Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

Terminal Transit,

Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’

Verse 9

‘There are many privileges to being the biggest rock star this country has ever produced and courtesy of off-shore accounting and other tax tricks, the biggest one of them is having enough money to spend however I like.’

Bart smiled.

‘Some stars spend their money on sports cars and beachfront properties in California or racehorses or islands or hotels in Dubai. I prefer to collect things; not the sort of ordinary things that ordinary people collect but the sort of extraordinary things that only extraordinary people like myself are able to collect.’

Bart looked very pleased with himself.

‘After years of spending more money than you could ever hope to even see, I currently have one of the world’s biggest collections of occult paraphernalia. I have cloaks and wands and books and globes and fetishes and familiars and gems and spells and curses and any other splendid arcania that takes my fancy.’

Bart smiled as he thought about his extensive collection. He pointed at Inteachán.

‘As you also know, I have recently acquired the Flute of Thelema and of all the things I have collected over the years this is the one thing that gives me the most pleasure.’

Bart paused.

‘Do you want to know why?’ he asked Inteachán.

‘Not really,’ answered Inteachán. Bart laughed.

‘Because The5 gave it to me as a gift.’

‘The Five?’ said Inteachán.

‘Not The Five, The5,’ corrected the Rock Star. ‘I’m sure that Mac has told you all kinds of ludicrous stories about the NotBeSpeak.’

Inteachán nodded.

‘Well,’ said the Rock Star. ‘He doesn’t know the half of it.’

Inteachán said nothing. Bart was thrilled to share his knowledge.

‘You cannot begin to imagine what I have seen and heard,’ he boasted. ‘Your tiny little mind would simply shatter.’

Bart cracked his knuckles.

‘The5 first spoke to me during a late-night recording session in our studio. The rest of the band had gone home hours before but I wanted to re-record a vocal so I stayed behind. As I mixed the track I kept noticing a slight vibration in the background.’

Bart stared at Inteachán, convinced he was impressing her with his knowledge.

‘It took me a while but eventually I was able to isolate the vibration and digitally transpose it, re-modulating it as I did so. At first I still couldn’t make anything out but by further transposing across four of the channels I was finally able to convert the vibration into legible sound.’

Inteachán wasn’t sure if Bart really knew what he was talking about. Unperturbed, he continued with his explanation.

‘I first heard a series of garbled voices whispering about stones and stars and other things that I couldn’t understand. It quite freaked me out, I can tell you.’

Bart mock-shivered. Inteachán didn’t laugh.

‘I must have fall into some kind of sleep at that stage because the next thing I knew I was standing in a pitch-black desert looking up at five shiny black planets in splendid orbit. A sudden wind appeared from nowhere.

‘We aRE The5,’ the wind whispered. ‘YoU ARe OuR fuTURe.’’

Bart looked extremely pleased with himself.

‘Then I was back in my studio as if nothing had happened.’

Bart smiled.

‘It isn’t everyday that beings from beyond our consciousness ask for help and so naturally I couldn’t say no.’

Bart kept crowing.

‘The5 must have seen one my concerts and realised just how much messianic potential I truly possess. They told me about the Flute and where it could be found. They also told me how to play it and why.’

‘Why?’ asked Inteachán.

‘Precisely,’ said Bart mystically. ‘Why, indeed.’

He put his hand inside his jacket and pulled out an ornate wooden box. He opened one end of the box and took out a small silver flute. Inteachán fancied that she saw its outline shimmer slightly. Bart put the flute to his lips and pretended to play it.

‘She’s a beauty, isn’t she?’ he said boastfully, ‘but I mustn’t play it now. I have to wait until later.’

He put the flute back in the box and placed the box upon the table.

‘Only then will the time is exactly right.’

Bart looked at Inteachán and raised an eyebrow.

‘What do you think will happen when I play the flute during the concert?’

‘Something rotten,’ Inteachán replied. Bart laughed.

‘Something rotten? Something rotten? How about more like something mightily amazingly magnificently marvelous?’

Bart clicked his Cuban heels together.

‘When I play the Flute of Thelema The5 will know that their entry into this world is assured.’

Bart rubbed his hands together.

‘As Mac has no doubt explained in his clumsy, geriatric way, The5 exist in the spaces between things,’ explained the Rock Star. ‘The white between the words on a page, lines of a book or the cuts of a film.’ Bart continued.

‘Tonight, The5 will first reveal their intentions towards the world via the specially-commissioned video that will be playing on the massive wall of screens behind the band.’ Inteachán said nothing. Bart leapt to his tiny feet.

‘As the concert’s crescendo is reached I will play the Flute of Thelema and The5 will anoint me with their magnificence and then turn their attention to the audience. They will also be anointed by The5,’ said the Rock Star, ‘but obviously not quite as much as me for they have chosen me especially. The crowd will go wild and this dirty old town will be taken by sunrise.’

Inteachán didn’t see the fist that hit the side of her head and knocked her to the floor unconscious.

Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

Terminal Transit,

Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’

Verse 8

The city at night is a dark and dangerous place. Revellers and ruffians vie for space. People die in dirty alleys while others walk past and laugh. Sadness turns to anger turns to murder. And for many people the streets where they walk are also where they live and so go about their business unhindered by public eyes as they share needles and doorways and grimy bottles.

Small enough to pass unnoticed and alert enough to walk unhindered, Inteachán enjoyed the freedom that the darkness of the city usually offered. Tonight, however, the streets were full of hordes of people all heading towards Croke Park. This was nothing unusual and the various finals played out at the stadium meant that the streets were regularly full of crowds of singing fans. As Croke Park loomed in the distance Inteachán found herself swept along by the horde of fans thrilled by the prospect of the country’s biggest band making their triumphant return.

It was a relatively simple process for Inteachán to use the crowd to enter the stadium and once inside she made her way towards the area behind the stage. Security was very tight but no match for such a determined child and it wasn’t long before Inteachán found herself in the main dressing room backstage. Clothes and bags were scattered everywhere. A giant poster of Bart was carelessly taped crookedly to one of the walls. Directly beneath the poster a low table groaned beneath the weight of plates and plates of cheap fried chicken with thin salty fries in greasy paper bags. Large bottles of corner shop cola completed the pre-gig tableau.

‘Well what do you know?’ said a voice behind her. ‘What have we got here?’

Inteachán turned to find Bart standing in the doorway. He was smaller than he looked on the television and Inteachán wrinkled her nose as the smell of his aftershave began to fill the room. Bart stepped forward and closed the door behind him. He smiled and pointed at the groaning table.

‘What do you think of our spread?’ he asked. ‘I’m sure the band won’t mind if you help yourself to a chicken wing and a couple of fries.’

Bart laughed at his own generosity before falling serious.

‘I know who you are and I know why you are here, Inteachán,’ he said. ‘They told me you were coming.’

Inteachán didn’t reply. Bart took another step closer.

‘They also told me that you are being manipulated by that old doddering fool of a professor.’ Bart stopped right in front of Inteachán and tried his hardest to loom right over her. It didn’t work. Inteachán stepped back. Bart put his hands on his hips.

‘Mac may think he knows what is going on but let me tell you he hasn’t got a bloody clue.’

Bart sat down on a plastic chair and put his cowboy boots up on another. He motioned for Inteachán to sit down. She stayed standing.

Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

Terminal Transit,

Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’

Verse 7

The next evening and Mac sat thinking in his chair. Inteachán sat beside him waiting. The coals in the grate cracked and whispered. Menace clung to the room like a funeral drape. Mac thought some more and then, just when she thought he had fallen asleep, Mac leaned over and placed his hand gently on her arm. He smiled.

‘I have to ask something of you, Inteachán,’ said Mac tenderly. ‘I have to ask you to do something that I don’t want to ask you to do. Your father made me swear that if the worst came to the worst that I was to look out for you and treat you as the grand-daughter I never knew.’ Mac shifted uncomfortably.

‘I hate myself for asking but I am too old to go and I really don’t think that we can trust anyone else with something as vast and secret as this so it will have to be you.’

In Mac’s troubled mind Inteachán was capable of anything. He just knew she was. Inteachán looked up from her tears. Her small face was red and smeared. Everything was far too much for her to bear.

‘How can I possibly help?’ she asked the old man. ‘What do you want me to do?’ Inteachán began to sob but Mac did not react. His mind was made up and nothing was going to deter him.

‘It has come to my attention,’ said Mac, ‘that the Flute of Thelema has recently been rediscovered and is now residing in this country.’

‘The Flute of Flelema?’ asked Inteachán. ‘Whatever is that?’

Mac nodded. He loved nothing more than having an audience, even if it was only a grieving child. Sibeal used to be his sounding post and though she teased him when his ‘sermons’ got too much he knew she really loved to hear him speak, or at least he thought she did.

‘It was in 1923 that a certain Raoul Loveday commissioned a local silversmith from the port of Cefalu to craft an ornamental flute which he intended to offer as a tribute to the noted occultist Aleister Crowley who had recently established his infamous Abbey of Thelema in the vicinity.’

Mac smiled wryly.

‘Sadly, however, Raoul drank from a local spring and succumbed to enteric fever before the flute was completed. Another version of the same story suggests that he died after drinking the blood of a cat. Either way Crowley was forced to leave his Abbey that same year and so the Flute became another tale surrounding the legendary occultist and his life.’

Mac’s smile ended and the agitation in his voice began to rise. The menace descended lower now.

‘It has long been the predilection for billionaire rock stars and other hapless creatures to collect occult and esoteric memorabilia – cloaks, spell books, wands, papers, powders, vials, grimoires, goblets and other such gruesome gimlets. Most of these misguided creatures simply place their collections in vaults or leave them laying around their mansions to be worn on special occasions or passed around at dinner parties for the pleasure of their guests.’ Mac snorted his displeasure at such behaviour.

‘However, and according to your late father’s intelligence, it appears that Bartholomew Hamson, the biggest rock star this country has ever produced, and known to the world as Bart, has recently acquired the long-lost Flute of Thelema. At midnight tomorrow Bart and his band will be performing their latest homecoming concert in front of 80, 000 adoring people at Croke Park and apparently, at the climax, so your father understood, Bart intends to play the Flute.’ Mac looked worried again.

‘At this stage I have no way of knowing why Bart would want to do this but it clearly cannot simply be in the interests of popular composition.’ He looked at Inteachán. ‘I need you to go backstage, locate the Flute and prevent it from being played.’

Inteachán had seen the posters around town; four men wearing skullcaps and too-large sunglasses, cowboy boots and leather waistcoats. Even though she couldn’t name any of their songs, Inteachán knew just how much this band meant to so many people. Mac continued talking.

‘Given the nature of the Flute’s origins, the site chosen for its debut and your father’s findings, I firmly believe that the sound of this infernal instrument is somehow intended to engage directly with the NotBeSpeak.’

‘But’s what’s so special about Croke Park?’ asked Inteachán. She placed another piece of bread on her fork and began to toast it on the fire as Mac spoke.

‘There is an ancient ley line called St. Michael which extends out from Ireland into Europe and then the Middle East. This line intersects with various sacred sites dedicated to the saint himself. There are various amplification points along this line, including Skellig Michael, the so-called holy rock that stands in the Atlantic Ocean. Unbeknown to everyone but a few, Croke Park is also another amplification point.’ Inteachán felt a slight shadow descend.

‘If the Flute is played at such a point of amplification then who knows what will happen next.’ Mac put down his plate. ‘As if that wasn’t enough, Croke Park also stands in Ballybough and Ballybough is one of the darkest parts of Dublin.’ Mac looked at Inteachán.

‘There is an old cemetery in Ballybough where the City’s undesirables used to be buried. Thieves, robbers, highwaymen and suicide victims, hence the name, the Suicide Plot.’

‘The worst thing of all,’ continued Mac, ‘was that each corpse had a stake driven through its heart so that they couldn’t further bother the residents.’

Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

Terminal Transit,

Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’

Verse 6

Mac looked out into the darkness and smiled awkwardly.

‘I think that it is fair to say that what you have just read are the psychotic ramblings of a complete and utter energumen – all pointlessly puerile fiction and paranoid ramblings that lose their meaning as the pages unfold.’ Mac hated himself for saying this.

‘Sibeal always worried that Butler had something of the tragic about him – ‘licked by the black dog of death’ was how she described him the first time they met.’ Mac paused as the weight of all the loss he had ever known bore down on him momentarily. He shuddered, took a deep breath and then collected himself.

‘I could weep forever when I consider exactly how far Butler could have gone as a scholar; the Nobel Prize would only have been the beginning. And yet he only managed to get as far as murderer, madman and suicide. Instead of a stellar publishing career with award after award after award the only thing left to show for all his so-called brilliance is this loose collation of word-games and demonic doggerel.’ Mac threw the folder to the floor and looked out into the darkness. It was a minute before he spoke again.

‘It really doesn’t bear thinking about. But think about it, I must. After all, and knowing the man as well as I did, there has to be the possibility, however slight or slim, that Butler did actually manage to stumble upon some kind of cosmic truth amidst all of this apothegmatic chaos.’ Mac adjusted the blanket on his knee.

‘If we step back for a moment from our contemporary notions of nosology we might recall that earlier conceptions of madness tended to combine elements of the divine, the diabolical, the magical and the transcendental. We might also recall that madness then was also seen a moral issue, constituting, somehow, some form of punishment or a test.’ Mac grimaced and then relaxed, as he warmed to his analysis.

‘What if Butler is right? What if the prophecy is pointing to the fact that this planet is about to be destroyed? Butler’s madness does then become a very real moral issue, only for me now, and no longer for him. Can I really ignore the possibility, however far-fetched this talk of stones and stars and dark planets is, that the extinction-level event Butler has foreseen isn’t going to come to pass?’ The old scholar smiled, thankful for another chance to impart his boundless knowledge.

‘I am reminded here of the 10th Century English word dustsceawung,’ he said. ‘This was the contemplation of the fact that everyday ordinary dust used to be many other things, usually far less everyday and ordinary; walls, and trees and books, for example. With Butler’s discovery of this horrendous prophecy in mind, we might also add islands, nations, and planets to this list.’ Mac shuddered and then held up three bony fingers and pointed at the first.

‘From what I can remember of the last conversation that we had, on the morning of that terrible night, this is how the whole thing is supposed to work. This finger is the first Tier, Past-Change – what was. It can be understood most simply as History but it is simply the case that nothing is ever that simple.’ Mac pointed at the second finger.

‘We understand Present-Change in terms of what is. The here? The now? The immediate?’ He pointed to the third.

‘Future-Change is best understood in terms of what will be. What lies ahead? The shape of things to come? The second after the minute it takes to read this sentence.’ Mac paused.

‘As a race we humans either dwell in the past, refusing to let go of what was. Or we live for the moment, happy to acknowledge the ever-changing nature of what is. Failing either of these two, we look forward to things, projecting our thoughts and desires to a time that has yet to occur, what will be’ Mac pointed to each of the three fingers in turn.

‘The Three Tiers of Change are the normal state of affairs for the world and they ensure that the status quo is maintained, even allowing for occasional wobbles along the way. From the world’s perspective the separation of these three tiers has always been a good thing.’ Mac folded the three fingers back into his fist.

‘We humans are not temperamentally equipped to occupy all three Tiers of Change at the same time. If you don’t believe me then try dwelling in the past, living for the moment and also looking forward to something yet to happen. Fatally, however, our unableness to do these three things at once, will likely bring about our downfall as a planet.

This is because it appears that the NotBeSpeak can be present in all times at the same time. Apparently, this is how they have always existed. Here’s the thing. Though they have always existed it is only now that the conditions are right for them to act. And act they will.’

Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

Terminal Transit,

Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’

Verse 5.

‘Your father told me that he had uncovered something so terrible that it meant the end of all existence as we know and understand it,’ said Mac as he rummaged among the folders on the top shelf. Mac pulled an envelope from the folder, opened it and pulled out a single sheet of paper.

‘Here it is,’ he said to himself.

Mac slipped his glasses on and started reading.

‘The NotBeSpeak will not be spoken of. They are the space between the words. Not the words themselves. The pause before the sentence. The sigh that follows. The NotBeSpeak are ancient. Timeless. Dangerous. Alien. The NotBeSpeak are shapeless. Always shifting. Drifting outside of definition. Beyond boundaries. The NotBeSpeak are not evil. This is not a word for them. No words really are. The NotBeSpeak need shape now. They need form to form their dismal plan. The NotBeSpeak seek a host. Like a vacuum needs a vessel to empty. Blood needs a wound to drain. Darkness needs a light to extinguish.’

Mac stopped reading. Inteachán shivered as she thought about her father writing this crazy-sounding stuff. What was he talking about?

‘But what does it all mean?’ she asked Mac. ‘I really don’t understand.’

Mac smiled and put the piece of paper back into the envelope. He then put the envelope back in the folder and the folder back on the shelf. He walked stiffly back to his armchair and slowly sat down. He looked at Inteachán.

‘Here’s what I think I know,’ he said hesitantly. ‘Or what I think I think, if you see what I mean.’

Inteachán waited quietly for Mac to carry on. He duly did.

‘Every infection needs a host and the NotBeSpeak need the biggest host of all, the world.’

Inteachán looked confused.

‘Blood, and wounds and infections,’ she said. ‘What are you talking about?’

‘I have absolutely no real idea,’ said Mac truthfully, ‘not even the slightest notion but I do not doubt the cataclysmic severity of your father’s discovery. If it is true that the NotBeSpeak do exist it would then follow logically that they are looking for a form that will allow them to engage with the world.’

Mac smiled sadly.

‘If we knew anything about this likely form then we might have some idea of how they could be stopped.’

Mac paused and Inteachán shivered again.

‘But, I have no idea what form this likely form will take.’

Mac coughed. The shadows cast from the fire leapt around the room. A spurt of gas curled from a coal and hissed its dying pyrolysic breath for a tiny moment before vanishing forever. Mac readjusted the blanket on his knees. Inteachán was still very upset and began to cry loudly. With no thought to comforting the child, Mac continued.

‘Every civilisation has its own names for spirits and faeries and demons and balrogs and wights. In this country we have always tended to use the word ‘Fomhóire.’’

Mac smiled.

‘We have always known them this way but, and thanks to your father, I now know them as another – the NotBeSpeak.’

‘But what are they?’ asked Inteachán. ‘I still don’t get it.’

She really didn’t understand anything that was going on. All she knew was that her father had killed her mother and tried to kill her because ‘They’ told him to. That didn’t make any sense.

‘How could you ever understand?’ said Mac kindly.

He cleared his throat, picked up a section of his Miscellanea which lay nearby and started reading.

‘Fomhóire means ‘from the sea’ and is the name given to the divine powers, or gods of night, death and cold. The Fomhóire were misshapen and were believed to have the heads of goats and bulls. They also were believed to have only one leg and one arm each, and these grew out of the middle of their chests. The Fomhóire were the ancestors of the evil faeries and, according to legend, of all misshapen persons. The giants and leprechauns are also said to belong to the Fomhóire.’

Mac looked up.

‘This is the standard history, so to speak, the approved version that we peddle to tourists and schoolchildren when we speak so fondly of our quaint customs and traditions and superstitions.’

Mac paused somewhat dramatically, as if he was back in the lecture hall after all these long years.

‘But what if these tales and creatures and histories and versions stemmed from a different source, one far more foreign and outside and clearly much less quaint and more deadly?’

Mac looked at Inteachán and the flames from the fire caused his eyes to shine momentarily.

‘One not attributable to the life and legend of this planet in anyway whatsoever?’

Later that evening, and with Inteachán thankfully finally asleep, Mac sat in his chair and watched the fire die down to almost nothing. He remained deep in thought for what seemed like the longest time and then he looked out into the night that now gripped the world and began to speak.

‘Listen’, he said fearfully. ‘I need to speak to all of you out there about a matter of great urgency.’

He looked out into the expectant darkness.

‘I am a dying man and I need to tell you some really important things straightaway. Otherwise the events you are about to witness will make very little sense.’

He paused.

‘If I tell you all everything now then I won’t have to go through everything ever again. I just don’t have enough time to keep repeating myself.’

Mac started to look worried.

‘Inteachán’s father stumbled upon a plan to destroy the entire country and, indeed, the world. I have absolutely no idea how he came about this knowledge, as he was certainly very secretive towards the end, perhaps afraid that my knowing would place me in danger as well.’

Mac exhaled ruefully.

‘From what little information I was able to glean from him, this terrible plot has always been in existence – hence my thoughts on the Fomhóire – but the very recent and extremely well-documented man-made disasters endured by Ireland’s economy have created certain metaphysical and, indeed, metaphorical conditions by which the architects of this terrible plot have been able to revive their dreadful ambitions. Or had their ambitions revived for them? As you can hear, I am still not totally clear.’

Mac looked out into the darkness.

‘I fear that I may not ever know everything but I do know enough to know that it is now time for you all to find out about the NotBeSpeak.’

He picked up the folder.

‘Here is the final ‘research’ paper written by Inteachán’s father. I didn’t want to alarm her earlier but it doesn’t make pretty reading.’

Mac grimaced.

‘Clearly, the poor man’s discovery caused him to lose his mind.’

He winced.

‘See for yourself.’

Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

Terminal Transit Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

mainimg

Terminal Transit,

‘Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak’’

Verse 3

Following the inquest, the Coroner’s Report confirmed that ‘Dr Butler F. Temple killed himself and murdered his daughter by leaping from Wexford Bridge after first stabbing his wife to death while she was asleep at No. 23 Wolseley Street, Dublin 8 with a double-edged ‘sacrificial’ dagger that he had recently purchased by mail order. Dr. Temple’s 1972 Volkswagen Beetle was found abandoned close to the bridge. Dr. Temple’s body was discovered the same evening but his daughter’s body is still unaccounted-for.’

‘A terrible misadventure,’ reported the Coroner, ‘likely brought about by a combination of overwork and chronic depression. This tragedy is further compounded by the fact that the child’s body still remains unfound at the time of writing.’

Everyone agreed that it was a dreadful thing to have happened and for a few days it was the talk of this tiny town – especially considering it involved an academic from Trinity College, itself the very site of controversy. But, as is the nature of tragedies, however terrible, they happen so often that the next one leaves the last one in that special but dreadful place where the memories of every single tragedy ever to have befallen blur as they coalesce around the faded inches of discarded newspaper print and occasional visits to graveyards.

As far as everyone was concerned that was pretty much that and the sad affair of the gifted Trinity lecturer who lost his mind was consigned to the pages of local history but Mac, being Mac, had certainly never considered himself to be any part of ‘everyone else’ and in any case he knew for sure that something else lay at the heart of this tragedy.

Inteachán’s arrival at the flat that had been in her family since the 18th Century made Mac even more sure that there was something afoot, so sure in fact that it never occurred to him to report the fact of her being alive to the authorities. Mac was desperate to get to the heart of what happened and so it was that he soon found himself unable to wait any longer and growing more and more anxious Mac began to question the poor child.

‘Can you tell me what happened on that awful night? asked Mac getting straight to the point as gently as he could.

‘Did your father say anything? Think carefully.’

Inteachán thought carefully and began to sob.

‘He was upset, so upset, more upset than I had ever seen anyone ever before.’

Inteachán shuddered as the memory fell upon her once again from on high and afar.

‘He said that They had trapped him on a dark desert planet and that a black sandstorm tormented him for days by whispering in his ear that he needed to help Them in order to get back home and that the only way he would get back home was if he sacrificed me as an offering to them.’

‘They. Them.’ repeated Mac.

He hissed softly.

‘Fomhóire! Or should I say, the NotBeSpeak.’

As was his particular wont, Mac looked glum.

Inteachán felt a chill descend upon her from somewhere else and she duly shivered.

‘What are the What-Be-Speak?’ she whispered through her tears.

‘Not What,’ Mac replied carefully, ‘but Why.’

He continued to look glum and stared off into the dingy distance.

‘I have spent a very large part of my recent years searching for an answer to that question. Sadly, I am no closer to the answer than I was when I started.’

Mac fumbled for the handkerchief he kept in the breast pocket of his green tweed suit and blew his nose vigorously.

‘In fact, I’m probably further away today than I have ever been.’

Mac prodded the coals on the fire. The chill showed no sign of leaving the room.

‘Despite my grand claims to knowledge and understanding it was actually your father who first alerted me to the danger.’

Mac pulled the blanket off his lap and walked over to a dusty bookcase full of lever arch file folders. Every wall of his flat was lined with similar bookcases and Inteachán could never work out how Mac knew instinctively where anything he was looking for could ever be found. A glance on any shelf revealed the rich and brumous nature of his collection.

There were the thirteen volumes of Sheen’s Pamphlet, an obscure tract published cheaply, regularly and anonymously between 1911 and 1961, with only the twelve editions from June to November 1946 missing. Next to this stood Lois Pengelly’s Wolseley Trilogy; Once a Valley (1932), Through the Trees (1942) and Forever Once More (1952). These were Sibeal’s favourite novels and Mac loved to watch her read them over and over again.

This very rare trilogy told the story of St. Matthew’s House, a beautiful Edwardian villa sat on the seafront in Bray that was home to several generations of the Wolseley family. Once a Valley told the story of the family coming to the area and having the house built. Through the Trees saw the family undergoing hard times with the Second World War as a backdrop. Sibeal’s favourite volume, Forever Once More, showed the Wolseley family in final dissolution as the eldest daughter, Cecily, refused to marry and thereby ended the family bloodline.

The Third Edition of Ogilvy’s Observations was Mac’s favourite and he loved nothing more than reading out loud from it as he and Sibeal lay in bed. The bedridden Oswald Ogilvy devoted his sickly adult life to completing a volume of ruminations and asides on topics of little or no connection to the world and in 1958 the Third Edition appeared. No one could ever explain what had happened to the first or second edition or if they even existed. Mac liked to speculate that Ogilvy was punishing the world for his ill health by making a publishing mountain out of a vanity molehill. Only twenty copies were ever printed before the plates were destroyed in a fire. Ogilvy himself had actually passed away two days before the fire and so died knowing nothing about the destruction of his life’s work. Ever the obscurist himself, Mac liked to quote from this flimsy volume whenever he could.

‘Ogilvy’s reminds us,’ said Mac, ‘that hope and despair are natural bedfellows. Indeed, he goes so far as to speculate whether or not they were originally the same impulse altogether that has simply been erroneously divided over time.’

A large pile of Pendeltons’ Periodicals lay gathering dust on the floor by his side of the bed. Edited between 1954 and 1958 by the noted mid-century chroniclist August Borne, Pendeltons’ was the model for occasional observationism, as it became known. Sadly, the public had very little taste for such an esoteric offering and so Pendeltons’ went the same way as any other small-run journal without an audience.

Gerard Denyer’s Model Villages: Their Occurrence and Occult Significance, published by Turner Press in London in 1924 was another influence on Mac’s own scholarship. Denyer travelled the length and breadth of Britain noting the similarities and differences between the model villages he came across. Maps and charts were drawn and laid side by side for comparison. This was fairly standard for the field but Denyer’s original contribution to the body of knowledge came through his use of the Begleys, a fictional family of aristocratic refugees whose struggles for social survival were used a device by Denyer to account for the seemingly small shifts he detected in societal responses to folk beliefs around the country.

Mac reserved a special scorn for the Reverend John Webster’s Trestles, Treads and Other Joins: My Life Among the Sawdust. Published privately in 1965 at great personal expense to the author, Turtles, Threads and Other Jokes, as Mac liked to call it, told the story of the Reverend Webster’s three years of missionary service in Nigeria. Written as a series of clumsy homilies and asinine anecdotes loosely connected to Christ’s alleged career, Webster always managed to attribute every piece of good luck to God and misfortune to the Devil. Despite its appearance, this literary folly was actually one of the most acclaimed of the so-called casualist texts and was therefore extremely valuable to the right buyer. What made this even book even more valuable to Mac was the fact that he found it buried at the bottom of a cardboard box full of ripped road maps he spotted in a skip.

Mac ran his finger along the second shelf from the top until he found what he was looking for.

Barnaby Taylor, Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction Novel

Synopsis

A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan.

Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as it’s starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention.

Can the end of the world be avoided?

Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit?

glitch 1

Terminal Transit,

‘Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak’’

Verse 1

Professor Amhalgaidh Mac an Bhaird is elderly now, almost ancient. He is an Honorary Fellow and Professor Emeritus of Trinity College and has lived in rooms overlooking Front Square for the last forty-seven years.

Professor Mac an Bhaird has devoted his adult life to the study of what he likes to call the ‘small things that we forget to remember very quickly.’ The Professor’s work is part-chrestomathy, part-analect, and wholly singular in its peculiar ambition. When he wasn’t teaching Professor Mac an Bhaird would spend all his spare time poring over maps and manuscripts and pamphlets and postcards and timetables and booklets and brochures and tickets and notices and newsletters and invitation slips and certificates and all the other truly wonderful ephemera that accumulates when the world isn’t really paying attention.

His wife Sibeal, herself a leading authority on Teutonic textile design during the feudal period, used to joke that the most overlooked thing in all his dealings with the world was undoubtedly her.

‘I fear that one day the only way that you will know that I am still here is when you see my name included on some long-lost list you discover scribbled on a dusty envelope. Only then will you remember to look up and there I’ll be, waiting forlornly in the corner for my turn.’

She slipped her arms around his waist.

‘I love you, Mac.’

‘That will never be the case, my dear,’ said the very-certain scholar as he kissed his wife on the neck.

‘We are simply not fated to end up as forgotten entries in another person’s ledger.’

He pulled her closer.

‘We will fade beautifully towards death together like the most pulchritudinous love letters scribbled on the comeliest of Victorian Christmas cards.’

But Sibeal was taken whilst in labour at 11.03am on September the Sixteenth 1973 and it was at exactly 11.04am that Professor Mac an Bhaird retreated into the deadly safety of scholarly solitude.

That was all those years ago. Now, following a lifetime of lectures and lonely meals in Commons, he sits in his armchair all day indexing his life’s work, Mac an Bhaird’s Miscellanea: Towards the Proposing of a Taxonomy of the Not-Noticed, Oft-Forgotten and Un-Remembered.

Currently standing at over three hundred and thirty-three thousand words Mac an Bhaird’s Miscellanea is a testament to the determination of one man to catalogue, chart, outline, and unravel the seemingly innocuous connections between matters of apparently such little importance as to there being little or no connection between them in the first place. But before we consider a lifetime’s work to be simply pointless and therefore without value we mustn’t forget that generations of academic discourse have depended entirely on exactly the kind of specific pedantry demonstrated here by an elderly Professor. If nothing else this in itself would be a suitably fitting summary of one man’s contribution to the body of knowledge but Mac an Bhaird’s Miscellanea goes much further here because it also exists as a wondrously moving monument to the prodigious properties of paper.

Three hundred and thirty-three thousand words have dutifully wended their way across nearly five hundred and ninety pages and after decades of hermetic handling each page now bears the delicious hallmark of any handwritten document that has aged naturally over time. Many pages are beautifully curled at the corners, as their repeated turning over time now causes them when stacked to fold like the pulpy petals of some ancient, thought-veined bloom. Other pages are torn in places; the longer tears carefully repaired with stamp hinges, now brittle after years of determined gripping. Shorter tears have been left alone for now, borne in mind, or occasionally, overlooked entirely.

All the pages that comprise Mac an Bhaird’s Miscellanea bear the accumulated marks of a lifetime of close attention; stained in some places by the sweat of a thumb; yellowed and coffee-ringed; the sweeping smudge of the back of a hand; ink whirls; curlicues; crossings-out; pencil; ball-point; fountain; wondrous water marks and the arcane collection of proofreading marks unknown to so much of the modern world today – ][, eq #, wc/ww, lc, sp, ||, s/v, first ref., half title, ligature, and stet.

One can read the history of the man in the history of his handwriting and so the bold decisive strokes of a confident young academic gave way to the angry slashes of someone widowed far too soon which then gave way over time to the precise and rigid emphasising of a man obsessed which then give way to the eventually slowed and resigned notation of a dying gentleman battling to complete his life’s work before he passed away.

Yet across the entire length of this turbulent history, one thing had remained a steady constant, Professor Mac an Bhaird’s handwriting was terribly tiny.