The Tales of Doc Baroque (Part 3)

The Malevolence was another of my characters, created as a villain, a demoness and succubus.

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The Taming of the Malevolence

I settled down in the comfort of the large, overstuffed, tired armchair with The book proffered to me by Sister Fister, in front of the fireplace, although the blaze from the previous night was now gone, leaving just a pile of still warm ash in its memory, I turned to the first tale, and began to read…
(From the Journals of Lady Cecilia Fitzroy-Herbert)
It had been perhaps 50 years since Gaylord & my abduction. The nature of the experiments the Zigonians had performed upon us, were long since a distant memory, although we had by then become familiar with their consequences. When they had initially occurred, I was in my early 20’s & Gaylord had barely reached his mid 20’s, and yet 50 years or so on neither of us looked a day over 30. Other changes had become apparent, & we were both now more than comfortable & adjusted into them. While we were not impervious to injury (& therefore we concluded were by no means immortal) our bodies’ capacities to heal had been much accelerated, save for Doc’s arm of course, to the point that as long as we were alive even from the most gravest of wounds we knew that in a matter of hours or for the most severe of life threatening injury, days, we were confident we would heal back to our full & much enhanced full strength. Doc had experimented with the limits of his strength by undertaking arduous feats that would be beyond that of a “normal” as we now would refer to the rest of humanity – “never mind as strong as an ox, I could take on a herd of them bare handed!” he used to joke.
We were still living in France at the time, although our mission to track down the Zigonian crew was still very much underway, & we were gaining quite a reputation in our chosen field of Bounty Hunters of the Exotic. This being said, we never courted fame or celebrity, & chose to remain as anonymous as we could. We would move on periodically before questions would be asked about our apparent un-aging, & were careful to leave as little a trace of our existence as we could. Over the years our choices of residence became gradually more and more remote.
It was then one morning when a letter arrived addressed to both of us from India. It was from a young lady whose husband, a captain in the British army had been posted to India after the transfer of Governance of the state had moved from The East India Company to the Crown, the Queen.
She outlined how, since moving, her husbands’ sleep & dreams were being disturbed on a nightly basis, how he would awaken in the night in the morning covered in a cold sweat & retell tales of his nightly dreams where he would be tormented sexually by a horned, winged demon woman. She believed him to be slowly going insane, when one evening an elderly woman came to their door & told her the story the “mohini” that had existed in these parts for many centuries, preying on the local men-folk. She begged us for our assistance, before his very soul was taken to hell for all eternity.
I showed the letter to Gaylord, he frowned, & looked up, “Cecilia, have you ever heard of a succubus?”
“No”, I replied.
“We must return to England, I’m afraid.”
& with that, he offered no further explanation, & while I protested asking, demanded & finally pleading for a further explanation, I complied.
No further information came forth from Gaylord until we were already on our journey back to England. Gaylord felt he needed to return to his old home & to see his father, although why he did not say, until we arrived. We found passage on a ship back to Plymouth, & made our way by coach back to Gaylords’ old village. It was during this journey, he finally opened up & shared more with me.

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“Cecilia, I know I have told you little of my former life, but I do know I told you my father was a Minister in our local town. But he was more than that, he would perform exorcisms for the local superstitious fisher men, bless their boats to protect them from storms at sea. He made a study of the super-natural & things beyond science. When I was a boy he would on occasion, tell me stories, well I imagine, coming from him they were warning of the evil that existed within this world and beyond it. One of those tales was about the succubi – they a demonesses that torture the souls of man in much the way that young lady described in her letter. Even as a child, my father had collected a small library of ancient writings on such matters. We need to refer to them, which is why I need to go home”.

& with that, he was silent for the rest of the journey. Upon arrival we checked into a local coaching Inn, a dingy hole, called “The Black Swan”, why we needed to stay there I have no idea, there were much nicer places in town. When asked, Gaylord just smiled & said “Just because…” I pressed him no further.
That evening we sat in the lounge & ate, Gaylord, introduced himself as Doc Baroque, as he was accustomed to, & he enquired about the Reverend Barecock. It transpired that the Reverend was still very much alive although now well into his 80’s. He now lived very much as a recluse, since the death of his wife 30 years ago from consumption, & although was still technically the minister for the town, for all practical purposes the towns’ day to day spiritual needs were seen to by the “young” Curate Brownlowe.
Upon the news of his mothers death, Doc’s face remained unmoving, the only outward sign of emotion was a single tear that rolled down from his left eye. But that night as he lay next to me, while I pretended to sleep, he silently wept.
The following morning we rose a little later than normal & headed to the Vicarage. We knocked on the door to be answered by an unassuming man, perhaps in his late 50’s.
“Curate Brownlowe I presume? My name is Doc Baroque, my partner & I are here to see Reverend Barecock if we may”.
“Good day sir”, the Curate said, “I’m afraid, the Reverend is very frail, and no longer takes visitors.”
“Oh, I think he’ll make an exception for me.”
And with that, Gaylord pushed passed Brownlowe, and entered. More than 50 years had not dulled his memory of his childhood home and he made straight for his fathers & late mother bedroom. I followed.
There, lying on the bed was an elderly man, he was near blind from cataracts. Gaylord closed the door behind us and sat upon a worn counterpane beside the elderly man. He reached out a hand & touched his fathers face.
“Father”, he said.
“Vicar.” The old man replied indignantly, “We’re Baptists here, not Catholic.” While the old mans body was frail, his mind clearly was still that of one perhaps 40 years younger.
“No father, it’s me, your son.”
A long silence fell in the room as realisation dawned across the old mans face. “Gaylord?” he rasped.
“Yes father it’s me”
“But, but they told me you’d died. With those scoundrel friends of yours. They said your body had been washed out to sea. I, I… Your mother & I, the shame of it, Gaylord. She was never the same after that night. Do you remember how bright & happy she always was? After that night, she never smiled again & took to this room, rarely leaving it. You broke her heart Gaylord. This can’t be so, I must be dead, & you’ve come to meet me. Where is she? My Beth, your mother, take me to her.”
“No father, it really is me. I’ve come home. I need, that is we need, your help”
& with that Gaylord picked up his father & carried him through to his study.
Gaylord had told me of his father, clearly the years had mellowed him, we sat long hours throughout the day & into the night. Brownlowe bringing tea & food from time to time. Gaylord told his father of our adventures. His father telling how life had changed for the worse in the Vicarage after Gaylord had left, how his mother had rapidly deteriorated. & of the letter we had received from India.
“Father, remember your old manuscripts, I need them now I need to understand how to defeat this Succubus creature”.
“Yes Gaylord, I still have them and much more besides. After your mother died, I went on a pilgrimage to the holy land. Look.” He gestured to a trunk. Gaylord opened it, it was full of old parchments. “These were sold to me for the princely sum of what must have amounted to a year’s work in that part of the world. But the contents are priceless. Nearly 2000 years ago, there was an early church, the Gnostics, the Zoharists & many more besides. These works are frowned upon by the church, I kept them secret, so much more to the faith than is told in the bible”.
To me, it looked very much like the loss of his wife destroyed the Reverends rigid faith in his church, but opened him to much wider spiritual possibilities.
“Gaylord, my eyes are all but gone, these writings & my translations of them are no longer of use to me, please take them, keep them safe, this in my legacy to you. I’m an old man not much longer for this world.”
“Thank you father, Cecilia and I must leave now but we will be back tomorrow,”
The following day, we rose early as was Doc’s custom & returned to his fathers’ Vicarage. Brownlowe had not yet arrived. Doc let himself in, greeted his father & began to load up his father documents. He had loaded the translations & his father studies and was about to start on the papyri manuscripts, when Brownlowe finally arrived. This time though the man was visibly angry.
“Baroque!” he bellowed. He drew a gun, pointing it at Gaylord. “Baroque. I know who you are. I listened to you yesterday. Do you know who I am?” he snarled through fritted teeth.
“Curate, listen.”
“No Baroque. You listen. My father was constable in this town 50 years ago.”
Gaylord immediately froze.
“Ahh, so you dooo remember. You were there that night were you not? No need to deny it, the men they captured, your partners in crime, confessed everything before they were hanged. But my father, was killed that night on the fight on the beach, run through from behind & cowardly gutted like a pig, by you.”
“No, Curate, I wasn’t much more than I boy myself, I killed no-one that night”
“You were THERE Baroque, that’s enough, guilt by association. You’re the last of them. We all thought you died that night too, but we were wrong. Well time has now caught up with you at last Baroque, you’ll not see another night on this world, Lord help me.”
& the Curate raised his gun at Gaylord & squeezed the trigger. The bullet hit him full in the belly.
I screamed “Noooo!” simultaneously lunging at Brownlowe. Even without my enhanced strength this man would have been no match for me, but in the ensuing melee the Reverends study was smashed, the oil lamp that lit the room was knocked over into the chest of manuscripts. Very rapidly the room went up, the curtains, the furnishings, everything. I grabbed a fire poker & struck Brownlowe across the face & he fell, not dead, but unconscious. I helped Gaylord out of the house, & down the path to our carriage. He was already healing from the gunshot, & I returned to the house to rescue The Reverend. I carried his frail old form out of cottage, & set him down coughing on the herb garden. I tried to go back in for the unconscious body of the Curate, but it was too late – the flames had taken hold properly now & I was beaten back.
“It’s too late my dear,” I heard Gaylord say from behind me, “If he’s not gone by now he soon will be”. & he knelt beside his father’s choking body & held him. We both knew it was too late to save him, the years had taken their toll on him & had been overcome by the smoke & fumes, silently he wheezed his last breath in his sons’ arms. Gaylord clutched his father’s lifeless corpse to his body, again tears leaving traces down his soot stained face.
I don’t know how long we stayed there, Gaylord rocking his father gently.
“Gaylord, we must go, there’ll be questions & we can’t afford to wait.” He looked up at me, nodded, gently lay his father down, & brushing himself off, silently we went to our carriage.
We returned to Plymouth, again in silence, & booked passage to India, now armed with Gaylord’s father’s life work. The long weeks that followed on that journey we filled with studying & reading the Reverend Bertrands’ translations.

We were perhaps little more than a week from Bombay, when we, or more precisely, Gaylord finally found what he’d been looking for, there were pages of information on the succubus. According to these Gnostics writings, and for all my convent education, I these were quite the revelation! But not told in the bible, before Eve, Adam had had another wife – she had left him & became the consort of the Arch Angel Samael, & these writings told of a more earthier & less “angelic” side to the seraphim & cherubs I was more familiar with. But Lillith & Samael had off spring – only daughters. These daughters too were banished from Eden for their lascivious natures, but were only capable of taking on a physical form through union with men. & so they were condemned demonesses, not quite Earth bound nor heaven bound to roam the cosmos looking for prey, so that they may for a short while take a physical presence. It also went on to describe the rituals needed to capture one.
When we finally docked in Bombay, we had already familiarised ourselves with the requirements of the rites, & made busy with acquiring and making our preparations. Ash from the wood of an olive tree, salt, the fresh blood of a cobra, & a quartz crystal set in rose wood.
It took a number of weeks to travel north to Delhi. When we weren’t travelling, we busied ourselves practicing this new rite – we were far more accustomed to vanquishing our chosen foes with a head on fight, rather than apparent majick or mysticism. By the time we arrived we had become quite proficient.
We made our way to the residence of the young couple who had contacted us, Capt. James Forrest of the 24th Gloucestershire Rifles & his wife Sarah. & we found the young captain in a sorry state, all but driven out of his mind by the nightly visitations, & his wife in terrible state on anxiety.
We introduced ourselves & explained that there was no more time to lose if we were to save the Captain.
We were shown to their room, & set about our preparations. Firstly we drew a square around the bed with the ash, followed by a second square, offset to create an eight pointed star. These were to represent the base of two intersected pyramids, one represented the physical world, the second to represent the non-physical. Next, the crystal was suspended at the apex of the pyramid to bind the physical & non-physical worlds together. Finally this was cleansed with the fresh snake blood. Which also was to entice the she-demon back to the world & this room.
Doc was to be the bait, & as evening drew in settled down to sleep. And then we waited. The hours passed by slowly into the night, the candles that lit the room slowly burned away to pools of wax, and I sat silently, listening to the heavy breathing of Gaylord in his sleep.
It was perhaps gone two in the morning when she finally came. The window boards blew open, & the curtains draped at the inside blew inwards. An acrid smell filled the room & the candles blew out. We were only lit by the light of the full moon streaming through the now open windows. Doc’s sleep became disturbed, he called out & began to thrash & writhe, still unconscious. While I could see nothing else present I knew she was here, this malevolent entity, & panicking began to mutter the words of the incantation over & over, each time raising the volume of my words.
I felt perspiration on my top lip, but did not break my chanting until there was a momentary bright flash of blue forked lightning from the quartz crystal and the edges of the two pyramids were formed. & it was then I saw her, the succubus, this malevolent hell-bitch harpy. She glared at me realising she had been trapped & from her finger tips a ball of fire came forth only to ricochet off the sides of the energy pyramid we had formed back at her. She hissed at me in anger. Doc arose from his slumber, & she grabbled him by the throat & began to squeeze, choking him. Despite his inhuman strength he was helpless to remove her vice like grip. I continued to chant the words of the incantation now the pace had quickened & I had raised my voice to a shout. By now I was wet with perspiration, partly from the warm Indian night but mostly from the exertion of holding this unearthly beast at bay.

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I grabbed for the remainder of the snake blood & in the same instance as completing the incantation for the last time, the lightning pyramid disappeared & hurled the bottle of blood at the demon. The little glass vile smashed & she was spattered with the blood. She hissed & writhed in agony & released the Doc from her grip. He staggered from the bed, & completed his part of the incantation just once. & then silence fell on the room, save for the moonlight still unmoved by the goings on there, we were again bathed in darkness. The crystal began to glow, firstly pink, then through all the colours of the spectrum – The Malevolence had been trapped within the Crystal.

We both collapsed exhausted & fell asleep.
We awoke the following morning still dishevelled from the events of the night before. The crystal still cycling through the spectrum, it’s eerie glow…

Epilogue.
We ended up settling in India, in a small remote & isolated house, a little further north of Delhi close to the boarders of Tibet. & as of writing this, still remain here as our base of operations. We kept the crystal for many years until a time came when we could dispose of it safely. We have a peepal tree outside. & while we have never returned to Doc’s home town, each year the first blossom of that tree is picked & sent to the cemetery there & placed upon the grave of The Reverend Bertrand Barecock & his wife Beth.

We later learned that that young Captain had lost his life in the up-rising of 1857, when the Mughal tried to take back control of their own lands. We were both deeply saddened that our efforts that night only bought Captain Forrest & Sarah a few years of peace together.

As I closed the book, I looked up at the clock. It was early afternoon. The study door burst open, and in strolled Doc Baroque.
“Ah there you are my good man, I trust you rested well. I’m deeply sorry I wasn’t around this morning, I hope Cecilia has kept you entertained.”
I looked up & smiled kindly at him, indicating the journal still on my lap, “Oh yes, most entertaining.”

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