• C.A. Lightfoot

Web Serial: Episode Five

Updated: Mar 14

A Dark Attachment

Rating: 16+

Summary: Duncan and Memphis learn a little more about the Bishop, Texas case. Marisol seeks her husband's grave for comfort.




 

Episode Five

Because life had to move on, Duncan found himself within the offices of Monroe Investigations for the week following his arrival in the States.

There were still cases to investigate, people to help. Much like the counterpart Duncan’s family ran across the pond, the Monroe family spent almost all of their time chasing darkness and trying to help people.

For his part, Duncan stayed with the Monroes, content to wander around with them, lending a hand on investigations. Today, they were in the office going over footage from the trip Marisol and Montana had taken in the NOLA case, listening for EVPs and other phenomenon.

Beside him, Memphis stared at the screen, casually marking light orbs or shadows moving in the frames. Duncan, headphones on, listened carefully for any sounds of electronic voices, often closing his eyes in concentration.

Memphis often worked in total silence, which wasn’t uncomfortable for him. Since the morning in her kitchen, when the thing haunting her yanked her away from his healing magic, Duncan hadn’t wanted her out of his sight. It appeared the only thing that frightened the demonic force was the white light within him. This was not the first time he’d been able to help someone this way. As with the other time, Duncan’s entire being was focused on keeping that darkness away from her.

A soft vibration on the desk where he worked drew Duncan’s eyes to his mobile phone. The photograph was of the last person he had to fight demons with, smiling as he gave the camera a two-fingered salute.

Unable to help the smile crossing his lips, Duncan pulled the headphones down to rest on his neck, answering the phone quickly.

“You’re alive, then?” Duncan said by way of greeting. “Couldn’t be bothered with a call back, eh?”

The rolling lilt of his friend’s Irish accent greeted him. “Ay, I was busy. It’s not all saving damsels over here, you know? Some of us have work to do.”

“I’m working.” Duncan replied, sitting back in his chair. “How’re things on that side of the pond?”

“Just fine, mate.” Callum Nott replied with his usual cheer. “Your da’s got half the team researching the Bishop case. We found four more files on it, if you can believe it. Seems Cecil Mitchell took a long time to process that one.”

Reaching out, Duncan tapped Memphis’ hand. She turned to him quickly, having concentrated on her work and not his phone call. Those devastatingly dark eyes pinned him where he sat, stealing his breath.

“I’m going to put you on speaker, mate.” Duncan told his friend. “I want Memphis to hear this.”

“I love her name,” Callum murmured as Duncan set the phone on the desk. “Hello, luv. Is my best mate mindin’ his ps and qs?”

Amusement danced in that now familiar dark gaze as Memphis set the headphones down. She took up her coffee, shaking her head slightly.

Her confident smile was audible. “An angel.”

“Callum Nott, this is Memphis Monroe. Memphis, this is Callum.”

“Pleasure, love.”

“Likewise.”

“To business, then.” Callum continued. “I was tellin’ my mate, the team’s found four more files on the Bishop case. Sam Monroe might never have set foot back in that house, but Senior sure did.”

A frown creased Memphis’ brow as she listened to Callum’s Highlands lilt.

“That’s a little weird. Why wouldn’t he involve my abuelo?”

“Not sure, love.” Duncan heard a rustle of paper, as though he were looking through the files. “Only thing Cecil mentions is in the first file. Sam won’t hear anything about Bishop, but I can’t let it go.”

“Sure, that’s not ominous.” Memphis replied, shaking her head.

“How many times did Senior come back?” Duncan asked.

“At least four, but in the last file dated in August ’73, he insists he’s coming back.”

Duncan’s heart gave a single, heavy squeeze.

“Senior died in February of ’74. He never did go back.”

Silence stretched between the trio, even on the line Callum opened to his homeland. Memphis reached over to touch his shoulder, her gaze heavy with understanding. Duncan appreciated the comfort, wondered if his grief matched hers in that regard.

After a moment, Callum went on. “I’m going to send all of this to you, by courier. Whatever’s happening there, mate, you’re gonna have to go see the house.”

“Ugh.” Memphis groaned, sitting back in her chair. “I was hoping you wouldn’t say that.”

“You find it, love?”

“I did. It’s newly renovated and smack in the middle of a new housing development.” Memphis grabbed her mobile and swiped it open, handing it to Duncan so he could see the information himself.

“Oh, cause it wasn’t haunted enough, eh?” Callum chimed in. “Let’s break some walls down and really stir shite up.”

Memphis’ scowl turned into a grin that made Duncan’s heart stop.

“You should have brought this one. I like him.”

“Hear that, mate? She likes me.”

“Settle down, you two.”

Duncan shook his head, focusing on the photograph on Memphis’ phone. The house looked picture perfect, new siding on the exterior, freshly manicured lawn. It was everything one would expect from a new, suburban home in the States.

But looking at the photograph made nausea roil in his belly. Fine hairs stood up on the back of his neck, as though something were watching him. The house, so innocently sat on a normal street in eastern Texas, positively radiated evil. If the photograph was this bad, Duncan didn’t want to get within five meters of the house.

“Alright. You two stay safe. I’ll have this stuff sent over as soon as I can, eh?”

“Thanks, Callum. Pleasure to meet you.”

“You’re a star, mate.” Duncan offered a small smile. “Tell everyone hello from me.”

“Will do. Cheers.”

When the call disconnected, Memphis turned to fully face him. Duncan copied the motion, feeling that dark energy trying to swirl around her again. He shifted just a touch closer to her, willing that white light of healing magic to rebuff the darkness a moment longer.

As though she could feel the struggle of magics working against one another, Memphis smiled.

They regarded one another for a moment in silence. Not the tense, uncomfortable sort of quiet that made him want to leave the room. With Memphis, the quiet was always open and welcoming.

In those eyes that reminded him of molten earth streaked here and there with brilliant gold, Duncan saw determination. Though the entity had frightened her last week, she was not allowing it to rule her life. It was attached to her and she desperately wanted to know why, but she wouldn't give it a single moment more than required.

That strength, Duncan thought, was likely what attracted the entity to her.

But to go into that house in Bishop, to taunt it that way, was it worth it? Fifty years had passed since the initial investigation, would anything of value be left? Would exposing Memphis to that place only make the attachment worse?

“We’ll wait until we’ve looked at Cal’s files.” Memphis offered, as though she were reading his mind. “I’m not in a hurry to get closer to it.”

Duncan could feel it pressing against his magic, as though it wanted to break the barrier he had erected around Memphis. The urge to protect reared up within his chest, much as it had when he’d done the same for Callum. He’d been attached at the man’s hip for almost six months before they got rid of the thing, making a pair of absolute strangers into best friends.

Making the former accountant Callum had been into a respected investigator.

“Alright,” Duncan agreed.

Darkness had begun to edge around those brilliant eyes. Duncan hated to see it, in anyone, hated that entities could hedge into someone’s waking hours. That was the point, wasn’t it? Isolate the person, feed on their fear and revulsion and loneliness. Duncan always fought that the hardest, wanting to ensure the person he was helping to heal knew they had backup.

They were still looking at one another across the small space between them. Memphis had her coffee in both hands, looking at him with a small smile as though he were a puzzle she was greatly entertained in trying to unlock. Duncan kept his eyes on her, fascinated by someone being attacked by an entity fighting without saying a word.

The door slammed behind them, hard enough that the tea in Duncan’s mug sloshed over the counter.

They whirled toward the sound as one, Duncan standing to try and locate where the thing was at.

Of course, it had slammed the door, but it was already on Memphis.

“Duncan.”

She whispered his name, fear on the edges of the single word. He turned to her, astonished to find she was still seated, her hands seemingly frozen around the mug.

Something was lifting her hair, as though toying with the ends. Cold had settled around her as Duncan stepped closer, as he tried to will his healing toward the woman under almost constant attack.

As he moved toward her, a wave of revulsion washed over him. His stomach churned, bile tickled the back of his throat. Muscles began to ache, a sharp pain bit into his back, as though something were trying to stab him.

Recognizing the signs, Duncan took another step toward Memphis.

She shook, coffee sloshing out of her cup and onto her lap. Though everything in him wanted to run, wanted to hurl his guts up, Duncan knew abandoning her was exactly what the entity was so intent on. If he left Memphis, it would only attack her further.

“I’m here.” Duncan assured the woman, lifting his hand though every muscle screamed. “I’ve got you.”

Her shirt moved, as though something had gripped the collar and yanked it aside. Red colored his vision as he imagined what the thing was trying to do, what violation it might want to commit now.

Pushing against the instinct that told him to run, Duncan finally reached Memphis’ chair. He reached for her, resting his hand on her forearm, which was the temperature of ice. Duncan captured her gaze with his, reaching into that place inside of him where the white light lived. It churned inside of him, thrashing against the entity trying to subdue it.

For what felt like several hours, or even days, the dark and light lashed at one another. Duncan and Memphis were locked onto one another, neither moving. He wasn’t sure either of them were even breathing.

When the thing did release, Duncan let go of the breath he’d been holding. Memphis sprang up, setting her coffee onto the table with a messy clunk. As she stood, she flung her hands out, trying to get the coffee off of them. Duncan, noticing the tremble in her body, remained back.

“Every day now?” Memphis shouted. “Every fucking day?”

“Memphis.” Duncan did not move closer. “I’m sorry.”

“You’re sorry? Its not your fault and you’re the only thing that makes it leave.”

He didn’t want to voice his doubts about that. It seemed to Duncan – and Montana – that the attacks had escalated when Duncan arrived. The entity wanted to touch her more often, as though wanting to stake a claim. He had wondered, more than once, if removing himself would help Memphis at all.

It was Marisol who convinced him to stay, wondering if it was what the entity wanted.

“I just need a minute.”

She stepped around him and Duncan slid out of the way. As she yanked the door open, Duncan watched her leave before heading to the kitchenette down the hall to get cleaning supplies.


~**~

Every time she stepped into the marble mausoleum, Marisol felt her heart break all over again.

In the last six years, she’d never stopped mourning. No matter what had happened between herself and her husband at the end, losing him had extinguished something within her soul.

She did not often visit. Coming here, seeing his name carved into the marble, knowing all that remained of him was tucked away, inanimate and lifeless, broke her heart over and over. Today, however, she felt the need to speak with him. Her heart begged to be close, to try feeling the comfort of his presence just one more time.

The heels of her shoes made loud tapping sounds on the polished floors. White marble stretched from floor to ceiling on the left hand side. Windows just as large, just as luminous occupied the right wall, allowing light to spill into the place where the dead were laid to rest.

Slowly, with her heart positively aching in her chest, Marisol turned to face the wall of quiet crypts.

Below the epitaphs of Samuel and Holland Monroe, she found her husband’s name.

Jasper Holden Monroe

A quiet sob broke the stillness around her. Marisol reached out, touching the cold marble with her fingertips. She traced the carving of his familiar name, willing a memory of his smile, his soft blue eyes into her mind.

“I wish you were here.” Marisol whispered. “I need your voice, amor. I’m so afraid for our girl.”

Quietly, because he would have wanted her to in the years before madness took him from the family, Marisol laid out what was happening with their daughter. Jasper and Memphis had always been so close, almost of one mind. When Jasper began behaving strangely, hearing voices and wandering away in the middle of the night, Marisol did everything she could to get him help.

They had a priest look him over, doctors, even a few high priestesses. No one could find a cause for Jasper’s strange behavior, his wild rages, the way he would go away inside.

And then, he was gone. Vanished into thin air.

“I don’t know what your father found in Bishop, but something is haunting Memphis.” Marisol explained softly. “It wants her, it touches her. The only thing that scares it is the boy, and I don’t know why.”

Her fingers lingered on the curve of his J, closing her eyes so she could more fully imagine the reality of the man she’d loved for twenty years.

Mari.

When she heard the whisper, Marisol froze. Breath caught in her throat. Blood roared in her ears. Her entire being strained to hear it again. Was that the familiar voice of her husband?

Or had something decided to use him?

Mari.

She heard it again, this time opening her eyes. Something was looking at her, watching her. Marisol dared to turn her head toward the right, where a sliver of marble blocked the light, casting a shadow long enough to a solitary spirit to reside in.

Stood there in that shadow, was a mist of soft, white light. Marisol swallowed thickly, holding herself back from taking a step closer.

“Jasper.”

The spirit blinked and shifted, solidifying into a semi-solid mass. Jasper’s familiar, handsome face bore the semblance of a smile.

Hi, baby.


 









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We all have something that started us on the path toward becoming a writer. For me, it was books like White Fang and Sweetgrass that first made me realize I wanted to tell stories as well. I was a vor