The Unsolved Mysteries Contest
Title: If you knew what I know
Characters: Amelia and Bob
Unsolved Mystery: The Dalby Spook or The Case of Gef (pronounced Jeff), the Talking Mongoose
During the early 1930's, the Irving family who lived in a remote farmhouse on the Isle of Man (British Isles) claimed multiple encounters with an elusive talking mongoose named Gef. Gef was investigated by the two leading psychic researchers of the era, Harry Price and Nandor Fodor. Neither was able to draw any definitive conclusions about the case. Dialogue attributed to Gef has been used verbatim in this story; his reported antics too.
Disclaimers: No offence is intended in any way to any of the Irving family, and especially not to the memory of those characterised in this story, Voirrey, James and Margaret Irving, who are all now deceased.
The fictional characters used in this story are borrowed from the Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Mystery series, copyrighted to the wonderful Charlaine Harris.
This piece is solely a work of fiction and in no way pretends to disclose anything new about the mysterious case. It's only for play, not for profit.
The Real Setting: There is a fantastic video on YouTube called Gef the talking mongoose: A trip to Doarlish Cashen by angrybonbon. It shows where Gef lived on the Island, moving from Glen Maye right up to the farmhouse, sadly now demolished. Link: (remove spaces) http: / www. youtube. com/ watch?v= OFBvGS3ymdc
Setting in SVM: The day before Amelia and Bob arrive to ward Sookie's house and break the bond, in Dead Reckoning
Bob's Point of View
"Amelia, this is too risky. Altering the past is ... well, anything can happen to the future! It's madness. Just use the spell you found to break Sookie's bond with the vampire ... if that's what she wants."
"Where would be the fun in that? When did you get so boring, Bob?" Amelia teased.
But I really wasn't amused. I'd always enjoyed Amelia's adventurous nature, especially in the bedroom, and even the cat thing .…. I'd almost forgiven her for that and we'd almost caught up on the sex I'd lost out on, as a result. I was loving Amelia's way of making amends! Yeah, she was adventurous. But this plan of hers wasn't just adventurous, it was truly dangerous.
"Amelia! If this goes badly, you could harm the people you say you love. You'd be excommunicated from the magical community, at the very least, as well. And need I remind you of your last mistake, the one that I, personally, will never forget?" Only that wasn't strictly true, because I couldn't remember anything about my time in feline form. It was a blank; a very worrisome blank.
"Meow! You are feeling all bitchy-witchy today."
I opened my mouth to bite back, but Amelia jumped in to defend her idea. And when she got hold of an idea; she was tenacious, which was what made her such a powerful witch, but when misdirected, it spelled trouble.
"Look, how bad could it be?" she said. "All I want to do is warn Fintan Brigant to watch out for the genocidal plans of some fae, especially the water fae. They do have it in for him and his children and his children's children. If Fintan doesn't die, he can watch over all of them. Hadley will not go off the rails and end up here in New Orleans meeting the vampire Queen, who will then never know of Sookie, the telepath, so Bill will not be dispatched to procure her... So no vampires means no bond, ever. And last, but definitely not least, much less of the fairy kidnapping, torture and killing too, if Fintan is totally on his guard."
She poked her finger into my T-shirted chest to emphasise her point. It sort of made sense, but not!
"Would you stop Amelia-ing me!"
"No, Amelia! You need to listen. I know you're still upset and angry about things that happened in Bon Temps. You think Eric and Niall didn't care enough, to provide the right protection for Sookie, and Tray died trying to do it. But there are no guarantees that Fintan would be able to do any better."
Amelia spluttered, but I continued swiftly. "And what if Sookie really does love Eric? Isn't it extremely highhanded to just wipe out the Eric-part of her life! Using the bond-breaking spell should get rid of him, anyway ... if what you believe is true. It will prove to Sookie that she doesn't really love him; it's just the bond's influence. I don't know what would happen about the pledge between them then, but if Sookie does get rid of Eric, she'll still need protection; other vampires will still want her. She might need to marry another powerful supernatural, maybe a fairy or a were, who could keep her safe from them."
"Okaaay. I get that. Maybe, someone like Alcide, the Shreveport packmaster. I know she's liked him for a while. She did work for him recently too - shaman work - and she'd have to like him to put herself through that."
"My plan is still better. Just breaking the bond still leaves Sookie up to her fang-marked neck in supernatural shit. You've just pointed that out. My plan should give Sookie a better chance at the normal life she wants."
"Amelia, you are such an idealist (or showing the beginnings of being a manipulative, power-monger, like your father, I couldn't help thinking). Sookie is a supernatural - she's a telepath, a part-fairy, and has the essential spark. She has to live supernaturally. So ... don't ... do ... this. Tell Sookie we are coming to ward the house and then surprise her with the bond-breaking spell."
Amelia looked stubborn.
"Bob, Bob, Bob, Bobbity-Bob," she sang in a dismissive voice. "I'll just give this time-travel thing one quick shot; give Fintan the heads-up after he and Adele have hooked-up; then come back. If Sookie is not in a good place when I return, I'll go back and tell Fintan to ignore what I told him, that it only made the situation worse! Or I'll just turn up here before I travel and tell myself not to do it! And I don't see myself yet!"
I smiled, in exasperation really.
"Well, I'm not going with you. It's ridiculous! But I'll wait for your return and help to check out the changes, if your plan goes right. Just think, Sookie won't even know you! She won't have come to New Orleans, to Hadley's, 'cause Hadley won't be living here in your building! If your plan goes wrong ... well, either way, it will be interesting! I guess we'll still know each other..."
As my mind wandered down the truly-terrifying-ramification route, Amelia determinedly lit the three candles placed carefully on the table.
"Don't do this," I pleaded, one last time. "Let's go back to bed for some ... afternoon delight. Let me..."
But there was no diverting her. Amelia had already started the chant. I hoped that the whole thing would just fizzle out, candles and all, but Amelia had become more powerfully magical of late, more powerfully impetuous, it seemed, too. So I wasn't surprised when she suddenly disappeared in a flash of light, and whoosh of air, after chanting something as simple as:
"Power of this witch rise, fly unseen across the skies, take me back to where I'll find, what I wish in place and time."
The smell of snuffed-out candles filled the room, but one remained lit. Damn it! Only two parts of the spell had worked. What had been missed – the Fintan part, the Adele part or the timing part?
Amelia's Point of View - Beginnings
My world turned bright and breezy, like I'd taken all the light and air out of the room with me, as I travelled. It had worked. I wished to meet Fintan, the day he fell for Adele Stackhouse.
And then there he was. Phew! I'd just realised my thoughts had been a little loose. He may never have fallen for her. It could have just been about the mating and the making children, but it must have been love, 'cause here he was. Wherever here was?
Fintan looked just like his father – tall, slim and ethereal, with pale golden hair. Next to him was a very short woman, dressed in a red cloak, which stood out against the green scenery of this place. Her pointy hat gave her a comical appearance. Then I realised she was a witch, her magic masked at first under the power swirling in this glade. The air was thick with it; fae magic. Fintan and the witch chatted right next to a rocky chasm, while a waterfall roared noisily behind them. The area was choked with ferns, trees, shrubs and herbs, almost blocking out the sunlight entirely. It didn't seem like Louisiana. It did smell earthy and fragrant and, yes, it felt extremely magical.
I started to get nervous. I cleared my throat. Both sets of intelligent eyes turned to meet my gaze. I gulped, suddenly wishing I had planned out exactly what to say. What was the most important point again?
"You are not of this time," the woman said.
"That's right. I have come from the 21st century to warn Fintan to protect Ad..."
"Say no more," the witch ordered.
My mouth shut. And not because I wanted it too. Well, damn! She was powerful.
"You are a dangerous one, aren't you? Willing to come through time to alter events, lives... I can feel your ... intent. It is mainly benevolent, with a little mischief and some vengefulness mixed in. And you are powerful, but young, and maybe foolish. Using time-travel to fix things should only ever be used as a last resort, and usually not even then. Did you use up all the alternatives?"
Oh my God! This witch was starting to sound like Octavia or Bob. And how was I supposed to answer any questions, with my mouth magically shut tight? Frustrating! Undignified! Fintan looked amused and ... about to leave.
"Go now, Fintan, before this one gives us more trouble. We have enough of our own, what with the little fellas and a spryte. Go. I will deal with her," encouraged my nemesis.
"Fintan, stop!" I cried, managing to break her magical hold on my voice, by sheer will. Yeah, I have some juice, too. But Fintan didn't stop. He leapt into the waterfall and simply vanished through a portal, I hadn't been able to see in the gloom. I moved forward as if to follow (as if I could), and my self-appointed mentor, caught my arm.
"Come up to the hotel and have a drink," she said. "I'm Jinny."
"Amelia." I responded automatically, my mind all a-whirl. Fintan was gone. What to do, what to do, what to do? A drink sounded nice. And a hotel! Near here! The place seemed so ... elsewhere. But I went with it ... her ... Jinny, and sure enough at the top of some nearby steps, sat the quaint Waterfall Inn. A drink? Yes, I could do with that. I felt zapped.
"Where are we?" I asked as we entered the bar. The room was olde-worlde, with a low beamed ceiling.
"Glen Maye, near the village of Dalby." Well, duh!
"And where might that be?"
"The Isle of Man. It's in the middle of the Irish Sea and, before you ask, it is September, 1931."
Okaaaay. Somewhere near Ireland then. Wow, somehow I hadn't expected to travel out of Louisiana. But 1931, that couldn't be right. Adele and Fintan must have got it together in the 1950's. Damn it, again! This was turning out to be a disaster.
Jinny had bought us two lemonades while I'd stood in my daze. "Discourages the little fellas," she said, as I sipped the drink.
"You mean, you only like them big," I smirked. She laughed at that. I might have liked her, under different circumstances.
"What you say could be true, but I meant the fairies. (This word was whispered so low, you could say it was mouthed.) That word is not spoken here," she confirmed. "They are called the little ones or little fellas." I must have looked incredulous, because she continued saying, "Don't ask me why. Just know that Manx little fellas are every bit as troublesome and mischievous as any other fae you may have met! So drink your lemonade."
"I thought it would be the 1950's," I blurted out, my very real worry bubbling up to the surface. "Look, you're obviously an experienced witch..."
"Sssh," she said sharply. "I'm not a witch (again with the mouthing). Here, on the Isle of Man, I am a wise woman."
"But you can use magic," I said, slightly confused by the terminology, although ... maybe ... I'd heard it before. Jinny interrupted, before I could fully grasp that thought.
"Of course, I come from a long line of powerful wise women. What concerns me though, is your lack of wisdom. Problem-solving through time-travel! Pfft! It's just hocus-pocus. Uncontrollable!"
I opened my mouth to speak, to defend myself if I could, but Jinny got in first. "Don't tell me what you wanted to change or why you thought it was for the best." I closed my mouth, all by myself. I didn't know what to say anyway. It seemed like a good idea at the time sounded a bit lame, and sort of the same as, not wise.
Jinny sipped her drink, looking at me over her glass, sizing me up. "But let's see if we can work out what went wrong."
We took a seat at a corner table.
"Tell me the parts," she asked, straight to the point.
"Fintan, his lover, and the time that he fell in love with her."
"The time's not exact enough." She was blunt. "Fintan may have fallen in love with this woman more than once. If she was human, and I take it she was, he could have had trouble staying away, even though he knew he should. If I know Fintan, he probably kept returning and falling in love all over again. So you confused the magic. The spell didn't know which time was the most significant. I would say it has defaulted to the human lover's birth date, to the first instance where Fintan could have crossed her path. So, 1931?"
I did a bit of mental maths, though numbers weren't my strong suit! 1931 seemed feasible. "Sounds about right," I said. "So I got Fintan here, at the time, his lover was born! Just great!"
"Amelia, you are lucky the magic did that for you." More Ameliaing, I noticed. It followed me wherever I went! "You could have ended up travelling between all the days, that Fintan loved the woman; forever, in a never-ending loop. Your spell was sloppy, but at least, it was strong."
"Thanks, I think." I gulped down the rest of my drink. It was time to get out of here. Jinny wasn't through with me yet though.
"And with great strength comes great responsibility. You need to learn that." Was the woman channelling Octavia? "I will train you; take you as my familiar."
"What!" I didn't need the lemonade to keep the little fellas away. They weren't my problem. It was the highhanded wise woman next to me that was. Me! A familiar; a witch's assistant, probably in animal form. So not happening! And that's when I knew I should have been out of there, like yesterday.
Of course, I ran as if I had a rocket up my ass, but I wasn't quick enough. I ended up careening along a rocky narrow path, towered over by high hedgerows, up what seemed to be a never-ending hill. I scurried along on all fours, low to the ground, swishing my tail! Some things, unfamiliar-feeling things, swung between my hind legs! And I knew I had yellow fur over my clawed paws.
"Shit," I said. But no sound came. I couldn't speak, which was strange for a familiar. The initial magical whammy Jinny had thrown at my voice was still in place. It had stopped me casting my spell too; the spell I needed to actually say to return to my time, my world. Yup, Jinny was clever alright. And she had got me good. I had not been able to fight her transfiguration spell, at first, either. She had been determined to make me her familiar. I'd shrunk and re-formed as I ran, while Jinny had tried to absorb all my magical energy. That got on my last nerve!
With my final scrap of power, I'd thrown up a shield, a personal ward, and it was first class. Yes, I'd always been good at wards. Her magic hadn't touched me further, but I'd kept on running. I was trying to be a wise woman, too! And I wasn't certain, how big and strong my shield was. I didn't think she could reach me physically. I didn't think she'd be able to call me to work at her side, like an obedient familiar should, but I was taking no chances. I kept on running.
Eventually, the path of my escape route opened out onto a most beautiful vista. The clear blue sky merged into an azure sea. A vast expanse of heather downs and patchwork fields fell away over cliffs, down to that sea. I was high up and it was remote, but there, sat a girl on top of a grassed, sod wall. She was staring at me with interested eyes – greenish-brown, half-open eyes. I wondered what I looked like.
"Hello there," she said, good-naturedly. "My name is Voirrey, and who might you be?" To my relief, she seemed to be entirely human, a teenage human. I don't think Voirrey actually expected an answer, but I decided to try out my frozen vocal cords and managed some sort of anguished cough.
"Gef," she repeated after me. Is that what it sounded like? Well, there was no way I was going to get 'Amelia' out and with my new gear-at-the-rear, a male-sounding name was probably a good thing. "You sound like you need a drink," she said. "Follow me." Another invitation for a drink! I hoped this one worked out better than the last.
Voirrey turned towards a somewhat run-down, two-storey, cement-grey farmhouse. It was the only house, lone and isolated, for as far as the eye could see. I followed Voirrey cautiously through the porch and into the main living room, where a big, black range threw out warmth and the comforting smell of baking biscuits. The room was dim, despite the brightness outside; its windows, small and not meant to open. Chocolate-brown wood panelling covered all the walls, absorbing what light could enter, giving the room a mysterious feel.
Voirrey put down a saucer of water for me. I tried to lap. It wasn't easy. I would have to learn how to use this animal body. That's when I really understood, I was still human. I was a human in animal form – transfigured, not transformed. But why the male genitalia? Maybe it was just Jinny's little joke; giving me a little fella, so to speak.
Suddenly, Voirrey scooped me up, ran up an irregular staircase and into a small bedroom. An area was boxed in, with that same dark wood panelling, and she thrust me up high, to put me on top. "Mam and my father are coming. Stay put."
I stayed put and worried.
And I must have slept, as the next thing I knew Voirrey was tickling my nose, with a biscuit. She was balancing on a wooden chair to reach my sanctum, offering me milk too. I ate and drank hungrily, messily, thankful that she hadn't brought me something raw, because I looked like an animal. I needed human food, even if I ate it like an animal.
Voirrey stroked my back. "This can be your place, Gef. We'll become good friends, you and I. I have a feeling you are like no other creature I have ever met." What could I say? Nothing!
The wind sighed around the farmhouse softly. The occupants were quiet too eventually; sleeping. It was dark out. Time to move! I leapt down onto the chair, then floor, tippy-pawed carefully to the top of the stairs, caught my curled claw on a piece of loose carpet and tumbled all the way to the bottom. Well, that hurt! All over! I picked myself up and ran into the living room, in case someone had been disturbed by the thumping and grunting as I fell. I hid under a chair, then behind the wood panelling where it had cracked and come away from the wall.
No one came.
A cool draught of air blew on my face. Following the breeze behind the panelling, I found a crevice in the house's exterior wall, big enough to let me get outside, with a pinch. That was, and would be, a relief. All that drinking! I squeezed my head out into the night air. No witches that I could see or sense. I breathed in and delivered myself into the outside world. Slinking across the yard, I kept low to the ground (which was easy because whatever I was, I had short legs), and headed for the nearest hedgerow. Hidden from view under a profusion of brambles, I peed. Aah! It felt good, but just the same as it ever had, despite the new body and the new equipment. Maybe I was a little disappointed!
So with that bit of business successfully concluded, I was off, getting accustomed to my form, as I ran over and along the top of sod walls and stone walls, exploring the treeless fields, stocked with some goats and sheep. An outbuilding or two housed geese, ducks and chickens. Everywhere was green, except where slate rock showed through the thin soil. It was acres and acres of isolation. No one was about. No troublesome wise women or little fellas, either.
As I explored, I made a startling discovery. My shield against Jinny's magic had, at some point, developed into a ward, a big one. Maybe, the shield had expanded, spreading out from my body into the surrounding area, as I'd run, escaping. Now, it enclosed the farmhouse, probably what was the farm's land and the path back to Glen Maye. I knew I was good at casting wards, but this should not have happened, couldn't happen, but had. Very, very odd!
I puffed up the path back to the farm's high spot, and that's when I finally noticed the air still had that magical quality I'd felt before. Not as strongly, as in Glen Maye, where I'd almost managed to meet and greet Fintan, but the magic was there. It felt ... enchanting!
Enchanting! That's the word that triggered my memory! Octavia's Class 101 - Magical Places on Earth. How did it go? Something like - "The Isle of Man, an enchanted Isle protected by the great Tuatha De Danann god, Manannan, is the only place in this realm, where humans accept the existence of fairies and witches. The humans show respect for these races, by never referring to them by name, using other terms instead. And so the secret of their very existence is kept from the outside world." The terms, wise woman and little fellas now made a lot more sense. My mind had finally caught up with my time-travelling, transfiguring body!
Well, well, well! Maybe it was possible to use magic differently here. Was my shield enlarged because of the magic all around me? And more importantly, could I use it to break this transfiguration spell? I drew on the magic in the air; it condensed, assisting me with casting a silent reversal. My paws tingled, but nothing else happened. I looked at those tingly paws and... Wow, my hands and feet were back; smaller, but back! I did a little happy dance, on the spot, on my own two feet. And then it was over. Snap! My paws were back and I fell on my tailed ass. Damn it! Still, it was encouraging.
Happier, I headed back to the farmhouse and snuck in. I felt a little safer now with wards in place, but I was in animal form and this was a farm! Could I be fattened up for dinner, or be killed outright as vermin, or be taken in as a pet? What sort of animal was I? Definitely, time to see what I looked like.
Squeezing back into the main living room, I leapt from floor to chair to table and looked across the room into the wall mirror. It was getting light and I could hear the family stirring overhead, but I had to take the time to look. And there I was - a small, yellowish creature, with a darker bushy tail; like a weasel! Well generally, not considered edible, but so ... boring. Surely, I should be a more exotic creature than that! Like a ... a ... a ... mongoose! Still it was Jinny's spell, so really I should be grateful, it wasn't worse. I didn't have time to consider what could be worse, before a grey-haired man, 60ish, with a cheerful, weather-beaten face entered the room. I bounded down and squeezed into my hidey-hole. He may have glimpsed my tail as I hid. Eventually, he called, "Voirrey, jobs to do." The busy farm day began, at least for some. I slept – all day.
And woke up starving, in dire need of coffee! All was quiet inside the house, so I ventured out, found the pantry and ate. If I concentrated, my little hands would pop back out. It was much easier to use these for pouring milk, picking up cheese and pulling off chunks of bread. I couldn't hold the human form for long; but it was useful. And my voice; I'd work on that next. If I could say the words to the get-me-the-hell-out-of-here spell, I could get home and get help, even if Bob made himself sick laughing at me. What had he said to me, after Octavia made him human again? What goes around, comes around. Yeah, well, I seemed to be getting my just desserts. Desserts! Yum, I was still hungry, and there was cake.
Then I heard footsteps stomping into the back kitchen. Damn! Time to hide! So I ran up to my sanctum and waited; waited for Voirrey.
Voirrey came ... with cake! No coffee though. Still, I was so happy, I gurgled, like a baby.
With my hunger sated, I immediately started my vocal retraining - grunting, choking, wheezing and sometimes sounding like a strangled cat. Bob probably would have been pleased. But so was I; the witch's spell was slipping. Voirrey listened, looking on with concern, and then with interest. Soon she started to help.
"Gef," she said. I copied and gargled my "Gef" in response. It sounded like something quite rude. But Voirrey wasn't put off.
"Voirrey," she said. "Wallo," I said.
"Voirrey," she said again. "Volee," I pronounced proudly.
"One more time, Gef. Say, Voirrey." And I did, with perfectly-squeaked enunciation; so we went on. When Voirrey said a word, I repeated it. Then we progressed to nursery rhymes. After I'd recited Mary Had A Little Lamb at least 10 times, I just had to wiggle out another little happy dance, in celebration, much to Voirrey's delight. Take that, Jinny the witch.
"What are you, Gef," Voirrey asked me then.
"I am an earthbound spirit," I said. What! I tried again.
"I am not a spirit. I am a little extra, extra, clever mongoose," I spouted. Well ... poop! This might be lot harder than I'd first thought. Whenever I tried to compose a response, some of the words were my own, but the rest was gobbledegook, or ... being influenced by Jinny's spell. Well ... double poop! I hadn't broken the magic completely, not yet anyway.
"Where do you come from, Gef," Voirrey asked, as if my answers had been perfectly intelligent. I suppose I was doing alright for a weasel.
I reluctantly replied, wondering what I would say next. "I was born in Delhi, India, on June 7, 1852." Well, that was news to me! I'd wanted to say New Orleans, USA, but it was so not happening.
And that's when Voirrey said, "Gef, let me introduce you to my parents – James and Margaret Irving." I'd been concentrating so hard, I had missed their arrival in the bedroom.
Mr Irving said, "We thought we heard you speaking to someone, Voirrey," as he looked at my weaselly form.
"That would be Gef," she said, pointing at me. "He's says he's a talking mongoose."
"Well, welcome to Doarlish Cashen, or Cashen's Gap, if you prefer English, Gef," Mr Irving said. "Call me Jim." He seemed perfectly happy to take Voirrey at her word.
Mrs Irving looked a little more formidable. She was tallish and dignified, with two magnetic eyes that seemed to see more than they should for a human. We regarded one another.
"You know, Gef, you are no animal," she said.
"Of course, I am not," I retorted. I was so pleased that someone understood this. My tone had been sharp though. Then things got worse, as I said, only it wasn't really me saying it, "I am the Holy Ghost." What! Was the witch, beginning with a 'b', trying to make me sound crazy? Was she trying to get me thrown out of here, so I could take up my 'familiar' position? Probably.
The family were staring at me, bemused and slightly horrified, too! I pushed against Jinny's spell with all my will. I needed to say something sensible.
"I am not evil," I said, hoping to ease the tension.
But I felt Jinny fight back, felt her presence in my being, as I was forced to say, "I could be if I wanted. You don't know what damage or harm I could do if I were roused. I could kill you all."
I shut my mouth with a snap, cutting Jinny off, because those words weren't mine. I pushed against my speech impediment again. I felt her influence weaken. At least, I knew this was difficult for Jinny, too ... at this range, through my wards. Good to know! So, Amelia, I said to myself, say something short and sweet, to fix this. What do you say after threatening to kill?
"But I won't," I managed, correctly. We all looked relieved.
While I was on a roll I continued. "If you are kind to me, I will bring you good luck." And I certainly hoped it was true! I had realised during this 'conversation' that I needed this place; to stay here, safely, until I could lose the verbal diarrhoea. I couldn't risk saying my spell to return to my own time, if Jinny could influence it. Anything could happen! Uncontrollable!
"Why are you here, Gef?" Jim asked. "Is there anything you are here to tell us?" He must have thought I could be some sort of ghost or poltergeist.
Damn! I wished I could tell them, although the real story would probably make no more sense than the stuff I had just been spouting. Still, that story would be my own, entirely uninfluenced by another person, or their magic. Somehow, that made me think of Sookie and the vampire's bond! Oh my God! No wonder she wanted the bond broken.
The family were waiting for me to reply. This was hard. What could I tell them? What could I, or would, the spelled-me, say?
"If you knew what I know, you'd know a hell of a lot!" I said, in the end. Well, that wasn't all me, but everyone here seemed satisfied.
"You're welcome to stay then, Gef, and to tell us some of those things in the days to come," Jim replied. He seemed to be an intelligent man, with an enquiring mind.
I nodded. Safer that way!
Amelia's Point of View – Endings
I nodded to Uishtey, my 2-foot-tall, little fella companion. I kept my mouth shut, because I was chewing on a mouthful of four-leafed clover, and because I still said things that weren't my own. I glanced at him, as we waited. He was dressed in a green jacket and quirky red hat, squished down hard over his little pointy ears. I was my usual weaselly self. He'd asked if I was ready. Well, I was and I wasn't. But it was time to end this.
We were sitting on a stone wall overlooking Glen Maye, the glade where I had landed at the beginning of my time travels ... four years ago. Yes, four years! I could hardly believe it. I had fought Jinny's spell and influence all the while, but I had never won; never been free of its constant presence in my speech, moods or actions. It had made me think of Sookie every day.
Jinny had not won our magical battle of wills, though. I had not become her familiar. Ha! Although, she'd nearly got me once. Somehow, her transfiguration spell had intensified and I'd actually turned into a cat! But I had resisted and managed to return to my mongoosey, if not human, form.
But now, I was determined to end this. It was the end of the day, a good time to end all things magical.
I wasn't the only one wanting to end things, though. The Irvings, my surrogate family, were leaving, or trying to. Their remote farm life had become untenable, harsh and unprofitable. I had taken to killing rabbits with my bare hands (I'd never been able to bring myself to bite the living animal with my sharp teeth) to help supplement the sometimes meagre food supply. It was the only way I could help to pay for my keep.
But that wasn't the only reason they were leaving. My existence had not brought the good luck, I had promised. Once news of my presence at the farm had got out, media interest had been intense, intrusive and, at times, very unkind. The local papers had dubbed me the "Dalby Spook", as if I was some sort of ghost who lived on at 'The Talking Weasel Farm'. And that had only been the beginning.
Once the story had crossed the waters to the UK, investigators had come at us from all angles. Even the most renowned, psychic investigators of the time came eventually. Voirrey had been observed and questioned, observed and questioned... And she had been, still was, so young. One interviewer had even suggested she had a dual personality; one part projected into an animal form, me! Or she was a witch, with her familiar! All the family, at one time or another, had been accused of perpetrating a hoax. But the family never profited from all the publicity; never took money for their troubles.
And troubles abounded when the sightseers and mystery hunters, like the celebrity-stalkers of my 21st Century lifetime, began tramping all over their farm. The stalkers looked through windows, left gates open and picnic mess about, all in a search for me, the talking mongoose, as I was later dubbed. Unfortunately, ordinary humans never had any trouble getting through my protective wards at the farm, but I'd never seen another magical creature, until today, that is.
And that creature was Uishtey, the Manx little fella sitting neatly next to me. He was helping to end my witch-induced speech impediment. It was part of our deal. Gosh, how he had surprised me this afternoon! I'd been out hunting rabbits, when ... Pop! There he was next to me, right out of the thin magical air. I'd been left speechless (probably for the best), as he'd explained who he was.
"I am Uishtey, leader of the Glen Maye little people. We have not been able to live in our Glen for four years. We have been trapped here by your magical protection, your wards, unable to leave." He'd looked at me accusingly. Whoops, I'd thought. Then ... well, why didn't you say something sooner?
His next words had answered that thought. "I would have approached you sooner, but we, my people and I, have all been repelled by your presence." Geez! Well, say what you mean! Manners? None! "You had drunk lemonade – a very powerful repellent used against our kind. Today, the effect has worn off." Wow! I remembered that one glass of lemonade with Jinny, all those years ago at the Waterfall Inn. So it had really worked and it had only worn off now!
It hadn't been a particularly auspicious beginning to Uishtey's and my ... relationship, but we both had something in common. We wanted to go home.
I hoped the Irvings would find a new home too. They were a decent, ordinary, close-knit family. And my presence had hurt them. Time-travel could have very unintended consequences; I understood that now. It really could harm the people you loved. Yes, I'd hurt them. Their reputation had been brought into question by these investigations, and they hadn't deserved it. And, I'd even made it worse, by staying away as much as I could, during all the investigating. This hadn't helped their credibility one bit. But I hadn't wanted to be observed, poked, prodded or captured. I had played along once or twice though, just for fun, just for the devilment of it! Sometimes, particularly when outside, I would hide, then throw my voice to 'haunt' investigators and gawkers alike. But now that had backfired too. Jim might have to sell the farm at a loss. Who wanted to buy a haunted house and farm?
Uishtey passed me another four-leaf clover, from a seemingly endless supply in a tiny satchel slung over his shoulder. We'd been doing this for a while now. As I finished chewing one and swallowing, he would give his fairy kiss to another and pass it to me. I'd felt Jinny's vocal spell lifting, as I swallowed the juice. The magical clover was an antidote, and although I felt cured now, I just kept chewing more to make sure.
This antidote was Uishtey's part of our deal. Mine had been to lift my protective wards, so he and his people could leave. This I had done. But here we sat waiting; waiting for Jinny.
Why wasn't I saying my spell, the get-me-the-hell-out-of-here-now spell? Well, I wanted to be human-Amelia, not mongoose-Gef, when I returned to my time, if I could. I knew I had made mistakes, but I had my pride. Uishtey waited too, as he also had unfinished business with Jinny. He'd explained it all to me as we waited.
There had been a bit of a fairy/witch (excuse my language) war going on, when I'd arrived all those years ago. How unusual! Supernaturals never seemed to get on; no matter the time or place. A particularly vicious water spryte had invaded Uishtey's home in the Glen and would not leave. The situation had got quite bloody apparently. So they had asked Jinny for magical assistance, but she had just laughed and told them to "deal with it". And so they had.
The whole clan had moved up to the remote, high ground at Doarlish Cashen; ground where the witch carried out some of her most sacred rituals. And then they had actually spelled Jinny, so she could not enter her own sacred area. I had laughed (squeak-snorted) out loud. I realised then, that Jinny had never been able to get at me physically. No wonder she had tried so hard to control me through the voice and transfiguration spells.
When I'd arrived at Doarlish Cashen, my ward had kept Uishtey and his clan even safer from Jinny and the water spryte. And, at first, they had been pleased, as my magic complemented their interests. Pleased, until they realised that, while other magical beings couldn't get in, they themselves, couldn't get out! And then they'd been repelled by the 'lemonade effect'. Every approach to me had failed until now. They had tried today, when I hadn't been with Voirrey.
Ah, Voirrey! I would miss her. We'd had our good times; hunting, eating chocolate, singing to the gramophone. I had found I could recite rhymes and sing songs, without Jinny's influence. Yay! They weren't my own compositions, I guess. And Voirrey had grown into quite a beautiful 17 year old girl ... who I'd begun to have a crush on. Damn my sex-starved human hormones that just wouldn't rest! So lately, I had distanced myself from Voirrey, a little, and now she was offended! Yes, it was time to leave, before I completely wore out my welcome. I didn't know how I hadn't worn it out long ago. Sometimes, under Jinny influence, I'd even thrown things ... at the family ... like needles or stones. How had they stood it? How had I?
Yup, time to get Jinny out of my system! I could hardly wait to get home; home to Bob too, not that I would tell him much. And I'd especially not tell him, I really had turned him into a cat that time, and I thought those kittens probably were his. I had transformed him, not just transfigured him; that's why his human brain held no memory of it at all. He hadn't been human. Yup, I'd had a lot of time to think. And it was time to get Eric out of Sookie's system too!
I ate another clover leaf. Uishtey and I were going to present a united front to Jinny, who no doubt would arrive shortly. She would be able to sense my presence, her familiar's presence, without the wards.
Then, as if I had willed it, Jinny herself, strolled out of the Waterfall Inn towards us. She must have kept off the lemonade, because Uishtey showed no reaction.
She looked just as I remembered her, and she was still ... blunt. "Let's end this," she said. Wow! We were all like-minded. It was the 'how', I was anxious about though. I didn't want to end up in a fairy/witch war, or as a true familiar. I knew my vocal cords were magically protected, coated as they were by Uishtey's clover juice, so I was sure I could get away to my time, in mongoose form, if I had to. But I so wanted to be me again.
"Uishtey, I have dealt with the water spryte. I apologise for not assisting when you requested it."
Well, that sounded good and I hadn't expected it. Neither had Uishtey. His mouth was hanging open.
"The spryte was a very nasty piece of water-fae work," Jinny continued. "I decided to remove it myself, so that you and I could trade ground. You would return to the Glen, in exchange for my high lands, the ones you had occupied. But I could not force the spryte out! So I called upon a fae prince, from another realm, to assist. I called Fintan Brigant to negotiate with the spryte on my behalf. Fintan found it could not be negotiated with. He killed it."
Oh my God! Fintan killed a water spryte; a nasty one, probably from a very nasty family. What goes around comes around floated through my brain. Well, this could explain some stuff!
Jinny still hadn't finished talking, I realised. "You may return to your glen, Uishtey, if I may have the high lands of Doarlish Cashen again."
"Agreed," said Uishtey. He rang some sort of bell, which seemed to indicate to Jinny that she was de-spelled. The rest of his little clan popped up next to him then. Uishtey led the charge, as the little fellas ran down the hill to their glen, squealing with glee. Well, that was nice for them. So much for the united front!
I regarded Jinny warily; then decided to test my vocal cords.
"So Jinny..." Not the most intelligent thing to say, but I liked the sound of my own voice, my real voice.
"I hear you've got your own voice back, my familiar," she acknowledged. I was about to lose my temper with the 'familiar' term, when I noticed the glint in her eye, the quirk to her lips. She was teasing me! "Have you learned your lesson?" she continued.
"Have I learned not to accept drinks from strange witches? (I mouthed the word) Well, yes!"
Jinny looked a little put out, at the word 'strange', at the little tease of my own. Sensitive! Huh? So I continued on, more seriously, even though I hated to admit that she was right, that Bob was right, that Octavia was right. "I have also learned that time-travel is unsafe, especially as a way to fix problems. It can do more harm than good. It can have completely unintended consequences," I said, thinking of the Irvings, with love and remorse.
"Done," Jinny said. "I release you." The transfiguration spell was reversed.
I waited, still sitting on the stone wall, a little worried about what this might feel like. Then I just, sort of, pumped up, like an inflatable toy. It was a little uncomfortable! I really, really hoped that when the wrinkles smoothed out, I would be Amelia-shaped and all woman, wise or not, once more. And then it was done. I knew I was me again - my free body, my free will; free of her spell.
A sharp stone on the wall poked into my now naked, de-furred ass. And before anything worse than that could happen, I chanted my own spell, clearly, with all my own intent.
''I wish to go forward, forward back to my past present, this is my will, so mote it be!''
Bob's Point Of View
I hadn't moved a muscle, not even a twitch, when Amelia rematerialised - stark naked, smelly and smiling broadly through green teeth.
She launched herself at me, embraced me, and planted me with a wide, open-mouthed kiss that tasted like ... grass! The two snuffed-out candles reignited. It meant she was back safely ... well, more or less, by the look of her. Amelia released me; then solemnly blew out the three candles.
"I am so done with time-travel," she said, in a firm, loud voice.
"Amelia, what..." But I couldn't get anything else out, before she hugged me again, and said, "I just love the sound of my own name. Say it again."
"Okaaay, Amelia, Amelia, Amelia, tell me what happened."
"First things first, Bob. I've got to clean my teeth." She made a disgusted face and headed to the bathroom. I followed. Over her shoulder, she said, "But I can tell you, that nothing will have happened to our future or Sookie's. As for time-travel to fix a problem – well, let's just say, experience has taught me, that you were right all along, Bob. It is madness. I..."
Anything else she might have said was drowned out, as she scrubbed her teeth. Well, it was more like - scrub, gargle, spit, scrub, gargle, spit – all the while staring into the bathroom mirror. She scrutinised her reflection carefully, as if seeing herself for the first time. To me, she looked just the same as when she'd 'left' - only naked now, and in need of a good dose of deodorant. I watched her breasts jiggle and her bottom wiggle, as she scrubbed. So hot! Amelia caught my gaze.
"I seem to remember something about afternoon delight, Bob? But I'd be happy with some straight-up, serious, shower sex. Right now." Amelia tossed the toothbrush, turned on the shower and hauled me into it, all in what seemed to be one smooth motion.
I grinned. "Always happy to oblige, Amelia. Well, almost always!"
Amelia tore my wet T-shirt right off...
Some hours later, I lay flat out on the bed, completely exhausted. Amelia had been insatiable, like she hadn't had sex for years. And that new technique – lick, suck, nip, nibble, and hum – applied, with confidence, to my family jewels... Yeah, I was knackered alright! I might not be able to walk right for a week, but it was worth every second of it. I wondered if she had learned that on her travels, and if so, what else? But Amelia, for once, was being close mouthed.
So we were back to the original plan – warding Sookie's house and removing her bond to the vampire by the well-researched, bond-breaking spell. In fact, Amelia was adamant about the bond breaking, almost obsessed with it. I just hoped Sookie felt the same way. I could hear Amelia pounding away on the laptop in the kitchen, emailing Sookie now. The two of us were going to drive up, straight after work tomorrow night. The sooner the better Amelia had said.
I rolled out of the bed and robed, before making my way gingerly to the kitchen. "More coffee, Amelia?"
"God, yes!" she answered quickly, "and another beignet please."
I got serving, and asked about what was on my mind. "Are you sure Sookie is going to want this bond broken?"
"Well, she is the one who asked me to find a way to break it! And I get it. I really do. She's under someone else's influence. I know she's used to it, sort of, but it is always there. Maybe, not in a huge way, but it's something to adjust to every day. And at any time, Eric could use it, to make Sookie do or feel something, she might not want to. Eric really could do that." Amelia paused and then said with feeling. "To be under another's influence, to not be able to get away from it ever ... well, it's abhorrent." Amelia shuddered.
"Is that an opinion based on experience?" I asked, as I put the coffee down next to her and took a bite of her beignet, before handing it over. I needed the energy!
Amelia took a long slug of coffee; then managed to stuff the rest of the beignet into her mouth. Yeah, the things she could do with her mouth! While I waited for Amelia to swallow, I looked at the laptop screen. She must have finished emailing, and been googling, as the screen displayed an article. The headline read - "Dalby Spook' mongoose mystery back in the spotlight".
I continued to read over her shoulder.
The case of a Manx mystery which made headlines around the world is to reopen more than 70 years after the first claimed sighting.
Speculation has surrounded the case of the Dalby Spook — a talking mongoose called Gef — since a 13-year-old girl is said to have first seen it in 1931. One of Gef's most famous sayings was 'If you knew what I know, you'd know a lot.'
"Amelia! Are you still researching this animal transformation stuff? I thought we'd agreed to drop it; agreed that those kittens in Bon Temps couldn't be mine. We looked into it. Weres aren't attracted to real animals after they transform magically. You said that your magical spell must have worked along the same lines! And that my human DNA meant I couldn't reproduce with a cat!" The possibility just irked me and not having any memory of that time ... well, it was plain unsettling; it creeped me out. I just wanted to forget about it – which I had in a way, because I couldn't remember it anyhow!
Amelia finally swallowed the beignet and then snapped the laptop's lid shut. She looked at me for a while, as if considering carefully what to say next. "I'm sure you're right," she said. "But whatever happened, it was my mistake. Even if those kittens were yours..."
I held up my hand in a gesture of protest, but she took it and held it gently. She looked directly into my eyes and I could see her sincerity, as she continued. "You were not you – not your own person at all. You can't even remember it! It was all my mistake, and I'm sorry. And I'm tired of making mistakes. I want to do something right; something to help someone I love, not to harm them. And that's why I want to help Sookie. She needs a chance to be her own person. I just want to get this totally right."
I could see she meant it. Maybe Amelia wasn't turning into a manipulative, power-monger, after all. And that would be a very good thing for all of us.
"Okay, I hear you," I said. "We'll do this right then. You will want to be fit for action tomorrow, so let's head back to bed." Amelia eyed me archly. "To get some sleep! It will be a long day, driving all the way to Bon Temps after work. And on the drive, you can fill me in on everything that happened to you, on your time-travels."
Amelia just smiled and took a line from the article she'd been reading. "If you knew what I know, you'd know a hell of a lot," she teased. Arrogant? Much! Then, she sashayed off towards the bedroom, letting her robe slip to the floor as she moved. "We've got time," she said, as she turned, with a delectable pout.
Amelia looked anything but tired; ready for bed certainly, but not in the sleep sense. Maybe, it was all the coffee keeping her awake. It seemed like we were both going to be extremely worn out by the time we got to Bon Temps tomorrow night! Hmmm!
Amelia did, after all, know a hell of a lot!
A/N This is a mystery from the Island where I live. The mystery has recently been reopened by researchers. (Part of the article was quoted above) Christopher Josiffe, a cataloguer at London University's Senate Library, is carrying out new research into the case and he is appealing for Islanders to help uncover the truth. (IOM today .co. im – 'Dalby Spook' mongoose mystery back in the spotlight, June 2011)
All Gef's antics with the Irving family are taken from the reports generated by actual investigations, although very much condensed.
The mystery was thoroughly researched in the past by local and UK media. R S Lambert, The Editor of The Listener, and his friend, Harry Price, the renowned paranormal investigator of the time, co-produced a book, The Haunting of Cashen's Gap. A Modern 'Miracle, 1936. Nandor Fodor, Research Officer for the International Institute for Psychical Research also investigated and wrote about the case in his Encyclopaedia of Psychic Science.
Other elements of the story are also true. The Manx people have traditionally been superstitious and readily of accepting the supernatural world. Witches and fairies are known as wise women and little fellas (or little people or Themselves). These traditions may be dying out in the 21st Century, although I still wave to the little people at their bridge on the way to the airport. It is now known as the Fairy Bridge, so...?
Jinny the Witch, real name Joney Lowney, lived on the Island in Braddan. She was tried at Bishop's Court for witchcraft in 1715 and 1716. Her greatest crime was stopping the Ballaughton Corn Mill, infuriated as she was by the poor quality of the grain. She was sentenced to 14 days' imprisonment, and made to stand at the four market crosses dressed in sackcloth. In England or Scotland she would have been burnt at the stake. She died in January 1725. Jinny is immortalised in a song. It is sung each Hop Tu Naa (Halloween) night by the Manx children. My fictitious Jinny could be a descendant, or maybe the witch was into time travel too!
And finally, at one time, there was reportedly, a troublesome water spryte living in Glen Maye.
Huge Thanks to my wonderful beta AllAboutEric. xx And to the hosts Sarifina85 and BlackDeadOrchids, who also produced a wonderful banner for the story. Thanks to the judges too. It all takes time and energy. It was a great idea for a contest.