Being a fellow Celt myself what I enjoy about reading a William Meikle novella is his wonderful use of language and his love of everything Scottish which always shines through in his writing. The setting for Pentacle is Edinburgh, a city with a bloody history “lurid accounts of body snatching and ghosts, demonologists and witches and all kinds of goblins and bogles.”
John is the new “concierge” at an old house in the city and the rhythms of that dwelling are about to be disturbed by a creature attempting to slip through from another time..”Something had it feeling antsy-something he needed to investigate before it became a definite problem.”
He discovers some tapes that lend additional clues to incidents that affected residents living in the house many years ago. “There are houses like this all over the world. Most people only know of them from whispered stories over campfires; If you have the will, the fortitude, you can peer into another life, where the dead are not gone, where your love might live forever.....And as we watch and listen, we can, sometimes, gain enough peace for ourselves that we too can thrive, and go on.”
John learns through the tapes that previous residents, by use of chants and a pentacle, have been successful in contacting their lost and loved ones “I have no idea whether my pronunciation will get the job done- but I have to try, not just for myself, but for the other poor folks here - and for my Becky. If I am to hear her again, I have to try.”
However it may have been a grave error to have made use of an electric pentacle “Whatever he had done had opened new doors in the house to places that would have been better left undisturbed” This open door appears to have been an invitation for an unwanted “creature” to pass through.
John is the perfect keeper of the house as he laments his own loss his beautiful Lizzie who often sings with him when he plays his sad guitar. He must address the beast and to do so he constructs a pentacle in the basement for a final confrontation and a peace not only for his soul but that of the residents...after all he is the concierge and it is his duty.
“The beast in the corner slumped into a sitting position. It was hard to see through the swirling dance of color, but it seemed to be fading back into the dark. The guitar rang he sang - and his Lizzie sat beside him, her clear high vocal ringing loud and clear as the ocean splashed the walls...And I will love thee still, my dear, Till a’ the seas gang dry. Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear, And the rock melt wi’ the sun, And I will love thee still, my dear, While the sands o’ life shall run....”
A short, sharp little read from William Meikle is a great treat for a cold and wintry Sunday afternoon! His Scottishness brings a real grit and rawness to his publications and his use of language and lyrics adds a touch of nostalgia. I did enjoy and hope you will too.