The Way Things Had Been

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CUE FOR SATAN

I once invited the Devil to a broadcast.

And he came.

At least, I think he did. Only Brandon knows for sure. And­ Brandon is - well, Brandon doesn’t say much. Not these days.

By profession I am a radio script writer. “Documentaries”, I­ tell my friends. Ignoring the “soap operas” of the trade. Which­ is why I was sitting in the cramped office of John Masterton,­ production manager for Pax Studios. March, 1996.

Pax Studios is an independent production house that supplies­ the South African Broadcasting Corporation with a lot of work.­ And John was the chap I had to convince that they needed my work,­ my ideas and me. He did not seem to be unduly sold on the idea.

He tapped the pages of my outlines together and laid them on­ the table. “I do like your work,” he said in a not very­ enthusiastic voice. “Nothing that I can use at the moment. All­ our serials are running well and there are no anticipated changes­ for at least six months.”

Which is roughly what three other houses had also told me.­ One not as politely. Maybe I should have stayed in London. I­ reached over to gather up the treatments. He put a hand on them.

“Could you leave these with me. I really do like them and we­ may be able to slot them in. I would like some of our team to­ have a look at them.”

Hopeful. “Sure, ” I replied. “One thing with a word processor­. I can always get another copy.”

He bared his teeth in a mirthless smile as he picked up the­ treatments and slipped them into a folder. His fingers tapped out­ a message on the desk.

“You did a lot of work around here about five years back -­ didn’t you ? Before I joined Pax. Where have you been hiding­ yourself?”

I wondered what version I was expected to give him. How much­ he knew. “Overseas. London and New York. Mostly radio. Was doing­ quite well but personal reasons brought me back. Thought I would­ test out the waters while I am here.”

He squinted at me across his desk. “You don’t intend to­ stay?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “That depends on a number of­ things.”

“Ah huh,” he grunted. “Like what will be happening in the­ New South Africa?”

“That as well. But mainly whether there is a place for me in­ the radio scheme of things.”

He stared at me reflectively for a few moments. Then he­ began to paw through a mass of papers on his desk. Finally he­ came up with a well thumbed file which he put on one side.

“You are something of an expert on Satanism - Black Magic­ and all that sort of thing, aren’t you?”

I slowly nodded my head. I was - but it was something I did­ my best to keep dark. “I have been quoted on the subject,” I told­ him. “But I can’t think how you learnt about it.”

Masterton let his layer of chins wobble and dance as he­ chuckled in pleasure. ” If you knew the extent of our filing­ system you wouldn’t be so surprised. I can turn up any information on virtually any subject or person of consequence.­Something I put in hand when I got here.”

I let admiration, of the best butter kind, show through. “I­ suppose that when I asked for an interview you looked me up and­ had the information cross referenced. Was that the way it was?”

He had the grace to look a little crestfallen. “Not quite. I­ was doing a little research on the subject and happened to read­ one or two of your articles. Then someone told me of your radio­ work and the next thing was your letter asking for an appointment.”

“Quite a coincidence. Was your research personal, pleasure­ or program study ?”

“Not personal or pleasurable, I assure you,” he gave a faint­ shudder of distaste. “Decidedly not my cup of tea. No, I have a ­series in mind. One of our clients wants a popular presentation­ on the subject.”

“A series.” A series would not only mean good money but be­ the difference between staying home and having to go abroad­ again. That would suit me fine - and maybe still my wife’s­ everlasting complaints.

“Yes. Seven hour-long programs. Seven - that’s a mystical number,­ isn’t it? In a peak period time slot. Interested?”

The fee was good. The fee was very good. I was interested.­ Very. “Who are the sponsors ?”

“Maze and Reetmicker. The breakfast food people.”

I groaned. Silently - to myself. Maze and Reetmicker were­ known for some of the most lurid and sensational documentaries in­ radio history. They were only interested in those facts that did­ not get in the way of sensation.

But I signed. Seven week peak period programs for the sort­ of money that they were paying would mean that we could think of­ settling back in the country. Which would get my wife and her­ bloody mother off my back. Well worth bending a few facts to keep­ Maze and Reetmicker happy. It was with quiet glee that I watched Masterton add his name to the agreement.

“Who are you getting to direct ?” It was just an idle­ question on my part. “I suppose that it will be Peter Miles as ­usual?”

Masterton examined his signature as if he had never seen it­ before. “You seem to be well informed on our personnel.”

“Not very difficult to ascertain,” I murmured.

He nodded as if I had given him a very valuable piece of­ information. “Frankly we rather thought that this was outside of­ Peter’s field. So we signed up a freelance - like yourself.”

“Oh. Would I know him ?”

He coughed and again examined the signatures. “I believe so.­ You worked with him in the past. Tom Brandon. A remarkable man­ and a fine director.”

I froze in my chair. Staring at him in sheer disbelief.­ Masterton kept his eyes fixed firmly on the signed contract. He­ must know, damn it. He had to know. Everyone knew about it. And­ it would have come up if he had asked around.

“Mr Masterton, aren’t you aware of the circumstances­ surrounding the last program that Brandon and I did together?”

“Heard some rumours, of course. Didn’t pay much attention,­ y’know. Past history. Before my time.”

I sat up in my chair. “Then I think that I had better put­ you in the picture. It might be a rather important factor as far­ as this series is concerned.”

I thrust my hands under the table. Out of his sight. Out of­ my sight. There was something ugly, even to me, in the sight of­ their white skinned clawing.

I let my mind go back. Five years.

Brandon was a fine radio director - one of the best. He also­ happened to be a dishonest one. He would rather put over a lie­ than the truth - especially if the lie could give him the sort of­ impact that he wanted. The Brandon effect of shock.

We were working on a flying saucer project - and we needed a­ peak program to end the series. None of us wanted the series to­ end with a whimper of mediocrity. Especially Brandon. We wanted a­ climax - Brandon wanted a Brandon peak - higher than Everest and­ twice as wide.

But none of us could come up with an idea. Even Brandon was­ silent. That should have been warning enough.

Then, out of the blue, the Studio received a letter.­ Addressed to me. That was one of the cleverest parts of it. It­ would be my project. I was to be the instigator.

It was from a woman who claimed to be in contact with­ visitors from outer space. We interviewed her, of course. According to her, not only had she spoken to these visitors, she­ had even ridden in one of their space craft.

I could still remember her face. There had been something -­ almost unearthly - about it. Deep set eyes. The pale, stretched­ skin of her oval face. Burnished hair of bronze, plaited and­ woven about her head. The smooth, full brown golden tones of her­ voice.

She sold me. Completely.

I thought that her story would be enough. But it was not­ good enough for Brandon. He wanted an interview with the space­ visitors themselves. Automatically she refused. Gave a hundred­ and one excuses why the whole thing was impossible. Brandon taxed­ her with the honesty of her story. Insulted her. They nearly came to blows.

At last she agreed. She would arrange the interview.

She made conditions. There was to be strict secrecy and only­ one person, other than herself, with a tape recorder. Brandon­ elected to do the job himself.

He was gone three day. But the tapes he brought back were­ fantastic. Utterly fantastic. Beings from another, more advanced,­world spoke. Commanded. Told of countless mysteries. Even­ enlarged on the Bible and said that Jesus Christ was.....

It was incredible.

We had the chance to make radio history.

No one doubted the tapes. Brandon had been there. Had seen­ them. Brandon had recorded the tapes. They had to be genuine.

Some time later I was at a friend’s place. A couple who were­ well into amateur dramatics. And, to pay for my dinner, I had to­ sit through their photo albums of past and present productions.

Her face was unmistakable. A different name. But there was­ no doubt about it. It was our flying saucer women. Even then I­ did not really suspect fraud. I was just curious enough to make­ some enquiries.

But it was enough to blow the whole thing wide open.

Brandon had faked those tapes. With the help of that woman­ and a few of her amdram friends. Faked the whole thing.

I had it out with Brandon - in front of the whole Studio.­ The program was squashed. It practically ruined Brandon, strong­ as he was in radio. And he was very strong in those days. Strong­ enough to ruin my career, have me forced out. That’s why I went overseas. Brandon slipped a long way down. And then, three years­ later, he took another chance - trying to get back up the rungs -­and went the rest of the way down.

I faced Masterton across the desk. “Brandon hated me for­ what I did then. He blamed me for his downfall. And Brandon hates ­for a long time. He will be hating me still.”

Masterton pressed a button on his desk. Twice. For a moment­ I thought that he was summoning help. At least to throw me out. ­But it was only for tea.

Lord knows that I needed it. My mouth was as dry as a month­ old apple. I took the cup and the refill and drank it down­ greedily. That damn, bloody Brandon.

Masterton waited until I had relaxed a bit. Listened a little­ more to my bitter comments. He shook his head until his fat­ cheeks wobbled like badly set jellies.

“No, no. You mustn’t think like that. Brandon is a changed­ man. He realises that he was in the wrong and is only asking for­ a chance to get back into the business. To his old peak of performance - without the gimmicks.”

I must have been looking mulish because he leaned forward as­ far as his stomach and desk would allow. Trying to convince me.­“Look, old chap. The sponsors want him to direct. He gives the­ program the punch they like. The punch they want. He can’t afford­ to mess this one.”

He scrabbled on his desk and picked up the contract we had­ just signed. “If you insist, I’ll tear this up. I would not like­ to hold you to one that gives you no joy. But this is the chance­ for both of you to get back into business and also of working­ together. Burying the past. What do you say?”

I agreed in the end. To give it a chance. But I was­ frightened. I knew what my real reason was. I agreed, because­----

---- I hated Brandon.

Brandon and I met a week later at the Studio. He was a seedy­ version of the old time Brandon. The past year or more must have­ been tough on him. All his clothes had been been worn longer than­ they should have done. He looked over my London clothing and I­ saw his lips vanish into a knife slit in his face.

Yet we smiled at each other. Even talked over the old days -­apart from the flying saucer story. Discussed the forth coming­ program. Masterton bounced around wreathed in beaming smiles. Not­ realising that, no matter what our mouths said, our eyes alone told of the hate that held us within. We smiled - and waited.

The seven programs were to be broadcast twice a week. Once­ on a Friday night in prime time and once on the following Tuesday­ morning. They were to be recorded at Pax Studios and the finished­ tapes were to be taken to Broadcasting Studios.

Anyone who believes that radio production houses are­ magnificent places of romance would have had a shock at the­ grubby working rooms of Pax Studios. Instruments, turntables, recording heads, the whole works were crammed into impossibly­ small controls rooms. The equally small studios had walls that­ appeared to be draped with sacking to hide the sound proofing­ wall materials. Everything was functional. Romance was something­ that they sold in make believe.

The series, in keeping with the Maze and Reetmicker­ requirements, started of with a bang. A murder trial in which the­ defendants stated that they were devil possessed when they committed the crime. It was based, very vaguely, on a factual­ trial that had taken place but no one tried very hard to stick to­ the facts of the case. Instead we stressed the devil possession­ of the accused and of other possessed peoples in recorded­ history.

In the next session we introduced a number of “charlies” for­ a studio discussion. Charlies being the studio term of non radio­ personalities. This could range from a tea boy in a factory to­ the president of the country.

In our case it was four Christian leaders of main-stream­ churches plus Romain Cutlander and his wife who were confessed­ Satanists. The idea was to let them talk and record their discussion.

Twenty minutes later we had to send in a squad to separate­ the mass of fighting men with a female harpy on the fringes. We­ still used the twenty minutes of edited “discussion”. Together­ with individual interviews with each of them. It was a far from dull program.

In the third program we explored the Bantu beliefs and had a­ couple of witch doctors plus a lot of recorded ritual dances et­ al. Seeing the witch doctors arrive - one in a Rolls Royce - made­ me wonder if I was in the wrong racket.

It was during this program that I had my first indication­ that the current Brandon was no improvement on the old one. We­ were in studio 2. Brandon was talking to a little wizen fellow.­ In fact the one who had arrived in the chauffeur driven Rolls.­ Brandon, in fact, was not so much talking as sneeringly­ belittling the man.

We all knew the reason. Brandon had arrived in a ten year­ old Volkswagen Beetle. And had seen the Rolls arrive. Now he just­ had to tear the man down.

“You can no more see the future by looking at your bits of­ bone and wood than I can see it looking into my shaving mirror,“­sneered Brandon. “My friend, that hocus-pocus which you use to­ fool the people in the backwoods may go down well with them - but­ not with any civilised man. That I can promise you.”

The little man’s eyes were pin points of hate. “A civilised­ man - like you, Inkosi?”

“Yes, my friend. like me.”

“Shall I throw the bones for the white lord then? Just to­ see if my tricks will work for him?” The words were polite,­ humble enough, but hate hung like a thick blanket in the air.

“Sure, go ahead. And, if you turn up the winner of the­ Durban July, I’ll go fifty-fifty with you.”

The old man took his bag of bones and held it out. Beneath­ Brandon’s face. Mockingly Brandon breathed into the bag. The­ bones were thrown on to the floor.

I never saw a face change so quickly. One moment it was­ filled with kill hungry hate. A look at the bones and the fire­ was wiped out. Wiped by a sudden fear. Not unmixed with pity. Without a word the old man began to repack the bag.

Brandon had seen the change as well. “Well, my magician­ friend, what did you see ?” he demanded roughly.

“It was as the white lord said. It would not work for him.”

“What did you see?” shouted Brandon. But the black face was impassive. “All a hoax. All a stupid, money grabbing hoax," Brandon screamed. Anger - tinged with fear.

The black head was very still. Bent over the last of the­ bones. One skinny finger idly pushing them around. From where I stood I could see a tiny malicious grin come into the dark face.

“One thing I did see, my lord.”

“Well, what was it ?”

“In time to come, very soon, when you are alone, one will­ call. And when he calls, you will still be alone. And when he­ goes, you will always be alone.”

“What gibberish is that, boy? What are you babbling about?”

“About my poor trick, my lord.” The blank, indifferent face­ of Africa slid over the old man’s features. Nor would he say­ another word.

At the end of this program we were a full three weeks ahead­ of schedule. And little was lost as we sailed through the other­ sections of the series. The cults of the South Sea Islands with­ its voodoo rituals. The south sea music and the tales of the­ “hate dolls”, zombies and fire-walkers gladdened the hearts of­ the sponsors and filled our pockets with a bonus.

Then we revelled in the realms of European metaphysical­ rites and black magic. We also explored the black magic found in­ works of fiction - often based on fact - and linked all this with­ current trends and practices of the same rituals.

During the sixth program we casually mentioned the Black­ Mass. Just in passing. For we were building up for our last­ program. Number seven. Our climax.

On the day number six went into the can number four went on­ the air. We were still two weeks ahead of schedule.

The climax was to be a recording of the Black mass itself.

As with most of my scripts I had actually planned my climax,­ the seventh program, before I had begun number one. And I had­ been working on it, making contacts and friends. It had taken­ time. And care.

The people involved, who take part in such ceremonies, are­ very adverse to publicity. Of any kind. It had taken all the­ persuasion that I was capable of, plus a little judicious­ blackmail, to get them to agree.

Even then they took the greatest precautions. All the crew­ were blindfolded and taken to the temple by different routes. We­ were then locked in a room for the entire time before the­ ceremony began. Afterwards - we were taken back - again­ blindfolded.

When we assembled at the studios the crew were a very silent­ lot. Glad to be rid of the series at last. And a little sick at­ the scene they had just witnessed. Mentally and physically. The­ Black Mass was not for weak stomachs. We all knew that we would have to edit those tapes quite a bit before we could use them on­ the air.

The series was complete. A week ahead of time. Brandon and I­ parted - without an open rupture. I could scarcely believe that­ nothing serious had happened. But we both knew - deep down - that­ nothing had been finished. That was still to come. In the­ meantime, I pocketed my cheque and headed home.

For a few days peace. My wife was away visiting her mother.­ I needed the peace. I needed to unwind. In fact I was at home­ when the sixth program went on the air.

I was only half listening to the radio. Especially when the­ program was announced. I had heard it often enough not to want to­ hear it again. So it had been going some time before I realised­ that something was wrong -

They were broadcasting the Black Mass.

In the sixth slot!

I dived for the telephone. I was too late. Every number I­ dialled was engaged. I would just have to sit back until someone­ called me.

Masterton was first. We screamed at each other for a bit and­ then sobered up. Neither of us knew what had gone wrong. We never­ ever found out.

It was a mistake. A horrible mistake.

“Sorry, chaps,” said the bloke from the S.A.B.C. with a­ voice of an Oxford don. “It wasn’t our fault. The label clearly­ said it was the sixth program. Something wrong at your end.”

Something wrong at our end. Someone had put the wrong label­ on the tape. Who ?

“Shall we broadcast no 6 as No 7?” asked the S.A.B.C­ Oxford voice.

And end on an anti-climax? It was impossible. It would ruin­ the whole series.

“Can’t we record another program ?” blubbered Masterton.

“We could, if we had one to record.”

“Trevor,” he shook me by the shoulder. “Think. Think of­ something. Anything. Please.” There were actual tears in his­ eyes. But they could not get me to achieve the impossible.

“You heard the Black Mass,” I snapped. “Can you think of­ anything to over shadow it ? Especially in the time available.”

“No.”

“Neither can I.”

“But I can.” Brandon had not been saying much. In fact he­ had been keeping very quiet. In his position I would have done­ the same. The mistake lay more at his door than anyone else’s.­ Not that we could pin point it - but....

“What did you say ?”

“I know a program that will knock even the Black Mass into­ second place.”

We stared at him in disbelief. He learnt forward. I­ remembered noticing that you could see the white all around the­ pupil of his eyes.

“What have we done in these programs? We have told of the practioners. We have told of the rituals. We have told of the­ effects. But we have skirted around the real central figure. We­ have not gone to the fountain head of all evil.”

No one spoke. The blanket of fear that clung to us also­ throttled our voices. We did not want to believe what we were­ hearing. We were hoping that he would laugh and say that he was fooling. Changed his mind. We wanted him and what he was saying­ to go away. Far away.

He fixed those staring eyes on my face and I felt my flesh­ crawl as if he had touched me. “Trevor, in your books and things­ you have all sorts of spells, rituals and things. Haven’t you ?”

I didn’t even bother to nod. He knew about my library. We­ had used it before in the course of the series.

“For calling up the dead. For casting of spells?”

I refused to play his game. Refused to blink. Refused to­ turn my eyes from his.

“And for calling up the Devil?”

I passed a tongue over my lips. “Yes, I have. But we are not­ going to use it under any circumstances.”

He shook clenched fists in the air in frustration. “We must.­ We must. Don’t you see - we tell what we are planning to do. Then­ go through with the ritual. Call up the devil. Even if nothing­ happens the impact will be out of this world.”

Out of this world - like a Brandon peak. I knew then, as­ surely as if he had confessed to it, that he had deliberately­ switched the labels on the tapes. He had planned this.

“And if something does happen - what then? I repeat, I will­ not permit the use of the ritual for this purpose.”

He reached out to grab me but I shook him off. “You don’t­ really believe in all this silly junk we have been putting over -­do you? You don’t seriously believe that a few mumble words is really going to conjure up the Prince of Darkness - even provided­ that he exists? ” His sneers made no difference.

“It doesn’t matter what I believe. I am not going to put it­ to the test. Don’t you realise that it is not just a question of­ good or evil that you are playing with. But of forces of nature which are beyond your comprehension. What you are doing is­ striking a match in a powder room - and that is a very poor­ comparison.”

“We have to do it.”

“No.”

“Trevor,” sobbed Masterton. “It’s our only chance. Please,­ Trevor. Please.”

***************************

We used Studio 7a. It was a very small cramped room - not­ really a studio at all. Hardly ever used. I had the whole place­ scrubbed out. Floors, walls - even the ceiling.

Once the floor was dry I drew the double circle and the five­ pointed pentagon - not a star - within the circles. Then, between­ the boundaries of the circles, I carefully lettered in the sacred­ words of protection. At each place where the points of the pentagon touched the circle a container of Holy water (don’t ask­ me what I had to do to obtain that) in which floated a candle.

All the equipment would be placed in the middle of the­ circles. Protected. Self contained. Using battery power there was­ not even a lead connecting it to the wall socket. No one laughed­ at all my silly precautions. Except Brandon.

We had agreed to record the whole ritual in sections so­ that, at no time before time, would the whole ritual be done.­ The various sections would be spliced together and the whole­ thing triggered off by a time clock. There would be no one­ present during the actual ritual.

Before the broadcast we again would edit the tapes and cut­ out certain sections so that, again, the full ritual would not be­ done.

We started with a background of muffled drums. Over this­ George Taylor spoke the introduction. His deep, bass voice­ blended with the background drums to form a perfect harmony.

An abrupt cut. Hold to silence. Then the clear, bell like­ tenor of Nigel Kirk spoke the invocation. The single toll of a­ tenor bell beat for fifteen seconds. Again silence.

And then Nigel called on the Devil to come.

The mike would be alive in the room recording everything­ that took place. After a few seconds the time clock would trigger­ the prepared tape.

This consisted of a few commands. Calling on the devil to­ name himself. Calling on him to answer. Then a series of question­ which Brandon had prepared - against my wishes.

Once this had been done there was again a few seconds of­ silence, before the cleansing ritual was triggered. Only then­ would we be able to go back into that room to find out if­ anything - anyone - had been.

We set everything up, set the time clock in motion. Lit all­ the candles in their containers -

And got out.

Each of us trying not to show the others the fear that­ lurked beneath, what we hoped was, concealing masks.

We waited in a nearby room. Too nervous to do more than­ drink from the flasks of coffee that had been provided. No one­ touched the sandwiches.

We waited.

Even when time was clearly up - we waited. Reluctant to go­ back into 7a. At last Brandon got up and led the way back.

It was depressingly normal. Everything as we had left it.­ Only the tape recorder still moving. I moved over and switched it­ off.

“Are we going to listen to it?” someone asked nervously.

“No,” I replied, very emphatically. “No one is going to­ listen to it until we make the cuts required. It’s too late to do­ anything now - so I suggest that we leave it till morning.”

“Agreed, ” said Masterton with some relief. “Good night,­ people. Thanks for a good job - see you in the morning.”

There was no holding them. They left. Masterton followed­ shortly afterwards. Reluctantly, leaving Brandon and me in the­ room.

There was a long silence. I think both of us knew that this­ was show down time. The confrontation that had been boiling up­ for some time.

“Well,” I said. “Have you got your Brandon peak? Was it­ worth spoiling the series to do? I know you changed the labels­ on that seventh tape.”

His eyes flicked at me. Then he carefully moved some­ equipment which had been placed on a box. Giving him enough room­ to sit down.

“I am going to play it.” His voice was tight with strain.­ “With or without your approval. Despite any objections you may­ have. Someone has to hear it in its entirety to make intelligent­ cuts. As director, I am going to do that.”

I looked at the recording equipment still in the room. “Or­ are you going to ensure that your Brandon peak is going to be­ higher than ever. By making sure that the Devil speaks - even if­ he has to use your voice to do it.”

He swung around and faced me. “Are you saying that you think­ I would fake these tapes ?”

“Yes I am. Yes you would - if the need arises. You still­ have as much ethics as a bar room whore.”

I thought he was going to go for me then. I waited. But he­ knew he was no match for me physically. Instead he turned his­ back and sat down on the box.

“I am going to play the tape - are you staying ?”

“You do realise that, if you play the tape in its entirety­, the devil will come again - if he came before?”

He half turned his head. I saw the sneer on his lips. “Yes -­I fully realise that. But all your precautions are still in­ place. I will be safe enough. Are you staying ?”

I knew he intended to fake those tapes. He did not believe­ in the hocus-pocus. I remembered the wizen little witch doctor­- and of what he had said.

“No,” I said. “I’ll leave you to your master.”

Again he half turned his head. Surprise on his face. He had­ not expected me to give way so easily. Expected me to oppose him.

But he said nothing. Neither did I. We never even said good­night to each other. I took one final look at the room. At­ Brandon with his back to me. Then crossed the room and went out­ the door. Closing it firmly behind me.

I even slept soundly the whole night.

Masterton was first in next morning. And Masterton went­ straight to Studio 7a.

All the tapes had been wiped. Completely. We never ever knew­ what had been on them. Only Brandon knew.

Brandon.

He was sitting there. Staring into space. With a brain and­ mind as blank as the tapes. He was alive - if that can be called­ living. But he never spoke then - and he has never spoken since. In that place where he has been sent, something had been taken­ from him.

Something. Like a soul?

Maze and Reetmicker had to be satisfied with six sessions -­we never did another number seven. No one blamed me, of course.­ No one blamed anyone. But I left South Africa and went back to­ London.

I left two things behind with great pleasure - my wife and­ her mother. I am divorced now - from both of them. And I have ­learnt to enjoy London and New York.

I also left behind memories. The memory of looking back into­ Studio 7a. Seeing Brandon sitting there with his back to me.­ Sitting there with all that equipment. That was one.

The other was of kicking over one of the containers of Holy­ water with its candle. Breaching the protective circle. Leaving­ it open to -

- whatever came that night.

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