The Bluebottle Boys: Chapter 13, Part 13 — Birmingham (UK) 26 March 1962: “The Dark One”

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The next instant was one of the few where I’ve ever seen Ian’s fury.

I’d no idea that he’d worn a crucifix here to Warstone Lane Cemetery. He later told me he’d purchased it surreptitiously from the church gift shop while I was praying, in anticipation of tonight. Ian had always struck me as the last person in the world who could pull off such a sly, stealthy stunt – until he did.

He took it from around his neck and pressed it into the witch’s forehead. She screamed, but didn’t die, though its touch had a far more devastating effect on her than my charm had had on Captain O.

She reeled and turned to face me. She was hollow-eyed, wraithlike, her hair a multitude of wisps, like bits of a dandelion, moving as if blowing in the wind.

Her face and body had become skeletal and mummified, her skin little more than old, thin yellowed paper. I ran up, tossed a palmful of pouch dust at her; she disappeared in a flash of smoky light and stench of brimstone.

The angel smiled and put one hand each upon Ian and me, as if to offer us a blessing, when his expression suddenly changed to one of apprehension; he grabbed us each by the shoulder, pushing us behind him.

There was a flash of light; another angel, entirely dark except for a glowing, platinum kind of outline around his hair, face, wings and robes, stood before our statue of an angel.

He must have been five or six meters tall; his wings extended out for at least ten. His hair framed his face in an almost hoodlike way; his facial features were impossible to discern. He drew back his right arm as if he intended to hurl something at us.

There was a pair of flashes, and our statuary friend and protector was reduced to rubble – he’d perished defending us.


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