Number 54 (first draft)


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    Number 54 (first draft)

    Number 54

    Eve placed the camera on the kitchen table, sitting herself directly in front of the lens. She paused. Clicking the record button. She took a sharp intake of breath.
    " I dont know where to start?.." She said looking straight at the red dot. Recording this was going to make the last few days real. Something she wished it wasn't. She was a very average looking young woman. A plain Jane in every sense of the word. Her dark hair was always tied up and she rarely wore make up. The past few days had taken its toll on her, she looked tired and in need of sleep.

    What she would give just for a full nights sleep. Or even just to be able to relax in her home. Without fear. This felt like a luxury nowadays.

    "My name is Eve Morrison and ive been asked by one of your colleagues at the university to record whats going on in my house. Although I have no idea what is going on!" Eve placed her hands in a prayer like position. Covering her mouth. She paused again "I think there is something in my house, i feel like it wants me out..and i feel crazy saying this but.." Her voice started to shake. Her hands felt clammy as the words came out, her mouth dry.

    "It started a few days ago, i thought it was my imagination! Ive been trying to convince myself that it all explain able. .but it's not.." Her voice breaks with fear again. " its not me, its not in my head" Eve looks directly into the lens of the camera. Eyes wide with a look of despair.

    An almighty crash from upstairs booms through the ceiling making the light fitting above her head sway! Eve jumps up from her seat with a short shrieking screem.
    She places her hand over her quivering lips, her breathing panicked as she stared at the light fitting. Days of this had now got to the point where Eve felt in danger. "LEAVE ME ALONE!! THIS IS MY HOUSE!" She shouted at whatever was upstairs. Then silence.

    Leaning onto the table she looked into the camrea.
    "PLEASE. I NEED YOUR HELP!"..Her image fades into a dot as the video ends.
    Alex turns to Professor Jacobs and raised his eyebrows above the rims of his retro-geek glasses. "What do you think?".

    " I read the report Denton took in Eve's phone interview. she seems to be genuine!". Professor Jacobs opens the file again as he continues to speak. Denton was only called Denton by Alex and the professor. Sally to her girlfriends had been working for the administration side of the team for about six months, it was easy money and she found the work interesting, its hard living on the student loan lifestyle.
    Running his finger down the hand writen text taken only a day before. Jacobs began to study the profile.
    " Shes lived in the house for ten days. She claims that as soon as she moved into the house there was a feeling she couldn't explain". Alex removed his glasses leaning back in his chair began to drum his fingers on the old oak table. He looked at the professor who was now deep in thought.

    This was the office of Professor Michael Jacobs. A man with more credentials in psychology than anyone in the UK. Jacobs rough disheveled sense of dress made him look nothing like any other of the professionals at the university. His dark hair had flecks of grey, all tied up in a small pony tail. Even though the nature of his side work was seen as a little strange, all of the staff and students respected the professor.

    The trouble with Alex. He was used to living off the bank of mom and dad. Having spent the first three months of his education at the University getting in trouble for sleeping with every fresher he could talk into bed. He was on thin ice and now had to start building bridges. This was his second year and his talent for the subject matter was not enough to see him through the summer.

    Alex had a very special talent though. One that Jacobs saw the instant he met him in the lecture theatre a few months before. Alex had a knack for solving puzzles and problems, with ease.
    He first demonstrated of this was when jacobs gave all the members of his class a Chineese box puzzle to solve.

    The puzzle itself was to work out how to release a small ball bearing from what seemed like a solid wooden boxes with moveable panals. Every member of the class handed the puzzle back to jacobs unsolved. Alex was the last to hand in his box..and the ball. Jacobs was astonished.

    So the talented young student started to get involved with Jacob's paranormal project within the university. Alex had always been intrested in weird stories. His granddad had told him stories of ghosts and beasts when he was a young boy. The tales never scared him though. Plus the extra credits he would gain from the extra curricular activity wouldnt go a miss.
    To investigate paranormal claims by members of the local public wasn't as easy as it looked. Alex helped set up the website where they invited people to contact them and tell their own stories. This proved to be a success as lots of local people contacted them.

    "Shes staying at her friends house for the time being" Jacobs said. Closing the file. In the short time Alex had been assisting the Professor they had seen and heard some of the most ridiculous claims and reports you could ever imagine.
    UFOs attacking people on the way home from the pub. Ghosts stealing watches and jewelry from peoples homes. These were all cases of bored local crack-pots with nothing better to do. Jacobs never gave in though, he would always look into every case.

    Alex picked up the file, " Im on it.." He said leaving Jacobs wondering what he had done wrong to get stuck with Alex. Its not that the professor didn't like him. He actually thought Alex was very giftEd, not only with puzzles and logic. But with reading people's emotions. But Alex had a tendency to get side tracked usually by females.

    That afternoon Alex made the phone call to Eve. Walking to his car, after what seems like a million rings a voice answered.
    "Hello.." she said. Swaping ears and adjusted the mountain of files under his arm, he responded "Hi is that Eve?". Eve sat at her desk. "Yes who is this?" She was always suspicious of numbers she didnt know. Since her crazy ex got all of his friends to call her at all hours of the night after their break up. She was always on her guard.

    "Its Alex Wright im working with Professor Jacobs here at the University. We have just been reviewing your request on our website..do you have time to talk". Eve looked around at the other women in the office. Gossiping and talking about random shit T.V and celebrity crap. She hated her job! Selling bolts and screws wasn't her idea of a career but it paid her bills.

    "Ugh.. yes.. thank you for getting back to me so quickly". She hadn't told anyone at work about the problems in here new house. Even though they had all been asking about a possible house warming party. Eve knew it was just an excuse to nosey around her new home and ask about the break up.

    Alex shut the door to his old vauxhall corsa and opened the file on his lap. " You say you think there is something in your house that isnt supposed to be there?". Eve had been staying with her friend as things at her new home had been really making life hell. She was petrified.

    "Ever since i moved in things have been getting stranger and i dont feel safe there!". Alex listened making notes in her file. "Can you give me some more details?" He said. Eve's voice began to shake again as she remembered her last night in the house. A fearful night of no sleep and regret for signing for the house.
    Her mind flooded with the fear and anxiety of the manifestationstaff she had witnessed.

    Alex waited. " Do you believe in evil spirits?" Eve said trying to keep her voice down. No one at her work knew that she was to scared to go home. No one knew that night after night she was awoken by noises all over her house and a figure that was never seen by her fully. Only out of the corner of her eye in different areas of her new home. Yet the figure was not of human shape. In fact the figure didn't have a set form, overtime she caught a glimpses of it. Seeming to shape shift and then fade quickly.

    All she knew was that whatever was living in her home, was not of this world. It's presence was everywhere and gave her a fear like nothing else ever had.

    All she knew was that buying the house was a massive mistake and a gut reaction to splitting up with Andy. She had just wanted out after a very controlling and abusive two year relationship.This house was supposed to be the fresh start she always wanted, but the last ten days made her regret the move. The house had been on the market for nearly 12 months and was a bargin. At just 65,000 the house was to good to pass up. It had been empty ever since the last owner had moved to Scotland.

    "I've not been doing this line of work for long if i'm honest. But i know Professor Jacobs believes there are things we can't explain." He said.
    Eve was desparate to have someone to tell her she wasn't going crazy. That this was really happening. " Look.. there is something i didn't say in the video".

    "Go on" he waited. Eve took a deep breath, " i found a book in an old wardrobe when i first moved in. i didn't think anything of it at the time but all this stuff started happening when i moved it..do you think that means something?" she paused. Alex started the engine, "Where is the book now?" he said.
    "Its still at the house" she said, "I couldn't read any of it, it was full of strange drawings. When i found the book there was a lump of coal on top of it!".
    Alex told eve that he would arrange a time for the professor and himself to meet her at the house. The thought of returning to that place terrified her but she agreed. She had no choice. This was her home.

    That night Alex tried to get his own studying done but he couldn't get eve's scared voice out of his head. Sitting at his desk in front of his computer he opened up a new browser.
    Typing Eve's address into the search bar he felt shocked at what came up. 'Number 54 Pinewood Lane, house of horror'. Alex clicked on the title of a 1952 headline of the local paper.
    A faded news paper article and a black and white picture of the house showing a police constable outside. Filled the screen.

    With a click of the mouse he zoomed in on the article.
    "Tragic scenes were today made all to real as police gave our reporter Joanne Wilson a exclusive interview.
    Leading detective James Whittle said upon entering the house belonging to the Morgan family. It was clear that Alistair Morgan 37 the husband of Jane 34 and father of Alice 4 had gone on a psychotic rampage throughout their home in the early hours of the morning."

    Alex scrolled down and another picture came into view of the Morgan family outside their house. They looked like a normal happy family. Proud of the home they were standing infront of. Alister Morgan looked tall and strong next to his wife whose arms were firmly wraped round her daughter and husband.
    "The bodies of Jane and Alice were found in the kitchen of the house". Detective Whittle would not go into detail about the findings. Only telling us that the body parts of the two females were missing. Eyes, tongues and hands had been severed from the bodies. Also that strange symbols were found adorning the kitchen walls." The article shocked Alex.

    Starting to make notes Alex read more. The report explained that Alister was not found at the address and a man hunt would be in operation. As he researched more he found that there was not alot of news coverage at the time regarding this double murder. This was strange to say the least as this was a very gruesome crime.
    Scanning through other websites that had information on the case, all be it very limited. Alex found out that Alister Morgan was never captured by police and the case remains open to this day.

    The following day was a bright Saturday morning. Jacobs sat at his desk at home, reading the files sent to him by Alex the following night.
    Alex was a night owl surviving on next to no sleep, while the professor being twenty years his senior needed a full eight hours to even function. A meeting had been set up at the foreboding address at 11.00am. Collecting his kit bag from the sideboard of his small home office. He set off to the location.

    The drive was traffic free, a blessing as the professor hated the rush of people nowadays. His approach to life was very simplistic. As he turned onto Pinewood Lane he saw Alex leaning on his car. Jacobs parked up behind him. Looking at the house through his window before getting out. It looked like a fairly normal house. Nothino like you see in horror films where a cracking of thunder and a falk of lighting fills the background.

    Arms folded and leaning on his bonnet Alex directed a look towards the house. "What did you think of what i sent you then?". Looking at the shabby looking garden Professor Jacobs switched his attention to Alex.
    " Well there wasnt much to read was there. We need to speak with Eve to get her take on whats going on..shes late!" He said checking his watch.

    Alex was just about to reply when a small blue car made its way toward them. Parking on the opposite side of the road. Eve stepped out of the car. Approaching the pair.
    " Hello ...im Eve" she said holding her hand out. Alex and the professor introduced themselves. Eve looked up the garden path towards the front foor. Jacobs sensed she was uneasy and didnt want to be there.
    " Thank you both for coming. I just didnt know where else to turn." She said with a look of genuine fear.

    Alex smiled and told her that they would do their best to get to the bottom of what was going on. Eve felt at ease straight away with Alex. He was called charming and seemed to have a caring way about him.
    Following her up the path to the front door the two men felt the sunlight dim slightly. As Eve pushed the key in the door, she took a deep breath in and held it as they entered.

    The first thing about the house that Alex noticed was the smell. It wasnt a bad or pungent smell necessarily. But there was a distinked smell of soil, of earth. Damp was on most of the walls as they made their way through the hall way into the living room.

    "As you can see im still decorating" Eve said pointing out the ladders and covered sofa and units. She placed the keys on top of the coffee table. The only piece of furniture uncovered.
    After making her two guests a drink they sat in the kitchen and began to talk.

    "So Eve..Alex and I have been looking into your houses history. Were you aware of what happened here?" Jacobs asked. He handed her the file of photos he had printed of the house and the reports from the news paper.
    She started reading, the professor and Alex watched as her hands started to shake.
    "Really i had no idea about any of this" she said. Eve was always a very rational woman. But this situation was far from rational. She told them both the sleepless nights she had endured. The feeling of being watched and the figure in the house that made her skin crawl.

    Alex listened intently, this wasnt like the normal bullshit he had heard before. Jacobs had told him from the start of there time together. That genuine cases of paranormal activity were few and far between.
    He could tell the professor was intrigued by everything the young woman was saying. Eve told them everything. She had been blacking out and waking up on the floor. The bruises and hand market on her legs and arms that were there in the morning when she woke up. None of these things she could explain.

    " Eve you mentioned you found a book, do you have it ?" Said jacobs. Eve went into one of the kitchen cupboards and grasping an old leather bound book handed it to him.
    " I dont know if this has anything to do with whats going on here! Do you think it could be connected? Eve asked.
    The professor looked through the first few pages of the book. Which was a dark shade of red. The jacket material felt leather. But felt soft and moist to the touch.

    It seemed to be a mixture of several languages. "can you read any of that?" Alex said looking bewildered at the text. " I recognize a few latin words, here this means 'reborn' ". Just as Jacobs was explaining the book Eve was staring at the glass in the door of the kitchen.
    Her face drip white and her eyes bulging. She could see clearly a reflection of the figure that had made her life hell while in the house.
    The figure was staring straight at her, a face she could now see more clearly than ever before. She couldnt speak. She could only look on, the eyes of the figure were black and soulless.
    There was no expression to the face. Just a gaunt pale face. Then the narrow lips of the creature parted revealing black peg like teeth. A snarl now framed the face and it raised a pointed finger at the window.

    A loud cracking sound filled the air and caused Jacobs and Alex to quickly divert their attention from the book to the kitchen door. Eves screem rang through the room as Alex turned back to her and hugged her.
    "Its ok. Its ok..." Alex reassured her. She clung to him.

    Jacobs stood up to examine the glass and surround area. " You see...you see what its been like for me. I feel like im going mad" she said. Jacobs gripped the book.

    "Alex stay with Eve im going to look around." Walking back into the hall his shoe crunched on the broken glass. Slowly he made his way to the stairs. Looking at the top of the landing, there was an old fashioned white door.
    Walking slowly up to the top he noticed three other doors. Two were shut the other slightly open. He thought back to the report of the horrific history of the house.

    He had been to a few suspected haunted houses but none with this deep sense of darkness. Making his way to the first closed door he turned the handle and slowly made his way through. Upon first entering the room it looked every bit the bedroom of a young woman.
    The blinds were drawn nearly closed, the slats allowing some light in the room. It was neat and tidy apart from a couple of boxes still to be unpacked in the far corner.

    Jacobs left the room and entered the next across the landing. The house wasnt big, it reminded him of the house he had grown up in. Not so far from here.
    Placing his hand on the handle, turning it slowly he walked in to smaller box room. It looked like Eve had been using it as a storage room.
    There were more boxes and black bin liners. On top of one of the boxes were two pictures in frames.
    The first was of Eve and a man. It looked like a holiday photo shot somewhere hot. They both looked happy.

    The second photograph was of an older woman. Sitting in what looked like a beer garden of a pub. Jacobs assumed it was Eve's mother. He wondered more about the scared young womans past and what brought her to be living on her own here.
    The sound of a door latch shutting on the landing grabbed his attention. Returning the photos onto of the box. Jacobs made his way back into the hall way. The temparature had taken a noticeable drop.
    Making his way to the now closed door, he held his breath and reached for the handle. The room was dark, no windows. Flicking the light switch on the wall the professor felt a sense of foreboding when no light appeared.

    The room was freezing. Not just cold due to Eve being there to turn on the heating for a few days but a different kind of cold.
    His fingers felt icy. Trying to adjust to the light his eyes squinted at the lay out of the room.
    In the corner was a large antique looking wardrobe. Through the dark he could make out intricate carvings on the dark wood.
    Jacob's stepped closer to it. Placing his hand on the door. He felt the lumps and bumps gf the carvings, with his other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone.
    Shining the light from the screen onto the door. he could see the fine detailed art work.

    Cherubs and devils adorned the wooden surface. the scene on the door depicted what looked like a man in a cave surrounded by the smaller figures. The professor stepped back to take in the whole image.
    The door to the slammed shut! the noise rattled the room. Jacobs turned quickly back to face the wardrobe now the room was in pitch black apart from the light from his screen.
    He shone the phone back to the carved door, the image had changed significantly to his amazement. Taking a step closer again the light showed the figures of the cherubs were now being killed by the once smaller, but now larger devils. Heads were decapatated from bodies. Limbs were stacked up in the sense. A very different and gruesome sight from seconds ago.

    The wardrobe had key in the lock about half way down. The latch could be heard by Jacob's to be moving, he shone light on the key. It was starting to turn, first by a quartering a full half turn. He stepped back as the key continued to turn. as the key came to a stop the door started to open. but only by a fraction. This was insane! Jacobs quickly turned and rushed for the door to exist the room. twisting and turning the handle the door would not move.

    It was like it was welded shut. making a fist he hit the door, looking back at the wardrobe door in the corner. "Alex!!" he shouted. the old carved door opening still. the creak from the wood making the processes panic even more.
    Pulling on the handle harder and shouting louder "ALEX!!!...."

    He could hear the thundering footsteps of Eve and Alex coming up the stairs " Professor! where are you" Alex shouted searching the open rooms. The professor smashed his fists again on the door.
    "Im in here open the door!!" the fear in his voice echoed the room he was in. Alex twisted the handle of the door. Eve looked on in fear. "SMASH IT DOWN!" Eve screamed pushing on the door.
    Alex moved Eve to one side as he then raised up his foot and kicked at the middle panel of the door. It didnt budget. Again he hit the door, with more force this time. After the forth hit the door swung open, taking some of the shattered frame with it.
    Jacobs was out cold and slumped against the wall. Alex grabbed his shoulders and dragged him out into the hallway.
    Both Eva and Alex looked up at the wardrobe after hearing the door slam shut.

    Eve helped him drag Jacobs to the bathroom. "Professor wake up!" Eve felt his cheek with her hand, he was cold to the touch. His eyes opened and for a brief second he thought he was still trapped in the room. He grabbed at her sweater and then grabbed at Alex. Pulling himself upright.

    "WOW ..WOAH easy...relax!" Alex said helping to restrain the professor. The pale look on Jacob's face was the very first time Alex had seen the normally clam and collected professor look like this. They helped Jacobs slowly get up and move through the hall way.

    Back down stairs Eve handed Jacobs a glass of water. "What ever is in this house is very real." said the professor. Eve finaily had the recognition she needed that she wasn't going mad. "What the hell happened in there?" Alex asked as he leaned on the wall of the kitchen.
    "there was something in that wardrobe!" Jacobs answered. "The room was pitch black and i dropped my phone..thats all i remember ..then you dragging me out".

    Alex looked at Eve. "We need to form a plan because ive never experienced anything like that." He said.
    Eve agreed, the three of them left the house. Outside at the front gate Jacobs looked at the house. Unsure of what was going on there. But he was determined to find out.

    Eve slamed the boot of her car shut as she handed Alex the book she had found in the wardrobe days before.
    "Ill get Denton to take a look at it and get us some information on it". Alex said. The professor agreed to call Eve back later that day. They left the house and made their own way.

    Alex waited outside the house of Sally Denton. Still sat in his car with the book wrapped in a piece of old cloth. Placed on the middle of the dash board.
    The radio in the car was playing the Doors hit 'People are strange, when your a stranger'. The unmistakable melody and words rang out. As Alex waited for Denton.

    Rain started to fall from the sky, the dusk of the evening was made darker by the deep gray clouds. The crackle from the speakers started to get louder.

    The station seemed to lose the signal, white noise blured out some of the words. He adjusted the tuning knob. Loud buzzing echoed from the cheap stereo.
    Not being able to stand the horrid noise anymore Alex turned off the radio.
    For a few seconds he sat in silence...

    "FACES COME OUT OF THE RAIN...WHEN YOUR STRANGE...WHEN YOUR STRANGE...YEEAAHH" Full blast the Doors most famous work rang out from the speakers again. The Radio was off! He had just turned it off!
    Reaching again for the off switch he attempted to extinguish the power again. But with no luck.

    "What the fuck..." He said to himself. Frantically trying to stop the deafening music he leaned forward.
    Three sharp loud taps hit the window. Forcing he to turn fast and jump out of his skin seeing Denton's face bending towards the glass.

    His final attempt to turn off the radio eventually work. He grabbed the material clad book from the dash and pushed the button for the window.
    Denton laughed as she saw the scare she had given her friend. "Sorry Alex didnt mean to shit you up " she said.
    With a straight but relieved face Alex responded "Its been a fucking strange day." He handed her the book and continued to speak.
    "The prof wants as much detail you can get on this thing by tonight". Denton tucked the book under her arm and told Alex she would get right on it.

    That night Denton's kitchen table was buried in a sea of paper work and historical books. Information finding was a gift that she had perfected working in the arcive of the university library. That was where she first came into contact with professor Jacobs.

    She had come to the conclusion that the red leather bound book was a mix of old text. The origin of the text was Anglo-Saxon. Some parts were unreadable due to the state of the book.
    But newer pages had been added. Far more recently, in up to date English.

    She had managed to translate the first few pages of the book. Which seemed very benign, talking about how to read the stars and the patterns they make in the sky at night.
    As she read more the book started to talk about the name Beleth. Going through the pages of the book further Beleth was given more and more prominence.

    Denton worked through the night. Gathering as much as she could on the book.

    Monday morning came around again. Eve had not been back to the house since the professor and Alex had been there with her.
    She sat outside in her car, wondering why her life was full of bad luck.
    This last year had been one thing after another. Her family were always supportive but since her split with Andy she felt lie somewhat of a failure.

    Meanwhile in the library of the university Jacobs and Alex sat at a table. Waiting for Denton to show up.
    "So could this be the real thing ? Is this what you have been looking for ?" Alex said sitting across from the Professor.
    "My whole life ive studied what makes people say and do the things they do. I feel i have a good understand of the little nuances when people lie or make things up." Said the prof. Sitting up in his seat he continued " As soon as i met Eve I knew she believed everything she said".

    Jacobs started to roll up his right sleeve. Alex leaned forward, looking at the prof's forearm.
    There was a clear as day hand shaped bruise on the professors arm.
    "Holy shit. Was that from the house?" Alex said examining the nearly black marks.

    " I didn't even notice it until i got home. Id blacked out in that room. But there was something in there with me Alex. It was there to do me harm." Jacobs said rolling down his sleeve.
    Alex looked up as Denton came around the corner, she had a cluster of paperwork with her and the book from the house.

    Placing the book on the table. She gave both men a look of nervousness. Staying stood up she gave professor Jacobs a sheet of paper.
    "So..." She paused handing Alex a folder. " I did a lot of digging around about the house and tried to find out as much as i could about the book"
    Again looking nervous she explained again that the murders in the house were still technically unsolved. While Alister Morgan was still at large.
    She had tried to contact the local police about the case but no one was willing to talk to her about it.

    What she had found out was the Alister Morgan was a miner in the town. He had been found on more than one occasion down the mine talking to himself.
    His co workers had reported his strange behavior and as a result he was given time off work. It's amazing what a few phone calls to the local miners welfare club will get you.

    Alister had writen a sort of diary in the book where he explained he had found the book in the mine while looking for new coal seems.

    Documenting his research into the book and the details of the star charts within it. Alister had become obsessed.
    He wrote that his wife and children had been practicing black magic while he worked and the only way to flush out the demons within them was to "bleed them out".

    Alex looked through the pictures and stopped at a drawing of a demon figure by the name Beleth. It dipicated a creature with curled short horns and the face of a cat and the body of a human male.
    "Who the hell is this character?" He said. Denton looked at them both. "Thats the demon Alister Morgan thought controlled his family, he thought they were ploting against him." She said.

    The professor looked at the paper she had given him. " it says here that Beleth was a king in hell and was always found where suffering and pain would be." Jacobs looked up at his colleagues. "If Alister Morgan was suffering from undiagnosed mental health issues this would explain why this thing would show up".
    Alex shook his head " wait wait...hold on" he said puting the drawings on the table. " Im the first to admit that this shit is strange, that its far more than the cranks we normal deal with. But demons...come on...".

    "Alex all i know is we have been asked for help by a very desperate woman. Its our duty to look at all possibilities." Jacobs replied. Denton nodded her approval.
    " So are we actually saying that the house is possessed by this Beleth thing??" Alex said. The research Denton had found was compelling and gave logical reason to the evil presence in the house. But Alex felt insane even thinking this was really.
    "Im saying that we need to get back to that house and find out whats in there". Denton agreed with the professor.

    Study had taken a real back seat for both Alex and Denton over the past few days due to this case. Even Pof Jacobs mind wasn't on his main work.
    Jacobs always considered this line of work as a hobby and something of a novelty. But this was different.
    Eve Morrison was a young woman and needed their help.

    After a full day at work Eve felt fed up. Sitting on the bed in her friends spare room. She looked at the paperwork for the house.
    She had never spoken the the actual owner of the house before or after buying it. The estate agent had done everything.

    But she did find a contact number in the old deeds of the house. A father Locke.
    It was worth a try. She unplugged her mobile phone from the wall and dialled in the number.
    "Father Locke..." A voice answered. The voice was gruff and sounded like he had an Irish accent.
    "Hello Father. Im sorry to call at this time but im wondering if you can help me? My name is Eve Morrison and...". Before she could finish her sentence the old man spoke over her " Your calling about the house arnt you!?"

    Eve didn't know what to say. "Well.. yes i am" she waited for him to speak. " Eve my girl im sorry, i hoped that it would just go away but it seems nothing ever truly goes away" he said.
    Eve felt like he knew something, she heard a tone of guilt in his voice. "Father ive had to leave my house. There is something in my home. Im scared to go back."
    She could not keep the emotion from her voice.

    Father Locke sat in his chair by a roaring fire. Watching the flames dance. Remembering feeling the same fear. He had moved to a small Scottish parish some years ago after witnessing the horrors at number 54.
    " This is my fault Eve and im going to put this right."

    He hung up and continued to watch the fire make patterns over the coals. This was a chance to put right a sin he had committed. He had ran away all those years ago. But he always knew he would one day have to face the past again.

    It was 5.30 pm and Eve was heading to the university. Alex had contacted her earlier that day explaining they had more information for her and they wanted to meet at the house.
    Eve was unsure about going back. But she could not afford to sell the house. This was all she had.

    Arriving at the university just after 6.00pm she was given directons to Jacobs office where upon entering found Alex and Denton, looking at passages of text from the book.
    ALex stood up. "Eve." He said ushering her her to a seat at the table. Denton introduced herself. "Where is the professor? " Eve asked looking at the piles of paper on the table.

    Denton pointed with her pencil to a door in the cornervous."That's his thinking room. He's been in there over an hour" Denton said.
    Alex leaned over the table and handed Eve a photograph. This is Alister Morgan. He killed his family in your house. In the fiftys" he said.
    Denton gave Eve two other photos. One of the whole family in happier times and one of Alister with two other miners about to go to work.

    "This is going to sound a little off the wall but we this your house is possessed." Alex said. He looked at her face as he said the words. Half way between already knowing and fear of what was to come.

    The shuting of a door made all three of them look into the corner where the professor was now stood. Eve smiled at Jacobs. " So my house is really haunted?" She asked him, as he approached the table.
    The look on Jacob's face told her this wasn't as straight forward as a haunting. Not that she even knew what a haunting should feel like.

    Alex opened the book from the house and began to read.

    "Since finding this book my eyes are open. I see...I hear...and know that the devils in my own home conspire against me. I will rid my wife and daughter of this evil."

    Alex paused, " this is dated four days later" he continued to read. " today I went further into the mine where I found this book. It spoke to me again. The voice of an angel. SET THEM FREE it said" Alex stopped reading and lifted the book to show a very crude hand drawn shape of a group of stars.

    " What the hell does this mean" Eve said struggling to understand what Alex was talking about. Jacobs sat forward. "Eve three days after Alister Morgan wrote that, he killed his wife and daughter. Then just vanished" he said

    Eve was starting to understand that her house was haunted. But not in the Hollywood sense of the term. But for real. " So I have ghosts in my house? How do I get them out?"

    All three of the team looked at each other. Denton spoke up first, " we don't think that what's in your house is actually a ghost!" She said. A puzzled look adorned Eve's face.
    "Eve we believe Alister brought something back with him from the mine, something that convinced him to kill his family and drive him insane" Denton continued.

    Alex closed the book and felt a presence behind him, but he didn't react. An cold breeze moved around the room. Jacobs felt it too.
    "We believe that Alister didnt have a psychotic episode but actually in contact with a very powerful demon"

    Eve had been desperate for someone to help her. To believe her about the house, but this even seemed crazy to her.
    Professor Jacobs handed her another drawing. The monsterous image was not new to her. She had seen it in her new home many times. Lurking in the shadows. She stared at the image taking in the charcoal etched detail. The gaunt face that was almost cat like. The spindly hands. The image disturbing as it looked was infectious. She couldnt take her eyes off the image.

    Alex felt a cold chill again but now around his face and neck. A smell of dirt and wet soil filled the air of the office. Just as it did in the house. The hundreds of books sitting on Jacob's shelves started to shake and move. Denton's head spun fast to see the first of several books just full onto the floor.

    " Professor! !" Denton said looking back at him. Jacobs watched on as book after book started to hit the floor. Crashing with force. The noise getting louder from the chaos.

    Denton stood up and backed away from the table pointing at Eve. No one had noticed that Eve was still transfixed on the demon in the drawing. Her mouth muttered sounds like none of them had ever heard.
    Alex grabbed the paper from Eve's grasp and flung it straight down to the table top. "Eve!!" He said as Denton and Jacobs gathered closer to Eve. Jacobs grabbed her and stood her up. She still looked in a hypnotic state. The books had stopped falling, as the professor brought Eve back to reality.

    "What the hell was that??" Alex said helping Jacobs sit Eve back down in a seat away from the table."we need to go back to the house and put an end to this".

    The next day Denton messaged Alex. Alex was trying to actually get some of his real study work finished. But the events of the last few days had shocked him to the core. This side project was supposed to help him get better grades. But this was turning into a real nightmare. Opening his phone Alex saw the message.

    Denton: Hey.
    Alex: Denton....
    Denton: I have been trying to get hold of the professor all day but can't reach him.

    Alex searched his call log and found the profesers name, calling Jacobs. Alex was greeted by the all to familiar sound of the professors voice mail. He ended the call without leaving a message. He began texting Denton back.

    Alex: I've just tried calling him but no answer.
    Denton: it's not like him to not answer his phone.
    Alex: Ill call around to his office.

    The journey took less than ten minutes. Alex walked into the large old office to find Jacobs sat facing the window overlooking the grounds of the university. The book from 54 was open on his desk. The room was dim, Alex slowly walked towards the professor.
    Silence filled the dusty old room. Stepping closer he felt the room seem to take a heavy. Sombre feel.
    "Professor Jacobs..." He asked. But there was no movement.

    As Alex reached the back of the chair he put his outstretched hand on the right side of the back rest and span it around to face him. The professor slumped slighty in the chair as the sight of the professor's gaunt gray pale face made Alex winse.
    Again there was a stench of damp earth. Looking down at the wrists of Jacobs , There in clear view was a left arm with out a hand. Flesh hanging in chunks. Two sharp fragment of bone jutting out from the stump.

    The chair and floor were covered in blood. His face with a look of shear terror. Alex giped and wretched as the full sight of the scene hit home. He stumbled back nearly falling over the books stacked on the floor.

    Running from the office shouting for help. A frenzied Alex headed to the reception and to where he new the building security would be.

    " what did the police say" Eve said as she and Denton sat in the hospital waiting room. Denton's eyes were red from the tears and anguish of the news the police had brought her.
    " They said it looks like suicide, that he bled to death in his office" Denton answered. " There is no way he would ever kill himself. His fucking hand was missing!" She was angry at the police's initial conclusion.
    Eve looked at her watch. " This is complete and utter madness. Im going to see whats going on with Alex".

    Alex had been taken to the hospital for a check up as he was showing all the signs of shock. Common with massive stress. Eve was sick of waiting and made her way to his cubicle.

    Pulling the curtain to one side slightly she saw Alex. He was sat up right on the bed. He looked up at her.
    She walked into the small room. Pulling a chair upto the bed. " This is just madness Alex..the police think it was suicide! But how can that be?" She said.

    "There is no way that Jacobs would ever kill himself. Never!" He said. " I saw that book open on his desk, he must have been reading it before" Alex couldn't bring himself to contemplate the events that led to Jacobs death ..."before what ever happened in that office!" He continued.
    Eve's eyes started to well up as she looked to the sky. She felt that she was responsible for this. Her house. Her book. The weight on her shoulders was heavy to bare.

    "What are we going to do? If we tell the police they will think we are crazy! No one is going to believe us" She said. Her head was a mixture of panic and sorrow. She had brought her problem to Jacobs and now he was dead.

    Alex reached for his jacket. Opening it out he pulled out the book. Eve looked at the old leather bound sleave. " we need to destroy this book! But first we need to rid your house of whats in it!" Alex said with a defiant tone.
    He was angry.

    After a short time Alex was allowed to leave the hospital. The shock of finding the professor in that way had shook him to the core. But he knew that this ongoing nightmare had to end.
    He sat in the back of Dentons car. The book on his lap. Eve sat in the passenger seat opposite Denton.
    The ride was silent, the earlier events had brought it home to all of them. That this was something more than they knew how to deal with.

    It was now night time and the plan was to take Alex back to his home and figure out what to do next.
    But he had other ideas. This had to end now.
    "I want to go to Eve's house!" He stated. Denton looked in her central mirror right into his eyes. " Alex you have been through enough today. We all have!" She said worrying about making rash decisions. After the death hours earlier.

    Eve was taken aback by Alex's demand. But she somehow understud that they had to end this.
    " Hes right. The professor is dead and its because of whatever is in my house and that book is the key to it!" Eve although now more scared than ever was determined that this was going to end!

    Knowing that it was a pointless argument Denton drove to Pinewood road. All three brave souls stepped out of the car and staired at the house.
    Alex felt like the house was taughnting him to step back inside. They each looked at the house.The gray unwelcoming hue of the night sky made it look like the stuff of nightmares. Exept this was a real nightmare. Eve lead them through the garden and into the house.

    Denton shut the front door behind her as she followed closely behind Alex. Eva had the book in her grasp as they stud at the bottom of the stairs.
    The house was cold. Eve turned to Alex " I know what we have to do. It has to be done." She said leading them into the kitchen, then into old utility room.

    Eve picked up two large petrol canisters from by the back door. Alex looked as she brought the into the kitchen. She placed them on the table.
    Denton was shaking her head, " your going to burn the house down? You can't be serious?..Eve" she asked.

    "I don't care about the house. This house and that fucking book need to be burnt" Eve said. Unscrewing the cap from the first canister. The unmistakable smell of petrol filled the air.
    Alex picked up the other canister and headed for the stairs. He knew the only way to bring all this to an end was setting this horrific house ablaze.

    Eve began spreading the liquid all over the kitchen. Hitting units, table, chairs. Denton could not believe that after all that had happened and especially today. She was going to be part of setting this house on fire.

    Alex was now making his way upstairs. It was pitch black. None of the light switches worked. He knew where he should be heading. The fear in his stomach made him feel physically suck. But he had to go on.
    Whatever was in this house. Needed to die.

    Whatever had made Alister Morgan kill his family, and now professor Jacobs grusome supposed suicide. Must be dispatched. Tonight.

    He headed for the door to the room where Jacobs had been trapped a few days before.
    Eve was now in the living room coating the walls and curtains in fuel. She didnt care about losing the house anymore.

    Shining his phone light onto the walls near the door to the bedroom Alex saw obscure symbols scratched into the wooden door frame.
    Pointing the light to the handle he saw that the door was slightly open.
    He gripped the handle of the petrol can he nudged the bottom of the door. As it opened the smell was ripe again the stentch made him gag. It wasn't just soil. But rotting flesh as pungent as anything he had ever smelled. He stepped in.

    The curtains to the room were fully open and the moon shone though the glass. Casting shadows on the wall.
    He placed the can on the floor. Bending down to unscrew the top. In the corner of the room he saw a figure. Dark and featureless. Alex frozen still could only watch in horror as the creature seemed to climb the wall and crouch into the corner of the ceiling.

    Slowly moving the light of the phone to where the entity was waiting. The beem of light moved up the creatures body. It had human form. Two legs and two arms and appeared to be covered in black wet tar like liquid.
    The face of the horrific was now in full view.

    A long wide open mouth snarled at Alex spitting pure vemon. Showing rotten sharp teeth. Clinging to the wall its head lurched forward. Alex fell backward tipping the can over in the process. The flammable contence glugged onto the floor from the hole.

    Alex srambled to his feet and out of the door. Falling again into the wall next to the stair rail. "Its up here! " he shouted stumbling down stairs. The front door wide open. He ran into the living room to see the entity now downstairs. Slashing and ripping at Denton's neck in the corner of the room. Her neck oozing blood as Eve was laid out cold on the floor.

    Denton's eyes met Alex's as he saw the last flickers of life leave her body. Getting to his feet he grabbed Eves no empty petrol can and ran at the demon. With one thunderous swing he hit the monster around the head. Knocking it to floor.

    The creature jumped straight back up and lauched like a cat at Alex. Claw like nails digged into Alexs side and arm as he cried out in pain. Hitting the floor with this beast on top of him.

    Eve had now come round and was standing in the doorway holding the book and a lighter. The flame inches from the pages.

    "BELETH!!" she shouted. The creature still on top of Alex. Turned its head and screeched an unholy noise as it saw Eve with the book. Alex could feel the demons fingers had pierced his body. Blood poured from Alex's wounds. He struggled to breath.

    "Burnt it..." Alex mouthed to Eve as he grabbed at the demon with what life he had left in him.
    Eve cryed as she saw the lifeless Dentons bidy on the floor. "Do it!" He managed to say as the monster tried to fight its way to Eve at the door. Alex knew there only hope was if he held onto the monster.

    Lighting the book she saw the pages catch fire fast. Throwing the book into the petrol soaked room made the furniture spark up to a blazing sight as Alex held on bravely to the now flaming creature.
    The blast from the fire pushed Eve back. Staggering out the front door and up the path traveling backward and stumbling back.

    Fire engulfed the house within seconds. She leaded against the gate post. Tears running down her face.
    She looked to her left and up at a figure stud next to her. It was a man carrying a small satchel. Dressed in a black trench coat.
    He was stairing at the burning house. Windows broke in the intense heat of the flames.
    "Im to late..." He said quietly in an irish accent. He looked down at Eve on the floor. He knelt down beside her. Putting his arm around her. They both sat and watched the flames burn the house to ashes. The wale of fire engine sirens filled the air.



    Any construtive advice would be very welcome...this is my firat short story.

  2. #2
    Hi. Good that you got your first draft down. I'd be interested to see some later drafts, but even here there are some moments of good scene setting. I particularly liked: "Cherubs and devils adorned the wooden surface." That is great use of scenery to set the tone effectively and quickly, so it doesn't intrude but colours the text with cherubs and devils, suggesting some sort of demonic activity

    Meanwhile some things to consider when working towards the next draft are:

    Sentence structure
    Many writers lean towards things like comma splicing and sentence fragments. There is a time and a place for such things but like any trick of the trade they need to work for you. I mean things like:

    Sentence fragments
    Eve placed the camera on the kitchen table, sitting herself directly in front of the lens. She paused. Clicking the record button. She took a sharp intake of breath.
    ...
    Eve had now come round and was standing in the doorway holding the book and a lighter. The flame inches from the pages.

    This is where you have a sentence with a non active verb in it. They can make a scene punchier and more tense, but ... just use sparingly for max effect.


    Repetition
    Watch for repeated words (even different forms of words). Eg:
    "She took a sharp intake of breath"
    has repeated took/take. It would probably prevent a reader from immersing themselves as fully as they otherwise could into your story.



    Too Much Information
    In the literal sense, this is when writers overwrite, and overdescribe, focussing on minutiae when they should focus on pertinent things and events. It's a completely counterintuitive method but there it is For example:

    I read the report Denton took in Eve's phone interview. she seems to be genuine!". Professor Jacobs opens the file again as he continues to speak. Denton was only called Denton by Alex and the professor. Sally to her girlfriends had been working for the administration side of the team for about six months, it was easy money and she found the work interesting, its hard living on the student loan lifestyle.
    Running his finger down the hand writen text taken only a day before. Jacobs began to study the profile.

    That italicised section is backstory and exposition, often calle infodumping, which, while relevant to you as you define and shape your characters and story, can probably be X'ed out of the next cut. If you want to characterise Denton as kind of austere, only called by hist first name by a select few, then simply have someone do that with at most a little aside about how only they can do it, because that shows character. All that about Sally and the admin is exposition. Again, just have that at the back of your mind as you write her; maybe marrionette her into doing things that such a person would do, but there's no need to inform us, particularly when we're in the midst of some sort of monster hunt!

    SPaG
    Watch also for general spelling and grammar. Too many errors and readers can and will struggle to finish a piece.

    Consistency
    You change tenses a couple of times here, from past to present and back. Pick one and stick to it unless you have a good reason for doing otherwise.

    Anyway, hope this is of use. Good luck with it all


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    The first cut don't hurt at all
    The second only makes you wonder
    The third will have you on your knee
    s
    - Propaganda, "Duel"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous








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