Major Northcote had left them some financial papers to deliver to Jacob. In the car they inspected them. The Major was leaving for London, but he was going to keep the lodge. They also found his address in Camden.
After supper, they went to the local pubs in Helmsdon (not all twelve!) to inquire the locals. They didn´t know anything. Between two pubs, they saw the lights on in the library, and they went there instead. Old George was still working (Esther told the others that he´s always working) and he gladly helped them search for information. All books regarding the Black Family was already borrowed by Jacob, but he helped them found information about some other things.
The story of Melinda Pryce was confirmed, and some of her art should be in Derby (including an Arthurian series).
No information regarding St Michael’s Chapel and no information about any Northcote that have lived in the area.
When they searched for Oak Wood they found something interesting. And old map (16th century) pictured the old wood with the sign for church in the middle of the wood.
Other strange activities in the area include some wolf murders in 1852. Two humans and a lot of animals was killed during the winter before in suddenly stopped without explanation in April.
After midnight, they returned to the Manor and after a short inspection they went to bed. When all other had fallen asleep, Esther was brushing her hair when she felt smoke from the hallway. At the door she felt the heat and heard the sound of the fire outside. She screamed for the others and woke up Jacob. Smoke started to pour in and soon even the fire. Jacob jumped out the second floor window and Esther tried to climb down but fell and hurt her leg. She screamed as the fire consumed the house. Jacob, Leopold and Herbert woke up and heard / saw Esther on the grass and run out to help her. Esther realized it was no trace of the fire.
They all went to bed except Leopold who had carried out the door to the shed in the garden and lit lamps around the shed while he stayed in the drawing room watching all night.
At seven in the morning, the maid Josephine went up and started screaming. First when she saw the carved pentagrams all over the bath room. And then when she saw the carved pentagrams all over the kitchen. Then she resigned and left to her sister in Birmingham.
The investigators also found that the dining room and the two empty bedrooms (Herbert had fallen asleep in the Blacks room) have been completely covered in small pentagrams.
They left the Manor and checked in at The Queen Anne Hotel.
After breakfast they sent a lot of telegrams: To Ecclestone regarding Northcote, to Tenbaker regarding pentagram related crimes, to Regina Phelps regarding witchcraft, and to the Earl of Derby regarding the Arthurian paintings in Derby.
Jacob needed rest, so the others drove to Oak Wood. At the outskirts the saw a big old oak that had been cut down the last weeks. On the tree the saw on old carved cross. Strange mushrooms had already started to grow on the stump. They theorized that this tree could be one of the five points in the star they found on the map at Major Northcote.
The entered the forest. The first part seemed very normal with sunlight and bird sounds. After a while the scenery changed. The wood grew thicker and the bird had disappeared. They saw a strange flower that seemed to grasp after them, and an old cottage with a recently dead man in old clothes. He had grown attached to the ground and his skin was covered in strange mushrooms.
After five hours (at five in the evening) they saw a church in a clearing. In front of the church they found an unmarked grave that had recently been opened from the inside. The assumed the grave belonged to Black Annie.
The church looked like St Michael’s chapel in the painting. Above the church door was a Sheela-na-gig and inside it was no decorations what so ever. In a pew they found a headless 16th century soldier. Leopold took his sabre. In his bag they found a witch-finder (a compass to find a witch). Herbert repaired it and with some hair from the grave the witch-finder started spinning and pointed to the north.
In the center of the church was an open sarcophagus. It was empty.
The investigators didn’t want to meet a witch yet, and it was getting dark now. They decided to head home for now. It was hard work to go through the woods again, especially since it was now dark. After 4-5 hours it suddenly become light again. Morning light. And they felt very, very tired and hungry. Especially Leopold who hadn’t slept the night before. When they finally arrived at the Haynes farm they got something to eat and saw the Sunday Times at the table. It was now the 18th! Their 12 hours trip had taken over 36 hours!
After some sleeping and some more food at the Five Oak Inn in Beck Green they went back to Helmsdon. As soon as they parked at Queen Anne Hotel the manager ran out screaming to Esther that Jacob had an accident and now was with Dr Winthrope.
At the Doctor, he explained that Jacob was now sleeping because all the pain killers. During the night, he or someone else had drawn out seven of his teeth.
Leopold and Herbert examined Jacobs room at the Hotel. Someone had driven spikes into the bed and that way pinned Jacob to the bed. Other guests had heard his scream but thought it was just his nightmares. Meanwhile, Jacob told Esther that he was attacked by a lot of small clay creatures that removed his teeth. Leopold remembered an old witch tale where the witch uses teeth to create small creatures to help her, witch-kin or homunculus.
They decided to leave for London in the morning to find out more about how to deal with a witch.
But during the night, a strange “space ape creature” appeared in thin air before the Blacks, and even though Esther tried to stop the creature it grasped Jacob and disappeared with him.
Have You Seen The Yellow Sign?
Have You Seen The Yellow Sign? Part 2
Hell hath no Fury (p2)