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Footsteps – Chapter 3 A Little Night Excursion

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.

A Little Night Excursion

We met up at a roadside café, just off the Gainsborough Pike. Austerley seemed nervous but I was hungry as it was 2am and I hadn’t eaten since eight. So we sat for maybe half an hour. I demolished three eggs, bacon and some fries whilst Austerley joined me on chewing some Java. Tell me something, Officer. Who in their right mind makes their coffee as thick as you guys do? I mean, really. Java’s bitter enough. Though, to be fair, it was better than the nonsense in this plastic cup in front of me.

So we got into the car and headed off down the Pike road, taking a few turns where Austerley pointed until we came across a graveyard. 3am and it’s pitch black. You could barely see a thing but at least it was warm. Very warm. I was sweating as I donned my black garb, secured my pistols, flash-bangs and grenades. But Austerley, he’s there in the combat trousers and boats, big coat and t-shirt underneath. You’ve never seen a man sweat so much.

And his equipment. It was just bizarre. He had a couple of books, large weighty tomes with all the backing peeling off. A little rucksack which he unpacked and repacked with all sorts of chemicals and test-tubes. And then there was all the little knick-knacks. Apparently, all of them had some sort of protective powers in case we ran into the same things as Warren.

That’s when I asked him what he thought he was doing. He looked at me as if I was the lunatic. I told him straight, “all you go on about is the danger form these space beasts and how Warren wasn’t prepared and died. How Carter ran a mile afterwards and then went off to the moon with cats and had all sorts of other messy encounters. Everything you talk about is bleak, unholy and just plain bad. So why do you want to go in there?” Do you know what he said, Officer? He said some of the things were beautiful, wonderful and powerful. Bloody crackers. I told him the waitress at the café, she was a thing of beauty, or my children and wife, things of beauty. Not this crap.

And then he huffed on me. Flaming huffed. He turned, wouldn’t speak and proceeded to get a spade from the boot of the car. Sorry, trunk to you. Trunk of the car. And he heads over to the graveyard. I had to whip out my flash-light before he went arse over tit over one of those big headstones that lie flat on the ground. Sorry, arse over tit? Oh, fell over. Still, I thought, he’s the client, let’s just get it done.

We wandered round that graveyard for about twenty minutes. I mean, have you seen it. It wasn’t exactly that big? But he’s got his face in the book, and I’m now working two torches. One over his shoulder lighting the book and the other clocking the uneven ground. Fortunately, there’s no sound of anyone watching. I asked to do a precautionary sweep but he was to keen to go down the tunnel in the ground. It didn’t bother me as there had been no signs of disturbance in the graveyard or around. I see the wisdom in that now.

Eventually he decides which is the right gravestone to lift. It’s far from the biggest but it was overgrown and took a good twenty minutes digging to loosen away the ground around it. I did the digging because the sweat factory looked like he was going to keel over. Before he’ll let me move the stone he chants into the air in some unintelligible language and spreads out some sort of spice. It was all very Dracula.

With that done, I whipped the headstone off to one side. It was heavy but manageable. And there’s a hole. Man-sized with some steps disappearing down into the darkness. I shone the flash-light down into the blackness and he smacked my hand. No lights, in case we disturb them. Flipping madness. He took out this little stick with a bulb on the end giving off a dim green glow. Looked like a kid’s night light. I thought bollocks to that. Returning to the car I took my night vision goggles out. When I returned, he was standing there impatient, like I had cocked up. Without a word, he takes a step down into the hole but I grabbed him and said I would go first. He gave me all this nonsense about what use would I be with the things that were down below. I asked why are you paying me and pushed past him. Sometimes you can’t give the client a choice. Anyway, I didn’t believe there would be any space creatures.

We started down some steps, twisting round and round, descending into the ground. I thought they would go on forever but eventually they broke off into an open area. This bothered me because I couldn’t see any edges, any walls. There was just the steps behind me and no sides. There was a roof to the vast room, probably eight foot from the floor. Now I am in a quandary. There’s a serious danger we could get lost. I tried the GPS on my watch but it wasn’t showing any satellites. So I consulted my client as to what we should do.

Onward, that’s all he would say, just onward. So I took an executive decision and looked into my rucksack for a large ball of twine I had. The steps were of a smooth construction, very primitive but functional. I was able to wrap the twine round the base of the steps several times before tying it as an anchor point. I stuffed the twine into my pocket and zipped the aperture closed to a point where only a thin line of twine could escape. Satisfied I had my retreat secured, I told Austerley to put a hand on my shoulder.

It crossed my mind to just race off quickly and lose the fool as he had already deposited my pay in the bank. But I am a professional, even if retired, and that would be unethical. I damn well wish I had done it now. But instead I led my blind paymaster across the void in front of us into the wildest nightmare I have ever seen. Please don’t look up that headstone. There’s nothing of use to find there, nothing of hope. Keep it closed. For the love of God, please keep it closed.

What’s in the dark? Only two days to join Austerley and Kirkgordon in this venture towards the unknown. Can’t wait? Read the whole story on Wattpad right now.

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

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