Footsteps Chapter 1 – Meeting the Professor

Next month I will be releasing the first novel in my Austerley and Kirkgordon adventure series about a pair of investigators into the paranormal. In order for readers to get a feel for my characters I will be releasing a short story prelude before launch day and as I am especially good to my blog readers, I am going to serialise it here. So take a trip into the depths of a lost graveyard in search of Eldar things with Messers Austerley & Kirkgordon and find out how this diverse pair became entangled in horrors from the past.

Meeting the Professor

It was two months ago when Simmons got me the contact. I used to be a bodyguard, close quarter protection for businessmen and various others of note. Went all over the world, actually. It’s not the best job for the wife and kids but it did pay well and I certainly enjoyed it. Moreover, I was damn good at it. But the family thing got to me and I reckoned I needed some more time at home.

Alana did too. That’s my wife. She would get at me about coming home, and to be honest, I think she was a little jealous of the high life I looked after. Understand, I didn’t live that high life. I just looked after it and it paid me well. But she’s a jealous one in some ways. She used to get annoyed at seeing the women on the arm of my clients. In fact, I think she thought I was, in some way, playing around with them. Don’t get me wrong, women have always turned my head, none more than Alana. But I’ve never been unfaithful. But that doesn’t count for much when you are half the world away with the competition. At least, that’s where I reckoned she was coming from.

So, I came back and for a while things were good but work was scarce. We were living on not a lot. And to be truthful, I was bored. I mean, how dumb can a guy be. Gorgeous wife, and at a point where she’s really happy to see you, like all over each other happy. Two great kids to be with. Decent house, home and friends. But I’m bored. Needing the edge. Hungry for a kick. So I told her we needed the money and I had to do one last job.
And that’s where Simmons comes in. I used to work with him in the business and he put a lot of clients my way. So I told him my little dilemma and he thought he was being wise. He knew I wasn’t really in the zone and probably couldn’t handle a full-on protection job. But he had this guy who wanted looking after. Simmons says the guy’s a bit weird but is paying well and will probably not be involved in anything hot. Just a little jaunt to let off steam. And it’s in America, so I can get clear for a bit and stretch my wings.

Alana was pretty pissed at me, as you can imagine, but I reckon she understood what I needed to do, even if she didn’t like it. And two weeks later I was flying business class over to New England and bound for Arkham in Massachusetts.

The man in question, no actually, bollocks to that, the lunatic in question was Professor Austerley of Miskatonic University, based in Arkham. I can still remember meeting him at the airport. He had insisted on coming to collect me himself, even though I had said I would pick up a hire car.

The weather was blistering hot, especially for someone like myself used to a wet, west coast, British climate. I had my cap on and a light shirt with my jeans and trainers. But this clown is there in heavy corduroy trousers, a Grateful Dead t-shirt and a Parka jacket. Bloody big, black Doc Martin boots too. And he was sweating like a pig. I honestly thought at first he was a tramp. And I said to myself, flaming Americans, such a mess of a country. No offence, Officer.

Then he spoke. East Coast Scotland. Very soft accent. One of our own, I couldn’t believe it. And his first words too. “How much weaponry do you carry?” What is that? I’m a professional and he just comes out with that in public. It was obvious from the start he was a rank amateur.

So I said to him, Mr. Austerley, we generally talk about work details in private and suggested we go to his office. All I got was a grunt and he walked off, leaving me to grab my stuff and follow. At the car park I saw some quite modest but reliable cars and my opinion improved of him briefly. But he stepped round these and got into a right rust bucket. Didn’t help that as I sat in the passenger seat he lets go a humdinger. Sorry that’s breaking wind for you yanks. You know, a fart. Smelly bugger. And then he gives it total silence all the way back to his university.
Now the university is something else. You drive in through the gates to the professor’s car park and it smacks of old time New England. I’m no expert but there’s those big sash windows and ornate ends at the roof tops. Really old school feeling.  And I said this to him, all about it. Do you know what he says back? Philistine, just Philistine. Stuck-up arse. But I’m a professional, so I just let it go, after all he’s paying.

We walked up big wooden staircases, all the way to the top of the wing. Right at the top was his office. It was a total mess. Books everywhere. Mainly very old ones and lots of languages I don’t understand. There’s a photo of what I believed to be Russia. There was all those furry hats and that and I think I saw the Kremlin in the background. Some woman on his arm too.

We hadn’t even sat down when a lady charged into his office and grabbed a book off his desk. He shouted at her but she cut him a look that would have brought down a horse.

“This, Professor Austerley, is a reference only book. More than that, it is from the special section, the locked away section for those books that shouldn’t be in free circulation. You should understand that with your job. Kindly refrain from this dangerous activity. I shall be speaking to the Dean again.”

And with that she whirled her way back out of the crowded office with the volume in question. I remember she was small but had such fiery eyes behind solid round glasses. Kind of woman that takes no crap. Austerley just snorted at her back and told me to sit down. He threw down a map and began to explain his plan.

Just two days until Austerley’s big plan is enactioned. But if you can’t wait, read the whole story on Wattpad.

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!