By Jack Rollins
A Gothic Tale of Horror and Misfortune
De Kroll led us into a small dark room which became darker still once the door closed. There were no internal windows to lend any illumination at all. At once we took our seats and he took payment from us. The room was occupied by a small, circular table, with six chairs arranged around it, and a large black cabinet or frame with black cloth draped over it. The structure was about the size of a large wardrobe, where perhaps four adults could comfortably sit or stand within it, with little trouble. I had heard of spirit cabinets before was not surprised to see that De Kroll had one as part of his demonstration.
Half of the candles in the room were extinguished one by one at the merest wave of the Viscount’s hand. I remember that this caused Douglas to shiver, and Sally to giggle. They sat next to each other, of course. I recall distinctly that they held hands for the briefest of moments, fingers squeezed together in nervous anticipation of what would transpire.
De Kroll took his seat at the table and bade us all place our hands upon the surface. At De Kroll’s instructions, we each arranged our hands flat on the table, fingers outstretched with our thumbs overlapped to form a cross. Our hands became a chain, our little fingers reaching out to each other, connected.
De Kroll’s voice took on a deep, sinister tone, eliciting anxious chuckles from us all. His eyes, though deeply shaded, caused us to fall silent as he cast a disapproving look around the circle.
“Ancient spirits, I summon forth my guide,” De Kroll growled. “My loyal and trusted guide Jacintha… Jacintha, do you hear my appeal? It is I, Viscount Alexander De Kroll, who must awaken you from your slumber to assist me once more…”
The room was completely silent.
“Jacintha, do not abandon me. I am unworthy of your assistance and will seek to find you on the other side when it is my time. Then, my love, we shall be reunited. But until then, my dear, sweet Jacintha, allow me to pass the esoteric secrets of the other world to these non-believers, that your spirit might be energised by the power of their newfound belief…”
Two of the candle flames wavered in some inexplicable breeze. I gasped, which in turn caused Daniel and Eliza to jump with fright. An electrical current of fear seemed to jolt through our gathering when all of a sudden, a loud rapping, once, twice, came first on the wall behind me, then on the opposite wall.
I glanced around, but in the dim candlelight I saw nothing.