. What would sir like me to do?", Boggs asked, wiping the marmalade from his chin, onto his sleeve. "Boggs go to the village and fetch me a morning paper, there's a good fellow and make it sharpish,", Damian demanded. "Certainly sir, right away sir, would sir like an indian head massage, followed by a foot spa with that?", Boggs asked derisively. "Just get on with it man and for heavens sake wipe that marmalade off your sleeve before it stains," said Damian, tipping a wink to Miriam.

Damian looked at Miriam with his penetrating stare and said, "I know you're very worried about your son Mrs Blyth, but the time I am taking to prepare for what lies ahead is crucial, if we are to have any hope of success. It is my intention to fight fire with fire, as you will come to understand later on. In the meantime, both you and Mr Blyth must remain devoted to our endeavour and be patient. I must fast now for three days and three nights, before sending for the other visitors I referred to last night. The aching heart  beating in your chest is our greatest weapon, for the love that you and your husband share towards your son, are what will win the day. Now please trust me and have faith in my resolve Mrs Blyth," Damian requested, as he sipped a glass of water, trying hard to look away, from the tempting freshly buttered toast. 

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To be continued....

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Still Waters

I like "Boggs" he's a funny character :D

He puts up with a lot from Damian but gives back as good as he gets. The two go well together.

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3 hours ago, Still Waters said:

I like "Boggs" he's a funny character :D

He puts up with a lot from Damian but gives back as good as he gets. The two go well together.

Thank you SW. Due to the serious nature of the subject matter, I thought it only fitting that a bumbling butler bring a few moments of light hearted distraction lol. :tu:

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12. An invitation is sent

For three days and three nights, Damien fasted, only keeping himself hydrated with water. Ernest's wounds appeared to be responding to his course of antibiotics and Miriam had removed the bandaging over his left eye, to reveal a fine scar forming above his brow, beneath the stitches. Luckily the trauma had not effected his sight, as he squinted in the blinding daylight, peering through the blur until he regained focus. He still had to keep the cast on his broken arm, but the searing pain in his back was diminishing with each passing day. Damian  had indeed introduced healing into the household, through the magic ingredient that was hitherto missing from their lives,.......hope.

Boggs was washing up in the kitchen, following Miriam's hearty cooked breakfast, merrily whistling some discordant tune to himself, that was known to no-one but Boggs. Suddenly, Damian leapt into the room in an elevated state of excitement, "Tonight you may expect some guests to arrive Miriam, there will be four, along with Father Murdock. The hour is nigh for us to strike back at our nemesis, together. If we remain resolute and do exactly as I say, we will prevail!", he maintained. "Now I must be left alone in the study and it is imperative that under no circumstances am I to be disturbed, until I'm ready to emerge. Boggs, see to it that I have absolute privacy will you, there's a good chap", he insisted. "Yes sir, absolute privacy sir, not to be disturbed at all no matter what sir, I think I've got it, does that also mean I should ignore hearing my name called aloud if summoned sir?", Boggs asked sarcastically. "Yes indeed Boggs, for what I am about to attempt involves forces not of this world and can be extremely dangerous if mishandled. It requires my full and undivided attention,"Damian explained.

Damian went into the study and locked the door behind him. He then proceeded to light some tall pillar candles and draw the brocade curtains together, darkening the room, save for the flickering candlelight that revealed dancing shadows across the ceiling. Then he lit some incense that he had brought with him for just such an occasion. The air grew heavy with the scent of incense, that rose in plumes, filling the room with a hazy mist. The scene was set, now to proceed with a protection ritual, before embarking on the divine invocation, to summon archangels.

He started by reaching into the pocket of his waistcoat and taking out a compass, simultaneously checking the time on his gold hunter pocket watch. Next, he walked to the centre of the room and faced towards the east, raising his arm skyward, his eyes tightly shut, looking as though he was visualizing something. Drawing an imaginary line from the heavens to his forehead, he spoke the word,"Ateh." He then moved his finger towards his navel saying,"Malkuth." Continuing the motion he moved his finger up to his right shoulder, speaking the word, "Ve-Geburah". He then continued across his chest to his left shoulder, completing the sign of the cross and said, "Ve-Gedulah." He then clasped his hands together as if in prayer, saying, "Le-Olahm, Amen."

Damien appeared lost in deep concentration, whilst remaining facing east, he said,"Before me Raphael, mighty Archangel, unto whom is given the jurisdiction over all matters of healing, please join us in our struggle". Rotating towards the south, he announced, "Behind me Gabriel, mighty Archangel, unto whom was given the joyous task of announcing the birth of our Lord, please join us in our struggle." He then faced west, stating, "On my right hand Michael, mighty Archangel, defender and keeper of the Gates of Eden, who doth wield thy fiery sword in the defense of all who are troubled by evil, please join us in our struggle." Finally turning to the north, he proclaimed, "On my left hand Uriel, mighty Archangel, whose wings are the shadow of death and rebirth, please join us in our struggle."

Damien's lungs were filled with the sweetly perfumed aroma of the incense, as if lost in some deep trance, he shouted, "May these mighty Beings of Light guard, guide, cherish and protect us in this work that we do and may they keep out all evil and unwanted influences from this place. I ask that my requests be fulfilled, if it is for my highest good and in my karmic path to do so. I hereby call upon you to come join us tonight, in our battle against the unholy. Bear your mighty swords to do battle against the fallen, that we may save the souls of the innocents, those being corrupted, robbed of their liberty and held against their will, in a righteous act of clemency towards their poor tortured souls."

At that moment the curtains blew open, fluttering wildly as if caught in a gale, though the windows behind them remained firmly shut. It blew out the candles and whisked the smoky incense into a maelstrom, that spiralled up towards the ceiling. Flickering within the hazy swirling vortex, were tiny shards of brilliant cathartic light, that sparkled like tiny stars. The die was now cast, something had been set in motion that was irreversible, only time would tell the outcome of the mighty battle that ensued.

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To be continued....

 

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13. The gathering

Damien wasted no time in contacting Father Murdock and asking him to join them at Darvil House post haste. As Father Murdock had already spoken to Damien previously and asked for his intervention, this was to be expected and came as no surprise to the vicar. Ernest and Miriam were told to prepare for the arrival of the 'guests' that Damien had invited and Boggs was tasked with providing copious cups of tea and salmon and cucumber sandwiches for everyone.

As the sun began to sink in the dimming evening sky, the atmosphere in the house was electrified with anticipation. Father Murdock had arrived and been escorted by Boggs into the dining room, where they all sat, eagerly awaiting the arrival  of their remaining absent assembly.  "I must say Boggs, your salmon and cucumber sandwiches are quite delicious," said Father Murdock, as with a swill of tea, he eagerly tucked in to the large plate of sandwiches Boggs had prepared. As the last rays of sunset dipped below the horizon, the house seemed to erupt with loud noises in the hall, as if a clanking infantry of armoured soldiers were marching through the house. Quite suddenly, Boggs came running into the room, looking very pale and visibly shaken. He looked at Damien and asked nervously, "Er, there's a group of winged gentlemen standing in the hallway carrying huge swords, are we expecting them sir, or would now be a good time to be making our way to the rear door?" "It's quite alright Boggs, don't be alarmed, show them into the dining room, there's a good fellow,"Damien replied calmly. "Will I need to make some more sandwiches for them sir and another pot of tea?", asked Boggs, shaking so vigorously, that the silver service tray in his hand was rattling loudly with the empty bone china cups on their saucers. "I'm not sure Boggs, why don't you be a good fellow and run along and ask them?", replied Damien with a smile.

Eventually, the dining room door swung open, as in marched four angels, dressed in full body armour, their swords sheathed, each carrying a delicate bone china cup and saucer in one hand, with some sandwiches and biscuits on a plate in the other. As they entered the room, each one took up a station north, south, east and west, where they stood like statues on sentry duty in total silence, tea and sandwiches in each hand. "It doesn't look as though our guests will be needing those Boggs, you can dispense with the tea and sandwiches, there's a good chap," instructed Damien.

The angels looked omnipotent. They appeared as handsome, muscular young men, glowing with light around their heads, their mighty wings folded back and their eyes seemed to exude divine innocence, giving them each a stare even more piercing than Damien's. Miriam and Ernest were dumb struck, as they gazed disbelievingly, at the four brightly shining heavenly warriors that stood before them. The angels stood in total silence, staring straight ahead, as if waiting for some command, to take action. Father Murdock was awe struck, as he closely inspected each of them in turn, like a drill sergeant inspecting his troops, offering thankful prayers to the almighty, for sending down his most loved and cherished soldiers of light. Each angel was surrounded by an ethereal, brightly glowing shimmer.Their figures seemed to flicker intermittently within, as though whilst being physically present, part of them was co-existing simultaneously in some other worldly plane of existence, it was almost indescribable by any known basis of comparison.

"Now we're all present, it's time to crack on," declared Damien, leading the way out the dining room and up the stairs to the attic, the angels closely following behind. Once they all entered the attic room, the room itself appeared to start vibrating, the empty suitcases toppled over and clouds of dust started descending from the ceiling. The ouija board on the floor suddenly burst into life, as the planchette began darting across the board spelling out a message. They watched as the planchette moved to the letters spelling,'G-E-T-O-U-T'. By now the entire house felt as though it was shaking, as if something was powering up inside the walls, getting ready to explode.

The ouija board continued to spell out words, as Father Murdock began to launch into a tirade of prayers. Ernest stared at the ouija board repeating each letter being indicated on the board, as it spelt out,'W-E A-R-E H-E-R-E......W-E A-R-E M-A-N-Y.......W-E A-R-E L-E-G-I-O-N.......W-E A-R-E D-E-S-O-L-A-T-I-O-N.' The planchette was moving so quickly by now, that it was impossible to keep up with what it was saying, when all at once, a swirling bright mass of light began to manifest above the ouija board...... it was the portal opening up!

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To be continued....

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14. A call to arms

As the attic room filled with light, the portal appeared to grow even more intense in brightness, until it was blinding to look at. Voices could be heard emanating from the heart of the swirling mass, "We are coming, we will destroy the slaves of Christ, we are legion...... we will consume your souls!", the voices chorused in unison. The gathering each looked at one another with trepidation, whilst the archangels remained steadfast and continued to show no flicker of emotion towards the escalating events.

Boggs appeared to be transfixed and had wandered unwittingly closer than the rest towards the portal, his eyes wide open in disbelief. Suddenly without warning, a taloned hand reached from the portal and Grabbed Boggs by the throat. Boggs screamed in sheer terror, as within the blink of an eye, archangel Michael sprung into action, unsheathing his sword and with one mighty swipe, severed the arm, which remained attached to Boggs's windpipe. Boggs was still screaming as he pulled the severed limb from his throat and threw it to the ground, gasping for breath. Demonic forces began to mass at the portal, pouring through like blood from a severed artery.

Without a word being spoken, forthwith, the archangels all charged at the portal wielding their swords, chopping and hacking away at the demons as they swarmed into the earthly realm. Archangel Michael led the charge, wielding his mighty sword with such ferocity, that he felled many demons with one stroke. Archangel Gabriel blew his trumpet as a call to arms, inciting all the archangels to fight with all their might. But no matter how many demons they slayed, they continued pouring through the portal in such vast  numbers, that the archangels were clearly being outnumbered and outflanked.

Archangel Gabriel was the first to fall in battle, having received a devastating blow to the head. No sooner was he felled, than many demons concentrated their attack on him, ripping and tearing wildly at his wings. Archangel Raphael thrust himself into the melee, defending his heavenly compatriot with all his might. Archangels Michael and Uriel continued their battle with the ferocity of lions, severing limbs and decapitating demons by the score.It was becoming increasingly evident, that no matter how hard the archangels fought and resisted, they were clearly so vastly outnumbered, that the odds appeared insurmountable. Archangel Raphael laid his hand on Gabriel's head wound and administered healing, as they became cornered in the limited space of the attic room, by a multitude of demons. Archangel Gabriel managed, with the help of Raphael, to get back to his feet and immediately blew his trumpet again, so loudly this time, that it made Damien, Boggs, Father Murdock, Ernest and Miriam, place their hands over their ears. Thus far, the archangels had managed somehow to keep the demon horde at bay and prevent them from reaching the mortals who watched on in awe. This second blast on Gabriel's trumpet was so loud, it sounded as if it could echo through the heavens.

Archangel Michael fought the greatest of all, but even he was gradually becoming overwhelmed. As Damian, Boggs, Father Murdock, Ernest and Miriam looked on in horror, fearing that the battle was all but lost, suddenly archangels Camael, Jophiel, and Zadkiel appeared, charging into the attic to join the battle. The archangels all looked at one another for the briefest of moments, then as if agreed telepathically, charged headlong into the portal, disappearing into it, slaughtering and dragging any remaining demons with them as they went. No sooner had the valiant archangels entered the portal, than it began to grow dimmer and dimmer, until it slowly imploded in a flash. As the portal vanished from sight, all the vanquished demon corpses that littered the attic floor, appeared to simply melt into the floorboards in a vast cloud of steam and glowing embers, leaving no trace of the frenzied battle that had just taken place.

"What just happened?", asked Ernest with a worried look on his face. Miriam broke down, sobbing streams of tears, fearing that their attempt to rescue Bertie had all been in vain. Father Murdock looked to the heavens and prayed with all his might. Damien looked towards Boggs and raised an eyebrow, with a look of contemplation, before quickly announcing, "Do not despair, all is not lost. Our brave angels have fought the good fight and reduced a great many of their number, it is up to us now to find a way to defeat whatever remains. Though it may seem that we have suffered a grim defeat this day, we will persevere and if we remain strong and united in our resolve, we will triumph over the evil that besieges this house.", he declared stoically. Boggs looked towards Damien and questioned, "With respect sir, surely if those angels can't defeat whatever is inside that portal, what chance do we stand?" Damien gave Boggs one of his intense stares and replied, "Dear chap, when all seems lost only hope remains, once hope is lost, we lose everything. I for one am not about to lose hope and simply give up. Together we must find the courage to continue this fight and discover a weakness we can exploit, against the evil that plagues this place. I suspect that the fallen angels may be doing the bidding of a powerful adept and it is my intention to discover who that is."  

Damien looked at each of the remaining assemblage in turn, then turned to Boggs and said," Boggs, be a good fellow and fetch us each a stiff brandy will you, I think we need it after that!"

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To be continued....

 

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15. The search for a clue

For the remainder of that evening, the ensemble each dealt with their disappointments in their own way. Miriam and Ernest, whose hopes were severely deflated, having witnessed the extent of the forces they faced, tried to comfort each other through the night, until sheer exhaustion took its toll. Damien sat in the study with Father Murdock, discussing the history of Darvil House. Father Murdock declared that as far as he was aware, no  further sacrifices, or ritualistic magick, had been performed in the house, since the mysterious disappearance of Ruth Rose many years ago. By all accounts, whatever lingered in the house, must have been instigated before her perceived death, as were she still alive, she would be more than a century old by now.

Damien stroked his chin as he pondered, then decided he needed to meditate in private without any disturbance. Father Murdock offered prayers for the archangels who had fought so fearlessly, firmly believing that wherever they were right now, he had faith that they were still involved in the fight against evil. Boggs was the only one able to fall asleep with any degree of ease, as he draped over the chaise longue in the dining room, blissfully snoring to his hearts content.

The following morning was heralded by the raucous sound of distant cocks crowing, as was to be expected in the countryside. Damien had been in a state of deep meditation through most the early hours , before finally surrendering to fatigue, as he slumped over the table in the study. Father Murdock had prayed for strength and fortitude into the night, until he too had eventually dropped off on the lounge sofa. Boggs awoke with a fit of sneezing, as he rolled off the chaise longue onto the floor. It seemed as if he'd suffered an allergic reaction to something and was sneezing repeatedly. Ernest and Miriam awoke with a start, upon hearing the cacophony of cocks crowing and Boggs resounding sneezes downstairs.

Once they had all awakened, one by one, they all congregated in the sitting room to discuss their next move. Boggs appeared with a dustpan and brush, still sneezing violently. "I'm very sorry everyone", he declared, "But these feathers are everywhere and seem to be playing havoc with my sinuses.....aaaaaachoooo!" Damien glanced a sympathetic look at Boggs, then affirmed, "So sorry to hear that Boggs old chap, but now is the time for us all to dig deep and find our hidden strengths. Do put the kettle on for a nice cup of tea and make us all some breakfast will you, there's a good man." Between sneezes, Boggs replied, "Yes sir, it will be my utmost pleasure sir, it's not as if I have the entire house to sweep up, with all those feathers everywhere, after having nearly been choked to death by some devil sent from hell last night. Don't you worry about me sir, I'm right as rain, I'll be off now to tend to my duties without further...........a-aaaaaachooo!" "Capital!", exclaimed Damien

.Later that morning, after breakfast, Damien went with Father Murdock to consult the church archives, regarding Darvil House. Sure enough, after closely examining the checkered history of Darvil House, Damien reached an inescapable conclusion. "I believe that Draven Hemlock had the house built on that particular site, back in 1720 for good reason. Ruth Rose later bought that house for the same reason, whatever it was. They both appeared to be searching for something, that they felt that particular place had to offer. I believe that there is a significance to the confluence of ley lines you mentioned previously Father, which bestows great power to that specific location. Clearly they have misused that power to augment their magickal pursuit, to achieve some selfish desire. As yet I am not certain of the connection, but suspect it may involve a lust for increased power and even possibly immortality. I do believe that each of them had the knowledge to create the portal and between them, may even still be controlling the forces at work there, if they have managed to conquer the secret of ageing. It is only a supposition at this stage, but it is the only scheme that seems to fit the events.", Damien declared.

He added, "Twenty years ago when I tried to rescue another child from that wretched house, I vaguely remember being sucked into that portal and encountering someone on the other side, who I'm convinced was human, not demonic. It's all a blur, but whoever it was I encountered, clearly had the upper hand on me and was able to overcome me with the potency of their black magick. Ever since I returned from that anathematized house, I have not aged a day in appearance, though my mind has grown wiser with age. The fact that I have not aged, lends credence to my theory regarding immortality, though I still can't understand why I have been affected in this way?",Damien postulated.

Father Murdock looked at Damien and replied, "You appeared possessed to me Damien, your body infected with evil. It was only through God's guidance that I was able to free your tortured soul from the demon that sought dominion over you. If indeed someone had the power to inflict such a vile invasion on someone, they must be foul and wicked to the core, the very quintessence of evil.", he declared.

"Indeed," retorted Damien.

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To be continued....

 

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15. The fountain of evil

On his way back to Darvil House from St Marys Church, Damien decided to drop in to the village sub police station, as he was curious to find out whether the local police might know anything more about the dark history of Darvil. He was reliably informed by the local constable, that there had always been a troubled past attached to 'The Devil House', dating back to the time it was first commissioned to be built, for Draven Hemlock in the eighteenth century. Apparently, the constable claimed that there had been a plague of unsolved child abductions in the village and also many sheep and goats had been rustled from local farmers across the years. He went on to state that locals attributed them all to the old 'Devil's House'. Furthermore there was much unsubstantiated gossip, that human sacrifices had been committed there, though it was never successfully proven. Damien thanked the constable for his help and just before leaving, received a stark warning, "People round these parts steer well clear of that afflicted place, I'd advise you to do the same, if you know what's good for you. Good day to you sir," the constable bade Damien.

Damien considered all the facts during the remainder of his walk back to Darvil House. Child abductions, livestock stolen, perverse orgies, talk of witchcraft and sacrifices, 'Could they all be connected?', he wondered. He knew all too well that practitioners of black magick, use animals for sacrifice during their rituals and conduct orgies to empower sex magick. It was also no secret that at least two of the previous owners of Darvil House, were known to have been involved in the dark arts. Whatever was going on in that blighted place, having tasted from past experience, the depth of danger to be faced there, this was the most infernal consultation he had ever dealt with. It was clear that a powerful systemic evil was well rooted, in the sleepy rural village of Chadwell Pickering.

As Damien walked up the gravel path to Darvil House, nightfall had already began to lower its dark veil over the dimming twilight. His attention was drawn towards a flash of light in the attic room, the source of the fountain of evil, that cascaded throughout this accursed residence.  As Damien rapped the brass door knocker, Boggs was quick to answer, "Thank heaven you're back sir, there has been a lot of commotion coming from the attic and none of us dare go in there to take a look," he said fearfully. "Get a grip Boggs, I'll look into it straight away dear chap," Damien replied.

As Damien carefully crept up the old staircase towards the attic, predictably he trod on some creaking steps, that groaned loudly underfoot. The noise was further exasperated by the creak of the door, as he ventured into the attic. The light switch was not working and the only light source in the entire room, was a single shaft of moonlight that shone through the skylight, illuminating the spirit board on the floorboards below. It all seemed quite still and quiet by now, as Damien's eyes attempted to adjust to the darkness. "Boggs,.......Boggs, be a good fellow and fetch me a lit candle and make haste will you," he called. Shortly, Boggs came charging up the stairs, creaking loudly on the steps and handed Damien a candle, which he duly lit with a match. Damien inched his way into the dark and dusty attic room with Boggs close behind him, still panting from running up the stairs."Shhhhhhhh be quiet man", Damien whispered to Boggs as he momentarily turned towards him. Boggs was still puffing and blowing so heavily, he accidentally blew the candle out, plunging them both into darkness again. "Sorry sir," gasped Boggs. As Boggs struck another match to relight the candle, he let forth a scream, as he lit the face of someone standing motionless in the darkness. Damien was momentarily caught off guard too, as the shadowy figure of a man loomed from the surrounding pitch.

The attic room remained perfectly still and silent, as Damien held the candle closer, to reveal the handsome chiselled features of the archangel Uriel, whom he'd watched disappear into the portal the previous evening. The angel didn't make a sound and stood there like a statue, blindly staring straight ahead into the darkness. As Damien explored further into the attic, he saw the other three archangels, Michael, Raphael and Gabriel, all standing perfectly still and inanimate, as if petrified to the spot. Each was stood at the four stations, north, south, east and west and they all appeared to be covered in archaic pictograms, painted all over their wings and exposed flesh. "Are they alive sir?", Boggs asked. "Not in the sense that you or I are alive Boggs, they appear to be in stasis, as if frozen to the spot," Damien replied. "But how and when did they get here sir?", asked Boggs. "I haven't the foggiest Boggs, but they appear to be intact, as best I can tell," Damien stated. "Sir, should I fetch them a stiff brandy each?", asked Boggs apprehensively. "Don't be foolish man, they're angels, not village drunkards in need of a 'hair of the dog'," Damien snapped abruptly.

Damien and Boggs retraced their steps slowly out the attic room and closed the door behind them with another loud creak. They then continued back downstairs and into the lounge, where Ernest and Miriam were waiting fearfully to find out what was happening in the attic. "It appears that 'our guests' have returned," Damien declared.

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To be continued....

 

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16. Bring it on!

Damian made his excuses and retired to the study, to meditate further on current events and to search his knowledge and experience, for a way forward. His path led him between darkness and light, though his intent was to search for inner peace and enlightenment. He knew well the power of darkness, though he chose the forces of light, preferring to choose a path towards the greater good of his fellow man, by whatever means it could be achieved.

He recalled his early struggles, when he lived in a charitable orphanage, surviving on his wits and ability to fight for every scrap of food, every bit of attention and every morsel of pity, which was the nearest thing to love he ever knew during his early childhood. He never knew his paternal parents and it wasn't until he reached the age of ten, that he became one of the lucky few to become adopted. His adopted parents were Samuel and Martha Devlin, with Martha having previously been pronounced 'barren' by physicians and desperately wanted a child of her own, to share all the stifled love in her heart with. Samuel Devlin was an ageing wealthy industrialist, who owned Devlin Mining Corporation and wanted a prodigy to inherit his vast fortune and business empire. Damien was showed the mining business from top to bottom, and was appalled by the squalid and dangerous conditions the miners had to work in. By the time he reached the age of twenty, he was promoted to company chief executive and immediately set about improving working conditions. He introduced safer working practices and equipment, also increasing salaries and pensions, especially for the widows of miners who'd previously died from cave ins and poisonous gas escapes, whilst in their employ. Although this wasn't to prove particularly profitable for the company initially, it resulted in greater productivity, gaining the respect and loyalty of their employees, which resulted in a greater increase in profit in later years. This early lesson in commerce and human nature, was to provide a foundation in Damien's ethics, which he carried forward into later life with his spiritual pursuits. Put simply, those you help today, may become the ones that help you back tomorrow.

After the demise of his adopted parents, he relinquished his stake in Devlin Mining Corporation,to pursue his interests in spirituality and the paranormal. In later years, his vast knowledge of spiritualism, for which he was most celebrated, was the toast of many a renowned table, among so called 'high society'. Damien was the first to be invited to many an 'A' list of celebrities, among the well known and wealthy upper epsilons, for recounting his passionate tales and tribulations of the supernatural, which were very fashionable for that time. Although he gladly accommodated this calling, it was only to receive the money he was paid for his appearances, which in turn he then donated every penny towards any worthy charity he could find. It was not for fame, nor mention of his name, but for his own karmic welfare and to use his experience for the greater good of his fellow man, wherever he could.

He felt deeply disturbed by the involvement of innocent children in the affairs of Darvil House and was still haunted by his former failure, in his attempt to rescue innocence from the clutches of evil. Now he'd been presented with the opportunity for spiritual absolution, the chance to set bygone wrongs to right and rescue the innocence he'd failed to liberate in the past. He was determined to redeem his conscience for his failings and put an end to the demonic manifestations that plagued this place. The only acceptable resolution in his mind, was to conquer the evil virus that infested Darvil House and to somehow sanctify it, rendering it's evil inert, if not exterminated altogether, from this day forwards.   

During his meditation, Damien was taken back to a previous meeting with an Indian Yogi and Guru,  whose simple words reminded him, ' What you are is what you have been, what you'll become is what you do now.' He remembered those words, that struck a chord with him. Damien felt filled with fresh determination, that his past failings would not define him, he was unwavering in his resolve to succeed. Damian reached out to the heavens and prayed, "May I be a guard for those who need protection, A guide for those on the path, A boat, a raft, a bridge, for those who wish to cross the flood, May I be a lamp in the darkness, A resting place for the weary, A healing medicine for all who are sick, A vase of plenty, a tree of miracles, And for the boundless multitudes of living beings, May I bring sustenance and awakening, Enduring like the earth and sky, Until all beings are freed from sorrow and all are awakened."

He then clasped his hands together in prayer, and raised them to his temple, then back down to his heart, three times, before completing his prayer. Damian was renewed after his meditation and prayer, feeling ready for whatever Darvil House had to throw at him,.......'Now bring it on!', he thought to himself.

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To be continued....

 

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17. Said the spider to the fly

The following morning was heralded by a loud rap on the front door. Boggs was the first to reach the door, but by the time he opened it, no-one was there, it was as if they'd simply vanished into thin air. He stepped out the front door to scan the horizon for any sign of anyone in the distance, but nobody was to be seen. As he was about to close the door, he noticed a small envelope placed beneath a stone on the doorstep, it simply read the initials DD on the front. As Damien arose from his bed, he felt invigorated from the previous evenings meditation and appeared to be in a bright and cheerful mood. As he descended the stairs for his regular morning cup of tea and light breakfast, Boggs handed him the envelope he'd found earlier, stating, "I found this on the doorstep this morning sir, I can only assume it's meant for you by the initials on the front of the envelope. Here's your cup of lapsang and a boiled egg with soldiers, just the way you like it sir." "Capital Boggs," replied Damien with a smile.

Damien sat in the dining room, happily dipping his soldiers in the soft golden egg yolk that oozed down the side of the eggcup, whilst sipping his beloved tea. He sliced the envelope open with a letter opener, noticing the sweet scent of perfume that wafted in his nostrils, filtering from the letter inside. As he unfolded the piece of paper, he saw that it read,'If you want to save them, meet me at the village green at one o'clock', signed R. 'How mysterious and intriguing,' Damien thought to himself. "Boggs, press my suit would you, there's a good chap," he demanded, "I have to meet someone after lunch and I want to put my best foot forwards, so to speak," Damien stated. "Why of course sir, it would be my utmost pleasure to iron your creased garments, it's what gives a greater meaning and purpose to my humble existence," Boggs replied with a tone of mocking derision.

Damien wore his finest black suit, along with his top hat and cane, as he set out early for the village green, to meet the anonymous stranger. He arrived ten minutes early and surveyed the entire area for any sign of anyone, who appeared to be waiting, though no-one was apparently there yet. He went into the nearby village shop and bought himself an early edition of ' The Cranley Echo', to sit on a bench and read, while he waited for his mysterious rendez vous to take place. Just as Damien turned the first page, he felt a nudge, only to find a beautiful woman sitting by his side, who appeared to have materialized quite suddenly from nowhere. "You must be the famous Damien Devlin I've read so much about in all the tabloids,.... you're very handsome," she declared. "Thank you, indeed I am he madam, but you have me at a disadvantage, to whom am I addressing?", Damien replied curiously. "My name isn't important, you can call me Rosey," she giggled, like a lovestruck schoolgirl. The woman sat before Damien appeared to be in her early to mid twenties. She was stunning to behold, dressed in a sheer black lacy dress, that revealed every contour of her voluptuous body beneath. She was like some exotic bird of paradise and appeared quite out of place for such a remote, rural farming settlement like Chadwell Pickering. A beautiful English rose if ever he saw one, Damien thought to himself. "I'm the village clairvoyant and I've received a message from my spirit guide, telling me to get in touch with you regarding a missing child, that is correct isn't it?", she questioned.  "Why yes....yes it is," replied Damien perplexed.

"I've been told to tell you, that to save the child, you must sacrifice yourself, is that something that you're prepared to do?", she asked. "If absolutely necessary, I would indeed sacrifice myself to save an innocent. Do you mean sacrifice, as in offering myself as part of some bargain, to suffer some hardship, or do you mean trading my life?", Damien enquired. "From what my spirit guide told me, it may involve all three I believe,"she replied, "Though not until we've at least  had the chance to get to know each other more intimately first," she added. Damien stared deeply into her eyes and found himself strangely attracted to this forthright woman, who demonstrated a wanton disregard for etiquette. Her approach to break the ice was clearly working and Damien found himself oddly captivated by her charms. "Intimacy first,followed by hardship and death later you mean Rosey?", Damien laughed. "Do not mock Damien, my spirit guide is never wrong, especially concerning affairs of the heart and passing over. I must take my leave for now as I'm needed elsewhere, but if you return here at eight o'clock this evening, you may escort me to The Morning Star Inn, where we can sit in more relaxed surroundings over a civilized glass of wine, to discuss things further.

Damien decided he'd like to see where all this was leading. He felt intrigued by this enchanting beauty and was eager to discover what she may know,  that could assist him with his quest. Before Damien had a chance to say another word, or respond to his candid invitation, like vapour, the woman appeared to simply vanish into the surroundings, there one moment, gone the next.

"Step into my parlour, said the spider to the fly," Damien whispered to himself.

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To be continued....

Edited by Arcana
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The Portal

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18. Angels in the attic

Damien wasted no time in hurrying back to Darvil House, to check on everyone and ensure that nothing further had transpired during his absence. Miriam and Ernest were both growing increasingly agitated, by the lack of progress in reuniting them with their poor beleaguered son. Meanwhile, Boggs was busying himself dusting round the house, whistling some random tune to himself, as he stretched to reach along the dados with his feather duster. Damien went upstairs to check on the attic room and sure enough, through the gloom, he saw that the Blyths still had angels in their attic. They were each still standing completely motionless, unblinking, unwavering, like stone statues, stood at their various compass stations within the murk.

Without further ado, Damien gathered a pinch of earth from the garden, a box of matches, some candles from the dining room candelabra, some of his incense sticks and a pitcher of water, which he disappeared into the study with. He then instructed Boggs to ensure he would not be disturbed. Damien proceeded to burn the incense whilst focusing his esoteric knowledge of ancient kabbalistic mysticism, to attempt to free the angels from their lapidified state. He drew the curtains and lit candles as before, this time he closed his eyes, to focus his visualisation into a powerful thought form, that may become strong enough to reawaken the angels.

Damien started uttering the words, " I hereby invocate, conjure and command thee, archangel Uriel, angel of the north wind, he who bestows us with knowledge and wisdom, archangel Michael, angel of the south wind, he who bestows us with truth and courage, archangel Raphael, angel of the east wind, he who bestows us with healing of body, mind, and spirit, archangel Gabriel, angel of the west wind, he who bestows us with guidance and understanding God's messages, to awaken and come to our aid in fair and comely shape. By the name and in the name of Iah and Vau, which Adam heard and spoke, and by the names Alpha and Omega which Daniel named who destroyed Bel and slew the dragon, I do exorcise and command thee, having eyes before and behind and by the name of almighty God Elohim, I do potently exorcise thee that thou fulfill my will in all things which seem good unto me, I hereby command you awaken from your slumber and protect us in our hour of need, Le-Olahm, Amen." He then cut across the palm of his hand with a sharp knife, allowing a few drops of blood to trickle into the pitcher of water, stating, "With blood representing spirit, I release thee," he then took the pinch of earth and added it to the jug, stating,"With earth I release thee", then dousing one of the sticks of incense into the pitcher he said, "With air I release thee", then he lifted a candle in the air, dripping molten wax, before dousing the flame in the pitcher, he stated,"With fire I release thee", then finally, he lifted the pitcher aloft and spoke, "With water I release thee. By the power of these elements combined and for the greater good, I release thee." 

Damien then grounded himself as he slowly opened his eyes, and wrapped a handkerchief around his bleeding palm. Subsequently, he took the pitcher of water upstairs and sprinkled some of the contents onto each of the angels in turn. There was no sign that any of his ritual had worked this time, as the angels remained transfixed. "I suppose I'll just have to wait and see what happens when the time comes," he said to himself.

Damien knew he now had to act swiftly from here on in, not only for the sake of poor little Bertie, but also to preserve the sanity of Ernest and Miriam. Damien explained to Miriam and Ernest that he had to leave to follow up a lead that evening, but that he'd be back later and was prepared to make another attempt to retrieve Bertie, no matter what the cost. "But how do you propose to get to Bertie if he's trapped within that awful portal, being held against his will, by god only knows what?", questioned Ernest. "Have faith sir that I shall endeavour to find your son this very evening, even if it means having to enter the portal alone, in order to achieve that aim," Damian replied vehemently.

"But sir, I've always accompanied you on your excursions in the past. Surely sir, you don't intend to go alone without me this time?" Boggs asked faithfully. "Boggs, dear chap, on this occasion the peril is far too great and I'm afraid I'd be better taking this trip alone, instead of having to watch out for you as well. No Boggs, I need you to stay with the Blyths and keep them safe as best you can. I'll tell you how to protect them when the time is right, in the meantime, I need you to run an errand for me. Go into the village Boggs and buy as much salt as you can carry. Also I need you to pop along to the local horticultural club and purchase enough sticks of sage, to place one in every room of the entire house. I'll leave you enough coin to pay for everything, so take a cab, you should be able to manage alone my good man," Damien directed.

Damien then turned to the Blyths and asked them to try to remain calm. He also asked them to keep watch at regular intervals, on the angels in the attic, to see if there was any change in their demeanor. He advised that if there was any changes observed in the angels, or should the portal unexpectedly reopen, to notify Father Murdock by telephone at St Marys immediately. "As for me, I intend to go fishing, it will take a well baited hook to land the beauty I'm after," Damien declared.

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To be continued....

 

 

Edited by Arcana
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19. Revelations

Damien consulted his pocket watch, the time was fast approaching five o'clock and a thick mist had began rolling in, from across the surrounding moorlands, drowning everywhere in a dim grey soup. He called in at St Marys Church first, to appraise Father Murdock of the current situation and to ask him to go to Darvil House, as he was expecting an 'eventful' evening later on.

"By the way Damien, there's something I think you should know,"Father Murdock advised, as he went on to explain, "I looked into the old church records on births and deaths and I  discovered to my surprise that Ruth Rose was only an alias, a name she chose for herself to disguise her real name, which was Emilia Fairchilde. She was a daughter of wealthy landowners from down south. Though no official death was ever recognized, due to her body never being found, she was eventually pronounced 'dead by misadventure' , by local police, after being missing for years. Apparently I dug around and discovered that Ruth Rose was the wiccan name she went by, to hide the identity of her iligitimate daughter, Ruby Fairchilde, who I believe may still reside locally somewhere in Cranley, though she has never been part of my flock."

"How old would this Ruby Fairchilde be by now Father?", asked Damien intently. "According to our records, Emilia Fairchilde was in her late forties when she gave birth, no-one ever knew the identity of the father, so that would make her daughter in her seventies by now I believe." "Curious," whispered Damien, as he stroked his chin in thought.

By the time Damien ventured back outside, the mist had thickened to such extent, that he could barely see more than three yards ahead. He asked Father Murdock for directions to the village green from St Marys and the whereabouts of The Morning Star Inn, which stood alone on the edge of the village, approximately half a mile from Darvil House. "I'll see you later Father back at the house, " Damien said, as he disappeared into the swirling pea soup, that enveloped Chadwell Pickering, submerging its landscape beneath a mask of indistinguishable blandness.

As Damien eventually managed to find his way to the village green, it began to drizzle. He saw no sign of anyone waiting there, or indeed anyone at all, out and about on such a foul evening. He stood beneath a tree on the green, sheltering from the dampness that pervaded each breath he inhaled. Just as he consulted his trusty pocket watch to see the hands reading eight o'clock, a figure emerged from the haze, carrying an umbrella. It was predictably Rosey, bang on time.

"Good, I'm glad to see you could make it Damien, I wasn't sure you'd be here on a night such as this," she giggled. "Wouldn't miss it for the world," Damien replied, "Now lets get out of this filthy weather and find our way to The Morning Star Inn, for that drink and cosy, intimate chat you promised, shall we?", he said with a smile.

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To be continued....

Edited by Arcana
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