Hello Reader, please visit my home page for chapters 1 – 13. The final chapter will be posted Monday December 5th. Thank you for reading.
Lucinda paced the room, from stone wall to stone wall, periodically peering through the wavy glass covering the narrow windows, her footsteps muffled by the wall to wall Persian rug.
Hearing the lower door slam and the sound of someone running up the stone stairs she moved to stand in the centre of the room, face expressionless, shoulders back, the energy around her crackled with anticipation.
“We found her, you were right, watching Rose led us right to her,” the Imp paused, catching its breath, “we can move forward with the plan!”
“Yes, after 36 years we can finally finish the ritual. You will have everything you wanted, and I will put an end to Heritage.”
“The full moon is tomorrow, we should take action tonight, there can be no further delays, some of the others are growing restless, they doubt you, Diabolos is living up to his name, telling them that you aren’t strong enough to finish this, that we should leave and find another…” The Imp was nervous about expressing the discontent of his brethren. Lucinda was notoriously unpredictable, and although they had been together for almost 40 years even he wasn’t safe from her temper.
“Do you doubt me Batibat? Do you wish to leave, to venture out on your own and try to find another like me? Someone who would be willing help an Imp gain power?” Lucinda was calm, her tone quiet and non-threatening, she knew Batibat would never leave her, he was as trustworthy as an Imp could be, which wasn’t saying much. No, his loyalty was born from fear. His name might mean ‘nightmare’ but deep inside Batibat would always take the familiar path, would always be governed by fear. Diabolos was another story, from the beginning he was a gossip, a troublemaker, perhaps Diabolos wasn’t worthy of the final prize.
“Batibat my sweet friend, we are all in this together, no one is leaving, I’ll talk to Diabolos, put his mind at ease.”
Batibat nodded and smiled, he wouldn’t want to be Diabolos when Lucinda ‘put his mind at ease’, oh well, he brought it on himself. They all knew what she was like, what she demanded. Obedience and loyalty, at all times, or pay the price.
“The team is ready, we’ll get the woman tonight and tomorrow…HA! Tomorrow everything changes.” Batibat gave an awkward salute, mentally kicking himself – a salute, really – and started to leave the room.
“Batibat, remember you and I are linked, nothing changes that, you’ll always be part of me, and I’ll always be part of you.” Lucinda took a step towards the Imp, “always Batibat.”
“Yes, yes Lucinda, I’ll never forget.” Batibat lowered his head, and again started to leave.
“Send Diabolos to see me, before you take the team out.”
While she waited Lucinda wandered back in her memories to when everything started. Meeting and marrying Raymond had changed her entire life, given her freedom to practise using her gifts, he celebrated her growing strength, encouraged her to push herself harder, to try more and more complicated tasks. Stupid man! Why did he have to die? They could have done so much together, instead she was left with Ambrose once those bitches from Heritage freed her. Ambrose, that ridiculous excuse for a man, so weak, thinking young girls in white dresses dancing around a fire chanting what amounted to no more than nursery rhymes made him worthy of her. He betrayed Raymonds memory the first and only time he touched her, well, he quickly learned his lesson. Perhaps she should pay him a visit, to say goodbye, let him have one last look at what he could have worshipped.
“Madam, you wanted to see me?”
Lucinda spun round, so engrossed in her thoughts she hadn’t heard Diabolos enter the room. Caught off guard her response was immediate. A flash of green light whipped across the room and wrapped itself tightly around the Imp, tendrils seeping into his mouth and nose, squeezing his ribs, binding his legs together.
“Oh, Diabolos!! You startled me,” Lucinda laughed, “look what you’ve done, silly Imp.” The green light faded, the Imp was freed, coughing and wiping his mouth, he kept his head lowered, not daring to make eye contact.
“Diabolos, I understand that you aren’t very happy with me, is this true?” Lucinda walked slowly towards him, “Diabolos, you’re thinking of leaving before we win the prize? Abandoning everything we’ve worked for all these years? I’d really hate to see you go Diabolos, really hate it.” She reached out her left hand touching him gently on the top of the head, feeling his cold hairless skin on her palm, feeling the fear pulsing from his entire body.
He tried to deny the allegations, to vow his allegiance, but was unable to speak.
“Diabolos, you are restless in your mind, is that right? You have concerns that we won’t be successful, that we…that I, am not strong enough. These thoughts are making your mind uneasy, I can understand that. Diabolos I care for all my Imps, I care for you, I’ve always liked the cut of your jib. A bit of a sailing theme for you Diabolos, in memory of your past. Do you remember what you owe me Diabolos? 70 years trapped by a binding spell to a bollard in a harbour, being shit on by seagulls until I freed you! And this is how you repay me. Causing dissension amongst the others.” Lucinda pressed her hand down slightly, the scar on her palm tight against his skin. “Don’t you worry Diabolos, I’m going to put your mind at ease.”
As the pressure increased, the scar became warm and the Imp felt the burning start, at first it was just his skin, but the feeling quickly penetrated into his skull, worms of burning heat scurried around in his brain, finding even the most remote neural pathways and clearing them of all knowledge and memory. Within moments Diabolos was no more. A skin and bone shell all that was left. As it crumpled to the ground the green light reappeared, spun over the remains and turned them to dust.
“Someone clean this up!” Lucinda looked down at the little pile of ashes, and faded from sight.
Roses body jerked, almost knocking over her wine glass, “Did you feel that? like an electrical shock?” she looked at the others, “did you?”
A crash echoed around the pub, the table where Baxter and Paula were seated had been knocked over as two men started fighting, shouting accusations of wallet stealing the larger of the two punched the other, driving him to the ground. People scrambled to get out of the way, phones quickly being set to record. Baxter moved forward in front of Paula gently pushing her back and announcing himself as a police officer, “Guys, come on, break it up. I said break it up!”
“Should we do something?” taking a sip of wine.
I guess we should. Rose stay here, this will only take a minute,” walking away from the table with a fake swagger.
Rose watched as the two detectives approached the mayhem. A female cry caught her attention, she saw Paula struggling as if something was pulling her, Rose stepped out of the booth wondering what was happening, the shadows loomed behind Paula, fingers yanking at her arms, pulling her out the door and towards the stone pillars on either side of the entrance.
“Paula!” her shout caused Baxter to look at her, then over his shoulder to see what she was looking at. As they watched in disbelief the shadows pushed Paula against the stone pillars and she was gone.
To be continued