08 February 2010


Building Tales is moving.  As of now, it will be incorporated into my main website, ZoeRobinson.com.  The reason for this is simply that I can better control the way the stories are presented, keep them all sorted into serials and generally work with them more easily.  The plan was always to have the stories linked into my site, it's just that it seems to have taken a while to get this far.

Thanks for your patience with the current storyline, too.  I'll get back to working on it now.

08 January 2010

Curse of the Other World, part fifteen

Riverside Café, the student union's answer to a restaurant, was a permanently chilly room with a lowered section near the back, connected by a short flight of steps and looking out on a balcony that could only be reached from outside. The lower level was constantly occupied by a group of scraggly-haired students in big, black coats; most of whom kept them on despite being inside, because of the cool temperatures. The place looked like a poor man's fast food joint, and priced itself accordingly; hence it was a popular haunt for students who did not fancy sitting in the bar.
Sarah squeezed past a crowd at the entrance who were having a loud discussion about how their courses were not all they had hoped for, and looked around the small, round tables for Howard. She saw the masculine-looking woman sitting in a corner, dressed in a dark grey shirt and sporting a short, spiked haircut. Her hair was dyed platinum blond, as were her eyebrows. Her overall appearance was striking and, Sarah had to admit, it was quite a good look for her.
'I take it you've ordered already?' asked Sarah as she sat down, noting the number on a stick sat on the table, next to a pile of Howard's lecture notes. She slung her jacket over the barrier between the upper and lower areas, and slipped her satchel under the table.
'Yeah, I've been here a while already,' said Howard. 'I've only got one lecture on Mondays, so I've just been in here, going over my notes and trying to get my head around them.'
'What is it you're having trouble with?'
'Quantum mechanics.'
'Ah. I can't really help there.'
Howard laughed. 'You're the third person to say that to me. I'll pick it up eventually, I'm sure.'
'Have you talked to your tutor about it? They should be able to help.'
'I'm seeing him this afternoon at three. I just want to give it one more read through myself beforehand.'
'Fair enough. Well, I'm going to get some lunch. Want a coffee or something?'
'Got one already, thanks.'
Lunch passed with little more than small talk. Sarah picked at her pizza and tried to ignore the fact that much of it appeared to be made of grease from the cheap cheese topping, while Howard devoured her egg and chips like she had not eaten in weeks. How she managed to stay thin despite her appetite always amazed Sarah.
'So, what was it you wanted to talk about?' Howard eventually asked.
'Actually, I thought it was you who wanted to talk,' said Sarah. 'I got the impression last night that there was something bothering you.'
'Oh. Right,' Howard looked uncomfortable now. 'Well, err, I don't know if this is the right place.'
Sarah half wanted to tell her to forget it and move the conversation on to something else, but she contained herself. There was clearly something on the younger woman's mind and it would be best if she just let it out.
'It's okay,' she said. 'You can tell me anything.'
'Well, it's kind of private, you know?'
'Fair enough. If you ever want to talk, you know where my office is.'
Howard nodded. 'That might not be the best place to talk either. It might give the wrong impression, you know?'
Since the start of the Michelmass term, the first of the three terms making up each academic year at Durham University, Sarah had been President of its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered students' association. Unlike most student society presidents, Sarah had a small office in the union building from where she could coordinate her society; liaise with both university and student union staff and meet students that were having problems with their sexuality or gender identity.
Most of the time, the office was staffed by volunteers from the society who had a free hour during the day, or some time to kill in the early evening before they went out to the pub, but occasionally Sarah would be confronted by a student with real problems, and those were the times she lived for. They gave her a chance to flex her counselling skills and sometimes, when there was a problem at the university level causing the student hassle, it also gave her an outlet for her constant desire to kick the world into shape.
Times like those were becoming few and far between since she had been able to convince the university and the union to have an LGBT association representative present at key meetings, to which she would often send a volunteer because meetings bored her, but she continued to live for the challenges wherever she could find them.
Howard put down her third cup of coffee with a determined thunk. 'Look, the thing is I've got this housemate, Liam, who's really been worrying me. He doesn't go to lectures much, doesn't talk to anyone in the house anymore and spends a lot of his time in his room. Now I know all that's kind of par for the course with some people but I've heard weird muttering and chanting when I've passed his door and that's the bit that's worrying me.'
'What sort of chanting?' asked Sarah. This was not the type of conversation she had been expecting but it had caught her interest nevertheless.
'I'm not sure. It's not English, I can tell you that much.'
'Do you think he's into the occult?'
Howard nodded. 'It's crossed my mind. I've done what protection spells I know of, but I'd appreciate it if someone with more experience could give me there opinion.'
'That's fair enough. I'll pop 'round tonight if you'd like?'
Howard smiled. Sarah could not help getting butterflies in her stomach when Howard smiled at her. The woman had such a bright smile, almost radiant; enhancing her already good looks. Sarah could not help but be attracted, current relationships notwithstanding.

07 January 2010

Curse of the Other World, part fourteen

Chapter Six

Extract from Sarah Barclay's Diary

22nd January 2000 – Second term of my second year and I'm really enjoying it. Settled back into uni life bettr than ever before. This place really feels like home, now; which is probably because I'm sharing a house this year rather than living in halls. Having my own place makes me feel far more settled. I love it! I just wish there weren't so many noises outside keeping me awake at night. I've looked out of the window to see what's going on out there when I hear voices and weird sounds in the street but I've never caught anyone yet. Maybe I'm just going a bit mad? I don't know. I'm probably overreacting, as usual.
Peter is spending a lot more time here lately, which is great. I really like him. I'm not sure if I like him in that way, but he's certainly grown on me over the last few months. He even came up to Coxton to see me over the holidays, which was nice. Daniel sent a card, but it's not the same. He said he had to work but I'm starting to think maybe we weren't cut out to be in a relationship.


The early morning light had hardly begun to reach over the tops of the three- and four-storey town houses on Hallgarth Street as Sarah pulled her aching body out of bed and headed for the bathroom. Her head pounded in time with her heartbeat; her neck and shoulders were tense and felt like she had been working out too much. The night before was supposed to have been a quiet night in, but then Howard and Peter had come to visit, bringing a couple of bottles of wine and some takeaway menus with them. It had all gone downhill from there.
'You look how I feel,' said Daniel as she passed him in the hallway.
'Remind me never to drink again,' she said. 'Aren't you up a little early? You don't have lectures until ten.'
'Couldn't sleep,' he said. 'Someone singing kept me up this time. I'm going to call the landlord before I head out. The windows obviously aren't sealing properly or we'd not be hearing this crap all the time.'
She wished him luck and stepped into the bathroom, locking the door behind her. Her arms ached as she took off her dressing gown and slipped out of her pyjamas. On the inside of her right thigh was a small bruise the size of her thumbnail. It was blue-black in the centre flowing into an odd tinge of green on the outer rim. She ran her finger over it, wondering where it had come from. It was painless to the touch. She paid it no more heed. Bruises came and went without warning in her experience; had done for years and would no doubt continue to do so.
Howard had wanted to talk to her about something the night before, but with everyone else there she had been too nervous, or maybe too embarrassed. Although she had only known the other woman properly for a few months, although she had recognised her in passing before that, they had become close; good friends, although not best friends. That title was still reserved for Daniel, even if they were drifting apart.
As she showered, she made a mental note to meet Howard for lunch. Maybe she could prize the details of whatever was bothering Howard from her then. She decided to send her a text when she got out of the shower, providing her fingers were working well enough to use the buttons on her mobile by then. The shower usually fixed that but of late it was taking longer and longer on a morning for her joints to un-seize themselves. Just the week before she had been late for morning lectures twice because she found it so hard to tie her shoelaces.
If it doesn't get better soon, I'll see the doctor, she decided. The last thing she needed was to end up crippled by arthritis by the time she was thirty, like her grandmother had. The signs were there, but she had often ignored them or dismissed them outright as her seeing things that were not there simply because of her family history.
Skipping breakfast because she felt so hungover, she threw on a pair of jeans and a creased black blouse, her favourite, fighting her stiff and mostly uncooperative fingers to fasten the buttons; then donned a long, black cardigan to finish off the outfit. After rummaging around under the bed for a good five minutes, she eventually found her shoes and was all set to head out to lectures. She kissed Daniel goodbye, wished him luck with the landlord and headed out to her first lecture of the day.
The morning passed in a slow procession of boredom and note-taking. A procession of lecturers who looked even more worse for wear than Sarah did came in, said their peace, asked if there were any questions then did their best not to look disappointed as the same people asked the same questions they had no doubt heard year after year. She wondered how these people coped, trying to teach subjects they had probably once had a real passion for, to people that mostly did not share their love. That was no way to live life, she decided.
Her satchel rang as she was walking to the university library. Hunting around desperately in its recesses, trying to find her mobile before the voicemail kicked in, she took the call on the last ring.
'Hiya!' said Howard, sounding far too happy for a Monday morning. 'Still up for lunch?'
'Of course,' Sarah replied. 'I've just got to check some books out at the library. Meet you in Riverside in half an hour?'
'I'll grab us a table.'

06 January 2010

Curse of the Other World, part thirteen


'Let's go over what we know so far,' said Sarah. After a long, hot bath, more tablets than Peter had seen prescribed to any patient in his career, and three mugs of scalding hot tea, she was starting to look vaguely alive and even almost human.
'Where do you want to start? The trip to the hotel? That weird recording your friend sent you?'
'Hey, he was your friend too as I recall.'
'That was when I thought he was a she. I feel like I don't know who he is now.'
'Oh don't start with that judgemental shit.'
She stood up and made her way to the kitchen to make another pot of tea.
'Hey,' Peter called after her. 'I didn't mean it like that.'
'Do you want tea?' she called back.
'I've still got some here.'
'I've put another pot on, just in case,' she said as she came back into the lounge. 'Now, where were we.'
'You were avoiding the subject, I think.'
'Yes, well let's continue on that line shall we? You said the design at the hotel reminded you of something?'
'Ah, yes,' said Peter, leaning forward, his voice suddenly far more alert. 'I've not found it in your books or online yet but the magic circle thing did make me think of the reenactment we went to at Coxton one year.'
'The village's 900 year anniversary fête, wasn't it?' asked Sarah.
'That's it, yes. I can't fully remember what went on but there was something weird about the reenactment the historical society put on that evening. Some kind of pseudo-pagan rite. It made me feel very uncomfortable, I remember that much.'
Sarah nodded. 'I don't remember much of that whole day, but weren't there a load of robed figures doing something odd with an unprotected magick circle?'
'So you said, yes. I don't know anything about magic protection.'
Sarah nodded. 'Yeah, I'm sure of it. We'll have to look up what they were doing, and why. It's possible the squatters were doing something similar.'
Peter made a note in his notebook. Sarah waited until the sound of his scribbling finished before going on. The noise reminded her of the night before; that stritch-scritching outside, trying to get in. She shuddered.
'Are you all right?' asked Peter.
'I'm fine.'
'Well, if you're sure. What next?'
'The EVP,' she said, grasping the chance to get away from her silly fears. 'It mentioned something about a house without walls? I'd like to try to find more references to that. I'm certain I've heard it before.'
'There was nothing in the encyclopaedia about it. Maybe you misheard?'
She shook her head. 'No. The voice was too clear for that. I know it's important, I just don't remember why.'
'Okay,' said Peter. He wrote down another note. 'Want to try to find more about that Toth bloke as well?'
'Toth isn't a “bloke”, Peter. By the way, what did the encyclopaedia say about him?'
'Precious little. It's mainly about witch hunts and superstitions, isn't it?'
'Well, yes. Surely there was something, though?'
'Not a lot. It was mainly a summary but it did mention his followers wanting to bring him forth or something, because then they'd die first. Maybe that's what the squatters were doing?'
Sarah rested her chin on her hand, unconsciously massaging her jaw and upper lip with her fingers as she considered the idea. 'It's certainly possible,' she said. 'What did the magic circle look like again?'
Peter described it to her. She tried to picture it in her mind. Had she seen something like it before? She was not sure.
'Okay,' she said. 'Let's assume for a moment that the squatters were interested in Tsoth Nemorrah, whatever he is or whatever he's up to. If that's the case, the magic circle might have been part of a ritual to do with him. It would certainly explain some of the other EVP on the recording, wouldn't it?'
'The chanting and people saying “He comes”, you mean?'
'It also means we're in the clear, doesn't it?' Peter sounded almost hopeful.
Sarah looked at him for a moment, searching for any hint of confidence in the murky shadow of her vision. She wanted what he had said to be true as much as he likely did, but something in the back of her mind told her to press on with this. It could not be so simple, could it?
'I wish I could say yes,' she said. 'But I honestly think this is too good to be true.'
Peter slumped back in his chair with a sigh.
'What will it take to convince you that we're safe?' he asked. 'It's gone. Whoever or whatever this Tsoth thing is, it's obviously not the same thing we fought.'
'I know, I know,' she said, her tone almost pleading with him to bear with her. 'It's just that I have a gut feeling that there's more to this than we're seeing.'
'So where do we go from here? We can't call the others in on a hunch. They simply won't come. Hell, I wouldn't.'
Sarah nodded. 'I know. We need more evidence. We need to go back to where this all started.'

05 January 2010

Curse of the Other World, part twelve

Chapter Five


Extract from Robbins' Encyclopaedia of Witchcraft and Demonology

Tsoth Nemorrah. Also known as Sothnem, Tothnerra, Tsoth, Nemra, Toosoth and variants thereon.
References to Tsoth Nemorah are many and conflicting. The earliest widely-accepted reference is in John Dee's Treatise on the Ancient Demons of Mesopotamia (believed to be written circa 1277), which describes Tothnerra the Unclean as “...a malevolent cloud-like being which lives outside of the spheres of man, ever watchful...” and claims (wrongly) that the Mesopotamians believed he was the original ruler of Earth, who was cast out by men who came to Earth from the stars.
Followers of Tothnerra are documented in Mustafa Faisal's infamous Wanderings (actual date of writing unknown but the general consensus is that it dates to the early fifteenth century). In Faisal's text, the followers are said to worship “the demon god of lies, who waits in the house without walls”. Tothnerra's followers are said to believe that their god is waiting for “the time when the curse of the other world will be lifted and He will retake his stolen throne”.
When this time will come is not known but Wanderings does go into great detail about the “plague of nightmares” and “unending seas of blood and madness” that will signal Tothnerra's imminent return. To this end, his followers are said to seek to kill, maim and torture all those who come into contact with them, in an attempt to fulfil their prophecy.
It is not known why Tothnerra's followers would seek to bring this monstrous creature to Earth but in The Death Cults of Tsoth Nemorrah, Dr Henry Carter claims to have spoken to several cultists who professed “a desire to die first, and die forever” when Tothnerra returned. Although Dr Carter's claims have never been independently verified, his theory that Tothnerran cults believe in guaranteed resurrection for all non-cultists for the purposes of eternal torture does arguably find some corroboration in both Faisal's Wanderings and Dee's Treatise.
The physical appearance, or potential lack thereof, of Tsoth Nemorrah is as widely disputed as his, or her, apparent gender and general demeanour. Most accounts make no attempt at a description of the creature. Although Wanderings does refer on occasion to a “skin of hardened leather”, it also describes “a hideous, evil cloud”.
Dee's Treatise on the Ancient Demons of Mesopotamia also refers to a cloud-like being but again, descriptions are conflicting as Dee also takes into account John Mercer's translation of the (as yet undated) Arab tale of the Whirling Devil with “teeth as black as night” and “a body festooned with horns, like studs on old leather armour”. Whether the Whirling Devil is a form Tsoth Nemorrah takes or is merely an associated entity is a topic of great debate by scholars to this day.


Peter woke with a stiff neck and an aching back. In his student days, and some of his time pulling long shifts as a trainee doctor, he had slept on many a sofa without ill effect, but it was clear to him that those days were long past. Age had not only finally caught up with him but was threatening to rush past and leave him struggling to keep up.
He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and pulled himself into a sitting position; with great difficulty and a lot of grunting. His head ached, his mouth felt like old carpet and he desperately needed a drink.
Oh yes, he thought. Hair of the dog would shift this, no problem.
Even after all he had worked through, his mind still went to drink as the first and best solution to any problem. He hated that; hated himself for making it happen. It was his fault, his bad decisions, his stupidity that had lead to the bottle. There was no denying that.
The creak of the bedroom door opening pulled him out of his thoughts. Sarah staggered out of the bedroom, unsteady on her feet and still dressed in yesterday's clothes. Her skin was pale and waxy, save for dark rings around her eyes, and she held on to the wall like it was the only thing that was holding her up. He started to speak, to ask if she wanted breakfast, but she raised a hand to stop him; then staggered off toward the bathroom.
He filled the kettle to the sound of her vomiting and hoped the previous day's activities had not been too much for her. He was in no fit state this early in the morning to be looking after an ill woman, and certainly not one with Sarah's temperament. Still, perhaps tea would help.

04 January 2010

Curse of the Other World, part eleven


Sarah's wardrobe was built into the wall of her bedroom, opposite to her bed. In the bottom, Peter found a large cardboard box filled to the brim with books of various sizes. He struggled to pull it out of the wardrobe but, with some straining and grunting, managed to get it out onto the bedroom floor before the bottom fell apart under the weight of its contents.
Inside were dogeared paperbacks, some containing receipts that told him Sarah must have bought them when she was fourteen or fifteen. He put them carefully to one side, creating a pile of pulp fiction he doubted would ever get read again. Sarah certainly seemed in no position to give them any more attention, that was for certain.
Underneath the paperbacks were some equally worn out textbooks from Sarah's undergraduate days. He took these out and read the titles. The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles, The Role of Belief in Mental Development, and other similar titles. He flicked through the books, opening them at random pages and scanning their contents quickly; understanding little. Psychology was not his area of expertise, but what he understood of the texts seemed interesting, if a little heavy.
The book he needed was at the bottom of the box, alongside a leather-bound book with no title on its cover and a copy of Sarah's doctoral thesis; also bound in leather. He took out the thesis and opened it, flicking through the pages. It was a large document, almost two hundred pages long including index and bibliography, and rather heavy. Scanning a few pages at speed, he found himself able to follow most of the argument but he could not agree with the content.
Sarah was arguing that belief in gods was a part of the inherent human need for the supernatural to be real; which she claimed was rooted in an evolutionary need to create myths in order to fill in our gaps in understanding of the world around us.
He put the book aside with a derisive snort. There was no need in him to believe in anything he could not experience with his own five senses. Belief in invisible superheroes that cavemen thought had created the world was not necessary to his evolution.
The untitled book interested him more than the old, red hardback he had come looking for. Judging by its cover, it was clearly expensive and well used. He opened it carefully, admiring its gold-edged pages, and was surprised to find it filled with hand-drawn images and text in Sarah's own handwriting; all tiny, rounded letters with circles over the 'i's.
He read some of the writing with a growing feeling that he was violating her privacy. The book was a grimoire of sorts; a tome discussing Sarah's experiences with magick – a spelling she used throughout the book – and also her views on magickal theory. Nearer the back were numerous spells. The whole book must have taken months, if not years, of painstaking work to complete.
He flicked to the last entry. May 2001. Not long before Sarah had been blinded. She would have been very ill throughout the time she was writing the book, yet continued to write it by hand. It must have meant a lot to her, he decided.
Yet he knew now that she did not believe any of it. A committed atheist, she had spent the last seven years striving to understand why people needed to believe in things that were untrue; and debunking myths and legends wherever she could. In fact, most of her income since leaving academia had come from uncovering the truth behind local folklore and writing articles on it for specialist magazines.
How could someone have such a drastic change of heart? Of course, he already knew the answer. They had all changed since the summer of 2001. They may want to block out the memories of what they had done, but there was no denying that it had changed them all.
He put the spellbook back in the box, wiped his sweating palms on the legs of his jeans and took the red book into the lounge.
'I've got the book you...oh,' his voice trailed off. Sarah was asleep, her head resting on her arms, folded on the desk in front of her.
He put the book down carefully on the coffee table, trying his best to be quiet. It had been a long day and he knew how much she needed sleep these days, so waking her was not an option.
Carefully, he lifted her in his arms and carried her through to the bedroom. She was lighter than she looked, wrapped in her huge cardigan. He wondered how she had managed to loose so much weight; she had always been thin to start with and the steroids she would undoubtedly be taking as part of her treatment should have meant she put on weight, but apparently she was not.
He laid her on the bed gently, pulled the covers over her and went to bed down on the sofa. However important she had thought it was, the research could wait until morning.

03 January 2010

Curse of the Other World, part ten

The majority of the recording was either the high-pitched chitter-chatter whistling of digitised white noise, or Sarah and Peter talking to James Pearlman about what they saw in Coxton Hall. After an initial listen-through, Sarah spent a while selecting key portions of the recording and splicing them together into a new file, while Peter made another pot of tea. 
The new recording contained five segments from the original. Spliced together, they lasted no more than a minute.
'Here we go,' said Sarah. She sipped her tea and tapped the mouse button, to play the new recording.
'GET … OuT … noW,' the harsh voice demanded.
Chatter played next. At first it had sounded like mere white noise, but Sarah had upped the volume on this segment before she pasted it in, and now it was clear there was a conversation here. Two people were talking, but what they were saying was unclear.
One of the the speakers howled in terror. The chatter stopped abruptly.
'Where was that from?' asked Peter.
Sarah tapped the mouse again and the recording paused. 'I can't tell you for certain but, based on where it shows up in our conversation, it would have been recorded as we were walking into the main dining room.'
'So that wail could have been whoever made this seeing us come in?'
Sarah shook her head. 'It's unlikely. Most of the time, what we hear isn't directed at us. It's more likely that we've picked up something that was going on in there anyway, or even just an echo of something that's happened in the past.'
'That first one certainly sounded like it was directed at us.'
Sarah nodded. 'Yeah. That one's the exception that proves the rule, as they say.'
She tapped the mouse again.
'TsoTH... NeMoRRah,' a husky voice cried. A stronger burst of static followed. 'The hoUSe... withOUT... WAlls!'
A drumbeat followed, with chanting. Although it sounded like Latin, Sarah could not make out what was being said.
'He COMES! HE CoMEs!' chanted a clearly female voice, filled with what sounded like religious fervour.
The recording ended. The room filled with silence.
Sarah sipped her tea, tapping her fingers on the side of the mug and considering what she had heard. Run together, it almost felt like the message would make sense, were she able to put the pieces together.
Tsoth Nemorrah”, she thought. I've heard that before.
Peter took her hand, instantly derailing her train of thought.
'Can you not do that, please?' he asked. 'It's very annoying.'
She looked at him blankly. 'Do what?'
'That tap-tapping on your cup. It's stopping me thinking.'
'Oh,' she said, looking at the cloudy mix of colours that passed for her hands and mug of tea. 'I hadn't realised I was doing it. Sorry.'
'It's okay,' he said, his hand lingering on hers.
She turned back to the computer. 'So, any idea what these sounds mean?'
'No. The chanting was a bit odd. It sounded like some kind of ceremony, although the drums were a little odd.'
'Yeah. Any idea who or what Tsoth Nemmorah is?'
'Is that what they said? I couldn't work any of that bit out.'
Sarah shot him a quizzical look. 'I think so, yes. This isn't exactly an exact science but I'm getting pretty good at deciphering static voices.'
'I'll take your word for it. Listening to static isn't my thing, you know?'
She turned back to the computer and tried her best to keep a straight face as she brought up her web browser and ran a quick search for this mysterious name.
'Okay. I've got sixty-eight thousand hits for this thing. The first three reference a set of horror stories from the 1930s, and the fourth is about a heavy metal band.' She looked up at Peter, who was staring at the screen over her shoulder. 'This is going to take a while.'
He seemed to nod, although it could just as easily have been a trick of the light, and patted her on the shoulder. 'I'll grab some bedding and make up the sofa.'


Research was never Sarah's strong point. Focussing on one topic for any length of time inevitably lead to her mind wandering to other topics, and by the time she realised what was going on; she would have read two or three pages of whatever text she was supposed to be studying without actually taking in any of the information.
Looking up information on Tsoth Nemmorah was as bad as researching her doctoral thesis, if not worse. She could feel her back stiffening as she sat at her desk, her arms feeling like lead weights had replaced her bones. Each page was taking longer and longer to read as time went on; her mind becoming clouded and less able to concentrate on identifying the words on her screen amongst the other swirls of murky colour.
She rubbed her aching eyes, ignoring the pain in her fingers and her shoulder, and clicked on the next link.
Five minutes later, she called Peter out of the kitchen.
'Good grief, woman,' said Peter. 'You look haggard. Let me take over for a while.'
'I'm fine, stop worrying,' Sarah snapped. 'Anyway, I think I've found what we need.'
'What is it?'
'Remember those horror stories I mentioned?'
'Not exactly, no.'
Sarah shrugged. 'Well, that doesn't matter. It seems they were based on older texts. This site here talks about a collection of clay tablets unearthed at Cheddar Gorge in 1957. There's controversy over what they actually say but one of them is a bas relief that seems to match the description of someone called “Sothnemra the Demon King of Nightmares” in Robbins' Encyclopaedia of Witchcraft and Demonology; which explains why I thought I recognised the name. I've got a copy of that book around here somewhere.'
'Any idea where?'
'Most of my books are in boxes in the bottom of my wardrobe. You could try there.'