Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Law of the Green Man: Part Eleven

It had all been so quick and so brutal. Lady Sylvia spent all the time on the train from Thorpe Station thinking about the crumpled body of Sir Harold Rait on the carpet of his library. In the the house he had stolen. She left the train at Diss, taking a cab back to Mainstone, the house she shared with her brother, Lord Ambrose Vaughan. A rambling house of many periods, subject to a vain attempt to impose an architectural unity by a Victorian make-over.

She took a long stroll in the garden, trying to restore a little peace to her troubled soul. Sir Harold had been killed in cold blood, executed, rather than slain in a terrible conflict. And that disturbed Lady Sylvia. It was a pity that her brother was absent, or he could have reassured her.

She ate her supper in silence, disturbing the cheerful maidservant who brought her food to her. The same girl helped to put the young brunette to bed, drawing her bath and laying out her night-things.

Despite her best efforts, Lady Sylvia found it very hard to get to sleep. Accordingly, when the 'phone rang after midnight, she sprang out of bed and ran down the stairs.

"Mainstone!" she announced breathlessly, snatching up the receiver.

"My dear Lady Sylvia!" The person on the 'phone laughed threateningly, "how nice to hear from you."
"Who are you?" Lady Sylvia's breath caught in her throat.
"You mean you don't know?" the voice laughed some more. "The assistant of the Green Man - his accomplice in murder? Why, I am the Leech. I am Sir Harold Rait - the man you murdered!"

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