Saturday 13 June 2015

A Real-Time Review of Moloch's Children on the Vault of Evil

Kevin Demant (Demonik) has started a real-time review of my horror novel, Moloch's Children, on the Vault of Evil.

Hans Memling . Detail from Triptych of Earthly Vanity and Divine Salvation.

On a tip-off from the pub gossip, Teb, thirty years a poacher, tonight varies his route to take in the derelict Elm Tree house and stay clear of police and gamekeepers. But there are worse things than the forces of law and order, and what Teb sees that night brings on a stroke and enforced career change. So begins Moloch's Children, the first seven chapters of which were run - as Sendings -over Filthy Creations # 6 and #7 before the magazine again went quiet.

The novel centre's around self-styled "hack historical novelist" Oliver Atcheson's acquisition of the derelict property in Fenley Woods. Oliver is recovering from a nervous breakdown triggered by the death of his wife, Louise, in a car accident, and plans to establish an artists colony at Elm Tree House in her memory. But, although he bought the mansion for next to nothing, extensive renovation work is fast exhausting Oliver's fortune, and his close friend, Morgan Davies, worries that he's taken on too much too soon. There's also the matter of the bloody, horrific and undeniably fascinating legends attached to Elm Tree House and environs. Atcheson is openly grumpy where "rustic gobbledygook" is concerned ", but could it be, after that strange find by the builders, the stories are already playing on his fertile imagination?

Morgan embarks on a fact finding mission, first stop, The Hare And Hounds, where Bob the landlord is happy to tell all he knows. Following previous owners The Murdoch's rapid departure, "the Haunted House" stood vacant for two decades, and the surrounding woods have a dreadful reputation. Teb, the village wino, maintains that it was the touch of "something hard and brittle and dry" brought on the stroke that put an end to his poaching days. Of course, Bob pays no heed to such preposterous nonsense, and, besides, Mr. Atcheson has suffered no ill harm since taking up residence, so no cause for alarm.

Some months later, Morgan and wife Winnie accept Oliver's invitation to spend the weekend At Elm Tree House and meet his fellow creatives. These include Howard Brinsley, a temperamental but good-natured painter, Hazel Metcalfe, enigmatic poet, Tom Bexley, hale and hearty sculptor, and his wife, Alicia, who's taken on the role of house-keeper. Winnie loves the house but not the woods which have an oppressive, even disturbing aura about them. She's not best please that Morgan failed to mention the discovery of that strange artefact in the cellar. "The brass feet of Moloch" - Oliver dates them to the Roman conquest - suggest the basement of ElmTree House once served as a Satanic Temple.

With Oliver still ratty on the subject, the Davies' launch their own investigation, inviting the village Librarian Mr Nevil Wilkes to a pub lunch. Mr. Wilkes, a keen local historian, explains that Elm Tree House was built by Sir Robert Tollbridge, a thoroughly bad egg, on the site of a medieval Monastery. During the twelfth century, amid allegations of sadism and Devil worship, the Monks were taken out and lynched in Elm Tree Wood, and their chapel burned to the ground. The Abbot came off even worse, hung, drawn and quartered in the village square, his remains suspended in a cage until they vanished during a terrible storm. He and a "twig-shinned phantom" abroad in the woods are reputedly one and the same entity.

Wilkes assures them it's not Oliver's new home has the evil name, but the surrounding wood, where several murders have been committed. But has he told them the whole story?

To be continued ....

No comments:

Post a Comment