My poor wife’s desperate plea shocked me. I didn’t know what to do, helpless as I was to affect the spirit world, but before I could speak and somehow assuage her anxiety, the door to the room was suddenly flung open. There in the doorway stood Sgt. Janus.
“Thomas,” he said tersely, “I seem to have uninvited guests. Please come with me.”
My only thought was for Miriam, but when I looked from the sergeant back to her, she was gone. Completely gone. My heart instantly ached for her, to see her face again.
Shaking it off, I rose from my chair and followed Janus out of the room and down the darkened hallway beyond. I asked him what was the matter, who he spoke of. He urged me to stay quiet and soon we approached the foyer to his home, where I had come in seemingly hours before. We came upon the area through a door that opened up beside his grand staircase and immediately I heard loud banging at his front door. Janus motioned for me to stop with a quick snap of his hand. The pounding increased and then we heard the loud bellows of a man, demanding to be let in.
“You have something that belongs to our employer,” the man outside growled. The voice was familiar to me.
The sergeant pointed off to the right; a clear sign that he wanted me in a side room. Something in his silent command led me to obey and I slipped though the doorway he indicated and hid myself behind some drapery at the entrance. Looking over to the man, I found that he had vanished, but his departing words hung in the air around me.
“Wait – and watch.”
Then, the front door burst open. The glass in it shattered and splinters of wood flew across the foyer from the door to impact the wall next to it. Loathsome figures occupied the open doorway, silhouetted in the remaining sunlight of the day. They entered Janus House, their shoes crunching bits of glass as they did. The first man abruptly stopped, then pointed.
I followed his finger to the staircase and was amazed at what I saw there.
A large transparent form came down the stairs, silent and unearthly. As it neared the mid-point of the staircase, I thought it took on a more…human designation; fantastic, but chilling. Beyond that I cannot say more other than noting a soft wailing that issued from it.
I tore my eyes from the ghastly thing and looked over at the intruders; they had paused, Oriental eyes wide, mouths hanging open in yellow-tinged faces. Surely they would bolt, I thought; I myself was fighting the urge to rabbit away from the scene. But, they held their ground and then the lead man slipped a pistol from his jacket, pointed it at the apparition and pulled the trigger.
The others with him followed suit.
They were hardened men. Precious little in Heaven and on Earth could cause fear in them. I knew this because I knew them.
TO BE CONTINUED in Part 8.
All contents © Jim Beard 2012
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