A FIRST CHAPTER
a perfect circle of protection, Sylvia," Audrey said admiring her
friends steadiness with the salt pourer.
Amethyst is a semi-precious stone of silicon dioxide. It has a moh scale
hardness of 7.0 and grows in tetrahedral, or dog-tooth, crystals. The
colour, ranging from lilac to deep purple, is caused by the presence of
manganese which when heated can turn the mineral yellow. The name is derived
from the Greek words for "Not drunken," and the stone has long
been associated with sobriety.
Sylvia Fortune possessed Amethyst because it offered protection from errant
spirits and heightened her connection to the after life.
She picked up the faded-purple stone and ran the duster across its surfaces
before arranging the bowl of miscellaneous crystals in the centre of the
table. Crystals, pure water, and on the sideboard since it was
not part of the proceedings a fresh pot-pourri with her favourite
lavender-scented oil. She was satisfied with the layout of the octagonal
She took a tape recorder and a collection of blank tapes from the sideboard
and plugged it into the wall. She placed the gadget on the table next
to her seat. Without the recorder the memory of the session would leave
her before shed had a chance to think about interpretation; it was
a very useful device.
The onyx clock at the centre of the mantelpiece showed fifteen minutes
to nine so there was time for a cup of tea before they arrived
time to relax, begin to centre herself and banish her doubts. It was all
about positive thinking if she maintained a clear vision of the
questions she wanted answering then she stood a good chance of receiving
some help, other wise she might be side-tracked by side issues and inconsequential
ideas. Communicating with the spirit was a difficult art, like seeing
through multiple layers of muslin, or listening to a badly tuned wireless.
Clarity of vision came with experience, conditions, and a large piece
of luck. The evening felt good, the table was set, the lighting subdued
and she was in a good mood. It was perfect for a séance.
She wandered into the kitchen, her knee-length sock-come-slippers padding
on the vinyl floor, and she filled the kettle nervous, she checked
the time again, and added more water for her friends; she may as well
have the kettle boiled and a pot brewing. The ritual of tea making settled
her; the soft tap of the ceramic lid on the pot; the hiss of the kettle
and the swirling boiling water that warmed the pot; water vapour rising
to the textured ceiling and spreading out like a fan, were all part of
the ceremony she loved.
When the door bell rang, the tray was ready with fresh tea, china cups
and saucers, her best silverware, and was sitting on the occasional table
in the lounge.
"Do you see it Sylvia?" Tess said as she crossed the threshold.
No greeting just a forthright dash into the house and an inspection of
the hallway. Sylvia stood with the door open and smiled. "The mist
ladies." Tess, cast her gaze about the hall, disappeared into the
dining room then immediately re-appeared. "What is this?" she
said into the air, "a meeting of the clans?"
Audrey followed in Tesss wake, smiling at Sylvia as she entered
and then inspecting the air where Tess was peering. "I dont
see anything, Tess." She said shrugging and removing her coat. Tess
saw things the others didnt, she was tuned into a world most could
Sylvia said, "Give me your things, Teas ready in the lounge,"
and collected their hats, coats and handbags and took them to the cupboard
under the stairs. It was a good start, if Tess was interacting already
then they should be able to create a clear channel.
"Oh!" Tess charged through into the dining room again. "Theyve
gone ladies I do believe I frightened them away." They laughed
at Tesss surprise and trooped through into the lounge for tea. Sylvia
poured, and her guests good friends that shed known for over
fifteen years sat watching her in quiet reverence. Sylvia filled
each cup, added a drop of milk and stirred the spoon tapped against
the side of the cup, the sound ringing around the lounge like a bell -
then handed the cup and saucer across with a smile. They each sipped and
sighed in turn as the liquid warmed them.
Sylvia was first to put down her cup while the other ladies watched and
waited for her to speak. She looked to each of them in turn holding their
gaze for a moment and letting a smile play on her lips.
"Ladies," she said. "I want us to work in the same way
as last time. I will direct the searching and the questioning, and Tess
you see what you can find in the light of my searching. Audrey, can you
make sure we are both sufficiently protected while we probe the edges
of the light I want to reach out as far as I can tonight."
Audrey nodded, and Sylvia tipped her head to one side gauging her friends
sincerity. If any one could keep the darkness away it was Audrey; Sylvia
had no doubts.
"We seem to be getting closer so I hope you been doing your homework."
She laughed. At the age of sixty five she still sounded like a school
teacher, even though shed retired years ago. "I have the photographs,
so shall we try and concentrate." Audrey and Tess nodded their agreement,
and Sylvia opened a wooden box in the centre of the table. She withdrew
a package wrapped in a silk cloth and bound with slight silver chains
attached to a crucifix. She unwound the chain and folded back the silk
to reveal a photograph and a lock of hair. She looked at the image, a
wave of sadness crossed her as she studied for the thousandth time
the best photograph of her father she possessed. A dark haired
man in uniform looking into the camera lens across the top of his shoulder.
The edges of the photo were frayed and peeling back and Sylvia placed
it in the centre of the table. The three ladies stared at it in silence,
the hair arrayed around the side.
"These are the tokens well use tonight," Sylvia said,
"Im sure well be able to reach him using these. Are you
ready ladies?" She stood and waited for her friends to sip the last
of their tea before leading them into the dining room.
"Careful of the floor, Ladies," she said. She stepped over a
line of salt poured onto the floor two concentric circles surrounding
the table and a series of symbols drawn between them.
"Thats a perfect circle of protection, Sylvia," Audrey
said admiring her friends steadiness with the salt pourer.
"Thank you, Audrey." Sylvia smiled, "Ive added the
new symbols weve discovered too they are supposed to magnify
our powers." She had vacuumed up three attempts before getting the
circle correct the spilled condiment was now in the dust bin. "Anything
else before we begin?"
"Could you put the heating up a little, Sylv. I might be just me,
but I feel a bit chilly." Tess was right, it was colder now it was
fully dark. Sylvia went into the kitchen, clicked the boiler onto constant
and turned the thermostat up. When she returned the temperature seemed
to have dropped again.
"That will fix it," she smiled, not believing herself then said,
"Well forget the cold once we get started." She was keen
to get proceedings moving. She clapped her hands and rubbed her palms
together. "Shall we begin?" Her friends nodded and walked around
the outside of the salt circle until they were each standing behind a
chair. "Ladies, enter the circle."
They stepped inside the circle and sat down with their hands flat on the
Hindsight is now a completed mystery novel
© William Knight
FIRST CHAPTERS HERE
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