The Monster Man of Horror House (25 page)

BOOK: The Monster Man of Horror House
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I replied, staring at the glass shards in the bottom of my brandy. “I ain’t
sure they got off that lightly.”

stared at us, her mind simply unwilling to accept the situation.

talk daft,” she chided us. “It be too late at night for tomfoolery such as

no one was laughing, least of all Mary when she saw we weren’t joking.

sweet mercy!” she eventually broke down.

What’s out there?” Arthur Wilkinson asked.

left it to Brian to answer, and he put it better than I had done earlier that
evening, using just one word. “Darkness.”

couple of the old boys went to the windows and peaked out but reported nothing
at the battlements.

cos I’s got the outside lights on,” Brian said. “I don’t think they likes the

they can’t get through it,” I went one better. “Like shadows, perhaps they
can’t live outside the night.”

nodded enthusiastically, showing his approval for my theory probably because it
gave us some kind of an edge against these demons. Whether it was true or not
was another matter, but they’d been held back by our torches and scared off by
the shotgun flashes so there was definitely something to it.

girl, did you leave the bedroom light on?” Brian checked. “Mary?”

snapped out of it after a little finger clicking and stared at Brian.

you leave the bedroom light on?”

think so. Do you want me to turn it off?” she replied, demonstrating just how
much she’d been listening these past few minutes.

in fact I want you to turn on every light in this place. And grab every lamp
and torch you can lay your hands on. For tonight, this pub becomes a beacon against
the night.”

did as Brian said, edging our way around the pub and turning on each light we found,
but it was cautious work. We couldn’t just walk into a dark room and flick on a
switch because of what might’ve been lurking in there, so we walked a candle in
front of us, holding it outstretched to ward off any waiting shadows as we felt
for the sockets. And just as well we did; more than once I entered a room only to
see an inky great spider race across the ceiling and out of a crack in the
window to escape my candle’s glare. There was no passageway nor stairwell we
could take for granted.

The Black Fox was shimmering like a Skegness Penny Arcade, we reconvened in the
bar to plan our next course of action. Old Clive stared out of the window near
the snug. He still hadn’t seen what was besieging us and was keen to do so,
pressing his face to the glass and wrapping the curtain around himself to take
a peek into the darkness outside.

yourself there, Clive,” Brian advised when he saw what the old fool was doing,
but when the curtain fell back Clive was gone.

the hell? What’s happened to him?” Bob Sellers gasped.

just shrugged. “He’s gone,” was all he replied.

to say, none of us went anywhere near the windows again. We just hugged the bar
towards the back of the saloon, too afraid to move, too frightened to sit

way I sees it, we just gotta get through to dawn, that’s all,” Brian reckoned.
“What time it get light these days?”

peek up about half four,” Arthur said. We checked our watches. It was almost
two o’clock now, so all we had to do was sit tight for another couple of hours
then presumably we’d be all right.

being the key word.

reckon there’d be anyone else left in the village?” Ronnie asked hesitantly,
his mind finally turning to family and friends.

don’t know. But if there are, I hope they’ve figured them out like what we
have,” Brian said.

what have we figured out?” Mary questioned. “What the hell are them things out


a time Brian decided that one of us should set ourselves up as the resident expert
on the subject and saw himself as the natural candidate for the position. “Them
be shadow monsters,” he told Mary with a newfound air of authority, neither
illuminating her nor setting her mind at ease with his insight.

are a sign from God,” the Parson predictably concluded, who I noticed, was
called Pongo by everyone else, even to his face. Under normal circumstances I
might’ve had the courtesy to call him Reverend or ask him his real name, but these
were not normal circumstances so I called him Pongo like everyone else;
something that clearly irked him at first, but what could he do when there were
more spiritual things to get panicky about?

Pongo, they’re death. And they’re here for us all, even you.”

spent an unpleasant little half hour debating the nature of Brian’s shadow
monsters and got no closer to any answers. No one had ever seen nor heard of anything
like them before and Pongo was adamant there was no mention of the phenomenon
in the village chronicles housed next door in the church. They seemed to have
come out of nowhere.

time is it?”

gone half two. Only a couple more hours to go,” Brian replied, almost allowing
himself a small sigh of relief.

you're sure we’ll be safe when it gets light again?”

much. We’re still here and we’re safe. Them things ain’t tried to get in since
we switched all the lights on. Light’s the key,” Brian said with mounting confidence.

that was when it happened.

was when the electricity went out.



A jaw-dropping, freight train of horror plunged through my heart as a prelude
to my death, but I still managed a couple of semi-coherent thoughts, such as wondering
if it had been the phantoms who’d pulled the plug on us. The truth was rather
more incredible than that though, if somewhat less sinister.

my God!” Mary squawked. “The meter! It needs a shilling.”

You stupid bitch! Why didn’t you top it up you dozy fucking…” But before Pongo
could finish his sentence, a sickening demonic chorus struck up outside as our
persecutors babbled their excitement at our sudden accessibility.

old boys dug into their pockets for coins or knocked over and smashed the
optics as they groped around for the cash register, but I knew from past
experience that we barely had time for a short prayer, let along enough to
stick a shilling in the meter, so I snatched the bottle of brandy off the bar
and threw it against the nearest wall.

match! Quick, a match!” I shouted at the others, knocking drinks and fags and
ashtrays onto the floor as I scoured the bar for a light.

came to the rescue, striking a match and holding it aloft thinking I intended this
to ward off our attackers, but there was no time for an explanation so I
snatched it from his fingers and hurled it against the brandy-soaked wall.

whoosh of heat and blinding flash immediately filled the saloon, and in that
instant a dozen sable figures poised at our elbows recoiled against the flames.
Mary instinctively dived behind the bar to escape the phantoms, but
unfortunately she jumped into the one place that was sheltered from the glare
and before I could call at her to get out of there, she was already gone.

howled in despair when he saw what had happened and it took all of mine and Bob
Seller’s strength to hold him back from going on after Mary. When he finally
realised it was futile, he drenched the floor behind the bar with cognac and tossed
a second match on after it.

be with you Mary,” he said, choking back the tears as a flash of yellow flames
engulfed the spectres that lurked behind the pumps.

fires chased our phantoms from the pub but this was only a temporary solution
at best. Brian grabbed the last few bottles of flammable booze, but there
wasn’t be enough to keep the darkness at bay until dawn and the heat was
already popping light bulbs to ruin all hopes for restoring the electricity.

that wasn’t all.

flames now leapt from cushions to curtains, pictures to chairs so that as the
blaze spread around the saloon our sanctuary proportionally shrank. Quickly the
heat became too much to resist and after only a few more minutes we were
crouching in the entrance of the pub as flames and smoke licked the licence
above the doorway, curling our hairs and tanning our necks.

you see them?” Brian shouted over the roar, staring out into the night at the
blackness that surrounded us. “I can see them. There, they’re all around.”

followed his gaze across the street and saw just beyond the flickering halo
that surrounded The Black Fox, our tormentors waiting patiently for the flames
to blacken to ash.

thing won’t burn for another two hours,” Brian said, edging a couple of inches
further out into the street as the smoke thickened to a choking cloud of soot. “We’ll
have to make a run for it.”

reaction from the others was one of dismay, especially from Pongo, who was now
crossing himself with such regularity that he was in danger of wearing his
fingers down to the knuckles, but Brian was right and we all knew it. We
couldn’t stay here. And we couldn’t retreat back into the pub when the flames
began to recede. We’d be through the floorboards and into the cellar as soon as
we set foot in the place. We had to find somewhere new to see out the night.

church” was the obvious suggestion, and the closest building to our current
position. The glare from fire was almost reaching its walls, especially now
that the top windows of the Fox were blowing out, and Pongo sealed the deal
when he told us that some fifty candles still burnt inside the chapel as part
of last Sunday’s harvest festival thanks giving. That was the good news. The
bad news was that we had to get there first. And the headstones that lay
between us and the church steps cast ten feet shadows across the overgrown cemetery
and like some kind of shadow monster sanctuary. It was going to be a battle
every step of the way.

me a hand to collect some sticks.”

all Brian’s previous bullish behaviour, I had to say one thing for him; he was
one of life’s fighters. Where I sensed the others would’ve probably lain down
and died, Brian simply refused to give in without knocking someone or something’s
teeth in. I was glad to finally have him as an ally and I sensed that, if it
ever came to it, he’d be the sort of chap who’d throw himself on a grenade to
save his friends.

is, if his friends didn’t push him on it first.

pulled a dozen sticks and batons from the burning window frames, and tied them
together to form crucifixes. Brian doused them with his last remaining bottle
of cognac and Pongo blessed each cross before we ignited them and stepped out
into the darkness looking like a delegation of Mississippi Morris Men.

had the aforethought to grab one of the torches before it had been lost to the
fire and he led the way, flashing its beam across every dark crevice and into
the trees to scare away any lingering ambushers.

beyond the full glare of the pub fire we clustered closer together, keeping our
backs to one another and holding out our crosses to form a circle of light
through which the spectres could not penetrate. We inched across the road like
this, minding our feet and watching each other’s backs until we reached the
churchyard wall.

“Leef rieht raef”
the voices whispered to each other in the darkness.
“Yeht eelf, tub yeht tonnac epacspe!!”

been all around the world and I’d heard all manner of peculiar languages but I’d
never heard anything like theirs. It wasn’t human. But as with so many foreign
tongues, you didn’t need to know the lingo to understand the subtext. Their
intentions were only too clear.

“Woh yhtrow era yeht fo eht ssenkrad!”

gone!” Pongo tried to command, but his voice was cracked and hollow. The
spectres cackled their response and danced ever closer to our ring of fire,
taking great delight at the Parson’s lack of conviction.

meantime was peeking over the wall and sweating on the shadows that awaited us.
He waved his cross around and zapped them with his torch, but like the heads of
the Hydra, they seemed to multiply with every flashing rake.

them out!” I urged, the flames of my own wooden hex slowly dying to a blink.

tossed his cross into a clump of tinder grass that bedecked the final resting
place of some lucky old soul who’d already met his maker, and the whole lot
went up like a belated cremation. The blaze raced through the yellow
undergrowth, forcing all the shadows crouching behind the lopsided headstones
to flee into the surrounding trees, so Brian and I jumped over the wall and
dragged a reluctant Pongo with us as he had the keys to the church.

BOOK: The Monster Man of Horror House
10.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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