Edward Kane, Advocate in The Supernal Sisters. Chapter 9: ‘I Built the Pyramids’
Having waded through the effusive welcome by Sukie Spooner and then a perfunctory introduction with the other Supernal Sister, medium Sarah Spooner, Mr Horse found himself sitting on a chesterfield, bone china cup and saucer in his hand, trying to look invisible. After a time, Sarah Spooner returned from her ‘preparations’ and bid her guests be seated at the round table. Horse placed himself beside his companion Maisie Mount as the maids began to blow out the candles in the parlour. The older sister, Sarah Spooner, in commanding mode, was not to be meddled with: ‘Open your minds. Open your hearts. Let the Life Force open the gateway to the Realm of the Dead.’ (On this last word, her voice fell deeper and deeper into a kind of low growl). She closed her eyes and began the summoning: ‘Spirits of those who have passed – make yourselves known to those who believe.’ Nothing happened for a moment. But then a knocking. From somewhere. Mr Horse turned his head towards the door – was someone trying to get in? No – the knocking was more muffled. Hard to tell where it was coming from. But faster now. More insistent. Horse looked around in the gloom. The candles had been extinguished and he could only really make out the outline of the figures of those around the table. People were sitting with their eyes shut now. Everyone except the medium, Sarah Spooner. Horse looked over. Through the gloom, Horse could see the stern face of Sarah Spooner. Staring directly at him.
‘I did not expect to find you here so late, my friend.’
The Advocates Library was emptying in dribs and drabs now as Counsel of all vintage were receiving their hats and gloves and about to embark upon the twenty-minute walk downhill to their homes in the Edinburgh New Town.
Kane’s friend and colleague, Collins, sat in the library almost hidden behind a veritable fort constructed entirely of books. Collins waved a greeting to his friend: ‘Edward, my dear friend, I hope that your evening has been more interesting than mine.’
Kane thought for a moment, then: ‘Perhaps a little too interesting, Collins.’ He motioned to the books: ‘But I’m afraid that I am disturbing you, my friend…’
Collins threw up his hands: ‘Edward you are, in fact an answer to a prayer in the form of a welcome distraction. Now let’s see if we can’t persuade one of the Faculty servants to produce a steaming pot of coffee and you can tell me all about it…’
‘Yes – I am the spirit of a slave boy of ancient Egypt…’
Sarah Spooner’s face was contorted into ugliness as she channelled the latest soul from the other side. Mr Horse sat at the round table holding the hands of the others on each side. He could feel the fear in the tight grasp of his companion, Maisie Mount.
The medium continued: ‘Yes – I built the pyramids, like my father and my grandfather before me…’
Horse leaned over and whispered into Maisie’s ear: ‘Blimey – didn’t know it was a family business…’
Sarah Spooner began to roll her head around. Her eyes began to flutter. At last, she came to a stop and the eyes started to bulge. She looked up at the ceiling. Then, slowly, slowly, slowly lowered her head and gave a low moan. And began to speak. In French:
‘Quelqu’un est arrive…’
At this point, the other Supernal Sister – pretty Sukie Spooner – began to chirrup: ‘Ooooh – we seem to have another visitor now. One who refuses to speak English.’ With a coquettish tilting of the head: ‘My sister’s prodigious – dare I say “heavenly” or “supernal” – abilities have taken us all over the world and – fortunately…’ (a little blush here) ‘…we have become proficient in a number of different tongues. This one is clearly French.’ There was a murmur of disapproval around the table. Waterloo might have been a generation ago, but the bitterness lingered.
Pretty little Sukie continued: ‘I shall speak to this spirit in his own tongue and find out what is troubling him.’ She cleared her throat, then: ‘Oh, esprit du pays des morts – qu'est-ce qui vous trouble, mon ami?’
The other Spooner sister fluttered her eyes and croaked: ‘Quelqu’un est arrive…’
Sukie turned to the group at the table, translating: ‘“Someone has come”’. She turned back to the spirit: ‘Yes…um…Oui?’
Medium, Sarah Spooner, began to writhe in her seat as if being tortured, her speech now a gasp through tears: ‘Quelqu’un est arrive…’
Sukie nodded: ‘Yes - I think we got that bit.’
‘Quelqu’un qui n'a aucun respect pour les dons des morts.’
Suki knotted her perfect eyebrows and turned back to the group: ‘According to the spirit, we have someone here who has no respect for the…um…the “gifts of the dead”. I shall remind this unfortunate that we are all friends here’. She turned back to the spirit: ‘Mais, monsieur, nous sommes tous amis ici…’
The medium shook her head: ‘Non – Je peux le voir avec tes yeux – un étranger detest…’
Suki gave a nervous little titter and turned back to the people at the table: ‘I’m afraid that our friend on the other side has rather taken agin one of our party…’
‘…avec l'âme d'un chien…’
Sukie frowned as she translated: ‘A man…with the soul of a dog…’
The eyes of the medium bulged: ‘…mais le charactere…’
‘…but the character…’
Sukie concentrated and nodded as she translated: ‘a man…with the soul of a dog…but the character…of a horse.’
She turned and looked at Mr Horse.
And at that point, the circular wooden table began to float. Two feet in the air.
Edward Kane and Mr Horse Collected Short Stories Volume 1 is available on Amazon, Kindle and from all good bookshops