Monday, April 30, 2007

The Terror: Part Four

The Green Man reacted with the leopard, leaping forward towards it. He struck the creature on the jaw, knocking it backwards. Pressing forward the attack, the Green Man dealt it another blow. The creature headed away, towards a fallen and savaged man. The Green Man followed.

By the time he reached the man, another had intervened. A young woman wearing skins (mostly, regrettably her own), leapt on to the leopard (not a tiger), and plunged a knife into the creature's neck. By the time the Green Man reached her, the leopard was dead.

"Who are you?" the man on the ground asked, looking at the two strange figures.

"I Jeanette," the girl in skins replied, in best Tarzan fashion. "Who you?"

"Robin Calder," the man spoke weakly, "I was a soldier - a mercenary. Who's that?" He looked to the Green Man.

"I not know," the girl looked to the Green Man. "But he looks like spirit of Jungle."

"I am the Green Man," the Terror of the wicked introduced himself.
"Spirit of Jungle," the girl nodded. "You come with me."
"Where to?" the Green Man pressed her.
"You come with me or many people die," the girl ignored his question. "Spirit of the Jungle come with me."
"And me?" Calder asked.
"I shall support you," the Green Man helped the mercenary to his feet.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Terror: Part Three

The Green Man looked out at the thundering waters of Victoria Falls. There, amid the spray, was a rainbow. Around the falls, men and women watched it in awe. His green garments hid in from view, as he moved stealthily through the jungle. Around him, creatures looked on in fear, not sure what to make of the phantom in green, as he moved forward silently. It was as though he was some primitive nature spirit.

The thunder of the falls seemed to mask all noise, forcing the Green Man to listen more intently, watching for any sign of danger. He knew many of the traps that might be set, and watched for them.

Advancing the verdant jungle that rimmed the Zambezi, the Green Man slowly drew his gun, as a leopard approached. As he did so, however, something snatched the weapon from his hand. Before the Green Man could react, the creature sprang...

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Terror: Part Two

Ms. Madison posed in front of the Falls, drawing a laugh from Lady Sylvia, as she trained her camera on thelovely blonde. Within the civilised sanctuary of the Victoria Falls Hotel, they were unbothered by the horde of hawkers who otherwise bother tourists.

"Does the Green Man ever just pay for you to gon on holiday?" Lady Sylvia asked curiously.

"No," Ms. Madison shook her head. "I have to sting Mike for my holidays."

"And I have to ask Ambrose," Lady Sylvia laughed. "Do you think Mike 'ld pay for us to go on holiday without him?"

"If I pout long enough," she shot back, grinning. "How do I look?"

"Pretty and classy," the young aristocrat told her. "Why are we here this time?"

"Mysterious disappearances," Ms. Madison smiled. "A film crew and a group of mercenaries who were planning to sever the Falls Bridge, among others. Not just isolated people, but whole groups."

"And we get to be the next people?" Lady Sylvia looked dubious.
"No," Ms. Madison reassured her. "We stay here and wait to see what happens next. The Green Man will be investigating. And he..." she wrinked her pretty nose, "will probably be staying in some derelict hut someplace."
"I'm just glad to be in another place where you have to dress for dinner," Lady Sylvia nodded.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Terror: Part One

The thunder of the Falls almost drowned out the speech of the men in combat dress, as the moved through the bush. White men, armed with the very latest weapons, they were just another group of the mercenaries who have blighted the life of the African continent for so long. Moving along beside Victoria Falls, they were inense, scanning the environment.

A great train rattled by on the bridge that spanned the might Zambezi, and the mercenaries ducked. Once the train had passed, they rose and resumed their progress, scanning the bush. The leader of the group looked back at the others, before motioning for them to spread out.

One of the men started, looking back at his fellows, a look of alarm on his face.

"You...!" he began.
But the man said no more. At that moment, the silence of the bush was broken by the report of a machine-gun.
All that remained was the roar of the Falls.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Man Who Got Away with it

The door of long deserted Lloyd Park, near Cambridge. Just a little way away from the University city. And there, a little way away, lived Dr. Jewis-Jones, a retired Professor of Philosophy, once a guru to the students of the 1960s. Until, that is, his wife was murdered in 1972. It seemed to many that a part of the 'sixties died then. The Professor was put on trial, a decision denouced by a great many students, and exploited by the Professor to garner a large amount of publicity, all the more when he was found not guilty.

The Professor retired about ten years ago, and dropped out of sight. Imagine, therefore, the shock when he announced that he was going to be publishing a book describing just how he had got away with murder. The outcry was immense, but all the Professor did was laugh, mocking the press and 'the establishment.'

And maybe the establishment could be mocked, but justice is not mocked. Two days after the outbreak of the controversy, the Professor received a letter from the Green Man, promising that he would pay for his evil. The Professor could not contact the Police, without meeting with their mockery. His conscience kept him from them.

But as the day of the book launch approached, the Professor saw nothing. He began to despise the Green Man, mocking even him in the press. But the dawn of the day brought terror. Rising in the night, he heard a figure in his hime. Throwing on a coat and hat, the Professor ran to the door, only to find that someone had locked it and taken away the key. Picking up the 'phone, he prepared to call the Police.

The roar of the Green Man's gun roared, a bullet striking the man in his shoulder, turning him to face the implaccable masked figure.

The Green Man approached the Professor, shaking his head.

Only the Professor knows exactly what happened next. The press reported that, overcome by his conscienjce, he had fled. But the Green Man knows better. The Professor's body lies in a crypt under an ancient monastery church. Or rather props open a door.

You see, the Professor was still alive when he was placed in there.

Crime Does Not Pay.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A Word From Our Sponsors

Spring is here! Outside, the birds are singing, and the sun is shining. As it strikes through your window, though, it shows up all the dust and dirt that has gathered over the winter months. What's to be done?
Well, you could roll up your sleeves and do some spring cleaning. Or you could sit back, relax, and enjoy Old Mill Beer. Soon, you'll be so blotto that you won't even see the dust!
And, if you keep on your Old Mill Beer treatment, you you won't even know what day it is.
Old Mill Beer is brewed by the Bawdeswell Brewery Company: A family company.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Law of the Green Man: Part Twenty

Despite the shot, the bullet did not kill Sir Harold Rait, only creasing him, and rendering him quite unconscious. The Green Man laughed, shaking his head.

"No, Sir Harold," he chuckled, "you will not get your wish. You will not indict the law of the Green Man."

Two large manservants for Mainstone entered and carried the man's unconscious body out. Lady Sylvia watched, her mouth open.

"What's wrong?" the Angel of death spoke, her voice friendly and familiar.

"Who are you...?" Lady Sylvia asked.

"You mean you don't know, Sylv?" the Angel of Death removed her mask.

"Lynette?" Lady Sylvia started violently.

"But, natch!" The blonde laughed happily. "Who else could act as the Green Man's inquisitor?"

"You have a point," Lady Sylvia sighed. "So there wasn't any danger, then?"

"Oh, there's always danger," Ms. Madison assured her colleague. "That's what makes this life so fun."

"How'd you find out all this stuff?" Lady Sylvia asked anxiously.
"Quite easily," Ms. Madison chuckled. "You see, there was a microphone and a camera in the case. I worked as hard as I could to identify the man you met, and I got lucky in time."
"And if you hadn't."
"Listen, Sylv..." Ms. Madison sighed, "I always get lucky."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Law of the Green Man: Part Nineteen

It was insane, Lady Sylvia told herself, as she stood in the Great Hall at Mainstone. The Green Man stood in her home, staid and implaccable. And next to him, on the dais, the mysterious figure of the Angel of Death. She had changed and wore a dark dress with a mask and hooded cape. Below them stood Sir Harold Rait, his head bowed. Lady Sylvia stood by Sir Harold's side, playing the part of a guard.

"Sir Harold Rait," the Green Man spoke, "you have sought to abbrogate the law of the Green Man. You have failed." His voice echoed around the massive hall. "there is a penalty to be paid."

"You have submitted yourself to this court," the cloaked girl added. "Now we shall render our verdict."

Lady Sylvia looked up to the massive roof. There she noticed a plaster figure carrying a scythe and wearing wings. Pretty and shapely, this was a copy of a baroque statue of the Angel of Death. And looked a little like the terrifying figure alongside the Green Man.

"Because I tried to frame you, you're going to kill me?" Sir Harold laughed harshly.

"Yes." The Green Man drew his gun.

The manner of the man changed abruptly, suddenly, he became a cringing coward, clinging to Lady Sylvia.
"Please!" he begged, "don't kill me!"
The Green Man's gun spoke.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Law of the Green Man: Part Eighteen

"Sir Harold Rait," the Green Man spoke softly, "you have made a very serious allegation. You have accused me of visiting vengeance upon the innocent, and not the wicked."
"That's right," Sir Harold laughed. "I framed Sir Harold so that you killed him. He was perfectly innocent."

"He was far from innocent." The Green Man's tone was grim. "Sir Harold Rait was the Leech, and when he knew that the Green Man was on his trail, he hired you, Sir Harold Rait, Baronet, for his last crime. He knew he had to die, so he decided to take down the avenger of evil. I discovered this as you spoke to the Angel of Death. My records indicated two Sir Harold Raits, the dead man and yourself, the son of an aristocrat who lived in Kenya, a man who became a mercenary, a gun for hire. You are a wicked and unscrupulous man, Sir Harold, and the Leech knew that he could count on you to play the part you were to play - even if you died in the attempt."
Sir Harold Rait stumbled back, a look of utter confusion on his face.

"You can't know..." he breathed.

"I can, and I do," the Green Man laughed. "Yes, Sir Harold Rait, the Green Man has found you out. You thought you could judge the Green Man, but the Green Man has judged you!"
He gestured to Lady Sylvia.
"Take him to Mainstone," he told her.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The lAw of the Green Man: Part Seventeen

Sir Harold Rait laughed wickedly, as the import of his words sank in. Lady Sylvia felt very worried and alone, but there was no obvious reaction for the woman who called herself 'the Angel of Death.'

"Well?" Sir Harold asked mockingly, "what will happen to the Green Man?"

"That," the Angel of Death turned to the still-shocked Lady Sylvia, "depends on the Green Man's defence."

Lady Sylvia stumbled over her words, as she recounted the story of how Sir Harold Rait, industrialist, had ended up shot dead in his own study, while his files were burned. As she spoke, the young aristocrat was only too aware of how lame the story sounded, as though she was making excuses for the Green Man. She was not surprised when Sir Harold laughed.

"Is that the best you can do?" he demanded mockingly, "I expected more from the Green Man's assistant."

Lady Sylvia looked towards the ground, feeling wretched. She had failed the Green Man, and that meant that he would shortly face punishment, and that for having fallen into a trap.

"You expected exactly what you got, Sir Harold."

A new voice broke in, and everyone turned to the old castle gate. There, waiting, his green coat blowing in the wind, was the Green Man.

"I call my first witness," Lady Sylvia spoke with greater confidence. "The Green Man!"

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Law of the Green Man: Part Sixteen

The figure was female, but that was about all Lady Sylvia could make out. She wore a long cloak and hat, all of her face covered save for her eyes, which burned with a frightening fire. The woman laughed, pointing a wicked little derringer at Sir Harold Rait.

"I," she announced, "am the Angel of Death. I have the power to deal vengeance upon the Green Man, if he truly has overstepped the boundaries."

"You will not do justice!" Sir Harold laughed mockingly. "You are one of the Green Man's agents."

"There will be a trial," the Angel of Death spoke in chilling tones. "And if the Green Man is found guilty of having slain an innocent man without doing a proper investigation, then he will pay for it. Lady Sylvia, you will act as defence counsel for the Green Man. Leech, do you agree to act as Prosecutor?"

"Readily," the Leech laughed. "When I learned that that Green Man was on my tail, I decided to set up a man who I knew shared my name. I already knew the late Sir Harold, so I made sure to act on everything that came to me through him, using a paid agent to plant the incriminating papers in that safe. The clincher was when I invited the wife of one of my victims to Sir Harold's house, suspecting that the Green Man would take that as proof positive. And it worked!" the Leech laughed. "I used the Green Man as an assassin!"

"Then how could that destroy the Green Man?" Lady Sylvia flushed angrily. "You deliberately framed a man."

"But there was still doubt," Sir Harold laughed.

"The Way Sir Harold behaved towards me," Lady Sylvia bridled, "his reaction.... He didn't deny it."

"He couldn't," the Leech laughed. "Sir Harold was an unpleasant lech, who slept around. I told him exactly what to do, and that if he didn't follow my orders, then he would be destroyed, and that publicly. He could let the Green Man kill him, or have his reputation destroyed. Sir Harold had enough honour to choose the latter course."

Which, Lady Sylvia reflected, meant that what had happened there had been very, very bad. A man who had done many bad things had done something noble, and that meant that the Green Man had done something very ignoble.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Law of the Green Man: Part Fifteen

Lady Sylvia, dressed in a 'sort of casual' cowgirl outfit, made her way over the ancient bridge that led to the stump of the massive keep of Mainstone Old Castle (some Victorian owner of the house had flirted with calling the house a 'Castle', but the name hadn't stuck). Her heart beat the faster as she approached the ancient keep, the case of money bumping against her leg. She saw no-one, and wondered why.

"Lady Sylvia Vaughan!" a voice rang out across the Castle bailey. "Do you have the money?"

"Do I look like I'd be carrying this case if I wasn't?" Lady Sylvia demanded.

"You have a point, Lady Sylvia," the voice laughed. "Leave the money and go."

"No." Lady Sylvia was firm. "I want a receipt."

"A receipt?" the voice sounded incredulous.

"But of course," Lady Sylvia was adamant. "I might be able to claim a tax-exemption for it."

"You are stalling," the voice growled. "But the Green Man cannot intervene."

"Why?" Lady Sylvia shook her head.

"Because," a figure stepped from the castle ruins, "I am the Leech." The person looked nothing like the deceased Sir Harold. "Sir Harold Rait, Baronet, of Casely Park. The Green Man slew an innocent man, a man I framed. He must submit himself to his own law. Or you will both pay me blackmail for the rest of your lives. And if I die, the details go to the Police."

Lady Sylvia gasped, stumbling back.

"And who," the Leech laughed, "will deal that vengeance?"

"I will!" both Lady Sylvia and Sir Harold gasped at the sight of the new speaker.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Law of the Green Man: Part Fourteen

Lady Sylvia walked briskly back from her meeting with the Green Man, her heart and head racing. She wanted to know who the mysterious voice on the 'phone had been - and whether the Green Man would have to give himself up. She hoped not. Having only been with the Green Man since January, she rather wanted the adventure to continue.

But the Green Man had been right. If he transgressed his own law, what other option was there?

She hid the bag and hurried up to the library, there to lose herself in a book until the dread hour arrived. She wanted the Green Man to appear, or a call to come trough reporting that she would not have to go, so when the 'phone rang, she snatched it up eagerly.

"Mainstone," she spoke in a business-like manner.

"Lady Sylvia again," the voice from the previous night spoke. "This is the Leech. I've changed my mind. You will come to the Castle at once. I have other business to attend to."

She tried to call the Green Man, but his line was engaged. There was nothing for Lady Sylvia to do but walk briskly down to the Castle ruins, carrying the case. And that, she reflected as she walked, was the worst of being blackmailed.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Law of the Greem Man: Part Thirteen

As soon as she had breakfasted, Lady Sylvia ran down to the mere, not caring about the mud that spattered the hem of her dress. She had to see the Green Man, had to be reassured personally.

The mere, at some distance from Mainstone, was not, as some had termed it, a lake. It was far too messy, for one thing, with tall pine trees marking the bleak west edge of the water. It was by these that the Green Man stood, waiting for her

"Hullo," she spoke breathlessly. "Sir Harold..."

"Apparently called you from beyond the grave," the Green Man smiled. "I got your call. And," he indicated a case by his side. "I've got your money."

"What do we do?" Lady Sylvia asked eagerly.

"You behave exactly as this person expects you to." The Green Man spoke sternly. "We want nothing that will make this man suspicious."

"And if it is Sir Harold, back from the dead?" Lady Sylvia looked worried.

"Then he gets to go straight back there," The Green Man replied, drawing a small gun from under his coat. "No-one can escape the vengeance of the Green Man."

Lady Sylvia nodded soberly.

"But if Sir Harold is still alive, then..."

"We shall face that when we have to," the Green Man told her. "But if my crusade against crime has led to the death of an innocent person, then I must pay the same price I would have exacted. I shall have to face the law of the Green Man myself."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Law of the Green Man: Part Twelve

As morning gilded the skies over Mainstone, Lady Sylvia was already awake. She had been so for hours, thinking over the 'phone call. She had seen Sir Harold dead, seen his life's blood staining the carpet of his house - how could he be alive?

But she had heard his voice. More, he had described all the events of the day before in detail. As soon as she could be sure of not waking anyone, she dialled the number of the Green Man.

"This is the Green Man," she heard the familliar sound.

"This is Lady Sylvia," the young aristocrat spoke urgently. "I was called last night by someone claiming to be Sir Harold Rait - and he knew everything, even who I was."

"And what else?" the Green Man pressed his young assistant. "What else did he say?"

"How do you know he said something else?" Lady Sylvia enquired.

"Sir Harold Rait was a blackmailer," the Green Man explained. "He wouldn't just give you a social call. What did he demand?"

"Seventy thousand pounds," Lady Sylvia replied primly. "Or he tells the police everything. It's to be delivered to the old castle tower at midnight tonight."

"Do as he says," the Green Man spoke urgently. "I will supply the money, all you need to do is deliver it. Meet me by the mere after breakfast."

Lady Sylvia thanked the Green Man, before descending to the breakfast room, her mind at ease.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Sunday Supplement: A lIttle odd

Ms. Madison here, Sir Richard nominated me to do the honours with this week's Sunday Supplement, the first before Easter. As he's preaching and I'm with my parents, there probably won't be a Sunday Supplement next week.

Right now, Mr. Rake and I are staying with friends in America. I decided to venture into the local Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church. I'd heard they were strict, but I was prepared. I checked their noticeboard (and got some very odd looks when It did - I was wearing jeans and a cut-off top at the time, but still...). On the board I read the rules:

1. Men and women will sit separately
2. No contact between unmarried men and women.
3. All women must wear hats.
4. No woman is to wear trousers.

The last one might have created problems for someone less intrepid than the Green Man's secretary, since all I had was a rather stylish trouser-suit.

But I'm used to such difficulties. In order to keep the letter of the law, I put on my modest black hat and my shoes. I just left out the part in-between and walked in in my underclothes. Someone asked me to leave, but I asked them to show me where I was breaking the rules. They were unable to do so, only gaping like a goldfish.

I walked through into the sanctuary. The people sat behind me made disapproving noises, although some men somewhere whistled. I found the first hymn, while trying my very best to ignore the stares, and stood with the rest of the congregation.
The service didn't get much further, however. The moment the preacher saw me he started screaming something about 'brazen Jezebels.' I didn't understand everything he said before he passed out cold. The service was abandoned shortly afterwards.