Reverend Fludd dropped the teapot on the cake, living up to his name. “I’m dreadfully sorry,” he sputtered. Eustace bolted to his feet, upsetting his chair. The Captain and Lady Tor exchanged a look, and the Captain withdrew.
“The damage is minor, and easily cleaned up,” Lady Tor reasoned. “Let’s move to the drawing room, and perhaps Mr. Fludd can begin.”
The thickly carpeted staircase creaked under the Captain’s boots, as chanting floated up from below. “… I command you, unclean spirit, whoever you are, along with all your minions, by the mysteries of the incarnation, passion, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord …”
He met the maid coming down. “It’s Mr. West,” she gasped.
“Show me your hands.” She did so. He examined the hem of her skirt and noted a damp brown stain. “What is this?” Wide-eyed, she shook her head. “Go on, then.”
He pushed open Mr. West’s door. The exorcist’s body lay gap-mouthed in the bed, one hand trailing over the edge, and a broken bottle beneath it in a spreading pool.