Redemption by Moonlight – Guest Article by Theodore R.

A sweltering summer evening was taking its toll on a middle-aged writer as he conducted his craft. Having been a member of various occult organisations, he had obtained connections and paranatural abilities that allowed him to lead a relatively comfortable life; that was until the local liberal council realised that his area was a little too affluent and decided to relocate voluntarily unemployed benefit dependents of a foul nature in an attempt to commit reverse gentrification.

The well-mannered and hardworking residents on Christopher’s street were suddenly surrounded by families of a significantly lower breed of person. What was once a quiet, friendly street had turned into a volatile and vulgar space within days: beer cans littered on the floor; the smell of marijuana from open windows at lunch time; and excessive shouting, indicative of inherited poor parenting, echoed through the street at all hours.

Christopher stood up from his chair to open a window. Within seconds, the vulgar tone and culturally-appropriated ebonic vocabulary of one of the families next door could be heard.

“Goodness me. What a vile lot”, he thought to himself. “They should have never made thrashing illegal in schools… and…”

The landline rang, interrupting his escalation. He picked up the phone to be greeted by the gentle tones of Mrs Henderson.

“Hello? Hello, dear? Have you heard the noise again?”

Mrs Henderson was a 70 year-old grandmother who had sadly been widowed, and then forgotten by her daughter. The sweet old lady would often call Christopher when she had a problem that she couldn’t resolve.

“Yes, I have. It’s very hard not to. Is it upsetting you?”, he replied.

“It’s not pleasant but I grew up with several brothers. What is frightening me though is those boys from number 41—always throwing things in my garden and ruining my flowers they are. Do you think I should say something next time?”

Without thinking Christopher responded.

“Definitely. They’re just kids at the end of the day. I’m sure if you put your foot down they’ll stop.”

“But what if they get violent with me? I’ve seen those stories on the news about that sort of thing, you know. I couldn’t possibly defend myself if it came to that.

Christopher’s inflated bravado made itself known as he confidently and unrealistically stated that he would always be around if she needed help. This reassured Mrs Henderson because Christopher was a fairly well built and tall man in his 50s.

The two talked about the socio-political climate in England before bidding each other good-day and returning to their respective lives.

For the remainder of the night, Christopher worked his Remington typewriter to its full mechanical potential in an effort to complete his latest manuscript on the importance of synergy in magickal praxis.

The next morning, as Christopher was leaving his area to attend a lecture at the university in the city, several police cars were parked at the side of the road. This was normal, an everyday occurrence on Conrad Drive since the riffraff moved in. The house that was always having guests coming and going at all hours of the night had once again been raided and its occupants arrested.

“Morning, constable”, Christopher said to one of the florescent praetorians as he passed by.

The constable nodded and responded in kind.

After a day of lecturing young and rightfully exhausted minds on Scythian culture, Christopher met up with an old friend for a pint at a nearby public house.

“Afternoon. A pint of Guinness and a…John Smiths, please”, Christopher requested after squinting at the fading chalk on the blackboard above the bar.

“Coming right up, mate”, the young barman responded.

Christopher watched as the stout began to fill the embossed glass, and then again as the bitter reached the rim of the second glass.

“There you are. Four-seventy, please.”

Christopher handed over the change and made his way back to the oak-wood table where his friend Rupert was sitting.

“Here we are, Rupert.”

“Ah, cracking! I’ve been waiting all day for one of these”, Rupert revealed, wasting no time in taking a sip from the cold beverage.

Christopher took a sip also.

“What’s new with you then?”

“Nothing much, old boy; keeping the wife and little terrors happy, honing my serve—you know how it is.”

“Is retirement really that boring?”
Rupert slapped his head. “Good god, yes. There’s nothing to do except lounge about, and you know that’s never been my idea of fun.”

“I’m glad I’m still employed in that case. Although I imagine it’s nice having time to think about that which would otherwise pass by our thoughts.”

“Are you being philosophical again, Chris?”

“Possibly. Don’t you ever think about how and why things are the way they are?”

“Of course I do, but I don’t give too much thought to the things I can’t change, even if I loathe them.”

“But you can change them, Rupert. You can change them through intention and frenzy.”

Rupert sighed and shook his head. “You know I’ve never believed in that magical nonsense of yours, but for some reason you always find a way to work it into almost every conversation we have and try to convert my thinking.”

“Well, because it works”, Christopher whispered in a sinister yet whimsical tone.

After wiping a tear of hilarity from his eye. Rupert spoke once more.

“Anyway. Regardless of if it works or not, there is no substitute for rolling your sleeves up and wrapping your hands around the neck of the problem.”

“I think we may have found common ground after all these years, my friend”, Christopher uttered before finishing the foamy dregs of his pint.

Christopher said farewell after two more pints and started to walk home. He looked at his watch.

“Damn. 9pm already? Where did the time go?”

As he walked onto his street he could see the teenagers from number 41 being belligerent outside Mrs Henderson’s house and decided to walk over. The hoodies stopped what they were doing and fronted Christopher.

“Fack off, grandad, yeah!”, one of the boys shouted.

“Go home and leave Mrs Henderson alone. You’re frightening her”, Christopher said calmly.

“It’s a free country, bruv. Why should we?”, one of the other boys retorted.

Christopher could sense the growing volatility and decided to try and intimidate them in customary passive adult fashion.

“I won’t tell you again. Go home or you’ll be in big trouble.”

The spawns of “Thatcher’s Britain” laughed, cursing him but nevertheless moving away from Mrs Henderson’s house. Christopher turned around and continued to walk towards his house.

“See? All it takes is a little confidence and–”

Before he could finish the sentence in his head a sudden pain occurred at the back of his head. Christopher clutched the affected area as blood poured through his fingers. He had been “glassed”. A second bottle smashed on his head, cutting the fingers he was using to protect his head wound. He fell to the floor, making out blurry shapes and fading voices as they surrounded him and closed in.

“Whatcha’ gunna’ do now, dickhead?!”

“You just got fucked up; ya’ get me blud!”

Suddenly, an old and familiar voiced emerged amidst the obscenities.

“Pack that in, you horrible lot! Go home to your parents and leave that poor man alone! I’ve called the police so you better listen to me.”

It was Mrs Henderson. She had called the police after seeing the boys follow Christopher and left her house to confront them. Flashing blue lights illuminated houses around the corner and sirens filled the air.

“Shit. Fuckin’ do one”, one of the boys shouted. “We’ll hide out at mine. My dad’ll vouch for us, trust.”

“Ya’ better watch out, granny. Just watch!”

The police arrived on the scene and began questioning Mrs Henderson while an ambulance was called for Christopher and he was taken to the emergency room.

“Would you mind coming with me to the house where you said the suspects lived?”, the eldest constable requested of Mrs Henderson.

Mrs Henderson nodded. They marched over to number 41 and the constable pounded on the door. A short and skinny man with bloodshot eyes answered.

“Yeah, what can I do for ya’?”

“Sorry to bother you, sir but we have a witness that puts your boys at the scene of a crime.”

The boys started to peak through the curtains.

“That’s them! That’s them right there!”, Mrs Henderson erupted, pointing at them.

“W—what? That’s bullshit. My boys wunt do nuffin’ like that!”

The constable frowned. “Well I still have to question them. May I come in?”

The man shrugged. “Yeah…course, course, yeah.”

Mrs Henderson returned to her residence and waited for an update. Twenty minutes had passed before the police knocked on her door.

“We’ve spoken to the boys and unfortunately we have no further evidence to act on until Mr Hawcroft tells his side of the story.”

The colour drained from Mrs Henderson’s cheeks while constable continued.

“At this stage it’s your word against theirs, and of course we have the original witness phone report which will help if the case goes to court. We will be continuing our investigation after we speak with Mr Hawcroft, and should his story match yours we will be pressing charges.”

“What if they come back when you’ve gone?”, she uttered quietly.

“We’ll park across the street and watch your house for a while. They won’t try anything while we’re here.”

The constables left the home of Mrs Henderson and returned to their car where they observed the street for the next hour. Mrs Henderson retired to bed and quickly fell asleep due to exhaustion. The night – at least for now – was quiet.

A month after the incident, a letter arrived in Mrs Henderson’s post. It was from the local constabulary. She sat down and prepared herself before opening it. Reading each line with confidence that justice would be delivered. But when she reached the penultimate line she started to cry.

“Unfortunately, it is not in the community’s best interest to prosecute. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused and would like to refer you to our victim helpline which can be reached on…”

Mrs Henderson screwed up the letter and tossed it in the bin, cursing the justice system in the process. She then peaked out of the window and saw the boys from number 41 outside her house again. They boys noticed and began taunting her.

“See? The feds don’t give a shit ‘bout you or your boyfriend!”

They continued on in a similar manner until the emotional abuse came to an end with the sending of a brick through Mrs Henderson’s window. She was petrified and alone, not knowing the limitations of her oppressors. The only thing she could bring her shaking body to do at that moment was huddle in a corner.

Christopher was released from the hospital the next morning. The police never did show to interview him. The case was passed from constable to constable and inevitably communication broke down.

The hospital was quite a distance from Christopher’s home but he decided to walk the distance regardless, picking up some Turkish Delight for Mrs Henderson along the way. He made his way cheerfully through the streets and reached Conrad Drive, where he spotted an ambulance and a police car parked outside Mrs Henderson’s residence. Fearing the worst, he broke into a jog which quickly upgraded to a sprint, only to be held back by two constables upon reaching the front gate of the house.

“What’s happened?! W—w—what’s going on?! Someone tell me right now!”, he screamed at the top of his loud but trembling voice.

Before long, his questions were answered via the cruelty of observation. Christopher trembled as two medical technicians carried out a figure cloaked in a white sheet. The Detective Inspector investigating the scene followed them out and approached Christopher, noticing his anguish.

“D.I. Harper. I’m sorry. I know its clear as day on your face but I have to ask: did you know the deceased?”

Christopher answered the Detective Inspector’s question and told her everything that had happened between them and the teenagers from number 41. D.I. Harper grew increasingly frustrated upon hearing about the events that led up to the tragic death of Mrs Henderson. He assured Christopher that he would personally pursue the case and find a way to prove that the boys were responsible. However, Christopher had lost faith in the system after hearing Mrs Henderson continuously assure him that the police would interview him about what happened, but of course, they never did a follow up. D.I. Harper’s words were nothing more than procedure in Christopher’s eyes, despite them being genuine and “from the heart”, as they say. He had already decided that he would place a death hex on the boys when he returned home, and he did just that.

Days and nights passed without the hex showing any proof that it was working. But during this period, an Acausal Object (AO) was attracted to the hate and violent thoughts Christopher was having at the time. The AO began haunting him as a test, but he didn’t care. He displayed no fear and didn’t attempt to rationalise the irrational. This showed the AO that he had already begun his “crossing of the abyss”; and so it provided him with the ancient linguistic tools to understand it, revealing its name forthwith: Noctulius.

Many suns set and rose as Noctulian gnosis was channeled into Christopher; and then, one fateful night saw him become. Christopher was so consumed by hate that he had forgotten the reason behind it; that is until – by the opening of a window – he was reminded.

The disembodied voice of Noctulius growled in his ear.

“Remember what your bitter friend said—remember well, Acolyte.”

Christopher hurried to his bathroom and approached the mirror, leaning into it, as if he was pre-cognitively analysing something. He stared into his new eyes and strode to his kitchen. Reaching up, he retrieved a claw hammer from the top of one of the cupboards. He marched towards his front door and grabbed his black pea coat. The front door of his house flung open, setting off the alarm. Christopher stormed over to number 41 and banged on the door, concealing the hammer in his sleeve.

The father of the boys could be heard shouting from within.

“Ere’, lads. That toff is outside. Come watch me knock ‘im out!”

Inside, his boys rushed halfway down the stairs and took a seat as their father opened the door.

“Let’s fuckin’ ave–”

Christopher charged into the door before the father could finish his threat, knocking him to the floor with a thud. Christopher dropped his knee into the father’s sternum as he brought the flat end of the hammer down on the bridge of the father’s nose with resounding crack. The father shrieked and clutched his nose but Christopher kept wailing on the same spot, breaking the father’s fingers in the process. One of the boys decided to try and save his father by grabbing Christopher, but he just shook the boy off and reaped him into a wall, splitting the back of his head open. The rest of the teenagers ran upstairs while he returned the father to continue his relentless onslaught. It was clear that Christopher held the father responsible for the behaviour of his children, while at the same time acknowledging that they were still culpable and thus deserving of punishment.

Soon after, he stopped his onslaught and climbed up from the ground to be greeted by words of Noctulius.

“You see now, don’t you? True magick is transmutation of the physical. You’ve been heated to your melting point, undergone calcination, separation, and now…coagulation.”

Christopher rushed up the stairs to the room where the boys were hiding with a lycan-like agility, but as he pounced into the room, an unexpected sight stopped him short. Within the room, in the corner, was a woman cowering—the mother. She was covered in bruises, cuts and burns. Christopher realised that she was a victim of abuse but did not know who was responsible, so he ordered the boys to sit next to her and observed her reaction to them. It did not take him long to conclude that they were all responsible for their mother’s suffering and set about lining them up against the back wall. The mother pleaded with Christopher, explaining that they were only doing it because they were scared of their father. Christopher refused to listen.

“They chose to torture you. They could have stood up to their father, to his authority, just like they did with me, yet they did not. They chose to torment and abuse Mrs Henderson, to scare her to such an extent that she felt like the only way to escape their cruelty was to take her own life. They chose…all of it, and now—now they have to face the consequences of their actions.”

The eldest boy leaped forward. “We’re sorry, okay? We’re fuckin’ sorry, man! We won’t do nuffin’ like this again, swear down!”

“Get back in line!”, Christopher barked.

He approached the first boy, steadied his aim, and hit him as hard as he could in the face with the bottom of his palm. The boy’s body crumpled to the floor. Then Christopher approached the second and did the same again; followed by the third; and finally, the fourth. He approached the mother next and crouched beside her, looking deeply into her eyes and employing a type of neurolinguistic programming.

“You gave them life, nurtured them. You are partly responsible for their actions. It is your turn to accept responsibility for your part in this tragedy.”

He handed her the blood-soaked hammer adorned with pieces of her husband’s skin and hair, slowly withdrew into one of the dark corners of the room, and observed as she harrowingly took her children back out of the world.

Reemerging shortly after the ordeal, Christopher walked over to the mother one final time.

“Now you have a choice to make. You can endure your burden, your…renewed sense of personal responsibility; allowing yourself to be strengthened by it….in time, or you can walk over to that window, and throw yourself out of it. Which is it to be?”

And with that, Christopher plodded down the stairs and towards the front door, passing the absolved mass of meat, formally known as the father, on the way. He closed the door of the residence, crossed the street, and disappeared into the early morning mist to the sound of encroaching sirens, and the tenacious alarm of his now vacant residence…

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