Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Art of Flight.

Two boys were sitting on the castle wall, looking over the grounds, the lights of their hometown shining some way in the distance in a bubble of chaos far away from the calm of the castle. The keep was of Norman design and despite most of it having crumbled away, you could still make out the bailey, the motte however, was now less of a raised hill and more of a sheer drop to the ground below. The rooms that were left intact within the castle were now filled with discarded bottles of cheap beer and cider, amongst the array of plastic wrappers for various sweets and sugary snack foods. It was rare that the ruins were deserted; usually they were bustling with teenagers doing what it was they did best, but for some reason, that night, the castle was vacant.

  The bigger of the two boys was sat still, staring contemplatively towards the town, the other, a small, timid, but excitable child, was fidgeting and kicking his legs against the wall as he struggled to make himself comfortable.

“This wall isn’t comfy!” he exclaimed after some time of squirming.

“I know, Barry.” The other said, simply, “But you’ll just have to get used to it.”

“Why are we here?”

“Because I wanted to come here,” he bluntly replied.

“Is there nothing else we can do, James?” Barry inquired, clearly displaying his boredom purely by the tone of his voice. Barry’s whining irritated James in a way that he was struggling not to snap at him.

“Do you have any better ideas?” Barry thought for a bit, biting his lip and looking up into the night sky, before shaking his head in defeat. “Well then, just shut up about it, and enjoy the view.”

“It is… pretty, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, Barry, yes it is.”

Barry threw his arms out either side of him, narrowly avoiding hitting James in the face, “I wish I could fly, don’t you, James? Looking at all this, it just makes me think how much better it would look… from up there!” He raised his head, and again, looked inquisitively at the stars.

James turned his head to look at Barry gazing up at the stars, his dark eyes studying him, almost maliciously. He licked his lips before saying the words.

“You know that you can fly, don’t you, Barry?”

Barry looked at him, puzzled, “what?”

“Yeah, you can fly.” James’ throat had gone dry, partly due to excitement, partly due to fear. He swept the hair out of his eyes and turned to look out over the scenery, he couldn’t look him in the eyes for this, not even when it was this dark.

“I can?” Barry questioned, a slight sense of excitement rising in his voice, “but how?”

“Anyone can fly, they just need a big enough drop to get started-“

“Really? Seriously?” Barry was now visibly excited by the prospect of his potential flight.

“Yeah, no kidding, you can do it any time, you could do it now, we’re in the perfect spot for it.”

Barry stopped, his smile dropping from his face as he gazed down toward the ground. He suddenly became extremely aware of how precarious their choice of seat was, he couldn’t see the grass clearly beneath him, it was too dark; all he could see was a void of blackness with only a hint of dark, murky green.

“Boy, that’s a long drop down, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, it is, that’s why it’s perfect for this.” James clasped his hands together tightly to stop himself from shaking. He still couldn’t bring himself to look Barry in the eye, he knew if he looked at him he would lose it.

“Are you sure?”


“How do you know?”

James thought back, his teeth clenched at the memory, “I’ve seen it happen before.”

“You have?

“Yeah- there was a man who lived in the same building me and mother do, I was in my bedroom, looking out of the window, when he flew past.”

“He did?”

“He did, mother said he jumped from the roof, he was trying to fly, and just before he reached the bottom, he did it, and he flew away.” James looked down, his eyes trying to focus on the ground below, but like Barry he was unable to see anything other than a murky, green shadow waning in a deep, sea of darkness. “We’re higher up here than the man who jumped from my building, so you’ll definitely do it.”

Some of the excitement, and colour, had returned to Barry’s face. He had started to fidget again, but this time it wasn’t due to lack of comfort, it was purely the anticipation of flying that had caused this elation.

“This is so cool!” He put his hand on James’ shoulder, “you’re my best friend, James!”

“Oh,” He looked Barry in the face, for a brief moment he developed a lump in his throat which he quickly rid himself of, “thanks, you too.”

Barry smiled wider than James had ever seen, then he began to shuffle forward so he was teetering on the edge of the wall. James’ heart began to thump wildly. Barry looked into the blackness, and after a minute of deliberation he shuffled back slightly.

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t think I can do it.”

“Why not?”

“I’m not brave; I’m not brave like you.” Barry looked as though he might cry, his eyes becoming somewhat moist and his freckled cheeks growing red with embarrassment. James placed his hand firmly on Barry’s back, pressing firmly against his spine as he gently patted him comfortingly.

“I can promise you, Barry, you are way braver than I will ever be.”

Barry chuckled as he rubbed his reddening eyes, “you’re just lying to make me feel better.”

“No, seriously, if you even consider doing this, you are already braver than I am.”


“Really,” James smiled.

“Okay- okay, I won’t let you down, I’ll do it! Watch me fly!”

Once again, he shuffled forward, his hands clutching onto the edge of the crumbling stone wall. He began to breathe faster, his skinny arms trembling as he held on. His legs felt so completely exposed and powerless as they hung over the void aimlessly. His eyes searched for the ground as he bit his tongue in the hope he wouldn’t shout out and show James how much of a coward he was. Then it hit him, something clicked in his brain and the realisation came; he was going to be fine, he was going to fly, there was nothing to be afraid of. The fear he felt in his heart, in his mind, in his stomach, it all dissipated into nothing and he could finally do what he wanted to do. He turned to James and smiled at him, “thank you.”

Then he pushed himself forward, and he fell.

James listened and heard the crunch as Barry’s body hit the ground.

Now there was nothing but silence.

James got up from his seat and began to walk away, but something made him turn back and look back over the edge of the wall. He couldn’t see Barry anywhere, he was really gone. James smiled as he felt a weight lift from his shoulders, then a single tear fell from his eye.

“Mother said I was too old for imaginary friends anyway.”

He found his way down to where Barry would have fell and still failed to find him. Maybe things worked out better than he had hoped; maybe Barry had actually mastered the art of flight and flew away. The thought filled him with happiness as he walked the long, dark walk home.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Land of the Living

Border Security, Night Watchman: Peter Horák

January 12th 2015.

Entry 1:

19:15 - Gunfire beyond my range of vision; the sound was dull, but familiar. I don’t know if anyone is dead, although it is rare to hear gunfire without an intended target, but I suppose I can be optimistic just this once:

Deer - Deceased.

The chances of the victim being an animal are about as likely as this conflict ending within the next few months, that’s to say, minimal.

21:00 - Ivan perked up, he could sense something out there, I knew he could, his eyes were wide and his ears were twitching.

“What is it, boy?”

I asked him several times but he didn’t move, he simply sat where he was, looking into the darkness. It made me uneasy.

22:30 – Screaming, female, I requested someone investigate, but apparently we only step over the border under extreme circumstances, I’m beginning to wonder exactly what those circumstances might be.

22:45 - Currently there is no sound, and no sign of movement anywhere beyond the border, although the screaming lasted for a good 15 minutes, it stopped suddenly, I’m trying not to think about it.

00:15 – Jakub has come to relieve me of my duty, we played cards for about ten minutes before I left to rest, Ivan has not settled down, it took a lot of coercion for him to leave the post with me, even now all he does is stare out of the window into the darkness beyond.

January 14th 2015.

Entry 2:

Patricia Novak – Deceased.
Olga Peterson – Deceased (With Child).

Those are the two of the five who could be identified, by dawn’s first light we found the bodies of four women and one man propped up against the walls. Cause of death: Multiple shots to the head, abdomen, limbs- everywhere. Someone dragged them here, what for? Maybe it was a warning, a message, or maybe some sick, unsympathetic fuck just thought it would be fun. How funny is the price of freedom, the freedom to gun a defenceless person to the ground and play with their corpse? Apparently it’s priceless.

19:45 – Ivan hasn’t changed, for a trained guard dog he is one of the most mellow german shepherds I have ever encountered, he still senses something, but he’s unwilling to bark, or give any sign that he knows something is wrong.

21:00 – I can see smoke. The village closest to us is burning, maybe it’s in my mind, but I think I can hear them screaming. What is our purpose here? We sit idly by, watching, waiting, but never acting when these atrocities are committed less than a mile away from us. ‘Don’t move’ they tell us, ‘stay put’ they say, but they don’t have to listen to the bullets hitting their targets, they don’t have to clean up the bodies of civilians every other night.

22:30 – We had refugees at our gates. They wouldn’t let us let them in, they wouldn’t let us help. Some of them gave up and ran, some of them persisted. Those who ran where gunned down by the soldiers waiting in the forest, those who stayed were gunned down just the same, and we watched.
Some of us fired on them, maybe even killed a few, but those actions were condemned and met with scorn. Reduced rations for the next month, like they fed us enough to be grudging of less. Apparently our job is to protect the border, not to aid the citizens who are not our side. No, not citizens, let’s call them what they are, HUMANS, we were not allowed to help the Human Beings who were crying for our help, whose houses had been burned to the ground, people who had nothing, no-one, with nowhere to go.

I am sick.

00:10 – I did not stay to play cards with Jakub, I hardly said two words to him, I just wanted to get away. Ivan would not come, after so long I gave up, Jakub said he would take care of him. Let him stay, if he wants to keep watching, so be it, but I am done with watching for tonight.

January 16th 2015

Entry 3:

22:00 – Tonight has been uneventful, and I am thankful. Ivan seems to be more settled also, I even managed to get him to play with the tennis ball I brought along with me. I am glad to have my canine companion, sometimes I feel everyone here is losing their humanity, and I feel it’s due to Ivan that I’ve remained grounded, that I’ve retained a sense of morality through this shit-storm.
Or maybe I’m just going crazy.

23:45 – We have been fired on. The watchman just down from me took a bullet through the eye.

Tomas Petrov – Deceased.

It could have been me; it could just as easily have been me. I’ve been dismissed, but I’m still shaken, they’ve gotten bold, if they are actively attacking the border now, how long before they try and cross it? I cannot bring myself to sleep, knowing any minute this could be the day the scales of war are tipped.

January 18th 2015

Entry 4:

Adam Vanev – Deceased. Paskal Holub – Deceased. Simon Bakalov – Deceased. Mila Hornick – Deceased. Andon Láska – Deceased. Imrich Antov – Deceased. Linas Krastev – Deceased. Anna Pasternak – Deceased. Silvester Sykora – Deceased. Mladen Sykora – Wounded. Aras Tomov – Wounded.

Jakub Vantchev – Deceased.

Ivan – Dead.

19:00 – We were ambushed today, early morning, no-one expected it so soon after their initial attack. We met them outside, unprepared, unbalanced, and we fell. We kept them at bay, and they’ve stayed back for now, but we barely made it back ourselves, we are weak, and we can’t handle another attack, not now.

I’ve never clutched my rifle so tightly as I have this night, and it is only the beginning of my watch.

20:00 – Every rustle in the trees alarms me, every sign of movement, a watchman should be alert, but he should not tremble at every whisper of the wind. I feel vulnerable up here for a number of reasons, but the one that sticks like a thorn in my side is the lack of Ivan by my side. My danger detector has disappeared, but more than that- my friend is gone.

21:00 – I think they are in the trees, I can hear them whispering, I can hear voices, noises, sounds, something. They’re there, they have to be there. Where else could they be? Why is it so silent? The only sounds I can hear are the wind and the whispering in the trees. Despite the utter blackness of the place I swear I can see shadows moving between the barks, they’re here.

22:00 – This needs to stop, I cannot bear it any longer. They’re mocking me! Tormenting me! Why won’t they just leave? Why won’t they show themselves? The cowards! They think they are so clever, lurking there in the woods, just where I can’t see them, just far enough for me to sense they are there, but not close enough for me to be sure. That’s what they did to Ivan. Clever, clever, so clever. But they are cowards, whining, craven, little cowards! I won’t fire the first shot, let’s see if they are bold enough to do that, let’s see if they’ll do it. Let them take the first shot.

23:00 – They did it.

January 19th 2015

Entry 5:

They let me keep one thing when I crossed the border. I chose to keep this notebook. I think records are important, personal or otherwise, every record has value.

Peter Horák – Deceased.

The land of the living has little meaning to me, their petty squabbles and inconsequential conflicts amount to nothing, only more unwilling spectators on this side of the veil. Let them fight, let them meet their demise, then they will join us, and they can watch their world burn in spite of their sacrifice, and they will see just how little difference they made, when the powers above dictate their every move. 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Glyph.(Part 6)

He had been called in.

 A few days had passed with absolute silence, Scorch’s broadcasts had stopped, but the people were still riled up. They were demanding to know why the truth wasn’t being let out, riots had begun in the streets and the silence continued. Isaac was growing increasingly agitated with every passing day, every phone call, every knock on the door, he was convinced that would be it, someone was going to be on the other side, and they were there specifically to deal with him. The more time that passed, the more he began to hate and fear the people of G.L.Y.P.H. He thought of the cold, calculating P and how she had almost killed him, how they had literally held a gun to his head and were ready to fire. He shivered at the memory, he had never been so close to death than he had at that moment, and he had little desire to be in that situation again, although some part of him told him it was inevitable.

Then he had received the call. P’s easily identifiable voice was on the other end, apparently there was a ‘situation that required his attention.’

This is it, he thought, they’re going to kill me, well… I’m not going to go down without a fight. He couldn’t stop his body from trembling though, the thought of death was so daunting he almost collapsed, which was when his mother appeared.

“Are you okay, Isaac?” she asked, “who was that on the phone?”

Isaac knew she was feeling concerned for him, he didn’t want to worry her any more than he had to, although he couldn’t think of a more justified reason for concern that his current situation.

“It was nobody mother, listen, I have to go out, okay?”

“What? Now? I-“

“Look, I just really need to meet some people.”

Isaac made for the door, but felt his body protest, he wanted to throw up, he wanted to cry, but he wasn’t going to let that happen.

“Isaac, wait!”

Dammit, why does she have to make this harder than it already is? He stopped with his hand on the doorknob.

“Isaac, listen, I wanted to just say- I know things have been hard since your dad left, and we’ve never really spoken about it since it happened- and- and that’s my fault, because I was afraid of what you might think of him- and me- I just want you to know, that what happened- it wasn’t because of you, it wasn’t-“
She cut off as Isaac embraced her.

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Isaac felt this was a better ending for them than he could have hoped for, it felt like a natural resolution rather than a forced exit. He put his mother’s mind at ease, and made sure she would stay in the house before leaving and heading to the place he sincerely did not want to be.


He arrived at the alleyway far sooner than he anticipated, and it is was only mere seconds before the doors opened to welcome him. There was only Franklin in the doorway; he’d expected armed guards, or at least something other than the appearance of free will. He found his way through the mess of corridors somehow and arrived in the room where they’d first witnessed Scorch’s broadcast. The room was just as it was before, only now people seemed to be heavily engaged in work rather than staring at a blown up, disembodied head on the screen.

“I’m glad you could make it, Isaac,” said P.

Isaac jumped as her voice appeared from nowhere behind him. He turned around and glared at her.
“Listen, if you are going to kill me, just do it, don’t try and dress it up, just do it, please, I can’t deal with the anticipation anymore.”

She tilted her head slightly to one side and studied him curiously.

“Kill you? Why would I kill you?”

“You’re not going to kill me? But you told me once you were finished with Scorch you would deal with me, I can’t fight you people, there’s too many of you…”

P almost smirked, “you’ve proven yourself to be of value, Isaac, killing you would be foolish, besides… Scorch hasn’t been dealt with; not yet.” She looked around the room briefly, her dark eyes gazing over the situation, before muttering: “come, we need your assistance.”

Isaac hesitantly followed her down some more complex and uniform corridors until they arrived at a series of rooms that seemed to be heavily secured; the doors were large, circular and metal with no window to be seen, beside each of them was a digital pad with a series of numbers running across the screen.

“This way,” said P, they made their way around the corner and entered into another room, this one requiring a pass card to enter, inside was a man in a black uniform with extremely sunken eyes and a creased forehead. One side of the room was purely a window looking into the room with the circular, metal doors… These are cells.

In the cell sat Scorch, his eye patch was missing, and his regular clothes had been replaced with a dark grey overall, but his hair still stood on end as it always did, and his one eye was still blinded with the  ‘X’ that was his Glyph.

“I don’t understand,” muttered Isaac, “what do you need me to do?”

“He’s planning something, he wants to be here, I know he does, but I don’t why, and I don’t like it.”

“So what am I meant to do? He’s not going to talk to me!”

“You can get inside his head, Isaac.”

“No! No I can’t, every time I’ve tried I’ve only ended up being able to look for a few seconds before getting forced out, he’s too strong.”

“I don’t need you to look into his mind, not yet at least, just talk to him for now.”

Isaac felt his anger rising and overtake the fear he was feeling, he was fed up with this, he was fed up of feeling this way.

“I’m not going to do that,”


“I don’t know who the good guys are, I know he isn’t,” Isaac pointed at Scorch, “but you definitely aren’t much better, and I’m just meant to follow you blindly? I know that you are not going to help me- I know that you’ve done terrible things- this whole organisation is built for the sole purpose of killing people! And while I know Scorch’s motives aren’t good, what he is doing, revealing the truth behind all these corrupt institutions, it’s hard to feel justified fighting against it, so how about you tell me exactly what is going on here? Tell me some truths, and maybe I’ll consider helping you!”

P’s facial expression did not change whilst Isaac spoke; she merely looked at him with cold, calculating eyes. Then she smiled, nothing significant, only a small grin, but on P’s face it seemed abnormally large.
“Fine,” she said, “If you don’t want to go and speak to him- I will- but do me a favour, stay a while and watch, you might learn a thing or two.”

P left the room and Isaac glanced briefly at the man with the sunken eyes. He didn’t turn his gaze from Scorch; he barely seemed to blink. Isaac followed suit and watched the scene in front of him.

She entered the cell and saw Scorch sit upright in his chair, his hands remained handcuffed to the table the way they were meant to be, his eye seemed to sparkle with excitement when she entered.

“The notorious P comes to see me finally… I’ve been in here for a few days now; I was expecting a visit sooner.”

“I’ve had a busy schedule; namely cleaning up your mess.” She said without a hint of tone to her voice. She sat down in the chair opposite to him, “So… Scorch, you know why you are here.”

“And I know why you are here.”

“Of course you do, so let’s skip past the niceties and get to the point, what are you planning? Tell me now, and I can make life a lot easier for you, or keep up your silence and life suddenly becomes a lot more difficult.”

Scorch began to chuckle, “You really expect me to believe I live after I tell you everything? Please, I know how this operation works, you drill all the information you can out of me, make sure there are no loose ends, if there are, you tie them up or cut them off, and then when all is done, I get a bullet in the back of the head if I’m lucky, or I get to be one of your gruesome little experiments if I’m not.”

“Fine,” muttered P, “let me rephrase; I can make death a lot easier for you- or not- your choice.”
“So, if I were to tell you that there is a remote device somewhere that will automatically restart the broadcasts if not attended to after a certain amount of time, would that be considered a loose end?”


“Oh good, well it’s a good job that isn’t the case then, isn’t it?”

“I’m not here to play games, Scorch, what are you hiding?”

“The real question here is, what are you hiding… Penny?”

Isaac gasped.

“You expect me to be shocked because you know my real name?”

“Oh, I know so much more than your real name, I know about your father, the owner and founder of this organisation, the philanthropist on the surface, the mass murderer underneath, I know about your two sisters and their little mishaps, I know about your Glyph that stops me from reading you… I wonder how many people here actually know that you are one of us? It’s not on the G.L.Y.P.H. Records, so it certainly isn’t public information around here, but I doubt it’s entirely classified information.”

“That’s enough.” Stated P.

“But I’m not interested in any of that… what I want to know is what you are working on down there. I was unfortunate enough to be caught before I could get the information, but I can guess, aside from all the experiments to try and rid people of these powers… I think you are trying to find out where they come from, aren’t you?” He smiled deviously, “what is it? Have you found out yet?”

“So, that’s your angle is it?”

“No, my interest in the origins of our power is purely out of personal curiosity, but I will take a look at what you have found at some point, I guarantee it.”

“If you say so, until then however, I’m afraid I will have to leave you.”

“So soon, Penny?”

“Oh, don’t worry, I’ll be sending a friend in to see you very shortly.”

“I look forward to seeing him,” Scorch smiled once more before the heavy door swung shut with a dull ‘clunk.’

P returned to the surveillance room.

“You-“ Isaac stopped, clearly lost for words.

“Me,” stated P, “I intend to explain everything later, Isaac, but for now, we have to deal with him.”

“He knows I’m here!” Isaac’s eyes conveyed fear, but she could tell he was trying to supress it.

“Of course, are you ready to speak with him now?”

Monday, 6 January 2014

The Silence of the Stalker (TDC Part 6) I

It was another two years before I finally discovered who had been behind the goings-on at the castle, and as it happens, so much more otherwise.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Jane and I left the castle without further incident; we showed the stuffy, pretentious manager of the place the footage we had found. Needless to say, he wasn’t impressed, not only was everything that happened somehow related to me, and therefore my fault, but we had caused damages that would cost money, as if we weren’t aware of that before. I tried my best to explain the situation, and when he wouldn’t see reason, I tried my best to convince him that the smashed mirror was actually an improvement to the most disgusting excuse for a bathroom I had ever seen in my life, but that only cause him to become more upset, so we left before any more damages could occur.

After a lecture on being civil, Jane promised me she would help me find whoever it was we saw in the castle. That’s how our search began. We checked every ghost hunter’s blog, every supernatural website to find any sort of anomaly in the system, we asked around the local area to see if anyone had noticed anything suspicious, we sought out local historians, local crazies, anyone who could provide even the slightest bit of information, of course everything turned up a dead end.

Any unusual occurrences at or around the castle had stopped almost immediately after our departure, and no-one reported anything after that night, it was as if nothing had happened. Jane wanted me to call my parents, I remember her exact words:

“Tim, whoever is doing this obviously has some kind of vendetta against you, for some reason, and if you don’t know, maybe your parents can tell you something that you don’t know, some family thing… I don’t know.”

I shrugged her off, I can’t remember what I said, probably just a fleeting ‘maybe’, but I knew I wouldn’t call them, it had been months since I had spoken to them, and I had no desire to hear the lengthy talking to I would receive due to said months of no contact. I have no idea why I had drifted so eagerly and so easily from my parents, but for some reason the separation felt natural to me, like it was supposed to happen, just the way it had. Either way, I knew all that I would get from returning to that family would be grief, so I made a vow to avoid that moment until it was upon me.

Months passed with no signs of anything happening, I genuinely began to think it didn’t happen, that somehow my mind had gone to yet another extreme. Me and Jane moved in together, we had spent the majority of our time together the past few months anyway, so we figured it was a natural step, it already seemed we were living together after all. It was not long after I had moved in that she suggested we take up another job.

“It makes sense, don’t you think?” she said, still chirpy as ever, “if this guy is out to get you, and that’s the way he likes to do it, he’s going to get involved with some kind of paranormal incidents, or at least try and lure you to one, I say, we carry on working, and see if anything turns up, if not at least we are back to work.”

I agreed. Of course, it was difficult to find anyone who was willing to let us go snooping around their properties, especially since we had screwed the first outing of our new career up so fantastically. Sooner or later however, we had some invitations to check out some odd, seemingly unexplainable occurrences. Most of them, as I highly suspected, were just the imaginings of paranoid citizens who believed they were hearing the ghost of one of their dead parents or grandparents in a house the happened to own. The majority of time, as I also suspected, these incidents came to nothing. However, there was one that was genuinely chilling, but not because of any paranormal activity.

A woman in her late fifties called us late at night, severely distressed, her name was Andrea Blake. She was near hysterical at the beginning, it took Jane some time to calm her down enough for her to be comprehensible, but when she had settled somewhat we managed to find out the issue. Apparently she had been visited several times in the past week by the ghost of her son. Seemingly a standard case, however, it soon became apparent this wasn’t a typical ‘haunting.’ The first night she was visited by this ‘ghost’ she had blamed it on the medication she was taking, the doctor had warned her that there could be hallucinations as a side-effect, so whilst she had been greatly distressed, she saw no reason to make any note of it. The second time he had visited, she had been off the medication for at least a week, this time she called the police. Obviously the spectre had vanished by the time they arrived, and with no apparent crime or disturbance the police saw no reason to look into the incident any further. The third time she called the police again, this time they threatened to charge her with wasting police time should she call them out again, and recommend she go for a psychological wellbeing check. After the fourth time, she resolved to find an alternative solution. That was us. We told her we would come by first thing in the morning… and we did.

We arrived at her house, which she seemed understandably reluctant to be in, and took a look around. The whole house seemed eerily normal, usually in a house with so called ‘supernatural happenings’ there is some sign of stress, anxiety, paranoia… something that shows that the owner of the place a little on the unstable side, but in this case, Andrea’s house was average, if slightly obsessively clean.

“Are you still staying here, Mrs. Blake?” I asked, as coolly as I could.

“I can’t stay in this house until this is dealt with; I’m staying with my sister for the moment, so you two can take as much time as you need.”

We inspected the place a little further before sitting Andrea down in the living room to discuss the situation. Jane asked the questions, she was better with people than I was, I hadn’t had much experience in that field, I just took notes.

“If you don’t mind me asking, Andrea, when was it that your son died?” she asked gently as she placed her hand on Andrea’s.

“Just over four years ago now.”

“And how did he pass away?”

“He worked on a construction site, and there was an accident- he was always so careful- but the machinery malfunction- or so they told me- they were hauling bricks or tiles- or something- over the top of the building, and somehow the thing snapped and they all fell down, one of the bricks hit my David with such a force that it broke his neck.” And with that she began to wail once more, and Jane had to step in to console her. She went on for some time regarding the safety and ethics of a construction site, and how the insurances companies hadn’t covered her son properly, before getting back to the topic at hand.

“Tell me, Andrea, before these hauntings started to happen, was there anything unusual or out of place that you happened to notice? Anything at all, every little helps.” Jane smiled warmly at her.

Andrea shook her head, “No, I’m sorry… wait, wait a moment, yes I think there was, I remember thinking I’d heard footsteps around the house, but I could never place where they were coming from.”

“Okay, that’s fine, thank you, just one final question if we could Mrs. Blake,” Jane soothed, “Did you have a funeral for your son? Did you bury him? Cremate him?” She shook her head.

“David wanted his body donated for study, we never got to bury his body, but yes, we had a funeral, we just didn’t get to bury him…” That set her off into another fit of hysterical tears. Then it started to get dark, and she left the house to us. I remained sceptical at this point.

“What are we doing here, Jane?”

“What do you mean?”

“Do you really think we are going to find anything here tonight?”

“Oh right, I suppose you think she’s crazy, don’t you? Think this is all in her head?” She scolded.

“No… no, she seemed sane enough, It’s just… these visits from her son, they are specific to her, right? So why would anything happen to us? It doesn’t make any logical sense!”

“Since when did logic come into question when dealing with ghosts?” She quizzed dramatically.

I sighed; it was hopeless arguing with her. But in truth, I didn’t truly believe what was coming out of my mouth, in reality, I just wanted a reason to get out of there, something felt… off, wrong, and I didn’t like it. I was getting that same sickly feeling in my stomach that came around every time just before a situation took a turn for the worse. I needed to stick this out though, something told me it was important to be there, maybe it was the same sense that was also screaming at me to get the hell out of there, not that that makes any sense at all…

Nothing happened for a good few hours; we sat in silence for the most part, with visibility at an all-time low. While the wait for something to occur had helped ease the uneasy stomach churning I was feeling, it had done nothing for my bladder, and I needed to relieve myself. So I left the room, leaving Jane to monitor the downstairs by herself while I proceeded upstairs to the bathroom. You would imagine after my previous experience with bathrooms, I was quite weary about entering one again, but the boredom that had set in after so many hours, and the fact it was a pleasant looking room made me drop my guard.

I did what I had to and went to wash my hands when Jane called out to me.

“Tim! Get down here, now!”

I rushed down to her, panicking due to the urgency and tension in her voice. I found her staring wide eyed out of the window.

“What is it? What did you see?”

“There was someone out there, Tim.”


“It was like he was swinging from something, I only caught a glimpse of him, but he was white, and most definitely not alive.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m positive.”

“Right, I left my stuff in the bathroom, I’ll go grab it and we need to look on the roof… or in the attic.”

“Okay, be quick.” She squeezed my arm gently, genuinely fearful.

I rushed upstairs and quickly washed my hands before picking up my torch and the extra set of batteries I had packed as insurance. I looked up at the mirror and gazed at my reflection. There was something odd about it. Something strangely familiar to this scene… I don’t know what it was but something was wrong with my reflection. The longer I stared, the more it began to concern me. Then my heart dropped and my throat constricted. My reflection was a pale as a ghost; my hair was falling out, my eye sockets retracting. 

As I stepped away from the mirror, the image got closer until it was pressed against the glass. This wasn’t me. I was fine, I was being idiotic, I wasn’t looking at myself… I was looking at a corpse, and I knew whose corpse it was. I was looking at the body of David Blake… but how was this possible? I ran to the doorway and called Jane to come to the bathroom, but when she got there the image had disappeared. I told her what I saw, and the look of concern grew on her face.

“Tim, I don’t like this, this isn’t like anything we’ve dealt with before…”

“No, I know, it’s…”

Then it clicked. This was like something we’d dealt with before! The mirror!

“It’s a hollow mirror; it has to be… help me get it off the wall, Jane.”

“What?” she looked at me bewildered.

“Help me take the mirror off of the wall.”

We did exactly that, and sure enough, there was a large hole hidden behind just big enough to fit a body… only there was no body. Just an arrow, pointing upwards, painted in what appeared to be blood. The attic was the next logical step; someone was practically leading us to it. The scene that met us up there was not something we anticipated however.

The body I had seen through the mirror, and presumably the one Jane saw swinging just outside of the window was hanging by its hands in the far corner of the room. On the floor was a variety of symbols, painted, once again, in blood. The smell was the first thing that hit us however, the stench of death was in that attic, and it was almost as haunting as the lifeless corpse that was hung so crudely in the corner like a pig that had been slaughtered. I realised in that moment that is what we are… just meat. The symbols on the floor made no sense to me, the largest was reminiscent of a pentagram, but far more complex, at three distinct points however were three symbols I could understand: ‘P’, ‘A’ and ‘S’. It wasn’t until after we had called the police to take over that I realised the significance of those letters, fortunately Jane wasn’t quite as slow as I was.

“You realise who was behind this don’t you?” I nodded, but she felt the need to speak the name out loud anyway, “Prima Aetus Subortus.”

“Yes, thank you, Jane, I got that,” I couldn’t help but scowl, “what I want to know is how the body still looks so fresh after all this time.”

“Well, I spoke to one of the medical team, apparently it was preserved in basically the same way cadavers are preserved in universities for testing.”

“Someone went to a lot of effort to set this up, didn’t they?” I thought out loud.

“Sound like someone else we know?”

“We need to find out where that body was donated, if we can track where it went, maybe we can find out who is behind this!”

It took nearly a year, but we finally had our first lead on the person in video, and yet, I didn’t feel any sense of accomplishment, only one of dread, it seemed the closer I got to finding out the truth; the less I wanted to hear it. We were questioned for a while after that, we were in quite a bit of trouble for snooping around on someone else’s property, even if the owner had permitted it, apparently it’s an odd request for someone to make.

“Excuse me, were you the officer who answered the call when Mrs. Blake first called out about this?” I asked the officer who seemed to be in charge.

“I am.”

“Well then, I sincerely hope you are going to apologise.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Andrea Blake has been traumatised, and you and your fellow officers did nothing to help, not the slightest thing to even put her mind at ease, so I think, although it is just my opinion that you owe her a pretty damn, good apology!”

I spent the rest of that night in a jail cell. Which gave me plenty of time to reflect… I was haunted by the deathly face of  David Blake, and whoever went to such lengths to preserve him, for whatever reason, or even just to get to me, I had to find them, because they had subjected me to a sleepless night in jail at the least, and much, much worse at the most.

(End of Part 1)

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Moving On

“This isn’t working out, is it?”

Those were his first last words to me. They aren’t as poignant, memorable, or as philosophical as the kind you see in movies or romantic novels; they still stung though. He was right. I was just wishing he was wrong, but I knew, we both did, that what we were doing simply wasn’t working.

“We had a good run, but I think you know, just as much as I do, that we can’t carry on like this.”
I needed to say something- something to break away from this uncomfortable clichéd breakup before we got caught up in the whirlwind of emotion that threatened to overwhelm us both.

“Before you say anything else,” I said, “I just want to tell you-“

I stumbled, of course I did, how could I not? Words don’t come easily for me at the best of times, but when they matter, really matter, well then it’s a miracle I don’t choke on my own saliva.

“I want to tell you-“ I croaked, “that this, what we have- had- what we had, may not have been perfect, we may not be destined to be together- not that I believe in that kind of thing- but I’m going to be forever grateful that it did- happen , I mean.”

He brushed the hair from my eyes and kissed me lightly on the forehead. He always did that whenever I stumbled nervously over my words. Then it was his turn to speak.

“I feel the same way, I am so lucky to have found you when I did, I never told you how I was feeling the day we met, did I?”


“It would have been the worst day of my life had you not shown up.”


He sighed and looked down at the cold pavement beneath our feet. I could see his breath in the air as the cold breeze swept it away from me. His ears were red, his cheeks redder, and his lips were starting to become chapped and dry.

“My ex had been in contact with me that morning, the only person I was ever close to before you, she explained in detail how much she hated me, how much she loathed me, she told me that I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to maintain a relationship, how I was vindictive and spiteful, how I pushed her away, all because I was afraid of getting too close to someone, to letting another person be so close to me that they could see who I was inside. When I got home, my mother echoed her every word, as she had done ever since we broke up. It was that day I left home, and it was that day I lost faith in relationships, in companionship.”

He placed his hand on my cheek and looked me in the eye.

“Then you came along and restored it, almost instantly,” he smiled warmly and I wanted to hold him again, even though I knew I couldn’t, “still… I suppose she was right, we are breaking up after all, just the idea of a relationship… it scares me more than you know, but if anyone could make me believe it could work for me, it is you.”

I could see his concern was genuine, and I knew that whatever that girl had said to him had knocked his confidence, not just a little, but enough to shatter it… and I hadn’t even noticed, I had been so preoccupied with my own insecurities that I had failed to acknowledge his. I needed to address his fear, if I could help take some of it away, even a little; I needed to do that, for his sake.

“If there was ever a spiteful or vindictive side to you, it is gone now, I have never seen it, I don’t ever think I will, because you are a kind, generous, giving person, and if that is what she saw in you, then she is either delusional, or she was simply projecting her own insecurities onto you, do not dwell on what she has said anymore, because you can take my word that it is all lies.” His eyes became wet; I could see he was struggling to keep his cool. “You will find someone who will make it work, you may not believe it at first, but when she comes along, you will know, I’m just sorry that person couldn’t be me.”

“I don’t believe anyone could compete with you, if I ever had any chance at a genuine, happy relationship, you were it.”

I struggled to believe that. For two reasons, first, he was beyond extraordinary, he could easily have had any girl he wished, he was good looking, funny, kind, and easily the best person all round I have ever met, and second, I was almost definitely the opposite, introverted, shy, and inherently awkward.

“If you don’t think you can do any better than me, you must have the oddest standards I’ve ever known.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, look at me!”

I took a step back and allowed him to bask in the incomparable lack of glory that was me.

“Am I meant to be seeing a fault?” he asked, genuinely bemused.

“Are you serious? Do you know the reason I’ve never been able to commit to a relationship, a serious one at least?”

“No, tell me.”

“I don’t believe I deserve one. Whenever I find a man who genuinely seems to care for me, who treats me well, and wants to look after me, I begin to wonder where it will all go wrong, where I will slip up and ruin everything, and I run away before that can happen, even though I know I’m going to be miserable and lonely, I do it every time, because the fear is greater than my happiness. The longest relationship I’ve ever had is with you, and it’s given me hope that one day I will actually be able to commit to someone the way I commit- committed to you.”

It dawned on me at that moment just how final that was. It was over, the end of a relationship, the end of an era, the end of my life as I knew it then. I didn’t feel sadness though, I had for a very short period, but then it ended abruptly, and all I felt was a kind of relief, a freedom, not just from the restraints of a commitment, I felt I had grown, I now had a new perspective on people and relationships and life… for the first time I had hope that I could be happy. Then he spoke once more.

“You deserve every happiness life can give you.”

“You deserve more.” I chuckled, a single tear escaping from my eye.

We embraced for the final time, and I held onto him tight, knowing that it would most likely be the last time. I can still recall the warmth of our bodies together; the feel of his arms wrapped around me, and mine around him. It’s a moment I wouldn’t change for anything.

“Thank you for making me happy again, genuinely, thank you so much.”

Then we parted. I suppose you are wondering why I am writing this now, why I’m reflecting on this so many years afterwards. I don’t think I realised at that moment just how significant that point in my life was, or just how pretentious and stupid we were, I felt like it was everything back then, now I know it wasn’t, it wasn’t everything, but it was certainly something. Too little value is placed on ‘somethings’, because that one ‘something’ changed my life for the better, and led me to where I am now: a husband, three children, a house, two cars, a part time job and most importantly… happiness.

And I’m certain that he is happy too, wherever he is, maybe we’ll meet again one day, I sincerely hope we do.