Dark Soul

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CHAPTER NINE

Having introduced themselves to one another the four of them took seats around the open fire that dominated the chapel study. The chaplain dutifully attended to each of his guests ensuring that each of them had a steaming hot cup of tea in their hands before allowing any meaningful conversation to take place between the four of them. This was all observed with a lax curiosity by the chaplains Labrador Barnabas who had curled up under his masters study desk at the far side of the room. Marcus was the first to speak and he addressed both Greg and Emma whilst he spoke about the events that had occurred some thirty odd years ago.

“London during the eighties was a volatile place of change you must understand and we the three of us, John, Jacob and I had just begun upon our respective careers.” He smiled briefly at the chaplain as he spoke

“Less volatile for some I might add” Jacob interjected smiling at Greg and Emma as he did so.

“Yes the church still seeks to stay out of things as best it can even then as it does now.” Marcus replied curtly to which Jacob only cast him a withering look before sitting back once more in his chair and sipping at his tea.

“Now where was I? Ah yes; I met John first as it happens by pure chance. I had recently finished my Masters degree and was considering what to study for my doctorate and that’s how I came to be at Scotland Yard that day.” Marcus drew a sip of his tea before carrying on.

LONDON SEPTEMBER 1982 SCOTLAND YARD

“Excuse me constable. I was hoping you could point me in the direction of someone I could talk to about criminology?” said Marcus Tremane as he approached a young constable busily writing something in his notepad.

“Criminology?” said John Williams somewhat surprised by the question.

“Yes” replied Marcus extending his hand out to John

“I’m looking for someone to help me answer some questions I have pertaining to possible studies in the field as I may wish to base my doctorate on them.” Marcus pushed his round glasses up the bridge of his nose and smiled briefly as he awaited a response from the officer.

John blinked as he listened and slowly shook the hand that Marcus offered him.

“Are we really going to hear how you met from day one? Really Marcus can we just skip ahead to the pertinent points?” Interjected Jacob as he walked across the room to warm his hands near the fire. Raising his eyebrow at Jacob; Marcus once more resumed his story

LONDON NOVEMBER 1982

Shaking his coat as he entered the pub he stood in the doorway briefly letting the rain drop free from it before removing it and hanging it upon the nearest coat hook. Turning around Marcus looked for his new friend John who had been helping him with his research into the field of criminology and as he scanned the bar room he soon spotted his friend stood near the end of the bar waving him over.

“I have something I need you to have a look at Marcus” John said with a grave tone to his voice. Taking his arm John led Marcus to a booth in a more secluded area of the pub and sat down in it opposite his friend Marcus placing two half pints down on the table and laying a plain brown envelope next to them.

“Well what is so urgent that you wanted me to meet you here in such a hurry? I have a class to attend you know and the professor is a real ball buster.” Marcus said in a somewhat irritated tone. John cast a furtive glance around him before looking his friend in the eyes and saying

“You should prepare yourself for what I’m about to show you its like nothing you have ever seen before.” Slowly he slid the plain brown envelope across to Marcus and took a long swig from his drink as he did so. Sitting back in the booth he watched as his friend gingerly opened the packet and began to slide the pictures contained within out onto the table in front of them both. At first Marcus wasn’t sure what he was looking at but slowly as he fingered his way through the pictures he began to see the shapes taking on forms and images of mutilated women began to form before his eyes. Stifling the urge to gag he reached for his drink and took a large gulp before looking at John and whispering

“What in God’s name is this man?”

“It’s a case I’m working on, well the department I’m attached to is working on and you are the smartest man I know and frankly this case is like nothing anyone has dealt with before” John let his words trail away as he gathered the pictures together once more and began sliding them back in the packet before anyone else saw them.

“So that’s why the two of you think that the recent murders are somehow connected to what happened in the past?” Greg leaned forward in his chair as he asked the question.

“It is possible and yet not possible at the same time. I don’t mean to sound vague young man but perhaps if you hear me out it might make more sense.” Replied Marcus

“I wouldn’t count on that” Jacob interjected once more much to the displeasure of Marcus.

LONDON DECEMBER 1982

The evening was a particularly cold one and there were few who chose to be out tonight but it was a perfect night for the hunter who stalked his prey this evening. Cain smelt the air and its cold crisp freshness filled his lungs and invigorated him and then he caught a feint scent of something that made his senses tingle. The park he lingered close to right now was a favorite spot of his as it provided easy access to avenues of escape and even a bridge that crossed the Thames and beyond. Slipping back into the shadows once more he looked around furtively and his keen ears pricked for the sound of nearby movement. There it was again he thought to himself; the soft sound carried across the night of padded footfalls but not of an animal. No. This was the padded footfalls of soft leather on the ground made by human feet clad in one of London’s finest shoe boutiques designer footwear no doubt. The wind picked up and the leaves above rustled in the trees that surrounded the park and in that moment he could hear the quickening of the pace too of the footfalls. The sound of the leaves had clearly startled his prey for this is what they surely were to him now. Slipping behind a large oak tree he deftly removed his clothes and folded them neatly in a pile and stood there naked bathed in the moonlit night for a moment before he began his transformation into the creature that had been preying upon the good citizens of London these past few weeks. Now completely transformed Cain stood there waiting in the shadows for his victim to come closer and he could smell them now; almost feel their warmth as he inhaled the night air.

Jane Watkins had agreed to the late shift at the bingo hall as she had needed the money and it was not far to walk from her home and so she found herself hurrying through one of London’s parks late at night on a chill winters eve. She had been born and raised in the area and in truth had never felt scared walking alone after dark as it was still a friendly enough place in this neighborhood but tonight the air was very cold and she pulled her coat up around her to help with the chill she felt on her neck. As she proceeded through the park she was glad that the moon shone so brightly above as it illuminated the park and dispelled the shadows that would sometimes lurk in the darkness of the trees and bushes. The wind suddenly picked up and she heard the leaves above begin to rustle in the trees and this startled her making her heart and her pace quicken; Jane glanced over her shoulder almost involuntarily as if to catch sight of some invisible bogey man that might be out tonight stalking her but there was no one there and she slowed her speed once more pulling her coat tightly around herself at the same time.

Cain stood motionless in the darkness of the trees waiting for his victim to approach and as she rounded the corner along the path towards him his breath caught in his mouth and slowly he began to salivate in anticipation of what was to come. Jane could see the lights on the gate entrance not so far ahead now as she came round the bend in the park and from there it was only across two more streets and she would be home.

Her thoughts turned to images of a nice cup of hot tea and sitting down in front of the television with her family and she was blissfully unaware of what lurked in the bushes a few meters along the path ahead.

Cain could barely contain himself any longer and his head pounded with the blood lust that flowed through him; he watched his victim approach every step bringing her ever closer until finally she was close enough. As Jane dipped her head against the wind that was blowing chill air against her face she didn’t notice the bushes moving at first and her first scream caught in her mouth as a gust of wind struck her. Clouds drifted across the night sky and the park dimmed as something stepped from the bushes towards her; at first she was just startled by the appearance of what she thought was an old tramp staggering out from the bushes. At first she did not quite comprehend what she was seeing and then it all happened so quickly. She felt herself being knocked to the ground by her assailant and before she could even roll to her knees she felt something sharp digging into her shoulder and she screamed. It began as a short scream of shock and surprise but as the pain intensified and fear threatened to consume her she screamed louder and longer as she struck out at her unknown assailant with her hands. She tried to twist herself around to see who had hold of her but all she could see was a large man like shape behind her dragging her towards the bushes on the other side of the park.

Unbeknownst to either Jane or her assailant a conversation was taking place between two friends not far from where the attack was taking place that would have a profound effect on the life and death struggle that was about to ensue between Jane and her attacker.

John slipped the car into neutral and firmly applied the handbrake then turning the ignition off slipped the keys into his pocket before turning to his friend Marcus and saying “OK. So we are here. Now what? If this is just another one of your wild ideas Marcus I’m not going to best pleased.”

“Trust me John. This time I am right. I know it. It makes sense; don’t you see the pattern. Look out the window the moon is at its fullest tonight and this is I’m sure the hunting ground it has chosen.” Marcus enthused. John slowly turned the handle on the car door winding down the window to get a better view of the moon.

“Wait a minute; you said it. Damn it Marcus I thought we had finished that discussion.” John turned his head abruptly back to his friend Marcus in an accusing fashion as he spoke. “You may have a closed mind John but sometimes whenever the impossible has been proven so and only the improbable remains then however unlikely it may be it must be the answer.” Marcus smiled as he finished his sentence. John shook his head as he reached over to the glove compartment and popped it open. Inside there was a police issue revolver which he took hold of and slipped inside a pocket of his trench coat.

“I hope for your sake you are right otherwise I am going to have a lot of explaining to do carting this thing around.” John said as he opened the car door and stepped out into the chill night air. Marcus followed and both the men stood briefly in the still night air looking around them. A long pause followed where neither man spoke until finally John said “OK professor what now?” extending his hands outward as he did so.

“You know very well I’m not a professor yet and patience my friend, patience in all things will serve you well in this life.” Marcus replied. The wind picked up and the trees rustled near to them whipping the scarf Marcus had wrapped around his neck almost across his face at the same time. “That’s enou……” but John was cut off mid-sentence by the sounds of screaming coming from the park across the street.

“Did you hear that John?” Marcus said as he grabbed hold of the detectives arm and almost spun him around.

“It sounds like a woman screaming!” John exclaimed as he turned and pointed towards the park entrance. Both men sprinted off towards the entrance to the park their pace soon carrying them through the gates and along the wooded pathway leading deeper into the park. John fumbled with the pistol in his pocket, as the men ran, his fingers tightening around it.

A short while earlier Jane Watkins had entered the park via that same entrance and had paid no real attention to the car pulling up opposite and parking across the street as she made her way home. Jane tried to dig her heels into the ground and give herself leverage as her hands grasped at her assailant who was dragging her across the floor; the wind whipped across her face blowing hair in her face and obscuring her vision but she could just about make out the shapes of two men who had just come running round the bend in the park. Both Marcus and John stood transfixed by what they saw before them as they came around the bend in the park. Marcus grabbed his scarf as it whipped across his face once more threatening to obscure his vision and John slipped the pistol from his pocket; slowly his mouth going dry anticipating what action he may have to take. In front of the two men they could see a large man dragging a screaming woman from the pathway towards the bushes that led deeper into the park and with that realization sinking in they suddenly found their voices and John shouted out

“Stop Police!”

The large man cloaked by the darkness turned his attention from the woman and stared at the two men but he did not release the woman from his grip and slowly carried on dragging her back towards the bushes.

“Shoot it John! For god’s sake shoot it!” Marcus breathed as he remained transfixed on the scene before him.

“I can’t just shoot him in cold blood; damn it Marcus that’s murder!” retorted John.

The wind whipped up around the men and John narrowed his eyes as bits of dust threatened to obscure his vision. Raising his pistol in the air he fired once and shouted

“Stop what you are doing and back away” at the woman’s unknown assailant. Cain smelt the distinct acrid smell of gun smoke in the air and this drew his attention. Releasing his victim he switched his focus to the two men that stood a few meters away one of which was obviously armed. Jane felt the painful pressure of her attackers grip on her shoulder release and she began to get to her knees and scramble away from her assailant reaching the relative safety of the pathway once more. She grabbed her purse which she had dropped and reached up to her throbbing shoulder and upon removing her hand she screamed once more as she saw blood covering her fingers. The tense standoff between Cain, Marcus and John was shattered by the shrill scream piercing the night air then Cain suddenly lunged at the men. John shoved Marcus to one side as their attacker sprung towards them with unnatural speed and seeing what he thought was the moonlight glinting off a climbers pickaxe he fired once into the unknown assailant; the deep guttural groan confirming he had landed his shot. Cain spun to one side as the bullet struck him and his mind raced as he grasped the situation before him. He could he knew kill these men and still have his chosen victim; the woman. He also knew that they were most likely police officers and that if they had found him then perhaps others knew about him too. It was time for him to disappear from the public eye once more and these fools were going to help him accomplish that. Racing into the darkness Cain slipped back into the bushes that would conceal him as he made his transformation back to the more conventional looking shape and appearance of that of a typical Londoner of that period. “Are you all right?” John asked Marcus as he lent down to help pick him up from the ground.

“I’ll be fine we have to get after it John.” Marcus replied in an almost fervent manner

“You stay here and look after the girl and I’ll chase down our man. He’s wounded so I doubt he will put up much of a fight now.” John said as he thrust his pistol into the hand of Marcus.

“Wait! Don’t be a fool man!” Marcus cried after his friend as John gave chase to Cain. Marcus watched as his friend disappeared into the darkness and then glanced down at the pistol in his hand; his thoughts were broken however by the sound of low sobbing. As he stood he glanced over at the girl they had seen being attacked by the creature. Marcus slipped the pistol into his pocket and made his way over to the young woman who at first screamed at his approach and recoiled.

“Don’t worry miss my name is Marcus and I’m here to help. Are you hurt?” Marcus said in a soothing tone as he knelt down next to the woman. The woman indicated towards her shoulder and said through gritted teeth

“Jane. My name is Jane”

“In any other circumstances the pleasure would be all mine Jane” replied Marcus as he tentatively inspected the wound on Jane’s shoulder noting that it seemed to consist of five deep puncture wounds.

“Now this will hurt a little bit miss but I must do it to slow the bleeding.” Marcus said as reassuringly as he could; he began to wrap his scarf around the wound pulling tight as he finished causing Jane to gasp in pain once more. The sound of gunfire had obviously drawn the attention of some local residents as when Marcus looked up he could see a crowd of people gathering near the entrance of the park way. Calling out to them he gestured for someone to come over and sensing that whatever danger there had been had now gone the crowd came closer until finally feeling safe enough to engage in helping Marcus and Jane. In as short as time possible Marcus instructed someone from the crowd to go and summon assistance from the police and ambulance services while others kept Jane warm and comfortable until their arrival. Feeling his duty was done Marcus turned his attention to his quarry that had fled into the night pursued by his friend John and made quick steps in the direction they headed off in.

It was easy enough for John to follow the girl’s attacker as Cain crashed through the bushes which obscured all vision of him but made it incredibly easy for John to follow.

A plan had formulated in his mind now, Cain thought, one of which he was certain would allow him to disappear and start afresh out of the prying eye of his pursuers and the authorities. Leading his would be captors through the park he made certain to leave an easy to follow trail of destruction behind him as he crashed through bush and tree alike. Nearing the edge of the park he looked behind him to make sure he was still being pursued and sure enough he could hear the heavy breathing of his pursuer not far behind. Leaping up on top of the wall which surrounded the park he could see the bridge that span the Thames ahead of him. ’This would be the perfect spot’ Cain thought to himself as he jumped down from the wall and made his way across the dimly lit street towards the bridge knocking over a trash can as he did so. John came crashing through the hole made in one of the park bushes and almost ran straight into the perimeter wall which surrounded the park.

“Damn it!” he cursed out loud as he scanned the area around him uncertain as to where is quarry may have gone. Then suddenly he heard a load crashing from just over the wall and he knew he still had a chance of catching the assailant. Grabbing a low hanging branch John swung himself up and hooked his foot onto the wall before pulling himself onto it then jumping down the other side. Landing with a thud and almost staggering backwards he steadied himself and scanned the street seeing where the crashing sound had come from as his eyes fixed on a trash can that lay in the middle of street with its contents strewn across the road. As he reached the litter that was now beginning to blow around the street he found himself looking at the ground in the light of street lamps and suddenly realized that he could not see any blood on the ground and knowing that he had wounded the girls attacker he cursed at himself thinking that he had in fact lost pursuit of the man. Spinning around in the street he scanned all around him but John could only see darkness as he peered out into the night.

Cain paused by the entrance to the bridge and looked around for a good place to conceal himself until the right moment; to his left lay a clump of bushes shielded from the street lights by a large tree. Slipping into the bushes he waited for sight of his pursuers to emerge from the park. Watching with keen eyes used to the darkness that surrounded him Cain saw the first of the men jump down from the park wall and run towards the trash can he had deliberately spilled to attract their attention. Watching on he became puzzled as to why the man stood and stared taking no further action and failing to pursue him towards the bridge. Cain also noted he was alone and not in the company of the other man; perhaps he had injured him after all and he would only have to put on this performance for one tonight. Realizing that the man was alone Cain decided to wait no longer and set in motion the next step of his plan to lure his pursuer in. Reaching up Cain wrapped his hand around a large branch that was hanging low from the nearby tree and snapped it soundly in half causing a loud cracking noise to drift across the night air.

A cracking sound suddenly came from the direction of the bridge snapping John from his deliberations and he once more found himself in pursuit of the assailant he had been tracking. As the man came closer Cain recognized him as the one who had fired the pistol at him earlier; this would be perfect he thought to himself. I will leap out at him he will shoot me and I will fall from the bridge mortally wounded or at least to them it will seem that way but as the man neared to within striking range he could see that he was no longer armed and this enraged Cain as it threw his plans into disarray. Then he must die and I will think of another way to disappear Cain concluded as he stood up and readied himself to attack. John neared the bridge and passed the bushes where Cain was lurking unknown to John. Looking along the bridge he could see clearly to the end of it as the lights shone around it illuminating it very well even when the clouds rolled across blocking the moonlight. Running towards the stone railings that lined the bridge John peered over looking for any telltale signs of movement in the water that might indicate that his quarry had jumped from the bridge. Just as he glanced at the steps that would lead him down to the water’s edge he saw out of the corner of his eye movement but it was too late to react he knew and felt a large shape slam into him.

Marcus had reached the first of many bushes which he concluded the creature had barreled its way through whilst being pursued by his friend John and as he followed the trail an uneasy feeling crept into his mind one which he could not shake even as he neared the final bush leading to the park wall. As Marcus stood there looking up at the wall he kept having that nagging feeling in the back of his mind that he was being led somewhere rather than chasing after someone but despite this feeling he hauled himself up onto the wall in much the same manner his friend had done a little while earlier. Upon sitting upon the wall he could see the dimly lit street ahead of him and loose trash being blown around it with his friend some distance ahead nearing the entrance to Westminster Bridge. Jumping down from the wall he slipped his hand round the pistol in his pocket once more and made his way along the pavement towards his friend John.

Suddenly without any warning Marcus saw the large shape, which he would swear to his friend John later that evening, resembling that of a bear leap from the bushes towards John. Instinctively Marcus cried out a warning to John but it was too late and the creature slammed into his friend knocking him to the ground; not stopping to aim and carrying on running towards the creature Marcus leveled his pistol at it and began to fire. The first round missed and embedded into the old stone wall lining the bridge but as he neared the animal his second and third rounds struck the creature squarely in the chest causing it to reel backwards and sent it spinning over the side of the bridge into the waters beneath. Reaching John and leaning down to help him up Marcus stretched out his hand to help his friend to his feet

“Are you OK?” Marcus grabbed hold of John as he quizzed his friend.

Still reeling from the blow but feeling his senses return John simply nodded before pointing towards the stairs leading down to the waterway and saying “That way.”

Both men moved cautiously towards the stairway that led down towards the water’s edge with Marcus handing John his gun once more. As the men descended the steps the night air began to fill with the wail of distant sirens fast approaching their location. Reaching the bottom of the steps the men could both clearly see the form of a man, a naked man, laying half on the bottom steps and half in the waters of the Thames with two distinct bullet wounds in his chest. “It looks like you got him Marcus but for the records we will say I fired the gun OK?” John tugged his friends arm as Marcus was staring in stunned belief at the sight before him and he was only simply able to reply to his friend

“Yes, alright.”

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