As soon as I walked into the kitchen of my childhood home I felt my dad’s presence. I even smelled him, his cigarettes, his aftershave, his hair creme; it was comforting and upsetting both at the same time. My mum seemed not to notice and busied herself with setting the table.
“Can I help”? I asked. She stopped what she was doing and looked at me. “Your being here is the only help I need. I’ve missed you, I feel like I’ve lost my husband and my daughter.”
I hung my head, ashamed of my recent behaviour. “I’m sorry mum, I really am.”
She turned her back to me, I knew she was crying, “everyone deals with grief differently,” she said, making excuses for me.
Reverend Laybourn appeared as he walked slowly past the kitchen window. He didn’t look so good as he came in and sat down. My mum poured him some tea and offered him a piece of cake. “How could I refuse, it looks delicious.” He turned and faced me. “People come from far and wide to our church bake sale, in the hopes of getting one of your mum’s chocolate cakes. She has quite the reputation.”
The cake on Reverend Laybourn’s place was alive with maggots, dark chocolate-colored maggots. Was I the only person who saw them?
His face was covered with a film of perspiration. He mopped his brow. “Oh goodness, I hope I’m not coming down with something,” he said. My mum didn’t seem to notice his demeanor. She was just happy we were both there. After twenty minutes or so the Reverend stood up, he looked unsure on his feet, and steadied himself. A dark maggot tried to escape the corner of his mouth. My stomach lurched, surely I was hallucinating.
“I must go, other parishioners to talk to,” he said weakly.
“I’ll walk with you to the corner,” I told him, wondering if he had the strength to walk that far.
By the time we reached the garden gate, I thought he would faint, but he kept going. I knew he was praying silently because his lips were moving. When I knew my mum couldn’t hear my voice I said. “Are you alright, what happened in there? Your cake, it was full of maggots.”
Reverend Laybourn took a deep breath and talked as we continued to walk to the corner of the street. “No it was not, but something wanted us to believe it was. It took all of my strength and faith in God to eat it. I didn’t want to alarm your mother, but I don’t think I should visit her again at home, something doesn’t want me in her house.”
I looked into his face, some of the color had returned. “You look much better now. Remember when you visited my flat?”
“Yes, I do, you weren’t pleased to see me were you? I heard you slam the door when I walked out.”
“I didn’t slam the door, I was nowhere near it. Reverend, I really do think I have daemons.I think they will harm you if you try to help me.”
The reverend looked at me, a troubled expression on his face. “Lucy, you are troubled, I see a dark aura all around you. Its something I’ve never seen before, but I don’t believe it’s a daemon. I’m going to talk to Father Romsey about this, there are special prayers to help troubled people. This could be something you are mustering up.”
“I’ve been called crazy several times in my life, but I don’t think I’m the sort of crazy that can conjure up maggots. I saw them too remember?”
The reverend took my hands in his own “May God Protect you.” he said. “Lucy, I will talk to Father Romsey and then I will call you.”
“I don’t want to put more people at risk.”
“Part of my job is dealing with evil, it’s what I signed up for.” Reverend Laybourn hugged me and then hurried away. I was scared for him.
As I walked back along the road to my mum’s house it grew dark, it was still early afternoon, but a storm was coming. The shadows grew longer. The air was full of dampness, and carried a nasty smell, it was the smell of evil. May God help us all, I said to myself. I knew I had a battle ahead of me.
My first novel ‘Dead of July’ is set in Dortmund, Germany. The year is 1984 and a young British Army wife fights a battle against Evil. Does she survive? Click on the link below and find out.