Chapter 4

Written by: Griffin

The tunnel was tall enough to be a walkway, at least at the opening. The female form was striding ahead, the pink nylon rain jacket disappearing into the darkness.  My legs took me inside, then I faltered and I said to myself, “Tim, why are you doing this? Walking into the bowels of the earth with a professor who’s gone a bit weird and a ghost who is going to squeeze past her and devour me or maybe just digest me by absorption or maybe send tentacles into my brain.  And what for — to look at some stupid artifacts which I won’t understand and won’t see because I don’t have a torch.”

At that moment a torch flicked on. Four metres further ahead Doctor Flo was waiting. I hurried forward.

“Professor Grace,” I said, touching her arm, half expecting her to say, “Tim, you can call me Florence.”

“Are you coming?” was all she said.

“It’s just that….what about the ghost?”

“What ghost - sorry, I’ve forgotten your name,” she said, half turning.

“Tim.”

Her hair had caught over her shoulder, and the fringe looked very neat above her eyes, which were both dreamy and piercing. 

“Tim, there are no ghosts, it’s the wrong time of year. Come on.”

She plunged ahead. I forgot at once about any ghost and followed. Again I said, “But what are we doing, where does this go?”

She stopped again and said, “We’re going to the Chamber, of course.”

There came another glint of an eye and a smile that I had never received as a student. How could I not follow?

You can say now, “But Tim, you could have just turned around and walked out. You would have saved yourself all that.”

But if you had been there you would have known it was no longer a possibility.

Yes, part of me knew that Doctor Flo had three incarnations — the professor whom I lusted after, the activist in the thrall of McLaughlin, and the wraith doing a pagan impersonation of Jesus Christ.  But I tell you it was as if I had fallen under some ancient spell.

Doctor Flo hummed a tune as we went. The air had cleared of any mist, though every surface of the stone walls glistened. The noise of the activists was long gone. 

Ten minutes had passed. Sometimes we veered to the left, sometimes to the right. Surely we had gone further than where the rath was situated. We stopped. It was slightly warmer. The dimensions of the passageway had not changed, and it was still easy to walk without stooping.

Then I noticed something.  “What’s that moving?” I said, looking further on.  My heart was beating.

It was a wisp of mist, picked up by the torchlight, and there was a face forming from it, and below, a body.  I looked behind me, and it was pitch black.

“Are you sure it’s not the time for ghosts?”

“Nonsense, it’s just water,” she said calmly. 

The torch went off.

 

Greg Rochlin (AUS)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

This serial goes from strength to strength. I sense a great team effort here; almost a case of ESP. Terrific chapter Greg. I like the way the Prof. is being described and the gradual build up of tension.
I'm glad we have stuck with a name now, Florence. It looks like we are about to get into the ghost kind of area of things. However, I might turn it back the other way with my chapter. See how we go...
I think we are talking about fairies - Irish folklore. I understand once you enter a Rath you can never return to the outside world. Of course, there may be exceptions to the rule by the end of this serial.