The Anglic Gene

An orphan girl unsure of who she is or why a man wants her dead carries a secret. She will experience humanity.

Are you ready?

Join Sophia in a heart thumping adventure across England set in the 1870’s, exploring faith, doubt, love and fear. A story, quoted by the editor as “really something special”, you’ll continue to contemplate long after the journey unfolds

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27. Hidden

“Stand back, Jack,” Mephis said, retreating from the mural.

Jack, facing the painted wall, took a few steps backwards towards the entrance. “Why?”

“Well, we can search for the right button to press, the hidden lever, or some other concealed way of opening the secret door to this room. Or we can simply do it the easy way,” Mephis said, raising his right hand. A small spark began to dance on his palm, which quickly transformed into a sphere of fire about the size of a baseball. He wound up and launched the blazing orb towards the mural.

Jack covered his eyes and retreated a few additional steps as the sphere exploded in a blinding white flash on impact with the center of the wall. The room vibrated. Dust and flying debris filled the air. Some minutes passed before visibility was restored revealing a jagged hole that would serve as a make-shift doorway leading into a hallway beyond the mural.

“There we are, Jack,” Mephis said, venturing into the opening, “not the most subtle of methods but effective.”

“Right you are, Master,” Jack said, following.

Solid marble walls formed the short hallway that opened into a cramped room. Jack scanned the area. An altar, very similar to the one Mephis used in the Whitechapel basement, occupied one corner. Several vials and glass jars were scattered across its surface. Each jar appeared to contain a different animal fetus in some sort of dark brown preserving liquid. Less than a body width away, on a single wooden bed pushed up against a sidewall lay the skeletal remains of a human holding a staff. “He’s been dead for some time,” Jack said.

“Yes,” Mephis replied. “John Dee has.”

“Do you know him?”

“You could say we have run into each other a time or two in the past.”

Mephis systematically cracked off John Dee’s skeletal fingers that were curled around the staff. Each snapped like a thin branch of a long-dead tree. He held the staff in the air as if it were a trophy showing off its long ivory shaft attached to a small jade hand palming a crystal sphere the size of a walnut. “This will do,” he said, pacing towards a vacant span of the wall. The crystal sphere on the staff’s hand turned pale blue and then white mist gathered around the top like clouds in a morning sky. Mephis tapped the sphere against the wall. A little rumble occurred as a section of the wall slid to one side revealing an alcove. Inside a single closed book rested on top of a wooden lectern.

Jack shifted and peered over Mephis’ shoulder for a closer inspection. The book’s jacket was of some sort of fleshy black leather, but oddly the cracks in the skin were oozing little droplets of dark-red liquid—like blood—as if the book were bleeding. “John’s book?” Jack asked.

“No, no,” Mephis replied, shaking his head. “John hid it away to keep it from the likes of me.”

“I see, Master.” The hairs on his back stood at attention as a chilling thought slithered under his skin. Why would someone go to such lengths to keep the book away from Mephis? This can’t be good. On closer examination, the title of the book came into view: The Book Of The Dead. The subtitle towards the bottom read: A Necromancer’s Guide. “Necromancy?” Jack mumbled.

“Yes, Jack,” Mephis bellowed as he took the book. He laughed a sinister shrill, dark and evil. “Sorcery is sport, but necromancy,” his eyes widened and he touched the tip of his tongue to his upper lip, “well, that is war: It allows me to raise an army of the dead.”

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