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.
Something’s Coming up the Stairs
I think my strength was heightened by the terror. It’s the only way I can imagine that we covered the ground at such pace. As we were heading away from the beacons, the darkness began to engulf again and I was running in total darkness. Behind me I heard the gibbering of Austerley between his deep breaths. But farther back there were other sounds. Unholy voices, shrieks, howls, laughs if I was to guess at them. And a thumping. Like hundreds of feet pelting after us. There was no rhythm to it, nothing to which my imagination could grab and produce a picture in my mind. Maybe I should have been thankful but, in honesty, it chilled me more than anything else I have ever fled from.
Austerley knew what it was because from the moment it started he was easier to pull along, in fact, I was only steering him. He said so many words at the time, many of them in languages I didn’t know but he did say that word again. Said it a lot. Shuggoth. So maybe it was that. It’s easier to put a name to it, as it makes me less fearful but in that dark I knew no names. Just the sense of approaching terror, a devilish chaser, a Satan on our backs. And we ran, beaten bodies, broken ankles and lacerations a-plenty hindering us for sure, but Officer we ran!
I knew it was a risk. Somewhere in the back of my mind, something said, Kirkgordon, my son, don’t forget the stairs. But the terror was such that I was just running and I ran smack into the very stairs that were meant to carry us to safety. It was my shoulder that hit the stonework and I tumbled to the floor. Austerley tripped over my legs and I think he landed on the bottom steps for I heard him trying to climb.
The pounding noise of supposed feet got closer, pumping even more adrenalin into my system. Desperately I fumbled around to locate the stairs, trying to use Austerley’s voice as a guide. My heart almost stopped for it took me a good fifteen seconds to locate them. I eagerly took to my flight and covered some four steps before I tumbled over Austerley who must have fallen trying to negotiate the stairs in the darkness.
And then it hit. I felt the stairs shudder and something wet splatted across my legs. It was then that I was cut across my thigh by something sharp which drove me onward. Calling to Austerley to follow I made a start. But I heard nothing human follow me. I called him by name again. No reply. But I heard something trying to squeeze itself into a narrow space. There was a grating of skin on stone, and a noise that indicated pain in a forced effort. Not that the noise had anything human about it.
Bending back down the steps, my hands found Austerley. He wasn’t moving and I had no idea of he was alive or dead. There was no time to check, with our pursuer so close, so I grabbed him by the collar and prepared to drag him. That was when I felt the breath of whatever had pummelled into the stairs. Like acidic snotty mist, its breath blew across my face and I imagine that was inches from me, squeezing its way up the stairs.
I didn’t think. No yells or cries of terror were uttered. In my core I was numb, frozen in feeling. Thank the Lord that my trained reactions took over and my hands seized Austerley’s collar and I dragged him with all my might. I didn’t stop, just pulling and pulling, energy sapping from me but terror driving me on. Never before have I praised the dawn such as I did then.
Dropping Austerley beside the entrance to the grave, I limped my way over to the car and popped the boot, sorry trunk, although boot is proper English, you know. Yeah, I popped the boot and grabbed all the weaponry I had left. It wasn’t an enormous amount; a couple of grenades, some magazines, flash-bangs and a few explosives. Carrying them back to the entrance I began tossing them in.
Austerley opened his eyes beside me and he began to get agitated. He asked what the hell I was doing. Ending it, I told him, bloody ending it. Do you know what the stupid arse then says? Just put the lid on. The lid, I says to him, the lid. There’s a thing coming up the stairs that tops the tentacled horrors that nearly sliced us apart and you just want me to put a lid on it. Just why, I asked him, just flipping why? Now wait for this, Officer, he tells me he wants to go back down, another time to study these things. Can you imagine what I was thinking? The man wants locking up. So I said to him, Indiana Jones, that’s what you are, a sick Indy-clone. But it’s not flaming antiques you’re hunting. It’s the damned, the unholy, Satan’s own.
I told him, that as far as I was concerned, stuff like this should not be messed with. It was the stuff the good book told you to steer clear of, the evil you shouldn’t embrace. Any passing acquaintance with a church would have shown him that. And I said to him, Indy, people like you need protecting from yourself before you dump us all in your own filthy nightmares.
A “Churchy” telling me what to do. That’s what his response was and he tried to grab some of the gear and throw it clear. But I’d had enough. Also who knew how long we could have before that thing squeezed up the stairs. So I dropped him with my nerve grip, shut the stupid fool up. I tossed the rest of the weaponry into the hole, leaving myself one explosive to throw in and ignite the inferno. After toying briefly with tossing Austerley in as well, I dragged him clear and blew the explosives. When the dust had settled, the stairs had collapsed and there was no way down anymore. I drew the stone back across. Despite being exhausted and losing blood, I thought the stone important to cover any traces. This stuff doesn’t want looked into, Officer. Promise me that, if nothing else, promise me that.
Can you keep a lid on it until we see the fallout in two days time? If not, read the epilogue on Wattpad now.
G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!