Mirror Souls: A Prelude by A J Blakemont - Read Online
Mirror Souls
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Summary

Mirror Souls. Who are they? Abominations or the next stage of evolution?

The London police investigates a series of mysterious murders that occur in the city’s underground tunnels. The victims—all hardened criminals—have four puncture wounds on their forehead, but none of these wounds were lethal. The cause of death is cardiac arrest—they literally died of fear. Who is behind these murders? A serial killer or a vigilante? Is the murderer even human?

André de Mirandol, a young sociologist, is hired by Interpol to help with the investigation. To solve the mystery, André will have to confront a ghost from his family’s past.

This book contains the novella Mirror Souls: A Prelude and the first three chapters from the forthcoming novel Griffen.

About the author

A. J. Blakemont is a novelist and essayist interested in science fiction and fantasy. He is also passionate about poetry, music, and history and its mysteries. He lives near London, and he is a member of the Society of Authors. Visit blakemont.com for more information.

Published: Dark Romantic Worlds on
ISBN: 9780993115622
List price: $0.99
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publisher.

Author’s Disclaimer

This story is, of course, absolutely real—at least in the author’s imagination. However, to protect ourselves from frivolous lawsuits, let’s state that this is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead (or undead), is entirely coincidental.

Contents

Author’s Disclaimer

Prologue

Part One: Vigilante or Serial Killer?

Part Two: Dark Matter Project

Part Three: Mirror Realm

Griffen

Face fallen and white throat lifted,

With sleepless eye

She sees old loves that drifted,

She knew not why,

Old loves and faded fears

Float down a stream that hears

The flowing of all men’s tears beneath the sky.

—From Before the Mirror by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Prologue

France, 1873—a manor in the Massif Central

The antique clock struck midnight. He would come—but how could she be so sure?

A wintry breeze erupted through the open window. Lace curtains fluttered. The flames of the candles flickered in the twilight that bathed the bedroom. Lilies in their vase bowed their white heads. A lifeless petal drifted away, brushed the edge of the buffet, then resumed its fall to touch down on the parquet.

Lost in reverie, Amaranthe gazed at the mirror. Its tarnished frame, once a masterpiece of French craftsmanship, reminded her of her family’s glorious past. She had inherited this manor from an aristocratic line whose origins stretched back to the Dark Ages. Ancient and lonely, the castle towered above a desolate mountain landscape. The modern world had no use for this relic from its medieval history.

Nevertheless, Amaranthe couldn’t resign herself to leave the house of her ancestors. What kept her here, though, was not nostalgia for some distant past.

A faint smile appeared at the corners of her lips. She had to see him in the mirror: that was her ritual. As always, she feared that his image would vanish if she turned around. He had been visiting her for two years now, always after midnight, when her servants were asleep.

He had been killed in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and buried in the familial crypt. Yet, that night, he was standing just behind her, as handsome in his officer’s uniform as the day he’d left for the front line. He was there in flesh and blood; she could feel his fragrance, his breath on her bare shoulder. Their gazes met in the mirror, and he returned her smile.

Legends about this couple would linger, passed on from one generation to the next. Legends about a love that transcended death.

Part One: Vigilante or Serial Killer?

– 1 –

London, present day—in an abandoned underground tunnel

Beams of light struggled through mist and darkness. A musty smell saturated the air. Flop-flop ... flop-flop ... Detective Inspector David Barnsley floundered in the muddy water. His massive body draped in a long coat, half his face brightly lit by a high-power lamp, the other in the dark, he evoked Frankenstein’s creation from a classic black-and-white horror movie.

This time, the corpse is relatively fresh, he boomed. The echo amplified the sound of his deep voice. Wanna take a look?

Hum. Is it ... necessary? André had no particular fondness for rubber boots. His feet were baking in a sauna while the rest of his body shivered under the onslaught of a cold draft.

"Ah, c’mon, Monsieur de Mirandol! Barnsley uttered the last words with a mock French accent. Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet. I never said this job would be glamorous. In his mouth, the word glamorous" sounded like an insult.

André sighed and crept forward. He’s doing that on purpose. I’m a sociologist, for God’s sake.

The tunnel looked like the intestine of some mechanical leviathan. Yellowish threads soaked with humidity hung from the ceiling like stalactites. Forensic technicians were bustling about the body that lay on its back in four inches of water. Among them, André saw van der Maar—only the most high-profile cases would drag this guru of forensic sciences from his bed at one in the morning. He was in his fifties, well-groomed, and wearing spectacles, a short auburn beard, and a suit of a matching color. He squatted to examine the corpse.

Well, the modus operandi is identical, van der Maar said, almost beaming. In this gloomy tunnel, his fedora seemed out of place, as did his poorly hidden enthusiasm.

You know what? The guy who did this deserves a medal, Barnsley said.

How do you know it was a guy? asked Barnsley’s partner, Detective Naomi Alcindor, as she emerged from the fog.

Her silky dark hair glowed under the harsh light of the high-power lamps. Young but ambitious, she didn’t have her tongue in her pocket. André liked her style. She had brown skin, navy-blue eyes, an elongated face with a small scar on her cheek. Her gait, her gestures had a feline quality to them; she evoked an African-Amazon warrior.

Most murderers are male, but I agree we shouldn’t exclude any possibility, Barnsley finally said.

Same marks on the forehead? Alcindor asked.

Van der Maar nodded. Yes. It appears they were made with a surgical instrument. Four puncture wounds, none of them lethal. Of course, we need to perform an autopsy, but I suppose that this man, as the others, died of a cardiac arrest.

A cardiac arrest? André raised his eyebrows. How old was he?

Still in his twenties; however, age is of little relevance in this case, van der Maar replied. "Stress cardiomyopathy. I will spare you the scientific explanations. To put it simply, he died of fear. Look at his eyes."

André leaned over the corpse and stared at the dead man’s face. Ashen skin, wide-open eyes, mouth distorted by a grimace of pain ... It