Elizabeth took comfort in her surroundings and absently watched the priest as he went about his business preparing the church for Mass. Her gaze did not linger on the pastel yellow walls with their damp lace decoration but moved quickly on to the sparkling ruby reds and sapphire blues of the stained glass window above the font. The sunlight streaming through the colours caused a shimmery dance of lights across the pale white marble of the altar.
She saw an altar boy out of the corner of her eye as he entered the church from a room to the side of the chancel and commenced to make his way around the outer walls lighting candles. The past was so close in this place, only a hymn or a chant away.
Here I am Lord
Can you hear me calling in the dark
Elizabeth’s concentration was broken when she felt a priest sit down on the wooden pew next to her. She fought down a wave of panic and closed her eyes. She opened them again when he knelt down and started to pray softly and the feeling of panic was replaced by one of comfort.
A heavy oak door to the rear of the church opened with the squeak of old hinges and a series of footfalls made their way down the aisle. The priest rose to greet them and Elizabeth sighed with relief. She wasn’t quite ready for a heart-to-heart yet, perhaps another day.
Tashriel was waiting when she stepped outside, the decision she had made to return to RoYds requiring no spoken acknowledgement between the fallen angel and herself.
They made their way through the narrow back streets towards RoYds, the afternoon calm and the two of them chatting about nothing while in the distance, car tyres splashed their way through puddles and a terrier yapped intermittently. Tashriel was the first to steer their light-hearted conversation down a more serious route.
“Have you ever heard of a barguest,” he asked, raising an eyebrow in anticipation.
“A bar guest?” Elizabeth repeated. “What’s that? A pub customer?” She laughed even though she knew how lame her joke was. Tashriel was kind enough to join her.
“Not quite,” he smiled before continuing. “There are those amongst the Living who believe that such creatures are collectors of souls and that anyone with the misfortune to see one will be dead within a year.”
“Collect souls? Not exactly.”
They came to a standstill at the corner of the RoYds building. Elizabeth was keen to learn more before they entered.
“Do they really exist?” She wasn’t sure if she wanted to know the answer.
“There are a few of them about.”
Tashriel continued forward and Elizabeth followed him. “So why bring them up now?” she asked as they reached the entrance.
“Well, we're just about to meet a man named Edward Lord. He claims a barguest ripped his throat out last week.”
Labels: Elizabeth, Present Day, Refuge of Delayed Souls, Web Fiction