As they walked through the shroud of fog, Ezekiel was concerned with his fears. Gaston was concerned with his patient. David Gaston was one of Saul Richardson's circle of friends, not merely his doctor. They had known each other for many years. Richardson's family was part of Savannah society, and, as such, was one that Gaston frequently saw at the various gatherings.
They had become close friends since the war, which had left too many empty seats for them not to have. Yet Gaston had not really been part of Richardson's daily life, any more than Richardson had been part of his. They saw each other socially, and they might play cards together on occasion. The business world of cotton factors and the medical world of doctors did not overlap to any great extent.
Richardson had begun screaming almost a month ago, on the night before the new moon. He'd been taken to the Saint James' Ward and given enough laudanum to quiet him. It had taken a large dose, three times more than Gaston usually used for an amputation.
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The next day Gaston had gone to see Mrs. Her elegant home looked out over one of Savannah's many squares. His wife had let it slip to Gaston that it was odd for Richardson to have been at home on the night it started. He had been going out to his gentlemen's club on the first or second night before the new moon since before their marriage.
He had failed to attend only when pressing business had called him from Savannah. Since he had not gone two nights before the new moon, she had expected him to have gone the evening before the new moon. Instead, he had locked himself in the study shortly after dinner. His screams had brought her downstairs.
When she was unable to persuade him to unbolt the door, she had sent the cook's son for the police. From that point, Gaston knew the story. The police had summoned him almost as soon as they had arrived. Richardson could not, or would not, add anything more of substance to the story. She had not known where her husband went or for what purpose on those evenings, merely that he arrived home long after she had retired. Savannah had always been a city of secrets. That a wife did not know where her husband might be or that a husband was not precisely sure of his wife's whereabouts was merely a matter of good manners in a city whose sophistication was greater than its devotion to moral standards.
Certainly few had known of the negotiations with General Sherman that assured that the city managed to surrender to his army without a shot being fired or a house being burned. Gaston's reverie was broken by their arrival at the front entrance of the hospital.
Waking Brigid by Francis Clark, First Edition
It was brightly lit as usual. He turned up the stairs of the hospital. The flicker of the many gaslights made the brick front seem to waver in the darkness.
Ezekiel hung back. Besides, there's a lot more bright light in the kitchen than you're likely to see out here.
Sister Mary Francis was waiting for the doctor at the front desk, her stocky hips balanced, as always, by a rosary, a crucifix, and a heavy ring of keys. Her hands fluttered more than usual, and a strand of gray hair had escaped the confines of her wimple, a certain sign that she had been roused from sleep for the emergency. Yet none of her disarray served to lessen the stern devotion to her patients that gleamed like frozen candle flames in her green eyes. She gave an almost imperceptible nod of her head to the doctor and led the way to the Saint James' Ward.
As they walked down the long corridor to the ward, Gaston noticed an unusual number of nuns about for the hour. Whispering like black doves, they stayed in the shadows at the sides of the corridor, out of the way of the aged nun and the physician in tow.
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For them, what resided in the confines of the Saint James' was terrifying. It was damnation itself, the Devil come to roost. They had heard the screams in the night, and they knew that no secular potions could safeguard Richardson from that which stalked him.
Gaston barely recognized Richardson's voice. It was hoarse with screaming. He looked at the nun beside him. She was crossing herself. He took refuge in clinical thought. Her face creased a bit more deeply.
But he is rational much of the time. The orderlies won't go near him, even after I put the fear of God in them. The sudden silence startled both of them. The doctor shook his head.
This case troubled him more than he wanted to admit. Gaston frowned. With that much laudanum in him a man could have his leg sawn off and not have his drug dream interrupted. A moment's irritation at Gaston's question flickered through her eyes. She let it pass before replying in a neutral tone, "I saw him drink it. The Church is all she has known and she seeks to do her duty Brigid's resolve is tested when a prominent Savannah citizen is cruelly murdered behind a locked and bolted door in an insane asylum.
The last words of the man chilled the blood of all who heard him, and the fact that he was murdered while he was alone in the cell defies all logical reason. What follows is nothing less than an amazing clash between the forces of good and evil--dedicated white magicians versus the entrenched devil worshippers--for the soul of a city.
Genre: Horror. In , darkness lurks beneath the tranquil beauty of Savannah, Georgia.
Publication: Waking Brigid
For more than a century, an evil-worshipping cult has tainted the city with their malice, murdering young women in their rituals of debauchery. When one of their members seeks freedom, the cult summons a demonic creature to dispatch the wayward one. The night the demon appears, Sister Brigid feels stirrings of power deep within herself that she has not felt since she was a child in Ireland.