Dark Soul

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CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE

The TransPennine express pulled slowly into Glasgow more or less on time despite its unscheduled stop. It was still dark this far north during the winter time of Scotland despite it being a little before 7 am and the moon had yet to wax and wane from the night sky. Greg and the professor made their way from the train onto the platform and headed to the offices of the British Transport Police where Greg had arranged for an unmarked patrol vehicle to be made available to him upon their arrival; without delay the two of them began their journey across country towards Cain’s ancestral home the estate on the outskirts of Ayr.

Cain had watched the train pull away from his vantage point in the woods his keen eyes seeing his nemeses the professor wielding his pistol and pointing it after him all the while watching from the doorway of the train. Once he was sure he was not being pursued he discarded his coat and began walking slowly from the woods into the open fields beyond. As he reached the field he lifted his head up and gazed at the moon bathing in its essence as his body began to pulsate and transform into that of a large powerful werewolf. Within moments Cain stood tall on his hind legs and arching his back howled in exultation at the moon before dropping onto all fours. He was sprinting across the fields with an unnatural speed ever onwards towards his family’s estate with every bounding foot fall bringing him closer to his ancestral home. The landscape almost became a blur as his padded footfalls covered the distance to his estate in lightning speed. As he neared a low wall on the edges of a farm his senses tingled as he caught the scent of warm blooded sheep in the field ahead. His mind and body was hit by a seemingly unquenchable blood lust as his feral side took control of him and what human vestiges remained were swept aside. Hunkering down he slowly approached the low wall and even though the wind was almost absent at night he was still careful to approach his prey from upwind. As he reached the wall his pointed wolf like ears began to twitch and his snout sniffed the air before slowly peering over the wall; his golden eyes gazed out across the field ahead. Cain placed his clawed hands upon the wall and then sprang into action vaulting it in one swift movement; he was bounding across the field closing the distance to the sheep ahead of him almost before they had the chance to move. Catching one in his great clawed hand he lifted it into the air; the sheep bleated and kicked as it struggled and panicked against its assailant. With his other clawed hand Cain thrust it deep into the sheep ripping through its belly and spilling its guts onto the floor before him; continuing to reach up further into the sheep his hand closed around its still beating heart. With a swift jerking movement he ripped the still beating heart from the sheep’s gaping wide ribcage; he lifted the bloody prize to his lips and began to devour it whole. Blood poured down Cain’s muzzled mouth as his teeth ripped into the heart swallowing large chunks whole until he had finally consumed it. Grabbing one of the legs of the sheep he ripped it from the animals body before he started tearing a large chunk out of it with his razor sharp teeth. Cain finally finished his macabre feast by reaching over the top of the head of the sheep and digging his claws deep into its skull ripping it open then reaching inside and scooping out its brain before finally wolfing it down in a motion similar to someone eating an oyster. Standing there in the middle of the field bathed in the blood of the animal he had just devoured with moonlight from up in the night sky shining down upon him he flexed his powerful arms out; arching his back once more and letting out a blood curdling howl as he revelled in the kill before him. His blood lust satiated Cain felt his senses return to him; the bestial side ebbed away as his more human like traits took hold of him once again and without pause he bounded from the field heading again ever onward across the moors that led to his estate.

The sign post ahead indicated the next turning to Dalrymple village meant they were almost at the estate.

“If this map is correct Cain’s estate is located on the other side of the village set in large area of woodland with the river Doon protecting its southerly borders from intruders.” Marcus finished saying as he traced his finger along the map he held.

“I suppose its location makes sense considering when it was built it was most likely originally used as a defensive fortification for the local lord of the land.” Marcus added almost absently as he looked at the map before him.

“There’s the village ahead Professor.” Greg indicated as he slowed their car on approach to the tiny hamlet.

The car meandered its way through the small village, which was deserted at this time of the morning, the only signs of life were a few shop keepers busying themselves inside their shops. The two of them made their way through the small village in almost no time at all and a long narrow road stretched out in front of them flanked on either side by thick woodland. An early morning mist hung in the air and as their car sped along the road a patch of fog descended seemingly out of nowhere enveloping their vehicle nearly obscuring their vision. Despite the heavy patches of fog slowing their progress they reached the end of the road and could see the estate looming in the distance shrouded by a cloak of mist. Looking still further ahead beyond the mist when it parted briefly they could see the ominous shape of storm clouds hanging high above; gathering like a monstrous shape high in the heavens. Reaching the end of the public road and turning from that onto the private road which lead to the estate the two men braced themselves as they heard the heavens open up and rain began to lash down upon the car almost deafening the occupants within. Skidding slightly on the gravel driveway Greg brought the car to a stop and the two of them peered through the windscreen at the mansion that lay before them; it was an imposing and yet regal sight seemingly at the same time.

“Are you ready my boy?” asked Marcus his voice grave and full of purpose.

Greg nodded in reply before opening his car door and stepping out into the torrential downpour. The two men hurried from their car towards the house; as they neared it they could see the large front door was slightly ajar almost like someone had left it open as an invitation to them. Striding up the large stone steps as fast as the rain would allow they came upon the large doors leading to the estate. Gripping the handle of the door Greg flung it open and he and the professor hurried inside just as a streak of lightening lit up the sky.

Greg and the professor found themselves standing in a large reception hall flanked by imposing grand stairs either side of an expansive wall decorated by portraits of previous lords of the manor; the darkness only occasionally lit as the clouds parted for the moonlight to shine through the grand windows crowning the top of the stairs. As they shook the rain from their coats they looked down at the floor before them and both men could see wet foot prints leading across the large reception hall to the stairs before them; Greg removed his torch from his belt and shone it across the floor following the foot prints with the beam of light projected from his torch. As they followed the trail leading to the stairs another bolt of lightening lit up the sky bathing the house in light and there before them silhouetted against the large stately window at the top of the stairs was the feral shape of Cain. Another bolt of lightning lit the sky as the storm clouds descended upon the estate and Cain turned to face his intruders. He stretched his arms out; each arm topped with razor sharp claws eagerly flexing in anticipation of what was to come. His muzzle drew back baring row upon row of his pointed wolf like teeth as he fixed his gaze firmly on the two men before him. Such was his anticipation of killing both the intruders saliva began to drip from his long canine teeth.

“Now professor! Shoot!” Greg cried as he fixed the werewolf form of Cain in his torch light. Marcus raised his hand, drawing back the pistols trigger arm as he did so, taking aim at Cain with the small pistol he squeezed the trigger. A loud crack sounded as the percussion cap fired propelling the small silver sphere from the pistol. The bullet hurtled towards its intended target and had Cain been a man it would have surely hit its mark but Cain was of course no mortal man and with reflexes akin to his wolf brethren he twisted his body in mid-air as he leapt from the stairs towards the two men. The bullet streaked past him and shattered the window behind Cain just as another streak of lightening lit up the pre-dawn sky. Cain landed almost on all fours in front of Greg and the professor; before either man could react he struck the professor with the back of his clawed fist sending him crashing into Greg. Reeling from the blow there was little Marcus could do and he found himself being propelled into Greg; causing the two men to hurtle down the entrance hall and crash into a stately wall. Greg was first to his feet shaking his head as he gained his footing “Professor! Quickly try another shot!” implored Greg as he helped Marcus to his feet.

“My pistol….” Marcus said in an alarmed tone as he scoured the hallway with his eyes searching for the weapon that had been knocked from his hand when Cain struck him. As Marcus bent to pick up the pistol Cain transformed slightly back into his human form so he was neither beast nor man and yet somehow the distorted figure between the two was simply more horrific to behold than his full transformation. Claws still adorned bestial hands and his torso was covered in the hair of a wolf but his face was caught between man and beast. A long animal like tongue slipped from his mouth and along his many teeth before sliding back once more into his distorted mouth; his eyes were golden like those of a predator and sharp canine teeth protruded from his mouth even as he spoke in a low guttural voice.

“Is this what you are looking for professor?” Cain asked in a mocking tone as his held the professors pistol up and fixed the two men with his wolf like gaze. Slowly and without looking at the pistol but instead watching the expressions of the two men before him he crushed the weapon in his hand watching as he did so the hope being crushed from the two men stood in front of him almost at the same time. The pistol fell to the floor with a metallic thud but to the ears of Greg and Marcus it was a sickening thud they heard as they were now unarmed and without a hope of killing Cain.

“Quickly into that room” Marcus said as he pointed towards the doorway behind them and hurried towards it. Greg paused as he followed the professor; his gaze had been caught by what looked like a spear adorning the wall near to the doorway. It was covered in intricate designs etched into its wooden shaft and had some kind of animal hair hanging from either end; no doubt it was old and probably made for ceremonial use but that didn’t stop Greg from ripping it out of the brackets that held it onto the wall.

Cain watched the two men flee before him and felt the surge of joy it gave him as his blood lust built within him; his mind once again becoming clouded with the memories of what human flesh and the sweet taste of blood in his mouth felt like. He roared as he lifted his head up, his arms stretching out wide as he flexed his fingertips that were adorned by razor sharp claws, revelling in the slaughter which was to come. Cain suddenly and much to his surprise felt pain as his clawed hand instinctively wrapped around the spear that was now protruding from his chest. For a moment Cain was confused as to what had just happened to him but it became clear to him as he gazed down and the sudden realization hit him of what had happened. A metre long spear was protruding from his chest having been thrown by Greg only moments earlier with great force and accuracy; striking Cain squarely in the chest. The detective watched almost in disbelief as the spear hit true sinking into the creature’s chest. He almost cried out in joy but the sound caught in his throat as he watched the creature before him snap the spear like a twig and the wound he had inflicted upon it close before his very eyes.

Cain wrapped his clawed hand around the spear shaft and his face twisted into that sickly half beast half man smile exposing row upon row of razor sharp teeth as he fixed his gaze upon Greg before slowly pulling the spear from his chest; laughing out loud as he did before finally snapping it in half and tossing the pieces to one side. Almost instantly the wound began to heal; tissue binding together and only a few spots of blood remained on the marble floor beneath Cain to show evidence that he had even been struck by the weapon.

“You fool! If I could be killed by iron I would have died that night the professor shot me!” Cain said in disdain as he emphasised the last part of his sentence to mock Marcus all the more for his failings that evening.

Greg felt the professor’s hand on his back as he was pulled backwards into the room with the two men slamming the door behind them quickly as they set about pulling a large oak desk in front of it.

“That door is sturdy but it won’t hold him for long. Look around for another way out!” Marcus shouted at his companion as he struggled with the heavy oak desk.

Greg looked around him as he listened to the professor’s words. He could see they were trapped in some type of study with the walls lined with row upon row of books and antique weapons and trophies but no other door way out or windows to seemingly allow an escape. As if to emphasise the professors point Cain slammed his fist against the door and although it was a sturdy old oak door it clearly wouldn’t last that long against a determined assault from Cain.

“Come out come out wherever you are.” Cain’s words mocked the two men as he slowly drew his claws down the door creating a sound very akin to that of nails being drawn down a blackboard. The two men scanned the room for anything that might help them but they were trapped and they knew it. Marcus fished his hand into his pocket once more and pulled out his last remaining silver bullet.

“That’s not going to help us now Professor not without your pistol” Greg said dismissively as he began to search desperately along the book shelves for what he imagined might be a secret entrance somewhere. The door shuddered once more as Cain slammed his fist against it.

“If you let me in now I promise not to play with my food before I eat it.” His voice trailed off into laughter.

Marcus took a deep breath and sat down behind the large study desk that was set in the middle of the room his eyes carefully avoiding the oak door that was visibly shaking under every hammer fisted blow from Cain. Slowly and deliberately his eyes worked their way around the room his analytical mind digesting every object his eyes fell upon until finally he stopped looking and called out to Greg. “Young man stop your frantic searching for what we both know is not there and kindly light that oil lamp over there then bring it to me.” Marcus said as he calmly began clearing a space in front of him on the desk; selecting various items upon it and placing them in the order he wished.

He emptied the contents of a small brass ashtray into the bin at his feet then set it to one side before taking a small nail clipper from off the desk and placed it next to the ashtray before finally setting an antique looking small wooden case down next to them. Greg came over with the lit lamp, its flame slowly dancing in its glass body casting shadows across the room, placing it carefully on the desk in front of Marcus. Once he had everything he needed in front of him the professor set to work. He placed the dull looking brass ashtray over the top of the lamp before carefully opening the small wooden case to reveal an antique thermometer. The professor removed the thermometer and cracked the small phial containing the gallium into the brass ashtray; it made a small sizzling sound as it hit the hot metal and an acrid smell began to fill the air. Finally he removed the last remaining silver bullet from his pocket and began shaving it into the gallium, which had by now almost melted into its liquid form, with the file attached to the nail clippers. Greg watched on as small silver flakes dropped into the molten gallium; merging and being absorbed by the liquid and forming a type of quicksilver looking material.

“Professor what the hell is it you are doing?” Greg asked as he looked on with an ever increasingly puzzled look on his face.

“Cain isn’t going to drink poison if that’s what you’re thinking” The detectives voice was lined with frustration as he watched Marcus work.

The door finally splintered and Cain’s clawed hand slid through the sliver he had smashed into the door; it slowly withdrew and was replaced by more mocking words drifting into the room through the hole that he had just punched in the door.

“You couldn’t save all those innocents Marcus and you couldn’t save your friends. I’m going to kill you now and start it all over again.” The door shuddered again and Cain ripped a hole wide enough for his snout to poke through; sniffing the air within the room he almost growled the words “Time to die Professor”

Marcus looked at Greg once more then at the old Scottish claymore that took pride of place above the fireplace of the study which they found themselves trapped in.

“The sword my boy!” he exclaimed and pointed towards the ancient weapon.

“Get it now!” Marcus finished his sentence as he waved his companion towards the sword that hung suspended upon the wall. Greg almost sprinted over to the fireplace and lifted the antique weapon from its brass bound bracket housing and returned to the professor with it. Taking hold of the sword Marcus laid it carefully on the desk; wrapping his hand in a cloth handkerchief which he produced from his coat pocket he picked up the brass ashtray and began to pour the liquefied metal over the tip of the sword.

“Now watch dear boy. Gallium has a melting point around twenty nine degrees and the room temperature this far north is probably around ten degrees.” The professor explained.

As the liquid metal touched the cold blade it began to run across it and the professor was quick to turn it over coating both sides of the blade before it started to cool; it finally hardened creating a shimmering silver coating on the surface of the tip of the blade.

“Look there the silver shavings are infused onto the blade by the Gallium” Marcus said as he picked up the Claymore and handed it back to Greg. The door splinted one last time then flung open as Cain thundered against it for the final time. Striding into the room the creature stood before the two men his form slowly changing once more into that of a fully formed werewolf its gaze shifting to the sword Greg held in his hands and its throat filled with laughter as the beast bore down upon the two companions.

Like a cat playing with its prey Cain felt assured that no harm could come to him and he made no effort to avoid the sword Greg held in his hands safe in the knowledge that nothing crafted from iron by the hands of man could kill him.

With a bestial roar Cain leapt upon Greg his claws reaching out for the man before him; holding the sword out in front of him as the creature came at him Greg braced himself as it impaled itself with reckless abandonment onto the sword its only thought to satiate its blood lust with the taste of human flesh. Cain at first didn’t even flinch as he reached out for his prey and let the sword pierce him feeling it cut through his flesh knowing that it could not kill him and his prey was but a few feet away; his blood lust carried him on and blocked out any pain that he might have felt.

Almost immediately the Gallium coated blade that pierced Cain’s flesh began to react with the creature’s body heat and it liquefied nearly at once which released the deadly silver into Cain’s bloodstream. At first he was confused as he gripped the blade that protruded from his chest unsure as to what was happening to him. Staggering back as he felt the poisonous silver begin to course through his body, he recognized the feeling as it was the same thing he had felt when Marcus had shot him with the silver bullet, it caused him to become weaker and his powers of rejuvenation began to fail him.

Both men stood there transfixed at the same time with a look of hope and horror simultaneously etched across their faces as they watched the beast stagger back from them clutching the massive blade that was impaled through its chest. Cain wrapped both his clawed hands around the blade and began to slowly pull it from his chest; blood spurting from his wound with every inch he pulled out.

“Stop him before its too late Greg! Behead the creature quickly!” Marcus yelled at Greg; the words hitting the detective like a cold shower and helping snap him from his transfixed state.

Stepping forward Greg grasped the blade by its hilt once more and yanked it free from Cain’s chest; this sudden unexpected action caused Cain to look up from his wound towards Greg; the creatures face contorted in a mixture of pain and surprise.

With a swift motion Greg raised the mighty Claymore above his shoulders and swung with all his might; the blade arcing sideways through the air until it bit deep into Cain’s neck. The force from the blow carried the ancient Scottish blade through muscle tissue and bone alike cutting both as easily as a hot knife cuts its way through butter; it severed Cain’s wolf like head from his body in a single stroke. Both body and head fell to the floor with blood spurting from the gaping wound left behind; staggering back from the gruesome scene Greg watched as Cain’s body began to twitch back to life its clawed hands reaching across the floor. The professor with his hand still wrapped in the cloth grabbed the old oil lamp and hurled it onto Cain’s decapitated body; the glass shattered and the oil washed over the floor consuming Cain in its fiery embrace. Greg staggered back from the flames and both men shielded their eyes from the blaze that sprung up before them; the room was soon ablaze as every wall was full of kindling in the form of books. Grabbing the professors arm Greg shielded his face from the blaze with his coat and pulled him out through the wrecked doorway back into the entrance hall. Both men carried on running from the building heading out the main door towards their car and didn’t stop until they quite literally hit their vehicle slumping down behind it; taking cover from the blaze that now began to consume the stately home.

Greg and Marcus both turned around and looked out over the car they were crouched behind as they caught their breath; watching as the mansion before them began to roar with flames. The sun had finally begun to rise in the sky and the clouds had begun to part; despite this the rains still fell heavily from the skies above but were not able to douse the blaze that was alight within Cain’s ancestral home. The two men slumped back down in front of their car drained from their experience and yet relieved to be alive.

“Is it over professor?” Greg asked as he wearily turned his head towards Marcus slumping back down against the vehicle once more.

“Cain and his legacy is over at long last; of that I’m certain this time.” Marcus said as he patted Greg on the arm; sliding back down the car to sit unceremoniously upon the damp gravel floor as well.

“Of course it depends on whose point of view you believe I suppose. Whether you believe Cain and that he and his kind are a unique species all of their own and are born to one another or if you take the church’s view that Cain and his kind are infected humans possessed by demons passing their curse from one human to another through their demonic touch.” Marcus said in an almost matter of fact way as he wiped the rain from his face.

The professor paused for a moment before turning back to Greg and speaking again.

“You weren’t bitten were you my lad?” Marcus asked in a strained voice.

“No professor” Greg replied in a relieved tone almost smiling.

“Scratched by its claws?” Marcus inquired almost absently as the two men sat there slumped against their car in the pouring rain watching the mansion being consumed by the blazing fire.

Greg’s mind wandered, almost feeling at ease for the first time since this nightmare had begun, as he watched the flames dance before him. As he watched the flames they reminded him of the fire at Cain’s house earlier that evening and what had happened there; slowly he recalled what Emma had told him of what had happened while he had been knocked unconscious. Eventually his memory returned and he recalled the wound she had received from one of the creatures that had attacked them in the house. With a grief stricken look upon his face he suddenly turned back to Marcus.

“Oh my god professor! Emma!” Greg cried out.

The rain continued to pour down upon the two companions even as they scrabbled to their feet and hurried into the car. With one final look behind them at the smouldering ruins of Cain’s legacy the two men headed back to London, England and to the unknown prospect of what awaited them.

THE END

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