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Flash Fiction – Boxing Day Ghost Story – The Maw of the Dark Dry Earth – Part 2

eerie full moon

He was right on that one. They most certainly were not superstitious and would be most insulted were they to be called that. Though non-believers did call them that.  Amongst other things. They, however, knew exactly what they were and that was magickians with a k, the k being needed to set themselves apart from conjurers or illusionists (they were adamant on that one) and they were on a mission.

The k, is of course, the eleventh letter of the kabbalistic alphabet. It has occult significance in terms of developing esoteric power and ascending the tortuous path towards becoming an adept.

It also symbolises the human sexual organs, a fact not lost on their detractors and the wry nomenclature they employed.

Here they were, intending to raise the dead to do their bidding, necromancers they fancied themselves to be. There was one particular dead that they had in mind for they knew more out the gentleman residing underground than he (at present) knew.

Or rather remembered about himself. It had yet to dawn on the gentleman in question that he was remarkably well fleshed for someone who had been burnt at the stake in 1645. A man who was far more familiar with Matthew Hopkins than he would ever wish to have to have been. What had dawned on him was that he seemed to be re-fleshing and that his brain was swelling and displacing the worms and beetles from their happy home.

To say they were most displeased having been deprived of their dinner would be an understatement.

Furthermore, to say he was baffled would misrepresent the depth of his thoughts at that point. As his eyes adjusted to the light, he looked at the two figures who had retreated rapidly into their pentacle.

‘Now, how did he know what that was?’, he wondered. Even more puzzling to him was the fact that he recognised the seemingly unintelligible gibberish that they were spouting. He recalled how the words should be pronounced. How did he know that? He began to recall how important it was that the words actually were pronounced correctly; essential in fact.

So essential, that he began to intone them quietly to himself. As he intoned and incanted he felt his strength surging back.

As the two trembling figures summoned him by name, it all came flooding back to him. He’d written those words in his grimoire, which he had hidden in a wall before Hopkins’ men came for him. Images began to coalesce in his mind. Images of frantic flight, capture, agonising torture followed by an agonising death but most all images of Gemma.

Gemma.

She who had been the cause of all this. Gemma with her raven black hair, creamy skin, deep blue eyes and rosebud mouth, Gemma whom he had sworn he would never leave. Gemma, his lover and his muse; Gemma whose secrets he took with him to this temporary resting place.

It was all returning to him now. He gazed at the moon above and sensed the planets shifting into alignment. Tonight was a special night. People were gathering awestruck to celebrate the harmonic concordance. ‘So much love, so much goodness’, he thought, ‘and two slaves who fancy themselves my masters!’ Two fools who thought that they were going to resurrect and then bind him.

He thought once more of Gemma and how much he adored her. He thought of the pain he had gone through and how he would suffer it all again just for one more glimpse of her. If he had still had eyelids he would have closed his eyes and wept tears of pain and frustration. It would have assisted this process of lamentation if he had the jelly of his eyes as well. Once more his heart was breaking.

He felt her desolation and despair before he heard her heart-rending sobs. Her fear and hopelessness was the same as it had been on the night when Hopkins’ men dragged him from her bed a clapped him in irons. The men had had their fun with her before selling her into prostitution. ‘Who’s torture had been the worse?’ he wondered, ‘and why was she here?’ For here she was, in the circle looking as terrified as when had rescued her from a group of drunken ostlers.

One of the magickians pushed her forward towards the mouth of the grave. He lay there motionless; after all he wasn’t supposed to be alive again … yet. He was only supposed to become resurrected after the virgin sacrifice had been made. He allowed himself a wry smile at the thought of the words Gemma and virgin being used in the same sentence. His glorious Gemma was many things, all of which were sacred to him. But chaste was not one of them.

His mind wrestled with his emotions. Logically he knew that the wild eyed and trembling young woman could not be Gemma. Yet he knew that it was. He was now refleshing most rapidly, the empty sockets in his skull were now filled with a most becoming pair of eyes, and his optic nerves worked to perfection.

He understood as their eyes met that she had kept her promise to come back for him. He saw himself reflected in her eyes, vital and virile once more. He also became aware, as did Gemma, that one of the magickians was beginning to sense that something was about to go wrong. The other magickian rent Gemma’s clothes asunder and raised his ceremonial dagger to cut her throat in order to provide the blood sacrifice needed to bring Henri Maquis back from the dead. A place Henri had never been. ‘Not dead, only sleeping’, thought Henri, ‘and now I’m fully awake!’

He sprang from the grave grabbing Gemma with one hand and holding his sword in the other. Not that he needed his sword at this stage as both magickians had fainted. He smiled to himself as he ran them through with his sword. ‘The virgin blood sacrifice needed to make me truly alive once more!’ he thought gleefully.

He smiled contentedly for here he was reborn and reunited with the only woman he had ever loved. Henri stood there savouring this precious moment when a voice brought him back to reality. ‘You took your time, Henri, darling. I was beginning to give you up for dead!’

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