Victorian Dreams Pt. 03byOrexis©
This is the third in a three part presentation of a novel. You should go back and read Victorian Dreams Ch 01 and Pt 2 to gain context before reading this third piece.
This part, as well, as the two parts that preceed it are Copyright 2003, 2004 by Charles F. Johnson and all rights are reserved and protected under the Copyright laws of the United stats and other countries.
There was only one problem. Though their hooved feet and strong muscular legs made them speedy outside where they patrolled each night, on the stone floor of the basement, they had difficulty gaining traction and never did get up to speed before Haley reached the steps that led to the relative safety above.
As she ran up the steps two at a time, the ogres reached the bottom after she had only covered about half the distance to the door frame above, and a fourth of the way to the safety of the room the stair emptied into. One of the two ogres stepped onto the bottom step and launched himself up after the fleeing Haley.
Grabbing her by the leg, he started to pull her back into the chamber below. His hand started to smolder as it landed on a part of the overalls, which had received the treatment of mist when Haley had stopped by the humidifier on the two passes by it enroute to the chamber. Releasing her leg, his hand slid to her foot, grabbing the tennis shoe the woman wore.
Fortunately for Haley these weren’t form fitting athletic shoes and only cheap canvas tennis-style shoes, she had purchased for tasks such as painting and cleaning, for her foot slipped easily out of the shoe.
She regained her feet and continued to climb up the stairs. The ogre lost his balance slipped backwards as her foot came out of the shoe, and he fell to the bottom step.
He immediately regained his footing though and started up the stairs, his hooved feet managing to gain traction on the wooden steps better than the stone floor.
Haley was just making the doorway when the ogre, covering the steps in mighty bounds started up after her. He reached her just as she entered the mist from the humidifier.
He recoiled as the fine spray of holy water hit him, like a giant fist had slammed into his chest, and clattered down the steps to end up in a heap at the base of the stair knocking his sibling down as he fell backward.
Haley escaped into the kitchen, shaken and shocked by the close call she had just experienced. She sat in the kitchen trembling for a moment, and watching as the two ogre creatures attempted to climb the stairs several times only to be repulsed when they encountered the mist of the Holy Water. After several attempts, their efforts ceased.
Once Haley regained her composure, she went outdoors.
Though it was nearly dark she could see the window had already been closed, though in the dark it was hard to tell if her nearly catastrophic attempts to clean the window had produced any results.
The woman was almost calm after her harrowing events of a few moments before, and her mind was already at work on a way to circumvent this setback. Fortunately, she had already been considering the possibility her efforts today would be rendered moot with the over night delay her plan called for.
Returning to the house she went to her stash and got a small container of the metal dust created from the melted religious paraphernalia and walked boldly up to the window by the basement. She sprinkled the metal dust on the edges of the shrubs on either side of the gap created when she tested the holy water.
No discernable result was apparent immediately.
Disappointed she returned to the house and started her preparations for the next day. She considered as she went the possibility her plan wasn’t valid. No reaction had been apparent when she had dusted the thorns with the ground up metal dust. So the efficacy of the dust might not exist.
She had estimated she would need 4 gallons of paint to coat the north and east walls of the basement chamber, so she added a half bag of metal dust to each of the four, gallon cans of paint pigment base she had purchased, then filled each with holy water, making a gallon of paint in each pigment base can.
She used her drill and a paint stirrer attachment to thoroughly mix the paint in each can and replaced the lids on the cans. She had two bags of holy metal dust remaining for the next phase of her plan.
She moved the paint and the brushes and rollers and roller pans to the top of the stairs that led to the basement chamber. She checked the humidifier, and discovered the level of holy water in the reservoir had gone down only slightly, even though the humidifier had been putting out a constant spray of fine mist for almost 10 hours. She topped off the reservoir as she intended to leave the humidifier operating throughout the night.
She wasn’t certain if having been discovered in the basement by the evil entities if perhaps they might come for her now, seeing her presence there as a sign she had succumed to their wiles.
She didn’t think the concubines, as vaporous beings could manhandle her to the basement, but felt certain the ogres could as they had with Clarice.
She had seen the mist of Holy Water repulse them already and so hoped if her presence had somehow set in motion a possibility she could now fall victim to the chambers horrors, she could somehow delay it by keeping the ogres at bay until she could complete her plan the next day.
She peered into the chamber but could see no activity. Even the noise and the moans that were characteristically emanating from down below were strangely absent. The only noise was the sound as the humidifier disseminated its holy mist of water.
She had gone about her preparations in such a deliberate manner the scare of an hour or so earlier had completely left her mind. Now she was famished, not having had anything to eat since early that morning, and then only a toasted English muffin with a little jam. She stopped and ate the sandwich she had prepared at noon, but had been unable to eat. The bread was a little stale after having sat on the cabinet all afternoon, but the sandwich worked well to sate her hunger.
She went to her room and removed the alter vestment and placed it on a chair back to finish drying before bed. She went to the sitting room and as she sat on the antique armchair in the room, a let down occurred. The impact of the close encounter suddenly registered in her mind and she began to sob violently.
After a time she performed one of her rituals of self-castigation and got her crying under control, she was suddenly worn out and decided to go to bed.
Returning to her room, she removed the overalls, and replaced the vestment muffler style around her neck. Kneeling at her bedside, she spoke the 23rd Psalm prayer again and then snuggled down into the bed.
She was wearing the holy water shirt and the vestment and the cup and pitcher of holy water stood ready by her bed. She fully expected to receive evil visitors that night, because the moon was just past new so the skies were dark, and because of the events of earlier that day, but the only visitor she received that night was Clarice.
Fatigue quickly overtook Haley and she was almost asleep when she felt the familiar draft on her cheek. She opened her eyes to see the vaporous image of the girl floating in the space beside her bed as usual. She smiled and Clarice spoke.
“You did good today, but you must be more careful.”
“I couldn’t foresee the unfortunate chain of events, but considering the outcome, it appears I had adequately prepared for it.”
“Yes, but a lot of it was luck and chance and more times than not those won’t work to your favor when you are dealing with an evil as you are here. Rest now for you will need all your strength tomorrow. I will stay by your side tonight so your sleep isn’t disturbed.”
Clarice caressed her face as she spoke the final words to her human friend, and Haley, comforted by her presence, drifted off, quickly, to an exhausted sleep.
She awoke as the sun’s rays bathed the room in warm light the following morning. As she sat drinking her morning tea, she reassembled her plan in her mind. She hadn’t planned it that way, but the day she would attempt to permanently thwart the evil in her basement, was Sunday.
Appropriate she thought as the fact registered in the young woman’s head. While she drank her first cup of tea, she turned the 4 cans of paint upside down to allow the metal particles, no doubt settled in the bottom a chance to re-suspend in the paint.
When she finished her first cup of tea, she went to the tool storage and retrieved the paint stirrer attachment and her drill. She went to her room and placed an old T-shirt she wouldn’t mind getting paint spattered in the basin of holy water. She also placed the alter vestment in the basin and added additional holy water to thoroughly cover the two articles.
She didn’t like the idea of possibly getting paint on the alter vestment, which she intended to return after this ordeal was over, but there was no way she was going to go into the basement chamber without the proven certain safety it provided.
She wasn’t certain, but she felt at least, if she encountered the evil they would have to convince her to remove the religious items she wore, the soaked shirt, the vestment and the crosses before they could potentially force her submission to their service.
She slipped off her T-shirt from the day before, and pulled the wet one from the basin, wrung the excess water from it, and slipped it on. The effect was the same as it had been the prior times, but again, it didn’t have the embarrassing effect it had the first time when her breasts were brought to prominence by the cling of the wet, thin fabric, and the cold reaction of her nipples.
She slipped the vestment on next and pinned it in place, then slipped on her overalls, in hopes the bib on the overalls would protect the vestment from some of the paint spatter.
She returned to the kitchen and filled a spray bottle with holy water. She retrieved her hammer from the toolbox, and went to the yard. When she got the west side, she immediately noted where the metal dust had been sprinkled on the shrubs had killed them back further.
She felt emboldened now as she walked up to the basement window, and started beating it with the hammer. After the glass shattered, she continued to beat on the window destroying the casement along with the glass, as well. Creeping along the ground, the thorny vine moved toward the woman’s ankles from both ends of the damaged growth.
Haley felt the vine wrap around her right ankle, and a shot of fear went through her. She felt her preparations would work, but now she had to see, as she felt nothing was entirely certain. She reached for the spray bottle of holy water hanging from the hammer loop on the leg of the overalls, and started applying the sacred spray to the vine around her ankle. It quickly recoiled from the mist of burning liquid its thorns cutting her ankle deeply as it quickly unwrapped from around her leg in retreat. The wail of the day she tested the water on the vine began again. The vine that had started at her feet from the other direction stopped its advance.
Haley again started raining hammer blows on the remnants of the window casing, seeking to destroy the window completely. As soon as she started to strike the house again, the vine that had stopped advancing toward her stated moving in her direction again.
Haley saw the movement of the vine in her peripheral vision and turned the spray bottle on the approaching evil plant. The spray stopped it again, and satisfied her efforts on the window were satisfactory considering the danger that existed by her continued presence, she retreated from the spot by the window.
At a safe distance from the thorny vine to stop, Haley turned to survey the damage she had managed to inflict on the window and that the vine had managed to inflict on her ankle. The glass was gone, the casement all but destroyed, from her vantage point, she could see the light of the sun falling on the far wall in the room below.
Her ankle flesh was ripped deeply, the bone all but revealed in a couple of places. It was bleeding though not an untoward amount, so Haley proceeded with her plan, just pulling her sock up to cover the ankle wound.
Returning to the house, she quickly removed the lids from the cans of paint and stirred them with the electric drill. Then she ferried the paint to the basement in two trips. The first trip revealed the room bathed in sunlight, though the morning sun was on the other side of the house. The place on the wall where the sunlight struck the strongest was just below the shackles where the common concubines hung each night. The wall smoldered as the rays of sunlight struck the evil residue the wall was coated in.
After ferrying the second load of paint and the painting supplies, Haley walked around the room, spraying down the walls she intended to paint with the holy water. The north and east walls both smoldered briefly at the application of the water, but when she sprayed the west wall, nothing happened. Haley quickly concluded the north and east walls were where evil ingress portals could be achieved, and not on the west wall.
The south wall was under the staircase, so not of concern to Haley. She hoped she wouldn’t come to regret not checking that wall, but to get in behind the stair would not have been an easy task, so she was content her original plan to only paint the east and north walls was sufficient.
Besides the next phase of her plan, should eliminate any threat from the south wall.
Returning to the ground floor, she refilled the spray bottle and the humidifier, and then went to the basement again.
She stirred the first can of paint with a stir stick and poured some into the roller pan. Filling the roller with paint, she began to roll it on to the wall. As she rolled she continually recited the Prayer of St. Michael she had memorized that night on the Internet.
‘Most glorious Prince of the Heavenly Armies, Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in our battle against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Come to the assistance of men whom God has created to His likeness and whom He has redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. I venerate thee as my guardian and protector; to thee, the Lord has entrusted the souls of the redeemed to be led into heaven. We pray therefore to the God of Peace to crush Satan beneath our feet, that he may no longer retain men captive and do injury to thy children. We Offer our prayers to the Most High, that without delay they may draw His mercy down upon us; take hold of the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, bind him and cast him into the bottomless pit ... that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen’
She had added the ‘Amen’ just as she did with her 23rd Psalm prayer repeating the prayer over and over as she went about her work.
It took several hours, but Haley painted and prayed as if possessed. Once she had concluded painting both walls, she went back and touched up the places where the actual portal existed and where the common concubines hung chained to the wall. Both places had bubbled up after they were painted. The spray down with Holy water had apparently prepared the other surfaces adequately, because nowhere else did the 'holified' paint react to contact with the walls. As Haley finished touching up the two places, she was running out of paint.
She left the basement chamber and returned to the main floor of the house and noted the time. It was 1:45 and it would be 3 before the next phase of her plan would execute, if all went well.
Haley was decidedly calm, figuring her plan was likely going to work fine. The chamber first off was bathed in sunlight and the walls were coated with paint made from Holy Water and containing the particles of metal from the ground up religious paraphernalia.
She felt as if the house had taken on a festive air. She prepared herself a light lunch and made a pitcher of iced tea. The portals would be blocked only temporarily by the holy water, but even when the paint dried, the metal dust particles ground from the religious articles should continue to serve as an effective barrier.
At least that was what Haley hoped would happen,
but there was another step to her plan, and that would be concluded in just a little while. For now though, the sunlight, Holy Water based paint, and metal flakes would certainly hold back the tide of evil that might attempt to reenter the basement chamber. It would seem no ingress portals existed any longer.
Haley was however a lot wiser than when this all started and she had no doubt there could exist other avenues of ingress for the evil.
In her Bible studies she had noted the number 6 had significance in Revelations in relation to the devils existence, and had heard news accounts when she was younger about ‘666’ being the devils number.
So she surmissed the fact the basement west wall was on a perfect 6 degree to 186 degree axis was for a reason and that was why the architect had been so adamant about the laying of the foundation and had required the builder restart it numerous times.
That coupled with the European gargoyles and no doubt the Comanche burial ground, all combined to make the house attractive as an entry portal for the Master and his minions, and as a base of operations as they sought to unleash their evil on the unwitting human mortals of the earth.
After eating the lunch, she went back to the basement to see the result of her work. The walls were almost dry to the touch and as she ran her hand along the wall, she could feel the rough texture created by the metal dust.
She thought to test the paint job, and it seemed dry enough to do so. She used the spray bottle of holy water and sprayed all over the walls and no where did she get reaction from the application of the water, indicating to her in her mind the evil threat was probably eliminated, yet her plan wasn’t complete yet. She went to the verandah and took the time to doctor and bandage her ankle where the thorny evil vine had attacked her earlier.
Though the wound was fresh, it already appeared to be infected. The vine-induced illness of the Mexican landscape crew came to Haley’s mind.
Removing the sock that covered the wound caused it to start bleeding again. She thought to wash it with Holy Water, but rejected that idea for fear of a severe exothermic-like reaction to any evil residue the thorny vine might have left behind.
Though she didn’t like the prospect, just as Clarice had thought her sacrifice would have been worth it if she lost her life in her pursuit of burning the house, if her leg got infected and ended up scarred or even if it ended up having to be amputated it would be worth it if her attempts today were successful.
At 3 pm precisely the trucks arrived.
Two cement mixers pulled in and as she sat on the verandah, the alter vestment put away, her shirt all but dry. The first driver asked where she wanted the concrete delivered.
She limped as she came off the verandah to greet and give direction to the drivers of the trucks. Her ankle had started to swell where the thorny vine had cut into her flesh. The bandage had already soaked through once with blood and had been replaced with a fresh bandage. Haley was a little concerned about the wound, considering the facts she knew about the Hispanic workers health issues after their encounter with the vine and its attack on them. The bloodied condition of the workers that morning weeks earlier when they had removed the original vine from the property was vivid in her mind.