Two people are killed in non suspicious circumstances. But when a third disappears, everything changes. Police Constable James Henderson soon becomes stuck in the middle of a quickly developing situation which find him chasing cults and fighting demons intent on preserving the legend of The Devil's Run. Can PC James Henderson stop a Demonic Cult from unleashing the Devils wrath once again? Even when the Devil is close to home?This story takes place in the Historic Forest of St Leonard's in Sussex, England. It is said that a mortal man once ran a race against the Devil in the Forest of St Lennords. The Devil and the man ran so fast they carved a path in the forest. The mortal man won and retained his soul. But angered the Devil unleashed its wrath upon the local people of Horsham. The path of The Devil's Run remains to this day and is locally called Mick's Mile.
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Nathan walked into the still water of the swimming pool, the cool water soothed his aching legs. As he walked further in, the water rose to his chest tickling at his skin. He bent his legs so the water was over his shoulders, cupping his hands he pulled the water over this head. It felt good, it felt refreshing the cool beads of water running down his face catching on his stubble. After the 10k run he had done in the morning a swim in the deserted hotel pool is just what he wanted before retiring for the night, the sun had been strong and his skin felt it. He lifted his legs and floated, easing himself in to the breaststroke. The water gently flowing over his body. At the end of the length he lifted his arms out of the water and lent on the pools edge, looking out to the golf course. It was dark apart from the odd decorative light out on the green. The pool’s water was lit by underwater lights, the pool side loungers down lit with gentle amber light. Nathan closed his eyes and sunk below the water, the water lifting his hair and soothing his scalp. The sun had been hot on the run and the water felt good. He returned to the surface to complete a few lengths. As he pushed himself forward the still and flat pool became choppy with small waves slapping up against his chin. Nathan got to the midpoint of his sixth length when a large wave splashed against his face totally engulfing it, just as he breathed in. Nathan stopped, his toes just touching the bottom as he spluttered and coughed and blinked his eyes. He was getting tired and should probably take it gently. As he wiped his face down with his hand, something in the water swam around his ankles. Nathan looked down unable to see clearly because of the chlorine in his eyes. The water swirled around his ankles, suddenly something grabbed his ankles, pulling them and he fell backwards in to the water. The weight of the water pushed him down and around in the swirl. Deeper till he hit the bottom. Nathan tried to fight his way back to the surface, but the water was strong, keeping him down, the pressure bearing down on his chest. Nathan held his breath as he struggled. What was holding him down? A punch hit him in the stomach knocking the air out of his lungs, Nathan's automatic reaction was to breathe in. The chlorine water burned his throat as it made its way to the lungs. Nathan continued struggle as the water filled his lungs. In no time the struggling stopped and Nathan floated once again in the still water of the pool.
James, A Police Officer, got up from his desk in the report writing room and locked his computer. The last domestic was long and the paperwork tedious. Before he updated is call sign to being back available as a slave to the radio he took a moment to wonder in the back yard of the Police Station. It was a cool spring, evening dark with a breeze, the air warmed by the residual heat in the ground. James closed his eyes and let the breeze pass him, he felt a double vibrate in to his pocket, his phone had received a text message. Glancing down at it he saw it was from Sarah, his fiancée. It read “Had dinner, pasta left on breakfast bar, have good night, stay safe x” he replied with the usual “I try” he put his phone back in the pocket and held town the 2 button on his radio it beeped, call sign updated “here we go again” he thought.
The radio was alive with chatter, a hundred things going on with the controller keeping tabs on everything. James took his Response car out of town and visited a popular beauty point up on the Downs, a range of hills spanning 100 miles. The car park under the windmill looked down over the towns and outlying villages he serves, Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath and on occasion his home town of Horsham to the West. The area is a varied district with London Gatwick Airport to the north and to the outskirts of the coastal city of City of Brighton to the south. He contemplated the thousands of people all going about their business safe in the knowledge that there are individuals like him protecting them from the bad, the predators and terrors of the world. At that point, whilst in deep contemplation the radio called his Sargent. This usually only happens if something significant has happened, “ Hotel 83 go ahead” Replied the Sargent, “Can I pass you command of a suspected drowning at St Leonards Golf Course and assign available units, Graded 1” asked Comms but in an tone of an instruction, “ Yes Yes, show me making, can units call up for assigning”. James took a deep breath, he wasn’t close but it was straight up the motorway so probably will be soon on scene, He pressed his talk button on his radio “Hotel 161 for the Golf Course”.
James reversed his Mondeo out of the bay and pressed the 999 button on the dashboard. The quiet country side lane became bathed in blue light, the light reflecting off the surroundings. The car’s engine accelerated James down the lanes, his siren shattering the peace and quiet. A sound of reassurance for some. He pushed his car along the motorway, easily topping over one hundred miles an hour, traffic was light and he made good progress.
As James suspected he was first Police to arrive, he parked the car besides the Ambulance and Paramedic car outside the reception. One last breath, “Hotel 161 on scene” he opened the car door and switched on his body worn video, an older woman with a slightly arched back was clearly shaken and anxious, she introduced herself as the duty manager and pointed to reception, “ Their all in there”. James knew that a drowning would be suspicious “Nobody leaves the centre, don’t let anybody in or out. I’ve got more people coming”.
James walked in to the reception and through to the pool area, where 5 paramedics were waiting for him. Standing around a body covered in a pale blanket at the pool side. As James approached the smell registered, he was use to the smell of death, he had been to many. But this was different and it didn’t smell of swimming pool either. The air had an iron tinge with a slight smell of eggs. James gave a nod to the Ambulance crew as he approached three Paramedics, one ambulance Technician and a Student. None of them said anything for what felt like minutes looking at each other, comforting each other without saying anything, whereas it actually it was only a second. The Paramedic was the first to break the silence, “We were called to a drowned male in the pool, staff dragged him out and started CPR. We arrived, significant water in the lungs I suspect he was gone before they got to him. Confirmed life extinct at 20:18hrs”. James stood there in silence looking over the water, it was still and clear. James looked around “Okay, We’ve got Investigations coming down along with SOCO” He took another moment to take in and think of what the next words were going to be. His radio in his ear told him that the Sargent had arrived along with another two double crewed units. “Leave your things where they are, we’ll need details from you all”. The three solemnly mutter “Yep” the speechless student looked up from the body meeting James’s gaze, he nodded to her, she nodded back inferring she was okay. James had been there before, they all had, he knew that she was not.
James turned, His sergeant was walking through the pool area towards him. He dipped his head “Sarge, James repeated the information he had just received from the Paramedics and pointed out the manager. His sergeant wrote in a few details in his investigators notebook, taking all the information in before speaking. “Vicki and Laura are on scene guard, Alan’s taking first accounts and details from the poor souls who dragged him out”. James continued to look around the room, in the corner by one of the window pillars on the floor a patch of browning on the tiles. Scorch marks. His sergeant was saying something but James was too preoccupied on the distant mark, he looked across to the Sargent, “ Investigations are actually going to grace us with their presence, I’m sure if we POOL our resources together we can come to something” the Sargent gave a wink to James. The Sargent was one of only few people who possessed the quality of being likeable and being your boss, somebody who you could always go to no matter what and saw things in people that they didn’t themselves. “ Gut feeling?” James looking at the body looked and sighed “ Probably non sus, but how did he drown himself, you naturally float?” The sergeant looked down at the body “ Alcohol, Drugs, anything, we can’t even assume he could swim” James stood back up. “We’ll see what the pathologist has to say, is anybody going through his property?” The sergeant shook his head, “ Can you?” James carefully viewed the water bottle that lay on one of the sun loungers, it had a weathered red elastic band around it with the key to the locker. James noted the number and asked at reception for the spare key.
The locker was, unsurprisingly, in the male changing rooms. A medium sized room with pine faced lockers, pine benches and a fake flagstone tiled floor. James made a mental note as he pulled the disposable gloves out form one of many pockets on his stab vest, potentially a nice place to visit for a swim some time. He unlocked the locker and heard the clunk of the pound coin dropping out of the lock. In side folded up were the swimmers clothing, blue jeans, tan t shirt and a dark blue jacket. A gym bag was sitting on top of a pair of canvas shoes. James pulled each item out, carefully. As he did he checked each piece over and checked for any property. The jacket was light, pockets checked James put it aside. The Jeans were heavier, the tell-tale sign of a wallet in a square patrooding from the back pocket. James pulled it out, a black leather wallet. Inside were a number of cards, James looked for any ID, a driver’s licence. A quick flick though bank cards gave James what he was looking for, a photo ID of the deceased. His name, Nathan Kessell, and his home address. James put the ID in a separate pile from the wallet, which was separate from the clothing. Each item would need to be searched, itemised, exhibited, booked in to the property store and catalogued for what would probably be for an inquest. James heard from the radio in his ear that a Detective Constable and a Detective Sargent from the Investigations Hub had arrived. He got out his phone and opened the text conversation with Sarah. “ Probs g oing to be late, Pasta in fridge plz”.
As requested the pasta was in the fridge when James returned home. He removed the plastic tub from the fridge, he’ll have maybe half of it, after all it was very late at night or very early in the morning to be eating dinner. He decanted half of the container in to a bowl and put it in the microwave. The image of the body in the water stuck with as him he looked at himself in the mirror, nearly the same age, mid-twenties. Deaths or even incidents involving people his age range affect him more, easier for James to empathise with family but makes the realisation of the dangers his job can bring and the burden it puts on his own family. The microwave’s distinctive “Ping” sounded. James sat by the window overlooking the Horsham rail depot. Two people were moving through the closest train, preparing it for the morning.
James quietly placed the bowl in the washing up and crept to the second bedroom, as he suck past Sarah’s bedroom a soft quite voice whispered, “ Is that you?” James rolled his eyes “Yeah” who else would it be? James continued to the spare room or the “Night shift room” Sarah replied as she rolled over “see you in the morning”. “ Night” replied James already in the room. He changed out of his uniform and put on the fresh crisp pyjamas. He sat on the end of the bed and reviewed the day in his head. He reached over to put the radio on, some current affairs always help getting to sleep as he lay back in the bed.
The light from the window poured in and gently woke James. Sarah was already up and in the shower, he could hear the water moving in the pipes from the boiler. A good excuse to stay in bed. At least until she’s out of the shower, considering there was only one loo in the flat. The spring light was bright as it came through the window, the great things about James flat was that it was the 2nd floor and overlooked a large open space bringing in lots of light. James had a good sleep, the late shift was his preference of the six shifts. Start at three and finish at about midnight, late enough to get a good lie in.
The shower stopped and James sprung out of bed and entered the hall, the fresh smell of Apricot and tea tree had filled the bathroom and hall as Sarah walked back to the bedroom. “ Hay how was last night” she said as she dried her hair with a towel, she approached James and kissed him. He placed his arm around her and pulled her in for a hug. Her soft skin was silky to his weathered hands. The towel was warm but damp. “ Not bad, bit wet” They mutually finished their snuggle and returned to their original trajectories Sarah gave James a questioning look “ Drowning” James informed her. “ uh, not nice” Sarah’s face told all that she was not pleased with that situation, strange for a medical student not to like a cadaver, but she specialised in a chemistry working on degenerative illnesses. “ Where was that?” she called through the open door from the bedroom, “Up at the golf course” James replied, considering whether or not to go in to the room whilst she was getting dressed. “ So what happened?” Conscious going into watch his fiancée get dressed could be a bit weird James remained outside leaning against the door frame looking along the hall. “ Staff came in to see him floating there” Sarah looked stunned “ That’s awful” James nodded “ Wasn’t too pleasant” he paused “ all wrinkly and” Sarah gave him a look, paused for a moment and continued to get ready “ I suppose thats life, never know what’s around the corner” James agreed, the microwave pinged again but this time with Sarah’s breakfast oats. Dressed smartly she and James walked in to the kitchen, James poured the tea out of the teapot in to Sarah’s proper mug and then in to her travel one. “ What time you on tonight?” somehow despite living together for the past year Sarah always asked what times James’s shifts where between, “ Same as yesterday, Late, three till midnight” She nodded as she swallowed her slightly too hot porridge, “That was hot!” she quickly lifted the tea to her mouth swallowing the Luke warm tea down. “Okay I’ll leave dinner on the table for you, its vegetable soup, I’ll use up the left overs in the fridge”.
Sarah finished her breakfast and cleaned her teeth, James, now dressed got the vacuum cleaner out from the cupboard. Sarah left the bathroom and puts on some flat boots, commuting in heals is apparently difficult. James leant in for a kiss and Sarah obliged, James caught as whisper of the mouthwash on her breath. A Sharpe smell was refreshing on the pallet. Sarah departed to catch her train, the joys of living near to the rail station was that you weren’t rushed in the morning.
With Sarah gone James started his pre late shift routine; vacuum cleaning, cleaning the bathroom then on to the Rowing machine and weights, shower, lunch, change then leave for work.
Tamsin, a Personal Assistant to a company director was finally leaving the office. She had a long day organising his travel for an upcoming trip to the Middle East, of course she would not be going. But her job paid her bills and left some over for her convertible, it being a spring evening she decided to have the top down for her drive home from the large town of Crawley to the small village of Ardingly. She pulled out of the office car park homeward bounds. She passed over the M23 motorway and entered the national speed limit, flooring the throttle. Tamsin loved her car especially with the top down. The cool wind passing through her hair and caressing her neck. She soon reached sixty, the B classed road clear and dry, great driving conditions. She put the car through its paces accelerating out of the every corner, the car following the road. As she approached the latest corner she lifted off the throttle and let the car gently slow down to forty, this particular part of the road had just changed to the new limit and with it came a particularly vicious OAP with a speed gun. She had received a letter from the Police before for speeding at just four miles an hour over the limit. Now Tamsin always drives at thirty five just to annoy the OAP and the locals. As she passed the location where the OAP normally stands Tamsin cursed, she always did. After her abuse the DAB radio in the car crackled, Tamsin looked down at the stereo, it had never done that before, maybe something was up with their transmitter. She pressed the search button and continued at forty. The search was unsuccessful, Tamsin annoyed switched it off, at least the though she did she pressed the button again the stereo did not switch off. “Italian car” she thought as she signalled to pull over to sort it out. She signalled left, but the indicator did not react, regardless she depressed the brake pedal but just like the stereo and the indicator nothing happened. The car was not slowing down, quite the opposite in fact. The car sped up, the accelerator was depressed but not by her foot, Tamsin pressed on the brake pedal, hard, the car didn’t notice. She pulled the hand break but could not lift it. It was stuck as if something was holding it down. The car was getting faster and faster, her eyes could not focus on the speedo. Without thinking she tried the door handles, these too would not move. The doors were stuck. She could jump but would that kill her? Better be injured than be killed in a car you could not control. She could jump, it’s a convertible, who needs doors? She tried to unfasten her seatbelt pushing down on the red tab, it clicked but the metal plug would not come out. She was strapped to and stuck in a car she had no control of that was getting faster and faster. The road started too bend to the right, the steering did not move. Tamsin pulled on the steering wheel and pressed the breaks again, the car mounted the kerb, snapping the steering wheel and scrapping the bottom of the car. Tamsin had just enough time to raise her arms in front of her as the car plunged down a verge and into a large oak tree. Tamsin was killed, instantly.
James closed the door on the fridge in the kitchen at the Police station and put the other half of Sarah’s pasta from last night in the microwave. Vicki, another PC came in with a KFC and sat at the table. Vicki was one of James tutors when he joined the force. “Bit of a griefy shift yesterday” she said as she opened her KFC banquet for one. “Just a bit, did you see the body?” Vicki looked up from her pale chicken, “Not when I’m eating chicken Jimmy” James smiled and took the now warm pasta out of the microwave and sat with Vicki. He popped the lid to his pasta when the radio picked up again. “Any Hotel units available for a single vehicle RTC Ardingly Road, one trapped, information still coming in” James looked at Vicki, “I guess that’s us” Vicki nodded “Hotel 161 assign me and Hotel 163”. James put aside his pasta and picked up the car keys, he refitted his stab vest as he crossed yard unlocking his Mondeo. The indicators flashed and the headlamps illuminated, it was ready to go, to take James to where he needed to be. James closed the door started the engine and pressed the 999 button on the dashboard. The Mondeo's blue lights reflected off the office windows as he drove past on to the street. He emerged on to the moderately busy Butlers Green Road activating his siren, the wailing siren pushing ahead of the car, James could hear the short shape yaps of Vicki's car on blues behind him changing her sound every time he did his, too may officer had been injured because people don’t expects two police cars together.
James approached the scene, he passed a member of the public who waved him through their self-made road closure. He could see that the ambulance was already on scene, as were fire. First Police on scene he was required to survey and assess the scene then disseminate to control. “Hotel 161 on scene”, He approached the wrecked convertible car surrounded by a mass of blue lights. The fire crew had already extracted the driver who paramedics were working on at the side of the road. The chief fire officer approached James and gave him a short brief whilst walking. “Female driver, thirty-ish looks to have lost the car putting it in that tree there. It’s a convertible so we got her out quickly,” he stopped for a noticeable pause and switched his gaze to look deep in to James's eyes “I t’s not looking good” One of the Paramedics approached took over the brief “I’ve declared life extinct at 20:18”. A sombre feeling washed over all on scene, extending to the control room when James updated on the radio that his was now a fatal.
The Sargent would have to attend, as they did for any death. Traffic units were also attending as well as a forensic collision investigators. James confirmed that Vicki had closed off the road and that another unit had closed the other end of the road. It had. James looked at the wreck of the convertible and looked up the road, looking for anything that would need preserving for the investigation and eventually coroners court. He noticed a mark on the kerb 20 meters up, as he approached the mark he thought about what she would have felt. If her life flashing before her eyes, possibly knowing it was the end. He got to the mark on the kerb, tyre marks going up the side and a chip in the concrete from where the body work had hit. As shone his torch around to look for any other debris the light beam picked up a dark patch, James curious, walked across the grassy verge to the patch and knelled down. The grass had been scorched in a perfect circle, possibly 30cm diameter with two darker patches in the shape of somebody's foot. This was exactly like the one at the swimming pool, although James did not get a close look at it he was sure that the other one must have been similar. James took out this phone and took a picture of it. The flash lit up the surroundings, James quickly checked the area encases anybody noticed. Should he let the Collision investigator know? Should he make the link to the swimming pool death? Could it have been murder? Could they both have been murdered? Thoughts ran through James's head, “ What would his Sargent say? What if it’s nothing? But what If it was something SOCOs would find?” James got up and turned around, thoughts still rushing though his head. He walked back towards the crashed car. Two traffic officers with their distinctive white caps were inspecting the car. “James?” one of them enquired, as he approached. “ What we got?” James looked around, “Fire were first on scene, extracted the female driver, they started first aid until Ambo arrived, Ambo took over and then called it. Vicki's looking for witnesses and taking details, I've identified marks on the Kerb for the investigation.” The traffic officer looked over to Vicki, who was talking to one of the motorists who waved James through. James walked with the traffic officer up to the mark on the kerb, The Traffic officer’s torch lighting the road. It hovered over the scorched patch of grass. James felt nervous, should he say something? But the torch quickly moved on. Looking for any clues on the tarmac. The traffic officer knelt by the mark on the kerb and marked it with blue chalk. “ Anything else?” he enquired not looking up at James, “ No, this is as far as I got before you arrived”. The traffic officer paused whilst looking down the road in the direction the car came from, he looked at James “Must have been doing something stupid to have lost it here” James looked at Tamsin's wrecked car, “ Some people can do it all”, the traffic officer scoffed and joined James, standing next to him. “useful to have the top down, fire must be disappointed not to cut it off” It was now James turn to scoff. The traffic officer continued “ I'd much rather have air conditioning.” James nodded his head in agreement “ I'll go before I get in trouble, do you need anything else from me?” “ Just your body worn and a copy of your notebook if you've got any info, could you also do be a quick summary of when you arrived?”“No problem”
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