– THE DARK CHORUS –
Oblivio salvationem Angelis opperitur
Oblivion awaits the Angel’s salvation
The Boy can see lost souls.
He has never questioned the fact that he can see them. He thinks of them as the Dark Chorus. When he sets out to restore the soul of his dead mother it becomes clear that his ability to see the Dark Chorus comes from within him, it’s a force that he cannot ignore – the last shard of the shattered soul of an angel. To be restored to the kingdom of light the shard must be cleansed of the evil that infects it – but cleaning requires the corrupt souls of the living. With help from Makka, a psychotically violent young man full of hate, and Vee, an abused young woman full of pain, the Boy begins to kill.
Psychiatrist Dr Eve Rhodes is seconded to assist the police investigation into the Boy’s apparently random ritualistic killings. As the investigation gains pace, a patten emerges. And when Eve pulls at the thread from an article in an old psychology journal, what might otherwise have seemed to her a terrible psychotic delusion starts to feel all too real…
Will the Boy succeed in restoring the angel’s soul to the light? Can Eve stop him or will she be lost to the realm of the Dark Chorus?
~ Excerpt from Chapter One ~
I was born right here in this asylum – literally into bedlam; delivered into a stark white-tiled cell, in what I’ve come to think of as The Screaming Room. As quickly as I arrived, I left. Prised from my mother’s arms, I swapped one institution for another. But even as the car took me away, the darkness of my mother’s despair curled itself around my soul, anchoring me to her and my birthplace. I know this because I remember.
The early morning sun meanders around the grime on the windowpanes, lighting up the almost empty room I sleep in. I have a bed; I found it in one of the other rooms. It has a metal frame that was once white but is now yellowed with age and worn from use. I lie for a moment, listening to the dawn chorus. It’s a gift of nature that I’m always grateful to accept. It makes me happy, more so now that I am home.
I rise, extracting myself from the sleeping bag, feeling the cold air tug at my warmth, pulling it from my body to assimilate it into its cold collective. I watch the process for a moment, but I’m thirsty, so I pull on an old jumper and head to the kitchen to make some tea. It’s not far, just down the corridor and, as I walk its path, I pass other rooms, all empty, all grey with dirt, all neglected. My home is now abandoned, closed to its disturbed guests, but open to decay and boredom – its destiny uncertain.
The kitchen reminds me of the one at Shelly Fields, the children’s home where I spent most of my life. The layout is arranged in a similar fashion, but it’s the smell that triggers the strongest memory; ingrained boiled vegetable and disinfectant soaked aroma. Shelly Fields was not a bad place in which to be brought up. It provided shelter, food and books. I needed little else. Other children kept their distance, wary of my difference, sensing a strangeness that sets me apart. They mostly came and went, either moved on or adopted. I was neither moved on nor adopted because I didn’t want to be. Occasionally, the home would make an attempt to place me, send a couple for a viewing hoping that they might be able to remove this quiet yet stubborn blot on their performance landscape. The couples always left without me.
There is no electricity in my new home, but there is running water and, miraculously, gas. I light the hob and boil some water for the tea. Steam pours from the fresh-brewed cup and I let the hot vapour envelop the cold skin of my face. Some of it condenses on my forehead and cheeks and they become warm and wet as tears of tea drip from my eyelashes. I think of it as my morning sauna – I read somewhere that steam keeps the skin young. It’s important that I stay young, so I do this most mornings.
A bee bumbles against the glass of the window, its comically small wings buzz in annoyance- it wants out. I hum quietly to it to calm it down. I have always had an affinity with bees, in fact with all sorts of creatures, but bees in particular. It quietens and as I put my hand out it lands gently in my palm and turns its engine off. I take a moment to admire its beauty and then carefully place it by a broken windowpane. It senses freedom, fires up its engine again and launches itself into the fresh autumn morning.
I’m waiting, so I spend the rest of the day walking the buildings letting serendipity guide me, amusing myself by checking through the scattered remnants of the inmates’ belongings. I find a few photographs, some medical notes, and sad, unintelligible letters never sent; snippets of lives never knowingly lived.
Dusk comes, and I sit and watch from the comfort of a peeling wooden bench. It washes over the late afternoon sky and with each moment the granularity of the darkness becomes finer until night finally falls. I listen to what I call the Dark Chorus; the chatter of the lost souls, those that have died here but, for whatever reason, cannot pass on. The chatter is not beautiful like the dawn chorus, it’s chaotic, jumbled, laced with anxiety and fear. It doesn’t frighten me. I’ve heard it from birth. It’s sad, and I wish I could help them.