They say that old sins cast long shadows. If so, it never has cast a longer shadow than over the village of St. Barthelemy... When a girl collides with Mute, a teenager, and runs off into the fog in the direction of St. Marks Church, Mute finds her wallet and runs after her. He follows her into the church graveyard only to become a victim at a sight of a certain grave.
"Here lies Abel, the brother of Cain..."
Those seven words spark a mystery that clasps upon the peaceful village of St. Bart
It had been raining all day as Emilia Carson ran down the sleek sidewalk to the church. Overhead the sky was grey and dank, as wisps of humid fog curled and twirled between asphalt and hot metal. She must get to the church, she thought. It was the only way to solve...her difficulty... Upon reaching a street corner, she stopped and was panting. No, she could not stop. She had to go on to that church. The street was silent--silent except for the constant drizzling of the rain upon the concrete. Come on, EMILIA! Onwards, like the armies of Alexander!
She just hoped that she wasn't too late to stop it.
* * *
He walked slowly in the pounding rain, footsteps matching the beat that pulsated through his world. The rain kept up a steady, high-pitched staccato of tap-tap-tapitty-taps as his earphones pounded out the low bass of the hip-hop song he was listening to. He came to a street corner and paused in his music-induced swagger. He spun expertisely to the beat and froze before snapping his fingers and breaking down into an all-out musical dance session. The youthful teen was dressed in what had been beige cargo shorts and a light gray sweatshirt and which were now dark brown and dark gray, respectively. As his body convulsed and spun on the slick sidewalk, water was flung from the tip of the hood that shadowed his face and out into the open air to join its comrades as they crashed upon the concrete.
He grinned as he felt his muscles twist, tighten, and release as they had hundreds--no, probably thousands--of times. Breakdancing had become his life. No, more specifically, music had. Anything: hip-hop, grunge, alternative, techno, classical, oldies, screamo, country, you name it, he had it on his ipod. His ipod was inseparable from him and he constantly had electronic signals flowing from it and into his ears. But, when he was angry and frustrated, as he was now, he turned to one genre: hip-hop. Dancing helped him release his anger with every flung arm and popped foot. He would sometimes just close his eyes and smile as he backflipped and spun, giving him the neighborhood nickname that had stuck ever since: "Mute".
Mute smiled as the song came to an end and he slowed to a frozen pause. A couple had stopped to watch him during his few-minute routine and applauded softly, smiling as he shyly stood up and quickly crossed the street in the driving rain. He drove his hands into his pockets, face both red from both exertion and a bit of shame, and beaded with both rain and sweat. Suddenly, a girl sped past him, he slipped and almost fell trying to get out of her way. As she careened down the sidewalk, he noticed that something fell out of her pocket. He jogged up to it and knelt down in the rain. Her wallet, he thought as he looked up at the disappering figure. He grunted in frustration as the song changed to an orchestral work. Mozart accompanied him as he sprinted after her in the pouring rain, wishing desperately he could make any kind of sound to get her attention. Mute had recieved his nickname for more than just his composure.
* * *
Ishod Kumich looked out of his window, rain peddled the glass and slowly made its way down to the windowsill. He slipped his white undershirt on his dark muscular torso. Originally from Africa, becoming a legal citizen of America, joining the National Guard and being stationed in to many places to count, then finding himself in England, Ishod was beginning to forget what the true meaning of "home" was. His job made sure of that. Being a private detective/hired hand had it's "pros and mostly its cons" (As Ishod is found saying quite often.) The pros being he got to hold a weapon, the cons being everything else; being shot at, chased out of the state (or country) by either disgruntled employers, or disgruntled groups of people who didn't care much for his line of business. The reason he was in England, and not America was because he was chased out by the Russian Mafia and the US government. Long story, probably one that Ishod would never want to go over. He shook his head, then sat down on a sofa, pushing through different channels on the TV.
"Nothing on." Ishod said, "Typical."
* * *
Waverly Clark glanced at the paintings on the wall, fascinated with each and every one. "From Degas to Picasso, Aunt Lucinda's got it all..." she mumbled to herself as she rubbed the corner of a dark mahogany frame.
The frames and paintings varied in color as she continued her way down the hall. Her tennis shoes were silent on the plush burgundy carpet. The top half of the walls were painted to match the carpet; the wainscoting on the lower half was made of dark wood, probably mahogany. The sconces on the walls released a dull orange glow, rather than a bright white glow. All in all, the halls of the lodge were warm and cozy.
"Miss Clark?" A voice behind her called out.
Waverly turned to face the voice and a smile formed on her lips. "Hello, Mr. Weston. How are you on this rainy morning?"
"Fine, fine." The old man smiled, using his cane to move closer. "I was hoping the rain would settle so I could go for a walk around the grounds, but alas, it seems like it will be present for a few more hours."
"Yes, indeed. I was hoping to do the same." She pointed to her tennis shoes. "Perhaps after lunch it will stop and we can take a walk, despite the possible muddiness..." Waverly smiled.
"I would like that." Mr. Weston said with a nod. "Perhaps we could convince your aunt to join us."
"Oh, of course. I'll have to ask her, though. She seems very busy, considering the lodge just opened..." Waverly said.
Mr. Weston nodded. He pointed to a painting of a ballerina. "Did you see this one?"
"Yes," Waverly smiled. "I've looked at all of the paintings in this wing. I was on my way to look at the west wing now."
"There are some splendid ones there." He pulled out a key of his pocket and said, "I won't keep you. Good day, Miss Clark--oh, I just remembered!." Mr. Weston turned to face Waverly once more. "Would you mind asking your lovely aunt if it would be alright to play a gramophone in here? I have just become the owner of a most unusual sort of record--a diary--or a journal of some sort. Huh...well, anyways, good day, Miss Clark."
"I'll mention it to her--Good day, Mr. Weston." Waverly said as the man unlocked his room. He went inside and Waverly walked down the hallway. She paused for a moment to reflect what she had just heard.
* * *
The clanging of church bells rang in the fog-enshrouded village of St. Barthelemy. It was half past one according to the bells. The sweet melody of their tintinbulation rang forth as the village stopped for the briefest moment to hear their song. Everyone's attention at that moment was on the bells--everyone was temporarily mystified by their clanging and clashing--and everyone did not notice Emilia running to the front of the church. The suspense hung thick in the air as she climbed up the stone steps and stopped by the gate leading up to the church door.
The gate was locked. Emilia shook the gate and groaned with exasperation. No No No! It can't be locked! Of all the times that it has to be locked (which was rarely), it had to be now! Strands of hair clung to her forehead as she climbed down the steps and sprinted to her right. THe rain by now was falling in sheets and she couldn't see well what was in front of her. To the right was the church cemetery. The cemetery gate WAS open--which seemed like as a relief to Emilia. She ran in.
The hinges creaked as the iron gate swung in and out in the wind. Behind it the figure of Emilia disappeared into the gloom of the grey fog...amongst the ancient graves.
* * *
Where had she gone, Mute thought as he peered up at the church tower. He looked down at the wallet in his hand and debated: should he open it? No, that would be wrong. Sighing, he looked down the road both ways before skipping to the other side, in front of the church. As he did so, he splashed in some puddles and smiled gaily. He felt like a little kid again...it had been a long time...
Upon reaching the other side, he was puzzled by finding the gate to the cemetery swinging in the wind. That's odd, he thought. He quickly did a reconnaisance--no one was around. Huh...was is this gate open? Suddenly, as he was looking down, he saw something on the cobblestone path leading up to the gate. A bit of mud...and a portion of a footprint. Someone was here--in that cemetery. And then--
THE GIRL? Why would she be in there? Well, there's only one way to find out
He walked into the cemetery and closed the gate behind him. He turned off his music and looked at some tombstones along the path.
He waited...there was no answer...no noise whatsoever. He shivered--but not from the rain. It was a different kind of shiver...the one that made his flesh creep. Somewhere, deep in his mind, something stirred...something which he could not put his finger on. He didn't like it. He didn't like it one bit.
This place gives me the-- he stopped in his thoughts. His mouth hung open as he looked upon one particular grave on his left. His eyes grew wide...with a mixture of horrible surprise and unexpected fear and anxiety. No...was that...? Was that...no it can't be...can it?
The grave was a stone Celtic gross, blotched with lichen and somewhat eroded by Time. The inscription on it was almost illegible...but there was one part that he COULD read.
And that part forced him to back away from it slowly.
No....it isn't possible...NO! He shook his head and clinched his fists. It was like he was in a nightmare as his surroundings began to spin in muddled confusion. The ground beneath his feet tilted as he collapsed next to a grave.
The part he read scared him to death: "[H]ere lies [...], Abel [...] [br]other of Cain."