Written in response to a prompt on Putting my Feet in The Dirt blog. This story follows on from the House of Howls. Again, this story was written in the ten minute time limit with no editing time so please forgive any clumsiness!
Malachi sat on the floor, eyes shut and legs crossed. He sensed when Sam re-entered the room.
“Are all the windows sealed?”
Sam nodded before realizing that the man couldn’t see him, “Yeah. None of those weird mark things are black.”
“Sigils, they are called sigils.”
“Whatever.” Sam stood in the corner of the room, pushing himself tightly against the wall. “What are you?”
Malachi opened his eyes and studied the boy. He felt embarrassed that this schoolchild had managed to creep up on him but the closer to All Hallows Eve it got the busier the spirits became; he was distracted to say the least. This night was always a test for his skills at the best of times.
“I am a man.”
“But what were those noises? You said you held back spirits?” He barely looked directly at Malachi as he fidgeted on the spot.
“I am a gatekeeper. I have a certain skill set that allows me to guard the veil between us and the spirit world. A job I am very good at, when conscious.” He glared at the boy who sheepishly looked towards him. Something pulled at Malachi’s subconscious. “One is still loose.”
“What? But the noise?”
“This one is a little more sneaky than the others,” Malachi frowned. Harold Hemmings had been an evil man alive and an even worse one dead. If he snuck out of the house and had free run of the living realm again.. well, Malachi would be looking for a new job. And the only way you resigned this post was through the afterlife.
“You must stay here,” Malachi waved a warning finger at Sam who nodded nervously. “If I am not back in an hour..”
“An hour?!” The boy shrieked. “I can’t stay here that long..”
“Tough. This is all your doing.” Malachi gave him one last accusing look before making his way to the stairs. Standing at the bottom he took a deep, focusing breath and gathered his will. He had hoped never to face the Butcher of Fontwell again but things never did turn out as you expect.