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The loss of lives, as advised in 'The Night of the Darkness' had done little to quell the danger that the world had been placed in, because it was now being revealed that an even bigger threat to mankind existed ... and it was on its way for its revenge.

The Edge of Nightfall:

pt. 2:


The Night of the Damned





The Edge of Nightfall



The Night of the Damned


By Tony Stewart


The beginning


It was seven thirty in the morning.  A quarter of a mile down the road from where our story begins, in the village of Raven-on-the-Bush, the locals began their daily business.  Buying, selling, gossiping; children making the best of their last few moments before commencing their daily chore of  harassing school teachers;  the local café opening up for its days trading of coffees and teas and cream filled buns. All was normal, and all was busy, albeit, busy in the ways of a small quiet country village located forty minutes drive from a much faster life in London.  But in a small, two bedroom bungalow that sat perched on an otherwise disused farm three hundred yards away from the neighbours on either side, there was no noticeable activity whatsoever.


   Outside the bungalow,  in the softness of the warming morning air, a few birds wandered across the narrow roadway in search of any insect careless enough to attempt to cross their path: disturbed only by the occasional car that drove by taking passengers to the railway station for their trip into London. 


Inside, the rooms still darkened by the drawn curtains there was nothing but an eerie quietness.  A quietness that had governed the small house from the very second the sole occupant had hit the mattress and fallen into a deeply disturbed sleep.  A sleep riddled with dark, dangerous dreams that had taken the dreamer once again to the brink of incredibility; an adrenalin rush that he doubted would ever subside within his memories; dreams that revived his meeting with Martin, the incredibly beautiful Rositta and the delightful, wonderful Mary and the adventures they shared together in the village of Trenthamville where together they had fought witches … and killers … and a creature from the pits of hell … Rangor, the Punjant. 


   But dreams are uncontrollable things;  dreams tend to venture into both the good and bad parts of the mind, to the storage departments for both the happy memories -  and the totally unwelcome ones, whether one wanted to venture there or not… and all was not well within Joseph's private world.       

   No longer did he have the luxury of a guaranteed pair of arms to cling tight to him and help drown out the sorrows that surrounded him when things seemed unbearable.  No longer did he have warm lips to kiss goodnight.  Nor company to enjoy at a fine restaurant or the theatre.   Now Joseph had nothing, no one in his life to support him - for he had been slack with his timing and his indiscretions had been finally found out.


   Neither Mary nor Rositta had been willing to console him: instead both ordered him out of the restaurant where he and Mary had been dining, when the unexpected arrival of Rositta had resulted in the discovery by both women that he had been secretly having an affair with the pair of them over the past few months.   As Joseph had taken his bruised, battered and embarrassed ego home in a taxi, the two girls undertook consolation for their broken hearts by indulging in a night of drinking, and berating his good name.


   And now, his dreams digressing into endless repeats of last night’s events, he could feel his head pounding, and his body shaking as he tried to dislodge it all from his memory.  But his attempts were to no avail: the horrendous, painful, embarrassing events took place again, and again, and again inside his throbbing head, until, unexpectedly, miraculously, the dreamer was saved from his by torment by the shrill, screaming sound of his phone tearing an incessant sound of a pulsating rock and roll beat into his brain and slowly pushing the dreams and nightmares to some secret location in the bowels of his memory cells.


   The phone continued in its shrill, irritating insistent claim for attention as Joseph’s mind slowly transgressed the distance between guilt and the freedom that the outpouring of truth offers. In its private world his mind had been having an internal war; raging a battle within itself as it tried to balance the benefits that he had gained by having so much weight removed from his conscience, and the cost of what he had given up when he had lost the  battle, the respect, and the physical presence, of the two women that he held so dear to his heart.


   Finally he succumbed to the constant interruption to his personal thoughts as his awakening brain cells mentally began accepting the fact that guilt had always been a paramount factor in retaining the adrenalin that energised the relationships; perhaps he really did need a break from both girls to re-energise himself.  ‘After all,’ he reflected, ‘deep down I knew that it couldn’t last forever.  But I will miss them’.   “Hello, Joseph speaking.”


   “Ah, Joseph … or is it James?   Perhaps it is Robert?  Maybe even Fred?  I sometimes get confused.”  

   The bite in Martin’s words, travelling down the wires from some far and distant land, hit Joseph like one of the Punjant’s thunderbolts.  It was becoming painfully obvious to Joseph that his play world was fast crumbling around him.  Firstly the girls had discovered Joseph’s indiscretion with them,   Now Martin realised that Joseph was not whom he had thought him to be.   “Could it get any worse?”  Joseph silently wondered.


   “No, I am sure that it is Joseph.”  Martin continued, “You know, it was rather funny, old boy.  I had to ring you the other day, for quite an important reason, and, dash it all, I had misplaced my phone, which had your most recent phone number installed on it.  ‘Never mind,’ I thought to myself.  ‘I’ll try the number that I had in my office’, the one that I had used to contact you, when I wanted you to meet with Rositta at the Café in the first instance.      


   I thought you were just being silly when you said that you had no idea what I was talking about when I brought up some trivia about our little adventure at Trenthamvlle.  Then I finally realized that you weren’t joking.  


   You really had no idea what I was talking about.  Or, at least, the ‘you’ I was speaking to on the phone had no idea.  But that was because the person I was talking to wasn’t you, was it.  So if you weren’t you then you must have been somebody else, and I really became confused.   Then I got to remembering why I was calling you and suddenly it didn’t matter who you were - as long as I was speaking to the man I knew as Joseph.  I quickly excused myself from the other you and went off in search of my other phone to get the right number.   


   And, obviously, I have been more successful this time.   However I was wondering, out of curiosity, you understand - but now that I have found the right you - I just would like to know who you really are - not that it matters in the long term.   But I am curious.”


   Joseph decided that he had nothing to lose with a true and complete confession.   


   “My real name is Joseph, Martin, and I never pretended to be anybody else.  In fact, it was the just the opposite.  I had trouble convincing Rositta that I wasn’t who she thought that I was when we first met,   And you were of no use in disputing that assumption, because you had never actually met the person she thought that I was.   Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, I became entrapped in the mystique of all that I was hearing, and I played along with the charade until, suddenly, it had became too late to tell the truth … and by then I was too hooked to want to.  Outside of that I am nobody of any importance.”  


   “Only a nobody that saved the world from possible annihilation.  Don’t be so modest, Joseph.  I don’t care if you weren’t who I thought that you were originally, it was an absolute pleasure working with you, and I doubt that my original choice would have done any better.   In fact, if you were to believe William, it would have to have been you no matter how you ended up in Trenthamville … you, Mary, Rositta and, of course, myself.   The Four Musketeers!   By the way, how is Rositta?  I haven’t had a chance to catch up with her for ages.”


   “She was fine the last time that I saw her.”


   “Aren’t you two an item anymore?”


   “It’s a long story.”


   “Well, you can tell me over lunch because I have something very important to tell you.  Where can we meet?   



Chapter one



   Joseph made arrangements with Martin to meet in London later that day then set the coffee machine in motion before wandering outside to check his mail.   Joseph had moved to Raven-on-the-Bush to relax after his last encounter with the Punjant in Trenthamville some months earlier.  He had purchased the farm because of its convience.  He saw it as a long term investment, certain in his mind that developers would eventually move in and make him a massive offer which he would accept gratefully.


   The location had been perfect for him as it was only an hour’s drive to visit either Rosita or Mary, it gave him his own space and it had now proved to be a lifesaver after the events of last night as he had somewhere to stay rather than searching around the streets of London in searh of  temporary accommodation.


   Joseph had thought he had heard the sound of the postman’s bike while he was on the phone to Martin.  Casually he made his way to the huge, red and white replica of the farmhouse perched on a slightly rickety fence a mere ten feet from the small bungalow.  Joseph quite liked the huge post box:  in Joseph’s mind it was an art piece he could share with the world.   Though he did often wonder about the size of it and wondered what sort of mail would have been delivered to the farm in its hey day.  Certainly not your average bill or general correspondence, he assumed. 


   Joseph had only been expecting to find a couple of bills and some junk mail from the village shops, so he was quite surprised to find a small package inside his letterbox.  And his curiosity was further aroused when he realized that although the parcel had been clearly addressed to him, there was no indication as to who had sent it.


   Like an excited schoolboy, Joseph quickly ripped the packet open to reveal a beautiful silver chain and pendant.  Joseph looked closely at the pendant and was surprised to see it revealed the image of a monkey teasing an attacking scorpio.


   At first he thought that Rosita may have sent it to him, but the image disuaded his continuing on that thought because he very much doubted Rosita would purchase something that could be considered vulgar, and the quality of both the chain and the pendant eliminated any thought of Mary from his mind as he considered its worth to be far greater than something she  cculd afford … and not something she would spend  so much money on after the events of the previous night.   So he found himself hadling a presumed very expensive gift and he had absolutely no idea who had sent it … or why they had sent it.


   Turning it over, Joseph barely had a chance to notice the engraved words on the back, never mind reading them, before a large raven swooped out of nowhere and grabbed the chain with its beak.  Joseph immediately took off after the bird as it flew off in the direction of a tree about twenty yards away from where he had been standing.  


   Cursing softly as he ran, no sooner had Joseph reached the bottom of the tree when the frightening sound of screeching car tyres caught his attention.  He spun around just in time to witness a truck demolishing his letterbox and the immediate area where he had been standing only a second earlier.


   The wild, startled look on the hapless driver’s face as he struggled wildly, but unsuccessfully, to regain control of his vehicle, left an impression on Joseph that would stay in his mind for years.


   Joseph shook his head in disbelief at what his eyes were watching because was aware that had the bird not caused him to react and chase after it, he could very well have found himself jammed between the truck and where it now rested … millimetres from the side of his neat white thatched roofed cottage.  


   The noise of the impact made such a din that it startled the bird so much it immediately dropped its ill-gotten booty as it took off in fright.   Instinct alone made Joseph reach out and catch the object as it fell; Joseph caught the pndant almost unknowingly, as it fell earthward and stuffed it into his shirt pocket at almost the precise second he rushed over to lend assistance to the dazed driver who was alighting - albeit staggering - from his damaged vehicle.








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