Hidden By Fog: Walker: Chapter Seven

This is the latest chapter in “Hidden By Fog.” It was just completed late yesterday. So, after this post there will not be another post for this novel-in-progress until the next chapter is complete. I hope you can understand.

 

Walker: Chapter Seven

Year: 1661

Location: Plymouth

 

Slowly coming through the forest trail, Allen spots the silhouette of Plymouth rising along the horizon. The energy of the caravan skyrockets with the sight of the port town before them. Each patron manages to muster a little more strength to hasten their arrival.

They enter the city through the east gate, passing the ship harbor and farmlands as they do. The caravan driver made sure that everyone made it into the city and gave the dead woman to the priests that reside in the city. Allen mentions to the priest her peculiar departure. With the priest taken aback by the story, he blesses Allen for his service of killing the witch.

The caravan spends a day or so in the town to rest and prepare for the journey to Falmouth. Allen heads to the port side of the town. His next step in his journey is to secure a boat to America. Allen walked the dock as he saw ships of all sizes, some unloading and some loading up. Taking in the view of the magnificent vessels, he heads to the harbormaster’s station. There is a burly looking man standing in the doorway watching the ships until he spots Allen

“Ello, sir,” the large man says, “That’s a nice beast you ‘ave there.”

“Hello,” Allen replies, “and thank you.”

“Wha’ can I do fo’ ya, sir?”

“I’m looking for the harbormaster.”

“That’d be me.”

“I was wondering if there were any ships that were heading to America, particularly Jamestown?”

“Aye, I got one. Just came in yesterday from there.”

“I would like to secure passage for the soonest departure.”

“I’ll be tomorrow ‘fore the vessels ready to go.”

“That’s fine. How much will it cost me to secure passage?”

“’Round ten silver.”

“Deal. I’ll pay before I board in the morning.”

“Right, sir. See you in the morning.”

Allen and Jinx leave the harbormaster’s station. They wander about the streets of Plymouth in search for an inn. Finally finding an inn with few patrons and allows dogs, they enter the building. The atmosphere appears to be calming and serene. Allen looks to the barkeep.

“Do you have any rooms available for the evening,” He asks.

“Aye, have about half a dozen of ‘em still open,” The gentleman replies.

“Alright, I’ll take one. And a glass of brandy to go along with it.”

Allen lays money on the counter to cover the room and drink as the barkeep pours the drink.

“It’s the first room on the left up the stairs,” the barkeep states.

“Thanks,” Allen replies as he takes the drink and heads up to his room for the evening.

*******

Year: 1661

Location: Roanoke Island, America

Hevphrys sits upon a throne made of flesh and bone, slaves standing to either side of him. The walls are decorated with the bodies of the dead and lined with tools of torture. A massive bear of black fur, covered in scars, lays in the corner of the room. A young woman, silky black hair and olive colored skin, enters the massive room. The bear stirs and stares at the woman as she enters.

“I’m sorry, lord, but Uriel managed to defeat me,” the woman says, dropping to one knee before the creature.

“Aye, I know but you did manage to solidify his departure to America,” Hevphrys replies.

“I did. My sisters say that he is in Plymouth now waiting on a ship to depart.”

“Good, Good,” Hevphrys says with a menacing joy in his voice, “However, you were only killed by your greed over the unborn child.”

“I’m sorry, my lord. It won’t happen again.”

“Oh, I know it won’t,” He says as he rises from his gruesome throne.

With a wave of his hand the woman is lifted from the ground.

“There is only room for my lust, not yours. You failed. For that you must pay the price.”

The woman now suspended in the air, shows a face of absolute terror on her face as the creature before her slowly walks up to her. He grips one of her wrists with both of his hands. The woman releases a cry of pain at the strength of the grip holding onto her limb. With a sudden tension brought to the muscles in his arms, her arm is torn off.

The woman lets out a heinous cry of pain as she feels the tendons and muscles snap from her shoulder. Hevphrys tosses the now disembodied arm over to the bear in the corner. The beast rips into it like the carcass of a fresh kill.

“I’ve done this too many times for your petty greed to get in my way,” Hevphrys says.

“I’m sorry, lord. It won’t happen again, I swear,” the woman cries.

“It’s too late for that. I won’t tolerate this action.”

Hevphrys, now standing in front of the woman, raises his hand. He lowers it, as an idea crosses his mind.

“You will have a second chance. But fail me again and it will be far worse than death,” he says with a sinister grin gracing his lips.

“Yes, lord. I promise I will succeed in whatever you request of me,” the woman replies.

“Do you know the priest that he has grown close to?”

“No, but he was there chanting when Uriel struck me with that cursed stake.”

“I want you to kill him.”

“Yes, my lord. It shall be so.”

*******

Year: 1661

Location: Plymouth, England

Allen has trouble falling asleep during the night. The patrons at the bar downstairs, as few as there are, are still fairly loud. He heard a glass break earlier. The room he paid for is extremely bare. Only a small bed, dresser, and a single mirror. Oh well, he was only going to be there for one night. Sleep eventually finds its way to Allen and he rests for the first time since he left London.

Morning comes accompanied by the crows of roosters in the farm steads just outside the city. Allen rises from his bed and wakes Jinx.

“You ready to go,” he asks.

With a rather loud bark in response, Jinx jumps up from her rest and her stub of a tail wagging. They both leave the in, viewing the passed-out patrons in the bar as they do. They make their way back to the harbormaster. Once they arrive in the harbor, Allen spots the harbormaster sitting in a chair just outside his station, a pipe hanging from his jaw.

“Morning, is the ship ready to depart,” Allen asks the man.

“Aye it is,” he replies, “They were goin’ to leave early but I managed to ‘suade them to wait just a bit ‘till you got here.”

“My thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Oh, and it’s the ship o’er there. The Balagore.”

As Allen is about to board the ship he is greeted by a familiar face leaned over the railing of the ship. Father Henry. Feeling slightly disgruntled by the priest following him, he marches up the catwalk to the deck of the ship.

“You’re late,” Father Henry shouts out to Allen.

“Or you were early,” Allen shouts back in response, not being able to resist the snark. As soon as Allen steps foot onto the deck of the ship the catwalk is pulled away. Men, below on the dock, start untying the ropes holding the ship. And they were off, Allen, Jinx, and Father Henry.

“So, what made you get on the ship to America,” Allen asks.

“Well, after telling the priests here about what had happened on the road,” Henry began, “I told them of a possible witch problem in Jamestown. I told them that it was imperative that I go because our brothers in America probably don’t have any experience with actual witches.”

“Ah, I see. So, the truth is that you wanted to come along and see if you could help?”

“Half the truth. You wouldn’t be able to face a witch without my help, yet anyway.”

“What do you mean ‘yet’?”

“Well, during our last escapade with a witch I sensed something I’ve never felt before.”

Allen just looks at the Father with a curious look in his eyes.

“I can’t explain it. The only thing I can gather from it is this; You may not love God but he sure does have a plan for you.”

“I’d rather not think of such things. My strength is my own, not that of a malevolent slave master.”

Allen’s words cut Henry deep. Allen could see this. He puts one solid hand on the Father’s shoulder and gives it a slight squeeze, almost as if giving a non-verbal apology.

“How’re ye two doin’,” some stranger shouts from the helm.

Both men turn and look to where the voice came from. Having to crone their necks to see the man standing at the top of the stairs.

“Just fine, sir,” Allen says, “and who might you be?”

“I’m the cap’n o’ this here ship, Mr. Thorn,” the man says as he descends the staircase.

“Ah, well it’s nice to meet you,” Henry says, “I’m Father Henry and this is Allen Walker.”

“Well, good to meet the two o’ ya,” Mr. Thorn says, “just like to meet all the patrons of ma vessel.”

“Are there more than just the two of us,” Allen asks.

“Aye, there’s a group of women that boarded before the both o’ ya,” he says as he points to a group of women that are standing at the bow of the ship.

Allen isn’t quite sure how he didn’t notice them before, but now that he believes he knows one of them, having olive colored skin and silky black hair. Allen tries to hide his face of shear shock and disbelief. Both Allen and Henry look to each other and nod.

“Listen, Captain, one of those women is not normal,” Allen says.

“Oh, really, how so?”

“The one with the olive skin is a witch.”

“And how do ya know that? And how, she’s only got one arm.”

“It’s true, we killed her not a week ago,” Father Henry chiming in.

“Look here, the two o’ ya. You two seem like decent folk but I don’t want any issues on ma ship. You understand?”

“Yes, sir, of course,” Father Henry says.

“Alright, good. Now if you are worried about that little lass, then you can be. But I don’t want any bloodshed unless it comes down to someone dyin’. Got it?”

“Yes,” Allen says allowing a hint of his irritation show through his voice.

Tap…Tap…Tap…Tap Tap Tap Tap…Tap…Tap…

Hidden By Fog: Walker: Chapter Six

Walker: Chapter Six

Year: 1661

Location: Somewhere Outside of London

 

As they make their way back to the caravan, all the other patrons are awake and waiting. They all have the look of terror on their faces as they see Jeffery, Father Henry, and Allen carrying a body exit the forest. Allen sets the body of the woman onto the back of one of the wagons. Looking over the faces of the crowd, he searches for the family of the witch he had just slain.

“There was a witch among you,” he shouts, “I have slaughtered her with extreme prejudice. That bitch stole the life of both this woman,” motioning toward the corpse, “and her baby! If there are any more among you, pray that I don’t find you or you better kill me where I stand.”

Not a single patron moved, even an inch. Of course, Allen doesn’t expect an answer. He began to wrap the woman in white cloth, provided by the caravan driver. Thankfully there’s plenty. You never truly know what can happen on the road. After finishing his business, Father Henry goes about blessing the body.

Allen rushes to find a place to be alone in the caravan, which isn’t hard, most of the patrons are over looking at the corpse or talking to the priest for peace of mind. Finding a place of solitude, Allen pulls a flask from his travel bag. Taking a massive swig, he looks down at his hands. They’re shaking.

‘Were they shaking whilst I shouted to the crowd, I’ll never know, I guess.’

He takes another swig from the flask.

“So, this is how you deal with it,” The Father says, sneaking up on Allen.

“Aye, it’s the only thing that quells the memories,” Allen replies, taking the stake from his pocket and holding it out to the priest.

“No, you keep it. It appears to be much more effective in your hands.”
“All right, thank you.” Allen says as he places the stake on his belt.

“You’re welcome, Dr.”

“May I ask a favor of you Father?”

“Of course.”

“I wish to confess.”

“All right, my son, come with me to my tent.”

As Allen follows the priest to his tent, he could feel the eyes of the others on him. Most of them look thankful, others look frightened of him. He can’t blame them.

Father Henry and Allen make it to his tent and that’s when a smell, so foul that it could burn your nose hairs, presented itself. Allen has smelled this before; rotten flesh. He stops the Father.

“Do you smell that” Allen asks, slightly worried.

“Yes, I do,” he replies, “Another witch?”

“Maybe. Let’s go.”

They follow their noses to the origin of the scent. It comes from one of the wagons. Allen pulls out the silver-cross stake. In hopes of surprising whomever may be inside, Allen pulls back on the wagon curtain with a sudden jerk. There are several people inside the wagon, all dead. They were the “family” of the witch that he had killed a short while ago. No wonder they weren’t with the rest of the caravan when they exited the forest. Based on the looks of the bodies they have been dead for at least five days.

“They’ve been dead for quite a while,” Allen says to the Father.

“They certainly smell like it,” he retorts, “I’m going to take a guess and assume that they were kept animated and fresh by the witch.”

“Aye, that’d be my guess as well,” Allen says, “We can’t leave them here. Might as well go about burying them, can’t afford the risk of disease.”

The Father, nodding his head in agreement, starts getting the bodies out of the wagon. The caravan driver sees what is happening and starts to walk toward them, grabbing a few shovels on his way over. By the time he makes it, they have managed to get only one body out of the wagon. They are extremely rigid.

‘Got to love rigor mortis,’ Allen thought.

“Looks like the two o’ ya could use some help,” the driver says.

“It’d be much appreciated.” Henry replies.

With the three of them, they manage to get the bodies out of the wagon, four in total. The corpses show signs of poisoning from what Allen could tell. Looking back into the wagon, what appears to be a large quantity of Nightshade, is sitting there.

‘Not the best poison in the world,’ Allen thought, ‘but I guess she had to use what she could get.’

They take the bodies through the forest to the clearing where the witch was killed. They set about digging a single mass grave for the four of them. The rain was still coming down rather heavily and started to come down at an angle. The smell of death all around them, the sounds of the rain dulling their hearing to the point of deafness from the downpour, they continued to dig. The rain starts to fill the hole as quickly as they make it.

“There’s no use to this,” Allen shouts, “If we put them into the hole now the rain will do the filling for us.”

As Father Henry is about to deny the action, Allen instantly pushes the bodies into the hole.

“Why did you do that,” Henry asks, “The lord demands they have a proper burial!”

“If we take our time doing a proper burial, the wagons back at camp will be so far in the mud we’ll be lucky to make it to Plymouth before Christmas!”

“He’s right,” The caravan driver chiming in, “If we don’t hurry back and move, we’ll be fucked.”

“Fine,” Henry says, showing his disgust with the situation.

“HA HA HA HA HAAAA!” a profoundly deep voice chuckles, “Oh, Uriel!”

Allen looks around, there’s no sign of anyone or anything. Looking to Father Henry and the caravan driver, they don’t seem to have heard it.

What the fuck was that?’

The three of them dump the bodies and head back to the camp where they arrive just in time to prevent the wagons from sinking. Unable to determine if the sun had risen, they gather up the patrons and press on.

“Father,” Allen says.

“Yes, Dr.” The Father replies.

“I still wish to confess.”

“Alright. However, I do believe that this is the most private that we will be able to be, especially after the events from yesterday.”

“That is fine with me. I am not ashamed of my past. Only wish to attain forgiveness for it.”

“Very well, my son. You may begin whenever you are ready.”

“Forgive me Father, for I have sinned,” Allen begins, “It has been fourteen years, one month, and twelve days since my last confession.”

“That’s pretty close for one who hasn’t confessed in over a decade,” Farther Henry replies.

“For you to understand my past I will have to go back farther than ten years even. For it to be comprehensible anyway,” Allen says before recalling the terrors of the civil wars.

–K. E. Oskold

Hidden By Fog: Walker: Chapter Five

During the night, around midnight, Allen begins to hear strange echoing voices chanting in a deep ethereal tone. Taken aback by the sounds he hears; a realization hits him.

‘Wait. These voices aren’t what I normally hear,’ Allen thought.

Taking a moment to quietly look around outside of the wagon he was sleeping in, being careful to stay as low as possible. The sound is so faint yet he picked it up. In the center of the caravan circle where the fire pit resides, the fire inside of it is only smoldering at this point of the night, yet there is another light source. It appears as if it is coming from the forest beyond the wagon circle.

Stepping out of the wagon, Allen quietly unsheathes kopfjägor. Jinx staying close behind him, almost silently. Moving through the wagon circle to the tent in which Father Henry sleeps, Allen quickly goes to wake him.

“Father Henry!” Allen whispers.

“What…what is it?” the Father asks.

“Listen closely,” Allen says worriedly, “Do you hear that?”

The priest takes a moment to listen to the sounds of the night. Allen can tell that the sound that he heard reaches the ears of Father Henry since his grogginess instantly vanishes.

“What is that,” Allen asks in a hushed tone.

“Sounds like Latin,” Father Henry replies, now lowering his voice as well. “It’s too faint though for me to make it out.”

“There is a small amount of firelight coming from the forest that is in the same direction of the voices.”

“Really? We need to investigate it.”

“That’s what I was thinking.”

“All right. Let’s go.”

Directly after their conversation, Allen grabs a crossbow and bolts that were sitting up against the caravan driver’s tent. Allen, Jinx, and Father Henry head off in the direction of the fire. Allen takes great care to watch where he steps, Jinx and the priest following suit. It only takes a few minutes for the three of them to make it to the edge of a miniature clearing with a fire crackling in the center of it. What they see before them is so disturbing, they could barely even comprehend what is happening.

There is a small woman, one of the women from the caravan, on her knees chanting and drawing symbols in the dirt engulfed by the firelight. From what Allen can tell, it appears as if the woman is lacking any form of clothing covering her body. Her skin is a pasty white with dry cracks throughout most of it and her hair is a rat’s nest of a mop upon her head.

Laying on the ground, on either side of the fire, are two bodies. One Allen recognized to be Jeffery James, the husband of the woman who had passed out. The other body belonged to that very same woman. Both bodies are tied down in an upside-down crucifix pattern. However, this is not what horrified Allen.

The part that freezes him to his very core is that the pregnant woman’s womb appears to be ripped open, her entrails scattered about. The husband appears to still be alive but unconscious. This entire diabolic scene nearly sent Allen back into his own mind, into the darkest reaches of his memories. It is only made worse by the slight cackling of the woman as she feasts upon something resting in front of her. The entire area clasps a stench of bile and rotten flesh.

Allen takes a moment to load the crossbow he borrowed and slowly drops to one knee, sticking his blade into the ground next to him for quick access. Lifting the crossbow up, He aims it directly at the woman. He only has one shot.

Her pasty skin starts to change color from white to a shade of olive-brown. Her hair becomes clean and almost silk like.

‘What the hell is she eating that can do that,’ Allen thought to himself in shear disbelief.

With his aim taken, Allen squeezes the trigger of the crossbow. With an almost audible crack, the tension string launches the bolt through the air at high speed. The bolt buries itself into the back of her skull, yet there isn’t any blood and she still sits there. Turning around to look at Allen, he can see the head of the bolt protruding from her forehead. She has the fetus of an unborn child hanging from her bloody jaws. As she opens her mouth to speak, the fetus drops to the ground half eaten.

“You dare shoot me, you vile whelp!” She says in a voice of unmatched toxicity.

“Aye, you sorry plague-sore!” Allen retorts.

Dropping the crossbow from hand, Allen grabs Kopfjäger and rushes the woman. He brings the blade, in a sweeping motion, directly into her side. She stands there as if it was nothing. She begins to chant once again and this time it is much louder than before. Standing behind Allen, Father Henry starts to chant his own string of words. The woman’s wounds start to bleed, as if her body itself is rejecting Father Henry’s words.

“Sick ‘er, Jinx!” Allen shouts.

Jinx starts at a dead sprint from behind him and lunges forth at the putrid woman. Latching onto her left arm, Jinx drags her to the ground interrupting her chant. With a deafening scream that could wake the dead, the naked woman begins to claw and strike at Jinx. Father Henry continuing his chant, reaches into his pocket. He pulls out a silver cross that is sharp on the bottom. He holds it out to Allen. Sheathing his blade, Allen takes the cross-shaped stake. Allen takes it in a firm grip from the top of the cross. He kneels next to the woman and catches her right arm and holds it down under his knee, while Jinx holds the other.

Allen stares down at the wretched woman with intense hatred and anger that would scare even the worst demons. Father Henry stays where he stands, looking over the shoulder of Allen, possibly fearing what Allen is about to do. Rain begins to pour, causing the fire in front of them to dwindle to nothing more than smolders.

“DID. YOU. SEND. THE. LETTER?” Allen asks, deliberately pronouncing each word to its fullest.

“I did not, but I know who did!” the witch screams.

Allen, now dropping to both knees, maintains eye contact the entire time so she knows just how painful things were about to get.

Very slowly dipping the stake into her sternum, Allen says, “WHO. SENT. IT?”

“Let me live and I shall tell you!” she replies, now petrified of Allen.

“Fine,” Allen replies in a low quiet voice, “Loose, Jinx, but hold.”

“I don’t know their name,” She says as Allen removes the stake from her chest, “But they are on a warpath and after y in Jamestown.”

“That doesn’t answer my question at all.”

“They think by bringing you there it will cause the other one to come out of hiding.”

“And who might it be that would come out of hiding if I were there?”

“I’m not sure but that’s all I know. I swear.”

“Thank you,” Allen says in a voice so quiet that it seemed almost inaudible to everyone but the witch.

Allen looks back toward Father Henry. The Father’s face shows the expression of disappointment. Giving him a very faint wink, Allen plunges the stake into the witch’s chest with all the force his body could muster. As the stake penetrates her chest, her body begins to convulse and shudder. Letting out a wail, similar to the one before, her flesh begins to take on the appearance of a burning log, smoldering and charring. Eventually there was nothing left but ashes.

Rising to his feet, Allen says, “I now believe in witches.”

“Good,” Henry replies.

“Something’s not right about this Father,” Allen says.

“What do you mean?”

“It was too easy to get information out of her.”

“Ah, maybe but who wouldn’t fear the cross when it’s about to damn them?”

“Aye, but even the newest of soldiers would’ve tried to deny knowing anything before telling the truth.”

“And that is where my expertise ends, but if you believe it too easy then we really need to get you to Jamestown now and save whomever these creatures are after,” Father Henry says as he rushes over to the disemboweled woman.

“Don’t try to save her, Father. She’s already dead.”

Allen walks over to the body of Jeffery James. While he unties his bonds, he comes to. Jeffery’s gaze drifts over to the body of his now dead wife, and the tears begin to stream down his face like a waterfall.

“NO! She can’t be dead. Please tell me she’s not dead,” he tries to shout, but it comes out as a hoarse whisper.

“I’m sorry, Mr. James,” Allen says, “We didn’t get here in time.”

“NO…NO. I refuse to believe you!”

Allen steps aside to allow Jeffery to see his wife in her entirety.

“oh God, Oh God, OH GOD, OH GOD!”

“I know, sir, I know,” Allen says as he helps Jeffery to his feet.

Walking over to the dead woman’s body, Allen picks her up, not caring about the blood that would stain his clothing.

“Father, please help Jeffery walk back to the caravan,” Allen says calmly, “I’m going to carry her back so we can properly take care of her.”

As they begin to head back to the caravan, Allen kneels down to pick the stake up from where he had left it. Jeffery continues to weep the entire way back to the caravan.

‘That won’t help her,’ Allen thinks to himself, ‘But I guess it helps him.’

— K. E. Oskold

The Ichor Sea

A callous sound of thunder disturbs me. It forces me awake. Pulling myself from my makeshift hammock, I groggily walk up the staircase onto the deck of the Balagore. The moment my face breaches the outside air, the sting of cold hard rain stings against my face. The wind whips at my hair as I turn and see the captain at the helm of the ship.

“Aye, Mr. Thorn, help with those sails,” he shouts, “or they’ll take us all down to the sea floor!”

“Aye, Cap’n,” I reply.

Grabbing a length of rope, I tie one end to the knobs of the center mast and one to myself, creating a lifeline. I climb up the roping on the side of the ship to get to the crossbeams. The rest of the crew managed to get most of the sails up. I start to tie a rope to it and then jump from the crossbeam. Holding onto the rope as hard as I can, my weight helps the sail raise. As I finally get the main sail raised, a deep guttural sound rises from the darkest depths of the ocean. Even the captain turns and looks from the direction of the sound. Off in the distance a massive group of tendrils rise from the surface of the water and lash about almost slamming into the side of the ship.

The captain turns the wheel of the ship. I can feel the bow of ship now turning toward the direction of the hellish tendrils. I look to the captain.

“Cap’n, what are you doing,” I shout at him, “you’re taking us toward the beast!”

“Aye, Mr. Thorn,” he replies, offering no other answer than that.

A grin rips its way across the length of his face. But the horror and terror in his eyes show that he is nothing but absolutely mad. I brandish my cutlass, making my way up the stairs to the helm.

“Cap’n, turn the ship around,” I say, “I don’t want to have to do this.”

Before the captain can respond, a spurt of blood grazes my face. Looking down, one of the abyssal tendrils from the beast in the distance has pierced the body of the captain. Raising my glance to his face, a black ichor runs from his mouth.

“God bless this beast,” the captain says as he is whipped from the helm of the ship and drug into the depths of the ocean.

With a look of primal fear, my brain now shutting down. My instincts start to kick in. No longer in control of my own body, I grab the wheel and turn the vessel as hard as I can in an attempt to get away from the beast. To my surprise the vessel refused to turn. A crack, as loud as thunder, comes from the stern of the ship. It was now in free fall in a way. The only explanation for that sound was the rudder breaking. Some of the crew start to jump ship in the raging sea beneath us. A few make it into the water, but those that don’t are caught by the black tendrils and hurled into the distance. Those that land in the water are not as lucky. Where they land, they are shredded and ripped apart by the raging waves.

The ship is drifting toward the creature that has taken the lives of so many of the crew. I begin to realize what the captain had earlier. We aren’t making it out of this alive. So, I brace myself and put a heinous smile on my face and take command of the vessel and the remaining crew.

“Alright, you sons of bitches, listen up,” I shout to the remaining crew, “We aren’t coming out of this unscathed! And I ain’t going down without a fight. Man the guns and take aim at the beast!”

The crew looks to me, at first hesitant, but then as if with a renewal of spirit, they start to brace themselves.

“Aye, good lads, now give me a shanty!”

Almost in unison the crew starts to chant a shanty. If we are being observed by some other-worldly force, they’d think us mad. Which is probably true. The Balagore came about and was drifting faster and faster bow first toward the beast.

As this great beast comes into range of the cannons, they fire one by one. Each thunderous shot, louder than the thunder that surrounds us, punctures through the air. As the cannon fire continues, I stand atop the wailing lady, my cutlass outstretched.

“Alright, you vile monstrosity, if I die today, so do you,” I shout.

The Balagore’s speed ever increasing, the waters beneath us starts to turn the ship as a whirlpool starts to form with the beast at the center. Some of the men have a look of fear on their faces.

“Wonderful,” I shout, “More shots for this sorry beast!”

“AYE AYE, CAP’N!”

The firing continues. Though it only lasts five minutes before the ship is headed straight for the creature. I stand there with a gleeful smile on my face and a sinister look in my eyes. The ship rams the beast and shatters on impact. I am knocked from the bow of the ship into the water. I sink like a stone, my cutlass slowly drifting from my hand. I watch as the beast continues to destroy the water above. The air in my lungs slowly leaving my body. Despite the occurrence above I feel at peace, almost serene. Eventually everything fades to black.

A callous sound of thunder disturbs me. It forces me awake.

–K. E. Oskold

Hidden By Fog: Walker: Chapter Four

Year: 1661

Location: London, England

 

Boarding the caravan was relatively easy. The driver of the caravan seems to be pleased with the fact of having at least one patron who knows how to defend themselves. Allen can’t say he feels the same. But now isn’t the time to worry over such things. He stays to himself as he watches the others join the caravan and enter their own wagons, biding his time. During the first day of travel Allen has to let Jinx out of the wagon to stretch her legs, and his as well.

Stopping for the first night of the trip, the wagons form a protective circle around a primary bonfire in the center. Allen just rests in the back of one of the wagons and watches the other patrons, almost studying them to a degree. There were three families and a lone priest. The families in the caravan leave him with very little interest, for them or their stories. However, the priest catches Allen’s attention. The melodic tone of his voice is some-what hypnotic to the ears. Allen might’ve fallen prey to his honeyed words if he didn’t know better. The priest does appear to be rather young. His brown curly hair falls to about shoulder length and looks extremely well kept. A sign of having lived a very comfortable life. He is probably a priest in a big city. His lanky form makes him even less imposing than his age does. His clothing appears to be a little too big for him.

“You there, sir,” The priest shouts looking at Allen, “Yes, you with the thick beard.”

“Aye, what is it that you want?” Allen replies clearly showing his annoyance on his face.

Tap…Tap…Tap…Tap Tap Tap Tap…Tap…Tap… Tap

“No need to be hostile, sir, I simply wish to inquire if you would like to join the rest of the caravan for my sermon?”

“No,” Allen says with a stern voice.

“Very well, Sir,” He replies, like a small child who’s been scolded by a parent.

As Allen sits in the back of the wagon looking over his newly acquired weapon, trying to discern what the etching on the blade stands for, he overhears bits and pieces of the priest’s sermon. It has something to do with revelations, or maybe that’s the book he’s reading from, but Allen isn’t sure. He has never really been one to read the bible. For just a fraction of a moment, Allen catches that one of the children, traveling with them, ask the priest a question. They used his name. The priests name is “Father Henry.”

The sermon only lasted for about an hour, shortly thereafter all of the other travelers in the caravan disband to their respective wagons to sleep. Unfortunately for Allen, however, the priest heads to the wagon that he is in.

“So, where is your stop at, Plymouth?” he asks, while pulling his belongings from the wagon.

“Aye, Plymouth,” Allen replies.

“Ah, that would be my stop as well. Why is it you’re heading out toward that direction, especially with all the news of witches?”

“My reasons are my own.”

“Hmm…” Allen thought to himself, “I wonder if he’s crossing the ocean as well?”

“I see. Well then, I better be off to bed, going to need plenty of rest for the travel tomorrow. Goodnight sir,” the priest says as he walks away.

“Goodnight, Father.”

As the priest takes his leave, Allen can’t help but wonder why he would be going to Plymouth as well. The church wouldn’t, typically, send someone so young. So that begs the question; Why?

During the traveling, one of the women in the caravan passes out. Allen’s mind instantly leapt into action, as does his body, his nature as a doctor taking over. Quickly getting the passed-out woman out of the direct sunlight, he feels the eyes of the other patrons on him. They must have questions.

“Get me a damp cloth now, somebody!” Allen shouts at the crowding group of onlookers.

Going through all the ropes of an examination, Allen slowly discovers the reason for this woman’s loss of consciousness. She was pregnant and had been in the sun for far too long. So, the diagnosis is heat exhaustion, which was only able to take her because of her pregnancy.

Out of the corner of his eye, Allen sees that the priest is about to say something.

“Hold on, let me finish before you speak,” Allen says hurried.

It takes him a little more than ten minutes to take care of his patient. After getting her off the ground properly and setting her in the back of a wagon, there is a single man that has stayed by her side throughout the entire thing, even after all the other patrons had left, presumably her husband. He has an extremely worried look about his face.

“Are you this woman’s husband?” Allen asks.

“Aye, sir, I am. Name’s Jeffery James.” he replies.

“Well, sir, there is no need to worry, just a bit of heat exhaustion. It’s quite common actually for women with your wife’s condition when they over exert themselves.”

“What condition is that, sir?”

“She’s pregnant, about three months or so.”

“Are you sure?”

“Aye, I am. You may want to stay with her, though, for the remainder of our journey.” Allen says as he gets out of the wagon.

The man’s face changes from worry to shear elation in the blink of an eye. Probably still worried about his wife, he can’t help but be happy that he is going to be a father. This is the one part of Allen’s job that he doesn’t loathe or find boring.

“So, you’re a doctor?” Father Henry asks, coming up from behind him, looking at the unconscious woman in the wagon.

“Aye, I’m a doctor, Dr. Allen Walker,” Allen replies.

“So, tell me; why, if your job is to save lives, is it that you carry such a brutal looking weapon?”

“For protection,” Allen answers plainly.

“Really,” Father Henry says, “I suppose I understand that. There are quite a few things out there that can harm one if you’re not too careful; bears, coyotes, Indians, and witches.”

“Don’t tell me you believe in witches, Father.”

“Oh, I most certainly do. Do you not?”

“No, I don’t believe in witches. However, that does not mean they don’t exist. When I see proof, I’ll believe.”

“Is that why you don’t believe in God, lack of proof?”

“No, sir, I do believe in God,” Allen states, slightly jarred by the question, “But I’m not on good terms with him and he’s not on good terms with me.”

“You shouldn’t say such things, you know. God loves us all and that includes you,” The priest retorts, “And keep in mind to say that in a city would bring terrible wrath on you by the church.”

“With all that I have encountered and endured, there is not a single chance in hell that I could hold him in high graces,” Allen says angrily as he walks away from the wagon, all the while tapping his fingers on the hilt of Kopfjäger.

Tap…Tap…Tap…Tap Tap Tap Tap…Tap…Tap…Tap

Allen’s journey with the caravan continues for the next few days without incident. But on the thirteenth day of the trip, only two days left until they reach Plymouth, they stop for the night. Everyone in the caravan set about their tasks to prepare for the evening ahead. But something goes bump in the night.