Thursday, 17 December 2015 18:38

The Resurrectionist - Chapter IV

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Chapter IV

From the bloodied journal of William Elbridge.

Collecting my thoughts; I had heard rumors, from those whom I had interviewed, about an incident in Armenia. Of course I had found articles, documenting that the excavation team suffered at the hands of Armenian bandits. Though one soul survivor had lived long enough to hand in a tattered expedition journal, belonging to Colonel Richard Thompson. I viewed this diary yesterday; I read the words as if the Colonel had spoken them to me himself. Such tragedy. I was remarkably surprised at the ease in which I acquired the journal; it had been stored at the local infirmary where the survivor eventually died, in a doctors desk draw; cast aside like a piece of badly written fiction. Using my, slightly, inquisitive mind, I managed to locate the doctor and the office in which the journal was kept. All in all, the doctor sold me the journal for two shillings. I am attempting to rationalize my thoughts; the journal and its contents are astounding, however I need to remain calm and collected.

I had my first piece of physical evidence, besides my own experiences. Oddly, I was in two minds about the find, on the one hand I had discovered proof, albeit in the form of a tattered book, on the other hand Thompson’s description of his metamorphosis is harrowing. I had pondered, for an entire night on the horrific things that could, in all realms of likelihood, happen to me. I had also concluded that the amateur approach taken by the creature on Richard Thompson indicated a lack of: knowledge, skill or both. Had the entity ‘practiced’ and honed his skills into a far more effective process? My wounds, though unwelcome, did not resemble the horrific contusions that Thompson awoke to find. Misfortune it seemed, was not bound to the vibrating hive of London, there was no connection, which I could notice, between Richard Thompson and me; it seemed that the attacks were not personal, and indeed a clinical ‘selection’.

Though I had, at least, verified my situation, the enigmatic process in which the beast inflicted his twisted mutation is still unknown to me. If I were to ever discover its origin it would be at the hands of the beast himself; I thought, for a moment, or entrapping the beast, inviting another surgical procedure.

“Don’t be injudicious!” Rebuke screamed. “You’ll fail, again and again.”

“Will you hold your vile tongue, I’ve made great progress.” I grinned smugly. “Only now I can I see through the thick black fog that surrounded me, answers will be mine soon.”

I had returned to the Briar Inn, journal in hand to re-read and re-analyze Thompson’s events; imaginably I could catch something I had originally missed. Oh how I waited for something to leap forth from the page, grab me by the collar and bellow the answer, clear for all to hear. Lest, I continued my reading; these few items were all I had to my name, a torn leather journal, my experience and a large bottle of Laudanum.

“Good luck William.” Rebuke mordantly chuckled.

Alas, the time has come. I had received word of a small ship heading to Arhavi, in Turkey; from there I can buy passage on the newly installed railway and enter Armenia. Such trepidation and awe coaxed me into an irrationally excitable state. It would take me a few weeks to arrive, but hopefully I can learn more about what Doctor Gradstein was trying to discover under the coarse sand near Garni temple. I had gathered all of the coin that I could muster, selling tapped Laudanum abetted substantially. I was prepared, to face whatever cruel history Gradstein unearthed, however the beast that Colonel Thompson became, was never found and likely roamed the site to this day.

“Buck up William.” Rebuke chattered.

I continued across the docks, my hands filled with cases and containers; I imagine I was quite the talk of the harbor as I skipped across to the ‘St Mary-Ann’ where the Captain and crew awaited the few passengers they had allowed. I stood at the bottom of the boarding ramp, staring up at the grizzled Captain and the rusted steamship that he commanded.

“Ahoy, are you Captain Archdale?” I chirped.

“You’re looking for the St Mary-Ann, aren’t you?” the Captain replied. “And here you are, standing next to the vessel, of course I am.”

Chuckling nervously. “I’m terribly sorry, just a polite habit, I guess.”

“I you want to see the Turkish shore anytime soon, I suggest you climb aboard and get comfortable.”

I settled in, making my way into the bowl of the ship. I could smell the engine below, the coals and hot vapor seeped through the cracks and creases. Convincing myself I would grow accustomed to it, I found the bunkroom. Having placed my effects I headed back up to the surface.

“Cast off Mr. Slattery!” Archdale bellowed.

We began our long journey. I waited, with great anticipation to prepare my research. I would justify my madness, or die trying.

From the account on Wilhelm Walker, inmate-sixty, The Old Baily HMP

This is the written, psychological, account of inmate sixty: Wilhelm Walker. I, Dr. Percy Trickle, will proceed with interviewing the inmate.

“Good morning Wilhelm.” I spoke, clearly and assertively. “You know why I am here, do you not?”

“Of course I do, I’ve seen your devil-face in the nightmares that haunt me.”

“Now, that is no way to respond Wilhelm, is it?”

Wilhelm chuckled violently. “You’ve got a preferred list of responses? No? Then, may I ask, why would you ask for my response in the first place?”

“It’s my prerogative to help you Wilhelm, you’re a madman.”

“I might be doctor, I just might be. Nonetheless consider for a minute that I am correct, and that a demon attacked me, taking my flesh for himself; what then?”

“Well, for my own records, why don’t you tell me what happened?”

Wilhelm chuckled once more and recited his experience, as if it were scripted.

“It was May, of this year, eighteen-ninety. I had been working near Oxford, on the railway; we knew the dangers, but it paid well. One night, I was awoken while taking a nap near the tunnel; I turned to see a suited man, just staring at me. I asked for his name, nothing. I finally stood to confront him when I saw his skin, his rotten putrid flesh. I cried in terror, swinging my fists toward him.” Wilhelm paused, growing increasingly agitated.

“It’s quite alright Wilhelm, continue.”

“He grabbed me, I have never felt strength like I did that night; he broke my arm clean and then tossed me aside like I was nothing more then a sack of coal. I tried to go after him, but he moved unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced; after I finally caught up with him, I witnessed him pull apart the rest of the railway workers. You have to understand Doctor, these men were still asleep.”

“Now, Wilhelm, this is where there is a great deal of speculation, when the police finally found you, well… you were hacking one of them to pieces, weren’t you?”

“You don’t understand, he threw some kind of black fluid on his face, it drove him mad, I feared for my life.”

“Why kill him Wilhelm? Why not clear the liquid off?”

“It was not of this world, I promise you.”

“Well, our investigators found no evidence of black liquid, or the creature you describe.”

“It’s a phantom, of secular design. It was trying to possess me, as it did my workmate, I-I had no choice.”

I paused for a moment, it seemed, though deranged Wilhelm was not lying to me. Taking into account the police report, there is no evidence of such a being, yet I was inclined to investigate further.

“Tell me more about this demon?”

Our discussion drew long into the night, the sounds of horror in Wilhelm’s voice were thought provoking, if a little overwhelming. Phrases like ‘eternal torture’ and ‘fleshy mutation’ were far too disquieting for me to simply rule them as the ramblings of a madman. Later that evening Wilhelm decided he could not talk about it anymore. I stopped the interview and proceeded to my note taking, had I known that would be the last time I saw Wilhelm, I would have said something a little more meaningful than ‘You can have a three hour break’. Wilhelm had smuggled a shoelace from one of the guards and hung himself until dead, I had witnessed the fear in his eyes, and he was no more inane than a child afraid of the dark.

I feel I have stirred a fear in myself, though upon academic review, I conclude that Wilhelm Walker was a victim of an overwhelming breakdown resulting in the, somewhat, ‘accidental’ murders of his fellow workers. In the interest of public safety I recommend that all workers exhibiting a disillusioned ‘fear’ to be reported to me immediately.

Dr. Percy H. Trickle

From the bloodied journal of William Elbridge

I read Dr. Trickles analysis of Wilhelm Walker, with great unease. A man of great repute had a chance to investigate the report further, but was unable to muster the courage to do so. They could have brought the wrath of the police onto the creature, run him out of London, or better still; kill the bastard.

I am exhausted; we’ve been at sea for just under a week, going over all the notes I could gather gave me no elation, only added to the colossal list of questions I possessed. I had also begun to doubt the journey to Armenia; what possible joy could behold in such a place. I had lost faith, utterly. Damn it all, I’ll rest and wallow in anger and pity, though in my time aboard the St Mary-Ann, I had a curious poem circle round my mind.

To wield

father of worry

withering fate

it's the fruit of your creation

your child to bear

the scent of your being

to which the wolves will devour

It isn’t plentiful, but one should express what one could, when able. My long journey does draw to a close, very soon; I have been told that we will dock tomorrow morning, there I shall find passage to Armenia, and then if all succeeds I shall find some answers to the questions Dr. Gradstein was probing.

 

The Resurrectionist started as a morbid fascination with the macabre, Edgar Allen Poe, H.P Lovecraft and Clive Barker to name a few. As I began to gestate the idea for short story I soon found my self writing more and more, the book took on a life of its own and before I new it I had a 100+ page novella.

I had discussed literature with a friend about 3-4 years ago who told me that long chapters were such a turn off when reading; (as he’d read on the bus or before bed) he simply wanted short manageable chapters to which he could gain a sort of closure in a relatively short time frame. And so I did just that, though the chapters consist of a few pages, they act as a great many short ‘testimonies’, diary entries, accounts and nightmares by the folly of victims.

Read 1095 times Last modified on Friday, 18 December 2015 07:53
Jake E. Sampson

Jake E. Sampson was born in a small, quirky, town in the United Kingdom, from there he attended University in Cardiff and eventually followed the writer’s calling to Los Angeles. He is a writer, director, musician and lover of all things dark. Writing a series of short stories: some science fiction, some crime thriller, others horror Jake draws influence from: Clive Barker, H.P Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, Phillip K. Dick, Chuck Palahniuk, Mary Shelly, Stieg Larsson.

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