Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Slemnec Stone (Episode 4)

CHAPTER 2

Many people (friends, colleagues and family included) considered him to be a big-headed, self-centred, arrogant pig, they were so wrong he thought: his own well considered opinion was that he may be the most modest person in the world. Dr Jeremiah Chandos ,contented smile spread across his face, peered out of the 747’s porthole at the dense carpet of fluffy cloud below. He was returning to England, having spent three months summer vacation in his native New Zealand. Dr Jeremiah Chandos was a renowned geologist, who specialised in igneous petrology. He was affectionately referred to as J.C. by his students at Blackdale University, and extremely popular, particularly with the female students; and the female staff for that matter.

Dr Chandos started teaching at Blackdale University in October 1992, the year it had opened. Blackdale is a small town located on the Lake Serpentine in the Lake District, quite close to Keswick. The university consisted of two main buildings; a science block, and an arts block. Each building had been designed for about five hundred students. The science building had been built last, and it had turned out to be a bit of an eyesore to say the least, what we might call a ‘carbuncle’. In stark contrast the arts and humanities building was attractive, some might even have said enchanting. To reflect the theme of the building (supposedly one of culture), the education department of Cumbria County Council had decided to give the building a Gothic feel. The main entrance featured a pointed arch about twenty feet high, and inside transverse arches supported the ceiling of the entrance hall. The exterior of the building was dominated by tal windows ornamented by decorative stonework all the way around. These tall windows resembled a translucent wall set in a framework of meshed stone. Anyway, the cost of this building had proved so great, and the schedule of completion had been so far behind, that not enough money or time were available to complete the science building, so the council in their infinite wisdom decided to hastily erect the science building out of grey breeze blocks.

Again Dr Chandos looked out of the 747’s porthole, the layer of cloud cover had now disappeared. Beneath, the Mediterranean Sea sparkled a sapphire blue, interlocked with white crests that shimmered and then vanished. A flotilla of sailing vessels wove in-between a myriad of small islands.

I guess we’re flying over the Greek Islands”, Dr Chandos said, as a young blonde airhostess refilled his glass with port.

Er, I’m not quite sure….”

At that moment there was a crackle.

Ladies and gentlemen we will be landing to refuel in Athens in approximately ten minutes time. If you look out of your porthole you will see Cyclades one of the numerous Greek Island groups. Once we have landed in Athens you may disembark the plane, but please be back within an hour. Thank you”.

Well that confirms my surmise”, Dr Chandos said.

The Slemnec Stone (Episode 3)

He started to sweat. Had the temperature risen or was he imagining it? but suddenly he felt claustrophobic. He loosened his shirt collar. The air now felt sticky as well as hot, almost tropical. The first floor lights were extinguished, the security men were now on their way. Professor Heinkel rose from his chair and flashed his torch towards the door. Horrified he froze at what he saw he froze on the spot.

Every square inch of the door was covered with wasps, literally thousands of wasps. Bringing himself under some kind of control he moved the beam of the torch slowly to the right and then to the left. Wasps filled both sides of the entire wall. Panic swelled up inside him as he circled the beam around the room and saw that there was not a gap of paint or glass showing, no way out. The quiet humming became a loud buzzing, and then quickly intensified to a deafening cacophony. He clutched his ears astounded at the sight around him. At first the wasps left the wall one at a time and he grabbed the nearest magazine or journal and swatted the wasps wildly. Some wasps were killed but not enough. Then millions of wasps took flight peeling off the wall like old wallpaper. They began to encircle Professor Heinkel limiting his room and airspace. A wasp flew into his mouth and he quickly spat it out. He screamed as the wasps landed on him and stared to pierce his skin injecting their poison. The pain became unbearable and he fell to the floor. The torch dropped from the loose grip of his hands now riddled in sores that dripped yellow pus. It slid across the floor becoming wedged on a slab of granite pointing a pointless beam towards the ceiling. The last thing he felt was a stabbing sensation as fifty wasps covered each eye, and then nothing.

Five minutes later Paul Foreman opened the door of Dr Chandos’ office, “My God! Hey Dave, look at this”.

The other security man rushed in to see what the trouble was. Professor Heinkel lay dead, sprawled across the floor covered in sores and red lumps, his clothes in tatters. Not a single wasp remained in the room.