Monday, October 02, 2006
A tale from the files of the Green Man
Ruperra Castle, once the palatial home of the heir of the Lorsdship of Tredegar, now a gutted shell. Jameson Craig, gutter journalist, received a call to this gaunt ruin some years ago. He had been promised a story that would ruin a prominent politican. Stopping outside the south gate, the journalist hurried up the pitted drive. He almost twisted his ankle on the rutted drive several times. At last, however, he made his way down, past derelict stables and servants' quarters, to the grey walls of the castle.
Lighting a cigarette, he waited for his anonymous source. At last, he heard the creak of a door in the deserted servants' quarters. Finding a door left open, he stepped inside, his feet tapping on the bare, rotting boards. And footprints in the dust of the floor. Jameson followed them earnestly, until he came to a brick wall. He turned pale, seeing that the footprints passed beneath the wall. Behind him, someone laughed, deep and threatening.
"Worried, Mr. Craig?" A deep, sinister voice echoed through the empty buildings. "I thought you were fearless in the cause of truth? Or is that only when you're safe in your office?"
"Look!" the quaking journalist shouted, "I don't know who you are, but I came here to meet a source!"
"That will ruin a good man, I know." The voice declared, relish creeping into it. "I am the Green Man, and I know far more than you can possibly know. It was I who had that girl call you, I who planted those rumours about the politician in circles where I knew you would hear of them. You and only you."
"But... but why...?" the journalist shook, his pudgy jowls wobbling.
"Thalia Jones," the Green Man declared solemnly. "A young actress who made a single mistake. One mistake, and you splashed it all over the papers. You caused her to despair. She shut herself in a garage and turned on her car engine. You won an award for that story and a salary increase. Yet, when that girl's distraught parents came to you, asking for a little money to give their only child a proper funeral, you laughed in their faces and told them she should be buried in a sack like any alley-cat."
"The girl had sex with a guy in the Hilton Hotel, London," the journalist shot back. "There was another girl involved. The guy was married."
"And so is the young woman you used and discarded two years ago." The voice silenced the journalist butally. "You destroy lives for a living," the Green Man declared, "and you destroy them for your recreation. You will not do so again."
"You can't kill me!" the journalist yelled, "you..." As he turned to the door, it slammed shut.
"And now," the Green Man laughed. "You will meet your reward."
The journalist watched, horrified, as white smoke began to seep through the floor. He tasted the bitter taste of exhaust fumes.
"Yes," the Green Man laughed. "Exhaust fumes. You will die as Thalia Jones died. And your body will never be found..."
An archaeological dig did find the remains of the corrupt journalist. They are today exhibited in a museum as those of a ninth century monk.
There is no escape from the vengeance of the Green Man.