Hidden By Fog: Walker: Chapter Two

Walker: Chapter Two

 

Year: 1661

Location: London, England

He is awakened by the sound of an odious crack of thunder, so loud it made even Jinx startle. Wiping the grogginess from his eyes, Allen could have sworn that he was dreaming but for the life of him he could not remember what it was about. Standing up, he can feel his clothing stick to him as if he had just gone swimming. It appears that he had just been stirred from a cold sweat. Checking his watch reveals that it is around midnight.

“Some dream,” He says with a bit of reluctance, “You ready to go home, Jinx?”

Replying with a resounding bark that causes a slight echo in the space, Allen grabs his coat and Jinx’s leash. They begin their journey home. The rain begins to pour down much more violently than it had in a long while. The wind brings a chill as cold as death. They rush home as quickly as possible because Jinx hates the thunder and Allen would prefer to not end up with a cold himself like Mr. Baker.

As soon as they enter the house, Allen locks the door behind them including the deadbolt. He removes his coat and hangs it on the coat tree, along with Jinx’s leash. He goes up the massive staircase and heads off to prepare his bath as he does every night. Shortly after finishing his bath he gets ready for the next day. He knows that sleep that night is out of the question. How could one sleep with the beautiful sound of a storm outside? He never likes sleeping anyway. He found it to be more inconvenient than anything else.

Looking at his watch once again shows that it is around one in the morning. His usual cocktail hour. After pouring himself about half a glass of brandy, he goes to the den and sits before his marble fireplace. His gaze drifts towards the crackling fire and he begins to stare deeply into it. The mixture of the amber and ruby color puts him into a sort of trance as he waits till morning.

That’s when the voices start to rise from the depths of his mind, from where he buries them. They start off as small whispers but grow louder with each passing moment. Each one of them, he recognizes them all, are the voices of those that modern medicine could not save. He can’t help but think that he could have done something different that could have changed their fates. But this was a falsehood so deep that he could not see it.

The only thing that stirs him from his hypnotic trance is Jinx, nudging at his leg with a hungry look upon her face. Of course, he gets up and goes to feed her. He returns to his chair after doing so, but this time he is much more careful to not fall victim to the soothing sight and warmth of the fire before him.

Even though he is consciously trying not to stare into the fire he does however find that his eyes are darting toward the photo on the mantle of his fireplace. It is the photo of a beautiful crimson haired woman. In the photo, she appears to look like she may be somewhere in her twenties even though that picture had been taken nearly ten years ago. He had known her since they were both children. But sadly, she had vanished, shortly after that photo was taken. Her disappearance was the talk of the town for quite a while. It was extremely strange. She vanished a day before her husband was found dead. His body had not a mark on it and it looked as if it were a heart attack. Allen should know, he’s the one who did the examination.

He stands from his chair and goes over to the picture. With a large swig, finishing off his brandy, he sets the photo down on its face. He tries not to think of her, after all he is still mad that she left without a word.

The time is now reaching to five in the morning. The rainstorm outside has subsided to a light misting. There is a loud pounding on the front door, so loud that it could wake the dead. Rushing to the door from upstairs, Allen opens the door. It’s a mail boy. Now what could he be delivering at this hour.

“Yes?” Dr. Allen says as he opens the door.

“Sorry to wake you sir,” the boy says, “I’ve got an urgent letter for one Dr. Allen Walker.”

“Aye, that would be me. Thank you,” he replies, slightly upset with the disruption to his evening, “Who’s it from?”

“Not sure sir, someone gave me a farthing to make sure it made it to you.”

Taking the envelope, Allen hands the boy a penny.

“Gee, Thanks sir!” The boy says ecstatically.

Giving a wave of his hand, while he stares at the envelope, Allen closes the door and heads to his study. On his way through the den he is careful not to disturb Jinx. Hastily grabbing his envelope opener, he pauses as he gets a better look at the letter. It doesn’t have any markings on who sent it, just his name and address. The seal on the envelope is a hideous representation of a lion. There was no way that this could be from one of his clients. Opening it in a rush, and instantly reading the contents, the letter perturbs him. It reads;

 

“Dr. Allen Walker,

I am sorry to interrupt your usual life with this problem. There is a town named Jamestown, which is one of the colonial towns of America. There are some strange events going on there. There is a plague that is affecting only the children. The townsfolk are in a panic. They quickly blame each other and accuse one another of witchcraft. I require that you head there immediately to figure out what is happening.

Sincerely,

A Friend.”

 

The only thing that was going through Allen’s mind was; ‘Who the hell does this person think they are, to ‘require’ something of me and yet not even give me their name? It’s ludicrous! And all the way to America! HA!’

The letter had frustrated him even more than the boredom of his regular life. And the fact that the author of this letter did not add their name or return address meant that Allen could not send a letter back with his response. But nevertheless, his response was rather clear. A resounding “NO.”

Allen quickly crumpled up the small letter and tossed it into the fire place in the den. He then returned to relaxing in his chair before the fire, this time with one of his medical journals to read. The night passes, now rather quiet, whilst he read. However, He could not focus on his reading. His habit had kicked in again. Tap…Tap…Tap…Tap Tap Tap Tap…Tap…Tap…Tap…

 

The morning sun finally begins to rise and with it comes, for Allen, the dread of another boring day. For reasons yet known, he felt different this day. Maybe it was the letter. However, he tries his best to push the events of the evening before out of his mind. He can’t let it deter him from his work as a doctor. Part of him, no matter how much he tries to suppress it, wonders what would happen if he were to go to this town. But he quickly stomps even this thought from his head.

Him and Jinx go through their typical morning rituals and head to the clinic. Upon arrival to the clinic, he notices that Mary was not there ahead of him as she usually is. The door is still locked. This, of course, is extremely odd. He is so used to her being there well before him that he doesn’t even notice. Unlocking and stepping through the door, he sees Mary hunched over her desk, sleeping. In his mind, he assumes that she is probably just as tired as he is and lets her sleep.

He pulls off his coat and rests it over her shoulders. That’s when he notices the slight differences around the room. Books are not where they should be on the shelves and her desk is a mess when it is usually clean to a compulsive level. Something here is not right. His gaze shifts, slowly, back to Mary. She is extremely pale and her eyes… her eyes are wide open. And the realization hits him like the weight of the world on Atlas’ shoulders.

“OH FUCK!” He shouts.

He reaches over to feel for her pulse. All for naught, there isn’t one to be found. Feeling her skin, it is as cool as that of ice and as stiff as a brick wall. With his skills as a doctor he quickly realizes that she’s been like this for a while. His secretary, and friend for nearly four years, is laying over her desk dead.

His mind begins to race through all the things that could have happened that he didn’t notice. She was, or at least appeared to be, perfectly fine the day before. There wasn’t any blood in the room to be seen. Lifting her from her position at the desk, he lays her on the floor. His mind knows that it won’t work and that it is too late. But he isn’t thinking rationally at this point. That’s when a client walks through the door and gasps.

“Oh My Lord!’ She shouts.

Too focused on the task at hand, he ignores her presence. More and more patients begin to file into the clinic, all of which are instantly horrified and stopped in their tracks by the sight before them. After about thirty minutes of nonstop examination, his mind begins to overcome its irrational behavior. His thoughts start to have a larger gap between them and eventually stop all together. The tears welling up at the edges of his eyes, he leans back against her desk and with a single hand covers his face.

“Go get a priest,” he says, his voice shaking uncontrollably, “She needs a proper send off.”

Every single one of the patients just stand there and stare at the scene they are witness to. The sight of their doctor, who has helped them in so many situations, close to tears at the loss of his friend. Allen’s anger starts to well up from within.

‘None of you knew her like I did!’ he thought to himself, ‘None of you have the right to stand there and gawk at her!’

“Get out now, and go get a priest,” He says again. They continued to just stand there with their jaws slacked like tabloids to gossip.

“GET THE FUCK OUT NOW AND GET A PRIEST!” He shouted in a voice brimming with venom so potent it could kill a whale.

With that last sentence, their faces turned from shock and horror, from the scene, to fear of this terrifyingly angry man before them. They began to rush out of the building like bats from a cave.

‘Not again, dammit! I can’t lose her… not again!’

About an hour goes by and both a priest and bobby enter the clinic. They took their sweet time getting there, probably to let Allen cool off. This, of course, only made him angrier. As the policeman began to tape off the area, the priest began to do his prayers, as is such when someone is found dead. Now only one thing runs through Allen’s mind; ‘Why did it have to be her?’

“Sir, I’m sorry to ask this of you…” The police officer starts.

“I know, you want me to determine the cause of death,” Allen says, cutting him off.

Just giving a nod of his head, the officer steps aside allowing him to start his analysis. Allen must try his best to look at Mary’s body as if it were someone he didn’t know, otherwise he won’t be able to keep himself composed. But no matter how hard he tries he comes close to the edge of sanity. She was his only friend. He steels himself. He knows he’s seen worse, and he has. He kneels next to her body and starts his examination. There doesn’t appear to be any sort of laceration on her body. This explains the lack of blood.

After taking his time to perform his analysis, continuing to try and keep his composure, he comes to the conclusion that her body shows all the signs of a heart attack. However, she had never shown any of the symptoms of possibly having one but that does not mean that it couldn’t have snuck up on her. Standing up and turning to the officer, “It was a simple heart attack, officer,” he mutters out in a low voice.

“All right Dr., Thank you,” He says with a sympathetic look on his face, “and condolences for your loss.”

“Thank you, be sure to notify her family.” Allen replies turning to the priest, “She’s all yours Father.”

“God bless you my son, few would have the strength to examine their friends,” The priest replies in an apologetic tone.

Without saying a word, Allen simply nods to the statement. The priest heads off to retrieve a hearse. It takes nearly the rest of the day for Allen and the priest to load Mary’s body into the hearse; and for the priest to “sanctify” the building. As the priest rides off with the hearse and Mary inside, Allen can’t hold it in any longer. He closes the door behind the priest and locks both locks. The moment the deadbolt latch engages, the anger wells up from within him like that of a broken faucet.

Flying into a vicarious rampage, Allen begins to rip books from the shelves throwing them about. He knocks everything from his former friend’s desk onto the floor. With a loud clunking sound, a paper weight from her desk hits the floor. His eyes drawn to the object, he picks it up and tosses it in his hand, feeling the weight of the object. Looking to one of the full wall mirrors that line the walls of the room, Allen, with all the strength that he could muster in one throw, hurls the paper weight into one of the mirrors in the room. The mirror crashes to the ground shattering into a million pieces at the point of impact. As he watches the glass crash to the ground, his eyes lift to see that there is something written on the wall where the mirror had stood. His anger was replaced with a more primitive emotion that he hadn’t felt in a long time. Fear.

What he sees fills him with a feeling of horror unlike that of which has ever been felt by anyone before. Written on the wall where the mirror had once stood, was something that he couldn’t comprehend. The message, or warning, was written in blood. How it got there and who or what had written it would baffle even the brightest of minds in the world. And it terrifies him to his very core.

The writing on the wall simply said;

 

“Dr. Walker,

Shall I write another letter?”

 

He had always mocked others for their fear, but now he was one of them. Who was writing these “letters,” was something that he needed to know. And why were they so adamant about him going to Jamestown? And why his best friend, Mary, had to die to convince him to listen to the first letter. All this trouble, all this grief, just to get this small-time doctor out of London and to a colony in America. The only thing that Allen did know was this, if he ever finds who is responsible for this, he will do the exact opposite of what a doctor is meant to do.

Picking up one of the shards of glass from the ground, his grip so tight that his palm began to bleed profusely. He just stands there, taking a moment to feel the blood flow from the fresh wound on his hand. With a final flash of both primal rage and terror, he slashes at the message on the wall with extreme prejudice. After thirty minutes of continually striking the message on the wall, it is now almost completely incomprehensible.

Dropping the shard of glass to the ground, the shard finally shatters with the final crash against the floor. He quickly goes about bandaging his hand. After taking a moment to rest and regain control over himself and over his apparent irrational behavior, he begins to get ready to leave and head home.

The entire way home, He couldn’t get the events that had just occurred out of his mind and a particular thought as well. ‘How could this ‘friend’ know I decided not to go to Jamestown? And if I don’t go, will this person continue to kill those close to me until I comply with their demands? I must know what their motives are.’ The only way for him to find these things out would be for him to go to this town of Jamestown. However, the only way to get to Jamestown, at the moment, is to take a ship from Plymouth. That trip in and of itself is about 15 days. Then there is the trip across the Atlantic.

Arriving at his home, Allen takes a moment to set Jinx up for the evening so that she will be all right while he is out. There are a few things that he needs before he sets out for Plymouth.

–K.E. Oskold

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