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Authors: Phil Rickman

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The Cure of Souls

BOOK: The Cure of Souls
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The Cure of Souls

PHIL RICKMAN
was born in Lancashire and lives on the Welsh border. He is the author of the Merrily Watkins series, and The Bones of Avalon. He has won awards for his TV and radio journalism and writes and presents the book programme Phil the Shelf for BBC Radio Wales.

ALSO BY
PHIL
RICKMAN
THE MERRILY WATKINS SERIES
The Wine of Angels
Midwinter of the Spirit
A Crown of Lights
The Cure of Souls
The Lamp of the Wicked
The Prayer of the Night Shepherd
The Smile of a Ghost
The Remains of an Altar
The Fabric of Sin
To Dream of the Dead
The Secrets of Pain
OTHER BOOKS
The Bones of Avalon
PHIL
RICKMAN
The Cure of Souls
First published in Great Britain in 2001 by Macmillan.
This paperback edition first published in Great Britain in 2011 by Corvus, an imprint of Atlantic Books Ltd.
Copyright © Phil Rickman, 2001.
The moral right of Phil Rickman to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. All characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
ISBN: 978-0-85789-012-2
eBook ISBN: 978-0-85789-019-1
Printed in Great Britain.
Corvus
An imprint of Atlantic Books Ltd
Ormond House
26-27 Boswell Street
London WC1N 3JZ
www.corvus-books.co.uk
Table of Contents

Cover

Title Page

Copyright

Prologue

One: Special

Two: Little Green Apples

Three: Soiled Place

Part One

1. The Wires

2. In the Old-fashioned Sense

3. Stock

4. The Reservoir

5. Al and Sally

6. Full of Dead People

7. Stealing the Light

8. Mercury Retrograde

9. God and Music

10. Bad Penny

11. One Girl in Particular

Part Two

12. Everybody Lies

13. Question of Diplomacy

14. Thankless

15. From Hell

16. Mafia

17. Comfort and Joy

18. Lightform

19. And then… Peace

20. The Metaphysics

21. The Brimstone Tray

22. Barnchurch

23. Poppies in the Snow

Part Three

24. Being Lost

25. Soured

26. Cats

27. Scalding

28. A Religious Man

29. The Plagues of Frome

30. Element of Surprise

31. Little Taps

32. The Big Lie

33. Item

34. The Cure of Souls

35. Left to Hang

36. Confluence

37. Rebekah

38. Physical Dependency

39. Rich Girl With a Hobby

40. Bleed Dry

41. Another Round to the Devil

42. Witch Trials

Part Four

43. Retribution

44. Avoiding the Second Death

45. Drukerimaskri

46. Every Evil Haunting and Phantasm

47. Ghost Eyes

48. Love First

One: Love Lightly?

Two: Strung Up Closing Credits

The Cure of Souls
Prologue

 

Church of England

Diocese of Hereford

Ministry of Deliverance

email:
[email protected]

Click

Home Page
Hauntings
Possession
Cults
Psychic Abuse
Contacts
Prayers

If you’ve had a worrying experience of an unexplained or possibly paranormal nature, we may be able to help.

Many people troubled or frightened by the unknown are often embarrassed to discuss their problem or are scared of being laughed at or disbelieved.

The Deliverance Ministry is here to listen and advise – and we never make light of it.

ONE
Special

I
T WAS REALLY
getting to Jane now, tormenting her nights, raiding her head as soon as she awoke in the mornings. The way things did when there was nobody – like,
nobody
– you could tell.

I’m sixteen years old, and I’m

Feeling deeply isolated, she walked numbly out of the school, with its acrid anxiety-smell, and into the sun-splashed quadrangle, where Scott Eagles and Sigourney Jones were already into a full-blown, feely snog almost directly under the staffroom window.

The big statement. This was Jones and Eagles telling the sad old gits in the staffroom that the English Language GCSE that they and Jane and a bunch of other kids had just completed, was, like all the other GCSEs – the focus of their school-life for the past four or five years – of truly minuscule significance in comparison with their incredible obsession with one another.

Yes, having done their sleeping around, they were into something long-term and meaningful. Life-partners, possibly. An awesome thing.

Jane, however, felt like part of some other species.
Sixteen years old and

She closed her eyes on the superior, super-glued lovers. Walked away from the whole naff sixties edifice of concrete and washed-out brick sinking slowly into the pitted asphalt exercise
yard, which the Head liked to call a quadrangle. She needed out of here, like
now
. And yet she kept wishing the term still had weeks to run.

‘So, how was it for you, Jane?’

‘Huh?’

She spun round. The sun was a slap in the face. Candida Butler was shimmering alongside her, tall and cool, the words
head girl material
shining out of her sweatless forehead as they probably had since she was ten.

‘The exam, Jane.’ Candida wrinkled a sensible nose at the Jones-and-Eagles show. Her own boyfriend was at Cambridge, reading astrophysics. An older guy, natch. Candida – who was never going to be called Candy by anyone – was serene and focused, and knew it.

‘Pity the essay titles were all so crap,’ Jane said.

‘Did you think so?’ Candida looked mildly surprised. She’d have opted for the utterly safe and anodyne
My Grandmother’s Attic
. ‘Anyway, it’s another one over, that’s the main thing.’ She looked down at Jane with that soft, mature smile. ‘So what are you going to be doing with yourself this summer?’

The sun’s reflection lasered out of the plate-glass doors of the new science block. Danny Gittoes and Dean Wall, who probably still couldn’t get the letters ‘GCSE’ in the right order, came out of the toilets grinning and ripping off their school ties in preparation for another bid to get served in the Royal Oak, where the teachers drank. Went without saying that
they
wouldn’t be coming back in the autumn.

Jane wished it was already winter. She wished she could spend the next seven weeks holed up in her own attic apartment, under the Mondrian walls, with a pile of comfort reading.

I am sixteen, and I’m an old maid
.

‘I’m going on holiday for a couple of weeks,’ she said miserably. ‘With my boyfriend. At his family’s holiday home.’

From the edge of the quad, where it met the secondary playing fields, you could see across miles of open countryside to the Black Mountains on the horizon.

On the other side of the mountains was Wales, another country.

Eirion’s country.

On the edge of Wales, probably nearly a hundred miles away, was the Pembrokeshire coast, where Eirion’s family had their five-bedroom holiday ‘cottage’. Where you could go surfing and walk the famous coastal path and lose your virginity. That kind of thing.

‘Some people have all the luck,’ said Candida. ‘We’re kind of constrained this year, because Robert’s got a holiday job at his cousin’s software plant near Cheltenham.’

‘Beats strangling poor bloody chickens at Sun Valley.’

‘I suppose.’ Candida’s wealthy farming family probably had major shares in Sun Valley. ‘Welsh, isn’t he, your guy?’

‘Not so’s you’d notice.’ Jane blushed. Then, furious with herself, she went over the top again. ‘I mean, he doesn’t shag
any
old sheep.’

Candida’s eyes narrowed. ‘Are you all right, Jane?’

‘Yeah.’ Jane sighed. ‘Fine.’

Candida patted Jane’s shoulder. ‘See you next term, then. On the A level treadmill.’

‘Sure.’

Jane watched Candida stride confidently across the quad towards the car park, where her mother would be waiting for her in the second-best Range Rover. Jane’s own mum – ancient, clanking Volvo – would be a while yet. She’d had an early funeral to conduct: Alfred Rokes, who’d gone out at a hundred and two, having still been blacksmithing at ninety, so nothing too sorrowful there. And then – a little grief here, maybe – the Bishop was expected to call in.

With a good hour to kill, Jane could have strolled round the back for a cigarette. If she’d been into tobacco. But when your mum smoked like a chimney, what was the point?

Jane’s nails dug into her palms.

An old maid who didn’t even smoke. What kind of life
was
this?

OK, the problem. The problem was that Eirion was giving every impression of wanting to move them up to the Scott Eagles–Sigourney Jones relationship level.

BOOK: The Cure of Souls
2.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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