Thursday October 27th, 2016

The exercise:

Halloween Week continues with: voices.

Bakery was quite busy this morning, which was a nice change of pace. Time went sailing by in a hurry.

Before I get to my writing, I need to share something. I've been quite upfront with Greg about my dislike of Lady Gaga, though I'm not sure how much of her music I ever actually listened to - I think I was distracted by all the fashion nonsense that always seemed part of the package.

Anyway. I watched this yesterday and was utterly blown away by her performance, in every way. It's lots of fun with some pretty incredible vocals.

I am impressed, and I'm sorry for not giving her a fair chance sooner.


"Did you hear that?" Ryan made it sound more like an accusation than a question.

"I must not have closed the front door properly," Angie said, not sounding very confident. "Probably just the wind coming in. I'll go shut it whle you find some clothes. Or whatever."

"Sure, good idea."

While she was gone he dug a pair of reasonably clean jogging pants out of his bag and struggled into them, an unexpectedly early start to his day and a lack of coffee combining to make him clumsy. Downstairs he heard the door open and then slam shut. He found himself smiling with relief when the noise stopped.

And then it returned, much louder than before.

"Get out!"


"Leave! Now!"

"Who's there?" Ryan called, moving to check the windows even though he knew he had made sure they firmly shut before he'd fallen asleep. "Hello?"

"I didn't say anything," Angie said as she reentered the room. "What were you yelling about while I was downstairs? I couldn't quite make it out."

"I wasn't yelling."

The whispers suddenly transformed into shouts.

"How dare you?!"

"You do not belong here!"

"What the hell is going on?" Ryan demanded before pressing the palms of his hands against his ears.

"Is this some kind of joke you're trying to pull on me?" Angie yelled back before doing the same. "This isn't funny!"

The voices grew louder. Clearer. Angrier. Ryan felt a cool draft across the back of his neck. Angie, for the first time since she'd arrived, caught a whiff of the stench that somehow still clung to the walls of the house.

"What the f-"

Outside the sun finally peered over the horizon and the inside of the house fell deathly silent. Angie and Ryan stared at each other for several moments before slowly uncovering their ears.

"Does that happen often?" Ryan asked, his eyes darting around the room.

"Never," Angie replied without hesitation. "But, um... uh... that's, uh..."

"What is it?"

"I've never been here in the dark before." Angie rubbed her arms and didn't make eye contact. "I've always grabbed dinner at an all night place near the club before coming back here, which means I got here right around sunrise. I got my food to go this morning and ate it on the way and... yeah."

"What are you trying to say?" Ryan asked, his eyes filled with suspicion and remnants of the fear that had begun to take hold before the dawn had pushed back the... whatever it was.

"Hey man, I don't believe in ghosts or nothing like that, okay?" Angie said. "But, uh... I don't know if I want to be here after sunset tonight. Just, uh, in case."

"That's ridiculous," Ryan said with a sneer and a shake of his head. Although, if he was being honest, he had been thinking the same thing.


Greg said...

You mean I don't get to poke gentle fun at you any more using Lady Gaga? Nooooooo! If you ignore the personality and publicity around her, she can sing, it's true :). And that video was much funnier than I was expecting, I enjoyed watching all of it. Thank-you!
Ah, the trouble is starting for your characters now! Again the small details are wonderful, and I noticed that you're starting to write slightly longer posts as well, so it's clear that you're getting engrossed in your story as well. I especially liked the comment about coffee and clumsiness.
The voices seem... well, single-minded, which is perhaps a little worrying. I'd probably be leaving right now if it were me (or breaking out the knives and going hunting, but without coffee that's unlikely). I really like how Angie is developing too, I'm starting to feel like I might recognise her if I walked past her on the street. Great work!

[Having to post twice again, and on a tablet this is particularly painful!]

David made up Imperium Elixir which involved Ernest buying rum from the bar and then looking faintly horrified when David did something to it that apparantly denaturised the alcohol within it. "The entire bottle?" asked Ernest, and David barely managed to look apologetic as he poured three fingers worth into a silver flask. Other ingredients went in as well, and then the Law of Equivalent Exchange was applied, as David happily explained.
"Imperium Elixir is a specific combination of these ingredients," he said, shaking the flask like a cocktail waiter. "By applying the Will appropriately, and knowing which astrological servants to invoke, we can ask that our formulation - identical in composition - be exchanged with an equal amount of the Elixir itself, which is much more potent." There was a sudden sense of burden in the room, and condensation beaded the walls. David stopped shaking the flask, and the sense of burden lifted.
"Aquarius, the water-bearer?" said Ignatz. David offered the flask to him and he took it.
"You're as bad as Ernest," said David, turning away.
With the Elixir fortifying Father Ignatz the train guard was soon restored as well and apologies were made for the destruction to the carriage door. Ernest insisting on providing payment for it, though the guard, perhaps still confused by the horror he'd been so close to, appeared not to know what to do with the banker's draft and tucked it into the pocket of his jacket as though it were a handkerchief. Two hours later, they arrived in Edinburgh.

Greg said...

Father Ignatz was waiting for his luggage to be brought out from the train by the green-clad porters, stood off a little distance from Ernest and David. His case came first, and he raised a hand in a gesture of blessing before he departed.
"Perhaps we should offer him a lift," said Ernest.
"His kind prefer to find some privation in the day," said David shortly. "His Commander-"
"The heads of religious Orders are rarely Commanders," said Ernest, interrupting. "I can think of only one: the Jesuit Militant Order."
"Find, his Cappuchino then," David ignored Ernest's wince, "will want an accounting of his time and if he doesn't suffer enough he'll be given penance to do."
"If he hasn't suffered enough," mused Ernest. "Really David, I think you do some of our colleagues in the wider world a little disservce."
"And I think you're often too soft, Ernest. Being helpful once is not the same thing as a life of beatific servitude." The cases arrived at the moment and David starting fretting over scuffing at the corners of his trunk so he failed to see the expression on Ernest's face at all. After a discussion that threatened to get heated Ernest managed to calm down both the Head Porter and David, and the two companions made their way to the station entrance. There, a young man with a trim moustache and a beard that emphasized rather than concealed his pointy chin saluted Ernest and snapped his heels together with a click that made the other passengers turn and stare. Ernest smiled warmly.
"Lieutenant Samual Climes, Sir! I am instructed to escort you and your companion to the Voices Hotel, where you have rooms reserved for two nights."
"We're here for four," said David, cutting Ernest off.
"The last night of your stay will be at the Stenhouse Baracks, Sir."
"But the thi-"
"David, please! There are arrangements in place, be assured." Ernest sounded just a little bit tetchy. He smiled at the Lieutenant. "Please forgive my colleague, we had more than a little excitement on the journey. We are delighted to accept your kind offer. The Voices, you said?"
The Lieutentant beamed again and started loading the cases into the boot of a car that had started out life as a limousine and then been adapted for military use. "Indeed, an estimable residence, and one within an hour's walk of Arthur's Seat!"
David opened the door of the car, and paused for a moment. Already seated within was Father Ignatz.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, sorry about that :P

Thank you for the kind words on mine, once again.

Another intriguing installment of your tale, with an unexpected ending! I liked the way you made use of the prompt as well, as you could have easily gone in a more obvious direction.