Father Merton is a Catholic priest who grew up on a diet of Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore emanating from his mother’s side of the family who lived in Norway. His background and continuous exposure to superstition and mythical beliefs have resulted in him having a much more open mind about such matters than his colleagues who have grown up in a much more science focused world. Father Merton considers situations from all perspectives and applies all his senses, including a highly developed sixth sense.
Following his own encounter with a spirit as a young priest, Father Merton made a career choice to become an exorcist within the structure of the Catholic Church. During his career as an exorcist, he has interacted with plenty of charlatans who were putting on a fine show of being haunted, but he has also come across several genuine hauntings.
“As he drove along a stretch of the road lined on both sides by tall trees, he happened to glance into his rear-view mirror. In the moonlight he saw a teenage girl sitting in the back of his car.
He assumed she was the daughter of one of the Catholic families who had attended the service and his initial reaction was one of irritation. Why had she stowed away in his car? Was she running away from home?
He swung around to look at the teenager over his shoulder, but there was no-one there.
A few seconds later, he looked in the rear-view mirror again and the girl was back. Her skin shone whitely although he couldn’t see her face clearly in the dim light. He swung around for a second time and his annoyance intensified when he saw she was gone again. Why was she ducking down behind the seat when he turned to look at her? It was such a childish thing to do.
He slammed on the brakes and climbed out of the driver’s seat of the car. Marching around to the back door he flung it open, intending to give the girl a good telling off, but there was no-one there. The car was completely empty.
She couldn’t possibly have jumped out of the car and run away; he would have seen her.
He shut the back door and walked back to the driver’s door. Taking his seat, he again peered into the rear-view mirror. The girl was back. She was sitting serenely in the back seat, hands folded neatly on her lap.
He drove off, heart hammering in his chest. When he checked the rear-view mirror again, about a mile further down the road, the girl was gone.” – Extract from Through the Nethergate
Father Merton is introduced into Through the Nethergate by Father Muike, the Catholic priest, who is Grandfather’s confidant and friend. Grandfather turns to Father Muike for help after his own unfortunate encounter with the phantom carriage containing the poltergeist relatives of Hugh Bigod, who have haunted a route through Bungay and its surrounds and back to Bungay Castle for centuries.
“A phantom coach drawn by four horses thundered down the road. Plumes of Hellfire poured from the horses’ mouths and nostrils, creating a blazing red glow in the misty darkness. Sparks flew as the horses’ hooves struck the tarmac. A headless coachman, with his white, bloodless head tucked under his arm, drove the coach.
Hanging out of the coach windows were four ghostly figures. They were wearing tunics and cloaks, which he recognised as being the fashion of the 12th century. Their faces wore expressions of deep discontent and their eyes were piggy and mean. Next to the coach loped a huge, shaggy black dog with red eyes that shone like headlamps in the gloom. The dog was heavy and solid.” – extract from Through the Nethergate
Grandfather asks Father Muike to come to the Inn and perform an exorcism to rid it of the malevolent dark incarnates whom Margaret’s powers have aroused. Father Muike explains to Grandfather that he cannot perform an exorcism, although he can be in attendance to support the exorcist. An exorcism can only be performed by a priest who has been appointed to the ministry of exorcism and has had the necessary training. Father Muike contacts his old friend Father Merton, knowing that he has performed exorcisms in the past. After hearing the facts and circumstances, Father Merton agrees to come to Bungay and assist in riding the Inn and the town of Hugh Bigod’s and all of his ghostly servant’s evil influences.
“The driver must have had incredible strength to control them and keep them from bolting. His severed head was tucked under his arm. His great arms were flailing around so much, trying to control the horses, that I thought it would fall and bounce away down the road.”
Can one girl banish evil?
Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own.
In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise.
With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.
A clever melding of fiction and historical facts.
About Robbie Cheadle and Roberta Eaton Cheadle
Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.
Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre as well as three short stories in murder mystery short story collection, Death Among Us, edited by Stephen Bentley. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.
Through the Nethergate, a supernatural/horror book that is due to be released in September 2019, will be the first book published under the name of Roberta Eaton Cheadle.
Robbie has also recently published a poetry collection, Open a new door, together with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.
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