Dark Soul

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Professor Tremane pulled up outside Trinity Chapel and glanced out of his window towards the chapel grounds and could see a light shining through the rectory window. Stepping from his car he opened one of the rear doors and reached inside the car to take out an old leather bound satchel before closing the door again. The night was dark and chill but all around him was bathed in the light from the moon; it hung in the night sky like a forgotten pearl. As he clicked the lock shut on the car doors he became aware how still everything around him was. The chapel had been built sometime during the Victorian age and was situated far enough out of the hustle and bustle of the city to be a quiet retreat for those wishing to pay their respects. Marcus also suddenly became aware of just how much your mind begins to fill in the blanks between the sounds you hear and what your mind imagines. A can blown from atop a garbage bin during the day would almost fall unheard and certainly unnoticed but in the dead of the night it caused him to jerk his head to one side staring into the darkness as his heart quickened upon hearing the sudden noise. His eyes began to adjust to the shapes that lingered in the blackness beyond his vision; slowly his eyes focused on the high walls that separated to form an alley way and the outline of a rubbish bin packed high with trash came into focus and he could make out the tin can rocking slowly back and forth at its base being almost toyed with by the night air. He could almost feel the hairs on the back of his neck standing up so he pulled his coat a little tighter around himself then glanced around before walking purposefully towards the chapel gates. As he reached the gates his hand slid between the bars and found the catch holding them in place; with an almost deafening sound like that of a striking church bell the latch came free and struck the holding catch. Wincing visibly Marcus began to slide the gates slowly open, hopeful that they would not scrape loudly across the ground, it was as the gate snagged on the gravel floor that he noticed a sound coming from within the chapel grounds. His hands tightened around the bar on the gate he was using to push it open with whilst his mind tried to sort through the events unfolding before him. Holding his breath slightly and trying to breath in shallow breaths he listened intently as the sound became clearer the closer it approached. He was sure that he had heard the sound before but where or when would not come to him. It was clear to him that whatever or whoever it was approaching was walking along the gravel pathway that ran around the chapel. His analytical mind began to strip away the impossible and leave the practical solution; if it was a person then the sound would clearly be more prominent and the footfalls of a shod foot would be easily distinguishable in the night air upon gravel but this was clearly not the case. These seemed more the carefully placed footfalls of someone accustomed to moving at night and with a purposeful intent in mind. Rationality fought with the more base instinct to flee in Marcus’s mind; the desire to flee being fueled by his own personal experience of what he believed may be stalking him this night. His hand reached cautiously towards his pocket to pull out his keys that he knew contained a small light on them which would hopefully allow him to illuminate the darkness around him. As his hand slid into his pocket he heard the chapel rectory door creak slowly open and half the cemetery grounds became bathed in light as the chaplain stood silhouetted in the doorway. The noise of the doorway caused his unseen stalker to switch its focus from him and its pace quickened along the gravel path towards the chaplain. Before Marcus could let out a warning cry a large brown shape came bounding from the darkness and threw itself at the chaplain almost knocking him from his feet. The chaplain cried out then hugged the golden retriever that had clearly been too zealous in its greeting to its master. Marcus sighed and pushed the gate closed behind him as he waved to the chaplain before making his way up the pathway. The sound of the stalking footfalls came bounding towards him through the darkness again but this time his mind was not playing tricks upon him and he patted the retriever as it came bounding up to him.

“How are you Marcus, it must be at least 5 years since we last saw each other” inquired Chaplain Jacob McMasters whilst handing over a steaming cup of English Earl Grey Tea. Both men were now seated in the chaplains private study which was sumptuously furnished with mostly antiques. The walls were lined by leather bound books and dotted by pictures of past Ministers.

“I am well, my friend, but I have some troubling news. Do you recall when you were newly ordained into the order and Father Reid was the chaplain here? Around that time I was investigating a series of murders with John Williams. You remember John don’t you?” Marcus asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Yes, go on.” Jacob nodded as he replied

“There was a murder of a young woman that was committed recently that has a strikingly similar resemblance to those that were committed so many years ago. So similar in fact that the Courts have given permission for Cain’s body to be exhumed.” Finishing his sentence Marcus slowly sipped his piping hot tea.

Jacob placed his cup of Tea upon the table and pursed his lips together before he blurted out

“Preposterous! That man is dead. I was there when they buried him.”

“Correction, you were there when the coffin was buried. None of us actually saw who was in the coffin.” Marcus interjected.

“Don’t be so silly Marcus. Are you actually suggesting that Cain was not in the coffin?!” Jacob stood as he leveled the accusation at this friend

“That is exactly what I suspect and in fact I have always had a lingering doubt in my mind.” Marcus replied as he sat back further in his chair looking up at Jacob

“What can possibly come from disturbing his body Marcus? After all this time it will be nothing more than a skeleton.” Jacob waved his hand towards Marcus before staring into the fireplace.

“If that is the case then the police can still recover a sample of his DNA and sadly we will have not helped the police in tracking down the killer of this young woman but if I am right and it turns out that the DNA from Cain is a match to the one obtained from the crime then it would prove my theory.” Marcus stood and placed his tea cup and saucer on the tray resting on the study desk then finished by saying

“I believe there is some legacy here linking Cain to this new murder.”

“Well at least you’re not saying it is Cain himself killing these women again. Good god man he would be as old us.” Jacob absently made the sign of the cross as he uttered the lords name.

“What I am trying to say my friend is that Cain is either alive and we will find nothing within that coffin which will be a mystery for us to solve in itself or we will in fact find his skeletal remains in there and that a DNA sampling from those remains will possibly provide the police with a match to those taken from the attacker who recently murdered the girl thus proving a family link. Either way it is prudent that we see the remains tonight.” Marcus laid his hand upon his friends shoulder as he finished his sentence.

Both men sat down once more and retreated into thoughts that they had long buried deep in their subconscious minds. A silence hung in the air that weighed heavily upon them both as they reflected on their memories of the past but before either of them could resume their conversation the sound of a heavy iron door knocker being struck against the main chapel doors and McMasters Labrador dog barking in response shattered both men’s thoughts. Marcus looked up and across to Jacob and breathed a heavy sigh before saying “That must be the Police. Shall we go?” Jacob simply placed his hands upon his knees; nodded and pushed himself to his feet then walked slowly to the main chapel doors. As Jacob opened the grand doors to the chapel he could see standing there in front of him Greg and Emma both looking slightly tussled by the night breeze that had begun to pick up as the long night lingered on.

“Come in. Come in. We’ve been expecting you.” Jacob said warmly as he smiled at them both and gestured for them to step inside. Greg stepped slightly back to allow Emma to step inside first then he followed as she was shaking Jacobs hand and exchanging pleasantries. Greg found his hand firmly clasped by the Minister in both hands as he was addressed “You must be the detective we have been expecting. You remind me of John in his youth; you have that same stiff stern no nonsense look about you he does it must be a common trait in you detective types.” Before Greg could reply he heard another voice calling from further within the Chapel

“Don’t stand there all night man invite them in.” called Marcus. Greg simply smiled at the chaplain before being ushered along in the direction of the chapel Study.

“I do hope you both like tea” called the chaplain as he bustled off ahead of Greg and Emma.

“A lovely cup of tea” replied Emma as she winked at Greg and slipped out of her overcoat then folded it over her arm. Greg paused as he removed his own coat and slowly pushed the chapel door closed but as he did so something caught his eye. Something, a shadow almost, moving slightly out of his vision in the shadows of the chapel grounds. Greg found himself intrigued by this and slowly opened the chapel door again and began to peer out; his body being almost unwillingly drawn towards the vision just beyond his sight. There it was again a shadow seemingly within the shadows only this time he could see the faint glow of a pair of animal like eyes peering through the gloom of the darkness back at him; observing him with a predators hungry lustful stare. Before he could close the door to the chill night air and against whatever creature lurked in the shadows of the night he saw it move towards him with such speed and purpose he knew he would be unable to slam the chapel doors shut before it was upon him. The creature bounded from the darkness across the chapel grounds its movement seemingly impossible as it flitted from shadow to shadow with an almost supernatural grace nearly disappearing from sight as it did so. The speed at which it approached left Greg unable to react in time to shut the doors and it was upon him before he was able to slam the door shut. Greg’s heart missed a beat as the black cat with gleaming golden eyes slipped between his legs and darted off down the corridor of the chapel house. Sighing loudly he turned to close the door when he saw a large brown shape out of the corner of his eyes from within the chapel. His back hit the chapel door causing it to slam shut as he jumped back to avoid the chaplains dog as it gave chase to the cat. Hearing the bang the chaplain appeared again to inquire

“Is everything alright young man?” Jacob said in a calming tone.

Biting his lip Greg simply muttered under his breath

“Yes” and walked toward the chapel Study.

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