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A Figure in the Mists - Chapter Four is up! (new)

 
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Tikanni Corazon
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:08 pm    Post subject: A Figure in the Mists - Chapter Four is up! (new) Reply with quote

Okay, I have stepped out of the Fantasy section to have a go at a horror, which I hope won't be disappointing, as it's not really in my comfort zone. Enjoy! (I hope Razz)



Prologue


Yorkshire, England 1883

The rain had been falling all day. Only a fine shower in the beginning, stuttering in and out of life over the course of around three hours, before growing more consistant. As the wind began to whip around the small carriage, rattling the windows and spooking the horses with it's howling, it became clear that they were heading for a storm.


Beneath his wide brimmed hat, the driver looked around anxiously, his expression tense and miserable. He hoped they would reach the village soon. They had been driving all day, and now the sky was beginning to darken as night approached. The horses were exhausted and literally soaked to the skin. How could they not be? He himself was wearing numerous layers of clothing, including a thick great-coat, and over the course of the day, the rain had penetrated all. He was terribly cold, and his underclothes stuck uncomfortably to his skin.

“What I wouldn't give for a roaring fire,” he muttered to himself, his imaginings vivid and longing.

~~~

“Mother, when are we going to be there?”

“I don't know, Benjamin,” Mrs Karrington replied irritably, freeing her sleeve from her son's tugging, insistant hand. “Stop asking me that. Just sit quietly and behave yourself.”

Benjamin let out a deep sigh beside her and pouted, swinging his legs slightly.

“But my legs have gone all funny,” he claimed in a mumbled whine.

Across from him, his older brother Michael looked at him.

“That's because you've been sat down for too long,” Michael said with a nod. “Did you know that if you stay sitting for too long, your legs will die?”

Benjamin, a horrified look plastered upon his young face, shook his head. Michael nodded again.

“You're lying...” Benjamin said, his forehead wrinkled in concern and uncertainty.

“Oh no, I'm not,” Michael replied, his face wholly serious as he eyed his little brother. “That's how it starts, you see. Your legs start to go numb, and, unless you get up and have a good run around, it gets worse and worse, until you can't get up. Then the skin starts shiveling up...like one of those mummies we saw at the museum, remember?”

Benjamin nodded to say that he remembered, his eyes wide as his brother told the story. He huddled in closer to his mother, who was doing her best to focus on the blurred evening outside the window and ignore all the noise within the stuffy carriage.

“And then,” Michael continued. “Your feet drop off, and your bones turn to dust and run out of the holes where your feet used to be, like sand. Until all you have left is two little stumps here.”

At this point, the older boy used his hands to indicate the tops of his thighs. Benjamin watched, still horror stricken, and completely taken in by his brother's serious expression. Michael leaned forward and poked one of his little brother's calves, making the boy feel the numbing effect that a day seated had caused. He pretended to ponder Benjamin's case for a moment, pinching and tapping his chunky, little legs, before making a tutting noise and shaking his head.

“That doesn't look good to me,” he exclaimed solemnly. “I fear that if we don't get there soon, it will be too late.”

“Mother, I want to get out,” Benjamin said, tugging at Mrs Karrington's sleeve again. She yanked it away from his grasp, and frowned down at him.

“You can't get out, Benjamin, it's raining,” she said sternly.

“But my legs are going to drop off,” the little boy exclaimed urgently. “I don't care, I'll get wet. Please mother.”

“No!” she said loudly, causing Mr Karrington to splutter awake from his slumber. She turned to Michael looking murderous. “Michael, this has been a very trying day for all of us. We're bored and uncomfortable, and you teasing your brother isn't making it any easier. Now for goodness sake, will you behave!?”

Michael gulped and looked down at the floor of the carriage.

“Yes, mother,” he replied apologetically, before turning his attention to the drizzle outside.

“Thank you,” his mother said, followed by a deep sigh. She turned to her husband, who was sat looking slightly confused and disgruntled at being woken in such a manner. “Ask the driver how much longer it's going to be, would you dear? Surely we must be nearly there now?”


Mr Karrington gave his head a sharp shake, as if to rid himself of the remenants of sleep, then nodded.

“Of course, darling,” he replied, turning in his seat and reaching out to open the small window beside the driver outside.

~~~

When the lights appeared in the distance, the driver blinked, reaching up a hand to rub his eyes to make sure he wasn't seeing things. Nope, he wasn't. There they were, only too apparent in the steadily dimming light.


The thought that he and his horses would soon enough be dry and warm brought a smile to the driver's lips. He snapped the reins and clacked his tongue, urging the horses on faster.

“Come on, girls,” he called out to them. “The sooner we get there, the sooner I can get you both warm and fed.”


At that moment, there was a tapping upon the little window by his side. He reached back to open it, finding himself face to face with Mr Karrington.

“Got any idea how long it'll be before we get there, old chap?” came the other man's well-spoken voice. The driver gave a nod.

“Indeed, Mr Karrington, Sir,” he replied, feeling terrible self-conscious of his country drawl all of a sudden. “Just seen the lights of the village up ahead. “We'll be there in no time.”

He grinned at the other, showing that he was a glad as they were to have their destination in plain sight. Mr Karrington smiled in return.

“Well, that is a spot of good news, I'll just tell the...well, what's all this?”

The driver looked up at Mr Karrington's indication, staring all around him in wonder.


The rain, which had been pouring so profusely for many the past hour, had disappeared, replaced with soft white flakes.

“Snow,” the driver exclaimed, stating the obvious in his surprise. He glanced back at Mr Karrington, who still peered out of the small window. Both men looked at each other in puzzlement.

“But...it's nearing the end of April,” spluttered Mr Karrington incredulously. “How in blazes is it snowing?”

The driver shook his head that he didn't have an answer.

“I have no idea, sir,” he replied. “But at least we'll be out of it s...soon.”

The last word was uttered quiet as a mouse, as the Driver looked back towards the village and it's lights. They'd disappeared. He looked about wildly, taking in the thick mist that was forming around himself and the carriage. Soon even the road ahead had vanished and all around them was white.

“By jove...” he heard Mr Karrington mutter, but paid it little heed.

The horses stopped in their tracks, wickering nervously. The driver clacked his tongue and shook the reins. Whether he could see the road or not, he knew the approximate direction in which the village was located, and had no interest in staying where he was for the night. The snow was continuing to come down, thicker and faster with every minute that passed, making the mist look almost solid. A wind had begun to whip around them, nipping the nape of his neck with it's bitter cold.


After a few minutes of attempting to urge the horses on in this manner, the driver dropped down to the ground, trekking through the already snow-carpeted ground, and moved around to the animals, stroking them both soothingly.

“Come on now, girls, we can't be staying here all night, can we?” he said, trying to keep his voice calm.

Taking a hold of their reins, he started to walk forward. Comforted by the presence of their master, the horses followed, pulling the carriage behind them, the wheels leaving clear indents in the snow.


They'd not gone far, when they halted again, and this time, there was no budging them. Not comforting words nor the crack of a whip would make them move. Their gazes were fixed dead ahead of them, and soon they began to whinny with distress, trying to back away from their current path, towards the way they'd come.


The driver turned, trying to see through the storm and mist in order to find what was scaring the animals so. At first, there was nothing, but as his eyes adjusted, he thought he spotted something. There was a dark patch, a figure standing amongst the mists.

“Hello?” he called out, his voice trembling slightly from both fear and the cold that swirled around him, sneaking up the back of his coat and biting at his ankles like a savage dog. No answer reached him, and the figure didn't move. The driver began to wonder if maybe it was the outline of a rock or something, but no, he was certain it wasn't. To him, it looked just like...

“A child,” he muttered under his breath, before the question as to why a child would be out in such a storm started to worry him.

Letting go of the reins, he stepped away from the reluctant horses, moving towards the figure in the mists. As he neared, the image became more solid and more convincing. It was a child, he was sure of it, not unlike the youngest boy he had seated in the carriage behind him in height, though this child was leaner, skinny in stature.


The driver halted some seven feet away from the child, who hadn't moved an inch.

“A...are...are you alright?” he said trying to make his voice sound comforting rather than edgy.

The figure spoke not a word, and for a while there was nothing but the driver and the child and the swirling snow and mist. Then suddenly two shining red spots appeared, where the child's eyes should've been. Still the creature didn't move a muscle. Just stood staring at him with it's abnormal gaze.


The driver's mouth opened, as if to utter a scream, but all that came out was a muffled cry. He began to back away, expecting the figure to follow. But it didn't. It remained as it had been, staring, waiting.


As the driver moved to turn away, he saw another set of red lights, two tiny dots in a sea of white. Then another. Then another. His breath began to come in short, sharp bursts as fear consumed him. He looked wildly around, finding himself surrounded by the motionless figures, standing in the snow watching him.


The carriage was nowhere in sight. He called out to Mr Karrington, then listened, hoping to hear a cry in return or the wicker of his girls. But there was nothing, and he began to notice something. Whenever he took his eyes off the children in the snow, they seemed to draw nearer. He never saw them, never discerned even the slightest movement from any of them. But they did nonetheless.


“Help!” he cried, tears forming on his cheeks and freezing as quickly as they fell. “Somebody help me please!” He turned this way and that, seeking out the carriage and possible salvation, but there was nothing besides the eyes.


Suddenly there was one right there before him. The shock of the figure being so close made the driver fall back in shock, and he gazed up fearfully at the thing that merely stood and stared at him. Then there was a slight cracking sound, and the figure moved, tilting it's head to the side, regarding him silently with it's scarlet glare.


Frozen to the spot, the driver screamed.

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.... there is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham....
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, 1887




Last edited by Tikanni Corazon on Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:03 pm; edited 13 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
like one of those mummys we saw at the museum, remember?”


I believe you meant mummies, Not Mummys.. Although, the older kid may be talking kiddish talk, where in mummy's would technically work.

Quote:
making the boy feel the numbing effect that a day seated had had.


I would suggest typing something like this:

making the boy feel the amount of numbing effect that a day being seated had caused.

Or atleast something of the sort, where you don't repeat had back to back. Below you forgot a space between the two quoted words.


Quote:
“Thankyou,” his mother said, followed by a deep sigh.


Besides all of that, got to say that you got a good start there Taki. Love the children of the mist thing.. Kinda like the children of the corn.. Made me giggle a bit. Cant wait to read more from you!
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Tikanni Corazon
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn, I knew I should've waited till tomorrow to post it up. Wink Been writing ALL day today, and I knew I was too tired to read it through and find all the mistakes properly. Thank you for critiquing for me, Ven! I'll get those errors sorted right away. Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your most welcome, And glad you did get it up. It was certainly a good read for me, Regardless of the minor mistakes made.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, happy day! Oh, happy day, others have come to my realm. No longer is The Cave merely me, trying to keep my favorite genre alive. More death and dismay has come at last. Oh, happy day!

Moving on, I thoroughly enjoyed this and if my apartment was an oven I probably would have had chills. This has extraordinarily promise and has me at the very edge of my seat as to what will happen next. The question has also presented itself as to just what are these "children"? I do look forward to finding out.

Very good, Tika, very very good.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Creepy. Thats' the only word I've got for it, Tika is creepy. Well done!
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tika! That was awesome! Wow. You have a true talent in Horror, it seems!

I noticed some interesting spelling errors: "consistant" and "insistant". They're the same type of error so I can't help but wonder if it's intentional.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Chapter One


November 16th, 1888

He walked along through the dark and rain. The back alley was narrow, the sleeves of his coat brushing against the walls to either side of him. A feeling of panic rose in his chest. He felt so enclosed, so...trapped. He looked back in the direction he'd come, but there was nothing. Pure, pitch black engulfed the space, creeping along behind him like a predator stalking him. The distress to his person rose, filling his throat as if with bile, but he had no choice save to keep going.


He kept a steady pace, the blackness continuing to follow. He never looked back again, but he could feel it there, like an invisible hand upon his shoulder, a voiceless whisper in his ear...


Suddenly there was a door ahead of him, red in colour, the deep scarlet screaming at him from it's dark surroundings. The fear in his heart was overwhelming, and he didn't want to open the door – and yet he watched his hand move, independently of his body to grasp the handle, turning it slowly. He placed his free palm upon the wood, and found it to be wet, though not with the rain. The red ooze that covered the door, colouring it against the black, was thick and dark, welling up in the spaces between his bone-white fingers, it's texture like that of...


He gasped, as he came to realise the presence of a steady, rhythmical pumping beneath his hand, soft at first, but growing slowly stronger, thudding against his palm and ringing in his ears, keeping pace with the beating of his own heart. He let out a cry, thrusting the door open and away from his person, his palm coming away sticky and soiled, and the thumping stopped, and silence reigned. Beyond the doorway was black. Squinting against the darkness, he stepped forwards, entering the room.


“Hello?” he called out softly, as if fearing what might answered him. At first there was nothing, merely the dark and the silence. Then suddenly there was a flash of light, only for a second, but enough time for him to catch a glimpse of porcelain skin stained red. Then there was another, revealing torn flesh and bloodied bone. Another - the gaping torso, free of organs. Another – hair so thick with congealed blood that it was impossible to discern the original colour. The flashes came faster and faster, each vision more a horror than the one before. A screaming filled his ears, and it took him a moment to realise it was coming from his own lips...


~~~

Detective John Carroll jerked awake from his dreams, a sudden panicked intake of air marking the moment. It took him a few seconds to get his bearings and work out where exactly he was, though it didn't take him very long. The jostling movement of the carriage could hardly be mistaken for anything else. Yet again he was on the road, making his way from London all the way north to the county of Yorkshire.


He looked across the carriage, where his maid and assistant, Grace, still lay slumbering, her feet at one end of the opposite seat, and her head at the other. He smiled at her briefly, before his face returned to a frown, and he pulled his gaze away from the young woman and, pulling aside the small curtain that covered the window, set it upon the passing landscape. The sky above was of a deep lilac-grey shade, with dark clouds low overhead, giving the surrounding snow-covered moor a sombre, miserable appearance. The sight was strangely depressing, and after a moment, Carroll began to focus upon his own dim reflection in the glass. A greying forty-eight year old man stared gloomily back at him, his hair thinning slightly along the hairline and temples, and the neat moustache and spectacles giving him a scholarly, learned air.


At that moment, he heard Grace stir, and, turning, saw her sit up, rub her eyes and then stretch. She smiled at him, her sleepy hazel eyes fixing upon his own steely blue-grey ones.

“Are we nearly there, Mister Carroll?” she asked, her accent that of a lower class Londoner, unclipped and common. Carroll smile back at her warmly.

“Indeed, we seem to be amidst the moors as we speak,” he replied, looking once again out of the window. “Take a look yourself.”

He heard a slight scuffle, then the girl was by his side, looking eagerly out through the glass pane.

“It looks to go on forever,” she murmured, her eyes fixed on the surrounding land. “Imagine being out here all alone. You'd never find your way out of it.”

Carroll nodded.

“Indeed...a rather drear looking place, isn't it?”

“Yes...” Grace said quietly. She remained looking out a few moments longer, then returned to her seat, reaching into the bag on the floor by her seat, and pulling out a sewing project, and set to work on it.


Carroll followed suit soon afterwards, moving his hand to hover above the newspaper and the leather bound book at his side. After a moment, he selected the paper, though he'd read it several times over the duration of their journey so far. He frowned at the front cover, which was emblazoned with information about the murder of a young woman, one Mary Jane Kelly. The name alone brought back memories of his prior dream, and he rubbed a hand over his face in a weary manner.


A week it had been since the murder. A week since he'd looked upon her destroyed corpse, and since that day, every time he drifted off to sleep he would dream about her. It was driving him mad, and yet he couldn't bear to throw the paper away. It was a constant reminder of the very heights a person was willing to go to to inflict pain upon another to sate their own sick desires, and yet he kept it at his side always, and looked upon it every day without fail. He sighed deeply and placed the paper back upon the seat, taking up the book instead. Grace looked up from her sewing as he did so.

“What is that book you keep with you, Mister Carroll?” she asked pleasantly, continuing to whip her stitches in and out of her work though her eyes were not following her actions.

“It's by a man called Edgar Allen Poe,” he replied, opening the book and flicking through the first couple of pages. “It's called 'The Raven and other Poems'.”

“I wish I could read,” Grace went on, her attention falling back upon her work.

“Well, maybe when I have some spare time, I could teach you,” replied Carroll with a smile. He noted that he seemed to be doing an awful lot of smiling recently, even though his heart couldn't have been less in it. He looked over the familiar words on the page before him. He had no idea why he even had the book. He knew The Raven off by heart, so it made little sense. He snapped the covers together, causing them to make a soft thumping noise upon impact, running a hand over the front cover, tracing along the embossed lettering of the title. Then he placed it atop the paper once more, and lifted a hand to remove his spectacles, taking a handkerchief from his pocket and gently polishing them.

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door...”

He paused in his recital, knowing that Grace was hanging upon his every word. Without looking to her, he replaced his eye glasses and looked to the window once again.

“Only this, and nothing more...” he uttered softly.

~~~

Some hours later, the shunt of the carriage as it came to a halt jolted Carroll awake with a start. Outside, night was beginning to fall, the moon overhead forming a half crescent, and due to grow all the more luminous as the sky darkened further. Despite the clouds that had clung to their positions for the entirety of the daylight hours, all but blocking out the sun's kiss upon the earth, Carroll noted that the night was strangely clear.


He reached over and tapped Grace, who was once again sleeping, upon the shoulder, watching as she came awake, bleary eyed and her expression slightly confused as she looked up at him.

“I believe we may have arrived at our destination, my dear,” he said gently in explaination.


A sudden rapping upon the carriage door made Carroll jump, and he turned as the door opened and the craggy face of their aging coachman looked in.

“'ere's yer stop, Mister Carroll,” the old man grunted, his voice thick with the accent of the area. “Would ye like me ter get yer luggage out fer ya?”

Carroll nodded.

“That would be most helpful, thank you,” he replied, getting to his feet and exiting the carriage in a stooped stance, straightening as he hit the open air and looked around him.


They'd come to a halt outside a building that was clearly marked as a village shop, though all the lights had been blacked out for the night, and it stood still and empty of life. Carroll continued to look around with interest, as he offered his arm to assist Grace from the carriage. A few houses were scattered around the immediate vicinity, some with candles alight at the windows, dimly outlining a few curious inhabitants. Beyond them, Carroll could see more lights marking houses set further into the village.


A soft thump sounded as Grace hopped down from the carriage and landed beside him. A tiny scrap of a girl, she barely reached Carroll's shoulder when they were stood side by side, a fact that always amused him slightly. A louder thud erupted just afterwards, as their bags were dumped on the ground by the elderly coachman. The old man pointed to a building situated on the other side of the road from the shop.

“That'd be yer Inn,” he said, gruffly, as he remounted and took his seat behind the pair of grizzled horses, and snapped the reins.

“I don't suppose you could direct me to the local authorities?” Carroll called after the dwindling form of the carriage, but to no avail. No reply reached him, if the question had reached the ears of the coachman at all.

“I can 'elp yeh in that deparment,” a voice said behind them.

Carroll and Grace turned in sync to find a man in a thick coat stood behind them, his form practically hidden by the fullness and length of his garment, his head covered in a cloth cap, and his hands tucked deep into his pockets.

“You'd be strangers to the area, am I right?” the man spoke again, removing one of the hands and extending it towards Carroll. Carroll took it in one of his own and nodded.

“That's right,” he replied with a smile. The man nodded.

“I thought so,” he said. “I'm Benjamin Miller, but you can call me Ben.”

“Detective John Carroll,” Carroll replied to the stranger. “I believe you said you could help us get to the local authorities?”

Ben nodded.

“Indeed I can,” he said, with a nod. “I have to say though, you two look shattered. Sure you wouldn't like to get your things stored away at The Blind Hare and then sit down for a drink? I'll buy.”

He pointed towards the Inn, and Carroll noticed the weathered sign swinging above the front door, a faint outline of a hare painted upon the front beneath the Inn's name.

“That's awfully kind of you, but really, I need to check in with a Lieutenant Stamp. I was told to do so as soon as I arrived.”

“Ah, I'm sure old Stamp will let ya off punctuality just this once,” Even in the dim light, Carroll discerned a wink upon Ben's visage. He noted also that every so often, the other man's gaze flitted over Grace's small, slight form.

“Well...” Carroll said vaguely, as he pondered what he should do.




Dp is as simple as that, what does Detective Carroll do? Hope you enjoyed! Thanks for reading! Smile
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.... there is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham....
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, 1887




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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HOLY SHIT THAT WAS CREEPY!! way to go, girl!!

for your DP, i'd say lets press on. we need to check in...i dont like the way dude is eyeing our little friend...on to the authorities!!
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just giving this a bump. Wink
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Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, 1887


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ohhh good thing you bumped this, Tika. Another one I somehow missed. Yikes, how many SGs have I missed and not known about?!

I love the imagery. It actually does feel "real", like I'm actually in that era. You have a real gift. Smile

The Lieutenant isn't going anywhere. I think the Detective should use this opportunity to gather information from the locals.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you both for reading and commenting, Andi and Sagi!

And poll is up! Smile

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I need a tie breaker, pretty please? Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Chapter Two


“You're very kind,” Carroll stated, nodding his gratitude at Ben's offer, despite the fact that something about the man made him uneasy. “But really, I need to check in with Lieutenant Stamp. Maybe we'll bump into each other when Grace and myself return.”

At that moment, the door to The Blind Hare opened, revealing a buxom figured woman stood in the dimly lit doorway.

“Would ye be a Mr Carroll?” she called out to them, in a slightly gruff voice. Though he couldn't see her from where they were standing, Carroll predicted her to be nearing her later years, possibly in her late fifties or early sixties from the quality of her voice. He looked down at Grace, then started to cross the narrow street, the girl at his side.

“That is correct, ma'am,” he replied, removing his hat, his well-spoken, upper-class accent clashing with the woman's broad Yorkshire. She paused for a moment, her face in shadow and impossible to read.

“We've been expecting yer,” she said at last, before turning back to the Inn. “CHARLIE!” she bellowed through the doorway.

The brief moment in which her face was silhouetted against the light revealed a largely ugly visage. A bulbous, hooked nose jutted out from the rest of her features, including a seemingly lipless mouth and beady little eyes. A few moments passed before a younger man appeared at her side, tall and broad of shoulder. The woman pointed to the pile of bags and cases across the street.

“Take 'em inside and up ter the red room,” she said, then watched as the young man nodded and made his way swiftly over to the luggage, grabbing all four of them at once and carrying them with seeming ease back to the Inn. As Carroll watched, he noticed that Ben had disappeared. The woman stepped to the side to let the younger man pass back through, watching as he began the ascent up a set of stairs just inside the open doorway, then she turned back to Carroll and Grace. “Ye want ter follow 'im up?”

Carroll shook his head.

“That's quite alright, ma'am,” he replied with a smile. “I need to see Lieutenant Stamp as soon as possible, so I'd best be on my way there now.”

The woman gave a brisk nod then looked at Grace.

“What about you, missy?” she said sternly. Grace, though not timid in nature, quailed slightly under the woman's gaze.

“I...um...”

“Come along,” the woman interrupted, placing a hand on Grace's shoulder blade and half dragging her inside. “Let's get some food in yer. Ye look half starved.”

Grace could only look to Carroll with a slightly bewildered expression as she was ushered inside. The woman turned back to him.

“The station is just down there around the corner,” she stated gruffly. “First buildin' on the right. Ye can't miss it.”

And with that, she closed the door, leaving Carroll alone on the street.

~~~

Carroll trudged down the street, occassionally looking back over his shoulder at The Blind Hare, and shaking his head in puzzlement. The folk of the area were strange to be sure. He didn't like to leave Grace alone with people she didn't know, but he could think of no plausible reason as to why he should knock on the door and insist that she accompany him to the station. Though he couldn't put his finger on it, something about the atmosphere of the village bothered him.

'And where did that 'Ben' chap go?' he wondered to himself, as he made his way around the corner, as the woman that the Inn had indicated. To his left was a row of stone houses, their build and layout a little rustic and old fashion compared to the high-class houses of London town. And to his right, as the woman had said, was the Police Station. Though the place looked to be mostly dark, Carroll saw a light burning in one of the downstairs windows, a sure sign that someone was there and working late.


Carroll stepped up to the door, and, clearing his throat, gave a smart rap upon the wooden door. He listened, and for a short while there was no indication that he'd been heard at all. He was just about to knock again, when a rummaging from inside the building reached his ears, followed by the noise of the locks on the inside being undrawn.


The door opened and Carroll found himself to be face to face with a man older than himself by a good ten years from the look of him. His forehead, riddled with deep indentations already, only became moreso as the man frowned at his visitor, looking at Carroll through the thick lensed glasses perched upon the tip of his nose. Though Carroll assumed him to be an officer, the man's dressage seemed to indicate differently. His torso was clad in an off-white shirt, with a rough-looking green cardigan over the top and buttoned up the front, tight across the man's considerable middle. A pair of slightly worse for wear brown trousers covered his legs, which ended in a pair of feet wearing velveteen slippers.


Carroll suddenly realised he was looking the gentleman up and down, and stopped, feeling his cheeks warm slightly at the rudeness of his actions.

“I'm sorry...I'm...”

“Can I help you?” Though he retained his Yorkshire accent to a degree, the other man's voice was much more well-spoken than that of the other residents of the village that Carroll had met so far, and seemed to give an added strangeness to his unkempt appearance.

“I'm here to see Lieutenant Stamp,” replied Carroll, finding his tongue. “I'm...”

“Inspector Carroll,” the gentleman finished for him with a nod. “John Carroll to be exact. Thirty years on the London police force, recently requested that you have a bit of a break due to stress.” At this, the gentleman looked to Carroll for a reaction, though he was met with a stone-like countenance.

“Indeed, that is correct, sir,” Carroll replied stiffly. “I have been transferred here for a short while to recuperate. Now, if I could kindly speak with the Lieutenant please?”

“You are speaking with him,” replied the gentleman sharply. Carroll couldn't stop himself from giving the Lieutenant's clothing another glance up and down, upon hearing that he was the man running the local police.

“Oh...I do apologise, I didn't...I mean, the dress code is a little different back south...”

“Don't give it another thought.” Lieutenant Stamp's manner was still gruff, but he seemed unbothered by Carroll's assumption. “Why don't you come on inside? I was just about to finish up here, and then we'll get down to business. Sound okay to you?” He fixed Carroll with an intense stare, as if the question was there merely for manners sake rather than to actually give the other man the choice as to whether he was actually okay with the situation.


Carroll gave a short, curt nod, and stepped inside the station, hearing Stamp close the door behind him. The room that he'd seen lit from outside was to his left, the soft candlelight escaping the open doorway and flickering against the darkness. Carroll entered the room, finding himself amidst half a dozen tables, all but one covered in high stacks of papers and records.


Stamp followed him in, making his way gingerly between the tables, and seating himself in a chair by the uncovered desk, the surface of which contained a small stack of papers in one corner, a pen and ink, and a glass tumble a quarter filled with amber liquid. Stamp reached into a cupboard beneath the desk and drew out a decanter containing what looked to be the same liquid as the glass, along with another tumbler. He half filled the new glass, reaching over to hand it to Carroll, then topped off his own. He took a long draught of the beverage, then set the glass back on the desk, and returned to a section of paperwork that he'd obviously been filling out when Carroll arrived. He indicated another seat on the opposite side of the desk.

“Make yourself comfortable,” he said, without looking up from his writing. “I'll only be a moment.”

Careful not to knock anything over, the idea of sending any one of the monumental stacks of paper falling to the ground not a desirable one, Carroll slipped through a gap between two of the desks, then seated himself in the chair Stamp had gestured to. He took a sip of his drink, finding it to be a well-aged, quality whisky. He grimaced slightly at the burn of the alcohol in his throat, then took another, deeper mouthful.


Stamp's attention was fully on the work at hand, and he quietly went about writing what Carroll could only assume was a documented account of the latest case the Lieutenant had headed, and he wondered what kind of crime occurred in this remote, little village. He found that he couldn't imagine it being very exciting.

'Which is likely why I was sent here...' he mused to himself, sipping his whisky and feeling slightly glum for some strange reason. He'd not been told beforehand what kind of duties he would be performing whilst living in... It suddenly occurred to him that he couldn't recall what the village was called. It was something he would have to ask Stamp when he was done with his paperwork.


After a time of sitting in the chair, sipping at his drink, Carroll finally drained the glass, then sat back in a easy stance, crossing his hands across his abdomen. The combination of the day's journey and now the whisky making him feel ever so slightly fuzzy caused Carroll to feel a little sleepy, and before long his eyelids began to droop, and he slept.

~~~

Again he was in the alleyway, the red door ahead of him...

He knew what was coming, but he couldn't seem to make himself go back, his feet walking forward through the black and towards the red whether it was his wish to do so or not. On and on he went, hearing the crunch of his shoes on the gritty path beneath his feet.

He reached the door and, as before, the dreaded thumping of that heartbeat reached his ears, the pace matching that of his own. He watched, unable to stop himself, as his hand reached up and touched the door, the palm against the red-painted wood. Again his fingers sank into the scarlet, thick moisture rising between them.

But this time, his hand continued to sink until it had disappeared through the door, his arm following until it was buried nearly up to the elbow. He began to panic, his breathing quickening and his heart racing, the thumping noise beyond the door rising with it.

Suddenly, a feeling like ice crept up his spine. He could feel a figure standing behind him, and yet he couldn't make himself turn around to discover the identity. He could only stand there, waiting, though for what he didn't know. He gasped as a hand touched lightly upon the small of his back, and the presence leaned in, it's breathing becoming louder as it's lips neared his ear.

“Do you wish to capture my heart?” The voice was whispered and distinctly female, and accented with a lilt that sounded familiar to his ear...was it Welsh? Another hand crept up and touched his shoulder, and the smell of blood and decay filled his nostrils. “I can give it to you...”

He felt something placed into his palm, and his hand and arm being slowly withdrawn from inside the red door, dripping with crimson as it did so, and the presence withdrew with it it's touch leaving his form, and slowly sinking back into the shadows behind him, though he could not say how he knew this.

As the hand emerged fully from the red, his eyes widened in shock and fear. Sitting in his palm was a heart...her heart...and it was still beating...


~~~

Carroll started awake, and took a moment to get his bearings and realise where he was. Stamp was sitting where he had been before, but his gaze was set upon Carroll himself, his expression stern.

“Everything alright?” he asked, shuffling the papers in front of him briskly, before placing them atop the pile at his side. He placed the pen and ink tidily beside it, then sat back in his seat in a similar stance to Carroll, his hands settled on his substancial belly, his eyes set upon the other man. Carroll swallowed then nodded his head, the image of the heart still at the forefront of his mind.

“Yes, I'm quite alright,” he replied, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. “Must have just dropped off. It's been a rather long day...”

“You were talking in your sleep,” Stamp cut him off, reaching forward to take up his glass of whisky. “Something about a heart.” He took a gulp of the liquid, then resting the tumbler beside his hands on his stomach.

Carroll managed a feeble laugh, trying to make light of the situation.

“Oh really? Well, I suppose that one cannot explain the strange things that occur in dreams..." He cleared his throat. "Putting that to one side, I'm anxious to go over what my duties might be while I'm here. It wasn't made clear to...”

“Indeed, that is something that needs going over,” Stamp interrupted again. “But I also like to know the people that I work with. I feel it important to...” He paused and looked thoughtful as he selected the right word from his mind. “...familiarise myself with them.” He fixed Carroll with that intense stare, as if he was trying to see straight through him and into his soul. “Why don't you tell me the reason why you're here, Inspector? What happened that caused your senior officers to feel you needed to slow down a pace?”

He tilted his head to one side in a curious gesture, and Carroll felt even more uncomfortable. All he wished to do was obtain a summary of his duties and go back to The Blind Hare. He was a little concerned about leaving Grace there by herself for too long, but more than anything, he didn't want to talk about the case that had brought him to this dismal little place.


He opened his mouth to speak, still unsure whether to relent to Stamp's wishes, or not?




So, what does Carroll do? You have a chance to find out more about the village and what's happened there, or you can find out more about our Inspector here? Or we can feign over-tiredness and leave to go back to the Inn and maybe meet some of the locals and go back to check on Grace. Or anything else that you can think of. Smile

Thanks for reading! Much appreciated!

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Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, 1887




Last edited by Tikanni Corazon on Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:02 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love it - you did great in combining the tie-vote.

I enjoyed the fact an Englishman with a "proper" upper-class accent is sent to a village where everyone speaks Yorkshire. You did well in accentuating the inn-keeper's speech in the text.

For DP, we'll have time for backstories later. I believe we should find out more about the case, now that we're here with the Lieutenant. Plus, I'm not sure if the Inspector should spill out his guts to a stranger so quickly, at least not until we know we can trust him.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to say we tell him everything. he's going to be our superior here, so he should know what he's dealing with. we can probably ask more about the village in return for our story as well.

loving it, Tika!! the mystery is definitely building, and you do well with your description to keep us feeling uneasy about the village as well. well done!
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am absolutely in love with this tale! It is so creepy and brilliantly done...i do love Victorian horror. Love the mentions of Poe and Ripper in Chapter 1. Can't wait to see more.

As for the dp, I agree with Andy. Tell him everything. He should know. That and not telling him may upset him and Stamp seems like a guy you don't want to anger.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comments and suggestions guys! Poll is up! Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voted! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I need a tie-breaker here guys! Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh my gosh, I'm addicted! This story is hauntingly mysterious, or perhaps mysteriously haunting Wink Either way its great! I ran into one little hook while reading...

Tikanni Corazon wrote:
He placed the pen and ink tidily beside it, then sat back in his seat in a similar stance to Carroll, his hands set upon his substancial belly, his eyes set upon the other man.


The double use of "set upon" made this sentence read a bit bumpy. I would try changing one of them to something different, maybe "resting" (for example: "hands resting on his substancial belly, eyes set upon the other man"). It also could just be me and the sentence is perfectly fine. I'll leave that up to you, of course.

I have voted (I think I broke the tie?), and am very excited for the next chapter!
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much for reading, Seraphi, and welcome to A Figure in the Mists! It means a lot that you enjoyed it! And thanks for pointing out that little hiccup, which I will be dealing with directly. Smile

And you have indeed broken the tie, so the poll is now closed, and I'll try and get a new chapter up in a couple of days! Smile

Thanks to all who read and commented! As always, it's much appreciated!

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Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, 1887


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Chapter Three


Carroll removed his spectacles, and pressed the thumb and forefinger of his free hand to either side of the upper part of his nose between his eyes, massaging the area lightly. He gave a weary sigh, then took a clean handkerchief from his breast pocket, taking the piece of fabric to the glasses and polishing the lenses.

“If you wouldn't mind too much, Lieutenant, I wonder if I might get some rest before relating such information to you. It's...a rather trying matter and I'd rather be more refreshed than I am at present before I speak of it.”

The words exited Carroll's lips in a tone of clear courtesy and respect, but were also firm. Stamp eyed him for a moment, his expression frowning, before giving a shrug of his shoulders and a nod.

“I suppose it can wait until the daylight hours,” he allowed, leaning backwards in his chair slightly, reaching for a drawer in a nearby desk.

He opened it and slipped a hand inside, taking out a bundle of papers wrapped in card and string and placing them on the surface before both himself and Carroll.

“This is the case you will be working on,” he said bluntly, undoing the neat bow which secured the card closed around the paperwork. “Not a new case, by any means. But one that holds a lot of water with the authorities back in your neck of the woods.”

He removed the papers, and laid them in a tidy pile on the table directly in front of Carroll, then settled back in his seat again, regarding the other man intently. Carroll paused briefly, then leant forward, peering at the neat hand upon the paper. His brow furrowed as he read the contents of the file. It told of the disappearance of a family out on the moors, consisting of one Abraham Karrington, his wife Isabella, their sons Michael and Benjamin, and the coachman driving them to their destination, a Mr Tom Jackson. A glance at the top of the page told Carroll that the document had been begun in the May of 1883, before he resumed his scanning of the contents, which was dated up until a month prior.


In it's entirety the document was around twenty pages long, the neat writing small and covering both sides of each piece of paper. At intervals, there would be a small section dedicated to the situation of the missing party at a certain time. Carroll was around halfway through the second side of the third piece of paper, when his eyes widened, and he looked at Stamp over the top of his spectacles. The Lieutenant was regarding him as he read the report, a knowing look in his light-grey eyes. Carroll's mouth opened as if to say something, but the words wouldn't come out. He sat there gaping for a moment, his forehead lined with a distinct frown, before he gave his head a slight shake and returned his gaze to the paper before him.


The report was dated as November 21st 1883, almost five years previous from the current date, and some six months after the original disappearance of the Karrington family and Mr Jackson.

~~~

During a routine walk with his dog, Mr Benjamin Miller came across a young man of around 11-12 years of age wandering across the moors in a clear state of disorientation. Mr Miller had the good sense to bring the boy back to the station, where he was examined by the local doctor, Mr Hamish Green, and given a bed at the surgery for the night to recuperate before being interviewed. The boy has been identified though, through photographic evidence to be the missing Michael Karrington.


I have to say that, at the moment of writing this, I'm feeling slightly disorientated myself. It had never occurred to me that we would find any of them alive after this period of time, and the imagining as to how the boy survived for this long out on the moors alone is enough to make the mind spin. In all honesty, I find myself in total shock at the discovery. I feel that a night's rest will not only benefit Michael, but will also find my good self fresher and more able come the morning.


~~~

It was signed at the bottom by the Lieutenant himself. His state of mind at the time of the report was clearly illustrated by its contents, and Carroll found it very easy to understand why he'd felt that way. Just hearing about what had happened was baffling to Carroll. He looked up at Stamp again, and cleared his throat.

“This is...this is unbelievable...”

He shook his head, frowning as he glanced back down at the paper, then to Stamp's constant gaze once more. The Lieutenant nodded in agreement, removing his glasses for a moment and tapped them lightly against the desk before him.

“Indeed,” he said, pursing his lips slightly. “As the report says, I was in a state of shock at the discovery. I couldn't make out how the boy was alive. When one is out on those moors, it feels like they go on forever. There's been many a born and bred local who's managed to get themselves lost out in that wilderness, it's that vast. Plus, with the edition of bogs and the weather at this time of year...well, I have to say even now I'm none the wiser.”

“But...the boy,” Carroll said, gesturing to the paper. “Surely the boy...”

“Read on,” Stamp replied abruptly, cutting him off. He nodded at the papers in front of Carroll, and, after a moments pause, Carroll put aside the piece he'd been reading, and moved on to the next. It was dated two days on from the prior page, and as Carroll read through the neat hand, his frown deepened.

~~~

Dr Green proclaimed Michael Harrington was fit enough in physical health to be interviewed for the first time since he was discovered on the moor by Mr Miller, though he stressed beforehand that he thought it unlikely the boy would have anything useful to say to us, if anything at all. Apparently Michael has been toing and froing between temporary mutism and gibbering madness, making little if any sense.


I traversed over to the surgery, keeping Dr Green's words in mind as I did so. Upon entering and locating the boy's bed, I was met by the glassy stare of the clearly traumatised youth. I'd not had the chance to take in the finer details his appearance when he was originally found, through a mixture of shock and the knowledge that the boy needed medical care as soon as possible. But laying eyes upon him as if for the first time, I found him to be in a sorry state.


His chest moved in short, shallow breaths in quick succession, and were it not for this movement, I'd have thought him a corpse. His face was drawn and thin, the cheekbones hollow with bone-white skin pulled tightly over them, giving him the appearance almost of a skeleton. The hair that had been thick and lustrous and black in colour on the photograph through which he was identified, was now straggly and whispy, and seemed to have taken on a slightly greying shade. His arms, which rested beside him on the bed were as white as his face, and so thin and fragile-looking that I found myself afraid to even touch him for fear that he might break.


I greeted him and introduced myself, but was met with no words in return. Just that almost lifeless stare, like the eyes of the dead, save for something trapped within their depths...a slight vision of terror. Getting no reply, I continued speaking, telling Michael what had happened, how he'd been discovered wandering the moors alone, asking him where he'd been. But still the boy uttered not a word. For almost an hour I sat there, asking constant questions and gaining nothing in the way of an explanation, no matter how hard I pushed.


I'm ashamed to admit that I grew angry with the boy in my impatience, demanding to know how he'd survived the moors for so long, asking if he'd been abducted by someone, and finally asking the all important question as to the whereabouts of the rest of his family. As I uttered those words, something changed in the lad. That horror that had been lurking at the back of his eyes came fully to the surface. They grew big and wide, tears pooling at the lips of his lower lids before falling silently down his cheeks. His breathing became more pronounced, drawing past his pale lips in raspy gasps, sounding not unlike sand-paper on wood. His frail body began to tremble and he shook his head from side to side. I became quite alarmed by the behaviour, and was just on the verge of calling Dr Green when the boy began to speak. He uttered the following words, in a voice little more than a whisper:


'Don't let them get me... Please don't let them get me...'


I was shocked as I listened, not knowing how to respond. I finally found my voice and asked Michael to whom he was referring. He just continued to shake his head, repeating the aforementioned words, as he began to rock slightly, back and forth. I attempted to calm the boy with soothing words and a gentle pat on his shoulder, but he listened not to the former, and flinched as if my touch hurt his flesh. I finally called Dr Green to see to the boy, planning to take my leave and return another time when the trauma he'd suffered would be a little less fresh in his mind. But as I stood to go, his hand whipped forth and grabbed my wrist. I found his grip to be surprisingly strong, and his touch cold. He looked up at me, and at once began to chant a strange song, the lyrics related in a breathy, whispery voice.


'When the night takes hold, and dark covers all...
They're coming to get you, they're coming to get you...
When the cold draws near, and the snow starts to fall...
They're coming to get you, they're coming to get you...
When your fear overwhelms you and tears you apart...
Reaching inside you and clenching your heart...
When the red eyes glow, it signals the start...
They're coming to get you, they're coming to get you...'


By the time he was done, Michael's breaths were coming forth in stutters and starts as he restrained threatening sobs, emotion and fear quickly overwhelming him. His face was awash with tears, his eyes deep pools indicating his terror. I admit I was highly unnerved myself, as was Dr Green, for whom the singing was new also, though he'd spent the past two days caring for the boy. The vice like grip on my arm was released and the boy lay back on the bed looking numb and void of emotion once more.


I find that, even now, some hours later, my nerves are still on edge from the experience. I know not what to make of it, but still, it is my duty to get to the bottom of it.


~~~

Again it was signed by Stamp as the report finished, and Carroll was left reeling from the information he'd been made privy to. Stamp still regarded him from the other side of the desk.

“What do you think?” he asked finally, in a calm, collected voice, propping his chin upon his palm, while the elbow rested atop his other arm where it was situated on his ample gut. Carroll merely shook his head, finding himself to be rendered speechless.

“The boy...he's clearly insane,” he stuttered finally, gesturing widely with his arms as a sign of his befuddlement that there could be anything but that explanation. And still...something tapped at the back of his mind, uncomfortable and insistent that things weren't so simple.

Stamp shrugged.

“Maybe...” he said, with a slow nod. “But the look in that boy's eyes haunts me to this day. And when that song is mentioned to him, he still turns into a gibbering wreck. Whatever happened to him during that six months he went missing...”

Stamp merely shook his head to end the sentence, following it with a weary sigh. Carroll looked confused.

“Wait a moment...Michael Karrington is still here?”

Stamp nodded.

“Indeed he is,” he replied. “Living with, and still being cared for by Dr Green. The boy's a lot better now, though still...unstable at times.” He gave a shrug, then got to his feet, grimacing slightly as he straightened his stiff joints. “Anyway, Carroll, it's getting very late, and I'll not keep you further.”

He gestured towards the doorway, indicating for Carroll to leave, to which he obliged, standing and extending a hand across the table towards his new boss.

“I thank you for the drink and your hospitality,” he said politely, as the other man took his hand in his own strong, firm grip and shook it, nodding in acknowledgement of Carroll's words. He inclined his head at the pile of papers about the Karrington case.

“Take those with you and browse them at your leisure,” he said, watching as Carroll picked them up. “Work starts tomorrow, eight AM sharp. You will come to the station, sign in and then go about your business in whatever form it might take.”

Carroll gave a nod that he understood, picking up the pile of documents and their card and string coverings, then threaded his way through the tables towards the doorway, heading to the front entrance. He turned back as he reached it, shooting the other man a small, forced smile.

“Until tomorrow then,” he said, before opening the door and exiting, making his way quickly back the way he'd come earlier on that evening, heading towards The Blind Hare.


As he paced along the cobbled street, Carroll pondered what his first port of call should be the next day, once he'd signed in. The wise thing to do would be to read through the report fully and thoroughly, taking in all the evidence that they had so far. But part of him wanted to...no, needed to meet Michael Harrington. The haunting report on the boy was still fresh in his mind, and the song played out word for word in his head over and over, one line in particular coming to the forefront of his mind every time.

'When the red eyes glow, it signals the start...'

Carroll couldn't even begin to imagine what those words could possibly mean, but, given his own state of mind recently, they hit him hard.


As he made his way wearily up the steps to the Inn and opened the door, he gave a sigh. He sensed it was going to be a long night.




So, what is Carroll to do the next day? Your choice, and there are a few options that Carroll hasn't considered, one in particular if you've been really taking notice of the story so far. Wink

Thank you for reading! As always, it's very much appreciated! Smile

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Creepiest. Song. Ever. XD It gave me the chills and I loved it!

Another fantastic chapter where in the plot thickens! Really liked your detail in Stamp's reports, especially when he went to visit the boy.

*thinks intently and skims chapters* Well, I think I might have definitely missed this one thing in particular you speak of (and it bothers me to no end, haha XD), so I'll just have to give you my boring old DP idea instead.

I think, before we get to the next day, Carroll should spend the night reading the case report in its entirety and then maybe divulging some of this information to Grace. I'm not entirely sure of the relationship they have, but Carroll seems to be fond of her (and her of him) and probably trusts her enough to give her some details. Another perspective on everything certainly wouldn't hurt. In the morning, after he signs in at the station, as tempting as it is to go to see the Karrington boy immediately, I think he should take a walk to the moors. He shouldn't necessarily go and wander about in them, but a quick observation from the edge could be insightful. Maybe he'll even catch a glimpse of something, or someone, lurking around. Wink

Super awesome job, Tika! Keep it up! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome chapter! The beautifully detailed report give me the chills. I love the atmosphere you've set in this SG!

Tomorrow, the best thing to do would be to read the report fully, before meeting up with Michael. I doubt the meeting with Michael would give anything new, given his state of mind, but this is something Carroll definitely have to see for himself.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DAMN, Tika!! That song was SO flippin creepy!!! lol!! i loved it! i'm going to agree with Seraphi here...i think the moors are going to hold a good bit of intrigue for our brave detective...let's meet up with michael and then hit the moors...but before that, let's get some sleep...no telling what we'll learn from our own dreams...
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Seraphi, Sagi and Andi! I'm very glad that I appear to be keeping up the 'chilly' atmosphere in this tale, especially as I had a lot of trouble writing this chapter. But your positive comments on the matter have made me feel a lot easier about it.

Your readership is much appreciated, as always! Thanks! Smile

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poll is up!

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions! As always they're very much appreciated! Smile

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey all! I feel like I've been a bit of a shitty mayor over the past few weeks. Not that I could really help it, as I have been very busy, and have been neglecting far more than just IF since starting my job. But I decided that I needed to make a bit more of an effort and, along with the very late GM post, I now offer up a new chapter of Figure in the Mists also, which I hope won't have suffered from my needing to rush it slightly, due to having very little time to dedicate to it. Either way, My apologies for not being around more. This has been a long time coming, and I hope you enjoy it!



Chapter Four


Upon entering The Blind Hare, Carroll was shown wordlessly to his room by the servant boy Charlie. He thanked the boy, who did no more than extend a loud grunt in reply, before closing the door and sinking wearily into a rather threadbare armchair. He sat there contemplating the evening for a few moments, removing his glasses from the bridge of his nose and massaging the area as he attempted to set everything in his head into some kind of order. He needed a plan for the next day.


At that moment, nothing appealed to him more than the thought of being back at home in London, in his own house, sinking into his own bed to drift off into a dreamless sleep. He was exhausted from the ride, every nap he'd undertaken fettered with those terrible nightmares. And since he'd arrived, he'd been bombarded with so many oddities and stories of unbelievable occurrences that he felt like he needed an entire week just to recover from the pure effort of containing them all in his mind.


He sighed and pushed himself to his feet, a task that took every ounce of willpower he could muster. He took the case files from inside his jacket, and dropped them onto a sturdy wooden desk by the window. He glanced at his pocket watch. The hands read eleven forty-two. Just eight and a quarter hours until his first workday on the new job was to begin, and he still had just to plan the day's course of action. He looked down at the wrapped pile of papers, and with another sigh, he put aside all thoughts of bed and settled in the seat behind the desk, untying the bundle and starting to read.


Carroll put the pieces about Michael Karrington to one side, having read through them already, though he couldn't resist another glance at the hideous rhyme once again, frowning in puzzlement over the words, baffled and unnerved at the same time. Some of the lines within it were so odd, and yet the words entered into the heart of Carroll's very heart, making him shiver like someone was walking over his grave. With a shake of his head, he placed the piece of paper atop the others, and began to direct his attention at the rest of the pile.


An influx of information tossed and turned in his mind. Records of the Karrington family, along with pictures of the individual members. Details of the trip from their home in Surrey, all the way through each stop that was made, right up until their disappearance that fateful night in May 1883. Nothing had been found upon the moors afterwards. Not the driver, nor the horses, nor even the carriage in which they'd been travelling. Every scrap of evidence that they had even been there was gone. It had been documented that the carriage had passed through the nearby village of Turnstow, which was around an hour from their destination in Widdenlow, the village in which Carroll himself now resided. The driver had stopped briefly to water the horses, before they'd been on their way once again. At some point between then and the time they were due to arrive in Widdenlow, they vanished without a trace.


Carroll flicked through the papers, scanning them for more information about the moors, checking to see if and when anything had been found that could be connected to the case. But there had apparently been nothing, which Carroll found exceedingly strange. He suspected that the officers assigned to the job must have been incompetent or just plain lazy, for the idea that nothing at all had been discovered in the aftermath of the disappearance was preposterous to his way of thinking. Since the boy Michael had been found on the moors, there could be no doubt that the family must have been there at some point...so where were they? True, the moors were vast, but how could an entire carriage just disappear?


Carroll couldn't help but think that something just didn't add up, and that made him uncomfortable. It had been much the same back in London, during the Ripper case. There had been numerous copy-cats afterwards, and most were quickly solved and written off as being so. But the original Jack victims – their murders remained unsolved and the killer faceless and free. Always there had been something niggling at the back of Carroll's mind throughout the case that there was something else. Something that everyone was missing. It had occurred to him back then that it was all a little too perfect that the madman had just vanished without a trace, and he'd wondered if maybe there had been some kind of cover up.

“Could something like that have happened here?” he murmured, wondering aloud as he shifted through papers, looking for something to go on. The villagers so far, though he obviously didn't know much about them having been there for less than a day, had been a little strange. The Inn Keeper and the boy Charlie, and the other gentleman...

“What was his name?” Carroll wondered with a frown, trying to remember. “...Miller...” A moment of clarity hit him, and he rifled through the papers on his desk, before finding the one that he was looking for. “...Benjamin Miller...” He distinctly recalled the man's words now.

'I'm Benjamin Miller, but you can call me Ben.'

And here was the name again, in the discovery of Michael Karrington.

“During a routine walk with his dog...Mr 'Benjamin Miller' came across a young man of around eleven to twelve years of age wandering across the moors in a clear state of disorientation...” Carroll read aloud from the case files. His frown deepened as he regarded the piece of parchment and pondered the possibilities.

“I think I'm going to require a little chat with Mr Miller,” he said to himself with a nod. “But tomorrow, I think I'll go out to the moors and see if I can find something there.”

'Unlikely that I'll find anything, but I have to try...' he thought, as he piled the papers up neatly. He blew out the flame within the lamp on the desk, and headed through to his sleeping quarters, opening the door to Grace's room before heading off to bed to check that she was okay. The young woman was sleeping soundly by all accounts. Carroll smiled and carefully closed the door, so that he didn't wake her. He walked wearily into his own room and closed the door, then set about getting ready for bed.


As he lay there in the darkness, his final thoughts were focused upon Ben Miller, and what his part might be in this mystery, if indeed he had a part at all.


That night, for the first time in months, Carroll slept a sound, dreamless sleep, free of doors, darkness and Mary-Kelly's beating heart.

~~~

Carroll awoke the next morning feeling more refreshed than he had in several years.

“Must be the country air,” he said with vigour as he got out of bed and strode over to the small window. He unlatched it and pushed it open, the hinges giving a gentle creak as he did so. The cold November breeze rushed in, hitting him with a sudden chill that made him shiver. And yet, he felt invigorated at the same time. He took a deep gulp of air, and smiled to himself. He was ready for whatever the day might throw at him.


After bathing, dressing, and wolfing down a quick breakfast of bacon, sausage and over-cooked eggs, Carroll was striding down the street towards the Station to sign in with Stamp, and inform the
Lieutenant of his plans for the day's investigation. He approached the door of the building with several minutes to spare until work officially began at eight o clock. He found he was unable to stop himself from admiring the grain of the wood as he rapped his knuckles against it. A few moments later, there was the sound of a bolt being unlocked and the door opened to reveal Stamp looking much as he had the previous evening.

“Ah, good morning, Inspector,” he said in a gruff voice, his expression entirely neutral as to whether he agreed with the sentiments that it was a 'good morning'. Carroll tipped his hat and nodded politely to his superior, as he stepped past the other man and into the Station. He turned to look back at Stamp as he closed the door.

“I've come as you requested, Sir, to sign in. And to inform you of the plans that I have for the day, should you wish to hear them.”

Stamp nodded, and gestured to a doorway opposite the one in which they'd spoken the night before.

“Of course, of course,” he said, ushering Carroll down the hallway and into the room. “Did you go over the case files last night?”

“I did,” Carroll replied, entering and looking around.

This room was clearly the main office where any members of the public would be brought should it be required. It was larger than the other, with two desks neatly set on opposite sides of the room, a phone, a stack of notepads, and pens and ink laid out upon each one. There was a blackboard across the one wall, with numerous scribbles and diagrams across it's length. Carroll moved inside, allowing Stamp to pass through also. He looked to the other man.

“It's a puzzling case, to be sure,” he went on, watching as Stamp claimed one desk. Carroll placed his hat upon the other, assuming it too be his own. “But I have a few ideas up my sleeve and I am determined to put a few queries that I have to rest.”

“I see,” replied Stamp, sounding disinterested. “So tell me, what plans have you made for your first day? To speak to Michael Karrington perhaps?” The slight smirk upon the Lieutenant's visage told Carroll that he expected his new Inspector to pounce upon such an opportunity and to fail. Carroll curtly shook his head.

“No, Lieutenant, I actually plan to visit the moors this day and see what I can derive.”

Stamp looked a little surprised at that.

“The moors?” he said, in a slightly baffled tone. “But it's been five years. What on earth do you expect to find after all this time? After all, we found nothing back then, why would it be different all these years later? And the moors are vast, Carroll. More vast than I think you realise.”

“I passed through them to get here, Lieutenant,” Carroll stated. “I'm well aware of how unlikely it is that I will find anything. But despite that, there is a slight chance, and it will also give me the chance to familiarise myself with the crime scene. I could at least get a little insight into what could have happened, even if it's nothing more than speculation. I don't believe that I can do my job properly if I'm unaware of the possibilities.”


Stamp considered his new colleague for a moment, then gave a nod. To Carroll's surprise, there was even a hint of a smile upon the other man's lips. The smile seemed to be one of amusement, but not at Carroll's expense. It seemed to him that the Lieutenant was pleasantly surprised that Carroll was taking such a keen interest in his new position.

“Very well,” Stamp replied, pointing out a green, leather-bound notebook sat upon the other side of the desk at which he was seated. “You're to sign in here every day when you start work,” he said, picking up another notebook from beside him and opening it. He placed it before him and took up a pen. Evidently, this was to do with his own work and didn't concern Carroll. “Once you've done that, you're free to carry out your investigations in whatever manner you see fit, unless I should state otherwise. You should be able to get transport at the local smithy.”

He leaned back against the window, and pointed over his shoulder in the direction of the street, his slightly gnarled finger aimed in the direction that Carroll and Grace had entered the village.

“It's just up that way,” he continued. “You can't miss it.”

Finished, he waved a hand in dismissal. Carroll gave a nod that he understood, signed his name in the register, then strode out of the room, picking up his hat from the desk as he did so.

~~~

Back out in the street, Carroll took a deep breath of the fresh country air, as he contemplated the day ahead, wondering if his inspection of the moors would prove as fruitless as the Lieutenant clearly imagined. He remembered how the moors had looked on his journey. They'd seemed to be endless, reaching as far as the eye could see in all directions. He shook his head wearily as he started to walk off in the direction of the Blacksmith's, recognising it quickly from the horseshoe insignia above the wide doorway and the sound of clanging escaping from the inner quarters.


Over the following quarter of an hour, Carroll bartered with the proprietor himself, a large, muscular, but mild-mannered individual called Ruben Smith, and secured himself a steed. The horse was a tall, chestnut gelding by the name of Aconite, clearly aged, but Ruben assured Carroll that the horse was as reliable as they came, and would get him to his destination and back again without issue.


Half an hour on, mounted and with vague instructions on how to get to the approximate area at which the disappearances had occurred, Carroll was well on his way. Aconite trundled along at a relaxed but by no means slow pace, and Carroll found that the horse agreed very well with him, going at a speed that was fast enough to prevent impatience and irritation, but also allowed him to look over the surrounding countryside and gain a feel for the area. The sky above him, much as it had been when he'd arrived, was dull and cloudy. Mergings of various shades of grey and white floated above him in a never-ending sea, giving no hints of hopeful blue.


The gloomy atmosphere did nothing to dampen the spirit of Aconite though. On the contrary, the horse, who'd been as mild-mannered as the giant who owned him back at the Smithy, seemed to be invigorated by the trip to the moors. Whether it was the fresh air or the vast openness of the landscape Carroll didn't know, but the animal seemed to have transformed into a younger beast over the course of their time spent on the moors, and Carroll found that Aconite's attitude was a little contagious. He himself felt more awake and alive, more bent upon both discovery and adventure.

“Well, Aconite, m'lad,” he said, giving a gentle tug on the reins to halt his steed. Leaning forward to pat the horse on the neck, he could have sworn that the horse perked up his ears and stood waiting, ready to listen. “How about us old boys inject a little more excitement into this journey, eh?”

He smiled widely as the horse gave a low whinny and shifted beneath his rider slightly, as if readying himself for what was about to happen.


Carroll gave a cry of exaltation and drove his heels into Aconite's flanks. The horse reared and then charged forward, going at a pace that one would formerly have imagined him incapable of. Carroll gave another cry, grinning widely as his hat went flying to disappear amongst the thick, high grass that made up the wilderness surrounding him, lost forever. Now free of restraint, the wind whipped through his dark hair, the slight greying at the temples barely noticeable as it was tousled to and fro. Aconite's mane and tail brandished the air around him, black as a raven and equally graceful in flight. The horse's muscles shifted under Carroll, powerful and full of vigour, and somehow made him feel younger and stronger too. He urged the horse on faster still, pushing the beast to show his full power.


A sudden cry filled the air around him, and it took Carroll a moment to realise that it was coming from the horse. Aconite whinnied loudly, coming to a juddering halt and reared up at something in the path before them, unseen by Carroll himself.

“Whoa! Whoa! Easy...easy!” Carroll attempted to quiet the horse, whilst clinging on to the reins and saddle to stay seated atop the beast. But Aconite was clearly spooked terribly by whatever he'd seen and he would not be calmed. With one almighty lurch, Carroll was thrown from the saddle and landed heavily on the ground. Pain radiated through his skull as it hit something hard, dizziness overcoming him moments later. He felt the very beginnings of nausea as his head clouded over, as if it were trying to match the sky overhead. Then he knew no more.

~~~

When he opened his eyes, it was nearly night-time. The previously dull daylight hour had been blanketed in a layer of darkness, causing much of his surroundings to be merely shapes. He sat up and touched his fingertips gingerly to the back of his head, finding there to be a egg-sized swelling, coated in a sticky substance that he deemed was blood. He drew his hand back and sure enough, dark red stained his skin where he'd touched the wound.

He looked around for Aconite, but there was no sign of the horse anywhere...nor anything else for that matter. The darkened moors were flat and absolute, with no signs of life anywhere...not even the flickering of lights in the distance from the village of Widdenlow.

A shiver went up his spine, as the sense of being watched by unseen eyes crept over him. He looked around wildly, knowing that there was somebody there, but they evaded his gaze...

He let out a cry as a shape suddenly appeared before him. One moment it wasn't there, and the next moment it was, a small shadow of a figure. He breathed heavily and rapidly as fear took over him. Though he could not see it's face, he knew that the figure was watching him. He started to back away, dragging himself across the grass. The figure remained as it was, stock-still and silent.

He looked back over his shoulder for a moment, hoping to see a sign of Aconite or anyone else that could help him, but to no avail. He looked back and gasped, his breath rasping in his throat. The figure stood right over him, the shape clearly marking it as a child. It seemed to be frozen in place, it's visage looming over him. Then suddenly, with a strange, eerie crunching sound, it reached out a fisted hand towards him. Horror stricken, he could only watch as the fingers cracked open and something fell fluttering towards his lap, and lay lightly upon his thigh. He looked down and found that it was a small piece of paper. He reached out a trembling hand and picked it up gently between thumb and forefinger, before glancing up once again. His mouth opened wide and a strained cry exited his lips, as he saw that the figure's eyes had opened...and they glowed red.


~~~

With a choked scream, Carroll awoke and found himself lying amongst the thick, long grass of the moors. A snuffling noise close to his head made him jump in shock and he turned, only to find Aconite nibbling at the vegetation nearby.

“It was a dream...”he murmured to himself, sighing in relief. “But it was so vivid...so real...”

“Ah, yer awake.”

Carroll turned towards the voice, and found a man sitting on a hillock a few feet away. A sense of recognition came over him, and after a moments thought, he touched upon the answer.

“Ben Miller,” he addressed the man hoarsely, as he sat up gingerly. He grimaced as his bones ached in protest at the movement and his head throbbed and swam.

“Aye, that's me,” Ben replied with a smile, getting to his feet and approaching Carroll. “I 'ad a quick look at yer 'ead while ye were out, and it don't seem too bad to me...though I'd go ter see the doctor on the morrow if I were ye.”

He held out a hand, offering to help the other man to stand. Carroll accepted the extended limb with a nod of thanks, and got groaningly to his feet.

“Got thrown by yer 'orse, did ye?” Ben asked, tilting his head in enquiry.

Carroll nodded.

“Indeed,” he replied with an attempt at a laugh at his clumsiness.

Ben nodded too, looking thoughtful.

“Not like Aconite to be like that,” he said, eyeing the other gentleman. “Usually as placid as they come...in fact, it generally takes a bit o' persuasion to get him going at all.” He chuckled and patted the horse fondly. Aconite did nothing more than to continue eating his grass. “One has to wonder why this time was so different...” Ben continued. “What're ye doing out here anyway, detective?”

“My job,” Carroll answered a little stiffly.

“The Karrington case?”

Carroll nodded.

“And 'ave ye...seen anything unusual while out 'ere?”

“Well...”

Carroll was on the verge of mentioning the dream, but stopped himself. 'Don't be ridiculous, it was just a dream,' he thought to himself. He looked at Ben and shook his head.

“As of yet, no...”

“Ah...ye have, haven't ye?” Ben's smile was knowing as he spoke. “Ye have seen 'em, haven't ye?”

“Seen them?”

“The figures...they live in shadows and mist out on the moors.” A haunted look came over Ben's visage. “The children with the red eyes...”

'Red eyes...' thought Carroll, his eyes widening in shock against his will.

“I don't know what you're talking about Mr Miller,” he started curtly. “But I must...”

Carroll suddenly realised that he was holding something in his hand. Something tiny and light. He opened his fingers and gasped. There in the centre of his palm was a small, scrolled piece of paper. He looked up at Ben, mouth gaping wide, before he spluttered slightly, wanting to ask questions but not having the words. Ben patted him on the shoulder lightly.

“Care to come for a drink at the Blind Hare, Mr Carroll?” he said quietly. “I might be able to shed a little light on this situation for ye...”

Carroll looked back at the piece of paper, then nervously unfurled it. A shudder ran through him as he read the words.

'ONLY THIS AND NOTHING MORE'

~~~



DP is simple enough...what does Carroll do now? Go with Ben? Attempt to find out more out on the moors? Go to see Stamp? Or the doctor for his head?

Thanks for reading and I hope you liked it! Smile

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Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, 1887


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eeep! So creepy! Excellent work, Tika. I love this SG, and I'm soooo happy that it has a new chapter. As usual, I'm very impressed with your ability to write a scene. Please keep it up!

For DP...definitely follow Ben. That man may appear crazy, but if he knows about the red glowy eyes...who knows.
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What does Carroll decide to do next?
Spend the night reading through the case files to familiarise himself with the case (maybe discussing it with Grace), and then go check out the moors in the morning?
66%
 66%  [ 2 ]
Read through the files in the morning, then meet with Michael Karrington to see if the boy has anything to say?
33%
 33%  [ 1 ]
Meet up with Michael to see if any information about his ordeal can be gleaned before hitting the 'scene of the crime' as it were by visiting the moors?
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 3
Who Voted: sagittaeri, sensual_shivers, Seraphi

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