CHAPTER TWENTY TWO
Marcus Stared out the window in his kitchen; his mind was filled with thoughts of his old friend and colleague John Williams. He knew his life would never quite be the same again with the loss of his dear friend but deep down he knew there would be time for mourning after the events of tonight and for now he had to bury the emotions he felt and deal with the task ahead that still remained. He couldn’t bring back John but he would be damned sure he would bring his killer to justice.
Setting the kettle down on the stove once more having just filled the tea pot with steaming hot water Marcus lifted the pot that he had just filled and placed it upon the serving tray before carrying it and an array of cups and saucers through to his private library just off the main entrance hall. Laying out four cups and saucers he positioned the same amount of chairs respectively around the room before glancing up at the clock that rested upon the mantel piece. It was nearing midnight and he knew the others would soon be here; just then he heard a light yet persistent rapping on his front door. With a final approving look at his arrangements the professor made his way to the door and opened it gingerly. Standing there was his old friend Jacob McMasters current chaplain of the local chapel he had visited earlier in the evening.
“Come in. Come in.” Marcus welcomed his old friend with a beckoning gesture as he shook his hand. Jacob handed Marcus his coat as he stepped inside the house and said.
“I owe you an apology my old friend. You were right all along and I was too stubborn to believe you.” Jacob shook his head and frowned as he spoke.
“Nonsense. No sane man would have believed what I was telling you without having seen it for themselves.” Marcus smiled at him as he said those words and led Jacob through to the library.
“Tea?” inquired Marcus as he lifted the pot to pour.
“Please. Why are we in the library? Don’t we usually take tea in your study?” asked Jacob as he looked around the library in a puzzled manner.
“Yes. Ordinarily yes but the study at the moment is not in the state it once was. Cain was here earlier and made an abrupt exit though the study window.” Marcus frowned as he finished his sentence.
Sitting down Jacob took the tea from Marcus and simply stated.
“Then it wasn’t Cain that attacked me earlier. Who or what was it then that attacked me?” he asked emphatically.
“You must tell me everything that has happened to you this evening.” Marcus said as he sat himself down with a cup of tea cradled in his lap.
The two old friends listened to one another as they shared their experiences of the evening. They recounted their tales in turn and listened intently to the revelations they shared with each other until finally Marcus revealed to Jacob the news of their friend’s murder.
“I can’t believe he is gone Marcus.” Jacob said in a stunned voice as he absorbed the news of John’s death.
“There will be time for grieving later my friend” Marcus replied with a steely tone to his voice.
“Yes. You are right of course.” Jacob looked at his old friend with concern and knew the death of John had hit him harder than he was showing but for now at least he wouldn’t press him upon the matter.
“How is Barnabas?” Marcus asked changing the subject completely as he felt the chaplains worried look fall upon him.
“He is as well as to be expected I suppose. The vet said he has a skull fracture and several cracked ribs but she thinks he will pull though although we won’t know for sure till he makes it through the night.” Jacobs face grew grave with concern once more as he finished speaking.
“I’m sure Barnabus will be fine old friend” Marcus said as he leant forward and patted the chaplains hand reassuringly before leaning back in his seat and speaking.
“Now tell me again what the creature said right before it attacked you?” He asked in a solemn tone.
“It happened all so quickly Marcus but if I remember correctly it was something like I have a message for you from my father.” Jacob said as he steadied his tea cup upon the saucer it rested.
The professor nodded and placed his tea cup down upon his saucer before lowering his tone and saying.
“It must have been one of Cain’s children sent to kill you; but why target you?” Marcus paused as he pondered the possibilities.
“The book!” Exclaimed the chaplain.
“I was reading it earlier tonight. Oh Marcus it must all be true! Demons that claim men’s souls and transform them into wild beasts. It must have been after the book!” Jacob carried on talking explaining the details in the book he had found out to Marcus telling him about the Devil Belial and the Archangel Phanuel along with how the book described their involvement and the destructive power of fire and silver on the beasts.
“Then its possible Cain wanted the book to safeguard the knowledge of their weaknesses from us or it’s equally as likely he just wanted you dead as he knew you were involved with John and I tracking him down the first time all those years ago.” Marcus paused as he pondered upon the book and what Jacob had just told him before continuing. “What if there is more in that book than we realize and what if Cain was after the book for some other reason? Think about it Jacob its not like the secrets of how to kill vampires and werewolves are not written in every fairy tale from here to Transylvania” His voice sounded resolute in his conclusion.
“Then why do you think they were after the book?” Jacob asked puzzled.
“I don’t know but I think it will be worth reading through thoroughly once we are done here tonight. Do you still have it?” Marcus narrowed his eyebrows as he enquired after the book.
“I’m sorry my old friend but the Chapel was ablaze as I left it. I really don’t know if it will have survived the fire.” Jacob said is somewhat muted tones.
“At least it will have prevented Cain from getting his hands upon it. If indeed that was what he sought. The main thing is that you are unharmed my friend.” Marcus said with some relief.
“There is at least one other copy that I know of but its probably still stored within the Vatican itself” Jacob nodded to himself as he finished speaking.
“Anything that is stored away down there is sure to be worth investigating. Perhaps you and I shall take a trip to Rome once all this is over.” Marcus said as he smiled.
A moments silence fell upon the two men before the chaplain broke the quiet that had descended upon them. “Where is the delightful young couple that we met earlier; will they be along shortly?” he asked.
Standing slowly Marcus walked to the window and stared out into the night for a moment before walking back to the fireplace to warm his hands before quietly saying.
“I believe the young man will be joining us at least. I didn’t ask after the whereabouts of the young Lady. They were the ones who found John and from the brief account I had from Greg it seemed like they had a run in with Cain’s children too.” The tone in his voice was grave as he spoke.
The sound of a car pulling up outside the address caused Marcus to return to once more looking out his window only this time he watched as he saw the young detective stepping out from his car carrying something small and black in his arms.
“It appears our last guest has arrived and he is carrying another old friend of ours.” Marcus said as he left the library and headed to his door.
Greg raised his clenched fist and was just about to knock when the door opened and he saw the professor standing in front of him. Looking down towards the railing that surrounded the property Greg could see the remains of glass and wood.
“Have you been redecorating Professor?” he asked as he turned to look at Marcus once more.
“Cain made an unexpected exit from my study. Won’t you come in my dear boy. Where is that delightful young lady you were with earlier this evening she was very perceptive and who is this? Cassiel? Is that you?” Marcus asked as he reached out his hand to stroke the black cat that Greg was cradling in his arms.
“This little fellow followed us from the Chapel earlier and nearly got killed along with Emma and me in Cain’s house.” Greg said as he stroked the cat in arms.
“You must come through. We are in the Library and tell us all about what happened.” The professor led Greg through to the library where Jacob was sitting.
Upon seeing Greg with the black cat the Chaplain exclaimed “Cassiel! How on earth did?” Jacob didn’t manage to finish his sentence as Greg cut him off by saying.
“This is your cat!? He has been following me since we left the chapel earlier this evening” Greg stooped and gently let Cassiel drop to the floor.
With nonchalant grace the shadow that was Cassiel glided across the room to Jacob and entwined herself around the chaplains legs briefly before sauntering across the room and perching upon the window sill beginning her vigilant watch into the night; her tail slowly swishing from side to side. Jacob smiled as he stroked the black cat that drifted past his legs then looked up at Greg and said.
“He is a she young man. I called her Cassiel after the Archangel Cassiel. I thought it rather appropriate as that angel is known for its indifference in watching the events of the cosmos unfold. Oh and also tears and solitude and cats like their alone time I thought.” Jacob suddenly stopped as he realized he was waffling on and could feel both Marcus and Greg simply staring at him.
“Well anyway he is a she.” He finished talking with a smile as he stood and shook Greg’s hand in welcoming him to the room.
The three men sat around the small oak tea table at the centre of the library and once again began to discuss the events of the evening. Greg told them all about the events leading up to the incident at Cain’s house and the discovery he and Emma had made at the library but omitted the details involving his and Emma’s new relationship.
“So Cain has an address in Scotland then?” Jacob stated as he digested the conversation.
“Yes it’s an Estate on the outskirts of Ayr; apparently the land dates back to the early middle ages.” Greg nodded as he disclosed the information.
“Cain revealed much of his plan to me this evening; along with the fact he had bred four offspring. Jacob; you say you killed one at the chapel and three died in the fire at his house.” The professor paused then stood as he once more walked to the window absently stroking Cassiel as he stood there staring out into the night sky.
“Then it is reasonable to say that he believes his children are all dead; he is wounded and knows we are tracking him but he will most likely believe we wouldn’t know about his estate in Scotland. I believe gentlemen our next move should be to follow him to Ayr and we should be quick about it. The longer we delay the more time he will have to fully recover.” Marcus finished his sentence with his arm outstretched towards the door but before either Greg or Jacob could reply they were interrupted by the noise coming from within Greg’s jacket pocket; it was the persistent ringing of his cell phone.
Greg stood and as he did he slipped his phone out and tapped the screen to answer the incoming call. Both Marcus and Jacob waited patiently as they observed Greg talking to whoever was on the other end of the phone but could not make out any discernible details about the call as it was mostly Greg listening and it ended briefly without any further meaningful conversation.
“That was British Transport Police. I gave them the description of Cain on the way over here. I thought it would be a good idea if they kept an eye out for him in case he tried to leave the country; only it turns out he’s not on an airplane and has booked himself on the Euston to Carlisle sleeper train that left ten minutes ago. They confirmed his identity on the closed circuit television from one of the old case file pictures I sent them. What do we do now Professor?” Greg asked as he returned his phone to his pocket.
“Then he must be changing at Carlisle to Ayr and that gives us the chance we need to catch him. It is scheduled to arrive at 0515 hours if my memory serves me correctly and in a fast car we can be there in five hours.” Marcus turned quickly and walked out of the library without saying another word before shouting back.
“Come on you two!” His voice trailed off into the house as he left his guests behind him.
Leading them both out of the house by the rear door Marcus marched across the deserted street which led to a small collection of private garages at the rear of the property and slipping a key from his pocket he inserted it into one of the garages; twisting the handle he stepped back as he lifted the garage door to reveal the shape of a car hidden underneath a large old dust cover.
“Give me a hand with this Greg.” The Professor motioned for him to take one side of the cover as he took hold of the other and they slowly peeled back the covering to reveal a pristine 1962 Ferrari 250 GTE emblazoned all in red with gleaming chrome bumpers.
“This should get us there in time my boy” Marcus smiled at Greg as he tossed him the keys.
“John was always the better driver. I hope you can drive as well as he could.” He said with a nod.
“Wait. Wait. Wait a minute!” Jacob said in an exasperated tone.
Both the men turned to look at Jacob as he stood at the front of the car with his hands in the air his voice trailing off as they turned to look at him.
“Why don’t the Train Police just arrest him Greg?” Jacob asked but before waiting for Greg’s reply he swiftly turned to Marcus and said.
“and why can’t we take the police car Greg arrived in? That car of yours is just preposterous Marcus; honestly!” Jacob finished addressing both men with an exasperated look upon his face.
Greg was first to speak to address the chaplains questions. “Well the car I arrived in has several broken windows and I barely managed to drive it here if I’m honest and I couldn’t tell the transport police to apprehend Cain. What if he transformed and attacked them? They would be completely unprepared and most likely killed.” Greg explained in a sincere tone.
“There you old fool of a priest; now stop clucking like a mother hen and get in the car! It’s a long enough journey without you slowing us down.” Marcus finished chiding the chaplain then opened the car door for Jacob as he waved him towards it.
Unable to argue with either man the chaplain meekly stepped into the car allowing them to begin their long journey north.
Cassiel watched from the window as the three men drove away from the house in the professors vintage car in their desperate bid to intercept Cain in time. As the car disappeared from view Cassiel hunkered down on the window sill and slowly closed her eyes and seemingly drifted off to sleep.