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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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 ....
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