It was Councillor Jackson…
Of course the esteemed Councillor was involved, I knew there was something off about him from the moment we met. It was obvious that his concern was for more than the reputation of the area, he was into something crooked. Perhaps this article would be in the running for a Pulitzer prize after all. I kept silent and I didn’t dare to breath, I listened and watched, through a small gap between the boxes, as Jackson and his friend handled Chambers’ body. I prayed to God that they would not open the curtains, as they would almost certainly see me if they did. They both left the room carrying poor old Mr Chambers’ lifeless form.
I kept completely still, which was lucky because about 5 minutes had passed when Jackson came back into the room with a can of petrol and some matches. He was talking on his mobile phone “You listen to me PC Marshall, I don’t care how confident you are that you scared Manning off, it was sloppy of you not to have finished the job. You better hope for everyone’s sake that he has gone home, I would hate anything to happen to that pretty wife of yours! Now listen carefully and see if you can get something right. The Chambers’ problem has been sorted, so be a good little policeman and make sure the paperwork looks appropriate, do you think you can manage that?…… Good boy, now see you at 8pm back here for the ceremony”
Jackson ended the call and started splashing petrol all around the room, especially over all the boxes, where I was hiding. The stench was over powering and my eyes were streaming, Jackson finished up and made his way to the door. He lit a match and tossed it into the middle of the room, the flames burst into life immediately and started to make short work of the room and the boxes. Jackson smiled to himself and left.
I waited for as long as I could, to make sure that Jackson was definitely gone and I dashed out through the flames. I couldn’t leave through the door that Jackson had used, as that was already blocked by the fire. I headed up the stairs and entered a room, closing the door quickly behind me I grabbed the sheets off a near by bed and stuffed them against the door crack. I made for the window and was just in time to see Jackson get into a car and drive off up the track. The smoke had started to billow up from under the closed door and through the sheets. I opened the window and was relieved to see a ledge and then just a short drop onto an outbuilding would see me free from the fire.
I made my escape and started to run up the hill, the way Jackson had just left. Stricken with fear, I finally made it back to my car and I drove to my hotel. By now I was completely paranoid so I checked out of my room immediately and made a big show about having had enough of everyone’s rudeness and that I was going back to Oxford where people were more civil. I also made sure to mention several times that PC Marshall had made it clear I should leave and that is exactly what I intended to do. And that really is what I should of done. Instead I drove a few miles down the road and booked into a campsite under a false name, I drove out to the farthest tent pitch and parked my car and waited until nightfall. I was going back to the moor and I was determined to find out what crooked old Councillor Jackson was really up to.
BODMIN MOOR, 7.45pm
I headed down the track to Chambers’ house. When I got there I saw that it had been completely gutted by the fire. However it still seemed to be in flames, but on closer inspection I could see that the flames were coming from beyond the cottage, on the horizon there looked like another big fire. I pulled up my coat collar and headed towards the flames on the hill. As I got nearer to the flickering glow of the fire, I could hear many voices and the crackle of wood. The smell of wood smoke made me think of bonfires and as I finally reached the top of the hill that is what I saw. A huge bonfire was in full fury and such was its ferocity it was easy to see why it was so visible from Seth Chambers’ cottage.
A large gathering of people were formed in a circle around the fire and the fire itself seemed to have been built in front of a large crevice. The circle was large and spread-out, leaving a big clearing in front of the fire, as if the crowd were expecting a firework display. It was bizarre to say the least and I positioned myself behind a substantial pile of rocks, so I could not be seen by the crowd but I could still observe what was happening. I could clearly hear a conversation that the two men nearest me were having “all pointless wasters and scroungers, who are a blight on our society. That’s why we choose the “non-essentials” of the world, they have no pride in community, it’s a disgrace. Come on bring her in.” Then one of the men, lifted a walkie-talkie to his mouth.
“This is Marshall, bring her in, over” The two men then stepped out of the circle into the clearing and it was then that I saw their faces, Councillor Jackson and PC Marshall. The flames danced and created eerie shadows and this gave an unnerving quality to the men’s features, in particular Jackson’s eyes glinted menacingly. A scream cut through the icy night air, startling a couple of crows that were scavenging near by, oblivious to the oddities of mankind, suddenly a gap in the circle opened up and two other men dragged a young woman into the clearing. She was struggling and shouting “let me go you fucking psychos, I ain’t fucking done nothing” The young girl couldn’t have been more than 18 and she wore a green and pink tracksuit, the rear of her joggers displaying a Playboy motif, she looked confused and panicked and continued to struggle. Jackson who was stood by the girl started to speak very loudly so the crowd could hear.
“Oh fair and wise piskie of the moor, accept this offering, so that the mighty Imlock has peace for 5 more years, we are the Brethren of the Bodmin Night, and will always serve Imlock. Through centuries he has kept watch over our order and protected us from the ills of the outside world. Oh fair piskie of the moor, accept this offering from your humble brothers”
I could not believe what I was hearing. Jackson and his cronies were some kind of masons and got their kicks out of torturing the young of the town for not meeting their hypocritical standards. I had had enough and was about to storm the circle and rescue the girl when the most unexpected thing so far happened and it altered everything I thought I knew, forever. This moment would remain frozen in the silence of my nightmares for the rest of my natural days. From the crevice set back from the fire, I saw a red glow, not the red orange of a fire, a deep crimson glow. It flashed momentarily and then it was gone. Then it returned and I realised that the reason the glow disappeared was because the thing that the glow belonged to had blinked.
As my mind tried to piece together the unfathomable images I was now witnessing I just stood frozen to the spot, a creature now entered the clearing. The only way to describe it was to call it a creature, it was no man, although it walked upright like a man. It had wild hair, a large pointed nose and a creased face with terrible glowing red eyes. It appeared to be grinning and this exposed a row of razor sharp teeth, it was about 4 foot tall and it had humanoid hands but with unnaturally long fingers and sharp nails. It made a wheezing noise followed by a cackle and it violently grabbed the girl by her hair, she was prostrate in horror, sobbing uncontrollably and unable to comprehend the scene in front of her. With uncanny strength he dragged her back towards the crevice and into the darkness, I could hear her screams long after she disappeared from sight. They became fainter but they sounded more desperate and more panic stricken, the horrors she faced, unimaginable. The crowd all cheered and guffawed and I even saw a couple of young lads passing around beer, as if this was all just some form of Cornish entertainment.
What struck me was how mundane it all was for them, there was no pomp, chanting or ceremonial cloaks, like in a horror story. It was just politicians, policeman and no doubt lawyers and estate agents, killing an innocent woman. It was brutal, cold and conducted with efficient calm, and that was probably the most terrifying aspect of this whole thing, Jackson’s terrible calm. I was so dumb with shock that I had momentarily forgot to hide myself in the shadow of the rocks, but I recovered myself with all thoughts of intervening evaporating into the cold night air. As I turned to run, Jackson turned his head and looked directly at me, he seemed to catch my eye. I couldn’t be sure in the darkness whether he had seen me. Had he seen me? I didn’t wait to find out and I sprinted into the darkness, terror driving me on…
TWO DAYS LATER
Safely tucked up in bed a storm held court in the heavens. The wind rattled through the rafters and the rain battered the windows. The radio clock by the bedside, suddenly flickered into life;
“I’ve seen storms and hurricanes and terrible things, so I just want you by my side”
I shot out of bed to the other side of the room to shut the radio off. Dripping with sweat my mind raced, contemplating all the things I had seen and all the things that had happened since I fled the moor. The phone on my bedside table started ringing and I knew I only had a matter of minutes before they came for me.