It was another two years before I finally discovered who had been behind the goings-on at the castle, and as it happens, so much more otherwise.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Jane and I left the castle without further incident; we showed the stuffy, pretentious manager of the place the footage we had found. Needless to say, he wasn’t impressed, not only was everything that happened somehow related to me, and therefore my fault, but we had caused damages that would cost money, as if we weren’t aware of that before. I tried my best to explain the situation, and when he wouldn’t see reason, I tried my best to convince him that the smashed mirror was actually an improvement to the most disgusting excuse for a bathroom I had ever seen in my life, but that only cause him to become more upset, so we left before any more damages could occur.
After a lecture on being civil, Jane promised me she would help me find whoever it was we saw in the castle. That’s how our search began. We checked every ghost hunter’s blog, every supernatural website to find any sort of anomaly in the system, we asked around the local area to see if anyone had noticed anything suspicious, we sought out local historians, local crazies, anyone who could provide even the slightest bit of information, of course everything turned up a dead end.
Any unusual occurrences at or around the castle had stopped almost immediately after our departure, and no-one reported anything after that night, it was as if nothing had happened. Jane wanted me to call my parents, I remember her exact words:
“Tim, whoever is doing this obviously has some kind of vendetta against you, for some reason, and if you don’t know, maybe your parents can tell you something that you don’t know, some family thing… I don’t know.”
I shrugged her off, I can’t remember what I said, probably just a fleeting ‘maybe’, but I knew I wouldn’t call them, it had been months since I had spoken to them, and I had no desire to hear the lengthy talking to I would receive due to said months of no contact. I have no idea why I had drifted so eagerly and so easily from my parents, but for some reason the separation felt natural to me, like it was supposed to happen, just the way it had. Either way, I knew all that I would get from returning to that family would be grief, so I made a vow to avoid that moment until it was upon me.
Months passed with no signs of anything happening, I genuinely began to think it didn’t happen, that somehow my mind had gone to yet another extreme. Me and Jane moved in together, we had spent the majority of our time together the past few months anyway, so we figured it was a natural step, it already seemed we were living together after all. It was not long after I had moved in that she suggested we take up another job.
“It makes sense, don’t you think?” she said, still chirpy as ever, “if this guy is out to get you, and that’s the way he likes to do it, he’s going to get involved with some kind of paranormal incidents, or at least try and lure you to one, I say, we carry on working, and see if anything turns up, if not at least we are back to work.”
I agreed. Of course, it was difficult to find anyone who was willing to let us go snooping around their properties, especially since we had screwed the first outing of our new career up so fantastically. Sooner or later however, we had some invitations to check out some odd, seemingly unexplainable occurrences. Most of them, as I highly suspected, were just the imaginings of paranoid citizens who believed they were hearing the ghost of one of their dead parents or grandparents in a house the happened to own. The majority of time, as I also suspected, these incidents came to nothing. However, there was one that was genuinely chilling, but not because of any paranormal activity.
A woman in her late fifties called us late at night, severely distressed, her name was Andrea Blake. She was near hysterical at the beginning, it took Jane some time to calm her down enough for her to be comprehensible, but when she had settled somewhat we managed to find out the issue. Apparently she had been visited several times in the past week by the ghost of her son. Seemingly a standard case, however, it soon became apparent this wasn’t a typical ‘haunting.’ The first night she was visited by this ‘ghost’ she had blamed it on the medication she was taking, the doctor had warned her that there could be hallucinations as a side-effect, so whilst she had been greatly distressed, she saw no reason to make any note of it. The second time he had visited, she had been off the medication for at least a week, this time she called the police. Obviously the spectre had vanished by the time they arrived, and with no apparent crime or disturbance the police saw no reason to look into the incident any further. The third time she called the police again, this time they threatened to charge her with wasting police time should she call them out again, and recommend she go for a psychological wellbeing check. After the fourth time, she resolved to find an alternative solution. That was us. We told her we would come by first thing in the morning… and we did.
We arrived at her house, which she seemed understandably reluctant to be in, and took a look around. The whole house seemed eerily normal, usually in a house with so called ‘supernatural happenings’ there is some sign of stress, anxiety, paranoia… something that shows that the owner of the place a little on the unstable side, but in this case, Andrea’s house was average, if slightly obsessively clean.
“Are you still staying here, Mrs. Blake?” I asked, as coolly as I could.
“I can’t stay in this house until this is dealt with; I’m staying with my sister for the moment, so you two can take as much time as you need.”
We inspected the place a little further before sitting Andrea down in the living room to discuss the situation. Jane asked the questions, she was better with people than I was, I hadn’t had much experience in that field, I just took notes.
“If you don’t mind me asking, Andrea, when was it that your son died?” she asked gently as she placed her hand on Andrea’s.
“Just over four years ago now.”
“And how did he pass away?”
“He worked on a construction site, and there was an accident- he was always so careful- but the machinery malfunction- or so they told me- they were hauling bricks or tiles- or something- over the top of the building, and somehow the thing snapped and they all fell down, one of the bricks hit my David with such a force that it broke his neck.” And with that she began to wail once more, and Jane had to step in to console her. She went on for some time regarding the safety and ethics of a construction site, and how the insurances companies hadn’t covered her son properly, before getting back to the topic at hand.
“Tell me, Andrea, before these hauntings started to happen, was there anything unusual or out of place that you happened to notice? Anything at all, every little helps.” Jane smiled warmly at her.
Andrea shook her head, “No, I’m sorry… wait, wait a moment, yes I think there was, I remember thinking I’d heard footsteps around the house, but I could never place where they were coming from.”
“Okay, that’s fine, thank you, just one final question if we could Mrs. Blake,” Jane soothed, “Did you have a funeral for your son? Did you bury him? Cremate him?” She shook her head.
“David wanted his body donated for study, we never got to bury his body, but yes, we had a funeral, we just didn’t get to bury him…” That set her off into another fit of hysterical tears. Then it started to get dark, and she left the house to us. I remained sceptical at this point.
“What are we doing here, Jane?”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you really think we are going to find anything here tonight?”
“Oh right, I suppose you think she’s crazy, don’t you? Think this is all in her head?” She scolded.
“No… no, she seemed sane enough, It’s just… these visits from her son, they are specific to her, right? So why would anything happen to us? It doesn’t make any logical sense!”
“Since when did logic come into question when dealing with ghosts?” She quizzed dramatically.
I sighed; it was hopeless arguing with her. But in truth, I didn’t truly believe what was coming out of my mouth, in reality, I just wanted a reason to get out of there, something felt… off, wrong, and I didn’t like it. I was getting that same sickly feeling in my stomach that came around every time just before a situation took a turn for the worse. I needed to stick this out though, something told me it was important to be there, maybe it was the same sense that was also screaming at me to get the hell out of there, not that that makes any sense at all…
Nothing happened for a good few hours; we sat in silence for the most part, with visibility at an all-time low. While the wait for something to occur had helped ease the uneasy stomach churning I was feeling, it had done nothing for my bladder, and I needed to relieve myself. So I left the room, leaving Jane to monitor the downstairs by herself while I proceeded upstairs to the bathroom. You would imagine after my previous experience with bathrooms, I was quite weary about entering one again, but the boredom that had set in after so many hours, and the fact it was a pleasant looking room made me drop my guard.
I did what I had to and went to wash my hands when Jane called out to me.
“Tim! Get down here, now!”
I rushed down to her, panicking due to the urgency and tension in her voice. I found her staring wide eyed out of the window.
“What is it? What did you see?”
“There was someone out there, Tim.”
“It was like he was swinging from something, I only caught a glimpse of him, but he was white, and most definitely not alive.”
“Are you sure?”
“Right, I left my stuff in the bathroom, I’ll go grab it and we need to look on the roof… or in the attic.”
“Okay, be quick.” She squeezed my arm gently, genuinely fearful.
I rushed upstairs and quickly washed my hands before picking up my torch and the extra set of batteries I had packed as insurance. I looked up at the mirror and gazed at my reflection. There was something odd about it. Something strangely familiar to this scene… I don’t know what it was but something was wrong with my reflection. The longer I stared, the more it began to concern me. Then my heart dropped and my throat constricted. My reflection was a pale as a ghost; my hair was falling out, my eye sockets retracting.
As I stepped away from the mirror, the image got closer until it was pressed against the glass. This wasn’t me. I was fine, I was being idiotic, I wasn’t looking at myself… I was looking at a corpse, and I knew whose corpse it was. I was looking at the body of David Blake… but how was this possible? I ran to the doorway and called Jane to come to the bathroom, but when she got there the image had disappeared. I told her what I saw, and the look of concern grew on her face.
“Tim, I don’t like this, this isn’t like anything we’ve dealt with before…”
“No, I know, it’s…”
Then it clicked. This was like something we’d dealt with before! The mirror!
“It’s a hollow mirror; it has to be… help me get it off the wall, Jane.”
“What?” she looked at me bewildered.
“Help me take the mirror off of the wall.”
We did exactly that, and sure enough, there was a large hole hidden behind just big enough to fit a body… only there was no body. Just an arrow, pointing upwards, painted in what appeared to be blood. The attic was the next logical step; someone was practically leading us to it. The scene that met us up there was not something we anticipated however.
The body I had seen through the mirror, and presumably the one Jane saw swinging just outside of the window was hanging by its hands in the far corner of the room. On the floor was a variety of symbols, painted, once again, in blood. The smell was the first thing that hit us however, the stench of death was in that attic, and it was almost as haunting as the lifeless corpse that was hung so crudely in the corner like a pig that had been slaughtered. I realised in that moment that is what we are… just meat. The symbols on the floor made no sense to me, the largest was reminiscent of a pentagram, but far more complex, at three distinct points however were three symbols I could understand: ‘P’, ‘A’ and ‘S’. It wasn’t until after we had called the police to take over that I realised the significance of those letters, fortunately Jane wasn’t quite as slow as I was.
“You realise who was behind this don’t you?” I nodded, but she felt the need to speak the name out loud anyway, “Prima Aetus Subortus.”
“Yes, thank you, Jane, I got that,” I couldn’t help but scowl, “what I want to know is how the body still looks so fresh after all this time.”
“Well, I spoke to one of the medical team, apparently it was preserved in basically the same way cadavers are preserved in universities for testing.”
“Someone went to a lot of effort to set this up, didn’t they?” I thought out loud.
“Sound like someone else we know?”
“We need to find out where that body was donated, if we can track where it went, maybe we can find out who is behind this!”
It took nearly a year, but we finally had our first lead on the person in video, and yet, I didn’t feel any sense of accomplishment, only one of dread, it seemed the closer I got to finding out the truth; the less I wanted to hear it. We were questioned for a while after that, we were in quite a bit of trouble for snooping around on someone else’s property, even if the owner had permitted it, apparently it’s an odd request for someone to make.
“Excuse me, were you the officer who answered the call when Mrs. Blake first called out about this?” I asked the officer who seemed to be in charge.
“Well then, I sincerely hope you are going to apologise.”
“Andrea Blake has been traumatised, and you and your fellow officers did nothing to help, not the slightest thing to even put her mind at ease, so I think, although it is just my opinion that you owe her a pretty damn, good apology!”
I spent the rest of that night in a jail cell. Which gave me plenty of time to reflect… I was haunted by the deathly face of David Blake, and whoever went to such lengths to preserve him, for whatever reason, or even just to get to me, I had to find them, because they had subjected me to a sleepless night in jail at the least, and much, much worse at the most.
(End of Part 1)