“What it the name of all that’s holy is that!” said Lord Hollingbury, staring into the bag that Sir John held up.
“I wouldn’t have thought you knew the names of anything holy,” said Sir John with a wry smile.
“Oh touché again,” said Lord Hollingbury. “You know you’re in terrible danger of developing some wit. But, seriously what is it, why are we here, and most pressingly, is it liable to explode?”
“Probably not,” said Sir John, “although the constructor has a bit of a track record. It’s called a Cryptozoetropometer, and it’s a device of my own inventing.”
“Well I hope the device is better than the name,” said Lord Hollingbury. “I think I shall call it the Omega Device. There, a decent name for you. No charge. What does it do?”
“The Cryptozoetropometer…” started Sir John.
“The Omega Device,” interrupted Lord Hollingbury.
“The Cryptozoetropometer…” started Sir John, again.
“The Omega Device,” interrupted Lord Hollingbury again. “I can do this all night.”
“Messieurs!” hissed Marie. “We are standing here on the promenade, in the freezing cold! Can we maybe use the device now and debate the name later? Peut être somewhere warm?”
The two men looked at Marie.
“Yes, fair point, Mrs Jennings,” said Lord Hollingbury. “Stop getting hung up on the name Sir John and explain what it does.”
Sir John opened his mouth then shut it again.
“It can detect spectral energy for a wide variety of creatures, real or imaginary. I was mindful of what Marie said, of there being some presence but nothing she could recognise. I reasoned that if different creatures have different etheric patterns, if we were encountering something new, we may need to look for new energies. And hence I commissioned…”
“The Omega Device,” said Lord Hollingbury. “I see, I’m impressed. That explains the device. Now perhaps you could explain why you are intent on giving myself and your good wife pneumonia.”
“Well man,” said Sir John, “we could hardly come during the day. For one thing, there could be all sorts of background energies from any passerby and for another it would be too conspicuous, it would create a scene. It had to be midnight.”
“As an expert on the topic, I think I can reassure you that two gentleman and a lady wandering round at midnight are more likely to create a scene, but I take your point,” said Lord Hollingbury.
“So we are here, close to the church so we can detect any latent cryptozoological etheric energy across a wide range,” finished Sir John, with a flourish.
“Brilliant,” said Lord Hollingbury. “One flaw – the church is occupied.”
They all turned to look at the church a short distance away. There was no sound, but a low light which flickered.
“I’ve been around enough “seekers of the light” to know what a circle of candles looks like at 50 feet,” said Lord Hollingbury. “Someone is in there, having some sort of ritual, and I suspect it’s not a reading of the Book of Common Prayer.”
“Blast,” said Sir John.
“Maybe we can try anyway,” said Marie, “It is preferable to standing here slowly freezing.”
“Alright,” said Sir John, looking into the device’s eye piece. “I’m turning the dial now, going through the spectral spectrum…”
“Oh that’s quite good,” said Lord Hollingbury, “it would make a good name for a musical ensemble.”
“Nothing … nothing…” muttered Sir John. “Good Lord!”
“What is it?” said Marie as she and Lord Hollingbury crowded in to look. Sir John passed the device to Marie, who looked.
“Mon Dieu,” she said and passed the device to Lord Hollingbury. His eyes widened as he looked in.
“Tell me what you see,” said Sir John, “so we’re sure we’re seeing the same thing.”
“There are … lines of … light or power,” said Lord Hollingbury. “And they are arcing like a rainbow,”
He looked up and at the Jennings.
“Arching deep into the sea.”
The Sunnyport Shadow: Chapter 8