Gabriel Coore

This is a potentially confusing story. Keep you eyes on the separators

Gabriel Coore leaned forward, running his hands over the smooth, metallic object which lay in his lap. A complex shape, it was silvery with no sign of corrosion or any markings or joins he could discern apart from a cylindrical projection that looked like a small canister. Little did Gabriel know that this object would bring more trouble into his life than anything he’d ever known before …


Damn! He was doing it again. Hastily he scribbled out the last sentence. When would he get this writing lark right? He just kept forgetting.


There was a knock at the door. Gabriel started with surprise. A visitor at this hour? Hastily, he put the object into the sideboard cupboard and made for the door, calling out, ‘Coming’.

He opened the door and a small, round man stood there. There was something wrong with him, but Gabriel could not quite identify what. ‘Yes?’ he enquired politely.

‘You have something of mine,’ the man stated in a curiously flat tone.

‘I’m sorry?’

‘You have something of mine, a metal object. You found it on the beach.’

Gabriel thought quickly. ‘Sir, I am a writer and an artist. While it is true I may sometimes collect driftwood and other objects for my pieces, I am not a treasure hunter, nor do I carry a metal detector.’

The man did not respond immediately. His face remained blank.

‘Is that all?’ Gabriel began to close the door slightly.

‘That was my information.’

‘Then your information was wrong.’ Gabriel wondered where the man had got his information.

‘Logically, you are the most likely ….’

‘“Likely” does not mean certainty. I am sorry, but I know nothing of any old bits of metal you may have lost.’

‘You don’t understand. This is most important.’

‘I’m sure it is, and I hope you find it. Goodnight.’ Gabriel closed the door. From behind the curtains, he observed the man hesitate, then begin wandering away from the house.


Yes, that’ll do it. Mysterious object, mysterious stranger. Good! Okay, what next? Ah yes … The pen scribbled across the page.


Gabriel stared after the figure of the man as it disappeared into the distance down the sandy beach road. He retrieved the object from the cupboard and looked at it more closely. He ran his fingers over the smooth metal, feeling for any kind of distortion on the surface. None was apparent. What did it do? What was it for? Why was it so important to his unwelcome visitor?


Right, that would do for starters. Tomorrow he would reveal a few things to tantalise and then go for the denouement. This was shaping up nicely! He opened the desk drawer to put the notebook away, and saw the metal thing. Once again he picked it up. It seemed as if a small canister was projecting from it. Had it been there before? He pulled at it. It was immovable, but he did notice that the bottom of the canister was of a slightly darker shade and found he could twist it.


He sat in an armchair in what was a curiously familiar living room. Why, it was all here! Exactly as he had described it. With a sense of foreboding, he went to the window and stared out. Outside was a beach, and a sandy road leading away. Some way down the road, a small figure stood, silhouetted against the evening sky, not moving.

Hastily, he moved back from the window. Desperately he twisted the canister base back the other way.


He dropped the thing back in the desk drawer and slammed it shut. Gazing around at the familiar surroundings, he breathed a sigh of relief. What kind of vision had that been? Shaking his head, he left the cottage and walked down the village street towards the pub. A few pints and a steak and kidney pie and he’d be right as rain. He’d have the story finished tomorrow.

‘Evening!’ a cheery voice called as he entered the low-beamed parlour. A wood fire flickered in the grate, and there was a buzz of conversation. Jack was already pulling his pint as he came up to the bar.

‘Evening, Jack. Good to see you.’

Jack looked at him in amusement. ‘Why do you say that? You see me most nights.’

‘Oh, just I’ve been writing and a few funny thoughts came into my head. It’s nice to get out in the fresh air and come in here.’

Jack placed the pint pot in front of him. ‘Well, all that sitting about does you no good, I keep telling you. Pie tonight?’

‘Yes please. I’ll sit over there.’ He nodded to an empty corner.

Just as he was halfway across the floor, Jack’s voice called out, ‘Oh, I forgot. There was a feller here looking for you.’


‘Dunno, some little fellow, fat. Funny-looking, flat voice, you know, expressionless.’

‘What did he say?’

‘Just asked for the writer. Well, there’s only you round here.’

‘Yes. Did you …’

‘Yep, did he find you?’


‘Oh. Said he needed to talk, urgent. Expect he’ll come back later. Funny bloke.’


The man was still there. Had he been there all night? He couldn’t have been. Gabriel Coore turned from the window and wondered what he should do. He went to the sideboard and took out the metal object from the cupboard. He noticed that the bottom of the projecting canister was a darker shade and gripped it, twisting it.


The cottage was quiet. The morning sun streamed through the window. The whole place was unfamiliar. What had happened?  He got up from the writing desk and went to the window. Outside was a village street, busy with passing people and traffic. Down the road, he could see a picturesque pub with a thatched roof. Gabriel heard a noise from the room above and hastily made for the door, sliding the bolt back silently and closing it gently behind him as he left.

‘Scotch, please. Double!’ he barked at the man behind the bar.

‘Certainly sir. New here?’

‘Er, yes.’

‘Thought I hadn’t seen you before. Name’s Jack, I’m the landlord here.’ Jack looked expectant as he placed the glass in front of him.

‘Er, Gabriel, Gabriel Coore.’ Gabrielle downed the scotch in one and signalled for another.

Jack took the glass and hesitated.

‘Just had a terrible shock,’ Gabriel told him.

As Jack brought the glass back, Gabriel noticed his gaze.

‘What’s that? That metal thing. It’s weird.’

‘Er, I don’t know, I found it on the beach.’


‘Just over …’ Gabriel became aware he didn’t even know if there was a beach around here.


‘Er, yes.’ Gabriel took a sip of the whisky.

‘Funny, cos there was someone here yesterday askin’ about a metal thing.’


‘Well, he came to find a local chap, writer. Lives in that cottage up the street, you know.’

Gabriel gulped the whisky and pushed the glass forward.

‘You sure sir? Another? It must have been one hell of a shock …’

Gabriel nodded. ‘So, this man. What happened?’

Jack turned from the optic as he filled the glass. ‘Well, I told the writer chap about him, right. He was a small man, round and fat. Sort of funny-lookin’, can’t quite put my finger on it. Asked about the writer, then about this metal thing.’ He placed the glass in front of Gabriel. ‘I remember now, I forgot to tell the chap about that bit. He seemed upset and it drove it from my head.’

Gabriel did not know what to think. After paying the landlord, he retired to a corner, nursing his drink. What should he do?  There was only one thing to do. He lifted the metal object and twisted the bottom of the canister.


He took his coffee to the writing desk and sat, pulling out the notebook from the drawer, noticing the metal thing as he did so. A shiver of anxiety passed through him and he glanced at the door. Immediately, he was up and shooting the bolt across. He’d forgotten to lock up last night – how could he have done that? He’d only had two pints with his pie. It must have been all that worry after ….

Trying to keep calm, he sat again and took a slug of coffee in his mouth – hot and strong, just as he liked it. Immediately, he brightened up. He must have fallen asleep and had a dream. He shook his head and began to write.


Gabriel stood on the beach road, staring down it towards his house. It sat, familiar as ever with the sand lapping round it and his collections of silver driftwood stacked to one side.  He turned, but there was no-one else there on the road. For one moment, he’d thought …

He hurried towards his house.


There was a knock at the door. Irritated, he put down his pen and went to open it.

On the threshold stood a small man. A round man. A strange-looking man. A flat, expressionless voice broke the silence.

‘You have something of mine. A metal object.’

‘I’ve no idea what you are talking about. I hear you’ve been asking about me in the pub. You’re obviously unbalanced, so please go away or I shall call the police.’

‘Police? No police.’ The little man stepped back. ‘It must be returned, one way or another.’

‘I’ve told you.’

‘I know. I know.’ He stood in silence for a while. ‘Very well, I shall have to bring someone who will take it, I am sorry. His presence will damage you, but the object must be returned. I hope you understand.’ He turned and was gone.


Gabriel sat in fear. The whisky wasn’t helping now, in fact it was making things worse. He felt blurred, unreal. Every now and then he would lurch to the window and look down the beach road. Eventually, on the umpteenth time of looking, there was something there. Something or somebody? With his alcohol-blurred vision, he was sure the little man was there, but with something large and indistinct behind him, something like a dark cloud … as it came closer, he could hardly believe what he saw.  He rushed for the sideboard, sobbing, stumbling over the footstool by the armchair, crashing headlong into the solid wood. He could hear the heavy tread of something on the road outside, getting louder. He wrenched the cupboard door open and pulled out the metal object. He’d go back, that was it – go where he’d be safe.


He sat back. This was going well. All that silly nonsense with the metal thing and the loony had driven him to new heights of creativity. He’d thought he’d been getting obsessed when he’d had that dream, but no, it was ideal story-fodder.

He got up and headed for the kitchen. Another cup of coffee and he’d finish it.  He couldn’t wait.

‘Morning, Jack.’

‘Oh, hello. Feeling better today?’

‘Yes, I was a little down last night, wasn’t I?’

‘That little bloke, did he …?’

‘Yes, and I’d be obliged if you didn’t tell strangers where I live in future.’

‘Oh, he was a nuisance?’

‘Yes, a loony.’ He took his pint. ‘But he did give me a cracking finish to my latest story, I’m really pleased with it.’

‘Good. But I forgot to tell you about the metal thing.’

‘Don’t worry, he went on about that.’

‘Yeah, but there was a bloke in here this morning with a metal thingy – how’s that for a coincidence?’

‘What?’ He put down his pint on the bar and stared at Jack. ‘What was it like?’

‘Well, a kinda twisty shiny thing, with a round bit sticking out.’

‘Who was this man?’

‘A stranger. Never seen him before. Wait … he told me his name. Coote, no, Coore.’

A cold feeling gripped him. ‘Coore?’

‘Yes, Gabriel Coore.’

‘Quick, tell me, where did he go?’

‘That’s the funny thing. He downed three double whiskies and sat in the corner fiddling with the thing. Next time I looked, he’d gone.’

‘Christ! Jack, I’ve got to go.’ His head was in a whirl, his only thought was to get home quick and lock the doors. Gabriel Coore, here? With a metal thing? His dream last night? It was impossible.


Gabriel crouched by the writing desk, hoping to stay out of sight of the windows of the study. He heard the hammering on the door, the sound of splintering wood. The distant sound of doors sliding open had his heart racing, and he desperately twisted the metal object, but his efforts were futile. He cried in frustration, dropping to his knees as heavy footsteps echoed down the hall.


He reached his house, panting with the unaccustomed effort. The door lay open, smashed. Fearfully, he stepped over the mess and peered into the hall. The doors were open and there was trail of smashed objects, the hall table with its china swan, the pictures from the walls tumbled to the floor. There was no sound, no movement, so hardly believing his own bravery, he followed the trail to his study. Nothing!

Quickly, he moved to the desk and pulled the drawer open. He felt relief as he saw the notebook safely in place, then his eyes fixed on the metal object. If the loony had come back with some thugs, why hadn’t they found the object? Why hadn’t they waited for him? What had they really wanted? With trepidation, he checked the safe, his drawers of precious coin collections, his books. All intact.

He sat at his desk and took the metal object in his hands. All this fuss over such a strange object. Idly, he lifted the thing and twisted the end of the canister.


The door was bulging as some mighty weight thrust against it. He crouched in the empty room as it gave way and he saw what lay behind it.  He could not move. He desperately twisted the metal object, but it was futile. He held it out pleadingly as the horror approached, while the little man stood, smiling, outside.

back to stories