Dark Soul

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Jacob closed the large double doors leading into the chapel foyer and waved a final goodbye to Emma and Greg as they pulled away in their car into the moonlit night. Turning slowly he made his way back through the hallway that led towards his study deeper into the chapel. Barnabas his golden retriever came walking slowly behind him his tail wagging as he trailed along behind; occasionally gazing up at his master. As they entered the study Barnabas slid with practised ease under the large oaken desk that dominated the study slowly unfurling himself in a worn old dog bed that lay tucked in one corner underneath the desk and with a long contented sigh he closed his eyes and fell asleep. Absently stroking Barnabas as his canine companion slipped alongside him and under his desk Jacob found himself standing in front of an old antique bookshelf that stretched almost the entirety of the wall it had been placed in front of. Standing there for a moment gazing at the rows of books before him he rubbed his chin with his hand as he strained his eyes to read the volumes on the shelves in front of him. Finally in frustration he reached onto his desk and finding the object he was looking for Jacob slipped a pair of reading spectacles onto his brow before he carried on perusing the bookshelf in front of him; his face coming together in a frown as the book he sought eluded him.

‘Where could it be?’

Jacob thought as he pondered about the conversation that had taken place between him and Marcus this evening. He had known Marcus for the past twenty years of his life; ever since the two of them had met whilst he had been helping John with the original murders all those many years ago and the two of them had often shared tea at the house of Marcus talking about all manner of things but it was one particular conversation that had Jacob searching his shelves for this book in particular.

It was some years ago when they had been discussing John and the conversation turned to the Cain murders of old and Marcus had been asking about an old book kept in the church library about Lycanthropy.

Just then it was as if the memories had focused Jacobs eyes as he let out a triumphant shout.

“There it is!” The chaplain cried out as he finally discovered the book he had been searching for.

The noise caused Barnabas to snuffle in his sleep and raise one eye ever so slightly at the annoyance before falling back to sleep secure in the knowledge that all was well once more. Jacob reached out and slipped the book from its snug place on the shelf and placed it carefully on his desk before pulling out his chair and sitting down. Slowly he ran his hand across the old leather bound tome; his fingers tracing across the words etched in Latin that decorated the front of the book. “Evangeli ha Satanas” Jacob murmured to himself as he translated its text in his mind to mean the Gospel of Satan. The original was locked away deep inside the Vatican Vaults of course and had been for many years but there are still several copies in circulation used for both the assistance of good and evil he mused. Jacob almost hesitantly turned the cover and ran his finger slowly down the index finding the page he sought before carefully folding the pages over onto each other until he arrived at the correct chapter. It was graphically depicted by a large werewolf consuming a man in its jaws and the English translation of the heading read the demonic pact of man to become a wolf. Jacob paused and adjusted his glasses as he read on skipping parts that were familiar to him before finally coming to the part that he had been trying to remember and that which interested him most since his conversation with Marcus this evening.

Diabolica pactione hominis fieri lupum

’And Man entered into a pact with the Devil Belial, father of lies, to bind his soul with that of a demon from Satan’s Kingdom gaining its powers and abilities but forfeiting his mortal soul in the bargain. Transforming from man to beast into the werewolf by the power of the demon spirit trapped within the mortal vessel of the man.’

Jacob nodded to himself as he read through the chapter his finger occasionally running slowly across the page until he finally came across the section of the text he sought.

‘Seeing the devastation that the demons clad in wolf skin wrought upon Gods children the Arch Angel Phanuel, bringer of hope, walked among the final tribes of man teaching them how to destroy these demons made flesh.’

Jacob paused for a moment as he heard a noise which he thought might have been the old iron gates leading to the chapel creaking open but as silence descended upon him once more he simply shrugged his shoulders and carried on reading. After skipping several more lines he once again carried on reading the pertinent parts he had been seeking in the book.

’Like all creatures born from the dark flames of the underworld they can be destroyed by the all consuming fires of this world.’

Once more Jacob’s finger skipped through lines of demonic and religious text recounting various battles between man and beast before resting upon the last paragraph.

’Man under the tutelage of Phanuel fashioned weapons of silver imbued with prophylactic properties poisoned the demons blood and cured man of the demons taint.’

Jacob lowered his glasses to the tip of his nose and sat back in his chair taking a moment to ponder upon the information he had just digested. Leaning forward he slowly removed his glasses and placed them once more upon the desk in front of him. Folding the book shut he stood as he gathered it up in his arms before making his way back to the bookshelf and returning it to its dusty seat. His hand slowly traced its way down two shelves to a medical journal that had been given to him a couple of years ago by a parishioner. Slipping it out and onto his desk he once more began flipping through the pages of another book before finally coming to rest on the page he sought. Screwing up his eyes as he tried to read the text Jacob muttered in frustration under his breath and reached for his glasses; deftly slipping them on before reading the article before him.

’Silver makes antibiotics thousands of times more effective

Ancient antimicrobial treatment could help to solve modern bacterial resistance.

Like werewolves and vampires, bacteria have a weakness: silver. The precious metal has been used to fight infection for thousands of years. Hippocrates first described its antimicrobial properties in 400 B.C; but how it works has been a mystery.

Now, a team led by a prominent biomedical engineer at a leading University in America, has described how silver can disrupt bacteria, and shown that the ancient treatment could help to deal with the thoroughly modern scourge of antibiotic resistance. The work is published today in Science & Medicine.

“Resistance is growing, while the number of new antibiotics in development is dropping. We wanted to find a way to make what we have work better” said Dr. Harris.

Harris and his team found that silver in the form of dissolved ions attacks bacterial cells in two main ways.

It makes the cell membrane more permeable, and it interferes with the cell’s metabolism, leading to the overproduction of reactive, and often toxic, oxygen compounds. Both mechanisms could potentially be harnessed to make today’s antibiotics more effective against resistant bacteria, Harris says.

Jacob finished reading the article and closed the journal his mind awash with thoughts about what is science fact and what has been thought of only in legend and myth. It was evident to him that there was obviously a link between the texts; but while he did not believe in werewolves or vampires it is was clear to him now that silver has been used by many generations and civilizations to keep mankind free from infection and disease.

Its link to fighting those possessed by some sought of virus or disease could easily be construed by people over the ages as a cure for demonic possessions or Lycanthropy.

Jacob rubbed his eyes suddenly becoming aware at how late it had become and with this realization he stretched back in his chair stifling a yawn as he did so. Standing he moved quietly across the study placing his glasses once more upon his desk as he did so. His silhouette cast a shadow as he stood in the doorway of the study pausing momentarily to flick the light switch down. The room was immediately bathed in darkness except for the light flooding in from the hallway leading from the Study. At the sound of the clicking of the light switch Barnabus awoke and rolled out from underneath the desk stretching as he did so then bounded lazily from the study as his master pulled the door shut. The hallway Jacob stood in connected the main chapel and the adjoining chapel house where he resided; it stretched about ten metres with several adjoining rooms leading from it. Just as he was about to turn and head into the main house Jacob heard a noise from the chapel.

“What could that be?” Jacob wondered as he posed the question out loud to Barnabus who simply stared back up at him with quizzical brown eyes and a slowly wagging tail.

“I bet that’s that naughty Cassiel knocking things over again in the Chapel” Jacob still looking at Barnabus posed the question to his canine companion while he pictured whatever manner of mischief his black cat Cassiel was getting up to in the Chapel.

Little did the Chaplain know that it could not possibly have been his cat Cassiel as she was at that moment in time across town with Emma and Greg. Barnabus simply tilted his head slightly and began to pant gently as he waited for his master.

“Yes. Why am I having another one of these conversations with you Barnabus!” Jacob smiled as he ruffled his dogs head before turning and walking a few feet back to the entrance hall of the house.

Plucking an old style oil lamp from the shelf and lighting it quickly with a match from a nearby box of matches he turned back into the hallway.

“Stay. No Barnabas! Stay!” Jacob pointed at his four legged companion as Barnabas began to follow him from the entrance hall in the house back to the hallway connecting to the chapel.

Quickly Jacob slid himself out of the house closing the door behind him hearing the resounding click of the latch as it fell down in place followed by the low pitched whine from Barnabas as he was unable to follow. The old chapel had been built around the 13th or 14th century and despite being modernised at the turn of the last century its electrics were patchy at best and tonight was no exception. Jacob had reported the matter to the electrical board a day since past but no one had yet been out to rectify the problem. He found himself walking towards the chapel in almost complete darkness; with the only light to be found coming from the oil lamp which he carried with him. The flickering glow of the old oil lamp in his possession, which he held out ahead of him, was the only light that pierced the darkness surrounding him. Walking along the hallway Jacob could see the light from the lamp cast shadows along the walls which danced like demons alongside him as he made his way along the hallway towards the chapel. Nearing the chapel archway that led directly into the nave he felt a breeze pick up which caused the wick to flicker within the oil lamp; this in turn caused the demonic like shadows which danced across the walls around him to seemingly reach a crescendo in their devilish dance before suddenly disappearing as the wind dropped once more.

He reached out towards the large iron ring that hung from the door as a handle. Grasping it firmly he felt the cold iron in his hand before firmly twisting it and releasing the latch that held the door in place then finally pulling it towards him opening the door before him. Jacob held the lamp out in front of him and slowly stepped into the main chapel area ever mindful not to step on Cassiel should she come bounding from out of the shadows. Once again he felt the wind blowing through the chapel causing the flame seated in the lamp to dance again and the demonic shadows to come back life only this time they danced on the ceiling of the Chapel itself.

How on earth did that come open?’ Jacob thought to himself as he slowly peered through the darkness towards the doorway holding up the lamp as he did so.

Walking down the nave towards the porch housing the large chapel door he shone the lamp around looking for his cat as he passed the various benches. As Jacob approached the door he reached out to examine it; his hand coming to rest upon the arched frame surrounding it. He could clearly see the frame had splintered where it had been smashed in by some powerful force leaving the door hanging limply next to the shattered frame. Jacob shook his head and for a moment was perplexed as what to do; it had been many years since anyone had broken into the chapel and nothing of value was stored here any more but then his mind began to race and he remembered the procession he was to lead this Sunday and they had been rehearsing today and the processional cross was still at the back of the chapel in the chancel. He turned to go check on the chancel but before he took more than a few steps a figure appeared from the darkness outside the chapel and filled the entranceway causing Jacob to stop in his tracks and turn back towards the figure.

“Who? Who are you?” He said in a startled tone.

The figure was a male standing over six feet tall in height and his broad muscular physique was silhouetted by the moonlight streaming into the chapel. Without a word the figure began to approach the chaplain; instinctively Jacob began to slowly back away along the nave into the chancel holding out the lamp in front of him as if to ward away an evil spirit.

“I warn you I’ve called the police and they are on their way here now.” Jacob tried to keep his voice calm as he attempted to scare the intruder off by claiming the police were on their way despite the fact he had made no such call.

The shadowy figure merely smiled a broad smile at the chaplain as he carried on advancing towards him. It seemed to Jacob that all of a sudden he had run out of room to back away into and he found himself pressed up against the altar in the chancel and he had nowhere left to retreat to. Glancing back over his shoulder he saw the processional cross still laying upon the altar, its surface shimmered silver in the light cast by the lamp, he was briefly relieved that it had not yet been stolen by the thief who was bearing down upon him.

“Now stop right there!” Jacob managed to conjure up his sternest voice to chide the thief while his mind thought of another avenue of escape.

The would be thief stopped in front of Jacob and at last spoke which gave Jacob some comfort that he might actually be able to engage the intruder in some form of dialect.

“I have a message from my father.” The figure spoke slowly in a deep guttural tone as if finding the language hard to speak.

Jacobs face was painted with a perplexed look from the words he was hearing but all he was able to stammer out was a meek “Yes?”

Slowly the face of the figure before him began to pulsate and contort; the man’s body began to flex and pulsate underneath his clothes as the sound of cracking bones echoed through the chapel. Screaming in pain the man began his transformation into the monster that he would soon become. Jacob cried out in horror and leaned further back on the altar which would soon to be turned into a sacrificial alter with him as the victim in whatever grisly fate soon awaited him.

A slight metallic noise echoed along the connecting hallway between the chapel and chapel house that neither Jacob nor his assailant heard. It was the faintest of sounds at first almost like someone biting on metal or more liken to the sound of large canine teeth chewing upon something. The sound grew more persistent as the causer became more insistent in its task that the catch would come free and finally Barnabas freed the catch with his teeth and twisted the iron ring that lifted it free; pulling the chapel house door open.

Jacob watched on in terror as the man finished his transformation into the werewolf that now towered above him. Its course thick dark hair covered every inch of its muscular body and its long fingers were tipped in razor sharp claws; its gaze fell upon the chaplain as its final piece of transformation completed and its human eyes turned to wolf like feral slits and an elongated snout bared its razor sharp teeth with saliva dripping from its fangs before howling a bone chilling howl.

Suddenly Jacobs senses came back to him as rationality fought the part of his mind that threatened to consumed him by panic and his mind flooded with the words he had read earlier on that evening from the books within his study. He clenched his hand around the oil lamp he still carried and crying out in pain as the heat began to sear his flesh he swung it with all his might at the beast before him but the creature simply grabbed his arm and dug its claws in as it wrapped its bestial grip around the chaplains arms causing him to cry out in even more pain before finally dropping the lamp. The lamp fell swiftly from his hand to the hard stone flooring its contents spilling across the transept floor its glass casing shattered and sprayed fragments everywhere. The oil within the old lamp soon began spreading to the nearby line of benches that were in the first congregation isle. The wick in the lamp sputtered in the wind as it gasped for fuel that was no longer there as the flames life blood spilled out across the floor of the chapel and with one final gasp the fire died out.

The werewolf looked at the lamp then at Jacob before kicking the lamp away with its hind leg; almost appearing to grin in triumph as it did so. Reaching up with its other hand the beast wrapped it around the chaplain’s throat tilting Jacobs head to one side as the werewolf opened its jaws to close them around the chaplain’s throat to taste flesh once more.

His father would be most pleased he knew if he killed the chaplain quickly as he had been instructed to do so and he was still chiding from the berating he had received earlier in the night. Although his blood lust consumed him he had been more than satiated with the meal he had consumed earlier with his siblings when they had eaten the small blonde girl and he now felt in complete control; tonight his father would not be disappointed in him.

As the creature kicked the lamp it struck the benches that were now soaked in oil and the embers of the extinguished flame upon the wick tumbled into the oil almost immediately causing the entire front two rows of seats to burst into flames roaring almost six feet into the air. The werewolf feeling the searing heat behind it released its grip upon the chaplain and turned to the fire raising its arms in defence of the fiery assailant before it. Jacob gasped and grasped his throat as he fell upon the altar almost knocking the processional cross to the floor; instinctively reaching out he managed to grab it to stop it falling. Howling with rage the werewolf turned back once more to Jacob; raising a mighty clawed hand to bring down upon the priest but before it could connect with its mighty blow, the chaplains dog, Barnabas came bounding from the hallway teeth bared and snarling as he leapt upon the werewolf sinking his teeth into its shoulder causing the beast to stagger backwards before striking Barnabas from it with a powerful clawed hand sending the chaplains dog flying across the chapel to strike the wall with a sickening thud and a resounding yelp as Barnabas lay motionless at the base of the wall. The momentum from the impact of Barnabas striking the werewolf caused it to stagger backwards dangerously close to the inferno that blazed behind it so much so that the acrid smell of burning fur begin to waft throughout the chapel. Jacob glanced at his beloved dog laid motionless against the chapel wall and his hands tightened around the only object close at hand which was the processional cross that he had saved moments earlier from being knocked to the floor from the altar. Pushing himself to his feet and with renewed determination the chaplain ran towards the beast with the cross firmly gripped in both hands.

This particular processional cross dated back to the founding days of the chapel and it had been donated by a Knight Crusader of the Templar Order. It was originally a footman’s lance which stood around six feet tall and had been used by the knight during the crusades for Jerusalem but had been modified before being donated to the church with a silver plated crucifix attached at one end and a heavy silver weight fashioned to a pointed tip covering the original lance tip on the other end to rebalance it. It was as if once more it was being wielded as a weapon again by that very same Knight of the Crusades and Jacob finding himself filled with holy zeal wielding it as a lance drove the tip deep into the werewolf. The tip sizzled as it struck the beast in the chest slipping into it with ease; the lance impaled it and forced it back towards the blazing inferno. The creature howled in agony as the silver tip began to dissolve upon contact with its blood; breaking the bonds that held its wolf like form together. Its great clawed hands reached around to grasp the lance in an attempt to pull it free from its chest as it staggered backwards into the fire. Delirious with pain and with its focus firmly on the spear protruding from its chest it stumbled further backwards; an almighty crash sounded as it smashed into the blazing wooden benches behind it. The flames gave way around the mighty beast; with its impact causing the inferno to temporarily douse. The werewolf lay there writhing in agony, the tip of the lance impaling it, but with grim determination it began to slowly pull the lance from its body. Seeing this; the chaplain leapt through the flames to stand over the fallen beast and with his hands firmly upon the crucifix positioned atop the lance he drove it down with all his might sending the tip through the werewolf and impaling the fallen beast upon the ancient stone chapel floor. Jacob stepped slowly backwards away from the creature as the flames once more began to engulf the benches; watching as the fire consumed the beast as it writhed in flaming agony. Covering his nose and mouth to block out the smell of burning flesh and hair Jacob turned from the scene before him and ran to Barnabas before kneeling down next to his faithful companion slowly stroking him as his laboured breath rattled in his lungs. Jacob could see that blood tinged his dog’s mouth and muzzle but could not be sure if the blood was from the werewolf or his canine companion. Pulling the cloth from the altar he wrapped Barnabas in it before picking him up and shielding him from the blaze as he carried his fallen four legged friend from the chapel and towards his car. Jacob placed Barnabas upon the back seat of his car then dialled the fire brigade while he began his journey into the night and onto the vets in the hope that he may yet save his beloved companion.

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