Buccaneer Chronicles

The Buccaneer Chronicles:

Written by Karen Dunn and Tony Gallichan

Prologue - Frustration


The night was suffocatingly humid, the result of several long summer days of rancid heat. Skies, heavy with low hanging cloud threatened to soak the world. They had every night this week and tonight was to be no exception. Preparing for their part in the elemental activities, thunder clouds grumbled their protests at the weight of unshed water and carried on the lifelong game of chase, taunting each other with the occasional sheet of passing lightening.

A somewhat battered 1982 Cortina cruised tentatively along a dirt track which was still wet from the previous night's deluge. The driver lit his fourth cigarette of the evening and peered into the gloom. Dragging deep into his lungs, he decided that he would definitely give up the weed tonight or die trying. He felt his body relax as the nicotine drifted through his system. Maybe he'd give it up tomorrow - okay?

"After all, these things may be designed to shred your throat, but they do it in the gentlest way possible."

Thunder rumbled.

Eric Du Feu gripped the fag between his teeth, cursed loudly and wrestled with the wheel of the taxi, courtesy of the St. Helier Car Company, as it skidded violently in the mud. '9:02 PM he had received a message on the cab's radio telling him to go to Faldouet and pick up three people, name of Wood. Grockels, he'd thought - tourists. They had probably spent the day at the pub down the road and decided to spook each other out round the stones. He knew the sort - they could never decide whether they were yuppies of hippies so compromised by spending two weeks of the year wearing beads, trying to get high and calling everybody 'man'.

The headlights of the Ford cut a dagger sharp weal through the blackness, picking out trees, grass, bushes and at the very edge of the beam, the small rough circle of proud standing stones - pitted with age, yet still possessed of a certain ageless dignity.

Eric squinted through the squall of smoke and pointedly ignored the bored bimbo-like drone of the operator at base.

"Eric - are you receiving me?"

Another cloud of smoke left his nostrils.

"Eric - come in please."

Eighteen years old and called Tracey - working her way through the summer season. More smoke and then for the fourth time that evening.

"Are you sure you know where you're going, Eric?"

That was it, enough was enough. Stopping the car, he let the engine's whine fade away. He didn't need this. He didn't need little Miss cutie pants blathering on at him. Flicking the radio onto transmit, he told her as much.

"Listen, I've lived here all my bloody life, so the only way I'll get lost is if you give me the wrong bloody directions!"

Dropping the mike onto the passenger seat, he wrenched open the door and stepped out into ankle deep slush. He swore. More thunder growled, gentle in the distance, like someone trying continue a long forgotten argument. Gentle wisps of fog tickled his nose. Reaching though the open window, Eric switched the headlights to full beam and gave a short blast on the horn.

No-one approached the taxi.

No-one slouched drunkenly on the back seat and asked if he knew where St. Helier was and could he get there quickly? Eric waited for Nat King Cole to finish falling in love on the radio.

Still no-one came.

Stabbing the cigarette out with his foot, he gave another blast on the horn and pursed. This was going to be another hoax the fourth tonight. Damn! Damn'. Damn!

The thunder made him jump. It was completely overhead now, almost muffled by the fog.

Eric took a deep, calming breath. The air which fought for space in his lungs was sharp and tasted of lilac. He coughed chestily and spat twenty-five years of smoker's phlegm into the mud, then reached into his jeans pocket and lit up the evening's fifth.

Every time he lit up a fag, his fifteen year old daughter would lecture him on lung cancer, yellow teeth and passive smoking. He would listen in amused silence and promise that he would give it up. Tomorrow. Then his little Erin would pout, fold her arms and sulkily mumble that he always said that.

"Definitely the last one, Erin," he promised the night. Taking small, agitated puffs on his cigarette, he peered into gloom, his sight losing itself in the sheer volume of the fog. When his over strained patience finally snapped, he stamped the smoke into the mud and turned to give Tracey a little piece of his mind concerning the validity of phone bookings.

The silence made him pause.

It was as if the night had died. No insects chattered busily at his feet, no wind ruffled the grass or disturbed the dense fog. Even the persistent thunder had taken time off between rounds.

A prickling sensation caressed the back of his neck, making the tiny hairs bristle. The silence was watching him - waiting. Instinct made him freeze, his right hand only inches from the car door. Fear heightened his senses, magnifying the smells and feelings which were wrapping round him like a shroud.

The night was breathing at him.

His own breath rasped in his throat and the fear continued to build within him, a solid lump of fear buried deep within his chest, swelling with every breath. Eyes riveted by the all consuming fog in front of him, behind him - God, it was all around him. He reached for the door handle and the warmth and safety of the car.

He nearly made it.

The scream which ripped the silence apart was like nothing he'd ever heard before. The intensity of it hurt his ears.  Anger fought against hatred for superiority of noise and blasted into a report that almost shattered his ear drums.

Primeval fear paralysed his legs and as the scream tore towards him, he had to look.

He turned.

And came face to face with hell.

Careering towards him through the fog were two huge fireball eyes, infernos of unshielded fury which burned nightmares into his mind and ripped the sobbing child that is in all of us from his breast and devoured it.

As he sank to his knees, sobs trying to escape the crushing confines of his mouth, Eric lost control of his bladder, covered his face with his hands and cried out for his mother ...

The thing came closer, feeding on his terror, gorging itself on grief, then reaching out with all it was and bursting through his soul into his very being, revelling in his howls of pain and fear. Finally, sated and unable to absorb Eric's anguish any longer, it let itself free and exploded outwards with a roar of pure triumph.

In an instant, Eric knew no more pain. For a glorious second. it all stopped and he thought that he was safe. Then, in the time it took the creature to leave him, he felt his body tear, split and for the next fraction of a moment he experienced pain so intense, it was not there at all. With an outrush of contained air, his intestine, brain - his entire body – spread across the bland green bonnet of the car.

His final thought was for his baby son and all the secrets he would never be able to share with him.

The creature heard the thought, felt it as it passed through, and as the clouds finally won their battle and cried refreshing tears on the land, it crouched beside the mess that had been Eric Du Feu and wept harsh, bitter tears.

One by one, the tiny lives of the forest resumed, their nightly rituals, chattering and baying at an unreachable moon. A badger ambled clumsily through the beam of the headlights then stopped to sniff the air.

Back at, the St. Helier Car Company's base, Tracey listened in confusion to the wretched crying that was trickling from her headphones. The night was active behind it and she could hear the hiss of rain as it soaked the forest.

She couldn't see the badger loping for cover at the presence of a strange scent. She couldn't see the fog dispersing to a light mist and then disappearing completely. And as she picked up the telephone to alert her boss of a possible accident, she had no way of knowing that the creature was gone.


Ghostwalker: Chapter One