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.'

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