Sabine sat back and exhaled deeply. She placed the cigarette she had been absently smoking into the overflowing ashtray and turned to Emile.
“What a story!” she said.
“It was quite the adventure,” said Sir John, flushed from telling the tale. “Four adventures, really.”
“And this Pook creature and the man, Clack, Clack…” said Sabine.
“Clackprattle,” said Marie.
“Yes, ‘im,” said Sabine. “They were nowhere to be found?”
“No,” said Marie. “After the…explosion? I think you’d call it that. After that there was chaos and they escaped, along with much of the cult. The police tried to find them, but, well, there seemed to be no crime for them to solve.”
“They had it down as an industrial accident,” said Sir John, ”even though it was in a church.”
“I didn’t follow fully,” said Emile. “It was the stone they made that exploded? After Clackprattle grabbed it?”
“They were making, or trying to make, the Summum Malorum,” said Sir John. ”It’s like the famous philosopher’s stone that gives eternal life and riches. Only it does the reverse. It can take life and turn gold into dross.”
“This was the cult you mentioned, this Draco Viridis?” said Emile.
“Yes,” said Sir John. ”They were led by this chap Lord Anglestone. He was the one that died.”
“This is what confused me,” said Emile. “How did that happen?”
“Mac Dubh, who was an alchemist, arrived in the church,” explained Marie. “He had made the Philosopher’s stone and pressed it against this Summum Mallorum. I imagine the mix of concentrated good and evil balanced out and they destroyed each other. Anglestone was holding the evil stone and Mac Dubh the good one. There was a flash and after… they were both gone.”
“I thought this Claprattle had the bad stone?” said Sabine.
“Clackprattle,” corrected Marie “He held it for a while, but he dropped it. Anglestone picked it up then Mac Dubh came in and then… the flash.”
“The stone was doing something very odd to Clackpratlle’s hand,” said Sir John. “It was going a most peculiar green colour.”
“I see,” said Emile. “So Anglestone led the cult and Clackprattle and this Pook joined it, and seemingly tried to grab this stone for themselves.”
“That’s what we think,” said Sir John. “Although no one was around to explain. They all ran away quickly.”
“And this Pook,” said Sabine leaning forward again. “You’re sure about him? That he is a puoque? It’s not just his name, it’s what he is.”
“We have evidence, yes,” said Sir John.
“What evidence?” said Sabine.
“He had an influence on people,” said Marie. “An unnatural one. We think it’s ‘ow they managed to join this cult.”
“Fascinating,” said Sabine. “Alors! But enough. Now you are here on ‘oliday and I really understand why!”
“Actually we’re…” started Sir John.
“Yes a holiday,” said Marie. “At last! We thought we might visit some old neighbourhoods.”
“I see,” said Sabine frowning a little. “Well, that sounds very nice.”
“Yes indeed,” said Sir John. “We’re just going to have a nice, peaceful rest. A nice get away.”