Archive for October 4, 2018

This Silent Well of Sorrow (Part 1 of 5)

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on October 4, 2018 by Occult Detective

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Part One of Five

EARTH

The magician’s shovel bit deep into the rich, black soil, the sound of overturned earth swallowed by the vast expanse of old-growth forest that surrounded him. He was not alone. There were many eyes upon him for he was an intruder here.

Starbiter wiped sweat from his brow, pulling his weathered hand down across his face to stroke the hoary beard that he had hid behind for so long. It was a mask of sorts, a deceit. It projected an aura of wisdom and learnedness, and while the years behind him measured him so, the road ahead begged hard to differ.

No, one would be hard pressed to see wisdom in his present course.

A crow cawed from overhead, one of the watchful denizens of the ancient wood. The old scholar recalled a rhyme from his childhood. “One for sorrow, Two for mirth,” he muttered. “Three for a funeral and four for birth.” The crow flapped its wings and swooped down off its perch, soaring over Starbiter’s head. “One it is,” the magician spat. He returned to the soil and finished the grim task he had set himself to.

How many graves had he dug in this silent corner of the world? Each was marked by a single stone, never larger than his fist. He made sure it had a flat side to it, and he scratched an appropriate sigil to denote the departed in a significant way.

guystarbiter

He lowered the figure into the ground and covered them, slowly and methodically, reciting that old nursery rhyme over and over, again and again, as he worked. “One for sorrow, Two for mirth, Three for a funeral, Four for birth,” he sang.

“Five for heaven.”

He brought the flat of his shovel down hard, patting the earth solid.

“Six for hell.” He stabbed the shovel into the ground and took up the flat rock he’d uncovered earlier, and with another stone, he etched the sacred symbol onto it, then lowered it atop the mound of black dirt.

A crow cawed, and then another. Starbiter looked up to the trees over head. A murder of crows had arrived. A procession of mourners perhaps, he mused. He counted them, one by one, then acknowledged the truth of it.

“Seven for the devil, his own self.”

Guy Starbiter brushed off his hands and smiled grimly before beginning the long trek out through the forest to his awaiting Opel Kapitän. Within an hour, he was back to civilization, pulling his saloon sedan into the rundown roadhouse at Bishop’s Cross.

He took a deep breath and took out his cell phone. No bars. He cursed, then steeled himself and made for the door beneath the flickering neon sign that read “Beherit Club“.

He approached the bar, eyes intent on the patrons scattered throughout. He ordered a whisky neat, top shelf, and lit a cigarette nervously.

“Pay phone?” he asked.

“Sure,” the bartender replied, pointing toward the bathrooms. There it stood, mounted between the doors to the men’s and women’s lavatories, like some sort of ancient relic from a long lost era.

Starbiter dialed the number by heart and put his back to the wall. All eyes were on him. As he waited for someone to answer he began to count them. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Sev—

Caliburn House.

“Thea?” he muttered, shaken.

“Yes, this is she, who…” Alethea Hill paused for a moment. “Guy, is that you?” she said. “You sound horrible.”

“Tell Landon,” Starbiter said, lowering his voice to a whisper, “Es tut mir leid.”

“What?”

“Just tell him, bitte.” Starbiter returned the handset to its cradle and slouched toward the bar. The magician downed his whisky and leaned there, eyes closed, that damnable nursery rhyme coursing through his brain.

“Another, Herr Starbiter?”

The magician looked up from his empty glass, startled. The bartender smiled as the patrons all rose from their seats.

“I am number eight,” the bartender said.

Dann bin ich neun, scheint es,” Starbiter replied.

Nein, der Hexer” the bartender said. “Du bist die Nummer eins.”

to be continued…

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