Hunt – Niall Rooney

The bluish light of the new moon shone brightly on the cold streets of London that night. I was running so quickly I could barely see past the steam of my breath as I sprinted through the familiar streets; Clary Street, Montague row and Baker Street all flew past. My brown overcoat whirled behind me as I turned quickly down onto Chiltern. My eyes thought they caught the sight of a wispy shadow ducking behind a chimney as my gaze shot up to the rooftops. Not a sinner’s soul to be seen on the lonely street as I cascaded down to the entrance of Lord Umbridge’s manor, praying that I was not too late. He had evaded me so many times before but this time felt different; “something in the bones” old Bill would say.  Tonight, I hoped he was right.

The large stone gargoyles seemed to beckon me forward as I shot up the steps to the large wooden doors of the manor. The heavy knocker clattered against the door loudly as I attempted to gain the attention of one of the house maids. The door remained closed for several long moments before I decided that nobody was coming to answer. I needed to find a way in. I took several steps back and surveyed the front of the house. A few feet above the top of the door, a large balcony provided entry to house by way of a glass door and windows. The two large gargoyles on either side of the balcony seemed eager spectators as I planned my route up. I clambered up onto the railings on the right side of the door and leapt up onto the bridge of the door and regained my footing. I steadied myself, aimed my hands towards the gargoyles large foot and jumped for it. I grabbed the gargoyle in mid-air and barely caught my top hat as it slipped off my sweating brow, after replacing it on my head I pulled myself up onto the platform where the gargoyle stood stalwart. I Clambered up the gargoyle’s spread wings and vaulted over the waist high wall to reach the balcony. The glass veranda door was open a crack, my heart skipped a beat. I couldn’t be too late, not this time. I slithered in and closed the door lightly behind me. The room was dark but the pale moonlight that streamed in through the windows shed some silvery light on the tall book cases of the room. In the corner there was another door, fully open and presenting the entrance to a long hall. The polished wooden floor of the hall betrayed the orange glow of a hearth fire in the room at end of the hallway. I tread lightly across the room and through the threshold of the door into the orange hallway. I reached into the pocket of my overcoat and felt the reassuring coldness of silver in my holster.

The door creaked open a lot louder than I had hoped as the room materialised in front of me. It was a long room, the parlour of the home I presumed, where the lord would retire in secret and conspire with his cronies on the best way to pluck every coin from pockets of the poor. I couldn’t think about that though. I needed to focus, my life depended upon it. Three large chairs with high backs covered the person sitting on the other side and cast three long shadows down the room towards me from the roaring fire beyond. I could feel my heart thumping heavily in my chest as I drew closer. As I neared the chairs I noted something hanging from the side of the middle chair, it was an arm. It protruded lifelessly from the edge of the armrest, the milky white hands of an aristocrat, clutching a piece of paper.

I called to whom I presumed was the owner of the arm; “Lord Umbridge!” No reply came as I drew ever closer. My eyes straining as the heat of the fire beat against my face. Tightly clutching the metal hidden in my coat, I crept around to the front of the chair. I felt the blood drain from my face as the figure slunk into the large chair came into view. The sight before me would shock the nine lives out of a cat, but it was a sight I had seen before, a sight that stirred anger and vengeance in my soul. The lifeless body of Lord Umbridge lay limp in the chair, his face distorted into a harrowing twist of pain. His eyes were open, eyes that had seen a demon. His colourless white skin was drawn so tightly that his veins were visible, grey stems that spanned up his neck and down his arms. My eyes were drawn to the most disturbing factor of the corpse. The two deep, round marks on the Lord’s neck, bite marks.


I wasn’t going to let him evade me again, the wounds were fresh and my heart was thumping heavily, the chase was still on. Darting back to the balcony I leapt up onto the sill and scampered up the wall. I pulled myself onto the roof and was met with a sea of chimney tops. The sight of a figure leaping from the edge of a roof in the distance caught my eye. The thick moonlight broke through the clouds for a moment and before I knew it I was off. Leaping over low walls and side stepping chimneys with the practiced running ingrained in me from my uncle’s teaching, I gave chase to the figure. Jumping from roof to roof, I closed the distance between myself and my pursued. I would spill his cold dead blood on this night, for my blood was hot with the fury of his evasion! He’d sing for me before the end. I gave chase with the certainty that I would catch him. “Something in the bones” Old Bill used to say. Tonight, I knew the feeling.

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