A Story By
Philip R Benge
Philip R Benge on Shakespir
Copyright Philip R Benge 2016
Cover Art Copyright Philip R Benge 2016
Thank you for downloading this eBook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form, with the exception of quotes used in reviews.
Your support and respect for the property of this author is appreciated.
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author`s imagination and used fictitiously.
The land known by many as the Dreamscape, but actually called the Netherworld, is one of the many hell dimensions that abound but is unknown to the mortal world. It is a hot arid desert world filled with nothing except sand, rock and its pathetic inmates, except that is for a foul grey liquid that look like it might be a river, a river that seemed to ooze along rather than to flow, but it is not made up of water, for it has never rained in this dimension. The liquid is in fact the very essence of the evil that pervades this dry land, secreted by the inmates sent to suffer in this hell for their sins. The Netherworld was thought by those who knew of its existence to have derived its incorrect name, the Dreamscape, from the many people who travel there in their dreams, or their nightmares, however when they awake they are always back in their mortal world, unlike the inhabitants of this terrible place. Time does not exist as we know it for the inhabitants, they will exist there for eternity and nothing would change for them, their souls drained of their essence, or life-force, until they are not much more than flotsam blown around in the wind, and quickly going mad from the sheer eternal boredom of their almost nonexistence They look exactly like pale tragic ghosts, but these ghosts were very hungry and so very evil.
The ruler of this world was the demon Lord Asbaritch, one of the major demons of Hell, who had until recently ruled alone, however he had just taken a lady into his domain, the beautiful Moira Bourbon, a human, who now resided as his consort in the Netherworld. She had been killed by Rob Hinds, a government agent of the Special Intelligence Services, but prior to that Moira had been the most powerful Satanist ever, and Rob had killed her to prevent her from using her powers to shape the world to suit her own evil ends.
For some time prior to her death Lord Asbaritch had kept a close watch on both Moira and Rob, but for very different reasons, on seeing Rob about to kill Moira Bourbon he did not intervene, for it suited him admirably if Moira died. After Rob had left her lifeless body laying upon the cold floor and hidden in her own secret satanic temple, and he had departed the scene, Lord Asbaritch had appeared by the side of her dead body. He looked down at her still body, at the two bullet wounds that marred her beauty, and although he had been besotted with Moira, he smiled, then as her dark soul attempted to leave her body he spoke.
“Dark soul of Moira Bourbon, I, Lord Asbaritch, command you to stay within your body, soon I will give your poor shell a new eternal life.”
Moira`s soul which had been about to leave her body was forced back within her body by his dark power and Lord Asbaritch then took her body, with its dark soul locked inside, back to his fortress, back to his terrible world. Once there he took her into a small room that resembled the laboratory that Moira had once possessed in her family chateau. Here he removed her clothing, and after taking another moment to look at her horrendous wounds he spread an ointment upon them, and moments later all traces of the horrific bullet wounds to her head and her body were gone. Once more she was the beautiful Satanist whose beauty and fearlessness had won his heart. Lord Asbaritch then looked at her in all her beauty, and when he was sated he went to a cupboard and took out six glass bottles, each of them held a different liquid or powder. He mixed their contents together in a large glass bowl, stirring the potion until a yellow smoke began to rise from it. With the potion ready he poured all of it into Moira`s mouth, ten seconds he waited and finally he saw her chest move, she had begun to breathe again, then her fingers began to move, then her toes and finally she opened her eyes, sat up and took a deep breath. Looking up at the dark lord she spoke to him.
“Lord Asbaritch, please explain to me what this wondrous thing is that you have done to me.” She asked.
Lord Asbaritch explained all that had happened, but not until he had told her of his undying love for her, that she was no longer a mortal, no she was now of demon kind and would reside for ever more within his realm as his consort, that thanks to him, her new lord and master, she had a body as well as a soul, just as he had.
Moira got off the bench and stood before the demon. “I thank you My Lord, and I swear by the mighty Lucifer that because of what you have done for me that I will be yours until Hell freezes over.” Moira promised, not in the least embarrassed to be standing before Lord Asbaritch without any clothing upon her young body.
The night was just falling and a cool breeze had sprung up in the state of New York, but all was not quiet, gun shots shattered the darkening streets of the small village of Morrisville. Hidden behind an aging Buick, Brad Stirling stood up to return the fire coming towards him from the agents of the FBI, it was now that he felt the bullets enter his body, pushing deep into his vitals, he felt his legs buckling under him, he knew that death was very close, in fact he died before his body hit the ground. An FBI agent walked towards Stirling`s still body, his gun still in his hand and aimed at the fallen man.
‘Finally,’ the agent thought. ‘They had nailed the serial killer who had taken so many innocent lives.’
In the land known as the Dreamscape a dark swirling mass of smoke appeared on the cold hard floor, the being known as Brad Stirling formed within the smoke. He was amazed to wake up, for he had been sure that the bullets that he had felt tear into his body would have killed him, he was even more amazed to find himself lying on the stone floor of a large hall, he sat up and looked around him, he saw a massive throne in the middle of the equally massive grand hall. He slowly stood up, he felt no pain whatsoever, not even a dull ache, he looked around him and saw that the walls of the room were built of very large cut stones, Cyclopean walls, he thought, such as those spoken of by Homer, for he was not uneducated, merely evil. Tall narrow windows pierced the walls to allow light to enter the Cyclopean room, one shaft of light lighting up a beautiful woman with red flowing hair who was standing silently in a doorway, seeing him notice her she walked towards him. Stirling smiled for he liked redheads, and this one only stopped walking when her body was touching his.
“Welcome to my fortress.” Moira Bourbon said in a deep husky voice that sent tremors down Stirling`s spine.
Then he heard heavy footsteps approaching from behind him, he spun round ready to greet whoever it was, his hand reaching for his sharp hunting knife and pulling it free from its sheath, standing before him was Lord Asbaritch. He was olive green in colour, very tall and well-muscled, and with eyes that were large brilliant yellow glowing orbs and that were boring into those of Stirling. Stirling was stunned to see such a creature, he could not even think about pushing his knife into the giant facing him, it was then that he felt a pain shoot from his head and rush down through his body and he screamed. Moira Bourbon had just sank her fingers deep inside the side of Stirling`s head, her beautiful face marred by the evil gleam in her eyes. Lord Asbaritch reached out and crushed the wrist that held the knife, which in any case had only been an image of the real thing, the ghostly weapon dropped slowly to the floor, it faded away as it fell until finally it disappeared just inches away from the floor.
“Did no one ever tell you fool, the dead cannot bring anything with them, except their memories, and maybe a few unrealistic hopes?” Lord Asbaritch whispered into Stirling`s ear.
The demon lord then joined Moira in draining Stirling`s evil soul, their victim screamed so very loudly as the very essence that powered his soul was taken from him. His evil soul quickly shrunk and became translucent, no longer did he have the allusion of clothing, now he looked very much like Casper the ghost, but with legs, a being in a white bedsheet with cut outs where his facial features were. Stirling looked up at the grinning beings who now appeared as giants to him, for what remained of his malignant soul had shrunk to resemble a two feet high ghost-like figure. Stirling ran for the open doorway and into the outer hall and then out through the courtyard to the desert land that was incorrectly named the Dreamscape, for the real Dreamscape was within this cold and forbidding fortress. Even then Stirling did not realise that he had no real body, just what was left of his black soul, for he was a Shade, the only other inhabitants of this terrible land. Shades had once been human beings, but evil ones such as Satanists, or in his case a serial killer, who were being punished for their sins. They may have enjoyed their lives as mortals, but with their deaths they had been sent to this land for eternity, there to be preyed upon by its ruler or left to slowly fade away as they went insane.
Lord Asbaritch felt much better after finishing his meal of Stirling`s life-force, far more sated than he did when he partook of food in the traditional way. As usual after consuming the life-force of one of his guests, as he liked to call them, he needed a drink, he particularly liked the green coloured Rakiremanin, however he had consumed his last keg, instead he had to make do with the rather tame drink known by the Cretans as Raki.
When Moira had first come to the Netherworld, Lord Asbaritch had shown her how to acquire nourishment in another way to one that she had just enjoyed. He had taken her through to the heart of his fortress, into the land of dreams, the actual Dreamscape. They walked together through a misty veil, a force field that only they could pass through, and in doing so Moira had felt a tingle travel throughout her body, it had refreshed her much like a cool shower would have done had she been a mere mortal. Moira had looked in awe at what she had seen before her, and where she was, for she was literally floating above the Earth in the dream dimension. Beneath them stretched the night side of the Earth, and she could see anyone and everyone who was dreaming, their astral forms lit up by an incandescent light that left a slight trail behind them as they moved through the Dreamscape. Lord Asbaritch had taken her down to visit the dreamers, and he had showed her how to turn their dreams into the most frightening of nightmares; they could then draw energy from their victims, energy in the form of fear. Sometimes the dreamer was brought back to their own dry world to feast upon, they could then draw even more of their victim`s energy from them, but the dreamer was always released before death overtook them. If they continued to feed off a single victim`s nightmare, the person would finally die, being too exhausted to live, however, Lord Asbaritch had never been known to do such a thing, and he now forbid Moira to do so. The reason he gave her was that while the Christian god allowed them to dine off the mortals` nightmares, for god realised that all things must eat, if they began killing the mortals in this fashion there was every chance that god would react in a way not very beneficial to the rulers of the Dreamscape.
If Lord Asbaritch chose to bring the dreamer to the Netherworld, then the Shades were also able to drain a little of the dreamers` life-force, if they caught the dreamers in their terrible world, but the dreamers soon awoke, their hearts racing, and feeling totally drained. Another Shade might then drain this life-force from the first evil soul, for they were never allowed to keep it for long. At the top of this weird food chain was Lord Asbaritch himself, who would feast upon whichever Shade had any life giving energy at the time, much as a vampire is said to feed upon its victims, except Lord Asbaritch`s victims did not possess any blood.
On the second day of her life within the Netherworld, Moira Bourbon, its new first lady, had asked a question of her lord and master.
“My Lord, I want to drag Rob Hinds through into our world, along with a few other people who assisted him, so that I can torture them for all eternity, will you assist me in this task?”
“My love, it is simply not allowed to drag people from the mortal world, just to satisfy oneself.” Lord Asbaritch replied. “We are allowed to join them in their dreams where we can feed off their fears. Apart from that succulent meal Moira, if a living Satanist requests that we visit a particular person, or asks us to transport them somewhere, the Satanist may allow us to feed upon their victim, but only to the extent that they allow, as a Satanist in your old life surely you know this?” Lord Asbaritch asked but then carried on speaking without waiting for an answer.
“However should we try to appear in world of the humans without either a satanic request or through their dreams, then we stand a good chance of being chastised severely. We could even be transported to Tartarus as prisoners, there we would be punished, pain worse than even you could imagine would race through our bodies for as long as Lucifer or God ordained.” He replied sorrowfully.
“Moira, the laws laid down by the all-powerful Christian god, with the agreement of Lucifer who spoke on behalf of Demon kind, are binding to all who reside in any of the realms of Hell.” He warned his first lady. “Take care that you do not break them.”
“My Lord, did you not enter my chateau and bring my body and soul back to your realm, and without the aid of a Satanist?” Moira asked quizzically. “In fact you allowed Rob Hinds to kill me.” Moira said accusingly.
“It was your dying soul that called to me Moira, and so I answered its summons and appeared before you, however up until that moment I could only watch what was happening around you through the Dreamscape.” Lord Asbaritch replied. “I was powerless to act on your behalf.” He said so apologetically, with his head bowed and his arms wide open in a suggestion of helplessness.
“In any case Moira, I did warn you, when you were a mortal, that you should not concern yourself with Rob Hinds, he defeated your father, a worthy adversary, and while, initially, you were doing quite well, you would not leave him be. You should have killed him immediately if that is what you desired, but no you wanted him to suffer for eternity for the death of your father. So you see, you only have yourself to blame for your current situation, at least you have a body, not like the other pathetic creatures that are sent to my realm for punishment, all they have is a black soul that we drain of its life-force the instant that they arrive here.” Lord Asbaritch reminded a rather sulky first lady.
Tartarus, the hell dimension mentioned earlier by Lord Asbaritch, is a world of terrible torment and immeasurable suffering set aside for those wicked souls who were not sent to the Dreamscape, but was also an ancient god. The place is presided over by the ancient Greek god Kronos, with the assistance of the Cyclops, a one eyed giant, and an assortment of horrific Greek mythological monsters that come in so many fantastic and frightening forms, the sight of them would cause many to simply faint in fear, that or to stand there stupefied. Kronis answers only to one other, Lord Lucifer, who is the supreme ruler of all of the hell dimensions. The god is an actual part of this hell dimension, content to stay invisible, keeping the magical barrier that surrounds it in place, and occasionally allowing access into it when a powerful Satanist beseeches him while using the Key of Tartarus.
With her status as the Lady of the Netherworld, Moira did not gain many new powers, except those to do with nightmares, and the ability to feed off the dreamers and the Shades, the only other permanent resident of the Netherworld. However, these were more than enough for her, for when she had died she had just fed off the accumulated life-forces held within the golden Ark of Baʿal Berith. It was a device that she had stolen from the gods of Tartarus, and it was this device that had made her the most powerful Satanist in existence. When she had been shot through the head by Rob, the extra life-force that she carried within her had mysteriously accompanied her on her journey to the Netherworld, for the mystical force that powered the Ark of Baʿal Berith had come to the aid of its present mistress.
After she had asked her dark lord to assist her in her plans for revenge against her enemies, and had been refused, she had sulked, but then days later, a stranger appeared before her, it was while she worked from within her large study, a lavishly decorated room on the first floor of Lord Asbaritch`s fortress within the Netherworld. Indeed the whole fortress was now decorated and furnished, Moira having stolen everything from the other realms of Hell. The residents of these realms had complained bitterly to the great Lord Lucifer, but he had merely shrugged his massive shoulders and gone to dine at Fortress Asbaritch.
Moira looked up at the stranger in surprise, for she had locked the door to her study against any surprise interruptions made by her lord and master. The stranger was a tall Adonis of a man and one who was much to the liking of the Satanist.
“Who the hell are you and how did you enter my study?” Moira demanded to know as she stood up and walked towards the man, meaning to steal some of his energy and so gain control over him.
“I am an answer to your prayers Satanist, I will give you your Ark, and the Key of Tartarus, all you have to do is give yourself to me.” The stranger said.
“And just how are you going to do something that even Lord Asbaritch is incapable of doing?” Moira asked quizzically, her interest aroused in more than one way.
“Put yourself in my hands Satanist, and we will use your remaining satanic powers to bring them through from their earthly dimension to this one.” The stranger replied.
He reached out and grasped her head before she could stop him.
“Hey!” Moira exclaimed angrily shaking him off and stepping away from the man Moira now thought of as Adonis, thinking this name was as good as another.
“Fool of a woman, the only other way to open a portal between this world and the world of the mortals is if a Satanist bids you appear before him, and there are no Satanists down on the Earth who are willing, or able, to call upon the rulers of the Netherworld because of your past deeds. When you entered Tartarus and stole the golden Ark of Baʿal Berith, and then had the temerity to kill the goddess Hekate, it caused such ripples to flow, some of which have still not come to a rest. Satanists with any power have ceased their experiments in the dark arts and hidden away, they are fearful that Lord Lucifer will take your insolent actions out on them. The most powerful of them all, Malik Singh, has hidden himself away in the mountains of Tibet, waiting there until order returns and he can return to his temple to continue his experiments in the black arts.”
“I am sorry my Lord.” Moira said bowing to the stranger standing before her. “I did not know, satanic news is in short supply here in the Netherworld. I humbly ask you for your help in restoring my satanic devices to me.”
The stranger once more reached out and grabbed her head, and before she could do anything else, the room in which she was standing in changed to that of a dark vault. She felt the stranger use her powers to light up the room, and she was shaken for a moment, to see the two satanic devices she wanted more than anything else, they were sitting on a shelf in front of her. She watched as her hands reached out and touched the devices, they immediately glowed brightly, almost as if they recognized their mistress. A moment later and Moira found herself back in her study, and forming in front of her was the Key of Tartarus and golden Ark of Baʿal Berith.
“How did you do that?” Moira asked just a little bewildered.
“Later, Satanist, first you have to honour your side of the bargain, and do not attempt to use the Ark against me, for I am more powerful than you could ever imagine.” The stranger replied grimly.
Moira led the stranger across to a day bed and there she undressed before him and lay on the soft bed.
“Before we commence you will dance for me Lady of the Netherworld, dance as you have never danced before.” The stranger ordered.
And so Moira rose from her bed and she did dance for the stranger, danced until her legs ached and she begged to be allowed to rest. The stranger now picked her up and lay her aching body upon her soft bed, and for the next three hours he used her body as he saw fit, hurting her at times, bringing her to powerful orgasms at other times. Not once did she complain for she was used to such lovemaking when Lord Asbaritch took her. When he had finished with her the stranger rose from her bed and smiled down upon her.
Moira stood up and rubbed her naked body against his. “When I have need of your assistance again, how do I summon you my lord?” Moira asked as she kissed his handsome face.
The stranger’s handsome face turned to one of such ugliness that even Moira could not look upon it.
“Miserable Whore of Asbaritch you cannot summon such as I, did you really believe that I allowed you to get your trinkets just for the use of your body.” The stranger roared down at her. “Maybe if you survive in your new world for enough millennia you will finally understand all that I am and desire. I will take you when I please, be thankful that this time I paid you for your body.”
The stranger then turned into a Cyclops, the one eyed giant of Greek mythology, but even this form was a disguise, for he had once been the pulsating mass of matter put in the Netherworld by Lord Lucifer himself, now grown into the sentient life-force standing before Moira, one with desires, and plans of his own.
A smile appeared on Moira Bourbon`s face and she burst out laughing as the stranger began to fade away from view.
“Do you really believe that I care an infinitesimal about what you want or desire beast. All I care about is what I, Moira Bourbon, the most powerful Satanist ever wants, and that is my father back where he belongs, at my side.” Moira screamed at the empty space that had just been occupied by the stranger.
Moira though was a little troubled, for she did wonder just why the stranger had come to her and taken her, if not for the pleasure of her body then why?
Later that night she used the golden Ark of Baʿal Berith to draw the life-force from countless victims residing in the other realms of Hell, ones that she was permitted to visit. Unfortunately when she tried to use it on her nightmare victims, she found that a hidden force prevented her from doing so, but one day she would have Rob Hinds in her power again, and then she would torture him and his two loved ones. When she bored of their screams she would open the Ark and laugh as she watched their bodies being sucked inside of it, with Rob being the last one to die, then she would feed off their life-forces.
Moira knew that she had to keep her dark lord happy so that he did not interfere with her plans, so using her newly acquired power she searched the nearest demon kind town and managed to find all of the necessary ingredients that made up Lord Asbaritch`s favourite drink, Rakiremanin. The next day Moira made up a large amount of Rakiremanin in a keg that she had stolen from a town of demons and then she gave it to her lord, explaining just how she had managed to acquire the drink. Lord Asbaritch repaid his consort by taking her to bed.
There was much that Moira did enjoy in her life, such as the attention that Lord Asbaritch lavished on her, she enjoyed their many bouts of very energetic love making, he was a demon lover both literally and metaphorically speaking, and so for the moment she was content with her life. Of course Moira did miss many things about her mortal life, spending lazy hours wandering around the shops, eating out at a fine restaurant, but mostly her father, Ulysses Bourbon, who had been another powerful Satanist and had been her mentor as well as her father. She had resurrected him just one year ago after he had been executed by Rob Hinds, just to see him killed again by Rob Hinds. Following his first death, her father had been sent to the Netherworld for his many crimes against humanity; however he had not enjoyed his stay, for he had been a Shade, a resident of the Netherworld. After his second death however, he had been sent to Tartarus, and Moira aimed to get him back from that most terrible of hell dimensions, to dwell with her within the Fortress of Asbaritch as an equal. She had not included Lord Asbaritch in her plans, as she knew that he would refuse for fear of the consequences, however if he or Lord Lucifer attempted to stop her, well she was making plans for them too. Her plans might also bring her into direct conflict with the all-powerful Christian god and his lieutenants, but if so then at least she would know that she was still ‘alive’ and kicking, not slowly stagnating in this empty desert world.
When night fell in the mortal world and the church bells of France rang midnight, she used the Dreamscape to travel to her family chateau near to Montluçon, here she entered the dreams of an old family retainer, one who was also a Satanist and so knew of her temple beneath the chateau.
“Rene, where is the body of my dear father Ulysses Bourbon, where is he resting?” Moira asked the elderly man who was dreaming of an old sweetheart.
In his dreams Rene was much younger, however on seeing Moira appear before him he reverted to his normal age.
“Moira, are you dead or alive?” Rene exclaimed.
“I was dead my friend, but I was lucky, I have been reborn in the form that you see me and now I am eternal.” Moira replied.
“I am glad, will you be coming back to the chateau soon?” Rene asked happily.
“Soon I will return Rene, but tell me where my father is resting,” Moira pleaded.
“When I found the body of your father laying there on the cold floor of the temple, I moved him back to his coffin in your family crypt, he is still there, at rest. I also removed the bodies of your dead dogs, I buried them in the woodland near to the crypt.” Rene replied sadly.
“Thank you for your kindness Rene, I will always remember it and I will reward you.”
With that Moira left Rene to enjoy his dreams of his young sweetheart.
The wood demon Ray of Sunlight, and known to his friends as Sunray, slipped silently and unseen through the streets of Reigate, a small town South of London, he was following a human female who he had decided he would visit that night. The wood demon was not all bad; unfortunately he was not good either. He could walk around as a human or move through the air looking like a puff of smoke; unfortunately a wood demon dined on the life-force of Man or beast, although Sunray preferred to feast upon young human females. He was a vampire, but his kind never killed their victims, not like the fictional Dracula, because the human race was so vast they merely supped and then moved on. Sunray did have another thing in common with Dracula, his kind could hypnotise their prey, and like Dracula they could only do so to one victim at a time.
It was quite warm in the sun and Cassie was dressed in a lightweight skirt and blouse, her jacket carried over one arm and her bag hung loosely over the other. For the last five minutes she had the feeling that someone was following her, once she had seen Sunray from the corner of her eye, but when she turned to see who was there she saw that the street was empty. Finally, after turning around for the fifth time and beginning to feel a little afraid that something nasty was behind her; she did see something, a puff of smoke blowing in the wind. When she got to her apartment she already had the key out and she hurriedly opened the door, entered, and then just as quickly closed it behind her. Cassie decided not to mention it as everything had been going along so peacefully that it seemed wrong to spoil it for her sister and her brother in law.
That night the puff of smoke drifted in through her open window and covered her, it then stole just a little of her life-force, just enough to satisfy the creature until morning when it would find another to feast upon.
Rob Hinds was still fast asleep in his apartment, his wife, Christina, had risen early to prepare their breakfast and before the sun had even risen from its bed. From a spot at the foot of the bed, and about two feet above it, a spot of light appeared as if by magic and from within this magical spot of light a green vine appeared. The vine slowly snaked its way down and under the rumpled bedclothes where it injected a poison into Rob that dulled his senses. It now began to twine themselves around Rob`s legs, it was almost done when Sunray had decided to leave Cassie`s bedroom, having fallen asleep there after dining upon Cassie`s life-force. This was his custom, for he too needed his sleep at the end of the day. and so he made his way out of the apartment, and it was then that he sensed the evil, felt the icy cold, and although he was not one of God`s creatures he had a loathing for all things to do with Hell. He quickly opened Rob`s bedroom door and looked in, then he went back to Cassie and whispered in her ear.
“Cassie, wake up, Rob is in danger.”
Cassie did not immediately realise that she had heard an actual voice, she thought that she had had a premonition. This in itself was strange as she had never had such a thing happen to her before that morning, but she had had so many supernatural experiences and she thought that Sunray`s voice was another one and so she acted upon it. Therefore, she rushed from her own bed and burst into Rob and Christina`s bedroom without so much as a knock. She immediately screamed out in terror, for the vine was pulling Rob towards the magical spot of light. Now a scream normally did not affect the vine, it simply ignored it and carried on obeying its satanic master, or in this case mistress. However, Cassie was still a virgin and the scream of a virgin carries a special magic of its own, when it was used against one of the lower orders of hell, such as a vine grown and raised in Hell. Suddenly the room was filled with the stench of Hell; it was coming from the vine that was disintegrating into a thick green smoke and all because of her screams that rang around the flat.
Rob slowly woke up, his mind still dazed by the vine`s poison, but his hand reached automatically for his automatic pistol, that is until he saw what was left of the vine disappearing through the spot of light. However, his ordeal was not over yet for he immediately began to cough as the hellish smoke began to invade his lungs.
Christina, on hearing her sister scream out in fear, had rushed from the kitchen to see Cassie leaving the bedroom, and she too was coughing, but she had only inhaled a little of the hellish smoke, she was not incapacitated as Rob was. Christina had also had many experiences with Satanists and the spawn they conjured up from Hell, she immediately rushed into their small front room and seconds later she reappeared carrying two small glass bottles. One she gave to Cassie and the other she poured down the throat of her gasping husband whose face had begun to turn green from the poisonous smoke that was filling Rob`s lungs and spreading throughout the rest of his body. The effect was also magical, a scream erupted from Rob`s mouth and the green smoke that had invaded him rushed out and disappeared through the bright spot of light that immediately closed up, all that was left behind was its terrible smell, that and the cold that always accompanied evil.
“Thank you Christina, you saved my life, but what on earth made you bring holy water?” Rob finally managed to ask.
“I was preparing breakfast when I heard Cassie`s screams, it sounded as if the hordes of hell were after her, in fact I think the whole block heard her screams. When I entered the hall I saw that Cassie coughing her lungs up, and I could hear you gasping in here. At first I thought that the apartment was on fire because I could see the smoke, but then I felt the cold surround me, and that told me that we were under attack from something evil, then I noticed that the smoke was not acting normally, it was making a beeline for Cassie, it was almost a living thing!” Christina exclaimed.
Cassie now jumped in, able now to explain what had happened and of her premonition. Rob and Christina listened to her, both of them were astonished and unable to say a word until she had finished.
“Thank you Cassie; it was only your swift action, and that of Christina’s, that saved my life.” Rob said gratefully. “But since when have you been having premonitions?” Rob asked quizzically.
“I just felt that you were in danger Rob, I would not call it an actual premonition.” Cassie replied. Her face had taken on a light flush at Rob`s praise.
“Don`t mock it Cassie, we have all learned that such a thing could well be possible, if you have another of them please tell us immediately, as you did this morning, please do not wait until it is too late and we are dead.” Rob replied and then concerned for his young sister in law he asked. “You look exhausted Cassie, are you all right?”
“Yes thank you Rob, I just feel so very tired, I expect that it will pass when I get some fresh air.” Cassie replied with a smile at her favourite, and only, brother-in-law.
Rob wondered if they should make up a pentagram, to protect themselves from another attack, but just then the sun rose making it unnecessary, for the demons that Satanists call upon to attack their enemies cannot work after sunrise.
Christina now returned to the kitchen to finish making breakfast, although when she called them they found themselves to be not very hungry, although both Rob and Cassie ate it after Christina had gone to so much bother in the first place.
After getting dressed Rob decided to phone Father Pritchard to tell him of this new satanic attack and of Cassie`s premonition, when he had done so Father Pritchard was also very worried.
“I have heard of such attacks before Rob, and usually they are successful, I will read up on all of the accounts that I have and then call you at your office, but be advised, this might not be the end of it.” Father Pritchard said. “As you know, I have been going through the books that Ulysses Bourbon left behind, it has been slow going due to the amount of books that he collected regarding satanic practices and any related subjects on the matter.” Father Pritchard began. “It has not helped that they are mostly written in old English, French and Latin, but I did find a couple of instances when a Satanist made such an attack. I will skim through some of the most promising to see if I can find out any more. Rob, please let me know should something happen again, and beware of anything that goes bump in the night and I am not joking my friend.”
Father Pritchard then went on to talk about Cassie`s sudden new ability to have premonitions. “Rob, could it be the good guys are evening up some changes that are happening for the worse?”
“I suppose it could be, for we have both witnessed some strange things over the last three years” Rob wondered. “It is certainly about time that things came down on our side for a change.”
“We do not know if they have not done so already, for we have endured some terrible things and come through it.” Father Pritchard admonished Rob.
There they left it for the moment, so that Father Pritchard could search his books, and after Father Pritchard`s advice Rob decided to prepare the pentagon that was painted onto the floor of their spare room, so that they could charge it at a moment`s notice. A charged pentagram is a five-pointed star drawn upon the floor and enclosed by a circle; the circle is then covered by blessed salt. The next part of the procedure is to draw the correct mystical signs at the apexes of the star, the signs at each of the points denote the five elements, four are of matter, and they are fire, air, water and earth, the fifth element is not of matter it is of spirit. To finish charging the pentagram five white candles are set at the apexes of the star and are then set alight, and finally five goblets are set in the valleys of the star and are filled with holy water. Father Pritchard had instructed Rob in the making of a pentagram, and after the last two cases involving Satanists, Rob now kept everything that he required to construct one, the items being packed away within a box in his spare bedroom. With Christina`s and Cassie`s assistance he first poured blessed salt along the line of the circle that encompassed the pentagram. Then he placed the pewter chalices and the candles in their respective places, he would only fill the chalices and light the candles that evening, when they would make use of the pentagram.
With this now ready for instant use the two young women both went off to university and Rob went to the SIS office to finish off some paperwork to do with his last mission. He also told Sir Willoughby Brown, his boss, about the latest supernatural occurrence to afflict him and his family.
Sir Willoughby Brown sighed when Rob had finished telling him of the satanic attack upon him.
“Rob, I know that I do not need to warn you to be careful, but call me if you need any help. Do you have any idea as to who may be attacking you this time?” The man in charge of the SIS asked.
“None at all sir, I thought that we had seen an end to our black magic cases, after the death of the Bourbons, it seems that I was wrong.” Rob replied grimly.
In the Netherworld Moira Bourbon smiled, her attempts to use the immense power of the golden Ark of Baʿal Berith has at least allowed her to cross dimensions, even if she could only open a very small hole to allow the lesser minions of Hell to attack her enemy. She was only slightly put out when she saw her plan fail, to think that a screaming teenager could thwart her so easily. She decided to mount a more covert and even deadlier attack.
It was just after midnight, and two days after the attack of the deadly vine, as Carrie had called it, and yesterday night they had all slept within the protective pentagram, and as nothing happening during the night Rob was hoping that the attack had ended. Cassie had gone to bed early, for even though it was the weekend and there was no college tomorrow, she still felt exhausted following Sunray`s visit. The moon was streaming through her window lighting up her room, she blinked wearily at it and realised that she felt terrible, she wondered if she was coming down with the flu for once again she felt exhausted and so she decided to get two paracetamol. Sunray had just left her bedroom for he had felt the familiar scent that told him that a demonic attacked of the hell kind was underway. Once again he slipped back into Cassie`s bedroom and whispered in her ear even as she attempted to go back to sleep.
“Cassie, wake up, Rob is in danger again,”
Sunray did not see his act as illogical, even though earlier he, a demon, had carried out a demonic attack of his own upon a young human female; he then left the apartment in a small cloud of smoke.
Rob was just about to enter his bedroom when Carrie opened her bedroom door and screamed out a warning to him.
“Don`t go in there Rob, I am sure that another creature from hell is in there.” Carrie cried out in fear.
Carrie`s cries brought Christina running into the hallway. “Not another attack Rob, when will it ever end?” She cried out in anguish.
Rob looked at the two women and then collected three bottles of holy water from the sideboard in the front room. “We will have to get David to give us a new batch if this does not let up soon.” Rob said only half in jest.
Rob slowly opened the door, just a little at first and then he put the light on, seeing nothing of the hell kind he gently pushed the door open a little wider and again wider still, inside the room all was normal, there was no vine from Hell waiting to snatch him away, no point of light through which it would come forth. “There is nothing in there Cassie, see for yourself?” Rob said allowing Cassie to see passed him.
Cassie was shivering now for she was dressed only in a thin nightgown. “Rob, don`t you feel it, the cold.” Cassie said fearfully. “Something is in there, I know it.”
And now Rob also felt the cold for it had begun to spread throughout the apartment.
“Maybe we should get out of here Rob, drive over to David’s place for the weekend?” Christina asked fearfully, for she too felt the cold entering her bones, a cold that she knew all too well.
The bottle of holy water that Rob held was in the form of a spray bottle, and it had a red dye added to it. Rob edged slowly forward and when he was just inside of the bedroom he wafted a fine spray of water across the room. Curled up upon his bed a snake screamed in pain as the spray of holy water fell upon its body, its outline visible from the red water that had hit it. The snake then threw itself at the three humans in an attempt to complete its task, but it was hit by water sprayed and thrown at it by three bottles, this was even too much for a hell snake, and it pulled back before it reached the open door way, but then it broke apart into two smaller snakes that began to grow at an alarming rate. To make matters worse Rob saw two more of the snakes coming through a small spot of light that was barely visible in front of the window. He instantly sprayed the spot of light which exploded and immediately went out. The four snakes now began to make for the doorway, two along the floor and the other two actually flew through the air at them.
Christina and Cassie were both visibly shaken, and even Rob was shocked by this second attack and they all hastily drew back from the doorway, this was a mistake for the snakes managed to escape from the room and were now between them and the outside door.
“Christina, Cassie, we cannot use the holy water against them, they might well sub divide again, we need to retire inside of the pentagram, from there I can phone David. I will ask him if there is any way to keep the minions of Hell out of our house.” Rob said leading the way into their spare room and after closing the door they stepped inside of the pentagon. Christina immediately lit the candles, new ones as the ones that Rob had originally put out had burnt down, this charged the pentagram and hopefully it would then protect them. She did not rely solely on this though, in her hand she held a large claw hammer, she meant to brain at least one of the snakes if they managed to penetrate the protective ring of salt.
From the other side of the door the four snakes threw their now large bodies against the closed door making it shake and while they battered at the door Rob phoned their friend, he was in of course as it was after midnight, and thankfully he was still awake. When he had told Father Pritchard of their latest fright, their friend said that he had some good news for them.
“Rob, the last book that I read was the odd one out of all of Ulysses Bourbon`s library, the last chapters dealt with ways to prevent attacks by other Satanists, and one section should allow me to show you how to protect your whole apartment.”
The door shook again, but this time the top hinge was torn from the wooden frame, and when the snakes hit the door again it flew open allowing them to enter into the room.
“That is great David, when can you come over, we are all just a little shaken over here and we could do with whatever aid you can offer, even if it is curtesy of the Bourbon family.” Rob replied gratefully. “You should know that the snakes have just broken the door down and joined us in the spare room.”
“Stay inside of the pentagram Rob, I have an idea, I am on my way now.” With that Father Pritchard put down the phone and ran to the door.
All of the snakes had advanced into the spare room and had now encircled the pentagram, but although they made attempts to pass the protective ring of salt, none were able to cross it, no matter how often they tried.
Rob passed out three small plastic cards, on each one was written the Lord`s Prayer, however it was now that they heard a soft female voice urging them to leave the pentagram.
“It is quite safe to go back into the front room, the snakes are my friends, I sent them to protect you against those who harbour you ill will, please come for I am waiting there for you to tell you who your enemy is and to offer you protective amulets against them.”
Christina and Rob were clearly wavering as these honeyed words came to their ears, however something was telling Cassie that this was all lies, and she now read from the card in her hand, the words ringing loud and clear in the room.
“The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou annointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of The Lord forever. Amen.”
Even before she had finished reciting the prayer both Rob and Christina had recovered their senses and joined in reciting the prayer. When they were done all was quiet within the room, except for the slithering of the snakes that were circling the pentagram to hold them prisoners within their own home.
Rob immediately phoned his friend to update him on the situation.
“Take care when you arrive David, for someone just tried to get us to leave the pentagram using hypnotism; it was only Cassie that stopped us from doing so.” Rob advised his friend.
This was the scene that Father Pritchard found when he arrived outside their apartment block three hours later; he had stopped on the way to purchase a number of curious items from a shop that only someone interested in black magic would know about and which would only open at this time of night for him. He opened the front door with the key that Rob had given him a while ago and set down a large parcel on the hall table just inside of the door, then he called out to his friends who answered telling him that the situation had not changed, and unless he had any ideas to help them that the situation would not change until the sun rose.
Father Pritchard pulled two Taser pulse pistols out of the bag and fired one of them at the first snake to take notice of him, the darts hitting the snake’s large body and plunging through its skin. The electrical charge made its body shake violently, a screech coming from its mouth, and then the hell snake exploded leaving only a terrible smell behind to tell that it had ever been there.
“My god David, first you fried it and then you disintegrated it!” Rob exclaimed.
His friend did not answer, the second snake had seen him and launched it long body at Father Pritchard, who in the best traditions of the Wild West fired at it while it was winging its way towards him. The two darts hit it when it was only two feet away from his body, but he had thrown himself sideways and the snake disintegrated to one side of his shoulder.
He was now out of Taser pistols but his hand reached inside of the bag on the hall table and brought out a large canister of gas and a cigarette lighter. Pressing the control button of the can he lit the gas coming out and went after the third snake which was edging away from him until Christina hit it on the head with her hammer. With the snake temporarily stunned Father Pritchard used his home made flame thrower on it, and that left just one of the snakes which was coiled up in the corner of the room ready to spring at anyone foolish enough to approach it. Father Pritchard turned down the gas flow to save enough for the final snake and was about to launch his attack on the last animal when Rob stopped him.
“David, do not approach it until I give the word, then approach it from the left.” Rob said. “Christina, I want you to approach it head on, show it your hammer, but be sure to stay inside of the pentagram.” Rob instructed and then he turned to Cassie.
“I have a weapon Rob.” Cassie said pulling out a children`s catapult and a bag of large metal nuts. “I did not exactly have another of my premonitions Rob, but just as I was passing a toy shop I saw it and decided that it could prove useful, just in case our enemy had not finished with us, the nuts I bought from the builders’ merchant.” Cassie said smiling and took her place beside Christina, after loading her weapon.
Rob smiled at her and then turned back to his friend. “David while the girls and I distract it please send the snake back to hell.” Rob instructed.
Cassie immediately began to fire the large metal nuts at the snake while Christina hit the floorboards with the hammer making a loud enough noise to distract it, and probably the neighbours. Rob stood to the right of the girls and he pulled out his automatic pistol, after giving his friend the OK to approach the hell fiend he fired at the snake, the bullets entering its body but seemingly without causing it too much harm, although it did hiss much louder and it stretched up its long body in an attempt to reach him.
Father Pritchard had moved around the pentagram unnoticed, but as soon as he turned the gas up full the snake turned towards him and began to edge backwards while readying itself to spring at the him. Father Pritchard felt his fear rising as he readied himself to meet the coming battle of man versus hell creature, however Rob had seen the snake readying itself to spring forward and had stopped firing at the hell creature, instead he had grabbed a hold of its tail. It seemed to spring at the same as it noticed that someone had grabbed a hold of its tail, and while it hung there, mysteriously suspended in air, Father Pritchard turned his weapon on the snake and sent it back to Hell.
“Is that it, is it all over now?” Christina asked of no one in particular.
“I think so; the attacks are from a Satanist with only limited satanic power, he or she will be exhausted by now.” Father Pritchard replied.
With this declaration the massive amount of tension that had been weighing them down finally left them and they made en masse for the kitchen and a cup of tea. Once seated and drinking his tea Father Pritchard told them how to demon proof their apartment, something that they would have to do each evening before the sun set. The system involved walking around the apartment while praying and spraying a mist of holy water upon the walls, the ceilings and finally the floors. They then had to mix a potion together that was burned much like an incense and it would give off a sweet smelling odour. Rob was sure that he would soon tire of the smell, however both Christina and Cassie declared that they liked it when they finally lit the potion, in any case it was preferable to hell vines and snakes invading their home.
Father Pritchard then turned to Cassie. “Are you feeling OK, Cassie, you look exhausted?”
“I think I must be coming down with the flu David, I have woken up lately feeling absolutely exhausted.” Cassie replied and immediately yawned.
“I am not so sure Cassie, these premonitions of yours, have they just popped into your mind or have you heard an actual voice warning you?” Father Pritchard asked.
“Oh, I haven`t thought about it, but yes now that I come to think about it, both times I heard an actual voice telling me that Rob was in trouble.” Cassie replied.
“Just what are getting at David?” Rob asked anxiously.
“In one of Ulysses Bourbon`s books it tells of a creature called a wood demon, it is earthbound, not like the usual sort of demon, and it is your actual vampire. It is quite difficult to spot because it can actually turn into a puff of smoke, just like a regular Dracula.” Father Pritchard replied.
Cassie now jumped in. “David, I haven`t been bitten, I do not have any puncture wounds.”
“You wouldn`t find any Cassie, because he steals your life-force not your blood, he places his hands upon your head and sucks out your energy.” Father Pritchard replied.
“So we now have a vampire problem David, on top of everything else, so how do we protect Cassie from another attack, garlic and crosses, just like the movies?” Rob asked.
“What we have done should be enough, but maybe closed windows, strings of garlic and a cross around Cassie`s neck might be a good idea, just to be sure.” Father Pritchard replied.
“Well he may be draining me of my life-force, but he has also saved Rob`s life, twice, so he cannot be all bad.” Cassie said. “Mind you I will take the extra protections, I have some important papers to finish over the next two weeks and I need to be fully fit, not exhausted.”
Cassie thought that she caught sight of her mystery visitor twice over the next week, but the protections that they used kept him from visiting her at night and she was soon feeling fit again.
After Rob had sprayed the spot of light with the holy water Moira Bourbon had cursed him, for the spot of light was her only gateway by which she could maintain contact with what had been happening at Rob`s apartment, but when none of her snakes returned to her she assumed that somehow Rob had got the better of them. She decided that she urgently needed a way to use all of her immense power against him, not the measly amount she could summon up without the aid of a Satanist.
She could not use a powerful Satanist, for they would not bend easily to her wishes, all she needed was a mortal with the minimum knowledge of Satanism. Using the Dreamscape she searched for days, or rather nights, for the tell-tale sign of black magic being attempted and finally she found such a sign in the outskirts of the city of Walchester. Here she found a young man through his dreams, one who had a desire to become a Satanist, for only then would he be able to become a man of distinction, through the power he obtained using black magic.
The person who she found was Alistair Marchmount, a chemistry student at Walchester University, and one who was terribly smitten by a young woman, Norma Percival a mathematics student, who had as yet not even noticed him. Marchmount did not consider himself to be ugly, but there again he could not see himself as handsome either; he had to admit though that his greatest failing was that he was a little shy.
Moira visited him in his dreams for the next week, and Marchmount finally realised that the beautiful woman who kept appearing in his dreams was another Satanist, and one who wanted to help him progress in his chosen profession.
The next morning being Saturday meant that he did not have any lectures to attend, and so he spent the morning buying the various items that Moira had listed out for him in his dreams. After lunch, for he thought that he should eat lunch before trying out the potion, he returned to the flat that he shared with some other students and in the privacy of his bedroom he mixed many of the items in a glass bowl with a lockable plastic lid. With the potion ready for use he then drove out into the country where he could light the potion without fear of being interrupted. He pulled over at a local country park and walked into its small wooded area, and it was here that he set the glass bowl down on the ground and lit the potion within it.
“I, Alistair Marchmount, Satanist and follower of Lord Lucifer call upon Moira Bourbon to attend me.” Marchmount called out hesitantly and just above a whisper so that no one would come to investigate just what he was doing.
Moira Bourbon did not need to answer his summons, or do his bidding, for Marchmount was only a novice, but she needed him even if he did not know it. So she answered his summons; a plume of red smoke appeared before Marchmount, it was accompanied by the evil smell of hell that would have told an experienced Satanist that a demon was about to appear, and it had the effect of making him want to throw up, and so nauseous did he feel that he did not notice that the temperature had dropped down towards freezing.
“Sorry about the smell Alistair, but when one travels around in this fashion there is simply no way of avoiding it.” Moira said as soon as she appeared and thankfully being in the open allowed the stench of hell to quickly dissipate.
Moira did not rush the young student, ignoring his needs in favour of her own, no she put his first, and she did it by studying Alistair`s attire and then she gently laughed.
“Alistair, how on earth are you going to win the fair Norma dressed like that, or indeed with that hair style, we will simply have to do something about your appearance.”
Marchmount had stared at her from the moment that she had appeared, never had a pretty girl ever noticed him before, never mind such a beautiful one, however the question had brought him back to the moment.
“How do you know about Norma, have you been spying on me?” Marchmount demanded to know, a little vexed that the beautiful Satanist may have seen him doing things he would rather have kept secret.
“I am the most powerful Satanist in existence Alistair; there is nothing that either I already know or can easily find out.” Moira replied smiling at the young student. “Now then what you need is someone to take you in hand, it will cost a few hundred pounds probably, but no more, we want you to still look like the normal type of student, just better dressed so that sweet Norma will begin to notice you.”
Marchmount looked a little stunned, was he being offered money by the beautiful Satanist standing before him, for he did not have that sum to spare on clothes, but then he reasoned that the beautiful woman standing before him was only jesting. He wondered what strings would be attached to it if she had been serious. He then realised that Moira seemed to be expecting a reply, so he stammered out his quiet answer.
“Clothes are expensive and money is something that I do not possess much of, which is why mine are all like the ones that I have on now.” Marchmount finally managed to stammer out.
“Tell me Alistair, which bank do you prefer, The HSBC, Barclays, which one should I visit and how much money do you want?” Moira whispered into his ear.
Marchmount felt himself blushing as Moira remained in close proximity to him. “Go to the HSBC and bring me at least one thousand pounds.” Marchmount said in jest as he had assumed that she was teasing him.
Immediately Moira disappeared, going to a bank in the far north of England so that even the handsome Rob Hinds, as Moira always thought of him, could not trace it back to Marchmount. Moira returned to the young student in five minutes, who was utterly amazed that she could quickly move across England at will without anyone seeing her. In fact initially he had thought that the beautiful Satanist had thought him a real jerk and had simply left him.
Moira put her arms around the young student`s neck, and looking deeply into his eyes asked him. “Shall I take you shopping Alistair, now that we have some cash?”
“If it is no trouble Moira, for I must admit that I really do not have any clothes sense.” Marchmount replied nervously for he still did not believe all that was happening to him.
Moira could see that, but all she did was to smile at him, and then she took his arm and moments later they were standing in the town centre, here she took him to all of the designer shops that Walchester had in its old and picturesque streets. When she had kitted him out to her liking they visited an up market hair dresser who gave Marchmount the latest style in haircuts.
Some of the money she had earmarked to order more of the ingredients needed to create the demon cocktail Rakiremanin, her dark lord`s favourite drink, for the local ingredients were really not up to scratch, this was to keep him happy while she concentrated on matters that concerned only her. For what Lord Asbaritch did not know need not concern him, Moira reasoned and he must never find out. To this end she gave Alistair a list of ingredients, they included a large cask of white wine, a generous mixture of molasses, some herbs and spices to give it its exotic flavour and colour. The next batch of ingredients came under the heading of slugs and snails and puppy dog’s tails, enough to say that it took a strong stomach to drink such a concoction knowing just what was in it. Finally, a special preparation of wood alcohol was added to the concoction, it gave it strength and a certain something extra.
Moira told Marchmount that whenever he conjured up a demon that he was to give the demon a jug of this powerful alcoholic drink, but under no circumstances was he to drink any himself, for it could just damage his digestive tracts. She now had him drive her to various retail outlets where she had him purchase some of each of the items on the list, and these she sent back to the Fortress of Asbaritch, although she did allow him to retain a small quantity of each for when he was ready to conjure up a demon.
For a minute there was silence between them, and Marchmount not wanting the beautiful Satanist to grow bored with his company told her of the old haunted house that the paranormal club that he belonged to was planning to visit. Now Moira had had a change of heart regarding Rob, just that morning she had decided that he would be the ideal tool to assist her in freeing her father from the hell dimension of Tartarus. And after hearing about the haunted house she immediately realised that this was how she could make Rob assist her in the dangerous task, before she finally killed Rob. Therefore she turned to Marchmount and asked him a question.
“Alistair.” She whispered huskily into his ear. “Would it be alright if I joined you at the haunted house, you see I want to play a practical joke on some people, and your haunted house sounds just the way to go about it?”
“Of course Moira, please do, I look forward to seeing you there.” Marchmount replied in almost a hypnotic daze.
“Alistair, will it be all right if I occasionally drop in on you, to see how you are and to hear how the plans for the visit to the haunted house are progressing?” Moira asked in her sweetest of voices.
“Of course Moira, I will always be delighted to see you.” Marchmount gulped out.
Moira was spending so much time on the young student only because she needed him, by being so pleasant to him she ensured that he would only think nice things about her, and would want to see more of her, and with his answer she could now enter the mortal`s world on any particular day without waiting for the young Satanist to call summon her.
Many demons would have liked to enter the world of the mortals in this way, without the need to await a summons, and then only for a very limited time under the control of a Satanist, but they did not have access to the Dreamscape. Even her dark lord did not use it in this way, for he was more than happy with his life and did not feel the need to enter the mortal`s world which he looked on as rather barbaric.
Before Moira left the young student she took out of a bag two exercise books, one of them looked to be well used, for Moira had used it just over two years ago when she was herself a novice. The other one was a much newer exercise book.
“This well used book contains a list of the minor demons and all that you will need to do and to say to be able to safely conjure them up, it also explains what actions the demons will do for you.” Moira explained giving him the book. “Always have a chalice of Rakiremanin to hand; it will make the demon more ready to obey you as you are only a beginner.”
Moira then gave him the second book. “This book contains many simple spells, some to compel a person to do something, others to make life easier. It also instructs you in the correct way to go about making up a charged pentagram, something that you may want to make use of when you begin to conjure up even minor demons, to begin with anyway.” Moira said sweetly but then she became serious.
“Alistair, keep these books in a safe place, do not allow anyone else to see them. You will need to find an apartment of your own so that you can work without the fear of interruption, up until then I suggest that you make use of our first meeting place, but take care that you are not observed. The more that you use these books the more powerful and affluent a Satanist you will become.” Moira told the young student.
For the next week Moira entered Marchmount`s dreams and each time she asked him to ensure that the group went to the haunted house on the weekend before Christmas, repeating her wish to join him there. Each time Marchmount begged her to do so, reinforcing the original order to cross the dimensions, even if he did not realise it.
Each morning Marchmount visited Professor Inglis to ask him how their plans were progressing regarding the trip to the haunted house, and then stressing that the weekend before Christmas would be the best time to make the trip. Finally, Professor Inglis was able to confirm that everything had been booked; they were due at the haunted house the weekend before Christmas, just as Moira had wanted, for she needed the time in between to ready her own plans.
Rob Hinds was walking across a burnt and blasted land; it was filled with the burnt remains of trees and animals, the heat of this terrible land being almost too much for him to bear. From the black sky above him a terrifying thunderstorm suddenly exploded into life, lightning lighting up the land while the accompanying thunder almost deafened him. Hot rain now beat down upon him, in seconds he was drenched through to his skin, desperately he looked around for shelter, and in the far distance he saw the black outline of a house and decided to head towards it. He tried to increase his pace, but the ground between him and the shelter offered by the distant house was broken and it hid many channels that were now filling with water. He soon found out that haste did not necessarily mean more speed, for he had stepped into a deep hole full of rainwater, and then he tripped when his foot caught the far side of the hole, sending him sprawling. He landed heavily on the wet ground, and swore as he felt the hot muddy water enter through his already wet clothing. Swearing again he stood up, only to find himself transported to the inside of what seemed to be a very old Victorian house. The house was lit by paraffin lamps, the odour of burning paraffin permeating into every corner of the building. As he stood there trying to overcome his confusion he heard screaming coming from somewhere upstairs, his initial confusion disappeared with the need for action and he started towards the staircase that climbed up towards the screams, his saturated clothing leaving a trail of water behind him. Before he even got to the stairs he heard heavy thuds from behind him, he turned around to see a creature of hell coming towards him, it was a two headed dragon straight out of Tartarus. Although he was startled by the sight of the monster, it did not cause him to freeze; for one thing he recognised it from the time Moira Bourbon had carried him off to die in that hell dimension, thankfully for Rob that part of her plan had failed.
As he readied himself to react to whatever the creature did, one of the heads roared at him, but it was only to distract him, for from the mouth of the other head flames shot straight towards him. Rob had seen the creature do exactly this while he had been tied up and waiting for death in Tartarus, he quickly dove through an open doorway that was directly opposite him, for this time the fates had appeared to smile kindly upon a champion. He pulled out his weapon and aimed it at the empty doorway; however the creature did not burst through the open doorway but through the wall alongside it. The dragon lowered its heads and roared once again at its prey, and just as Rob fired his weapon, but the bullets had no effect on the creature from hell. The dragon seemed to smile at his ineffective weapon and then it lunged at him, knocking him off his feet, his automatic pistol flying from his hand. The dragon gently put one of its front legs upon him to stop him from escaping, then its two heads came closer to his and its large tongues came out and licked his face, growls coming from its massive maws.
Rob could smell the rancid breath of the creature, but thankfully it was now that he woke up with a start, fear filled his heart for he had thought that death was only a second away. Realising that it had been just another of the nightmares that had been plaguing his sleep lately, he sat up. He felt and looked exhausted, his breathing was ragged and his sleep had certainly not refreshed him. Christina, his wife, was also awake, and looking very concerned for her husband, for just lately he had not been able to enjoy a full night`s sleep, which meant that neither could she. Christina was worried about two things, her husband`s health, and whether Moira Bourbon was in fact dead, for this seemed to be very much like her evil handiwork.
“Another nightmare Rob, you really do need to see someone about them, your recent encounters with evil may still be affecting you Darling.” Christina Hinds said anxiously.
“You may be right Darling, thankfully my work for the coming week is light, I only have to take a train ride and collect a file, that`s all, nothing satanic thank god.” Rob replied exhaustedly.
It was a month after their encounter with the hell snake and almost a year had passed since Rob Hinds` satanic encounter with Moira Bourbon; fortunately Rob had no idea of her newly acquired position, or the new powers that went along with her new job. This knowledge alone would have given him sleepless nights, and had he also known that she had regained possession of the Ark of Baʿal Berith; he would have had sleepless years, if he was allowed to live beyond Christmas.
Rob lay back down and as he was so very tired, and he soon fell asleep and did not wake up until nine o`clock in the morning, and it was just as he was beginning to wake up that he heard a voice speaking to him.
“Rob, Moira Bourbon is after revenge, be careful my friend she is stalking you.”
Rob sat up instantly and looked for the speaker, it had sounded very much like his friend Gerry Handley, but he was dead! The room was empty, however, his friend Father Pritchard had once received a warning message from beyond the grave, that time it had been from John Ryman, Rob`s dead brother-in-law, and that time it had seen them taken to Tartarus by Moira Bourbon, and it was there that Gerry Handley had died.
Feeling just a little anxious about the future, Rob rose, shaved and showered and then enjoyed a leisurely Sunday breakfast with his wife and her younger sister Cassie, he did not mention the warning for fear of scaring his wife or her sister, he would wait for any further developments before mentioning it to anyone.
Rob had been temporarily taken off the active list after yet another dangerous case, this one involving Daesh terrorists, on Monday morning all he had to do was to collect some documents from a Colonel Masters, a retired MI5 agent who had some information for him regarding another MI5 agent.
Monday morning soon came along and with no need to go directly to the office that day Rob took a leisurely walk to the train station; his destination was the city of Oxford.
Moira looked down upon him and laughed, her use of the Netherworld to further her plans was proceeding remarkably well, and filling the golden Ark of Baʿal Berith with the life-forces of the demons of Hell would enable her to put the next part of her plan into operation. It is now time, she said to herself, for some theatricals, to put Rob Hinds on the scent of another paranormal case, and if the lovely Christina objected then Moira knew how to make her more compliant. Moira was already way beyond the bounds that Lord Asbaritch had laid down for her, yet Lord Lucifer had not transported her to Tartarus, he had not even warned her off, but then she was using her Satanic powers to coerce people in the mortal world, powers that she was not supposed to possess now that she was dead.
Moira came to Marchmount that night, in his dreams, and told him that he must go to their usual meeting place and she would meet him there, and to do it as soon as he had finished his breakfast, never mind any lectures he should be attending, she was going to allow him to participate in a black magic ceremony. He was to call her when he arrived at their rendezvous site.
Marchmount woke up early that morning, his mind was full of his dream, something within him knew that it had not been just another dream so he had a quick breakfast and then drove over to the country park and once there he called on Moira to attend him. His eyes glistened with excitement when he saw the plume of red smoke begin to form near to him, then the temperature fell and Moira appeared, accompanied by the usual stench of hell.
“Hello Alistair, I hope you are feeling well because I have planned an exciting day for you, first we are going to travel to my temple and then I will show you a few spells that you will soon be able to duplicate if you keep on practicing the dark arts.” Moira said to the young student. “But as with all the black magic that I will show you I insist that you assure me that you are OK with it, just for my own peace of mind. So this time you must ask me to take you to my satanic temple.”
“Please Moira take me to your satanic temple.” Marchmount managed to gasp out in excitement.
Moments later they appeared in the satanic temple beneath the chateau in France and Moira immediately set Marchmount to work making up the necessary potion in her laboratory, under her direction. When it was ready Moira pointed to the one white wall in the laboratory that had not been decorated with satanic designs.
“This is my television Alistair; you are about to watch some realty TV, the sort that the media would never be able to show, peak time or otherwise.”
Moira then lit the potion and prepared to travel to the city of Oxford in England just as Rob Hinds got out of a taxi there.
Rob had arrived at the university city of Oxford at a little before 11 o`clock, from here he took a taxi to the modern apartment building that housed the home of Colonel Ian Masters. As Rob went to walk through the open doorway Moira whispered a spell from the curb side.
“Remember your nightmare Rob Hinds, when you enter this building you will be entering the Victorian house of your nightmares.” Moira said and the spell was cast.
One second Rob was entering into a modern hallway then everything changed, now before him was the same Victorian hallway of his nightmare, Rob stopped still for but a moment before turning around, meaning to run back through the open doorway, however he found to his confusion that the doorway looked out onto the burnt and blasted land of his nightmares. Then a familiar sound came to his ears, the thump thump thump of approaching footsteps, it was coming from outside. The front door suddenly blew open letting in a blast of hot air, outside a thick fog prevented Rob from fully seeing the creature, but he could hear its roars as it approached the house. Rob did not wait around for its arrival, for in his nightmare the creature had been a two headed dragon, one that had been unaffected by gunfire, instead Rob bolted up the staircase.
Moira was enjoying herself as he ran for his life. “Let Rob Hinds` nightmare house disappear and normality return, but when he sees me, I will appear to him only as an old crone.” Moira whispered from the bottom of the staircase.
On reaching the top of the staircase Rob found the building change yet again, now he was back in a modern apartment building and looking at a sign that told him he had arrived at his intended destination, the second floor. Confused beyond belief, Rob turned to look down the staircase, expecting to see the dragon climbing the stairs, but all he saw was a woman in her sixties struggling up them. What Rob did not know was that this old kindly woman was Moira Bourbon, able to appear in Oxford and mess with Rob`s brain because Marchmount had asked her to take him to her temple in France to assist her with some satanic magic.
“Are you all right young man, you seem to be rather befuddled, and even a little scared?” The old woman asked anxiously.
“I am fine thank you, just a little light headed; I will be OK after a sit down.” Rob replied and walked along the hall to number 24, the apartment of Colonel Masters.
He knocked politely on the door and heard someone inside call out that the door was open, not knowing that it had been Moira who had answered him and unlocked the door.
Moira now continued with her fun. “Let the nightmare world of their dreams appear within the home of Colonel Masters.” Moira whispered.
Walking into a small hall Rob saw Masters sitting in his front room, Masters looked up angrily, surprised to see a stranger standing in his apartment, but on seeing Rob, he stood up and screamed out in terror. Suddenly the clean white walls disappeared and were replaced by the burning rocky landscape of Hell; Rob began to choke as a sulphur laden air filled his lungs, his knees buckled under him as his strength was mysteriously drained from his body. From out of nowhere flashes of electricity crackled over their heads, and then Rob felt electricity running all over his body, he smelt burning hair and his shoes began to smoke. Without warning the two men found themselves hurled hard against the nearest solid object, accompanying thunder deafening them.
“Let their nightmare world disappear and normality return.” Moira whispered from the hallway outside of the apartment.
Immediately the apartment changed back to its original form. Masters had been thrown to the floor by the powerful blast and now found that his back was against the far wall, not a basalt rock, and he looked terrified as he looked up at Rob, who was picking himself up from an armchair while feeling equally confused, and looking out for an attack by one of the denizens of Hell.
“No, please I beg you, do not hurt me.” Masters pleaded to Rob as he attempted to regain his feet.
Rob finally untangled himself from the armchair where he had landed, his hair a little singed, his feet feeling rather hot, but his mind quickly focused on Masters` voice.
“Colonel, I do not know what is happening to us but I am an SIS officer, and I am here to collect a file from you, you have nothing to fear from me.” Rob tried to explain.
“Take it, the large envelope on the table, take it and go, please leave me alone and take your nightmare world with you.” Masters cried out as a final but very weak lightning bolt crackled around them.
Rob hastily picked up the envelope and ran from the apartment, the electrical storm mysteriously ending with his exit.
Rob`s mind immediately jumped to his nightmares, there had to be a connection, was Moira Bourbon reaching out to him from beyond the grave, somehow merging the real world with that of his nightmare? At the bottom of the stairs Rob took off his shoes to check on them, and he found that the soles of them were partially melted, but his shoes were still just useable, and at least there was no longer the possibility of them bursting into flames. Putting his shoes back on he went out into the street, here he stopped again and rested up against the wall, he wondered whether he should return to Masters to ensure that he was all right, but he decided against doing that, there was no telling what might then happen, or how the poor man would react.
Moira laughed at his confusion, his singed hair, his smoking shoes and his hurried departure from Masters` apartment. She had masterminded the whole thing; she had made Masters report his ex-colleague to the SIS, and had then sent him similar dreams to those that Rob had endured. She had even coerced Christina into telephoning Willoughby Brown, the man who led the SIS, to tell him of her fears for Rob`s health, so he had decided to first put Rob on light duties, and that morning had decided to have him report to a psychoanalyst for a check-up. Moira always enjoyed the early stages of her plans, for her they constituted light hearted fun. However, this whole revenge thing was but a second feature event, what was taking up most of her waking hours was the rescue of her father from Tartarus, the most high security prison in any dimension. She had penetrated its defences once, and she had the same device to penetrate it again, all she needed was Rob Hinds, even if he would not be too pleased to assist her, and when he found the reason why he was being tormented, well then his anger would sky rocket.
She was now back in her chateau with Marchmount whose eyes were opened wide with excitement, for never in his wildest dreams did he ever imagine he would one day be watching a powerful Satanist working her spells against her enemy, however Moira was not done yet with Rob Hinds.
Rob took a taxi back to the railway station; his rapidly beating heart had now slowed down to its normal rate, his mind trying to make sense of what had just happened. He did wonder if he was losing his mind, for never had he ever heard of such a thing happening before, but then maybe the last victim was now in an asylum, drugged to keep him quiet. Once at the train station he caught the first train back to London, arriving at Paddington station in a little over an hour and ten minutes. He was followed by Moira as he walked briskly through the station towards the taxi rank, and approaching him at an angle was a young woman, she was also walking towards the taxi rank.
Moira once more meddled with Rob`s brain as she uttered her words of magic.
“As you two near one another so you will enter the nightmare world of Saturday night`s nightmare.” Moira whispered.
Suddenly the scene changed before Rob, he found himself once again walking across the burnt and blasted land of his nightmares, again it was filled with the burnt remains of trees and animals, the heat of this terrible land burning his lungs. From the now black sky above him a terrifying thunderstorm suddenly exploded into life, lightning lighting up the land while the accompanying thunder almost deafened him yet again. Hot rain now began to beat down upon him, in seconds he was once again drenched through to his skin; desperately he looked around for shelter. The young woman who had been innocently approaching Rob was terrified by her sudden relocation, she too was running for shelter and it was now that their paths crossed and she looked across at Rob, and then she screamed in terror.
One second before she did so Moira ended her spell. “Let the nightmare world disappear, let Paddington station reappear.”
With the woman`s scream ringing in Rob`s ears the scene changed back, once more they were standing within Paddington railway station, and although Rob could have sworn that he heard a final peel of thunder, the scene was of the normal hectic movement of people rushing to and fro and his clothing was perfectly dry.
“Please, I beg of you, leave me alone.” The woman pleaded and ran for her life, dropping her handbag as she went.
Rob, although stunned by this second event, bent down and picked up her bag and made to follow her. Unfortunately a police constable appeared before him and stopped him from following after the terrified woman.
“I will take that sir.” The constable said taking the woman`s handbag from Rob. “Now perhaps you would like to tell me what you have been up to Sir, have you been stalking that young woman?” The constable asked.
Rob pulled out his ID card. “No, Constable, I fear that the woman has become embroiled in a new SIS case, although what sort I hesitate to say.” Rob replied.
The small crowd that had stopped to watch the real life arrest slowly moved on, now that they realised that nothing else was likely to happen. Rob took the handbag back from the constable and opened the handbag, and he soon found the woman’s credit card which gave him her name, Mildred Lang; a quick search of the other items within the handbag also gave her address, Weeping Willows, East Grinstead.
“I will see that the woman gets her handbag back, although maybe one of my colleagues had better be the one to return it, something about me really terrified her.” Rob said in a quiet voice, the constable nodded and after taking a few details down he said goodbye and left a dazed SIS officer. As Rob went looking for a taxi he heard a group of people talking, and as Rob walked past them he heard one woman saying rather angrily that she had seen bolts of lightning crackling under the canopy of the station, and if they had not then they must be both deaf and blind. Not wanting to become embroiled in the heated discussion Rob increased his pace, and he was soon sitting in a taxi heading for the SIS headquarters.
“At least I am not the only one whose sanity is being questioned.” Rob said to himself.
Moira watched his growing confusion with glee. “Soon Rob Hinds, soon you will be helping me on far off Tartarus.”
She had ensured that Mildred Lang would meet Rob, here within the railway station, and as with Masters, over the last few days she too had woken up from a terrifying nightmare during the early hours of the morning. On the first night her screams had woken her neighbours who had called the police in fear for their neighbour`s life, after the police had left Ms Lang found it impossible to immediately drop off to sleep, or the subsequent nights meaning that she had been late into work each morning, thankfully she had an understanding boss. Each morning she had to apologise to her neighbours for the bother she had caused and the loss of their own sleep, she too was thinking of visiting a psychiatrist.
Rob told Sir Willoughby Brown, the man who led this small intelligence agency, of his dreams, and of his meeting with Colonel Masters and Ms Lang.
“I am almost afraid to say it.” Sir Willoughby Brown said pausing here for a dramatic second before voicing his fears. “These events, and the ones that have been happening in your apartment just lately, all point out to a black magic connection Rob, you are sure that you killed Moira Bourbon and her father, she hasn`t risen again to take you off to yet another hell dimension?”
“I shot them both through the head Sir Richard, they are both very dead.” Rob assured Sir Willoughby Brown. “However, a thought did occur to me while I was in the taxi. Lord Asbaritch was very taken by Moira`s looks, Cassie said he was even smitten by her.” Rob began. “If she ended up in the Dreamscape, is she now his queen, and is she using her new found position to further some bizarre new quest?”
Sir Willoughby Brown did not reply to Rob`s words, he was waiting for Rob to inform him how he would proceed, how he would defeat the beautiful Satanist, now that she was already dead.
“Sir Richard, we need to speak to Colonel Masters and Ms Lang, find out how the two of them are connected, if in fact they are. Simon Markman and John Agers were involved in the tail end of our last encounter with the Bourbons; I think that we should have them speak to the two people. I will tell them what questions to ask, and instruct them not to come away empty handed. Maybe they will give us a lead as to what Moira is now planning.” Rob said.
So it was agreed, and Agers and Markman were duly despatched, Agers to Oxford and Markman to East Grinstead. While they carried out their assigned tasks Rob called his friend Father Pritchard on the phone, and he told him of this new satanic problem that was trying to ensnare him.
“Rob, if Moira is now the queen of the Dreamscape, as you suggested, and if she is causing you to have nightmares, it just might answer a question that has been nagging me. I have long wondered how Lord Asbaritch gets enough energy to sustain himself, for the amount he gets from the Shades must be negligible, for so powerful a demon. However, if he can enter a person`s dream and turn them into a nightmare, he might be able to draw energy that way, it would be why one feels so tired after waking from a nightmare.” Father Pritchard said. “Promise to call me if anything else occurs, and have no fear about asking for my assistance, I will always be there for you.”
John Agers was a little apprehensive to find that he was assisting Rob in yet another black magic case, but he said nothing, he merely took the train to Oxford on a Tuesday morning, and paid a call upon Masters to put some weird questions to him. He found the man looking pale and drawn, his eyes were quite bloodshed and he seemed to be in need of a good night`s rest.
“Thank you for agreeing to see me Mr Masters, this will not take long, I just have a few questions concerning the events that took place when Mr Hinds visited you yesterday.” Agers said and smiled at a very disconcerted Masters in the hope that this would put the man at his ease.
“Of course Mr Agers, but please hurry up, the whole episode is still very much on my mind, and I want to rid myself of the memory, not go over it again and again.” Masters replied a little discourteously but quite understandably.
“These questions are a little off the normal beat, however please humour me.” Agers began. “Mr Masters, do you believe in the paranormal, black magic, the devil, or anything closely related in any way?”
“No, of course not.” Masters replied indignantly but just a little too quickly.
“Of course Sir.” Agers replied. “In that case I imagine that you have not had any problems at all to do with the paranormal?”
“Only the one that accompanied the visit of your colleague, but I am sure that even that could be explained by a scientist.” Masters replied haughtily but something in Masters` face told Agers that even he did not believe what he had just said; no he was frightened by what had happened, and he too thought that it could be of the paranormal kind. Masters was also afraid that whoever or whatever was behind it all could come for him again.
“But why Mr Masters, did my colleague frighten you so much?” Agers asked.
At first Masters seemed a little reluctant to explain, however he finally did. “I have been having the most terrible nightmares of late; they are filled with the most terrifying of storms. A two headed dragon is chasing me across a blasted land and I am certain, in my nightmare that is, that someone is trying to kill me, it is then, just before I wake up, that I see your colleague, although only for a second.”
Agers was a little stunned by this answer. “You mean Mr Masters, that it was someone who resembled Mr Hinds.”
“No Mr Agers, I mean it was your Mr Hinds.” Masters replied grimly. “There is no way that I could ever forget his face. Mr Agers, I am positive that in my dream your colleague is about to kill me.”
Agers once more attempted to smile at Masters, but found that he could not, so he went quickly onto the next question. “Yes that would cause anyone to remember someone`s face.” Agers replied with a half-smile followed by him clearing his throat. “Let us get on to the next question Mr Masters, tell me are you planning on anything that could be loosely termed to do with the paranormal?”
“Well, yes, I am going on a haunted house trip, not that I believe in such things, but it should be entertaining to say the least, I want to see whether I can work out how they produce their so called paranormal events.” Masters replied not realising that Moira had interfered with his thoughts and stopped him from pulling out of the trip, something that he had wanted to do immediately after Rob had visited him.
“That sounds as if it is what we were after Mr Masters, can you give me some details, the time, place and the organiser of the event?” Agers asked politely with his ever ready smile back upon his young face.
“Of course Mr Agers, let me get the ticket out, it will all be on it no doubt.” Masters replied and pulled out his wallet. Taking out a small envelope he handed it across to Agers. Inside the envelope was the ticket that Masters had printed out using his PC, it had all the information that Agers needed.
The haunted house was near to the village of Petworth in West Sussex, and the event was organised by Paranormal Investigators.Com for the coming weekend, the 17th and 18th of December.
“Tell me Mr Masters, how did you come to hear about the event?” Agers queried.
“It came by email, addressed to the occupier; I suppose you could call it Spam,” Masters replied. “But it intrigued me, so I decide to go along to it.”
This email had been generated in the Netherworld, by Moira, all a part of her plan to embroil Rob in her plot.
“The final question sir, do you know Ms Mildred Lang?” Agers asked however, Masters did not know of Ms Mildred Lang.
“Thank you sir, I hope that we will not have to bother you again.” Agers said and left a curious Masters who wondered why an intelligence agency would want to bother about such things.
Thinking about yesterday brought back many fears that had been plaguing him over the last few days, fears that culminated with Rob`s visit. He decided to make a pot of tea and then have a rest; he had been to his doctor and procured some sleeping tablets, with these he hoped to sleep until tomorrow morning without being woken by a nightmare.
The same day Simon Markman went to call upon Ms Lang, and he was received well enough by a woman who was very pretty, with a slim figure and, he reckoned, was in her late twenties. However, she too looked to be in need of some sleep, she too looked pale and drawn. After handing her handbag back to Ms Lang, he asked her the same questions as Agent Agers had asked, although the replies that he received were in some cases quite different to those supplied by Masters.
“Yes, I believe in the paranormal Mr Markman, in fact when I was much younger, just a child, I once saw two ghosts; one was an elderly man and the other a young boy, his grandson maybe. It was when my family was staying in an old country hotel; they appeared to me during the night, I watched as they walked through a closed door and into my bathroom however they never came out. I screamed to my parents for help, for I was terrified, my parents called the manager but of course they never found anything, and they never once admitted that the hotel was haunted, but what else could they have been but ghosts Mr Agers, for I assure you that I was not asleep at the time. I had been reading a famous five book by torchlight, the light in the room was off as I did not want my parents telling me to put my book down and to go to sleep.” Ms Lang explained.
“Recently, I have had more than my fair share of nightmares; and your colleague appeared in all of them. I was in a nightmare land, in the middle of a rainstorm, the land was filled with strange creatures and I was sure that someone was trying to murder me, but the only person that I could identify was your colleague, he appeared just before I woke up.” Ms Lang said looking rather fearful as her meeting with Rob in Paddington station flashed into her mind.
“Yes Ms Lang, it must have been very upsetting for you, I realise now why you were so afraid when you met him yesterday. I can assure you though that he is our best agent and would never attempt to harm you, unless you happen to be a Daesh agent that is.” Markman replied and then smiled at Ms Lang, although Ms Lang was beyond smiling at the moment.
“Tell me Ms Lang, have you experienced any paranormal events recently?” Markman asked.
“Only with your colleague at Paddington station, but that was enough for me, especially when coupled to the nightmares.” Ms Lang replied grimly.
“Yes it must have been Ms Lang. Nearly to the end of my questions, tell me are you planning anything in the near future that could even remotely be termed paranormal?” Markman asked.
“Well yes, I am going to a haunted house, I wanted to go to one to see if my childhood experience was just that, or whether it was just a child`s imagination.” Ms Lang replied just a little shakily. She had decided to cancel the trip but for some reason that she could not fathom she had decided against it. This in itself scared her but there was no way that she could even phone the Paranormal Investigators.Com, never mind cancel it. Even with Markman asking her about it she could not tell him of her wish to cancel the booking and hide beneath the bedclothes.
Markman took the details of the event and later found that she was going to the same event as Masters, however she did not know Mr Ian Masters.
Agers and Markman met up with Rob and Sir Willoughby Brown that afternoon to discuss what had been found out, when the haunted house was mentioned Sir Willoughby Brown groaned loudly.
“I might have known Rob, you have got yourself mixed up in another black magic case, you do realise that they are calling our agency the spooky club in some of the highest quarters? Well you had better see it through, we have no one else experienced in such matters anyway, so how do you propose that we go about it?” Sir Willoughby Brown complained although he knew that he was being unfair.
“I am not too happy about it either Sir Richard, each case puts my family and friends in more danger, we lost Gerry Handley the last time, and nearly lost this pair at the end of the case.” Rob replied angrily. “As to how we proceed, obviously I shall have to go to the haunted house with Masters and Lang, I will take Father Pritchard with me, if he is fool enough to come, and John and Simon here can act as our back up. I will phone them every hour to update them; if I fail to make contact then they can send in the Cavalry.” Rob said.
“Just try to stay in this dimension Rob, no travelling off to anymore hell dimensions.” Sir Willoughby Brown replied trying to add a spot of levity to the proceedings.
Later that afternoon Rob called Father Pritchard. “David, the two people with whom I shared a satanic moment on Monday, Mr Masters and Ms Lang, they are both going to a haunted house event on Saturday, but quite separately. They have told us that they do not know each other, making my meeting up with them as too much of a coincidence, especially as they too have been having experiencing some nasty nightmares over the last week with me making a surprise visit each time. Between now and Saturday my team and I will be busy researching the house, the company organising the event, and of course Mr Masters and Ms Lang. Would you like to accompany me to Petworth to check out the haunted house, after we first get the keys from Paranormal Investigators.Com in Croydon?”
“It will be my pleasure Rob; I will drive over to your office first thing in the morning.” Father Pritchard replied. “Oh, and shall I pack a bag?” Father Pritchard asked.
“A bag David?” Rob asked but knowing the answer and smiling.
“Well you are obviously going to join Masters and Lang on their weekend jaunt, so you will need me along to hold your hand, am I right Rob?” Father Pritchard asked and he too was smiling.
“I do need your help once again David, but after last time I was loath to ask you.” Rob replied. “So yes, please pack a bag, and another one full of the usual things, holy water, mercury, blessed salt, garlic and the suchlike.”
That night Rob told Christina and Cassie all about the case, obviously not something he normally did, but black magic cases always involved them whether they liked it or not. The last one had seen them both kidnapped to be used as levers to ensure that Rob did as he was instructed. Neither of them were very pleased to hear about the new case, but neither of them was too surprised after the incidents with the vine and the snakes; however fear was already spreading through their bodies. However, they could hardly complain, it was their brother that caused Ulysses Bourbon to take an interest in Cassie, some three years previously, and it was Christina who had involved herself by indulging in a spot of trespassing, where she had got herself caught by the Satanists. Rob had only become involved with the Satanists when he had arrived on the scene and saved both of the girls’ lives.
Tonight they were all going to sleep within a charged pentagram; it was still set up in their spare room after the problem with the hell snakes, all they needed to do was to reapply the blessed salt, put out some fresh candles and refill the chalices with fresh holy water. In this way Rob was able to sleep restfully through the night, and Moira, if she was the villain once again, could not turn her attention to one of the two young women.
“It must be Moira Bourbon again, to involve you in her latest quest, who else is there.” Christina complained bitterly from her hard bed on the wood floor.
“We do not know yet if it is Moira Bourbon, but you may be right Darling, as you say who else would involve me in their black magic shenanigans.” Rob replied glumly.
The next morning saw Rob in a meeting with John Agers, Simon Markman and Father Pritchard at the SIS headquarters.
“John, Simon, will the two of you check out the company organising the event, Paranormal Investigators.Com, and then dig into the backgrounds of Masters and Lang, see if they have been associated with Satanism or witchcraft before now. David and I will check out the old house near Petworth, see if we can get any Vibes. We will drive down there now, after we have called on Paranormal to obtain their permission, and obtained a key. My wife and her sister are helping out by surfing the internet to see if they can find out anything there about the haunted house.” Rob said.
“Is that wise Rob, involving them in an active SIS case?” John Agers asked quizzically.
“Normally you would be correct John, but this case almost certainly involves Moira Bourbon, and before you say it, yes I know that she is dead, I personally checked on it.” Rob said not adding that he was responsible for the deaths of the two Bourbons, that information was on a need to know basis, and Agers and Markman did not need to know.
“However, if Moira Bourbon is involved, then she is reaching out across dimensions and she has organised everything that has happened so far, she obviously wants me to visit the house for reasons of her own. In both of the previous cases Moira involved my family, unfortunately they are likely to be involved once again, and sometime soon John, whether we like it or not.” Rob explained.
“Please always remember that this is yet another black magic case, keep that thought at the front of your minds. For reasons yet unknown our department has been involved on purpose, yet again, and unfortunately we are likely to find out real soon, so be ready to react to whatever danger comes your way.” Rob said.
The meeting broke up soon after, and Rob and Father Pritchard drove to Paranormal Investigators. Com, their office was in Croydon, Surrey; Sir Willoughby Brown had already spoken to the managing director of the firm and asked for his assistance in the matter.
“Mr Hinds, I am all too willing to be of assistance to the forces of law and order, however now that I have had the time to think about it, your involvement in this weekend`s event does cause me some disquiet.” The managing director, Mr Thomas Hillmore said anxiously. “Tell me, are terrorists involved somehow, or is it organised crime?”
“No, Mr Hillmore, nothing like that, it is something more up your street actually, a personal invitation from beyond the grave. We simply want to be on hand to see if it really is a genuine paranormal event, or as we expect just a prank. We just want to check the place over today so that we are not taken by surprise on the night.” Rob explained diplomatically.
“So we should not cancel the event then Mr Hinds, there will not be any danger to our customers?” Hillmore asked for he wanted the situation clarified because of the financial risks to his company arising from injury, or even death, to one of the customers over the weekend.
“Well surely you would know more about that Mr Hillmore, our department does not even believe in spooks and the like.” Rob answered. “All that I can tell you is that neither organised crime nor terrorists are thought to be involved. We believe it to be the work of pranksters, like the lightning that supposedly happened in a London rail station, cleverly done I must admit, but not the real thing.”
Rob felt his conscience pricking him after such a bare faced lie, but if he told Hillmore the truth, then the man would believe him to be an imbecile.
“Yes, well it does sound much like a prankster, and as you say, we are the paranormal experts.” Hillmore replied pompously. “Here are the keys Mr Hinds, please remember that we will need them back by Saturday, just drop them through the letterbox if we are closed when you return. You will find the fuse box under the staircase in the hall of Themis House, please remember to turn it off when you leave. Good bye gentlemen, I will see you at the house, if after your visit you still decide to come along on our haunted house weekend.”
Rob and Father Pritchard drove down to Petworth in silence until Father Pritchard broke it. “Rob, why did you not mention Moira Bourbon to Mr Hillmore?”
“Mr Hillmore does not believe in the paranormal so he would not believe in Moira Bourbon, he would have simply kept the keys rather than give them to a madman, no, make that two madmen.” Rob replied.
Rob now made his mistake, he looked Father Pritchard in the eyes, and he saw the strong look of reproach there.
“OK David, I will tell him that his customers could be in danger if they go to the haunted house, I`ll tell him when we return the keys, OK?” Rob replied.
“Thank you Rob, it is the right thing to do, how do you expect the fates to fight for you if you put innocent lives at risk?” Father Pritchard asked.
Rob glanced at his friend who was trying to hide a grin, but after meeting so many mythological beings out of Greek mythology, Rob wondered if the fates actually existed, that they carved out his future no matter what he did.
“Did you know Rob that the Greek name for the Fates was Moirai in the plural, Moira is the singular term, strange seeing as our enemy is called Moira?” Father Pritchard said.
Rob did not answer but his friend was right it was strange, he wondered if this was why their two lives had become so entwined, why they constantly fought one another and lived to fight again no matter how hard they tried to kill one another. She was fated to be his enemy until Rob found the correct way out for both of them, until then they must endure this seemingly eternal war.
Now unlike Mr Hillmore, Rob believed in ghosts, he had seen the souls of the wicked in Tartarus, and also what was left of those who had been sent to the world he knew as the Dreamscape. Of the two hells he did not know which group was undergoing the worst torment, but both must have been evil in life to deserve either fate. He had only seen one soul that had belonged to a good man, the soul of Gerry Handley, and it looked far different from the others, it could almost be said to be alive, for it had been lit by an inner glow as it headed for a better place than Tartarus, where his friend had died saving Rob`s life.
They finally arrived at the old haunted house, it had been built during the early years of Queen Victoria`s reign and was best described as a large rambling gothic style building, looking old and grey, however it definitely had a haunted look about it. It was set in a small walled garden, almost filling it, as for what there was of the garden, it was going to weed, the caretaker obviously did not have any horticultural leanings.
Father Pritchard had to unlock the pair of ornamental gates that led into the driveway so that Rob could drive in, when the way ahead was clear Rob drove in, parking his car in front of the house upon the small gravelled drive way that was also losing its own battle with the weeds. The windows of the house looked bleak and dark, and much unwashed, making the house appear all the more as Paranormal Investigators.Com portrayed it to be, haunted. The house played its part well, seemingly waiting impatiently for its next victims to arrive, so that it could either keep a hold on them or, send them to the afterlife that the Moirai had ordained for them.
They stood in the porch looking at the glazed front door which had a stained glass panel in the middle of it showing three girls, one of whom was shown spinning a thread onto a spindle.
“Could they be the Fates as well David?” Rob asked quizzically.
“It does seem likely Rob, it certainly is most strange.” Father Pritchard answered rather apprehensively. “I have seen a similar picture of the Fates in one of Ulysses Bourbon`s books, the woman is spinning the thread of life for a mortal.” Father Pritchard said. “The name of the house is Themis, which is a strange name for a house in Sussex. In one story Themis was the mother of the Fates, Zeus being the father, so yet another link to Moira.”
With a feeling that nothing they did could change the future ordained for them in any way, they unlocked the front door and walked into the house, into a dark forbidding hallway. Hillmore had told them where the fuse box was situated, and the first thing that Rob did was to seek it out, it was in a cupboard under the open staircase that went up to the next floor. When lit up, the hall looked no better; it looked to be straight out of a horror film, shadows were everywhere and on the walls were pictures of the former master and mistress, both of whom were straight out of the Addams family. The hall also had a fair sprinkling of dust, and cobwebs hung at every corner, the caretaker certainly did not spend too much time within the building, Rob wondered why, could it really be haunted or was he just lazy? It was lit by a massive chandelier, of course, its crystal was glittering now that Rob had turned on the power, but there was no sign of cobwebs here, maybe the house was being readied for the coming weekend.
Neither of them was keen on investigating the house alone, not after their past experiences with the ungodly. Therefore, they set off together to check out one of the two doorways that led off the hall, it took them into a large dining room, one that was lit by two smaller chandeliers, one above either end of a long mahogany dining table, it along with the two chandeliers had also been dusted. There were two more doorways leading into this room; one led them into a dusty library that caused Father Pritchard to have a sneezing attack. The library was filled with old books, all rather dusty and from the look of them of no interest to them whatsoever. The other doorway in the dining room led them into a short hallway that led in turn to the kitchen. It was a large room with a modern fridge freezer, obviously installed by the organisers for the use of the paying customers, the original fireclay sink was still there, for effect maybe, it had two chrome bib taps set above it to supply the customers with water. Above the sink was a grimy window that looked out upon the small garden that did not look the least bit inviting. An old kitchen range was against one wall but Rob reckoned that the modern microwave set on the worktop next to the range would be the most used item in the kitchen. A large kitchen table took up the space in the middle of the room and an assortment of pots and pans hung from a framework above it. A door led from the kitchen into the small garden, and a second door was just inside the kitchen and this led down to the cellar, which they decided to leave for later. Instead they retraced their steps and tried the second doorway off the large front hall, and they found that it led into the sitting room. A number of chairs were laid out along with some old wooden coffee tables, the room was lit by a number of wall lamps, all showing a liberal amount of dust, so this room was obviously still to be cleaned by whoever had done the mahogany table and the chandeliers. Two large sash windows looked out upon the small driveway; it was now that they noticed a child standing outside of the windows, looking up at something, or someone, in one of the upper rooms. Rob struggled to open the heavy sash window, which resisted his efforts until Father Pritchard gave a hand, and then it shot up, but by then there was no sign of the child.
Rob and Father Pritchard looked at one another. “He must have run off when he realised that there was someone in the house.” Father Pritchard said and to this reasonable explanation Rob could only agree.
There was a second door in the sitting room, it took them into a long winding hallway, and on investigating it they found another door leading off on the right, on opening the door they found that inside was a toilet and wash basin. Leaving it they followed the hallway round and found that it ended at a door that also led into the small garden.
They decided to leave the garden until last so they returned to the entrance hall and climbed up the staircase to the first floor, however they found little of interest here, eight bedrooms and two bathrooms, and a couple of large cupboards. The bedrooms were very clean and dust free, each possessing a double bed and a few pieces of rather old furniture; obviously the rooms had been readied for the weekend guests.
“David, this house is remarkably similar to the one in my nightmares; in fact it could even be the same place.” Rob declared just a little apprehensively. “Except for the fact that this place has electricity.”
“Could you perhaps have seen a photograph of this house?” Father Pritchard suggested.
“Until I met the Bourbon family, I had no interest in haunted houses, my interests centred on spies and terrorists.” Rob replied grimly.
“Well this house is the sort of house one thinks of when you think about haunted houses, it is just a coincidence.” Father Pritchard said.
They moved on up to the next floor with Rob`s imagination going into overdrive, he would not have been surprised to bump into one of the monsters from his nightmares. Thankfully, all they found were four more bedrooms and one bathroom, but on this floor there were not any cupboards, this floor might have once been for the use of the servants, when the house had been much younger. There was a small staircase that led up to the attic, which was empty except for a lot more dust and some animal droppings. They finally decided to check on the cellar, the entrance to it was from the kitchen, ongoing down to it they found that the cellar was empty apart from a large pile of coal that must have been left over from the last owner of the house, unknown to them the owner had disappeared one stormy night and was never heard of again. Apart from the coal the only other thing was an empty wine rack. However, after his experiences with hidden satanic temples Rob made a thorough search of the cellar, but he found no sign of a secret door, or a satanic temple.
While Father Pritchard checked out the garden, Rob spent some time looking for cameras or loudspeakers, tools to scare the punters, he found it empty of such modern equipment, it was just an old house in need of a lot of work.
“Well Rob, while the house is old and in need of some repair, I would be very surprised to find out that it was haunted, I normally feel something when I come up against the paranormal, but I feel nothing here, Paranormal Investigators.Com must be relying upon the gullibility of their customers to provide the haunted house effect.” Father Pritchard said.
“I only hope that you are correct David, but if Moira Bourbon is involved then I am sure that she will be happy to provide the ghosts.” Rob replied glumly.
The two men exchanged worried looks and then they switched off the fuse box and locked up the house, then they returned to Paranormal Investigators.Com and handed over the keys, Rob now warned Mr Hillmore about the possibility of paranormal dangers at the house that weekend.
“Mr Hillmore, I was not frank with you this morning, there is every chance that a Satanist will attempt to use your event for reasons currently unknown to us. Believe me when I say that she is the real thing, your customers and staff could be injured, maybe even killed if you go ahead with the event.” Rob warned.
Hillmore looked at Rob and Father Pritchard quizzically. “Is this some kind of a joke gentlemen?” Hillmore asked. “Please let me see your credentials again.” Hillmore demanded.
Rob looked at Father Pritchard as if to say I told you so, then he handed over his identity card to Hillmore, who studied it for a minute before asking. “Gentlemen, since when has the government believed in the supernatural?”
“Officially they do not, but over the last three years we have been involved in two other cases that resulted in the deaths of some innocent parties, Father Pritchard and I know what we are talking about, and we both think that it would be safer to cancel your weekend event.” Rob said.
“Does this mean that you will not be attending this weekend`s event?” Hillmore asked. He was still not convinced of the veracity of what he was being told; he suspected a scam of some sort, although he could not imagine what sort.
“Unfortunately we will have to attend, whatever the danger to our lives.” Father Pritchard answered his question, for Hillmore had been casting glances his way wondering if the priest could actually speak.
“I must admit that I was sceptical at first, but you have begun to worry me, so I will phone my customers and advise them of the situation, I will leave it up to them.” Hillmore replied wanting to cover his firm against any insurance claims more than anything else.
As they were leaving the office Father Pritchard asked Hillmore a question. “Mr Hillmore how many of us will be at the haunted house?”
“Including the three of us there will be twelve of us in total, why do you want to know?” Hillmore replied.
“No reason, I just wondered.” Father Pritchard replied.
Outside of the office Father Pritchard turned to Rob and said. “Thirteen with Moira, supposedly the ideal number for a coven.”
Rob and Father Pritchard left it like that and returned to the SIS headquarters to see how the others had fared. Agers and Markman had come up with absolutely nothing, which is what Rob expected them to find, for this was Moira Bourbon`s show, everyone else was merely a pawn. He then phoned his wife Christina, and she also reported having had no luck, it seemed that Rob and Father Pritchard would just have to wait to see what Moira had planned for them for the coming weekend, if indeed it was Moira who was behind it all.
Mr Hillmore was feeling decidedly shaken by this unexpected turn of events, he did not believe for a moment that the said Satanist existed, but obviously something was going on. He therefore phoned Professor Inglis, Inglis was a lecturer at Walchester University, he was the leader of a group of students who had booked tickets for this paranormal weekend, Inglis had informed him that they would be searching for proof that the paranormal really existed. Mr Hillmore related to Professor Inglis all that he had been told, and then he asked him if he wanted to cancel on behalf of his group. The group comprised of Inglis and five of his students, they had formed a paranormal club at Walchester University, and this was to be their first club outing.
“Are you kidding me, you tell me that we might actually experience exactly what we paid you for, and then you expect us to cancel, no way Mr Hillmore, we shall see you on Saturday afternoon.” Inglis said the excitement in his voice plain for Hillmore to hear. “If you try and keep us out of your house I will sue your firm for every penny you have.” Inglis threatened.
Hillmore was so flustered by this unexpected turn of events that he forgot to telephone his other two customers, Mr Masters and Ms Lang.
It was a cold Saturday afternoon, the sky was full of what could easily be snow clouds, when the ghost seekers arrived en masse at the old Victorian house, all were well wrapped up in an attempt to stay warm, although several of them were shivering in the icy breeze that blew via Siberia, along the street and towards the front of the house. Once there Mr Hillmore had everyone sign a waiver declaring that Paranormal Investigators.Com would not be responsible for any injuries that occurred at the haunted house over the weekend. Mr Masters and Ms Lang assumed that it was all part of the entertainment and promptly signed, as for Inglis and his team, this only made their weekend ghost hunting seem all the more promising. The ghost hunters found the inside of the house warmer than they had expected, for the caretaker had prepared a roaring coal file to greet them. They were then all shown to their rooms, and Rob noticed that the caretaker had been busy, for some of the dust and cobwebs have been removed from the hall and staircase. When everyone had dropped off their overnight bags in their cold rooms, they gathered around the fire in the large sitting room on the ground floor.
Both Masters and Lang kept well clear of Rob, fearing another electricity storm or worse, so they both lingered by the door that led into the entrance hall. They both recognised the house the minute they had seen it, but Moira was controlling them, so they entered the house very much against their will.
The five students and their professor were in a group together and were a real mixture; Donald Lewis, a first year student studying physics, Maxine Reynolds, a classics student, of course Norma Percival was there, she was studying mathematics and Colin Timpson, who was studying architecture. Alistair Marchmount, was also there, he was studying chemistry and was looking around for the beautiful Satanist amongst the other people standing in the room waiting for the show to commence. He recognised Rob of course and Masters and Lang, but he said nothing, he merely smiled to himself.
All of the students were engaged in excited conversation, although they occasionally looked over at Father Pritchard, seeing him as a quaint being, one from a bygone age perhaps. The two employees of Paranormal Investigators.Com now officially welcomed them all and handed out plans of the house. Mr Hillmore looked a little uneasy when he looked across at Rob and Father Pritchard, but shrugging off his concerns he launched into his spiel, telling everyone the history of Themis House.
“Welcome to Themis House everyone, a strange name for a house, Themis I believe was a Greek goddess. The house was built in 1845 and belonged to the Stewart family, and it was with their untimely deaths that the haunting began. One of the two children, Mildred, was the first to die, she was found outside the house, in the garden. It appeared that she had fallen from an open second floor window, although up until that time the window was said to be jammed shut and in need of repair; however, it was put down as a tragic accident. The second child, Mark, was found drowned in his bath tub, yet another terrible accident. The parents were found a week later, the woman had been shot by her husband with a hand gun, he then hanged himself from the bannister rail at the top of the house.” Hillmore stopped here to see if his audience were sufficiently awed by his tale, and seeing that they were he continued.
“Since then a number of ghostly sightings have been reported, only last month the daughter, Mildred, was seen by the local vicar no less, he saw the young girl laying spread-eagled upon the ground beneath an open second storey window. When he drew nearer to the spot where she lay he could see no trace of the girl, although he did claim to see blood sinking into the ground, however when the local constabulary investigated it they could find no sign of the dead girl or of any blood, spooky isn`t it.” Hillmore again waited to see how his audience were reacting to his short talk, and they appeared to be taking it hook line and sinker. So he went into the finale of his spiel, but only when silence once again fell upon the assembled people.
“There have been other sightings of course, through one of the first floor windows, a widow saw what looked like a body hanging from the upper storey banisters, as before no trace of it was found. The locals have always kept clear of the house, claiming to have seen lights turning on and off, and devil`s footprints have mysteriously appeared in the soil of the small flowered plots beneath the living room windows which are visible from the gates, only to disappear when investigated by the local constabulary. All in all it promises to be an exciting weekend for all of us.” Hillmore said beaming at his audience.
“If I might add a note of caution after Mr Hillmore`s scintillating talk.” Professor Inglis said. “The four of you who are not part of our scientific group, please do watch out for our cameras and other scientific instruments, especially if you are about at night, when the only lights showing will be a few night lights which we will have placed around the house. They will be there to facilitate easy movement when we make our hourly checks on our apparatus.”
With the introductory talk over, Masters and Lang, the only two customers who were not part of the scientific group, not counting Rob and Father Pritchard who they studiously avoided like the plague, went off together to make a tour of the house, they both had their floor plans held before them so as to guide them around the house.
Moira was sitting in the attic of the house listening to what she termed drivel, and she could hardly stop from laughing out loud, but that would have spoiled the late afternoon`s entertainment for her. She now moved her ‘ghosts’ from the Netherworld to the attic, they were in fact Shades, four of them, and very hungry they were too.
“Here you are my poor pathetic creatures, you can feed upon this.” Moira said and laughed as she pointed to an old man laying cringing in the corner, he was the caretaker of the house.
As the Shades pounced on the first real meal that they had enjoyed for many a year the old man screamed, his screams echoing around the old house and down to the ears of the ghost seekers.
Moira then released Masters and Lang from her control, on realising this they looked fearfully at one another, and as one they bolted for the stairs and once they arrived in the entrance hall they made for the front door. On opening it they made to leave the house, unfortunately they came up against a mystical force field that prevented them from escaping; Moira Bourbon had installed it to prevent anyone from leaving via any of the doors and windows.
“We cannot get out; some sort of force field is preventing us from leaving!” Masters exclaimed fearfully to the others who had also made for the entrance hall, however they had wanted to climb the stairs to investigate the screams, not to leave the haunted house.
Rob had also been about to investigate the screams, but noticing that everyone was accounted for; he decided to investigate the supposed force field. On reaching the open door, he too attempted to leave the house, but he found that Masters was quite correct, Moira, or whoever it was who was running this show, had installed some sort of mystical field, and it prevented anyone from leaving through the front door of the house unless she allowed it.
Mr Hillmore looked across at Rob and pointed at him. “This is all his fault, he and the priest warned me that it could be dangerous to hold the event, they are some sort of government secret agents.”
“Then why did you not warn us?” Ms Lang screamed out angrily.
“Keep calm everyone, it is no use panicking, let us try the other windows and doors, maybe one of them will allow us to leave.” Rob advised calmly as he attempted to still the panic rapidly overtaking everyone within the house.
On the front door Rob saw a note stuck to the back of the door, but all it told them was that the caretaker would not return until the morning, this thought Rob might be too late for them, however he did wonder if the caretaker was the one who had screamed. His first duty was to protect the others so he pulled out his mobile to put in a call to Agers or Markman, but found that the force field prevented a signal getting through. He was not too worried; yet, he knew that he would soon be missed, especially when they could not reach him on the phone.
Moira`s afternoon proceedings did not take long to commence, everyone was now gathered in the large entrance hall and all of them were feeling scared because they could not leave the house, It was now that a series of loud thumps and bangs came from one of the upper floors, then the lights began flickering madly and they heard what sounded like furniture being violently thrown about one of the rooms on the upper floors, this was followed by loud groans.
Rob was beginning to get really anxious for the safety of the other guests, but the noises coming from upstairs could just be teenagers trying to scare his fellow ghost seekers, although he seriously doubted it. He would have liked to check on them first, but instead he instigated a check on all of the ground floor windows and doors, to see if any would provide a way out, in the hope of stilling the ever growing panic, unfortunately all they found was the force field waiting for them. Rob now led everyone upstairs to check on the windows on the other two floors, but here too they were prevented from leaving. Once they arrived on the top floor of the house they soon found that this was where all the noises had originated. In some of the rooms the beds were upside down, in some of the other rooms the small bedside table and chair were smashed into kindling, in others the bedding was not just on the floor, some of it had been ripped to shreds. When confronted with this, none of the guests spoke for they were now more than scared; they were absolutely terrified that the paranormal really did exist.
“Tell us Mr Hillmore, this is just part of the event, isn`t it?” Professor Inglis implored.
Hillmore simply shook his head, he could no longer form whole words, fear was preventing him, and the others were having much the same trouble, paranormal investigators they may have been, but not one of them actually expected to find proof of the supernatural.
Inglis now asked the students to take the broken furniture down to the cellar and as three of them did so, Rob decided to check on the attic, in search of the ‘teenagers’ and in trepidation he walked up the stairs and attempted to open the door, it did open a fraction, but then it slammed shut. Rob turned to look at Father Pritchard who was on the step below.
“Human or ghost David?” Rob asked his friend.
“I have no idea Rob, but you turn the door handle and then let`s put our shoulders to the door.” Father Pritchard suggested.
Rob slowly turned the door handle and then the two men put all their weight against the door, it immediately flew open and slammed against the wall and making the two men stumble forwards into the room. From the rear of the attic they heard noises that appeared to be coming from the very walls of the house, and the noises were travelling down to the floor below them. However, they did not investigate the noises immediately, for just inside of the attic they were met by the sight of the shrivelled body of the caretaker, not that they knew who he was at the time. Rob and Father Pritchard looked at one another, horrified by what they saw; the body had not been here the last time that they had been in the attic, no the body must belong to whoever had screamed just minutes earlier. Feeling an even greater need of help Rob now tried to get a signal on his mobile phone, he hoped that the extra height would allow him to call for help, but to no avail, the signal was still jammed by the mystical wall of energy that went all around the house and now seemingly over the top as well.
“David, it`s time to investigate the sounds that came from the walls, to see if they were made by a human, or something from a hell dimension.” Rob said and walked over to the far wall, as he got there a pale wraithlike figure shot out of the wall and hit him so hard that he fell backwards to land with a thud on the floor.
As Rob lay there trying to get his breath back, the wraith like phantom seeing him lying there screamed with delight and shot towards Rob, but he had seen too many horror films to allow the phantom to enter into his body, something he thought was all too possible, he quickly rolled out of the way and the phantom figure of a small man disappeared through the floor.
Rob`s hands shot to his shirt and pulled out a large silver cross that Father Pritchard had blessed, he now put it in plain sight on the front of his jacket.
“It must have been your cross Rob, that saved you from that thing, it certainly hit you on the exact spot where your cross was.” Father Pritchard said.
“You might well be correct David, and if so we need to distribute some of the protections that you brought with you amongst the others, or Moira and her merry men will run riot.” Rob said to Father Pritchard who on considering the possibility of this happening was happy to agree.
“I think that thing may well have been a Shade, David, from the Dreamscape, if so then we were correct in suggesting that Moira could now be the consort of Lord Asbaritch.” Rob said to Father Pritchard who just nodded in reply as he considered all that had happened and then dwelt on what could happen.
Marchmount along with Timpson and Lewis had witness everything from the open doorway, Timpson and Lewis were looking terrified and excited all at once, they quickly told the others, who had returned from the cellar and were now standing at the bottom of the small staircase, all what they had witnessed. Terror among some of the students quickly turned to excitement, as they attempted to busy themselves in an effort to overcome their fear. Surely they had come to the house looking for proof of the supernatural, and three of them had actually witnessed it! They quickly returned to the sitting room and got their equipment ready, then they began to set it up, some of them fearfully, others putting on a brave front. The students always left the main group in groups of three people, when they went to set up some of their instruments, they were not stupid after all, just young and without even a thought of death being possible here in this haunted house.
Marchmount began to wonder if all that had happened was all the coolest of practical jokes and that the beautiful Satanist was behind it all, and that it was just her way of enjoying herself. The two men were obviously the two people to whom she was referring to when she had asked to come along, for she had already played with one of them. Marchmount smiled as he thought about Moira, a feeling of awe spreading through him for his beautiful Satanist.
Masters and Lang, after hearing of the ghost were more terrified than ever, so they waited on the upper landing for Rob and Father Pritchard to exit the attic, as only these two men were taking everything in their stride and appeared to be on top of everything. They followed them back to the sitting room, stopping off at the bedroom of Father Pritchard who collected his large suitcase and who then took it downstairs. Once in the sitting room Father Pritchard took out the protective articles that he had brought along, thankfully he had thought about the customers of Paranormal Investigators.Com and so he had brought along extra supplies. To each of them he gave a wooden cross, a small string of garlic and a small bottle of holy water. Even the most fearless of the students appreciated the protection, even if they wondered whether it would actually work, but even the atheists amongst them did not refuse them.
It was now time for Rob and Father Pritchard to check down in the cellar, and so they walked through to the kitchen, where the door to the cellar was located. Here they found that the cellar door was open, and after turning on the cellar light from a switch at the top of the staircase, they went slowly down into the cellar. Masters and Lang stayed at the top of the staircase, fully expecting another ghost to appear, but now wanting to be close to Rob and Father Pritchard. Rob and Father Pritchard noticed that the entrance through which the coal was delivered was similarly barred, and apart from the coal there was nothing of interest except for some broken furniture that had once been upstairs in the second floor bedrooms, the students having brought it down when Professor Inglis had suggested it. The only other thing in the cellar was the empty wine rack.
Returning to the sitting room Rob spoke to those present. “It seems that no sounds can enter or leave this house, luckily I was due to call my colleagues five minutes ago, so they will now be trying to contact me, when they cannot do so they will attempt to break in through the front door, when they find that they cannot enter via normal means they will use every means available to them to get us out of this place.” Rob said in an attempt to calm everyone.
Masters and Lang sat down on two of the chairs feeling slightly better after hearing his words, whatever was happening within the walls of this terrible house, they would soon be set free.
The house was quiet now, the only noise that could be heard were the hushed voices of the ghost seekers. The remainder of the afternoon went slowly by with nothing happening, and even though they still could not leave the house everyone began to feel a little easier. Then Hillmore asked for everyone`s attention. “A meal has been prepared, all Ms Carson and I had to do was to put it into the range to heat, if you will all kindly follow me through to the dining room you will find that your evening meal is awaiting you.”
The meal was a quiet affair with everyone`s thoughts either on the mysterious force field that was keeping them a prisoner or the ghost seen by three of the students, that is until Mr Masters broke the silence by asking a question.
“Mr Hinds, when will we hear your people breaking through the energy barrier, or have they forgotten about us?”
Everyone stopped eating to focus on Rob. “I am sorry everyone, I can only say that I am as much in the dark as you are, but I promise you that we have not been forgotten, my people will have asked the top minds for help, when they found that they could not break through the energy barrier, do not fear somehow they will get through to us.” Rob assured them.
They was a great deal of mumbled words following his apology, but they knew that the problem facing their rescuers was unique, so no one complained out loud. As it had been quiet for so long they decided to retire to their bedrooms for an early night, but Rob told them to lock the doors to their rooms and to wedge a chair under the door handle.
Outside of the house the authorities knew nothing of what was occurring within the haunted house, both Agers and Markman were asleep in their stake out car. Moira had seen to that, for she had recognised them, having met both men in France when they had accompanied Rob on a mission to execute the beautiful Satanist. Sir Willoughby Brown was also known to Moira, and he and his wife were also enjoying an afternoon nap, courtesy of a little magic thrown their way by Moira.
Moira now decided to move things along, she was not only harassing the ghost seekers for a little light entertainment; she also wanted to force Rob to help her free her father from the hell dimension of Tartarus.
The person she had chosen as her next target of the day was Mr Hillmore`s assistant, Jean Carson, a young woman of twenty years who had enjoyed her job up until today, now she was seriously thinking of quitting. She was lying on her bed with her head resting on her pillow, which she had propped up against the wall in an effort to get comfortable. She had a blanket pulled up around her, both for warmth and a feeling of security, which she knew was ridiculous for a woman of her age, but hell her situation was hardly normal. Ms Carson had closed her eyes in the hope of getting some sleep, but she knew that she would not get a wink of sleep that night, for she was so absolutely terrified. She was on the upper storey of this real nightmare of a haunted house, and; she wanted nothing more than to be able to go home to her mother. Yes it had been quiet for a long time, but the way out was still barred to everyone, and the ghosts had not departed, that much was obvious to her. She told herself repeatedly that this was just a nightmare; this could not be really happening to her, not in England, she would soon wake up in her own comfy bed. As she lay there shaking with fear, she heard every creak uttered by the old house, scrutinized every shadow, pushing the wooden cross given to her by Father Pritchard, and held tightly in her left hand, towards each shadow or creak in turn. Her eyes opened wide in terror at each new event before they returned to their normal state of plain utter fear, she wondered if her hair had changed colour, probably she thought it had, to white. Occasionally she touched her string of garlic, but she was relying on the bottle of holy water that she held in her right hand to keep her safe, she had already unscrewed its top, just in case, fearful of what the night had in store for her, wanting to be ready for whatever came her way. It was already cold within the house, as the fire that she had lit in her bedroom, using the small amount of coal that she found in the coal scuttle, which she lit with the firelighter and matches also provided, was almost done. Even the roaring fire in the sitting room was now dying down for lack of fuel, fuel that no one dared to get as it was down in the cellar. Of course it was nearly Christmas, so one expected it to be chilly, but now the temperature fell sharply and she saw a light dusting of frost appear on the floor, she shivered pulling the blanket tighter around her and began to pray, for something told her that her time had come. It is so unfair she wailed to herself, I am still young. Just then another creak of a floorboard made her pulse rate leap, for this time it had come from right outside her bedroom door! Her fear factor rose as her eyes flew to the solid wooden door, surely it would protect her, slowly she watched as the door knob began to slowly turn, a scream building within her throat as her mouth opened to give it utterance. Ms Carson remembered that she had locked the door and her pulse rate began to fall, that was until the chair that she had set against the door went flying across the room, then her pulse rate rocketed sky high as she looked at the chair, smashed to pieces against the wall beside her bed. She got up from the bed, holding the cross before her, ready to throw the holy water at whatever monster from hell appeared, she was a woman of the twenty first century, not a Victorian maiden in need of a man to save her. Then her worst fear was realised, the door flew open, she cannot have locked it she thought, and then four ghostly figures rushed towards her, two adults and two children. Unknown to her Moira had unlocked the door, not that the door would have prevented the Shades from entering the room, Moira just used the opening of the door for effect. In a moment they were all around her, already tasting her in their weak minds, the scream that had been building up burst forth from her mouth and carried to every corner of the house. She threw the holy water towards them and her panic subsided when she saw one of the creatures stop and cry out in pain, its screams so loud it almost deafened her. She then jabbed her cross at another of them and saw it stop, fearing to proceed any nearer to the mortal.
A pillar of smoke formed in the corner of his room, and within the smoke the outline of a beautiful woman began to take shape, accompanied by the vile stench of Hell and another drop in temperature. Moira Bourbon appeared before the terrified woman, her green eyes boring into those of Ms Carson, whose hands were forced down to her sides, Ms Carson screamed again when she realised that she no longer controlled her own body.
“Surely you do not begrudge my minions a tasty little snack, do you?” Moira asked and then she burst into laughter when she saw her victim give a weak nod of her head by way of an answer.
“Well hard cheese Jean. Go on boys; tuck into the tasty young lady.” Moira said and laughed yet again at the pleading eyes of her victim.
The four Shades, hungry beyond description, rushed towards her, and then they began to feed, they intended to steal every bit of her life-force. The two smaller creatures who looked more like gargoyles than children reached her first, their fingers mysteriously sinking into her body without breaking the skin, then she felt her energy draining away, and then the two adult ghosts joined in the feast. She cried out for god to save her, but to no avail, her life-force was quickly being drained away, she could do nothing to stop them, nothing, and then thankfully she lost consciousness. After they were finished, the Shades returned to Moira Bourbon`s side, what they had stolen had not been enough to return them to their old normal selves, but they did take on more of a human look.
Downstairs in the sitting room, Rob and Father Pritchard had first heard the chair striking against the wall, and had risen from their own chairs, and then they heard the first of Ms Carson`s piercing screams. As one they rushed from the sitting room and towards the first of the two staircases, it was now that an icy gale force wind hit them. They had to use every ounce of energy just to pull themselves up the staircase, frozen to the bone they reached the first floor where they were met by a fearful Professor Inglis.
“I believe the screams came from up there.” He gasped out as the wind tried to stop his words from reaching Rob`s ears, Inglis was holding on to the banister rail with one hand to stop from being blown away and he was pointing up to the upper floor with the other hand.
Anxious heads had appeared at the other bedroom doors on the first floor, fear beset each of them as the icy wind whipped around them, none of them daring to leave the perceived safety of their rooms. Inglis slowly followed Rob and Father Pritchard up the staircase to the upper floor as another terrifying scream filled the house, and then the wind stopped, as suddenly as it had begun. On the top floor they were met by the terrified figure of Mr Hillmore whose head was also peeking out from his partially open door.
“I think it was Ms Carson who screamed.” He said meekly and pointed to the door next to his one. “My God, what is happening in there?”
As they approached her room the grey head of a Shade pushed through the closed door. “Go away, I am busy in here.” It screamed at them.
Hillmore almost fainted with the shock of seeing the terrifying creature, luckily Inglis hurriedly moved to his side to give him some support. Father Pritchard reply was swift, he pulled from his pocket a glass bottle, and after opening it he threw its contents over the head of the phantasm. The results were spectacular, the ghostly head screamed in pain as the holy water burnt it and a terrible smelling smoke rose up from the phantasm, the head hastily pulled back into the bedroom, and once there it disappeared through the floorboards, although its ghostly cries of pain could be heard all over the house.
On finding that the door was locked, for Moira had relocked the door to make for a greater mystery, Rob looked over to Hillmore who only now offered him a master key. Unlocking the door the four men entered, with Hillmore bringing up the rear, only creeping across the threshold rather than fully entering the room to tend to his employee. Everything within the room was either overturned or destroyed, a gleaming white frost covered every surface, but of Ms Carson there was no sign. Rob righted the bed to see if she was beneath it, but there was still no sign of the body. Father Pritchard looked out through the window, which he was amazed to find open and it was then that he saw a body lying on the ground outside of the house.
“The force field must have been turned off for the time it took for the woman to jump, if indeed she did jump.” Father Pritchard surmised.
“Hillmore.” Rob said to the media man. “Didn`t you say that the first person to die was found on the ground beneath her bedroom window?”
“Yes Sir.” Hillmore replied very respectfully.” Mildred Stewart, the youngest of the family.”
“Ms Carson fits the bill quite well Rob.” Father Pritchard said. “She might well have been the youngest female amongst us; it could be that Moira Bourbon has decided to replicate the earlier deaths.”
“Hillmore, you said that the second Stewart to die was a boy, drowned in his bath.” Rob asked.
“Yes, the Stewarts` son, Mark.” Hillmore replied, grateful that he was not the youngest male there.
Rob turned to Inglis. “Professor, which of your team is the youngest male?”
“Donald Lewis, I think, he is in the room next to me, on the floor below.” Inglis replied anxiously.
When he had heard Ms Carson`s scream, Donald Lewis had sat bolt upright on his bed, he was shaking with fear, and noticing this he felt a deep self-loathing of himself, he should stop shaking in fear, he told himself, and join the others on the upper floor, they might be in need of some extra help. As he sat there willing himself to do just that a pillar of smoke formed in the corner of his room, and within the smoke the outline of a beautiful woman began to take shape. Lewis was almost sick when the stench of hell reached him, but he fought the desire to be sick, his attention now fixed on the pillar of smoke. The temperature inside the room had already began to fall, but Lewis did not feel it, his attention was fully upon Moira Bourbon who was now standing before the frightened young man. Her green eyes bored into his, he could see a terrible fear within them and he felt even more ashamed of his own cowardice.
“Donald, you must help me, please stop them from taking me away.” Moira begged in a pitiful voice that made his heart go out to her.
Lewis did not realise that only he could hear Moira`s pleas, that Moira had sent her thoughts directly to his mind. Her cry for help came just at the right moment, for Lewis had just been scolding himself for not being a man, he determined to act this time, no matter what happened. He rose and went across the room to Moira, who was seemingly being dragged by an invisible figure to the door of his bedroom, above him he heard a ghostly scream and he almost faltered, especially when he saw that Moira was being dragged through the now open doorway, one which he had earlier secured. Moira then used her own scream to galvanise the man into action, once again only he heard her scream which was followed by more cries for help.
Lewis pushed his fear away and followed Moira into the hall, Moira now grabbed a hold of his hand and pulled him after her and towards the nearest of the bathrooms, then she let out another cry.
“Quickly, I beg of you Donald, free me now! I can hear more of them coming down the stairs.”
Lewis could indeed hear someone running down the stairs, it was Rob and the others, however Moira did not give him the necessary time to ascertain who it was, she pulled him into the bathroom. Once inside the bathroom the door slammed shut, he spun around to stare at it, his fear returning to his brain twice fold. Then he felt a terrific force dragging him to the bath, it was filled with water, there was nothing he could do to stop himself from being thrust down into it, into its icy cold water. He felt cold hands grab his head, and then his head was forced down under the water, he did not die quietly, he thrashed about desperately trying to get his head above water, the bath water was splashing everywhere, but with his life-force being drained from his body by the Shades who had now joined Moira, so too his strength left his body, and finally he died, his eyes fastened upon the face of Moira, who was now laughing at him. He never even had a chance to use the protections given to him by Father Pritchard.
When Rob finally reached Lewis` bedroom they found that they were too late, it was empty. He then heard Inglis cry out in fear, returning to the hall he saw four ghostly figures moving towards them, two adults and two children; they had just walked through the shut door of one of the bathrooms. Inglis thought that they were the Stewart family, still roaming the house, but now in search of more victims, however Rob knew them for what they were.
“David, we need to rid ourselves of the Shades.” Rob ordered.
Rob and Father Pritchard went to meet the four ghosts, their crosses in their hands, all the while saying the Lord`s prayer in a loud voice that rang through the house, the four Shades, for that is what they were, immediately bolted for the safety of the cellar, the sound of the Lord`s prayer following after them and they too felt a terrible fear.
Father Pritchard now saw the water flowing from under the door of the bathroom just vacated by the Shades, confirming all of their fears; Lewis was being murdered by Moira Bourbon. With the Shades gone they rushed to the second bathroom and pushed against the door, and finally it yielded to them, letting them look down upon the dead body of Donald Lewis lying in the bath, his lifeless eyes looking up at them, pleading. However, no one else was inside the room, even the icy cold was slowing going, Rob took a moment to get himself together, before he went back into the hallway, to the others. He was feeling utterly useless against Moira Bourbon, her powers had obviously grown since their last encounter, but how when she was dead? As he stood staring into space he noticed one of the cameras set up by the students.
“Professor Inglis, can I see if your camera caught anything at all that might be of use to us?” Rob asked.
Inglis turned to him and Rob was not surprised to see that the professor appeared to have aged twenty years.
“Of course Mr Hinds, I will ask Colin Timpson to show you what the camera has recorded, he is our photographic expert.” Inglis said.
Five minutes later they were all in the sitting room, Colin Timpson had set his laptop up on one of the low coffee tables and they watched as Donald Lewis was dragged into the bathroom by a screaming Moira Bourbon. “Moira Bourbon, in all her glory.” Rob groaned.
He was feeling at his lowest ebb right now, but he attempted to shake his feeling of utter uselessness off. Everyone still alive was with him in the sitting room, watching as the last few seconds of Lewis` life was played back.
Marchmount now saw that his beautiful Satanist did not want to play a practical joke on the two government agents, she was playing another game entirely, and one that left him gasping with jealousy. When he was back at the university he would call her and ask to be her acolyte, to learn the secrets of Satanism under her. The poor twisted young man had still not realised that she was dead, not yet, Rob was about to put him right.
“The lady in distress is Moira Bourbon, she was the most powerful Satanist on Earth until she died last year after she had killed, or had killed, so many innocent and some not so innocent people; and somehow she is orchestrating all of this from her new home in Hell.” Rob said grimly.
“If you see her do not believe that she is on your side, she is only on her own side. Use the holy water that Father Pritchard gave to you, or the cross, they will both work against her now that she is a hell fiend.” Rob said.
“Do you want us to believe that a dead person has come back from Hell to revenge her death by killing us, do we look like children, you insult our intelligence Mr Hinds?” Masters cried out angrily.
“Even if we believed all of what you said Mr Hinds, these useless items did not save Ms Carson or Mr Lewis, did they?” Inglis cried out equally as angry as Masters.
“All of you listen carefully to me, you have seen the energy field outside, you have seen the face that came through the closed solid wood door, my god you have even seen Moira Bourbon on your own camera system. If after all of this you still do not believe, then I suggest you search the house for her, but be careful for she bites, as poor Ms Carson and Mr Lewis have already found out.” Rob raged.
“As for the effectiveness of the protection that we gave each of you, no they did not work, and it must have been because Moira Bourbon and her allies simply overwhelmed them both, from now on we will stay down here in the sitting room, no one leaves here alone, not for any reason.” Rob replied. “Now settle down and try to go to sleep if you can, Father Pritchard and I will watch over you.”
Masters now asked another question. “Mr Hinds, once again I ask you, where are your people, you said that they would have missed you by now, but as yet we have seen no sign of a rescue attempt?” He asked, almost pleadingly.
His anger had slightly abated after listening to Rob and accepting his arguments, only his fear remained as he asked for an explanation to chase that away.
“I can only believe that the power that Moira Bourbon is using is delaying them, but all of this must be draining her, she can only last so long, and then when she attempts to restore her energy levels, my people will break in.” Rob stated firmly.
What he had learned of black magic over the last three years told him that this was so; it all depended on how much energy she had stored when she started her tricks earlier that evening. The others seemed to accept his assurances on this, for it seemed reasonable to even the least intelligent one amongst them, and one by one they found a chair, or a softer piece of hard wood flooring, and tried to rest, all praying for god to help them through this terrible time. One thing they all did, that was to stay away from the door, the windows, or any of the walls, be they interior or exterior.
Rob now approached the photographic expert amongst the student group, Colin Timpson, with a question. “Can you see the views that each of your cameras is recording on your computer?”
“Yes of course.” Timpson replied and touched the computer screen and up popped the views from the six cameras recently set up by the student group.
Timpson now operated the slide show function and the view from each of the cameras in turn was displayed upon the laptop`s screen. Alongside this the room temperature in each location also flashed up. For the moment it showed nothing, their enemy was either resting, or hiding away somewhere while they prepared to launch yet another attack.
Timpson looked to be in a state not far off shock, the two deaths had affected him badly, even more than the others who looked pale enough. Rob saw this and sat with him asking questions about the camera system and the other items that the students had brought with them, in an attempt to take his mind off his fear. One thing was certain, the equipment was working very well, for it showed a rapid drop in temperature on the second floor and then they watched as the four Shades in the guise of the Stewart family appeared from out of the wall.
“David, our ghosts are back on the second floor, I can see them here on Colin`s laptop.” Rob said.
Father Pritchard walked across the room, followed by anyone still awake, and looked at the laptop screen. As the Shades walked along the corridor, each door that they passed shook and then flew open to bang against the inside wall of the room, this was for affect and Moira was actually making this happen. Then for no reason the Shades began to howl like wolves, and no one needed the laptop to hear it, for the howls were heard throughout the house, waking anyone who had been able to grab a moment`s sleep. The Shades had reached the stairs and now they began to walk down to the first floor, a loud thumping noise accompanying their progress. The nerves of the ghost seekers were now stretched taut; Rob could see that they were close to breaking and someone could soon be hurt.
The night before when Moira had visited Marchmount in his dreams she had told him to look a little scared by everything that would happen around him, but to play it cool, in this way he would attract the attention and admiration of the girl of his dreams, Norma Percival. At this moment in the proceedings he was the nearest of the group to the door that led into the hall, having been moved there by Moira`s mind control without him even noticing. Marchmount had no need to play scared because he was scared, but only a little and he looked to be in control of himself, mainly because he thought that his beautiful Satanist would never harm him, even so, he thought, the creatures that the agent had referred to as Shades looked very dangerous. He began to search in his holdall for a cigarette, he had given them up that morning but now he desperately needed one, what he found was an ancient Colt 45 revolver. He took it out quizzically, wondering how on earth it had got there, stupidly he put his finger through the trigger guard, just then a series of crashes occurred on the door near to him, and then a loud bang almost deafened him, it had come from the thing in his hand. He looks questioningly at the revolver and was amazed to see smoke curling up from the end of the barrel, then another of the students, Maxine Reynolds, screamed, for she had just seen a pool of blood forming next to the body of Mildred Lang.
Rob rushed across and tore the revolver from Marchmount`s hand, then he went across to the still body of Mildred Lang, she was still alive, but only barely. Rob pulled a folded handkerchief from his pocket and attempted to stem the flow of blood, but it was while he was doing this that Mildred Lang died.
Rob turned to look at Marchmount, he could see that the young student was in shock following the accident, he did not even hear the angry abuse coming his way from the others who were now grouped closely around him, and Rob now intervened on his behalf.
“Leave him alone, it was none of his doing, Moira Bourbon may well have put the pistol into his bag when she noticed him pick the bag up, have any of you seen the weapon before?” Rob asked and was told by the terrified students that no one had ever seen it before.
“Having made sure that he would find it she then caused the series of crashes on the door near to him, this spooked him. He probably never even consciously pulled the trigger, she did, Moira Bourbon is the murderer here, not your friend.” Rob said angrily. “Now there is only the death of the father of the Stewart family to go, and he hanged himself if I recall, we must be extra vigilant if we are to prevent yet another death.”
“Yes you are correct Mr Hinds; the father hanged himself from the bannister rail on the second floor.” Hillmore said in a quiet voice, for he was afraid to speak any louder in case the fiend attacking them noticed him.
“Death by hanging is a terrible way to go, I believe that first your neck is broken and then asphyxia starves the brain of oxygen, it can take up to two excruciating minutes for the actual death to occur. Be warned everyone, Moira Bourbon could take her next victim by choosing either hanging or suffocation, either way would mimic the death of Mr Stewart and satisfy her cruel plan, whatever it is, so we will have to be on our guard at all times.” Father Pritchard announced grimly.
Norma Percival had stayed by Marchmount`s side to try to comfort him and she was joined by Maxine Reynolds. Rob derived some comfort from the sight, Moira Bourbon had not killed their humanity yet, he must see that she never did.
Rob and Father Pritchard talked together, but neither of them could think of a way out of their problem until Rob suggested constructing a pentagram, and so that was what they did, for Father Pritchard had brought the necessary items needed with him in his large suitcase.
Everyone did feel a little safer after they had moved into its protection, but still no one went asleep, they were all too fearful of not waking up, or of being snatched by Moira Bourbon and taken to the Netherworld, or the Dreamscape as Rob had named it.
Lord Asbaritch finally realised that his first lady was not in her study within the fortress, and it did not take him long to find her, and he was really mad, especially as he had to expend a large amount of energy to come to the world of the mortals without being called by a Satanist. For he had lied when he had told Moira that inter-dimensional travel was not possible, it was for a major demon, however it would leave him exhausted when he returned to the Netherworld.
“Moira, are you insane, didn`t you hear my warning, do you want Lord Lucifer to have you taken to Tartarus to pay for your gross acts of disobedience?” Lord Asbaritch raged.
Moira almost said yes please to that question, but she controlled her initial impulse.
“Lord Lucifer obviously does not mind my playing with the mortals, as for the Christian god, well I think that I understand him better than you do my Lord, he will simply allow things to play out. If the handsome Rob defeats me then God will be fine with that, if he fails then God will feel that Rob obviously did not believe in him enough and that will be fine too.”
“I do hope that you are correct in this my love, for if you are not then I shall be very unhappy, but not as unhappy as you will be, not if you end up in Tartarus as a prisoner.” Lord Asbaritch said grim faced and still very angry.
“As long as I do not go beyond this small distraction, my Lord, they will both leave it up to the players as to how it plays out.” Moira replied and then smiled at her Lord and then she kissed him. “God believes that good will ultimately prevail, but then he did not count on me fighting for our side.”
“That is true my love, you are a one off, which must be why I love you so, but take heed, God`s champion has bested you twice, do not let him out of your sight or he might succeed yet again.” Lord Asbaritch warned his consort.
“Did you find the Rakiremanin that I left for you my love?” Moira asked smoothly changing the subject.
“Yes my love and I once again wonder just how you found the ingredients to make it.” Lord Asbaritch replied sweetly, Moira`s disobedience quickly forgotten.
“My Lord, how did you manage to travel from the Netherworld to here?” Moira asked when the thought finally popped into her head.
“I am a major demon of hell Moira, I can do many things that you cannot, it will cost me however, I will be totally exhausted by the time I return home. Moira do not dally too long amongst the mortals, it always makes you feel bad, and I am in need of you.”
Lord Asbaritch smiled at his first lady, his consort, and then he was gone, back to the Netherworld to ponder this strange turn of events. He realised that over the last two millennia he had settled for an easy life, however his new consort was feeling the thrill of her new life, just maybe she would make life a little more interesting for him too, if she was not disintegrated first.
It was while she had been distracted by her Lord that Rob and Father Pritchard had constructed the pentagram, and when she returned to the game she was obviously annoyed, but not overly so, she simply went ahead with her plan. It was now that the temperature in the sitting room rapidly dropped, and so dramatically that frost began to form on the floor, everyone stood up and huddled together in the centre of the room, and then the lights went out.
Maxine Reynolds began to shake with fear and screamed hysterically, she had no idea what she was doing as she pushed past people seeking Father Pritchard, who being a priest she felt would be able to protect her, as she did so she knocked Masters clear of the protective circle. She ended up bumping up against Norma Percival who had taken her flashlight out, and using its beam she was able to take aim when she slapped Maxine`s face hard with her free hand. This caused Maxine to stop her hysterical screaming and look at Norma, shock now appeared upon her face, shock at being hit, then she burst into tears. Norma now pulled the young woman to her and attempted to comfort her, wishing that someone would comfort her in turn, for she too was scared witless, it was now that Marchmount put an arm around her and gave her a hug. Marchmount was in paradise, he was winning the girl he desired, he did not care if the others came to any harm.
“Please try to stay calm everyone, as long as you stay within the circle then you will be safe.” Rob said above the noise, and he was happy when he heard the loud slap and then the end of the screaming.
Masters was terrified when he was knocked out of the protective ring of salt, but only for a moment, for then he heard a woman`s soothing voice telling him that everything was all right. He felt a hand take his and he was led through the dark house, up the stairs to the upper floor and it was now that fear returned to race his pulse and cause his heart to pound, when Moira returned the control of his mind to him. Terrified, Masters turned to run, but he found that his muscles would not obey his mind, he opened his mouth to cry out for help but only a feeble cry escaped. Finally the lights returned and he saw Moira standing before him and in her hands she was holding a hangman`s noose.
With the lights back on Rob did a quick head count, and it was now that he found out that Masters was missing; somehow Moira had taken advantage of the disturbance within the circle to take yet another victim.
Rob immediately left the protective circle, Father Pritchard accompanying him, and they went in search of the missing man, they soon found Ian Masters, he was hanging from the banister rail at the top of the house.
“How are we supposed to fight back David, she is picking us off at her leisure and then waiting for another opportunity to come along.” Rob complained angrily.
“Something tells me that this is not all she wants, no Rob, Moira will soon make her real plan very clear to us, and when she does I really do not think that we shall like it.” Father Pritchard replied in a grim voice tinged with fear.
Although it was not warm in the sitting room, for the fire had gone out long ago, even so Colin Timpson could feel the sweat running down his back, he then felt his head begin to spin, he realised that the fear that had been building up was about to reach a critical level. He quickly lay down on the floor, ensuring that his feet were within the protective circle, and then he closed his eyes, oh but to fall asleep, but he knew there was no chance of that. He looked at the others in the circle, he was thankful that Rob and Father Pritchard were there, for they at least knew what was going on, none of the others, not even Professor Inglis were any comfort to him. He just hoped that Father Pritchard was correct, and that the point of the five deaths would soon be made clear, then maybe the others would be allowed to leave this awful house. One thing was sure, he now believed in the afterlife, and he would make damned sure that he went to the nice place, for he sure did not want to end up in Hell.
As the cold grew even more icy, Rob and Father Pritchard decided to venture down to the cellar to fill the coal scuttle up, when they returned they found Maxine Reynolds waiting for them.
“I need to go to the toilet.” Maxine Reynolds complained loudly, casting hostile looks at Rob who she blamed for everything that had happened at the haunted house.
“Ok, Ms Reynolds, I will go with you to ensure that no one jumps out at you.” Rob replied trying and failing to sound friendly towards a very frosty woman.
“Oh great, that is so reassuring.” Maxine said under her breath. “For you have done such a wonderful job of that so far.”
She simply did not trust him to protect her, especially after all the deaths in the house, but at least he had a gun, and he did seem to know about these ghostly things. In any case if she did not go soon then she knew that she would wet herself, and in front of the others that would be far worse than anything Moira Bourbon could do to her. As they walked to the second door within the large living room, the one that led into a hall that ultimately took you round to the garden, she cast anxious looks at him, she was now beginning to feel thankful that Rob had taken pity on her. Her rapidly beating heart speeded up when he opened the door and looked along the dark hallway, she fully expected one of the ghosts to take him away to god knows where. The lack of lights in the small hall had caused him to halt, and it caused Maxine to walk into him and complain loudly.
“The lights in the hallway are off, the only ones that are off in the entire house.” Rob explained to her anxiously.
Maxine looked into the dark hall and then back at Rob, she needed to go to the toilet, but she did not want to walk down a dark hallway only to find that the toilet was also in blackness. Rob looked at the fear in her eyes, and made a decision.
“Come on Maxine, don`t let that insane bitch make you wet your pants, I promise that I will protect you.”
Maxine looked at him and tried to raise a smile.” Ok Mr Hinds, but you had better not let me down; if you do I promise to haunt you for the rest of your life, maybe even longer.” With that small piece of bravado Maxine even managed to raise a small smile.
With that Rob hurried Maxine down the hallway to a lavatory, checking that it was empty of ghosts before allowing her to enter.
“Hold on to your cross and take the lid off the bottle of holy water and you should be safe, but I will come in if you call for help, a weak scream will do.” Rob said and then he smiled at the young woman to try to reassure her, although with only a torch to light up the room he did wonder if she could see him.
Maybe Maxine had felt it, for she managed another weak smile and then she entered the lavatory, but she did not close the door, preferring safety over privacy, she hurriedly unscrewed the lid of the bottle and held the bottle of holy water ready for use, in her other hand she was clutching her wooden cross. She was almost too scared to go, but finally she did so and finally she did feel a little better.
When Maxine and Rob returned safely, the other three students also asked if Rob would mind taking them to the toilet, if things were not so bad, Rob would have laughed at his taking the teenagers to the toilet. With everyone now feeling slightly more comfortable, Rob wondered why Moira had not made a move against any of them; he was soon to find out why.
Christina Hinds and her sister Cassie Ryman were both fast asleep when the telephone rang in their flat in Reigate, they both struggled out of their hard bed within the pentagram but it was Cassie who got to the telephone first. As she picked up the telephone something told her that danger was very near to her. Cassie looked around nervously as she listened to the caller.
This is Sir Richard Willoughby Brown, I am afraid that I have some bad news for Mrs Hinds, her husband is dying, I cannot go into the reason why over the telephone but I have sent a car for you and your sister, it will be there in five minutes, I will tell you more when I see you.”
Her instincts told Cassie that she should put the telephone down immediately that something about the call was not right, but before she could do so Moira Bourbon had taken control of her mind, Moira had used the telephone to enable her to connect with Cassie who she saw as a potential threat to her plans. Without being able to do anything to stop herself she put the telephone down onto the table, but the telephone was still connected to the caller, Moira, and then she turned to her sister.
“Christina, Rob is hurt, that was Sir Willoughby Brown, he is sending a car for us, we must get dressed quickly for it will be here soon.” Cassie heard herself say, except that she had not said anything; she was too busy fighting for control of her mind, and of her body.
It took all of Christina`s strength not to break down and cry, this was something that she had long feared, for she knew that Rob had a dangerous job and especially when he was forced to go up against the queen bitch Moira Bourbon. Carrie found herself taking her sister in her arms and comforting her for a moment, and then the two young women parted and got dressed, and then went down stairs to wait for the car.
A car driven by a man normally residing in a mental institution arrived in front of their apartment building, he too was under the power of Moira, he then drove them to the haunted house. On arrival he silently opened the front door and allowed them to enter. When they were safely inside he slammed the door shut and drove back to the mental institution where he parked the car and then returned to his bed.
Christina and Cassie spun around to look at the closed door, Cassie now finding that control of her mind and body had been returned to her. Christina quickly reopened the front door sensing that she and her sister had been led into a trap, however when she attempted to leave she found that she could not do so, an invisible barrier was preventing them. Looking anxiously round at her sister she turned back to look into the large grim looking hallway of the house; with no other option open to them she began to edge forward into it.
“Sir Richard.” Christina called out hesitantly. “Are you there?”
She knew that they had been conned, probably by Moira Bourbon, and that meant that they were in dire trouble, but she had still called out, but no answering reply came back to them.
Cassie decided to say nothing about what had happened to her, maybe she would tell her sister when they had managed to escape from the haunted house, for she knew where they were from the researches that they had made regarding it. They stood still for only a moment, deciding upon which of two doors which led off the hallway to try first, one thing they had both subconsciously already decided upon, they were definitely not going to try the wooden staircase that climbed up to the next floor. They looked at each other, both seeing the fear in the other’s eyes.
“Let`s try the right hand door.” Christina decided to which Cassie simply nodded.
Hearing the front door slam, Rob hurried back through the sitting room, dragging a complaining Norma behind him, she being the last one to make the toilet run. He dropped her off at the protective circle and with Father Pritchard at his side he hurried to the entrance hall and the front door. Here he almost ran into Christina and Cassie who were still edging forward towards the door that led into the dining room, both of them were terrified and in tears. When they saw that Rob was alive they cried out in joy and rushed across to him, and while Christina threw her arms around his neck, Cassie threw her arms around Christina and Rob and hugged them both.
“Moira!” Rob cried out in anger, looking up at the ceiling.
Laughter rang out from the air above them making everyone within the house either cling or huddle together in fear.
Christina then told Rob of the telephone call, and of their fears for his life, Rob then told them an abridged version of all that had happened in the haunted house, and of his fears for the future. When he had done so Hillmore moved forward to ask a question.
“Tell me Mr Hinds, did you know that this would happen from the very start?” Hillmore demanded to know.
“No, Mr Hillmore, because as I told everyone, Moira Bourbon is dead, it was only after things began to happen that I realised that my most dangerous enemy, Moira Bourbon, was still bent on killing me, be it on Earth or from the hell dimension where I sent her black soul.” Rob replied. “Nearly everyone was warned about the dangers of coming to this house, the student group decided to risk their lives, so did you and your colleague, unfortunately you never told Mr Masters and Ms Lang of the dangers waiting for them, and they have both paid the price of your mistake.”
Hillmore paled under his attack and his woes did not end there. Maxine who had decided to stay close to Rob, for she had finally realised that she felt safer when he was about, had followed him out into the large entrance hall, hearing Hillmore verbally attack Rob she launched into her own attack.
“Mr Hillmore, how could anyone realise the dangers within this house, especially when posed by a dead woman?”
Hillmore turned on her, seeking another to vent his anger on. “You silly girl, don`t you realise anything yet, Moira Bourbon is not after us, we are mere playthings, it is Mr Hinds that she is after. He told me that he had twice come across this sort of thing before, he knew the dangers involved, he should have stopped us all from coming here.”
Colin Timpson had also followed Rob out, he too had felt the need to be by Rob`s side while danger threatened them all, and he also looked angrily at Hillmore. He thought that Hillmore`s remark had been grossly unfair, especially the ones made to Maxine, a young woman who he was beginning to have feelings for. With his blood pressure rising, he launched into Hillmore.
“Mr Hillmore, if Maxine is silly then so are the rest of us for insisting on coming to the house. You told Professor Inglis that you had been warned of the dangers of coming along, however none of us really believed in ghosts, and certainly not you, so stop complaining and leave Mr Hinds and Father Pritchard to do their job, namely to get the rest of us through this ordeal in one piece.”
Colin then counted slowly to ten and he finally felt his anger dissipating; even so he would have surely liked to have decked the stupid media man.
A plume of red smoke began to form on the landing of the staircase, and within it a ghostly phantom appeared, as the figure of the phantom gained substance Rob could see that it was Moira Bourbon. However, she had not appeared in body, only as a phantom, she was too afraid to appear in person, for she knew that Rob would fire upon her, and even while she believed that he could not harm her, there was still that little bit of doubt that remained.
Moira waved an arm and everyone in the house fell asleep, except Rob and Father Pritchard, perhaps the amount of protection that they were carrying saved them from Moira`s power, although Moira wanted Rob to stay awake in any case, so she could taunt him.
“Surprise, surprise, eh Rob, you thought that you had me safely out of the way, but as always you under estimate the power that I have, the power to crush you where you stand.” Moira cried out angrily. “Ah, I see that the family have arrived safely?” She sneered. “However, they will only stay that way Rob if you do exactly as I say.”
“What is it this time Moira, missing the good life as an evil mortal?” Rob replied keeping a hold of his temper until he found a weakness that he could exploit. “Did you need to meet up with old friends and am I the closest thing that you have to a friend?”
Anger immediately engulfed Moira. “You killed my father and me, you bastard, you`re lucky that I do not tear you and your two sweet loved ones into tiny little pieces.”
“Then you had better do it right, otherwise I will come looking for you again Moira, and you know how that always finishes.” Rob retorted angrily, forgetting for a moment that in doing so he was putting everyone in even more danger.
Moira managed with some difficulty to gain control of her feelings, she told herself that she would revenge herself later, and it would be so sweet. “My father ended up in Tartarus, and you and I are going to break him out and take him to my fortress for some R&R.” Moira said sweetly, not mentioning how the two of them, her father and herself, would then look for payback.
Behind Rob, Father Pritchard had unscrewed the lid on his bottle of holy water, he now moved clear of Rob and prepared to throw it at the image of Moira Bourbon, however a twitch of Moira`s right eye stopped him, leaving him frozen in time.
“Let him go Moira.” Rob ordered taking the bottle of holy water from his friend`s hand and screwing the lid back on. “I will vouch for his good behaviour.” Rob promised looking angrily at the beautiful Satanist. “Do it, now.” Rod ordered.
Moira merely waved her hand and Father Pritchard came back to life, stumbling forward and looking for the bottle of holy water that he had been about to throw.
“She froze you in time David; she only released you when I gave my word that you would not try anything like that again.” Rob explained.
“Not just anything like that Rob, neither of you will attempt anything against me, swear Rob, swear it on sweet Christina`s soul.” Moira demanded.
“OK, Moira, as long as you do not attempt any action against any us, then I hereby swear on Christina`s soul that neither of us will attempt anything against you, instead we will help you free your father. Are we done so that we can move on to other things, such as Christina, Cassie, and the others that you have been playing with?” Rob replied.
Now many would think it odd in the extreme that he had agreed to venture into the most dangerous of all the hell dimensions, and then to attempt to rescue someone who deserved to be there, but then he had survived a trip to Tartarus before, and anyway, what choice did he have, if he was to ensure the safety of those he loved.
With her anger back under control, Moira was once again her usual evil self. Looking at Rob, and feeling very smug, Moira quickly thought over his demands, although she knew that she was holding all the aces, she decided that what Rob had offered was worth accepting until the time came to tell him of her final place for him in her plans.
“I was going to take them all back to my fortress Rob, but OK, it is a deal, their freedom for your word of honour that you will leave here with me now and that you will assist me in freeing my father.” Moira replied graciously.
Father Pritchard immediately moved forward and grabbed one of Rob`s arms. “I am coming with you Rob; you will need someone to watch your back.”
“Not this time David, I need you here to watch over the two girls, no one else is capable of it.” Rob replied earnestly.
Father Pritchard looked his friend in the eye and nodded. “All right my friend, but watch out for yourself, she will stab you in the back if it serves her ends, and remember she will never keep a promise.”
Rob collected all the protective paraphernalia that they had given to the ghost seekers and put it in his overnight bag, because he was sure that he would need it where he was going. Included in the bag were two children`s large capacity water pistols, the sort that looked like space age weapons, they were both filled with holy water and should prove effective weapons against the forces of hell. He then turned back to Moira.
“Wake them now and drop the barrier, they go first, only then will I assist you to free your father.” Rob stated firmly to the Satanist.
“Ah, Rob, you do not trust me, and here we are going to be travel buddies.” Moira replied in a hurt voice.
Moira waved her arm and the sleepers woke up. Father Pritchard hurriedly ushered them all from the house, although they hardly needed too much urging. Even Marchmount decided that he needed a break; he could always call on the beautiful Satanist when he had recovered his strength, and his nerve.
After hearing about the deal that Rob had agreed to, Christina knew that she and Cassie must also leave, even if it broke their hearts to do so, but then Christina had to think not only of her sister`s life but also of the others who had been forced to participate in Moira`s charade, even so she had one demand to make.
“Rob, I will only consent to this if you take David with you, Cassie and I both know how to keep the pentagram in working order, but you need someone to watch your back. Take him or you take us, you choose.” Christina demanded and Cassie backed her up.
“Please, Rob, do as Christina asks, or else I promise you that you will be saddled with us.” Cassie said stressing the latter part of her demand and looking very determined.
Rob could only agree, in any case he knew that Christina and Cassie would now be on their guard, and he could sure use his friend. Therefore, he agreed to their demands, and after they had kissed him and hugged him, they followed the others out of the house.
Outside they met two SIS agents who had finally awoken, looking very sheepish they took Christina and Cassie to the house of Sir Willoughby Brown who was also looking rather guilty, however when Christina told him why he and his agents had fallen asleep, he understood that no one was to blame, except for Moira Bourbon.
Within the haunted house Moira laughed mockingly at Rob. “Women power rules, eh Rob. Never mind, you now have the popist along to hold your hand, should things turn ugly.”
Moira then picked up the Key of Tartarus that she had kept veiled until the right moment came to reveal it, on seeing it Rob was taken by surprise, for he thought it safely secured within the vaults of the SIS headquarters.
“What, did you really believe that you had my satanic devices, well think again Rob, how do you think I acquired the necessary power to bend your mortal world to suit my desires, I used the golden Ark of Baʿal Berith. But this time I have it safely hidden away from your larcenous hands Rob, someplace where you will never find it.” Moira said mockingly.
Rob and Father Pritchard looked at one another, never in a thousand years could either of them have predicted this future, when the evil dead rose even stronger, and the truth was even worse than even Hollywood could imagine.
“Why do you need the Key of Tartarus, Moira, there is an entrance to Tartarus in the cellars of your fortress, or hasn`t Lord Asbaritch seen fit to mention it?” Rob asked mockingly hoping to score one back for the good guys.
“Because, Rob, and as I am sure that you know, that way is for the use of those sentenced to dwell in Tartarus for eternity, if we were to use it then we would be treated accordingly by the Cyclops who are at the other end of the tunnel, our quest then would come to a shuddering stop and with no way of escape.” Moira replied contemptuously. “One other things prevents us from using the tunnel, the fact that entry from the other end is impossible, and so we could not make our escape once we had rescued my father.” Moira now moved towards them, her body forming as she moved until she was standing before Rob in the flesh rather than as a phantom.
“I see that you have all of your anti demon paraphernalia with you, but take it out of your overnight bag and put it into one of the backpacks that the students brought with them for their scary weekend, the two bags behind you will do nicely, it will free your hands, for you will almost certainly need them to defend yourselves. Those large water pistols though you will have to sling them over your shoulder, at least then they will be easy to get at, if you should need to get at them in a hurry.” Moira instructed the two friends.
“You two had better stand inside of that lovely pentagram you so kindly provided, you never know you just might need it when I operate the Key of Tartarus, it never does to take a chance on such things.” Moira advised Rob and Father Pritchard while she carried out the final preparations.
Moira now repainted their protective circle of the pentagram with fresh blood, blood that she had taken from the caretaker while he had still been alive, she then carefully emptied the chalices of the holy water that Father Pritchard had poured in and refilled them with red wine. Rob noted the care that she took to ensure that none of the holy water touched her skin, this knowledge he reckoned could come in useful at a later date. The last change that she made was to exchange the white candles for black ones. Only then did she pick up the Key of Tartarus and step inside of the protective circle, all there was left to do was to light the black candles, and the satanic pentagram would then be then fully charged, and this she now did before raising the Key high above her head.
“Hear me oh great God Tartarus.” Moira Bourbon cried out. “This is Moira Bourbon who calls to you, I the most powerful Satanist in existence and now consort to the great Lord Asbaritch. I have your Key oh great God, and I beseech you to open a portal to allow my two acolytes and me to travel to your domain; there I seek my father, Ulysses Bourbon, a Satanist of the 1st class and follower of you oh great god Tartarus.”
Only seconds after her request the room was filled with a loud rumble of what sounded like thunder, then a ring of light appeared in the wall of the haunted house, almost blinding them with its brilliance, and within it a portal formed, through it they could see the dull red light that pervaded throughout all of the hell dimension of Tartarus. They had thought it hot the last time that they had entered Tartarus, but the heat that came through the portal was at least fifteen degrees hotter, and Rob and Father Pritchard immediately felt it, for outside the haunted house it was a cold December day, so they were hardly looking forward to entering this portal to the hell dimension beyond. However when Moira walked forward they could do nothing else but follow her into Hell, for not only were they were bound by their oaths, but were also afraid of what Moira would do to Christina and Cassie after she had killed the two men.
They found themselves in an entirely different part of Tartarus to the one of their last visit; this one was of the fire and brimstone variety. Pools of flaming liquid abounded everywhere, all of them giving off a yellow toxic smoke that was filled with the ash that was blowing towards them from the line of distant volcanoes. Rob and Father Pritchard began coughing quite loudly as this toxic air filled their lungs, they were forced to their knees and they firmly believed that their end had come.
“You would have found face masks in your backpacks, had you bothered to look, I put them there before inviting along on this little jaunt.” Moira said scathingly as she took out her own face mask and put it on. “Whilst the air does not affect the demon guards who dwell here, for they have become used to the foul air over the millennia, we all need to breathe much cleaner air. I knew that if you were to be of any use to me that you would also need them, isn`t it lucky that I also need you both.” Moira said and then laughed.
Rob and Father Pritchard quickly shrugged off their backpacks and soon found the masks, and as soon as they had donned them they found that they were able to breathe more easily, although it was two minutes before they were able to breath without coughing.
“Thank you Moira, I really appreciate your thoughtfulness.” Rob said as soon as he could finally speak without coughing, his voice sounding a little strange coming from the voice box built into the mask.
For a moment Moira winked out of existence, and then she reappeared minus the Key of Tartarus, something that Rob noticed and it worried him.
“Please do not fret Rob.” Moira said on noticing his anxious searching glances. “I hid the Key to ensure that you would protect me from anything this dimension can throw at me, for without me there is no way home for you, do you understand Rob?”
Rob nodded wearily and set off behind her when she turned away and walked further into Tartarus. All around them they saw the inmates of this terrible hell dimension, all were toiling away at whatever labour had been set for them as punishment for their earthly sins, large demonic overseers ensuring that none of them rested even for an instant. One of the overseers, a large green demon, noticed the three of them walking past him and cracking his whip approached them with a malicious smile upon his face, he was anticipating a whole lot of fun.
“Who are you three damned souls, and why are you walking around free instead of toiling at your labour?” He demanded to know.
“I am your worst nightmare demon.” Moira replied and then thrust out her arm, and although she did not touch the demon, he found himself flung backwards by an unseen but powerful force, he landed in a heap ten feet from where he had stood feeling sore and in pain.
Moira rushed across to the demon, and while he struggled to stand up she leapt astride him, her legs wrapped around his stomach, and she grabbed his large green head with both of her hands. A terrible scream came from the demon, a scream that Rob and Father Pritchard hoped to never hear again, for it was loud and most pitiable. Moira had just sucked all the life-force from the demon leaving him dead, his body a dry shell.
“Hmm, a tasty morsel but not much more than that.” Moira said as she let go of the demon who fell to the ground, now he was no more than a dry leaf waiting to be blown about by the smallest breath of wind.
Rob and Father Pritchard looked on with a mixture of fear and disgust. “Moira!” Rob finally managed to cry out in disgust.
The dark souls who had been toiling away looked at Moira in hope, but she turned on them and raised her arm threateningly. Moira then turned back to Rob and smiled as the extra energy coursed through her body, and it was then that she saw his look of disdain.
“What the hell is bothering you two boy scouts, you have never felt anything for the farm animals that you eat, these are just my beef steaks.” She replied acidly and turning back to the inmates of Tartarus she then screamed at them. “Get on with your work or I just might have a dessert.”
The inmates immediately returned to their toils, fearful of angering this new demon, as for Rob, he did not take the matter any further, for there was no way of telling how Moira might respond to him if he compared her to a wild beast.
Two demon overseers were looking at her; they were wondering who the powerful woman was, one who had walked into the most evil high security prison in existence without a care for her safety and sucked one of their own dry. Moira now called out a warning to them and any other demon near enough to hear her.
“Demons of Tartarus be advised, if you leave us alone then we will leave you alone.” Moira said. “However, I will gladly partake of your life-force if you attempt to get in my way, so please stay out of it.” She warned.
Her message was received with relief by the nearby demons who immediately turned away and urged their charges to work or suffer the consequences, the inmates who had seen their glimpse of rescue taken away from them were shattered, to have glimpsed such a thing, only to be denied it was almost as bad as the physical and mental tortures that they endured. However to be sent to this place meant that you were the worst of the worst, and so they deserved all that they got within the confines of their prison hell.
Not all of the guards of Tartarus were so easily dealt with as the demons who had heard Moira and seen how easily she had disposed of the guard. Two Cyclops, giants over twenty feet tall, noticed that something was happening and they began to stride towards Rob and the others, their footfalls booming out, and four more Cyclops were following behind them.
“Moira, I think that it is now time to go, we will soon be having some company, and of the gigantic type.” Rob said.
Moira glanced across to the Cyclops and thought that maybe she had brought too much attention on them; she reckoned that she could deal with one or two Cyclops, but six might be beyond even her powers, without help, and she did not want to lose face before Rob.
“No problem Rob, in any case we need to get off the surface of this hell hole and enter into its subterranean depths, that is where we shall find my father and we should be able to dodge them down there.” Moira replied and moved towards a massive black cave within a large up-thrust of lava, somehow the two men had not it noticed until then, other things seeming to be of a greater importance, namely their lives.
The mouth of the cave was the only way down in this section of Hell, it led down to the many different levels of torture that Hell had to offer the major sinner, and depending on the amount of evil the tortured soul had committed when alive, the deeper down they were. Within the cave they saw that steps had been carved into the black lava, and it was down these that Moira led them, down into the subterranean depths of hell, one that opened up before them the deeper they travelled. Unfortunately for them, the way was so massive that the Cyclops would be able to follow after them.
The dull red light that lit the way throughout Tartarus grew even dimmer the further down they went, finally they reached the first of the sub levels of Tartarus. Thankfully, Moira did not take them further down into Hell; instead she led them through a labyrinth of lava tunnels on this level, the red flickering light of burning sulphur and tar guiding her way forward.
“Moira, please tell me that you know where we are going, that we are not lost within this dark labyrinth?” Rob demanded to know as the heat of this hell hole began to wear away his strength. “The last time that you dragged into this hell hole you were able to get us very close to our destination, why not this time?”
Moira looked at Rob with contempt as she spat out her reply.
“Of course I know where we are going, I am not a fool, long before I dragged you screaming into this quest I was busy asking questions of the demon kind, finally I found one who could give me the information I required. He did so willing, he believed that I had stopped a particular nasty demon from taking him apart, piece by piece, of course he never knew that it was me who had paid the demon to attack him in the first place.”
Moira dismissed the later part of Rob`s question, something that Rob and Father Pritchard both noticed, the truth was she was a little alarmed that the Key had not taken them closer to their destination this time, she just hoped that she was not due to be disappointed. As they hurried along the tunnel they heard screams coming from up ahead and almost immediately they entered a small cavern, within it they saw a number of black souls, they were all standing within large cooking pots which were boiling away. However each time they attempted to climb out they were forced down beneath the boiling water by what looked to Rob like a two legged lizard, its front legs being arms. Knowing better than to intervene they moved through the cavern and back into the tunnel. They were to see many other such sights, but all with a different form of torture, or simply a subtle twist as they hurried along this sub level of Tartarus.
Stopping for a moment to rest, for the heat was sapping the strength of Rob and Father Pritchard, Moira asked a question of Father Pritchard.
“Tell me popist, whose idea was it to punish evil doers for eternity, was it your god?” Moira wondered. “Does he get his kicks watching the souls of the dead being tortured in every conceivable way for eternity?
“No, I imagine that it is your dark lord Lucifer and his minions that decided on this form of punishment, probably because your sort enjoy making others suffer, especially those who cannot complain or resist.” Father Pritchard replied scornfully.
“Then why does your god not stop it, surely there must be a more human way to punish those who go against the teachings of your god?” Moira asked, enjoying her attempted demolition of God.
Father Pritchard was about to say that God moves in mysterious ways, but thought better of it as Moira would have laughed herself sick at such a cop out.
“God might be wanting to see if the torturers begin to feel guilty, and reduce the intensity of the torture, in this way they themselves might be thought as suitable candidates for some place better.” Father Pritchard replied.
Moira`s answer was burst into laughter and it was now that Moira called an end to the rest stop and they moved off and finally entered a much larger cavern, it was here that Rob stumbled and fell against the stone wall of the tunnel. Rob yelled in pain, for the sides of the tunnel were extremely hot, looking at his hand Rob could see in the dim red light that he had burnt it, thankfully not too bad as he had immediately pulled his hand away. Father Pritchard immediately came across, and after inspecting Rob`s hand he opened up his first aid kit that he always brought along on trips that could end up being dangerous and applied a soothing balm to it and then he bandaged it up while Moira looked on slightly bored.
“Careful Rob, the heat that fills Tartarus sometimes surfaces where you least expect it.” Moira sneered.
The way ahead of them opened up into a massive cavern, and they found themselves standing at the edge of Hell`s dark abyss, its very heart, if Hell can ever be said to possess such a thing. It was a massive lake that was filled only with blackness; light did not exist within it. It was here that the evil souls who had risen up against Lord Lucifer, while serving their sentences in hell, were punished, they are thrown into this bottomless hole and endured endless pain, even more terrible than anything that they had suffered before.
As the three of them walked slowly around its circumference they could literally feel the evil rising out of the abyss, and it began to make Rob and Father Pritchard feel rather ill, and weaker than ever, for the abyss seemed to be actually consuming their energy.
“Say the Lord`s prayer Rob, it is our only hope to live through this ordeal.” Father Pritchard advised his friend while he moved them further away from the abyss.
When they did so their health definitely improved, however Moira seemed just a little distressed as they boomed out each word of the prayer.
It was at this point in their search for Ulysses Bourbon that six Cyclops appeared from out of a side tunnel, and as Moira turned to retrace her steps, she saw coming towards them a giant figure of a man, red in colour including his eyes which shone brilliantly at them. He was striding quickly towards them; however there was no way to escape from him, hemmed in on one side by the walls of the massive cavern and on the other by the equally massive abyss. Rob gasped, for the giant had a tale, two horns upon his head and he was quite naked, it was Lord Lucifer the supreme ruler of Hell. Father Pritchard sank down to the hard ground, fear almost paralysing his muscles, however he retained his brave heart and prayed to god to save their souls.
Rob had grabbed for his silver cross before he turned to Moira. “Moira can we fight against that demon?” Rob asked but knowing the answer to his question.
“That demon my handsome Rob is the great Lord Lucifer himself.” Moira spat out venomously. “I brought you along for one reason, to get us in and out safely, no matter what dangers we encountered, so do your job.” Moira demanded angrily.
What Moira left unsaid was that she had a plan B that encompassed being caught by Lord Lucifer, and the circumstances she found herself in now put this new plan into operation, for she fully realised that she was in danger of being thrown into the abyss. Therefore, Moira approached Lord Lucifer, the supreme ruler of Hell.
“My Lord, please tell me where my father is being held within your domain so that I might free him You must be aware that my father, the Satanist Ulysses Bourbon, is still your greatest follower, except for me that is, why do you treat him and his daughter so wickedly?”
“Moira, your father failed me, even with all of the power that I gave him he still failed to defeat the mortal who you have brought into my kingdom, and failure demands that he pay the ultimate price.” Lucifer replied coldly, evil fairly dripping off his tongue.
It was now that Rob and Father Pritchard found themselves paralysed by a force that they both recognised, for Moira had held them in this fashion when they had attempted to steal up on her in the grounds of her family chateau in France, when they had made their first attempt at killing her.
“I have not entered your domain empty handed my Lord, as you say I have brought with me the champion of God, and the popist who aids him, these I give to you as a gift.” Moira said in her sweetest of voices. “All I want in exchange is my father, then I will leave your kingdom and return to the fortress of Lord Asbaritch where you have enjoyed fabulous dinners and powerful drinks that I have always prepared especially for you.”
Rob and Father Pritchard were not surprised by Moira`s betrayal of them, however it now meant that they were both free to act against her, their solemn oath to help her no longer held, something she could have done with, for Lucifer was not impressed by her argument.
“You too have failed me Moira, even with all of the power that you stole, even after you killed a goddess and acquiring her powers, still you failed me by allowing this mortal to kill you.” Lucifer said angrily. “Now you have delivered yourself into my realm you must also pay the price of failure.” He said with a gleam in his red eyes telling how he was looking forward to seeing her scream out for mercy.
“Aid me my Lord, give me my father and some of your most terrible demons and I will take on the Christian god and defeat him, then you will be supreme ruler of all creation.” Moira declared boldly.
“I believe that if anyone could do such a thing then it would be you Moira, but to openly go against God would be foolhardy, the consequences of which could even see me hurled into the abyss, his forces are far too strong to bet against, I am sorry Moira but you are too dangerous to my wellbeing, and this is another reason why you must be put down.”
Moira looked at Lucifer with utter contempt, for she saw that he too was house trained by the Christian god. She let out a loud scream of anger and launched herself at Lucifer, landing on his upper body and staring right into his blazing red eyes; she then grabbed his head and actually began to drain him of his powers.
While Lucifer screamed out in pain and attempted to dislodge the angry Satanist, Rob found that he could move his hand to his squirt gun and aim it at the back of Moira who was gaining massive amounts of energy with each passing second. Rob pressed the trigger and sent a jet of holy water Moira who screamed out in pain and dropped from the body of Lucifer. She turned to face her attacker, but this only brought her face and body under the attack of two jets of holy water, for both Rob and Father Pritchard were no longer under her control.
Lord Lucifer, who was no longer being subjected to such a painful attack, picked up Moira`s light body and held it for a second above his head before he hurled her into the black abyss. Then he sank exhaustedly to his knees and waited until he regained control of his senses, having forgotten about Rob and Father Pritchard because of the pain he was in and his utter feeling of exhaustion. He was only interested now in recovering his strength that Moira had stolen and he knew just where he could do that, in the world of the mortals, a town was currently being held by a particularly evil group of men, who as always were fighting, so they said, in the name of their god. They did this by torturing, raping and killing any whose beliefs were only slightly different to their own and even their own could be killed if they wavered for even an instant from their holy war. Lucifer would join them and the evil committed there would rejuvenate his weakened state.
Even as Moira was hurling towards the black abyss the Key of Tartarus had appeared on the ground of Rob`s feet, he was completely stunned, but knowing that speed was of the essence he did not stand and look at it, no he picked it up and held it aloft, his head was spinning though.
“Tartarus, I hold your eternal Key and with it in my possession I beseech you to create a portal in the eternal walls of this your kingdom and let us walk through it back to the world of mortals, to England.” Rob cried out trying to sound as confident as Moira always did when she used the Key.
In the wall of the cavern a pair of wooden doors appeared, ones that seemed very familiar to Rob and Father Pritchard, opening them they hurried through them, they were followed by the screams that came from Moira`s dark soul as Moira`s body hit the black surface of the abyss.
“This is the old ruined church near to Parkston manor house, it was from here that Moira took us through to Tartarus the first time, the Key must have remembered it and brought us here.” Father Pritchard cried out in surprise.
Rob was only half listening to his friend, for he had more pressing work to attend to, he held the Key aloft and called out in loud words. “Oh powerful Tartarus close this portal now to prevent your prisoners from escaping and terrorising the people of Earth.” Rob said trying once again to sound as Moira Bourbon would have, had she been there.
Father Pritchard looked at Rob and asked a question that had been puzzling him. “Rob, how did the Key appear at your feet, it certainly was not because Moira was dead, she was still hurtling through the air towards the abyss?”
“Maybe time is altered the nearer to the abyss you get, frankly David I do not know, I can only accept what happened as a gift from god.” Rob replied.
They found that as before, the doors that will let them out into the English countryside were locked, but Rob soon picked the lock and they left the cold church and walked over to the nearby road just as a bus appeared, it appeared that things were finally going their way. The driver and his passengers took a good look at them, for they looked just how they felt, totally exhausted by their terrible ordeal. Sinking into two empty seats they both fell asleep, only awakening when the bus reached Nottingham. Only now did Rob contact Christina to tell her that he and their friend were both safe and that he would return to her as soon as possible. Then he contacted Sir Willoughby Brown and told him the same thing.
“My god, Rob, you have been missing for almost a week, please do not tell me that Moira Bourbon took you to more hell dimensions.
“Just the one Sir Richard, and as far as we are concerned we were only away from the office for two days. This time we were near to something called the black abyss of Hell, and because of something that happened back there we think that time moves at a faster rate the closer an object is to it.” Rob replied.
“It sounds very strange Rob, but then so have many other things that have happened to you. I will have a car waiting for you at King`s Cross station, you can tell me of your adventures over a stiff drink.” Sir Willoughby Brown ordered.
They caught the London train at Nottingham and a car was indeed waiting for them at King`s Cross station, it whisked them back to the SIS headquarters and Sir Willoughby Brown. When he heard that his safe was full of satanic copies he complained to Father Pritchard for not warning him to have dimensional locks installed. They all laughed at this and it was only then that Rob handed the real Key of Tartarus back to Sir Willoughby Brown. Just a little while later a car whisked Rob and Father Pritchard back to Rob`s apartment in Reigate, where Father Pritchard was invited to stay for the holidays for it was Christmas Eve. Rob then told Christina and Cassie everything that had happened since the last time that he had seen them.
“You actually stood just feet away from Lucifer!” Cassie gasped out in shock looking from Rob to Father Pritchard.
“Yes Cassie and it was the most frightening thing that has ever happened to me.” Father Pritchard replied and Rob nodded his head in agreement.
“I really thought our end had come, however when Moira betrayed David and me and then leapt at Lucifer and began to steal his very essence away, I saw a chance to finally defeat her, mind you I was amazed when the Key of Tartarus appeared at my feet, I thought that we were fated to spend eternity there.” Rob said.
Christina though had something else on her mind. “Just tell me that Moira Bourbon is really dead this time Rob, please.” Christina begged after listening to their terrible tale.
When Rob hesitated, Father Pritchard interposed. “She must be dead Rob; we heard her dark soul cry out when Lucifer threw her into the black abyss.”
Had anyone remained near to where Moira had entered the black abyss, they would have been shocked to see first one hand and then a second hand appear from out of the blackness and grab hold of the rim of the small raised wall that encompassed the abyss. Then a head appeared followed by the body of a young woman, finally they would have seen her legs as she hauled herself out of the abyss and sank exhausted down against the wall, only the energy that she had stolen from Lucifer had given her the necessary strength to escape from the abyss. Her red hair and green eyes were jet black now, matching the colour of the abyss, the evil of the abyss being matched by that found within her heart and mind. Finally she stood up; she now knew where her father was, for she had snatched this information from Lord Lucifer while she had grappled with him. Having rested for but a moment she immediately walked off to find her father.
Hurrying by many terrible sights that now did not bother her, she finally came to the chamber where her father, amongst many others, was being punished for his past sins; however the greatest one according to Lucifer was the failure to win against the righteous. A large green demon torturer who resembled the devil of the cartoons was currently chief torturer there; he was standing next to a waterfall of cool clear water which cascaded down a high cliff to run away through a hole in the floor. The water passed the ever open mouth of Ulysses Bourbon by just one inch, but try as he may he could never quite reach it, the spikes on the chain around his neck cutting into his neck each time he strained forward. The thirst of her father would never be quenched by the water, however the demon was berating him for wasting the water, and when he was not talking the demon was poking her father with a sharp stiletto dagger that brought a cry of pain each time it entered her father`s dark soul.
Moira walked forward and put her hands on the demon`s head who immediately screamed out in pain as the Satanist drained his life-force from him.
“How do you like that devil man, I bet it is not quite so much fun when you are on the receiving end?” Moira said laughing when his body crumbled and fell to the floor in a dry sack of skin and bones.
A loud cackling sort of laughter came from her father as he had watched his torturer being killed, but when it was over and his torturer was no more he now became afraid, afraid that he too was about to meet this unpleasant end.
Seeing the fear upon the face of her father Moira frowned and gently placed her hands on her father`s head, but she was not feeding, she was looking deep into her father`s mind, what she found out was that her father was completely insane and that there was only one thing she could do for him. With tears streaming down her face she sucked all of his life-force from him and watched his dark soul die, and just as he was about to finally fade away his face cleared and he smiled at his daughter and then he was no more.
The pure grief that she felt after the death of her father turned her hair back to its normal colour, red and her eyes were now green, she was back to her normal self, a very dangerous woman who possessed a hell of a lot of satanic power. With nothing more to keep her in Tartarus, for Moira bore Lucifer no ill will and certainly did not want to fight him for his kingdom, it being a very unpleasant place, she returned first to her study within the Netherworld. She had no need of the Key of Tartarus now, for while she had been draining Lucifer of some of his life-force she had also connected to his mind, where she had learned many things, one of them was how to travel between dimensions without the need of a Key or a tame Satanist. She knew that some time she would have to make it up with Lord Lucifer, but after she had returned to the world of the mortals, for now she needed to sleep.
It was while she slept that Lord Asbaritch found her, and to say that he was absolutely amazed to find her still alive was the understatement of the universe, for Lucifer himself had told him of her death. He had taken the news without showing any emotion, but emotion he had felt when he had heard the terrible news, but he had suspected that Moira would meet her death if she did not stop her quest to find her father. Moira suddenly awoke, it was as if she could feel his eyes looking down upon her, and the first thing she saw was a tear of pure joy rolling down her lord`s surprised face.
“You are alive my love, but how, I was told by Lord Lucifer himself of your death?” Lord Asbaritch asked with so much joy covering his face.
“It takes a lot to kill me My Lord; you should know that better than most.” Moira replied with a smile.
“We should celebrate our good fortune; you for living through what must have been a terrible ordeal and I for getting you back when all hope had been extinguished.” Lord Asbaritch declared joyfully.
They did celebrate, for two whole days and nights, although the nights of the Netherworld were still lit by its sun and were almost as light as the days. Then when they were sated and completely exhausted they fell asleep.
The next morning Moira spent by herself, first at her ablutions and later in the Netherworld having fun with nightmares, however that evening when the sun dimmed just a trifle to denote the change in the day, Lord Asbaritch returned and he had news for her.
“Lord Lucifer knows that you are alive, he found out when your father`s torturer was found to be missing. One of your father`s neighbours, one who is a new inmate of Tartarus and so not insane yet, told Lucifer everything.” Lord Asbaritch said. “He has allowed you to live only as a favour to me, however he stressed that you will only be safe while you are within my domain, should you leave it then your life will be at risk, for Lucifer is still very angry with you for attacking him.”
Moira nodded her head and thanked her lord for keeping her alive, and for the next month she spent her time following her lord`s earlier instructions and nothing more. However, as the days went by she began to grow restless, to think of her future, for as the most powerful Satanist in the world she could do many things, such as travelling between dimensions without the need of a tame Satanist. It was then that she heard about the Circle of Circes, an ancient device of the Greek goddess Circe, and it was Lord Asbaritch who foolishly told her of it while they were whiling away a few hours after dining within the Netherworld. The device, he told her, cast a circle of light to a distance of one Greek plethron, about thirty one metres. Whoever passes through this silver circle of light activates a powerful spell which makes them slaves to the present owner of the device, and this is whether the victims stay within the circle or leaves it to accomplish a task set by the victim`s new master or mistress. On hearing of this device Moira laughed out loud, for what better way to revenge her father than to enslave Rob Hinds and all those who he cares for, and when she grew bored she would despatch him to Tartarus so that he could experience first-hand all that her father had endured.
“Where is this wondrous device My Lord, and who possesses it now?” Moira asked of her dark lord.
“I have no idea my love, it may not even exist anymore, Circe I suppose will either have it or at least know of its location, and the last time that I saw Circe was many thousands of years ago, it was around the time of the Trojan war, at least I think it was. She was on a small Greek island in the Ionian Sea, Paxos I believe it is called. She spent most of her time in and around a cave for some reason, but then she always was a little weird, but then all of the witches that I have known have all been weird, even the powerful ones like Circe who is also a goddess.” Lord Asbaritch replied lazily.
Moira smiled, for she too could be termed a witch, but then she thought, maybe I too am a little weird, for I am having an affair with a powerful demon and have chosen to anger Lucifer, the most dangerous demon of them all.
It was not until late in the morning of the next Netherworld day that Moira thought again of the Circe device and whether she could discover its location. With this in mind she forgot the advice of her dark lord and travelled away from the Netherworld to her family chateau in France. The staff at the chateau knew nothing of her death and had kept the chateau clean and ready for when she or her father returned, their wages being paid by a local solicitor. She went there to look through the part of her father`s library that the SIS had not confiscated, and using her powers she soon found a book that contained a mention of Circe and told her what potion to use to call to her.
Moira now went down to her secret satanic temple in the cellar of the chateau, and the first thing that she did was to turn on the large air conditioning device to warm up the cellar and the temple. Then she drove to the family crypt, as always it felt cold and damp, stopping by her father`s coffin she spoke.
“Father, I know that you probably cannot hear me, for I destroyed your soul to save you any more torment, but if you can then hear this, I promise to avenge you father. Rob Hinds will wish that he had never tangled with our family by the time that I have done with him and his family.”
Moira now returned to the chateau and her satanic temple, for she wanted to speak to the goddess Circe, assuming that is, that she would appear to someone who had killed another goddess, one named Hekate, after returning from Tartarus the first time when she had stolen the golden Ark of Baʿal Berith from the old Greek gods.
After consulting the book that she had found, the one that mentioned Circe, she gathered all of the items that she required to make the potion that she would need to summon the goddess; luckily, she had all of the items in her laboratory. Then she mixed them together in a large glass bowl, when they were ready she set alight to them. A red smoke began to rise from the bowl and Moira now called out to Circe.
“Wondrous Goddess, mighty witch, I call to you across the dimensions of space, appear to me, Moira Bourbon, the most powerful Satanist of all time and consort to the Dark Lord Asbaritch, ruler of the Netherworld, I beseech you to aid me in my quest for revenge against our common enemy.”
Nothing appeared to happen within the satanic temple, although Moira did notice a small drop in the temperature. Then after patiently waiting for two minutes to see if Circe would appear before her, she was finally rewarded when a plume of purple smoke began to form in the middle of the temple, then within the plume the form of a woman appeared and Circe finally emerged from the smoke to greet the young Satanist.
“I have heard must talk about you Satanist, of your travels, your daring and your deeds. I am glad to see that you do not have the golden Ark of Baʿal Berith with you this time, for I would not have appeared before you had you the temerity to have it near to hand. Tell me, what can I, Circe, do for so powerful a Satanist as you?”
“Wondrous goddess, I need the Circle of Circe so that I can commit the most perfect act of revenge on the mortal who makes war on witches and gods and who killed my father.” Moira replied.
“I heard that it was you yourself who finally killed your father, when you were last in Tartarus.” Circe replied tartly.
“His mind was gone, it was an act of mercy not murder that I committed, but it was the mortal Rob Hinds who killed his mortal body.” Moira declared angrily.
“Then you shall have my Circle, Moira, but only because of your brave act of compassion towards your father, not for any other reason.” Circe replied. “However, first you must build a temple to me, and then lay offerings on the altar, only then will I tell you where to find the Circle of Circe.”
With that Circe vanished, no terrible smell had accompanied her, no massive temperature drop, Moira was suitably impressed, she would have to see if she could replicate these feats.
Although she was impressed by certain aspects regarding Circe, Moira was also a little pissed off, for she knew why Circe had asked her to have a temple built, it was to rub her nose in the fact that while Circe was a god, she, the most powerful Satanist in the world was only a lowly demon born out of a human. However, Moira knew that she had no option but to obey, if she was to have a chance of getting her hands on the device. The next morning she had the local builder come by, a man who did not dawdle for although France was a republic, the owners of the chateau had always been held in high regard by the locals. Telling him of her desire for a Greek classical temple and stressing the need for haste, adding that there would be a bonus for a quick job, the builder agreed to start the contract at the beginning of the following week by which time all the necessary marble and other building material would have been delivered to the estate. With the material delivered to her chosen site within the estate, an incline looking over the lake, the builders duly arrived to start, and soon the temple was ready for use, Moira having purchased a statue of the Greek goddess Aphrodite from a local garden centre, but then a statue of one goddess looked much like another Moira mused.
The next morning Moira purchased bread, fruit and wine and set them upon the marble altar at the rear of the temple, the statue on a marble plinth being set behind it. As the sun reached its highest point in the sky Moira began the ceremony.
“Hear me wondrous goddess Circe, I have done all that you asked of me, I have set offerings upon your altar and will do so each month, please bestow upon me your favour so that I might win against those who are my enemies.”
A purple plume of smoke began to form to one side of the statue and Moira knelt down before it as a supplicant, finally Circe was standing before her and looking down upon her.
“You have done well Moira Bourbon, you have done all that I asked of you, and as a favour I now make you my priestess, look after my temple, make offerings to me to show your devotion and in time I might give you the thing that you most desire, my Circle of Circe.” Circe said graciously.
“Thank you my goddess.” Moira said between gritted teeth. “However, could you not show me your great favour now by giving me your wondrous device?”
“No, demon, you must first win such a gift from your goddess by showing your devotion.” Circe replied angrily.
“Well if that is how it is.” Moira said lightly.
She then pointed her right index finger at the ground beneath Circe and said. “Ignite.”
Circe realised that she was in danger just a second too late for she was held tightly in an energy field that flared up around her even as she attempted to attack Moira. Moira walked out of the temple, but she returned seconds later carrying the golden Ark of Baʿal Berith, she placed it on the altar and aimed it directly at Circe.
“It is no use attempting to struggle Circe, you are not going anywhere until the potion that I buried in front of the statue is fully incinerated. Now why do you not tell me where your device is, for otherwise I will open the lid of the Ark and you will then become my dinner, got it, goddess?” Moira said grimly. “Now I am going to allow you to speak, but if you try to say anything other than the location of your device I will introduce you to my own device.” Moira said patting the lid of the golden Ark of Baʿal Berith.
“Speak, Circe or die.” Moira ordered as she gripped both sides of the lid of her Ark.
While Moira spoke Circe had no option but to listen, however she might not have been able to move so much as an eyelid, but she could think, and she did not think that she would be able to say anything that could disable Moira Bourbon, not without certain preparations and certainly not before Moira raised the lid of the Ark.
“The device is beneath the floor of my temple in the city of Troy.” Circe replied feeling extremely humiliated at being treated so discourteously by a mere demon.
Having obtained the information that she needed Moira quickly said. “Stop speaking Circe.”
Circe was once again unable to hurt Moira using whatever powers that the goddess possessed.
“Circe, I would have been quite content to lay offerings at the feet of your statue, but now that is impossible. We both know that the moment that I release you, you will attack me, sooner or later you will kill me, so I am compelled to act first, sorry.” Moira said lightly.
With that, Moira opened the lid of her Ark, and the last thing that the goddess felt was this tremendous pain all over her body, then she was sucked into the Ark, and then the lid slammed firmly shut. The beautiful young Satanists laughed so much she almost collapsed onto the floor, but finally she regained her composure, and she looked at the Ark in awe. She touched the two sides of the Ark, and this time the power that shot up her arms and into her body was so much that she almost fainted. She did sink to her knees, her eyes closed in ecstasy, and on her face a look of a woman who had experienced the most terrific orgasm in her entire existence. It took her a full minute to regain control of her mind and her body, she then opened her eyes and smiled, never had she looked so beautiful for a glow emanated from her face, and her eyes sparkled with such energy.
“Oh my but that was one bloody good trip.” Moira cried out in pleasure. “I must find another god to introduce to my toy, and soon, but for now I am off to Troy.”
Luckily for Moira she did not need to travel by air, she was a demon with the ability to move across the Earth at will, she simply willed herself to be in the temple of Circe within the ancient city of Troy and she appeared there. Unfortunately, the temple of Circe in the ancient city of Troy only existed in the long distant past, something that Circe knew and she had set a trap for anyone who attempted to steal her device, and Moira now sprung it. As Moira materialised at Troy, and at the exact spot that the temple had existed long ago, she saw the present day Troy appear all around her but then immediately disappear, for the energy that accompanies such materialisations triggered a long hidden spell. Moira`s eyes flew wide open in surprise when she reappeared in Troy, however she was not in the temple of Circe, she was standing in the main street of the ancient city, which was in flames and screams filled the air, for as well as travelling through space, she had also travelled back into the past. The next thing that she saw was a dozen Greek soldiers bearing down upon her and they were led by a giant of a man. Moira immediately attempted to transport herself to somewhere safe, but nothing happened, her powers did not seem to work here and the soldiers were almost upon her. Moira then tried to push them away using her satanic powers, but this also failed to work, was she simply a mortal now, she thought as the forgotten emotion of fear filled her mind?
“Cassandra do not move you are my prisoner.” The giant ordered Moira, who immediately bolted inside of a nearby temple leaving an angry Greek hero fuming outside.
Moira found herself standing within the temple of Athena, and the story of the fall of Troy came flooding back to her, especially the part where Cassandra, princess of Troy, had been raped by the Greek hero Ajax, even though she should have been safe, being within the temple of Athena. Moira did not wait there, it might have been fun to be taken by Ajax, had she still retained all of her powers, but as a mortal she knew that fun would be the last thing that it would be, more like hell. She did not stop at the foot of the statue of Athena, as the real Cassandra had done, no she carried on running through to the rear of the temple where she found the entrance used by the priestesses, she ran through the open doorway but then she stopped, even though she could hear the feet of the pursuing Greek soldiers. She had seen a broken piece of marble at her feet, wedge shaped and ready for use, she closed the door and then she bent down and jammed the wedge under the door. It was now that Ajax tried to open the door, and she turned and ran for her life through the narrow alleyways of Troy, looking for somewhere to hide away.
Moira literally ran into an old woman, knocking her to the floor, but Moira did not apologise, no she dragged the shaken woman to her feet and questioned her.
“Tell me old crone, where is the temple of Circe?” Moira demanded to know.
“She will not help you Cassandra, none of the gods will, now let go of me so that I can flee the Greeks.” The old woman replied contemptuously.
“Old crone either show me the way to the temple or I swear that I will kill you where you stand.” An angry Moira Bourbon threatened the old woman who now realised that this was not the Cassandra that she knew, no this was a very pissed off one.
Realising her immediate danger the old woman led Moira down a dark narrow alley, and there at the end of it stood a small temple, one much smaller than that of Athena.
“Here you are Cassandra, this is the temple of Circe, but why you needed me to bring you here when you visit the temple each week I do not know.” The old woman replied and made to leave.
Moira though was not about to let her go, instead she grabbed her arm and pulled her into the small temple, and once inside she recognised the marble statue, for it was of Circe, unlike the one that she had purchased for the temple on her French estate. She then turned to the old woman.
“You can stay here, for if the Greeks capture you I know that you will betray your princess.” Moira ordered.
It was only now that Moira wondered how she could speak and understand both Trojan and Greek, but whatever the reason it sure made things a lot easier.
“Sit down over there while I think.” Moira ordered the old woman who obeyed with a scowl while muttering something that Moira was sure sounded like an obscene suggestion.
Moira now sat against the altar and began to ponder her situation. On the good side Lord Lucifer would never find her back in the long distant past. On the bad side she appeared to have lost all of her powers and was sitting in a burning city while the Greek soldiers raped and pillaged all around her, so what did it matter that Lucifer could no longer find her. At least this small temple was off the main street and might allow her the time to find a way to evade her pursuers and maybe come up with an answer to her main problem, namely getting back to her own time.
After a few minutes pondering on her problems, she realised that the sounds of battle had begun to grow louder, as did the screams of the citizens of Troy. Fearing capture Moira stood up and walked over to the doors, and using two large splinters of wood that lay near to it she jammed them beneath the doors to hold back any searchers that found her hiding place. She then looked across at the old woman to ensure that she was not about to try to leave the temple, the old woman looked back at her, but nervously, obviously wondering why the princess was behaving so strangely.
As she stood there looking down at the woman Moira had a eureka moment, for a thought jumped into her mind, she knew just what had happened to her, an ancient spell had brought her into the past, and if so then she should be able to reverse its actions, if she could find its heart, the part that she had triggered when she had materialised in Troy. Moira now began to search the small temple, looking for the vessel that held the spell, one that had lain hidden for millennia and had still worked when she had materialised at Troy. She started her search at the Altar, then the niches in the wall that held candles and the such-like, but then she stopped, no they would have been consumed when the fire reached the temple, the vessel must lie beneath her feet, or better still in the lower courses of stone blocks that made up the temple walls.
She started at the wall behind the altar and slowly moved around the wall, her fingers getting sore as she felt and probed for a loose block of stone, but she was no closer to finding it by the time that she had finished the entire circuit of the temple. Moira sank down exhausted, her thighs and back aching from all of the bending and squatting; she looked at the old woman and could have sworn that she saw a hastily concealed smirk upon her face. However, Moira ignored her, she had a much more important task to complete, and time was short for the roof of the temple had begun to smoke, something the old now noticed and began to complain about, and although Moira could not believe her ears she heard herself tell the old woman to leave, to try to get away from the barbarians who might already be at the door. The old woman got up and rushed for the doors, however as she opened one of them she turned to Moira.
“Look at the pictures carved upon the front of the altar; I believe it may be what you are searching for my princess.”
With that the old woman rushed out into the narrow lane and disappeared into the night. Moira first reclosed the open door and once again jammed the large splinter of wood beneath it before she returned to the altar, to look closely at the carvings which showed various animals cavorting together. Running her sore fingers over the carving she was finally rewarded with a soft click and a large secret draw was revealed. Pulling it out she found that it contained a clay jug with a lid that would not come off, no matter how hard she tried to pry it loose. Moira looked at the jug and saw that there was a picture painted upon it, and as she turned the jug to look at the whole of the picture she could hear the sound of a liquid sloshing about, obviously a potion and one that was only necessary when the spell had first been set. Therefore, the potion in the jug was of secondary importance, surely what was painted upon the outside of the jug was of the prime importance?
What Moira saw painted upon the jug was not a picture of some animal or geometrical design but Egyptian hieroglyphs that covered it completely, which was unusual, and to her surprise she found that she could read them and this she thought was the strangest thing of all. What was written upon the jug was the spell that had sent her back in time, and by pouring some of the potion out into an oil lamp and lighting it while reciting the spell, having amended it to send her forward in time, would get her out of this burning city, but first she had to find the Circle of Circe. She closed her eyes and emptied her mind of everything happening outside of the temple, searching for a sign of the Circle of Circe, and finally she felt it, and in doing so she followed the trail left by it to finally stop in the dead centre of the temple. Had she retained her powers she could have sent her mind down through the stone slabs under her feet to the Circle of Circe and then she called for it, but that would have to wait until she returned to her own time.
From outside of the temple the sounds of battle finally sounded very close, and it was now that she heard soldiers banging against the doors. Moira lit the potion using a piece of the roof that had fallen to the floor, one that had flames licking out at the Satanist. Then she recited the spell aloud and as she came to the end of it the noise of battle outside slowly died away, and even as Moira realised this the walls and roof of the temple faded away. She found herself standing in modern Troy, the grand buildings were no more, now only the foundations of their walls were left.
There was one other thing that she noticed, her powers had returned, for she could feeling them coursing through her body almost as if they had missed her. Moira now searched the ground beneath her feet using just her mind until she found the Circle of Circe, then she felt a vibration that grew until Moira thought that an earthquake was about to start, and she was happy when she realised that it was not an earthquake, for rising out of the ground was a bronze chest two feet square in size and decorated with Greek figures. Moving over to the chest checked over every square inch of it looking for information. On the front a circle of light was shown with Circe in its middle touching a device and all around her were supplicants, this picture was also shown on the other three sides and upon the lid, however on the bottom was a picture of just the device and on the side of the device there was a small circle painted there with an even smaller circle at its centre. Moira now took a chance that she would not be killed when she lifted the lid, and lifting it she saw within the chest a strange device, she smiled for she realised that far from destroying her, Circe had only ended up giving her the device of Circe, also known as the circle of Circe.
The next morning Moira was awakening from her sleep, she was in her own bed within her chateau in France, she stretched and then yawned and slipped out of bed and headed for her bathroom, however as she got there she felt terribly sick and dashed for the toilet where she brought up her supper of the night before.
“Time travel cannot suit me.” Moira groaned when she had finally finished being sick, she then showered and after her light breakfast she went down to her temple beneath the chateau, before was her new device, the Circle of Circe, and she knew that this time Rob Hinds would not be able to defeat her, she would finally have her revenge on him, on the Ryman family and on the popist.
Moira had decided that she would set the device up in Rob`s apartment during the day, at a time when they were all away at college or work, then as they returned to their home they would become her slave, able to think and feel, but unable to do anything that was against Moira`s wishes.
However, before she was able to put her plan into operation Lucifer travelled down to the chateau to speak to her and he managed to catch her unawares while she was readying herself for her trip.
“Moira my child, once more you defy me, once more I have had to watch as one of my ablest men, Lord Asbaritch comes to me begging me to be lenient with you, well this is the last time that I will listen to him, Moira I have come to give you an ultimatum.” Lucifer growled at his most able Satanist.
“Many of my subjects want to see you thrown back into the abyss, with weights about your feet so as to insure that you do not escape from it this time. However, I will forget your vicious attack upon me, but you in turn must do something to prove that you are indeed worthy of my generosity. You must kill the mortals Rob Hinds and Father Pritchard, and then turn the two sisters into my hand maidens.” Lucifer demanded of Moira. “However, there is a time limit on my generous offer, you only have one week to accomplish these tasks, if by then you have failed to accomplish every one of the tasks then you will have to return to the Netherworld and remain there, for if you are seen away from there you will be taken to Tartarus to dwell there for eternity, as an inmate, do you understand Satanist?”
“I fully understand your warning and I thank you my Lord, for your most generous offer and I gladly accept it, for I already have a plan in mind, one that I was about to put into operation before you called on me.” Moira replied.
Lord Lucifer looked at the beautiful young Satanist come demon and smiled. “I have always thought kindly of you Moira, except for the incident in Tartarus when you attacked me, so I do hope that you are successful in the tasks that I have set you, for otherwise I might just take care of your punishment myself, to install in you a little respect for your betters.”
With that Lucifer returned to his palace in Hell and watched the young Satanist begin her acts of revenge against those who had killed too many of his evil subjects.
Moira wondered for a moment if it might not be better to return to the Netherworld and to remain there, but only for a moment, for her entire being burned with the desire to revenge her father and herself against Rob Hinds and the others and this desire enveloped her body in a blaze of red light that would have warned any passing demon to stay clear of her.
Cassie was walking towards her next lecture, one that she was looking forward to when it hit her, everything in front of her turned a bright red and right in the centre of this light she saw Moira Bourbon laughing. The intensity of it all drained Cassie of her strength; she sank to the floor as she now saw her sister, Christina, being tortured by Moira. To one side of this very real picture from Hell, Cassie could see her brother in law Rob Hinds, but he seemed powerless to intervene, in fact he was helping Moira, and it was not happening in Hell it was all happening in their home! This time she really was having a vision of the future, one that she had to ensure did not happen.
Cassie struggled to her feet, luckily none of the other students had been in this part of the university so she did not need to find an explanation to satisfy anyone, she pulled out her mobile phone and called Rob, who answered almost immediately and he sounded so happy at that moment that tears began to run down Cassie`s face as she began to speak.
“Rob, why did you tell us that that mad bitch was dead, she is alive and coming after us.” Cassie wailed.
“She is dead Cassie, David and I both heard her scream, we saw her thrown into the black abyss, of course she is dead.” Rob replied and his state of happiness sank to zero because of what he had heard from Cassie.
“Well she is back again Rob and twice as powerful.” Cassie wailed.
“OK, Cassie go home, we can talk there. Have you called Christina?” Rob asked.
“We cannot go home Rob, she is at your apartment, I saw her in my mind torturing Christina and you were helping her.” Cassie replied.
Rob`s good humour had sank beneath the lower levels of the building, especially now that he began to believe Cassie.
“Are you saying that you really have had a premonition?” Rob asked incredulously.
“Premonition, vision, call it what you want but yes Rob and this one was the real deal, it drained me of my strength, it was all I could do to phone you.” Cassie gasped.
“Come to my office now, do not stop for anything, I will call Christina and tell her to join us.” Rob said and then he called his wife and told her everything that Cassie had told him.
She took the news badly, almost accusing Rob of misleading her, but finally she agreed to join him and she sounded even more drained than Rob. All that remained for Rob to do was to call Father Pritchard.
Father Pritchard argued.
“Maybe we should have hung around, then we would have seen the mad bitch climb back out, David she had just drained Lucifer himself of much of his life-force, I should have known better.” Rob replied accusingly but not of his friend only himself.
“OK, Rob I am on my way to your office, lucky for us I never took any of our protections out of the car, I had just decided to do so tomorrow morning, before I went shopping, see you in a couple of hours or so.” Father Pritchard said also sounding very glum, as if the weight of the world was upon him.
When Rob told Sir Willoughby Brown of Cassie`s premonition, the man in charge of the SIS was unable to say anything for at least ten seconds, then he asked a question.
“You are sure Rob, that this premonitions is genuine, not just a young girl seeking attention?” Sir Willoughby Brown asked more in hope than anything else.
“Cassie would never do such a thing, she knows better than that Sir Richard; when she says that she has had a premonition then I believe her.” Rob replied.
“Will Moira come looking for you when you do not return home?” Sir Willoughby Brown asked.
“Yes and she will probably find us using black magic and any number of demons to search for us.” Rob replied,
“Then I will call in the troops, have them wait in the corridor for her to arrive and take her out.” Sir Willoughby Brown said grimly.
“Better not Sir Richard, she will see them before they see her and she will either kill them or make them her allies, her abilities were awesome enough the last time that we saw her, who knows how much they have grown by now.” Rob replied.
“OK then Rob, what are you going to do this time, it had better be good, you have killed that woman, or seen her killed, at least three times already and each time she comes back stronger?” Sir Willoughby Brown asked wearily.
“First we will have to protect this office using the method that Father Pritchard found in one of Ulysses Bourbon`s books, it should at least keep out any minor demons, the ones that we believe Moira has used against us in the past, then we will have to construct a large enough pentagram to protect us all against any of the more senior demons that Moira might well be able to send against us now that she has become more powerful than ever.” Rob said.
Rob first locked all of the doors and the windows of the office and only then did he begin to protect the office from a demonic attack, the system was the same that he had used in his apartment. He walked around the office, including the small kitchenette and the toilets while praying and spraying a mist of holy water upon the outside walls, the ceiling and finally the floor. While he did this Christina and Cassie mixed up a number of mysterious ingredients that made a potion that burned much like an incense, one that gave off a sweet smelling odour. As they all went about their various tasks Sir Willoughby Brown looked on in disbelief, even if he knew that it was necessary for Rob and his family to do it.
The next item on their list was to construct a pentagram, again it was the same as they had used before, luckily he kept everything that was necessary in the boot of his car. First Rob drew a five-pointed star drawn upon the floor using chalk, he then enclosed it with a circle; finally covering the circle with blessed salt. Rob then drew the mystical signs at the apexes of the star, the signs denoting the five elements; four are of matter, fire, air, water and earth, the fifth element being spirit. He finished off the pentagram by placing five white candles at the apexes of the star and five goblets in the valleys of the star, which Christina filled with holy water
Father Pritchard now arrived at the office bringing extra supplies of the various protections that they had used before and as long as everyone obeyed orders all of these measures should keep them safe through the coming night.
When Moira had attempted to transport herself and the Circe of Circe into the Hinds` apartment she found that she was stopped by the simple protection spell that Rob had set the night before, and when it was added to all the other times that he had set it, its force was enough to stop Moira in her tracks. Knowing that it would deplete the precious energy that she had stolen from the goddess if she attempted to force her way through, she simply materialised outside of the Hinds` front door and using simple magic she unlocked the door, it only took her a moment to cancel the protection spell now that the door was open, thus enabling Moira to walk into the Hinds` apartment. Once inside she set up the device of Circe and then waited for her flies to walk into her trap. Unfortunately as the day turned into the evening and then the early morning of the next day she knew that something had gone wrong, and she that had wasted one whole precious day.
It had been a while since Sunray had seen Cassie, but he had been thinking about her a lot over the last twenty four hours, and he had decided to go to her apartment. When he got there he found that the protection spell that had been set up to keep the demons of hell away was down, so he entered the apartment as a puff of smoke and passed through the Circle of Circe, and so he was immediately enslaved by it.
“An Earth demon, how quaint.” Moira said. “What are you doing here?”
Sunray had not noticed the smell of hell within the apartment, for Moira had been using what she had learned from Circe to mask it whenever she travelled, learned when she had stolen her life-force, and her very being, using the golden Ark of Baʿal Berith.
It did not take Moira long to find out all that Sunray had done concerning the Hinds and she knew that she could use it to her advantage. Moira decided that she did not need the vampire any more, no but he would be a tasty little snack. First though she turned off her device, for it drew all of its power from her, something she had not realised when she had first activated it, of course Circe being a goddess had been able to accept this, and anyway she had used the device sparingly. Moira though had left it on while waiting for the arrival of the Hinds who had not returned home, and so she was being to tire. Something particular to wood demons allowed Sunray to shrug off his slavery, mainly because Moira no longer had enough energy left to prevent it and he turned into a puff of smoke and disappeared, running from Moira who decided to let him go, she knew that the demon would not stop running until he was far away from her.
Moira needed the use of her laboratory so she returned to the temple hidden beneath her chateau, here she would be able to find out where Rob and the others were hiding so that she could proceed with her plan. She needed a victim to assist in this so after depositing the device on the floor she left the chateau in search of one, she found one walking home after a night out celebrating, leaping on his back she drained enough of his life-force so that he could not resist her, for she did not want to use her powers as this would further deplete her energy. She then took him back to her temple, once there she rested his limp body against the wall and set about another task.
Moira walked quickly into her small laboratory and took out all of the necessary ingredients necessary to make the potion, she then put them into a deep glass tray and mixed them together, a yellow plume of smoke began to rise from the potion and finally she summoned the demon.
“Veigel come to me, I Moira Bourbon command you.”
Moments later a thin veil of smoke began to rise from the rear of the laboratory which quickly cooled, Veigel, a minor demon that she used on such occasions as this appeared within the veil of smoke, his stunted body bent and his face terribly misshapen looking every bit as a figure out of a fairy tale. Even though she herself was now part demon she still felt sick as the stench of the beast reached her, but as was her custom she did her best not to show any outward sign of it.
“Veigel, I need to find the human Rob Hinds, you have found him before for me, so it should not tax you this time, I suggest you start with his office in the city of London, I need to locate him urgently, the quicker you find him the more Rakiremanin you can have.”
“I obey oh great and most powerful Satanist.” Veigel replied while cringing away from Moira.
Veigel departed leaving behind the normal stench to show that a demon had been there, he quickly went to the SIS offices, for he had been there before, and went up towards Rob`s office, only to be stopped by another protection spell. Veigel laughed and returned to the temple where he told Moira what he had found.
“Thank you Veigel, you have done well, there is a flagon of your favourite tipple on the worktop, take it and be gone.” Moira commanded.
Veigel looked at the worktop and licked his lips in anticipation; however he did not take it and go.
“Mistress, I need paying for my services, and although I will accept the Rakiremanin as a generous gift, I also require the payment in the usual way.” Veigel said.
He did not cringe now, for he knew that Moira must pay him or suffer the consequences, ones that would stop her calling a demon to assist her ever again.
“I need my strength tonight Veigel, which is why I have given you the Rakiremanin, but I also realise that a demon of your calibre would not leave without your customary payment, but just this once would you take it from him, as a favour to me.” Moira asked and pointed towards the unconscious man. “He is quite fresh and full of blood, and you can drain him.”
Veigel looked over at the unconscious man and weighed up the amount of blood this victim would have against the quality of a Satanist`s blood, normally he would have insisted on the latter, but with the Rakiremanin thrown in he chose the former and rushed at the unconscious man and drained him of his blood. When he was finished he collected his Rakiremanin and departed, and Moira turned on the air conditioning unit to take away the stench of Hell.
Moira now transported herself and her device to the reception area of the SIS offices and set up the device there, as the normal staff arrived so she would acquire troops, troops that would drag her intended victims out of their protected room and into the circle of light cast by her device.
Inside Rob`s office Sir Willoughby Brown had turned a paler shade of white.
“Rob, I believe that we have a guest waiting outside in the hallway.” Sir Willoughby Brown said. “See here in the monitor, the small camera outside in the hallway has captured her nicely. Luckily for us Moira seems to know nothing about how small modern security cameras can be built.”
Rob moved across to the security monitor and saw an angry Moira Bourbon impatiently waiting for the sun to rise and the first members of staff to arrive, she was anxious to rid herself of Rob and Father Pritchard and in doing so finally revenge her father. Rob also saw the Circle of Circe beside her, and that the walls all around the Satanist were lit up by a faint light.
“It looks as if Moira has put on a little weight since the last time we met.” Rob criticised. “She also seems to have found another toy to play with.” Rob mused. “One she appears to be counting on to win the day, we shall have to be wary of it.”
Across from them Cassie had fallen asleep, exhausted by the stress of knowing that once again an insane Satanist was trying to kill her and all those whom she loves and cares about. However, her sleep was not a refreshing one, she was having a nightmare, one in which zombies were walking around killing anyone who their master had a grudge against. Suddenly her nightmare changed, she found herself standing in a white room, there was a man standing in front of her, he was speaking to her, and the man looked exactly like Sunray, except it was not the vampire, it was Moira, she had recharged her batteries using the remaining energy stored in the golden Ark of Baʿal Berith and had used it to punch a small hole through the protection spell within the SIS office.
“Cassie, my name is Sunray, you know me, Rob is only alive because I warned you twice of the danger he was in from the Satanist. Unfortunately I am dead now, Moira Bourbon killed me, however I have been allowed to speak to you Cassie, to warn you that Moira is coming after you, you must all get away from here for you are not safe, go to a church, you will be safe there.”
With that the figure of Sunray disappeared and Cassie sat up and wished that this would all end, for she was so scared. Christina saw the fear upon her sister`s face and went over to her.
“Cassie, are all right?” Christina asked anxiously before turning to her husband.
“Rob, I think that Cassie may have had another premonition.” Christina called across to him.
Cassie turned to Rob and related all that Sunray had told her in her vision; Sir Willoughby Brown had joined them to hear what Cassie had to say.
“As I just said Rob, it is very luckily for us that Moira seems to know nothing about how small modern cameras can be built, she obviously sent the vampire along to try to panic us into running, and straight into her arms.” Sir Willoughby Brown said grimly.
“You are quite right Sir Richard.” Rob replied and then he turned to Father Pritchard. “David, do you think that if we used enough guns against her that it would take her out, or at least give us enough time to decapitate her?” Rob asked of his friend; however it was Cassie who answered his question.
“Rob, if it was that easy then Moira would not be sitting out there waiting for us, and she would not send a vampire with a fake message in order to spook us out.” Cassie argued.
“Cassie may well be right Rob, if the abyss of hell cannot kill her how can we expect mere bullets to do the job.” Father Pritchard said gravely.
“Of course you are both correct; I was forgetting just who we were up against. It was then that Rob`s face lit up, I think that we can settle this for good, and he then told the others of his plan to get out of this without any loss of life.
“Are you mad Rob, you want us to go up against the most dangerous Satanist in the world with just a hope and a prayer?” Sir Willoughby Brown asked angrily. “Surely it would be better to go with your first plan, to go out there with all guns blazing, for god`s sake she is only one woman.”
“No, Sir Richard, that idea was way off line, she would freeze us in a moment, she has done it before to us, when you sent four of us to assassinate her.” Rob replied grimly. “No if we are to go up against her we will need more than a few automatic pistols to save us, we will need protection of the holy kind.”
“You know Rob, I think you just had your Damascus moment, I am game to try it if you are.” Father Pritchard said with a smile that finally chased away the frowns that had been on his face up until that moment.
“David, I have been to hell countless times, I have even seen Lucifer himself, and how could I not believe in the good guys?” Rob asked.
“If you think it will work Rob, then I will follow you.” Christina said to her husband although her face was full of the fear she felt at doing so dangerous a thing without any modern weapons to back them up.
“Rob, Sunray may have been sent to spook us out, but maybe we should attempt to escape from here rather than go up against Moira?” Cassie said anxiously. “And who knows, Sunray did save your life twice, maybe he is trying to help us again, I mean why would he try to endanger it now?” Cassie replied persuasively.
“The minions of hell all have their own agendas Cassie, even Lord Asbaritch is not sure which side his pulsating mass of matter is on. Look everyone, there is no way for us to get passed Moira, never mind us heading to a church with all the minions of hell chasing after us, and we certainly cannot wait here, she must have a plan and one that she will put into operation at any moment.” Rob said grimly.
“There is one more thing Cassie, how did Sunray punch a hole through our protection, it would take one powerful Satanist to do such a thing.” Father Pritchard argued.
Cassie had not thought of that and she sank down looking even more dejected than before and Father Pritchard`s reasoning caused the others to finally agree with Rob.
“OK, Rob, you have always come through before, so I guess that we should follow your instincts this time.” Sir Willoughby Brown said grimly. “But god help us all if you are wrong.”
“We are all agreed then, David if you will proceed with the first of our protections.” Rob said.
Father Pritchard then began to paint the sign of the cross on their foreheads using holy water as the paint and Christina`s make up brush. While he did so he said the same words to each of them. “May almighty God bless you and keep you safe.” To which they each replied. “Amen.”
He then put a string of garlic upon their heads. “Hopefully, this will keep her out of our brain.”
Then he gave each of them a small bottle of holy water, a glass Phial of mercury and a bottle of blessed salt, all of which they put in their pockets, they also had a cross which they hung around their necks. Finally he gave them each a five litre garden sprayer that was filled with holy water; Rob had purchased the sprayers from a small nearby flower shop as soon as Cassie had called him the previous day.
After they had filled the sprayers with water and Father Pritchard had blessed it, Rob moved over to the door, which was the only solid barrier between them and Moira Bourbon.
“We are ready then.” Rob said to them, although none of them were in actual fact ready to face Moira Bourbon, Rob said. “Let`s move out then, and remember to use your sprayer as soon as we enter the hall.”
Rob led the way, unlocking the door silently he then pushed it open, the icy evil chill immediately hit him, however he ignored it and strode forward with Father Pritchard and Sir Willoughby Brown following behind him walking side by side and behind them were Christina and Cassie, the whole group making up a V-formation and all of them reciting the Lord`s prayer.
Moira was at first startled by their sudden appearance and then she was delighted that they had been so foolish as to attack her, until she noticed that they had not been affected by the Circle of Circe. She immediately realised why, the protective spray of holy water was stopping the spell from working and Rob was almost upon her. She now attempted to use her satanic powers to take command of their minds, but once again she found that she was unable to, because of the spray of the holy water coupled with the string of garlic upon their heads. They may have looked a little ridiculous but their preparations were keeping them safe. Moira decided to use physical force and again using her satanic powers attempted to force them all back, however the amount of protection that they all carried about their persons served to lessen the blow and although they stumbled they still moved forward. They had soon reached the device; however the three men ignored it, leaving it to Christina and Cassie who stopped at the device. Moira attempted once more to force them back but without any success, and then the three men reached her, they were standing in an arc around her and it was now that the sprayers were turned on her. Moira screamed in agony as the holy water hit her face, body and arms, then the three men thrust their crosses forward and the agony of them touching her coupled to that of the holy water caused her to faint.
While the men had been tackling Moira, Christina and Cassie had reached the Circle of Circe, Christina picked it up and threw it hard against the nearest wall while Cassie continued to spray her sister, upon hitting the wall the device disintegrated and then its broken parts disappeared and the light around the room went out. Unfortunately, for Moira that is, a powerful bolt of energy travelled from it the instant that it shattered, and it followed along her mental connection to the device and exploded within her brain much like a powerful electric shock, and it fried all of her demonic parts and rebooted her human brain.
Leaving Christina, Cassie had rushed over to Moira and knelt down beside her, seeing the Satanist`s burned skin she cried, for Moira had once been her friend, until her father had contaminated her when she had still been an innocent. Beneath parts of the burnt skin Cassie could just make out what seemed to be a new layer of clean untouched skin, so she took out a cotton handkerchief and using what was left of the holy water seemed to be cleaning the Satanist`s burnt face and arms, however as she did so the burnt skin fell away leaving the new unburnt skin, and Moira looked to them all to be a young virginal woman, gone was even the smallest scent of evil, even the icy chill now left the room. Moira slowly opened her eyes to look up at them all and then she smiled, but not her usual smile this one was quite innocent. The reboot of her brain plus her remaining satanic energy had united with the holy water that covered her and the prayers said by her enemies, and had not only make her whole again; she had also been reborn as an innocent. Gone were her satanic memories, her awesome powers, all that remained was a young woman.
In his palace in the depths of Hell, Lord Lucifer had watched everything that had happened, and he cried out in anger at his loss of such an ally, the champion of god had triumphed against all the odds, Lucifer swore that sometime in the future he would deal with Rob Hinds.
In his fortress, Lord Asbaritch had also watched everything that had happened, he had been in the actual Dreamscape, and he cried when he realised that he would never see his love again, one who was beautiful, powerful and so very fearless.
Not so very far from Lord Asbaritch, bathing in the river of sludge that had given birth to him, a man known to Moira as Adonis screamed out in pain when Moira was being showered with holy water, later his only emotion was one of anger. He had chosen Moira to be both his bride and his mother, for he would have been both his father and his son when he was born to the most powerful Satanist in the world, but Rob Hinds actions had aborted his evil foetus and put back his plans by one thousand years. Now the anti-Christ would have to start all over again, but only when the signs in the heavens were right, then he would seek out another woman who would be worthy of giving birth to him, but long before that he would seek out Rob Hinds and punish him.
Cassie took Moira to the showers in the SIS offices; there Moira cleaned her body, and all of the burnt skin fell away leaving clean untouched skin. Christina meanwhile had gone to a local clothes store and purchased a new outfit for Moira. When Moira was ready, Father Pritchard took her away with him, they went to a convent in Yorkshire, having first told the mother superior of Moira`s past and also of her miraculous rebirth. He stayed at the convent for two weeks, just to ensure that Moira would be safe now and then he returned to his house, leaving a happy and contented woman behind at the convent, one who had settled extremely well into her new life.
If you enjoyed this story then please leave a positive revue, your support really does make a difference.
Also, why not visit my author page by clicking on the link. .
I was born in London, England. Like most of the world, I had to work hard to pay my mortgage and all the other bills, so I only had the time and the energy to write some short stories. My wife and I have a son who is now married to a lovely wife and they have five children of their own. Since retiring to the Greek island of Crete, I have finally found the time and the energy to write some full-length Science Fiction stories.
Trial by Ordeal
The Colonies of Earth Collection
Strange tales; three short mild horror stories
Kidnapped and Bound for Hell; A full-length black magic story
Rescue Mission to the Stars
The Treasure of Altaraus
Return to Mazere
A New Colony Amongst the Stars (Coming Soon)
Three Journeys of the Scary Kind
Moira Bourbon, the most powerful Satanist ever, had been killed, but instead of suffering the torments of hell, she was taken to the Dreamscape, a hell dimension ruled over by the demon Lord Asbaritch who had decided to make her his consort. From his fortress her powers grew and although she was dead, she wanted two things, to rescue her father from Tartarus, a hell dimension where the inmates were tortured for eternity, and to kill Rob Hinds, but only after he had assisted her attain her first desire.