It took me the better part of two years to find what I was looking for, at first I didn’t know what I was looking for, other than revenge. I heard the faint whisper of of a possibility from a Herbalist. She mentioned a Clairvoyant who may be able to help me contact the other side. Through him, though clearly a charlatan, I heard mention of a Seer who had been ostracised by her Coven. I had barely even begun to explain when she told me I was searching for ‘The Hoodwink’. She warned me to be wary of mulct and wearier still of ‘finding what I was looking for’. From her a found an old man who had actually met this ‘Hoodwink’ and told me he was called Oliver but that he had many names. Oliver the Conjurer, Offid Wise, Alastair The Oracle, Alabaster and Vindicta.
Now nineteen months after that day, of coming home to a charnel house, I am sitting in a quiet, book lined room waiting. The furniture is very old, there are Persian rugs on the floor and brass candle holders in several places around the room. The candlelight is soft and warm. There is a soporific heat from the logs burning in the hearth.
“I apologise for keeping you waiting.” Even though the voice is rich and soft, I still jump. I hadn’t noticed him enter the room or take the chair diagonally opposite to mine. “No, no. That’s … I must have dozed off. You have a beautiful home.” He glances about as if he has never seen the place before. “Yes.”
He is not at all what I expected. He is in his late twenties with thick, slightly curled hair that sits in coils on his shoulders, a lean face with two days stubble, also a light blonde brown colour like his hair, there is something slightly odd about his eyes or it could just be the candlelight. He is barefooted with sleek, narrow feet, loose linen trousers in a sort of very dark green with a thick, hand knitted white Aran Jumper. He has a loose leather strand around his neck. I realise I am staring. I lift up the A4 brown package from my lap. “I wasn’t sure… That is, I didn’t know how you charge so I brought…” He holds up his hand palm outwards. “We can discuss that later. Why do you need my services?”
My stomach tightens and I have to swallow a few times. I can only tell this story once. I try to do it without emotion but I hear the catch in my voice as I explain.
My wife was one of the PA’s to David Torrance, a corrupt, greedy and cruel man who had great political influence.She had come home one night, agitated and very upset. Everytime she tried to explain she just started crying. She had heard, seen or read something that had scared her. She eventually fell asleep in my arms and when I woke the next morning she was gone. There was a post-it on the coffee table saying ‘I have to go to the police. He can’t get away with this. I love you.’
I worried all day and called her mobile and work several times. They told me she had phoned in sick. At 2pm I went home, I couldn’t wait any longer.
What I found was not my wife. The coroners report showed that she had been raped, stabbed, beaten with a hammer, her jaw smashed open and bleach poured into her eyes.
Oliver gives me a moment to collect myself. “You have no doubt he is responsible?”
I shake my head, I don’t trust myself to speak yet.When I finish wiping my eyes, he has moved from the chair to standing by the Mantle with his back to me. He is very much taller than I thought. I finally trust my voice not to tremble. “Can you help?”
“Before I answer I would like to tell you a story, if I may? There was once a man called Charles. A quiet, harmless little man. One day a child went missing and because Charles was known to live with another man who was away on business at the time, some men in the town got themselves drunk and dragged Charles into the street and hung him from a lamp post. The next morning the child was found alive and well, lost in the woods.
When Charles’ lover returned two days later and heard of what happened, how no one could look him in the eye, how they tried, in their shame to bully him out of town, He did something terrible. Something he had known had run in his Families blood for generations. He cursed every man that had harmed Charles’. Over the next three weeks everyone of those twenty three men died in terrible accidents and with every death the man that Charles had loved lost a little more of his humanity.
That was 1921. I have never aged a day since. My curse for what I did to those men.”
As Oliver turned to face me there is a single tear on his cheek. I see now what I thought was a trick of the light. His eyes a preternaturally blue, iridescent. Without no sound or movement he is suddenly kneeling, his face almost touching mine. All I see are twin blue stars. “Do you want this man to suffer as your wife suffered?!” His voice is harsh.
“Do you wish him an agony beyond the bearing of it?!”
“Will it bring you peace?!” He barely whispers.
Torrance wakes to a noise in the middle of the night. Huffing and swearing he slips on his dressing gown and treads heavily down the stairs. “If you have broken into my fucking house you’re going to wish you’d never been fucking born you cu…”
His jaw yanks itself from the hinge and as he tries to scream the last thing he sees is two bright shining eyes.