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Saturday, 24 December 2016

The Writing on the Wall

The symbols and half-letters scrawled messily on the wall are not from any recognisable language. They look like the drunken attempts of a lone vandal, and are not particularly remarkable. Except for one thing: they appear elsewhere. On lorries and trains, schools and churches. In the country, in town. On sheds and walls, windows and signs. Usually in paint, and once or twice in blood.


1 Each instance of the symbols is accompanied by a body. The cause of death is unknown – other than being dead, the victim is otherwise healthy.

The victims have been possessed by body thieves, spectral haunters who take control of their victims and discards them when they become bored. Possession is fatal to the victim, but in their last moments the victims leave clues to their tormentor. Unfortunately, the clues are written in the symbol language of the haunter and are not easy to decode.

2 The symbols are written by the Royal Order of the Third Man, a secretive society originally founded by Queen Victoria. The Order is dedicated to opposing the forces controlled by an entity it knows as the Bone Swallower. The Order’s oracles have recently foretold that the Bone Swallower will emerge at specific co-ordinates. The Order is using the symbols to weaken the Bone Swallower: the symbols face the appointed location, and are arranged at various distances from it. They can be marked on a map, and the co-ordinates determined.

Some symbols are decoys (including those on vehicles) to hide the Order’s intent. To most onlookers, the decoys look no different, but a practiced eye or ‘sensitive’ can tell one from another.

Some in the Order have concerns, however. They suspect that the Order has been infiltrated, and that the symbols, far from weakening the Bone Swallower, are instead bringing it into being.

3 The symbols (written by sleepwalkers) originate from a long-forgotten language. Eventually they are translated to form one word. ‘Rejoice.’ What does it mean? Is it a sign from God?

Then, a second word: ‘for.’ Then ‘He,’ followed by ‘is’ and ‘coming.’

‘Rejoice for He is coming.’ But who?

© Steve Hatherley

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