The Last Interview with Peter Waston-Lea within the Accounts of the Evelyn Bones

Submitted into Contest #79 in response to: Your main character is approached by their long-estranged parent who wants to reconnect. How do they react?... view prompt


Horror Drama Thriller


I.D NO: 2375-1294-2256_




-: *************_


“Below is a transcript of the last recorded interview with Peter Watson-Lea. Recorded on the 24.2.22 at Chester County Medical Hospital by ERR. NAMES REMOVED. It is part of a series of testimonies to provide evidence for the existence and potential danger of the artifact known as the Evelyn Bones.”

For the tape, my name is Peter Francis Graeme Watson-Lea, I am 42 years old, unmarried, I served in the great war as an artillerist and until recently I worked as an investigative journalist. I have no family to speak of and I was raised by my aunt after my parents were killed in a house fire. Oh, it was freelance, I worked as a freelance journalist. I came to this hospital of my own volition, as what I beheld gave me such disturbance as to make me question my own sanity. Start at the beginning? Yes okay.


It was about a month ago at the beginning of the new year. I received a tip off from an anonymous source. I can’t remember the words exactly, apart from the last line, but the tip off pointed me in the direction of a place called Burnes College in Yorkshire and told me that there were things there worth looking into, that would be of interest to me and my work. Naturally, I was skeptical… I’m sorry? Oh I did say that didn’t I. The last line of the letter was “Keep your own eyes open, let the truth in.” I just thought it was a strange sentence, “Your own eyes”, as if I was going to be seeing to anyone else’s or…


The train ride was rather pleasant, as you’d expect for that part of the world. Beautiful rolling green vistas with the occasional blur of purple or black heather with the hills in the distance like the shoulders of grey giants. To my surprise I was met at the station by a man dressed like, I want to say a priest? Or some kind of monk? He wore a long smart coat, like a cassock, with a white silk scarf, embroidered with strange designs thrown over his shoulder. His head was completely shaven, and his features were sharp enough to cut glass. He was pleasant to talk to, telling me his name was Prest and that he had been expecting me. When I asked him how he waved the question off with an amiable nature and bade me follow him, promising a hot meal and hospitality, and explaining that all would be clear once we were back at the college.

I did so, and soon found myself in the passenger seat of a well-kept Austin motor vehicle trundling down narrow country lanes and deep into the moorland. Prest talked freely about the location and where he had grown up, pointing out his old parish and a few pleasant landmarks, but he had precious little to say about the college, aside from the fact that he was a tutor of sorts there. Though in hindsight, tutor is far from the right word. He wasn’t at all uncomfortable with who or what I was and said if anything it was welcoming to have someone come and shed some light upon their little college. “Write all you can!” He declared with gusto, “Write till your lead wears to powder, your nib breaks and all the ink in the continent runs dry! Your insight Mr Watson-Lea is incredibly valuable to us. While you are in our care, every luxury shall be yours, be it food, drink, literature or any other pleasure. We want you at your best.”

I enquired as to Provost of the College and Prest told me that his name was Provost Penbrooke.


I’m sorry errm, the College? Yes, the College. It’s a funny shaped building, with a strange mix of gothic architecture, some Italian columns and, I dare say some domes. It’s as if the building has been assembled by a blend of multiple architects from multiple generations, all mixed up in a pot, and tipped into a valley. We pulled up in the drive to this large manor and a pair of strong looking lads, dressed in a similar way to my new companion came down the steps and helped me with my luggage. Of course, by this point you must realise that I could not believe my luck. I am not a wealthy man, and as a former soldier finding a job had been very challenging, especially a freelance one. So, to be treated as a well-to-do sort was extremely humbling.

“The provost would like to see you immediately.” My host insisted after a brief exchange of words with the two porters and I was escorted hastily up the stone steps and into Burnes College. Inside it was dimly lit by gas lamps and decorated with statues and effigies of strange gods and creatures I didn’t recognize. Creatures with humanoid and yet inhuman limbs with too many fingers and eyes a plenty. Strange fetishes and weapons etched with runes that made my eyes itch and Yhtog mylet. Tredgiy thethleikt…

Tape cuts then resumes.

…orry again about that. I find it hard to think about what happened there.

Hmm? Oh yes it does make me frightened. I don’t think I knew what true fear was until this moment, now on the other side of that terrible venture. But I will brave it, I know that I need to tell you what happened there, and the consequences should I fail…. Doesn’t bare thinking on.

They led me up a labyrinth of stairs, past lecture halls and creaking shelves teaming with books, of which I had no hope of recognising. Eventually we began ascending a spiral staircase, all made from carved stone like a castle and hung with portraits, like those one might encounter in rich ancestral homes. All the faces bore a strange familiarity which, again, all makes sense now. We immerged at the top of, what I can only call a tower, though I did not recall seeing one when I arrived. The room had a wonderful, panoramic view made possible by a single piece of curved glass that made the roof of the tower appear as if it was floating above us. It’s colour was tinted a toxic yellow, and it stank of ozone and sweat. Inside it was arranged like a study, with heaps of books on the floor, an ancient looking desk scattered with writing implements, notes and drawers. Lastly staring out of the great window was its lone occupant.

The provost was bound to a wheelchair and looking out to the distant yellow tinted hills. Well, when I say looking, he was faced toward the view of the outside. He wore a flowing discoloured white gown, that spilled over the wheels of his chair, and upon his head was, what I can only describe as, a bulbous be-jeweled crown. The crystals and shapes upon it, resembled growths like tumors more than decoration and it gave me a queasy feeling to look upon it. Then he looked at me. And the face, oh that face…


What manner of injury had occurred to that man I shall never know, and never want to know. He had sores and boils, that blistered and crusted his entire face from the base of his nose upward. His eyes were completely gone amidst the mass of these red pestilent growths, and yet despite this as his sightless face turned to me, he smiled as if greeting an old friend. “Mr Watson-Lea!” He proclaimed with a voice soured by untellable age and honeyed by false warmth. “My word, it has been a long while that we have been searching for you!” When I asked him what he wanted with me he turned his chair without using his hands and it wheeled toward me as if pushed by some phantom force. “Your heritage my boy.” He replied, “Don’t you recognize your ancestors upon the stairs?”

I suddenly began to feel very enclosed. Sweat prickled the back of my neck as the idea that I had been drawn into a trap began to close in on me. “The third from the top,” Penbrooke began, “We have Edwin Van Heilung Prenderghast, born in 1689 and died in 1793. Next to him is Nathaniel Edward Francis Prendergast, born 1762 and died in 1884. The second from the top is James Michael Francis Prendergast, born 1854 died just 4 years ago. He died here in fact, in this very college.”

I remind you, my parents were killed in a fire, or at least they were supposed to be. “Your surname, your true surname is Prendergast. The woman who raised you was no more your Aunt than any of us here. She was an abductor, denying you your true destiny.”

I was too…. Terrified… awestruck… spellbound to speak. So instead, he spoke for me, gliding forward in that sinister manner on that chair and reaching out with his warped gnarled hands. “I will show you the bones, and you will read of them just as your father did and his father before. The translations you will provide, rib by rib, vertebrae by vertebrae will reveal wonders to you.” And like that he produced before me a single white bone. I am no doctor, but I could tell that the bone he held out to me was not human. It was elongated, and twisted like an ancient tree branch, crooked at alien angles. But worst of all was the writing. Runes that were as far removed from letters as could be imagined, covering the bone from tip to haft like the image of dancing figures in some horrific festival.

And yet


Sorry… I could understand them. They came to life before me and made perfect sense, things aligned in my skull and my understanding of the world deepened, opening beneath me like a bottomless abyss. Black infinite and terrible and I could feel myself falling. The terror. Oh, the terror was so much, my heart became water and washed my body with a quiver beyond description. I think I must have suffered a fit, for when I came to my senses I was in a bed. Opening my eyes, I was in a darkened room, of stone bricks and low wooden beams, covered with a thin sheet in a four- poster bed. A tiny arched window let a sliver of morning light in through my window and as I pushed myself to sit, I felt a searing agony in my hand and looked down to behold the ruin that you see before you.

Hmm? Oh yes. For the sake of the tape, my hand has become permanently fused with a quill. It appears to be melted and reshaped to only be able to hold this strange spike that constantly leaks an ink from it. The pain I confess is maddeningly toxic. It burns like a fire under my skin and at the same time, I crave it… I enjoy it…


I’m writing down everything, yes.

I’m doing it so that the ink doesn’t pool in the gland, for that only adds to the agony. I cannot stand to not be writing now. This is the cursed gift they have given to me, should I not be translating what was on those accursed bones I shpoyt julithyc myatholatrem brekrept yuklimpt a


Are we recording again? I’m really sorry about…


…ow much did I translate? Honestly, I can’t remember. I was at that wretched institution, treated like an imprisoned child staring at Nyaloth Trathoth Ga…. Those Bones for what felt like years… How long did you say I was there for?


Was I truly that long?

I just told you, I can’t remember what I translated. Only that I was there.

Why are you so interested in those translations? I thought you would be more concerned with how I escaped that wretched place! Why do you even want to know what I… Who’s that?

Oh God… It’s you… Please! please let me be! I’ll do anything I’ll… Please!!! *Screaming*



They’re here…

They’re here…

They’re here…

They have come…

The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones, The bones.













February 01, 2021 16:39

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.