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It is so many years ago in the year of our Lord 1871, and I’m still not sure what occurred on this estate during the early hours of that morning. An icy wind tore at the eaves and rocked the rafters like a dilapidated dinghy on the violent sea in the heaviest of squalls. Moans of pain filled the halls with torment and dread, for we all knew that death was coming for my beloved wife Gerda.

That night I was at my writing desk pulling at my hair and drawing a tortured letter to the now late Dr. VanKollar of South London, inquiring on what exactly he was a Doctor of. I heard through the grapevine he possessed the ability to converse with recently departed spirits and I wondered if he could reach my daughter, Trumpet, deceased a fortnight ago. According to Inspector James W. Smoth of the London Office of Inquiry, Trumpet died under what he thought the most mysterious of circumstance.

It was a terrible feat to overcome two great losses in the month of October of the same year, first my daughter then within weeks, Gerda from infection of a cut hand. She had accused Trumpet of stabbing her with a shard of mirror during one of her queer tantrums.

Trumpet had been acting most strange of the evenings and especially at the witching hour. She would spit and curse the vilest phrases I’m most honestly not sure where she had learned such vulgar language. From her quarters there would be great booms and sounds of cracking wood from the third floor of the estate where then only Trumpet occupied. The servants were always visibly shaken to their bones and refused to go near her door after sunset and would only attempt to service her with at least one other person for comfort’s sake. Trumpet would sometimes speak in some such unrecognizable tongue or touch herself in an obscene way. But the most fearsome of tricks, she could conjure a spell and move the heavy furniture that five strong men could not lift, but she did it with only her thoughts. On occasion she somehow knew your most intimate secrets and desires and would blurt them for all to hear.

The night of Trumpet’s death, I slowly crept up the stairs with Gerda in tow and I could feel the hot pus and blood soaked bandage of her left hand. Careful not to disturb the calmness that had overcome the third floor, we approached the door to Trumpet’s quarters with both trepidation and glee, hoping the devilish occurrences of the last month were finally abating. We entered the freezing room and immediately were overcome with the stench of shit and death. The room was empty of Trumpet, but the French windows to the captain’s walk were agape and the icy wind was blowing the tapestry askew. Staring in shock I saw my daughter balancing on the rail of the walk, mumbling in that indecipherable tongue with arms held high like in a crucifix of Christ himself. She either stumbled or something other worldly pushed her from her perch and she fell to her death on the cold cobblestones below.

Inspector Smoth finished his investigation the next morning with no resolution but “it is a mysterious occurrence” to her death. I was utterly devastated. My wife Gerda also was in poor spirits as were the servants. I couldn’t sleep for days on end and was never the slightest bit hungry.

A week later, on the morning of Trumpet’s funeral, I ordered the servants to rid James House of her belongings, for I felt a most uncomfortable oppression in our dwelling and thought the items were causing the heaviness. Gerda and I were enjoying breakfast as best we could under the circumstances when we heard the most horrifying scream. We rushed the two flights of stairs and bolted through the door to see the fainted maid servant and Trumpet’s heavy oak bed broken into splinters and the pieces slung across the room. Underneath where the bed had stood, on the wooden plank floor, I saw a blood drawing consisting of a circle and a five-pointed star accompanied with the most peculiar hieroglyphs. I called for a sheet of stationary and pen and copied exactly the drawing on the floor and ordered the servants to scrub the quarters from wall to wall with soap and water.

Going straight to Inspector Smoth, I offered the drawing and he recoiled in horror, not accepting it. He made the sign of the cross before saying, “God bless you, Dr. James, and do you know what you are carrying?” Of course I had no Idea what the drawing meant but was most curious. Inspector Smoth directed me to contact Dr. VanKollar for the explanation and wanted nothing to do with the drawing.

Then without warning Gerda passed in the early morning after the strange cold night. The servants tending her said she had started talking in the same hellish tongue as Trumpet before her passing. Gerda’s left hand had swollen to an unimaginable size with a putrid ooze freely spilling out on her bed sheets.

Two days after Gerda’s death, a peculiar visitor interrupted my luncheon. Holloway the butler came rushing into the dining hall with a stout man in tow and excitedly introduced none other than Dr. VanKollar himself. VanKollar patted down his unruly white shock of hair and the overgrown thatch on his face that reminded me of the most rigorous of sailors. He offered his hand and bowed with courtesy, saying, “Dr. James, I am at your service. I apologize for my tardiness in this matter and beg your forgiveness.”

“Well sir, since I never sent my query to you, how could you possibly know that I would be requiring your services?”

“My dear sir, in matters of a demon, I possess a certain knowing if you will. Your sweet Trumpet came to me in a dream last night begging for my help.”

“I beg your pardon, Dr. VanKollar, but did you say matters of a demon?”

VanKollar cleared his throat and said, “Yes, yes I did, and we must rid your house at once before it takes more innocent souls.”

That night we assembled a crew of the two of us men and two women servants in a circle around an oak table in Trumpet’s room. At the stroke of midnight we held hands and leaned closer to each other. VanKollar commanded us to follow his lead and chant thrice Trumpet’s name, then be silent. We all followed the instructions and seemed to fall into a trance. Then he told us to open our eyes and the world around us transformed into a field of burning ground and red sky with clouds of sulfuric black fog and hot embers. One of the women gasped in fear and tried to break our grip but I held her steadfast so as not to break the spell being conjured.

Trumpet’s voice came from afar begging for mercy, and I started to answer but VanKollar immediately silenced me with a painful kick to my shin. We waited while nothing happened except Trumpet’s calls were getting louder; she was getting closer. She appeared through the black fog with a heavy chain around her neck and God help me but Gerda followed, holding her on the leash like a hound from hell.

“Gerda! What on earth are you doing to Trumpet?” I asked.

She smiled and said, “I’ve sold her to my master for a price, my beloved, and he will raise my earthly body from the dead so I can be with you forever. All I need is your permission, husband.”

“It was you! You bitch from hell who cut your hand and made that blood drawing under Trumpet’s bed, letting that demon in our house! I will never give you permission to sell her soul to save you.” My knees buckled and I fell to the fiery ground pleading with The Almighty to save my Trumpet.

VanKollar took a vial of clear liquid I presumed to be holy water from the pocket of his long coat, pulled the cork and slung the liquid into Gerda’s face while yelling “be gone demon!” Where it landed, her skin instantly started to boil, and she screamed in agony. Seconds later the blackest shadow with the most terrifying gaping maw I have ever seen before and after that day overcame Gerda and devoured her body. She wailed in agony while it tore her to pieces.

Then a white hole burst open in the red sky with a thunderous crack. It was brighter than a thousand suns and we could not stand to look but for a moment lest we lose our sight. VonKollar told Trumpet to go into the light for it was good and she did so, vanishing never seen again except for the occasional haunting of my sleep. I often think of those dreadful days and wonder where my sweet, sweet Trumpet might be. I can only hope she is in the comforting arms of our Father resting in that beautiful sleep of the departed.

This is how I became apprentice to Dr. VonKollar, and our vigilant quest to rid this world of monsters continued until his violent death on Christmas Day, 1899.



Bio: I sell forklifts by day and read & scribe by night. I’m not a pro, just getting started.


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