Saturday October 29th, 2016

The exercise:

The penultimate entry into Halloween Week shall revolve around: protection.

Some people we know just moved from Vancouver to take over a B&B up on the mountain and they needed some help with their heavier boxes and furniture, so that's what I did for most of today. They're paying me for my time, which I appreciate... especially considering how much stuff they have.

The view from up there is spectacular. Will try to share a picture tomorrow. Right now me tired so go night night.

But first...


"Here, let me try," Ryan said, eager to play the role of knight in shining armor to Angie's damsel in distress. He got a good grip on the handle, braced himself, and yanked as hard as he could.

The door didn't move.

The house began to fill with whispers once more.

"Back door?" Angie didn't wait for a reply - she was already running for the rear of the house. Ryan chased after her without thinking, only knowing that he did not want to be alone within those walls.

The whispers grew steadily louder.

Angie slammed into the back door shoulder first. She may as well have been a feather for all the impact she made.

"You gotta unlock the deadbolt!" Ryan shouted. The whispers had transformed to yelling in their ears.

"It's stuck!"

They covered their ears as they stumbled back into the kitchen. There was panic and fear in their eyes when each of them looked to the other for direction. The voices were howling now.

"What do you want? Ryan screamed in desperation.

The house fell silent. Then:

"Daddy?" It was the voice of a young girl, cautious and curious.

"Yes?" Ryan said. Angie glared at him. He could only shrug and grimace in response while hoping for the best.

"Mommy?" A young boy this time. Ryan gave Angie a we're in this together now look and nodded his encouragement at her.

"Hello?" Angie's voice was hoarse, her throat dry. "Yes... sweetheart?"

"Mommy!" The two voices together. "Daddy!"

"We're here," Ryan said, a smile coming to his lips, relief in his voice. "It's okay, we're here."

"You were supposed to protect us." Confused and uncertain. "You were supposed to keep us safe."

"I... we did our best," Angie said, her eyes searching the darkening kitchen for movement. "We ne-"

"Why didn't you protect us?" Fear. And anger. "Why didn't you keep us safe?!"


Greg said...

I don't envy you that moving job! I know there's a lot of satisfaction in a job well done, but moving boxes and furniture is Sisyphean and I avoid it as much as possible. I shall look forward to the picture though :)
Wow, this is getting dark! I wasn't expecting them to try and talk to the voices in the house and now they have... it doesn't seem good. Children are hardly the most reasonable beings, especially upset ones. I like how they're pulling together to try and deal with the situation, and I really like how you've built to this climax, and... I guess I'll have to wait and see if they can get out of this. I'm not convinced.

"A moment," said Ernest. "When I asked about the coffins first you said sixteen, not fourteen. Would I be right in thinking that you -- we -- are deliberately spreading misinformation?"
Samual nodded. "The Lords-Martial are hopeful that they can use this to trace any leaks that happen. As you are aware we lost three operatives in the Baltic region in the last four months. Some might call it carelessness, but there are worries that it is more systematic than that. The Lords-Theurgical are deliberately setting the wrong number up in order to disrupt any resonances that might allow someone to locate the coffins magically."
"They'll have filled one of the coffins themselves?"
"I swear, Sir, I sometimes think you should be briefing me! Yes, with a representation of a condemned prisoner, who is now under close watch in her cell."
"I see," said Ernest. He stared into the twilight, the lights of the hotel just appearing in the distance. "Well, back to the funeral then. I was assuming that we would be simply attending, probably with a formal procession and a lot of speeches about the undoubted nobility and bravery of Lord Campion, retiring for lunch, and returning to London. But you mentioned four days."
"Things are a little complicated. Lord Campion's family tomb has layers of theurgical protection that mean the funeral can't happen until the day after tomorrow. If you could take the message tube from the glove-box and open it, now, please Sir?"
Samual waited while Ernest broke the wax with a thumbnail and eased the end-cap off the tube. He gently tilted it, allowing a piece of blank paper and a silver token to fall into his lap. He turned the paper over, checking it was unmarked, and then picked the token up. As he touched it it glowed softly, and immediately writing appeared on the page, moving as though being written as Ernest watched.
Lord Derby, you are hereby granted eyes-and-ears access to all necessary details of the Campion family's duty to the Kingdom. Underneath were nine signatures: the Lords-Martial, -Magical and -Theurgical.
"This would have killed me if I was an imposter?"
Samual nodded. "And I'd have had some explaining to do. And probably cleaning the upholstery. So Sir, there are two significant problems, the first of which is that the head of the Campion family is an effective vampire."

Marc said...

Greg - I would not want to be a professional mover, is all I shall say about this day of moving :P

I had quite a bit of fun writing this week's story. Thank you for nudging me along the way to doing it :)

Fantastic description of the message and how it is revealed. And I enjoyed how the head of the family being a vampire is only one of two significant problems. Let's see what the second is, shall we?