Chapter 5 part 6

 

A police patrol car arrived at the gates of the Mable Falls summer house. Two police officers, a shorter, balding man with a slight frame, and a tall, sturdily built woman officer with an auburn ponytail gradually arose from the car. With caution, the officers slowly drew their firearms whilst looking straight ahead across the front garden. Not far in the distance, through the darkened early evening light, they could see a hunched figure with a blanket thrown over, apparently shaking on the front lawn. In the moment of seeing this, both officers raised their guns with sharp aim on the figure as they steadily approached it. As they drew nearer they could hear the whimpering of a woman’s cry. Trying to catch her breath as she drew short sucks in, the officers could see that whoever was beneath the blanket was in deep distress.

“Don’t make any sudden moves” the policeman said calmly “slowly remove the blanket from your head so that we can see your face.”

The figure obeyed the police who were now at their utmost alert. As she drew the blanket slowly down onto her shoulders the offices were faced with a simultaneously pale, yet tear-reddened face of a woman in her early thirties. Her dark brown hair was wet and clinging to her cheeks and chin. As she looked up at them with one of the most distraught expressions they had ever seen, the woman officer especially felt immense sympathy.

“Listen, we want to help you, by you need to do exactly as we say… Firstly, slowly remove the blanket completely and put your hands where we can see them.”

The woman did exactly that, and gently placed her hands in front of her. The officers observed her shiver with both terror and the chill of the early evening air. She seemed to be dressed in the bare minimum, a wet, white summer-type dress, which could also have been a petticoat, no shoes, and no underwear. The male officer asked quietly, “Are you Helen Donaldson?” with this the woman wearily nodded.

“Now Helen”, the woman officer continued “this is Sergeant White, and I’m Constable Wilson. We need to take you with us back to the station for questioning. Are you alright to move, or are you hurt.” All Helen seemed to be able to do was nod. “Helen, is there anything we should know about? Is there anything or anyone surrounding us who might put us in danger?” Helen howled as she closed her eyes and shook her head. “We’ve called for back up, and they will come in a few moments. But first we need to try to get you get out of here. Can you get up?” Helen quickly nodded just before rising.

As Constable Wilson walked Helen down the driveway, Sergeant White kept their tail covered, constantly watching the area behind them. Constable Wilson managed to get Helen carefully into the back of the car, placing a clean dry, grey police blanket over her after fastening the seatbelt. Once everyone was safely in the vehicle Constable Wilson turned around from the front passenger seat to ask Helen “So, where is Ray Grisholm?” Helen cried for a few moments, Constable Wilson asked once more, “Helen, it’s important that you answer me, where is Ray Grisholm?”

“I don’t know.”

“But he was the one who did this to you?” the Constable asked sympathetically.

“Yes.” Helen said under her breath.

“What about the person who kidnapped you…” with that Sergeant White turned to look at Constable Wilson sharply, reminding her that the dead kidnapper was the reason why they needed to take Helen in to begin with, “…or maybe, not your kidnapper… someone else, someone who was working for Ray… a tall man with blond hair?”

“He’s dead” replied Helen in a monotone voice, seeing a flash of Henrik who lay in a heap after being shot in the head, in front of the Mercedes in the garage.

“Did Ray do this?” Constable Wilson asked, completely out of line. Helen nodded in silence. Helen bowed her head down and looked at the door interior where the handles should have been. The three drove in silence, back towards the police station.

Chapter 5 part 5

Ray and Michael walked at a fast pace several blocks before Ray took out his mobile to call a taxi.

“Should we go straight to the cops?” Michael asked desperately.

“Shhh!” snapped Ray as he was trying to hear the voice on the other end, “Yes… the corner of… hang on a moment, I’ll just see… Rose and Albert St… OK… thank you.”

“Where are we going to go?” demanded Michael.

“Somewhere we can talk.” replied Ray quietly.

The two stood in awkward silence as they waited for the taxi on a green suburban corner. The sky was still overcast, yet it was light enough to make out colours for what they were. Ray stood in knowing exhaustion, and Michael fidgeted and looked around in disturbing hopelessness. The taxi arrived in seven minutes. As the two quietly got into the car, Ray gave directions to the driver “The Green Lounge, please. It’s a small cellar club off Windsor St. Do you know where that is?”

“Yes” replied the driver sharply. The three travelled in silence.

Michael knew they were reaching their destination when the taxi began to slow down. They stopped next to what appeared to be a 1920s art deco style building with a front cellar door that led down to The Green Lounge. As Michael stepped out of the taxi Ray turned around to pay the fare. Ray moved out of the car and shut the door behind him. Michael stood for a few moments staring at the door front. He wasn’t really seeing what he was looking at. Instead, the question that kept circling his mind was, “How did I get here? How did I really get here?” Ray walked past him and quickly moved down the stairs. With this, Michael followed.

Ray led Michael to a table in the corner of the dimly lit bar. Just as with the men, the bar was virtually silent. Only a few regulars were sitting at the bar desk, and two other couples were hidden away in their own secluded booths. A waiter immediately approached the men’s table and asked what they wanted to drink.

Ray replied “A cognac for me.”

“I’ll take a club soda” Michael added.

The two sat in silence for a few more minutes until the drinks had arrived. Then Michael grabbed his straw, stirred the drink a little, sipped and asked the inevitable, “What happened to Helen? What did you do to Helen?”

“The person you saw was not Helen. Or, at least it was not the Helen you know… Or, it is in fact Helen, the real Helen… but that’s not what she should be.”

“What’s happening?” Michael bluntly rephrased the question.

“What you just met was thousands of years of incarnations of Helen in one.”

“What?”

“Have you ever wondered about reincarnation? About finding out who you were in a pastlife?”

“Yes, but…”

“Well, usually people have the expectation that when they find out who they were in a pastlife, they do just that… find out. They expect to still be the same person they were to begin with, that is in ‘this’ life I mean. They don’t usually expect to be all of them at once… I mean, it should be impossible.” By now Ray had started sounding more like a mad professor on the verge of excitement rather than the highly respected art professor he was known to be.

“How would that effect how she behaves? Surely, she would still be…”

“Good?” Ray smirked “Is that the word you were looking for?”

“Well, I wasn’t going to say it that simplistically, but yes, how could she have changed that drastically?”

“Well, just simplistically thinking, try to imagine the power that disorders such as multiple personality syndrome and schizophrenia have on people. These conditions don’t just bring on paranoia and or other personalities, but they can physically alter the individuals that suffer them by giving them unexplained strength and aggression. Think of these personalities as souls, and then ponder the idea that with each soul the body, or life force, gains in strength. All of the negative emotions and personalities come forward at the same time as the positive. There is a constant struggle between the two, but naturally, unless someone has got an equal amount of positive and negative souls… or for reincarnation sake… has had an equal amount of positive and negative lifetimes, one of the two has to win.”

“You mean that currently Helen has the memory of thousands of years’ worth of memories of pastlives, and that these aren’t just memories?”

“Now you’re catching on.” Ray stopped for a moment to observe Michael’s reaction “You have just met an accumulation of hundreds if not thousands of different lifeforces in one.”

“But did you see that? Did you see how she was strangling me with nothing? Are you meaning to tell me she’s a witch? A witch who remembers… sorry, is, hundreds of pastlives, and who also can conjure up magic?”

“There’s no magic to it… actually, wait a moment, we haven’t really introduced ourselves. I’m Ray, Professor of Art, who are you?”

“I’m Michael, an English lecturer at the same university as you,” the change in subject caught Michael by surprise.

“Oh of course… I knew, I… I guess, I have seen you around…” Ray thought for a moment “Hang on, so then if you’re an English lecturer, does this mean that you enjoy, or at least are skilled at writing?”

“Well, I hope so. That is my profession.” Michael tried to sound humble.

“OK then… Waiter!” the efficient waiter was at the table in moments, “Would you happen to have a pen and some paper that we could please borrow?”

“Here’s mine,” the waiter replied “And you can take the whole note pad, courtesy of Green Lounge.”

“Thank you” Ray replied. “So here, pick up these and start taking notes. I feel it’s important that this should be written down, and that at least someone knows about this in case anything happens.”

“Like what?” queried Michael.

Anything, really. ‘If we would know man in all his subtleties, we must deviate into the world of miracles and sorcery.’ That was said by Frederik J Mason in 1834 in his book, the Exercise of Magical Power. As I was saying, what you have seen Helen perform, and what you may see her do in the future, is not magic, even if often it may be called that. To me magic implies some kind of mystery, or mysticism… something that cannot be explained. She is no witch. If one thinks of wicca or Shinto, there’s the possibility that these beings rely entirely on other spirits, namely nature spirits. Although, what Helen can do is quite like this. She can, by all means, call on the assistance of other spirits… energy, and she can by all means draw the forces of nature. But what she is, or what we now see her as is a whole lot of ancient spirit calling processes gone wrong. Let’s not mistake it though, Helen and those sorcerers, or ghosts, if you may, are made out of the same material as you and I.”

“Material?”

“Yes, material. Energy. They, as well as we are made up of energy. Kinetic energy, any kind of energy you like. The phenomenon of a plant growing, or a baby being conceived contains much more wonder, magic and mystery than anything you will ever see Helen do.”

“But she strangled me with thin air…”

“She drew a concentration of air particles. You do understand that there are atoms… molecules… whatever you like, I’m not qualified to talk science, but air is filled with particles such as those that carry radio waves, and those that you breathe… Helen collected masses of those, masses of solid matter, with her energy to wrap around your neck.”

Michael sat back in his seat to think. Neither talked for a few moments as they both looked at their drinks. Michael laid the pen gently down upon the paper, and continued “Now what? Should we go to the police? Inform Lt Hill?”

“No. For the moment we need to lay low.”

“Why?” asked Michael indignantly “Doesn’t she have what she wants… power… oh, sorry, energy?”

“Yes… well… no… not exactly. She’ll be looking for me quite soon. Right about now actually.”

Michael’s interest was aroused, he picked up the pen once more and with every intention of dictation he asked “Why?”

Chapter 5 part 4

Mandrake was reclaiming his territory irrespective of timing. He had pushed Helen back against a drawing board. His straight unflexing body had Helen wedged between it and the wood. His kiss was hard, unbowing to the contours of Helen’s lips. As he clawed at her clothes they flaked off as if they had been made of crepe paper. Mandrake pressed himself against her as he clenched her breasts solidly in his hands. He held on with the left hand as he used his right to stroke against Helen’s throat, taking his glance back momentarily as if to contemplate the vital tracts lying beneath her skin. He shifted both hands down to remove both skirt and underwear. Instantaneously Helen felt him. All she could do was wait until he was finished, and then she would resume their work.

Mandrake worked slowly, making sure he reached the heights of her body. He simultaneously kissed her in places that made goose bumps prominent, as her nipples hardened. It seemed he gave in to no resistance and was making sure he would not finish until she was screaming with unbearable pleasure. Helen was literally screaming just before Mandrake let go. At that moment a cold chill which felt like steel moved up through every area of her body. Once her senses were completely frozen she stood up from where she had been pushed against the desk and stared blankly at the already composed Mandrake.

“You’re not as strong as you should be” Mandrake said through a metallic shade of concern. “But at least now you’re stabilised enough to leave the house. The first thing you must do…”

“…is find Ray” Helen finished.

Chapter 5 part 3

As Michael was making his way out through the corridors he gradually began to slow down. He turned back around and started frantically searching for Ray. It didn’t take long until Michael literally bumped into Ray as he was rounding a corner.

“I said leave!” Ray’s harsh voice almost sounded metallic.

“But I want answers! What did you do to Helen? Why is she like this?”

“Here is not the place to talk about this, come with me!” Ray pulled Michael by the arm through numerous passageways until they reached what looked like a vent. Ray slid the grid open and pushed Michael through before entering himself, into what seemed a forgotten tunnel. Far ahead, as Michael heard Ray close the grid behind him, he could see what looked like light cast down into the tunnel. “Keep moving.” Ray whispered as he pushed Michael onwards.

Before long they reached the light which was now pouring in through a grid in the ground above. Below the grid was a ladder which allowed the men to move upwards. Michael struggled in his attempts to try to push the grid upwards, but Ray pulled him out of the way and proceeded to turn then pushed. The grid was lifted with ease. The pair clambered out, into a patch of discarded wasteland. The thick layer of clouds above had cast the sky to grey-white. Michael looked around hastily and spotted what he was looking for. Sure enough, the sunlight was still shining on the house.

“What about our cars? Yours is in your shed, I saw it. And, mine’s closer, it’s right out front of the gate.”

“There’s no chance of getting it.” Ray answered with reflex. “They want you dead, and I have something they need. We need to get away from here now.”

“But what about your man, that blond one… I saw him in the garage… and, the police? The police are coming to take Helen in.”

“He’s as good as dead” Ray promised. “Henrik doesn’t know the escape root and will never make it unseen from the garage… and the police, well… what a joke. Now come on.” Still finding it hard to swallow, Michael followed Ray out of the park.

Chapter 5 part 2

Walking through the door to the ballroom Helen spotted the man she had been waiting to see.

“Mandrake, what the hell did you think you were trying to do?”  Helen was furious.

“Della, it’s so great to see you again” the eyes of the finely suited shiny headed man lit up as his dark brown pupils gazed deeply into Helen’s. 

This was no stranger on any account.  Not only was he familiar to her in this new state she found herself in… her name was Oridella… but this was the man who had kidnapped her.  The one who had been shot.  The fish smelling man who had grabbed her in the garden during one of her visions.  “Humphrey!  What the hell kind of a name is that?  And why all this?  Couldn’t you have just taken me directly to the source?”

“Well I thought about it my dear.  But then I decided that this would be much more fun.  Just to entertain them for a short while.  To entertain me for a short while.  To see what you could learn and remember, and possibly just to give me a little more time to prepare.”

“Well now you’ve wasted enough time dear, do you have everything ready?”  Helen was frank and knew exactly what she was doing.

“And what about your little friends?”

“Oh Henrik?  We can get rid of him and Ray… well he can sit and stew for a while.  He won’t get in anybody’s way.”

“You know Della, you can’t keep him around forever.  You can’t keep him as your personal pet.  You need to get rid of him sooner rather than later. If you don’t, I will.”

Annoyed at this suggestion Helen snapped “You know I will, but let me do it when I’m good and ready.  For now I want him alive…  I need him alive.  He still knows more of what has happened over the past few years than I do.”

“This has always been your excuse over the centuries Oridella.  Just see that this little obsession of yours doesn’t get any bigger… and what about the other one?”

“I told you, get rid of him.  Henrik, the giant blond… get rid of him, he’s no good.”

“We will, but I’m meaning the other one.”

“What other one?”

“Well he’s a blond and he’s infatuated with you.  He’s sitting in the dining room completely unaware of what’s going on.”

“Michael… shit!  Bring him here!”  Two semi-shadows, semi-men, appeared from behind Mandrake and began to walk out of the ballroom.  With this, the man in the suit slowly walked closer to Helen with a sense of ownership, or with movement of what she felt was like a cat slowly closing in on to a mouse.  This was not the Humphrey who had abducted her. This was an all knowing sorcerer.  He moved towards her to look into her eyes, simultaneously placing his hands on her shoulders and drawing her in.  It was similar to how Ray had approached her, yet much colder.  As he went to kiss her the two heard the footsteps of the three beings that had entered the room. The two half shadows were like concrete robots, steadily guiding a struggling man between them.

“Helen! Helen… oh Helen… Let me go, let me go… Helen! Helen, are you OK?”

“Let him go.” Helen said calmly, and with that the half shadows obeyed and bowed immediately.

“Helen, what the hell is this all about? What’s going on and why did you put me through this? Oh gosh I love you…” he ran straight towards Helen who stood staring at him vacantly. Stopping before reaching her, puzzled at her cold demeanour, he queried “Really… what the hell’s going on?”

“Everyone, get out of the room, I would like to talk to Michael for a moment.”

“You can’t order me around… Just kill him.” Mandrake demanded.

“Get out and leave us be darling” Helen gave a sly flirty smile, and Mandrake’s eyes showed that his mind went from killing to something else, “Leave us in peace for a moment and we’ll get back to business after that.” With that Mandrake decided to leave and signalled to the half shadows to follow, but not before giving Helen a hard passionate kiss and smiling triumphantly at Michael as he passed.

“Michael, you have come to the wrong place. With the blink of an eye I can destroy you…” Helen started pacing around the confused, shaken and partially angry Michael. “I can choke you with my thoughts and burn you hair by hair with the touch of my finger.”

“But Helen, what’s happened to you?”

“You have the wrong person. I am not Helen, nor was I ever. You have a girlfriend Michael…” Helen kept circling him like a hungry lioness “…a very beautiful, kind and loving girlfriend… She is waiting for you, trusting you… She expects you to be faithful. Do you know how much I hate unfaithful people, Michael?” Michael stood petrified in silence “Well?” Helen shouted.

“I honestly don’t know. I thought you wanted this. I thou…”

“People have been unfaithful to me in the past. I have suffered extreme pain from lousy, slimy toads like you who think their partners don’t know any better.” Helen started backing up gradually from where Michael was standing. As she was moving she made miming gestures as if she were tightening a rope. With each move she made, Michael struggled to catch his breath. Something was tightening around his neck but he didn’t know what. Before long, he had fallen down to his knees spluttering to catch air, but he couldn’t. Just as he was about to fall unconscious someone grabbed Helen from behind. She let go of the invisible rope and Michael stumbled towards the man who was restraining her.

“Run Michael, go that way and get out of here!” Ray tossed his head towards the direction from which he had come.

“But, should we exorcise her or something?” Michael was still confused and shaken.

“Go now!” Ray struggled under Helen’s newly found strength, and with that, Michael exited down through one of the trap doors and into the secret passages where he started running as fast as he could towards daylight.

With the noise of the upheaval, Mandrake and the half shadows charged back into the room. Ray pushed Helen forward as he tried to make his way back down the passage. Mandrake tried breaking him with his will, but for some reason the energy was lost as it moved across the room. Ray escaped through the door and Helen blocked Mandrake and the shadows’ pursuits. With some sort of virtual slap, Mandrake had taken a swipe at Helen from across the room which sent her flying. As she was about to regain foot he swiped her again, throwing her at least five meters across to the other corner of the room.

“You do this every time! You never learn!” Mandrake hit again, Helen was beaten and trying to collect her orientation when he struck again. “That man must die! We will not be delayed again!”

By this time Helen was struggling to maintain consciousness. She was not crying as she would have before. Instead, she coldly glared at Mandrake as he made his way towards her. “I’m sorry my beauty. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Mandrake lifted the silent Helen to her feet as he dusted her off and inspected her like an owner preening his china doll. “You know, this time we need to take him down, and…”

“…and we need to keep him alive so he can fill in the gaps.” Helen finished Mandrake’s sentence calmly, although to the contrary of what he was going to say. “We don’t know my daughter Elizabeth’s secret, and we don’t know where the wise one is kept.” Helen paused for a moment, staring levelly into Mandrake’s eyes, collecting his attention piece by piece. “I know he knows more than he has told me. And I know there’s something wrong. Something odd has gone on. How the hell do you think he was able to contain me as Michael escaped?” Mandrake kept staring seriously into Helen’s eyes as he grabbed her in his passionate embrace once more.

Chapter 5 part 1

Michael felt that he had canvassed over half the area of Mable Falls.  Feeling tired and deflated he wanted to give up and drive home.  He stopped for a moment at the corner of a cross road.  Seriously considering whether or not to go home and forget the entire ordeal.  He started thinking of how much time he had already spent on trying to find Helen.  Surely even if he had to spend the same amount of time again, it would be worth more than turning around and going back home.  As he decided to continue searching, slamming the t-bar into drive, a dark cloud caught his attention.  It was as if a sudden storm had crept in without him noticing.  He looked up to see whether he could see a pinkish tinge, but it was purely dark grey.  The cloud moved at such a pace that he had to sit for a few more moments to observe how the weather was changing.

The formation of the clouds reminded him of what he had seen on documentaries of atomic bombs.  A ring type of mushroom shape seemed to be forming as clouds gathered from all directions.  The centre of the mushroom however remained bright.  A clear path of light could be seen reaching down from the sky and onto an area not too far away from where he was sitting.  Michael figured that he would have about two kilometres to drive until he reached that area.  It was in a direction he had not yet been in, and he figured that by re-starting his journey from that point, the search would have its unfruitful monotony broken.

Michael began to drive carefully, trying not to take his eyes off the cloudless area.  It was not long before he came to the cast iron gates of an enormous piece of land.  At the end of the driveway behind the gates was indeed an old house.  It was possibly, one hundred to one hundred and fifty years old.  The garden seemed more naturally maintained, less pruned, yet spectacular in the sunlight.  There was no Mercedes Benz in sight. However, Michael felt that it wouldn’t hurt to ask the owners of the house whether they knew anyone with such a car.  Looking at the size of the house he felt if anyone would know, they should.

He turned off the engine and stepped out onto the beginning of the gravel driveway.  Walking towards the gates he noticed an intercom to one side.  Thinking that he would just walk through the gate, he hesitated for a moment and decided to ring the intercom anyway.  After a few moments of waiting with no answer Michael started thinking that possibly the owners were out in the garden, the intercom was broken, they were deaf, or they were just possibly out.  If they were out then no harm would be done, he would just be given the opportunity to see such a fine piece of architecture close up.  Pushing on the gate Michael was surprised to realise that it was not locked at all, instead the gate was astoundingly easy to open.  He took this as an invitation to relax and walk straight towards the door. 

The walk up the driveway took longer than expected.  What had looked like a fifty meter walk seemed much more like a seven hundred and fifty meter walk.  Finally arriving at the front door, Michael rang the door bell.  As he was waiting he looked around a bit, partly to see if there were any people, and partly to see what type of house it was.  The building looked well kept and lived in.  The front steps were freshly swept and Michael could swear he smelt the remnants of some kind of cooked breakfast. 

Starting to wonder whether he had come to the right place, Michael began to wander around the corner of the house.  Like with the house before Michael decided to circle the entire structure.  As he was walking, his eyes peeled for any sign of a black Mercedes Benz, Michael thought he heard sounds coming from inside.  It was just the sound of someone moving, but all the same, this made the house a particularly different experience to the house at the address Ray had given. 

Michael reached the back side of the garden and saw a number of trees, in addition to an old shelter type cellar mound, his grandmother had mentioned in stories of her childhood.  Curious, he walked over to inspect it closely.  It had the original door still intact, and by the looks of it, it had not been opened in years.  Looking back over the garden Michael could not get over what a beautiful day it seemed to be in this garden, with the smells of summer flowers and the sight of bumble bees hovering from one plant to the next.  He looked over towards the house once more.  It looked absolutely pristine from this perspective.  Michael could see large full length bay windows which opened out to a sweeping patio.  Under the patio Michael could see that the house had been built in layers, on the side of a small hill.  For under the patio stood a door and windows which must have belonged to the help, in earlier times.

As he began walking towards the workers’ quarters with the intention of knocking, just before reaching the shadow of the balcony, Michael felt as though someone had tapped him on the shoulder.  Suddenly he spun around to confront whoever it was.  Yet, turning around only revealed a clear vision of the garden once more.  Just as he was turning back towards the house he noticed a structure he had not seen before.  It was a garage, of which he could partially see beneath the door.  What Michael thought he saw were the treads of two impeccably good rear tyres.  Moving quickly to the shed he wasted no time in flinging the doors open to reveal the brand new black Mercedes Benz.  Spinning around on the spot as if in some sort of victory he couldn’t help but want to look a bit closer, just to be sure this was the right car.

As Michael was walking closer to the driver’s side he heard a scraping sound against the cement in the area in front of the car.  Suddenly he heard an empty plastic bucket get knocked over, and moved to the front to see what had caused it.  There, in front of the car, was a huge, blond cowering man, seeming to be afraid of the very light that moved into the shed.  Recognising that this was the man he had watched in his own house, Michael was shocked to see the same tremendous man, panic stricken in a heap on the floor.  He therefore empathetically asked “What’s wrong?  What’s happened to you?”

“Go away!”  The man replied half choking.  “Go away!  Leave me alone!  Get out of here!  This is no place to be!”

“Why?  What’s happening?  What have you done to Helen?”

“We were so stupid…” the man in front of the car oozed with self-hatred and shame “…we were so stupid.  We thought that by having her everything would work out fine.  How ignorant we were?  Now go!  Get out of here!”

“I just don’t get it.  Is she safe?  Can I go in there and get her?  Can I take her home?”

Pausing for a moment and seeming to stop shivering as the man sat up a bit and started to think, suddenly his eyes turned bright as he burst into a silent mode of hysterical laughter “Sure you can go in there and get her.  Please do if that’s what you want.”

Not knowing what the man was laughing about caused Michael to become incensed.  So, before leaving the shed he just had to give the miserable man in front of the car a quick, sharp jab with his toe, for all the trouble he had caused.  Seemingly hurt and winded the man started laughing more hysterically.  Michael had no time to worry about this. Instead, he headed straight towards the house.

Arriving at the servants’ door Michael felt calmed by the silence, even though he knew that there were people inside.  Perhaps it was especially because of the fact that there were people inside.  Opening up the unlocked door Michael began to walk through the kitchen that appeared like a hybrid combination of décor from today and yester-year.  He could smell that it was indeed in this room that the breakfast had been prepared, and knew that if he walked through one of the doors he would be led to the dining room in which Helen, his Helen, would have eaten her breakfast.  Oh how he had missed Helen.  How he wanted Helen.

Michael began opening the different doors which lined the outskirts of the kitchen.  He finally came to one that seemed to lead down a passage towards the dining room.  Confidently he walked straight through this passage and towards the dining room table.  The table was perfectly cleared and hosted a set of fresh linen table cloths and napkins, ready to be set for the next meal.  Michael could not help himself, he spotted the classic arm chairs that were located next to the unlit fire and needed to go and sit down in one of them. He was victorious in that he could not believe that he had found the house. Most importantly, he had found it before the police had arrived.  Now that he was so close, he knew he had won.

Chapter 4 part 8

30

 

Ray tried taking notes as quickly as he could, noticing key markings within the drawing, and the positioning of the angles of geometrical figures.  Once arriving back at the parlour, Henrik picked up a USB cable from a cabinet at the side of the room, plugged it into the camera Ray was still using and connected it to the computer.  As Ray took the photographs, Henrik took his place to observe them in a slide show like sequence.

It was not before long that Henrik noticed a shadow being cast over the drawing. It was case in an angle that did not alter from one picture to the next, even though Ray’s images were being taken from many different perspectives.  After several minutes of hand drawing a map of some sort in accordance with the points, Ray looked towards his paper to decipher what he had just written.  To his shock, none of the notes he had just made were legible. 

“Fuck!” Ray threw his pencil down at the floor in frustration and reached for the drawing as Henrik, noticing this jumped up to stop him from touching it.

“Come and look at this.  Look carefully at the shadow, it’s faint, but it hasn’t moved. According to its direction, the figure should be standing there.”  Henrik pointed towards the corner of the drawing closest to the doorway.  Although they could not see anyone there, Ray moved quickly trying to catch whatever it was making the shadow.  Frantically he turned around and around until he looked back at the monitor and tried to see which parts of the drawing the shadow was covering.  Ray felt that perhaps he could interpret this as a guide to the path of the map, and maybe the head would indicate where it was.

“Henrik, I have a feeling that it is located under the head of the shadow, which should be approximately towards…”  As Ray pointed, the screen went blank.  “Shit!  It’s playing with us.”  Ray felt patronised as he knew whatever it was, was watching.

“It’s alright, it seems to be on the way to the border of the garden, quite close to the cellar opening.  We’ll be able to find it” Henrik added optimistically.

“No we won’t!”  Ray snapped “Didn’t you hear me, it’s playing with us.  There’s no way we’d be given the right directions, and even if we were, if we happen to dig anywhere within one yard of it, that is not directly over the top, it will re-locate once more.  Shit!  We need Helen!”

Ray jumped up from beside the computer desk and made his way hurriedly down the passage.  He opened the door to where Helen should have been but she was no longer in the room.  “Henrik!  Did you put her in the store room?”

“Yes!” yelled a voice which was following fast behind.

“Well she’s gone.  She must be in the basement.  You enter here and I’ll go through the kitchen.  Make sure you cover all exits, don’t let her escape!”  With that both sprang into action. 

Once Ray had reached the kitchen he drew his handgun and moved towards a small storage room at the side.  In this storage room a bed could barely be seen under piles of boxes, and in the far corner from the entrance stood a closet.  Opening up the dusty closet Ray stepped inside and pushed on the back of the inside.  The back of the cupboard swung open to reveal a darkened staircase leading down.  Ray had no time for pauses, he charged down the stairs as if his life depended on it.

He had reached the lightened passageway and started thinking of the arterial routes Helen could have taken from the room she was placed in.  Ensuring that he was covering the exits which were located on the kitchen side of the house, Ray remained deathly silent.  Henrik used the same tactic, and not a sound could be heard in the basement.  Both men were careful not to reveal themselves too much in hope that Helen would walk into either one of their arms.

At this time Helen was not thinking, she merely walked blindly under the guidance of something she could not see.  She was not aware of anyone being downstairs with her and had no idea people were chasing her.  Helen quietly made her way through the passageways towards the kitchen, yet upon entering one of the passages she turned right for no apparent reason.  She walked through the library which then led to Henrik’s office, then through the office itself.  On the other side of the office was a small kitchenette and at the other side of the kitchenette was a doorway leading out to another passage.  Once entering this passage Helen veered into a corner behind a supporting column and stood in silence for several moments.  Henrik walked passed and a few moments later Helen started moving towards the kitchen side of the house again.

Every moment that went by Helen felt warmer, as if she was in increasingly familiar surroundings.  She did not possess a drop of fear, only a subconscious curiosity that fit nicely behind the guided tour that had apparently taken over her body.  Helen had come to the end of one of the passageways and as she looked up, she recognised a staircase that vaguely resembled the one she had been drawing.  It was not quite as long or dark as the one she had imagined, but as she began to climb she was startled from her trance by the feeling of cold metal against her back.

With a pounding heart and unable to scream, Helen put her hands in the air and slowly turned around.  Her eyes met with those of piercing steel.  Ray was the one who was holding the gun and through his stillness Helen knew he was serious.

“Helen… we’ve just had you here for your own good.  We’re trying to protect you. Otherwise, we would not have kept you here at all.  If we had not kept you, we would have killed you… We should have killed you…  Now what we need is your cooperation, or we have no other choice.”

“What do you want?  What do you want me to do?”  Ironically Helen was still feeling calm, as if she had taken an intoxicant, yet her mind was still active, “I’ll do anything.  I don’t mean any harm.  I just want to go home and get on with my life… I’ve completed the diary, isn’t that what you wanted?”

“I saw the diary.  I was following it from my own computer.  It didn’t let you finish.  It was a paranoid little piece of dirty literature that doesn’t believe in fair play.  So what I’m going to have to make you do now is show us.”

“Show you what?”

“The box.  Helen you need to show us the box.”  Ray’s stance had calmed, and he seemed to be behaving more rationally than earlier.  However, his gun was still pointing at Helen and he was still dead serious.

“Is that the reason why I am getting pulled when the window is open?  What is it?  Sure I’ll help, as long as that freaky thing stays away from me.”

With this Ray smiled and put down his gun, “Good.”  Was his relaxed response, and placing his gun in his left hand, slowly reached his right arm around Helen.

“I really mean it.  I don’t want any trouble. I just want to go home.”

“We don’t want any trouble either sweetness.  But we need to know where the box is so that we can deal with it.”

Starting to calculate what was happening Helen suddenly needed to ask “But Ray, what if I can’t help you, and I don’t really know where it is, what then?”

“Helen, I don’t want you to stress about it, because you can help.  But if you couldn’t, we would certainly have to kill you.  There’s no other way.”

Worried about how much this didn’t make any sense, Helen followed Ray towards his office, whilst constantly feeling something tugging on the back of her shirt.  The pair entered the converted cellar, the same one Helen had seen in her vision, and Ray motioned her to sit.  Finding a comfortable leather office chair located at the visitors’ side of the desk, Helen obediently followed Ray’s instructions.

From the moment she sat down though, she kept feeling her head turn to the right.  Thinking this might be nerves Helen tried exceptionally hard to keep her head straight and look at Ray as he was talking.  Yet, this involuntary movement became exceptionally difficult to maintain when she started feeling her entire body wanting to turn around on the stool.

“What is it?”  Ray panicked.

“Nothing!  I’m sure it’s nothing.  I don’t quite know…”  with the effort of trying to keep still Helen began to yell “I think I’ve been under so much stress lately that my body’s gone into shock, that’s all.”

“Helen, you must tell me exactly where the box is!”  Looking at Helen in her state for a split second Ray resumed “Now!  You must tell me now!”

“It’s in the back garden next to the door which is in a mound.  A cellar, or shelter or something…  Or not quite right next to it, but five met…”  Helen’s mouth started to distort as if someone had put a fist in it.  Helen couldn’t talk or close her mouth.  It was as though her whole head was being pushed back in an attempt to silence her. 

Ray urgently took out his mobile and speed dialled Henrik “I have her here.  Go to the garden next to the cellar door, or maybe some meters away.  Remember the points of the drawing in relation to the trees and dig.”

“But Ray, are you sure?”  Henrik now too was panicked.

“Just do it.  We have no choice!”  Ray withdrew his handgun once more and through her struggles Helen could just see Ray aiming and cocking to fire at her.  The second Ray’s finger moved over the trigger he was pushed violently back towards the wall, by the same force that was moving Helen.  Seeing this, Helen’s mouth was released and she was spun around to face another set of stairs.  This time the stairs were the ones.  This was the very stairwell Helen had thought she’d conjured from her own imagination.

The doors at the top of the stairs were old and made of wood with iron brackets.  As Helen could hear Ray rustling in the background, and as she prepared to feel a spray of bullets enter her back, the double doors burst open and she was lifted out of her chair, up the stairs and towards the outdoor air.  The sunlight hit Helen’s face as if it was the first time she’d seen it.  She could smell the fresh air and feel the warm but coolish breeze caressing her face.  She felt as if she was drifting through the air, and in amongst these senses Helen gradually realised that the sight of the garden did not match what she was feeling.

Instead, the garden was grey and leafless, as it was in her vision.  The sky was dark although it was daytime, and the ground soggy.  It was only five meters before Helen was put down and pushed towards the soil.  As the force lowered her face first into the ground Helen looked back and saw that the door she had just come through was the one from her visions.

The earth was cool and cushioning, and oddly, although Helen knew that she possessed fear, it seemed to be delayed.  All Helen could think of was how surprised she was to feel the comfort of the earth, and as her mind panicked when she gazed back again, this time up towards the surface of the ground seeing Henrik standing over her, shooting his firearm downwards, Helen had the feeling that from now on there would be no end.

Helen felt the cold box pressed against her, only this time it was already open.  She felt a cold half breeze, half liquid sensation move through her pores, under her fingernails and into every entrance imaginable.  Helen felt a double thickness of body and soul.  In the realisation that she was still breathing she began to feel stronger than before and eager to return to the surface to face those who would defy her.

As she thought about rolling over to face the sun she realised that she was turning.  However, instead of looking back up through the hole in the soil, Helen found herself staring up at the ceiling of Ray’s office.  From a double vantage point Helen could see both from her own perspective as well as from the perspective of someone watching her.  Simultaneously as she felt herself rise up stiffly from the floor upon which she lay, without any physical manoeuvre, she also saw herself from outside, rise whilst she was still in laying position.  As if someone had picked her up by the shoulders.

Helen saw flashes of the door open and then closed.  Then just as her first person gaze moved down to the bottom stairs, the gaze from the other perspective looked down at the floor behind her.  The pattern of the brick paving did not match.  There was a patch that had been removed and then repositioned.  Once realising this, the floor seemed to disappear.  Helen saw a skeleton huddled in a foetus position in the hole.  A millisecond later, the skeleton had flesh. It then opened its eyes and looked up towards her.  It was Helen.

At that moment, Helen felt that she was in the grave herself, looking up towards the light.  One flash later Helen felt herself once more standing on the paved floor, looking up towards the now open doors staring wonderously at the sunlight she hadn’t seen in days.  She smelt the air and felt the warm wind. Her very human longing to be enjoying the beautiful weather overcame her.  She began walking towards the stairs, to move up towards the light.  Her body felt light, yet solid.  Whilst she felt that she had more energy than ever, her body seemed rigid, stone-like, as if nothing could make her lose her balance again.

Reaching the first step, Helen remembered that Ray must have still been in the room, she subtly turned her head to look at him, saw his cowering composure, smiled and turned back towards the light outside.  She barely noticed the stairs she climbed and once she had made it to the top, walking through the door, she just saw Henrik scampering in through the kitchen door at the other side of the yard.  She looked around and to her surprise the garden was as green as she had imagined it to be the first time.  The sun shone, the sky was blue and life was all around her.  There was no trace on the ground in front of her that there had ever been a hole with the box in it.  Her box. 

For no particular reason, Helen changed direction once more to return to the cellar where Ray’s office was.  There was one more thing she needed.  Not knowing what it was, she continued walking.  However, once in the cellar she automatically lay down on the floor on top of where she had seen the body.  Ray charged at her to prevent this from happening.  It was no surprise to Helen to see her own strength cast Ray to the other side of the room as she sought to arrange herself in the exact position of the body.

Again Helen was observing the situation from two views.  One was from her own position and the other was from the side.  She placed her hands on the floor underneath her, and her side view could see the body underneath performing the same movement.  Within an instant Helen no longer just possessed her own memories, but countless sets of memories from a variety of different people.  All the memories seemed to merge into one collection yet separately.  Helen could distinguish one group of memories from the other, due to place, name, and time period.  She knew that the woman lying underneath was Ophelia a countess whose mother had rejected her for her values and as a person.  Ophelia’s mother had deliberately turned to a life of servitude to avoid the attention that was being paid towards her family and in particular towards Ophelia.  There had been rumours that Ophelia was cursed, was a witch, and was pure evil.  This had not bothered Ophelia in the slightest, but her mother was deeply troubled by this and demanded that Ophelia do as she and cast away her material and societal riches, to live the rest of her days in the shadows.

Not willing to follow her mother’s orders, Ophelia, who had been raised under the influence of her father’s extrovert and flirtatious ways, soon fell in love with another prominent socialite at the age of nineteen.  The two married shortly after and it was only a matter of weeks before Ophelia had discovered that she was pregnant.  Scared and protective about the coming baby, Ophelia began to withdraw into her own seclusion within one of the parlours of the massive house.  As doctors wanted to help her by providing medical examinations, and even as maids attempted to bring her cups of hot tea, Ophelia began to become more and more agitated.

Her husband, the father of the child, seemed to be absent constantly.  He claimed to have been visiting family and friends, and deliberately left her at home alone with the help.  The baby seemed to Ophelia to be the only living being that was, and would remain close to her in her own living years.  Staff gradually became more alarmed and cautious upon hearing stories of how when some of them had approached Ophelia’s parlour, the door would suddenly slam in front of them.  They shared stories of how the door would resist being opened taking much of their effort, and once inside they would notice that no one had been holding it.  Saying this, they would refer to the ease of leaving the room, if in any case, the door had not opened in front of them by itself.

One of the upstairs maids was particularly flustered after the experience of being slapped in the face by an invisible hand when trying to dress the countess.  The countess’s mother, who had retreated to servitude found none of this astounding. Nor did she make any attempt to offer her knowledge in regards to what was going on.  All the while, upstairs in the parlour, Ophelia knew what was being said.  She saw every movement, by every person in the house.  The only person she wanted near her was her husband, but he seemed the only person on earth that she could never quite see.

The day came when Ophelia went into labour.  Falling onto the floor in pain and screaming for her husband, servants were in the room in seconds, yet none were game enough to move too close.  A bed had been made in the parlour and the butler motioned for the Countess to move towards it, and assured that it was perfectly safe.  Ophelia understood this, in addition to knowing that there was no other choice.  She reached the bed and relaxed as much as she could.  Several minutes later a doctor had arrived and was preparing himself and those around for the arrival.  Although she was in tremendous pain and seemed to be experiencing contractions constantly, it was not before her husband had finally arrived at the house an hour or two later, that Ophelia finally gave in and began to push.

Ophelia knew he had arrived even though he had not yet reached the room.  Relieved that he would be beside her bed soon to protect her, Ophelia relaxed and concentrated on delivering the baby.  As her husband finally entered the parlour Ophelia gave her last push, the baby was born and the doctor passed it on to one of the servants.  Ophelia’s mother, in fact.  Confused by too many thoughts, she paid little attention to the fact that her mother had hold of the baby and more to watching her husband’s eyes as he entered.  Catching his eyes as he looked into hers, she saw that he had been with another woman.  A beautiful, luscious blond-haired woman, any man of class would have envied.  Incensed by this vision, Ophelia tried strangling her husband with her thoughts.  However, tired and unable to concentrate, her mind strangled the wrong person, the person who was closest, the doctor.  Gasping for air as the others looked on in horror, the doctor was slowly dying.  This made Ophelia’s husband lunge forward to stop her. 

As Ophelia felt her husband strangling and shaking her she suddenly felt complete numbness upon hearing a large crack at the back of her skull.  She knew she was dead.  With one sudden blow she was forced to relax and let go.  Someone had hit her in the head with a rock of some sort.  Ophelia did not see who it was, she was motionless and had left the site.

Startled, Helen rose up from the floor realising that the man, Ophelia’s husband was Ray.  Helen had been Ophelia.  The diary Helen had read for Ray’s transcription wasn’t a previous incarnation of herself after all, it was her daughter.  Her baby daughter, who had grown up and grown old in servitude.  Her little baby had lived under the shadow for the rest of her days, without the light and without her inheritable dignity.

Helen looked once more at Ray, this time to find him silently watching her every move.  “You’re really not so tough any more are you Ray?”  Helen emphasised in a curiously quiet voice.  “What are you thinking of doing next, killing me?  Do you really think that is going to be so effective now?”  With that Helen quickly looked behind to ensure that no one was waiting with a rock in hand.  “Do you know what I saw Ray?”  Ray remained silently still.  “I saw you and me fucking.  I saw that there was a time, when you appeared younger, that you and I were completely in love.  I saw that you couldn’t get enough of me.  That was, until I saw you messing with another girl.”  There was hatred in Helen’s voice.

“With all defence, we had taken a break!”

“What?”  Helen was not prepared for Ray to actually remember, so she listened on.

“You and I.  It was you who I’d caught with another man at your place.  You were the one who perhaps felt that one wasn’t enough.  I wanted to marry you.  I had come to ask you to be with me forever.  When you saw me with that woman I had wanted revenge.  I wanted you to see!”  Ray had broken down in tears.

Suddenly Helen began remembering different scenes to the ones she had remembered before.  This time, it really was this Ray, yet younger.  Helen had been sitting on the end of her bed.  She stared at the mirror in front of her to watch herself cry.  She noticed small details around the mirror such as ornaments and accessories on the dressing table which included a brass-laced tissue box holder and a small metal souvenir of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  In this memory Sydney was a special place to her, but she couldn’t quite remember whether she had been there or just imagined it. 

The floor coverings were poison green carpets and outside the window was a non-view of a back alley, fences and roof tops, which revealed a light grey sky and asphalt grounds that had been recently rained upon.  By the clothing and the décor Helen knew that it was the 1970s.  Outside she heard shouting.  Helen looked through the window to see a young Ray pushing a taller looking young blond man into a fence beside their two cars.  Helen couldn’t quite hear what they were saying but after a few moments of pause, Ray let go of the man, straightened his own hair, and suddenly threw a ring he had been holding up at the blond and its separate box onto the ground.  Ray got into a small pale yellow car and reversed, squealing the tyres, back down the alley until he had reached the main road. 

Helen then saw a pub scene where she and her blond friend had entered a regular hang out only to be met by a bitter Ray, who in the moment of anger at seeing Helen and her reaction, grabbed a poor golden haired woman by the curls.  Helen and her friend decided to leave straight away, unaware that Ray would follow.  It was not until on a darkened English country road that Helen’s friend became aware of Ray’s pursuit by the blinding high beams in his rear vision mirror.  The friend attempted to drive faster to get rid of Ray, but his efforts were futile.  To the surprise of both Helen and her friend, sitting directly ahead was a stationary truck, which could only be seen by its reflectors.  Both saw the truck moments too late as the car careered at high speed into its back.  The next moment Helen saw was of staring up at a bloodied windscreen in front of a bright blue sky.  She looked beside her to see her dead friend slumped over the steering wheel, and realised that she herself was dead.  There was no clue as to what had happened to Ray.

Coming back once again to reality Helen looked directly at Ray.  Not fully understanding what she was doing she lifted up her top to reveal her left side.  She showed him her white birthmark, the one that she had seen him search for in her earlier dream.  He saw the birthmark, but instead of kissing it he fell down on his knees in apparent agony.  Helen remembered that in these more recent memories Ray used to kiss this birthmark and hypothesise about Helen having past lives as a Jew in the Roman times, being fed to the lions.  Then simply and concisely Helen stated directly to Ray “You killed me.”  She moved out of the room.