Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Remember Me? Part Four

Lady Sylvia walked with Sir Richard, away from the church, towards the little old house where the aged widower, formerly pastor of the chapel, lived, listening intently to Sir Richard's tale. He swung his cane, rather than leaning on it, shaking his head as he retailed some information.

"Are you ready to get your brother in trouble, my dear Sylvia?" he smiled mischievously "- I mean, swanning off to somewhere distant with a fairly notorious character..."

"I don't have a reputation," she laughed "-and you won't be able to do this alone, Sir Richard. How old are you?"

"Not apparently old enough to know better," he sighed. "You know, I used to think I was. That the world I lived in back then had changed for the better. But the more I hear today, the more I realise that the struggle between good and evil goes on, and I have no way of dealing with it. All I can do is fight, as I have always fought, trying to adjust the balance where I can. And in the case of Oulton, I can do that."

"When?" Lady Sylvia breathed the words softly "-Sir Richard, I..."

"Well, I hear Central Europe is wonderful this time of year." Sir Richard drawled urbanely. "I thought we might hire a car in Austria and drive about in what used to be the Austro-Hungarian Empire - how does that strike you?"
"If he's there," Lady Sylvia laid a hand on the old warrior's arm, "then I'll go with you. Whatever happens to me after that."
She cast a last, lingering gaze back to the graveyard, where the spring flowers were starting to bloom.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Return of the Green Man: Part Two

Robinson Way looked at the card, scarcely able to believe his eyes. His breath caught in his throat, as he looked to the card, to his guests, and back to the card. His mouth opened and closed, no sound escaping it.
"The Green Man!" He gasped in horror, as breath returned to him "-it can't be!"
"I heard," the whisky exporter joined him. "You said he was dead."
"We all heard," the young woman concurred "-but how can you know?"
Way shook his head, pale as death. He stumbled forward, causing the guests and footman to make to stop him from falling. But the rich man did not fall. Taking a pull at himself, he strightened up, crossing to the window, looking out at the snow.
"The Green Man is dead", Way at last announced. "No-one has heard of him for months. Almost a year. He is dead. How, I don't know, but he is dead. This is a joke played by one of my guests."
"If it's a joke," the whisky man observed, "why is no-one laughing?"

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Return of the Green Man: Part One

The winter was unusually harsh, with snow just before Christmas. And that snow stayed, being renewed in early January by further falls, rendering the lanes around the isolated mansion impassable. Food, however, was not a problem, given the fully stocked freezers. Even so, there were some in the house party who were less than pleased when, a week after New Year's Day, the house was still isolated. There were city types who wanted to be back in the office, and models who would have liked to go off to the South of France. Even their host, the resclusive Robinson Way, was less than happy, after someone decided that this was an emergency and drank a great deal of his best claret. But beggars cannot be choosers, and there was little of the less expensive wine left.

An elegantly-dressed female looked out over the frozen landscape from the warmth of the the house and shuddered, looking at the snow. It had been fun the first few days, but now the sight of it was starting to bore her.

"Is there no way of getting a helipcopter or something out here?" she demanded testilty.

"It can be done, Miss Powell," her companion, a bearded man in a tweed suit who was usually involved in the whisky export business, in spite of his old Etonian accent, replied, "but would you take the risk in this visibility?"

She made a face, and turned back to the fire, where Mr. Way say, a glass of vintage brandy in his hand, watching the flames dance in the grate. He seemed lost in thought, and had missed the conversation. Only the approach of a footman caused him to look up. The man carried a silver tray, on which rested a card. While the young woman looked confused, windering how a card could have been delivered, Way read the card idly.

The glass slipped from his fingers, shattering on the floor. Way rose to his feet, pale and trembling. The guests rushed to attend to him. The young woman saw the card on the tray, on which the milionaire's eyes were fixed. She gasped, reading words which she could scarecely credit.

"Surely this is a joke?" she looked up at him, then back at the card.

"No..." the man shook his head, his voice faltering. "No... no... c... c...can't - dead! The G...G...G...Gr...Green M...M...Man is DEAD!"