The Lisa and Lewis.
By John R A Smith.
By request the first three books in one.
So much has happened both to my friends and me, It was a death which started this line of investigations, and its connection to me, and in later years a detective constable named Lisa Dunbar who was to become one of the focal character of these stories.
As I stated it all started from the death of a young girl from a gypsy family, and who had been found lying face down, and upon a nearby window were the words gypsy scum written in her blood.
At the time, and sadly I regret to say that the police were not called in, and the crime was only recorded by a young priest, and who gave the mother and her two surviving children…, food and refuge, and later took her in the shelter of darkness, back to the security of her family encampment.
It had gone past midnight by the time they arrived and the camp was already packed and awaiting our arrival, and then after ensuring the woman and children were save, the young priest went to the camp leader, and the priest removed a heavy bag he had been carrying from across his shoulders and gave it to the man, along with a quantity of money.
Inside the bag was food plus communion wine and some clothing, and if you are wondering how I know this…, I was that young priest and the camp leader was the son of my brother, and I knew this crime was just the tip of an enormous metaphorical iceberg.
Before I departed, I turned to the woman my distant Niece and hugged her… and gave her a Rosary. “Keep this with you at all times, and it will protect you,” I said to her…, it has been blessed by the knights of the Holy Order, and then I departed knowing in my mind that this was only the beginning, and that a battle was to rage involving forces not of this world between good and evil. And in whose outcome was unknown.
Thirty years had passed and I had rebuilt my life as best as any young priest could, but that discovery of my nephew’s daughter’s child was only the beginning of my involvement in supernatural event’s, until one day after finishing early morning mass, I had returned to the vestry and there was a knock upon my door. As I opened the door, there before me stood DC Lisa Dunbar. “Good morning Father, can I have a word with you”, enquired the detective, after she had shown me her ID.
I had blinked in surprise, “Please come in, would you like a tea or a coffee,” I enquired, but she just smiled. “I’d prefer a wee dram of scotch if you can spare some,” she replied. “It’s as bad as that…, is it child,” I said…, and she grinned and sat down after removing her coat.
I was partial to a drink myself even at this time of morning, but then most priests were.
DC Lisa explained the reason for her visit, and she reached into her pocket and removed a rosary with my name inscribed upon its back. I recognised it immediately even though I had not seen it in over thirty years, as it once belonged to my father and was hand forged from pure silver, and held jade beads from Tibet, and once belonged to the Knights of the God.
“You gave this to my mother when I was but a baby in arms, and one of my older sisters had been murdered while the family was out selling heather and pegs”.
Liza paused at the memory of her mother, but then continued. “Mar told me who you were and that you saved their lives that day, and at great risk to your own life.”
I reflected back and remembered yet again that night so long ago, but Lisa continued talking.
“We eventually settled and thanks to Barbra Cartland…, us gypsy children were finally given an education, and in time I did well in my school and even went to university…, on leaving I joined the police, and worked my way to be a detective.”
I looked at her, but I could sense something truly disturbed her, “My brother is a priest,” she told me laughing “But he settled in Germany.” I could sense she was distressed, so I took her hand.
“Lisa I am truly pleased to see you, but I suspect there is something of importance to this visit,” I said, and she grimaced. “Yes Father,” and then she paused, after a time she breathed in and then exhaled, “My mother was found murdered last month, and like my sister…, she was found drained of almost all her blood…, but she had your rosary beads in her hand, and written in her blood upon the floor was your name.”
I was astonished, utterly shocked and stunned at this news. “Oh, we know you had nothing to do with it as we checked, and you were with over a hundred fellow Priests at an ordination meeting, and we even have photographic evidence, so you have nothing to fear Father,” she said laughing. None the less I took another drink of scotch and then refilled my glass, and offered her some more, but she declined.
“Dear Lord, I am truly sorry my child”, I replied. “She was a good woman and I as you know…, I knew your father as he was my brother’s son.”
DC Lisa blinked and then looked at me, and I could tell there was yet more to come. “What is it Lisa…, your eyes tell me there is yet more you need to tell.” And she shifted uncomfortably, as I watched her bite into her lower lip. “Mother told me my sister was bled dry and that you were first to find her.”
I looked at her and knew this was a test. “That’s not entirely accurate, as I did go to the body of your sister…, and yes, I did remove her so she could be buried quickly and safely…, but I was not the first to find her,” I told her.
I could see my honest answer settled her mind. “Can you tell me what was written in the blood,” she asked me, and I knew that answer even now…, as every single night for over thirty years I had faced the same nightmare.
I looked at her and said, “Gypsy scum”, I replied praying that was the answer she wanted. Lisa looked at me, “Not that writing Father…, the other words written in blood across her body.”
I felt cold, and I took a further drink of scotch and shuddered looking at her eyes. “Number 9,” I informed her. She looked at me, “Was it,” she asked, and then I knew what she was asking me, as over the previous years to her sister’s murder, eight earlier victims had fallen to the same type of crime.
But that was not all, five of those victims had been found to have their graves desecrated and their coffins opened, with the body removed, and each coffin looked as if it had been broken from the inside as if something had forced its way out.
As I poured myself yet another drink, I offered Lisa some, “No thank you Father,” she looked at me. “Can I take it from your reaction that there were eight earlier victims,” and I nodded yes.
“Can I ask you one further question Father,” and I again nodded yes. “How do you cope with the nightmares,” she replied, and my heart went out to her.
“Nightmares…, are you suffering with them also?” I enquired…, and this time she nodded yes. I reached out and took hold of her hand. “Faith child, if I did not have my faith, I would go mad,” I told her.
I could see some tears in her eyes. “Do you believe me child?” I asked her, and she smiled wiping away the tears. “Yes Father, and as did my mother…, and I truly believe your beads kept her safe, and it was only after mum gave them to me that she died,” She told me.
But I stopped and looked into her eyes, “But you said she died with those beads in her hand,” I replied to her.
She did give them to me Father, and her exact words were…, these will keep you safe as they have protected me, and now I pass them on to you, to protect you in your work and life.”
She told me this…, but I was still confused, and Lisa smiled, “I had slipped them back into her pocket without her realising Father, but I fear now whatever protection they held had now passed to me.”
I tried telling her the only protection I needed was my hand gun, as I am one of the few detectives licensed to carry,” she told me. I then understood what had happened…, I looked at her and spoke.
“Child would you do something for me…, I know there have been many similar murders since, as I hear far more than you could imagine through confessions, and it must now be in the hundreds” I told her, and to my surprise she answered me straight away, “Four hundred and nine”, she said, “and three unconfirmed”.
I gulped…, “I feared as much,” I said, “you are facing a supernatural creature, and one of immense power.” I paused and thought, “If you let me, I can keep you safe, but you must keep those rosary beads with you at all times,” I said, and then looked at her. “But if you have a partner, they will be unsafe and in extreme danger,” I said.
I could see yet more tears, “I have already lost my partner, he was found with his neck ripped out only three days ago, but…, but there is another problem, and the reason why I am here.”
I looked at her, “How can I be of help child just tell or ask of me,” I said. She smiled and drew in energy to speak, “Can you help me with this case Father, as I fear it is more than I can cope with.”
I lowered my head, “Child if only I could…, but alas I can’t.” I replied and I saw the shock on her face. “But your father was a police officer as was his father, and you started out in the police…, but later left to join the church.” She said and I breathed in to draw strength.
“I know child and yes over the years I have assisted with some thirty or more case files, but now…, alas now I have cancer and I am dying child, so I can no longer help you,” I said.
“But I have two daughters Father and one of them I fear has been marked for death…, she…, she keeps telling me there is someone watching her during the night, and I fear for her life and soul.” She said crying, and I breathed in and shuddered at the thought of the innocent child facing this monster.
“Ok child I will help, and I can offer what knowledge I have, and for as long as my strength holds out.”
“I will be over in the morning and bring what files I can, and thank you Father,” replied Lisa. She moved over and kissed me and then lifted her coat put it on and left.
As she closed the door, the inner vestry door opened and in walked an old priest. “It is pointless to fight…, you know the child will be taken,” he told me, and I just looked at him without answering, and he grinned, “You could also be cured, you have no need to suffer or die.” But I ignored his stupid taunts and walked away.