Chapter 4

Written by: Griffin

Brian,” Rose said, with a colourless sort of voice.

“What?” I asked, still attending to the leg of the stall. I could see Cal chatting to Norman Croft, who was dressed in a tight-fitting short black jacket and a bowler hat. Marg his wife was wearing a rather ridiculous frilly bonnet.

“Brian Coleman, your nephew.” I stood up slowly, the tack-hammer still in my hand, and followed Rose’s hard gaze.

There he was indeed, over the other side of the Green, in conversation with Vicar Johnson, and looking as casual as you please. As before, a suede jacket and casual slacks. The same black hair falling over one eye, the wide face with a boyish fragility. Five years older, but with the same cockiness, as I could see from fifty yards away.

The image of the ceramic statuette came before my eyes. An heirloom from my grandfather, and from his grandfather before him.

He had been twenty-six at the time we accepted him into our house. He had been a lost soul, needing a steady base for a while. His mother, Jenny, with whom I am on very good terms, lives in Devon. Brian had had an unhappy affair with a girl from Hamburg, and had dropped out of his studies in mediaeval history. We suggested he stay with us for a while, until he could get it together.

“Well I’m damned,” I said turning to Rose. “What an absolute nerve, after what he did. And after all we did for him.”

I had tried to get him involved in the business, and he had quickly become adept at cleaning a carburettor, but had said after a week it was not for him. He had then surprisingly started spending most of his time in our local library. It seems it has a collection of historical books.

Rose had by this time retrieved the box and was finishing laying out the table.

“Well,” she said without looking up, “are you going to go and ask him about it.”

The white ceramic statue. A shepherd at the feet of a shepherdess, with shrubs and flowers.  We had had to take it out of its case, and he would stare at it for an hour at a time. I think he would have liked to take it to bed with him.  So when he shot off to Paris, and it was missing, it was clear as day he had it. Our statue!

And here he was, in all his brashness, suddenly standing before me.

“Hello Jack, how are you?  Hello Rose.”  The same easy smile. I shook his hand, perfunctorily.

“So when did you get in,” I said shortly.

“Just yesterday. Staying at the Bull and Bear.”

There was something otherworldly about his eyes, and a stillness in the air. Suddenly I had a premonition. “Was Brian’s arrival connected somehow with the white hawk?” I pondered. “Is that ceramic statuette somehow involved with all that happened this morning?”

Greg Rochlin (AUS)

Comments

A hint of historical influence; perhaps something medieval. Here comes a premonition and perhaps a dark secret from the village's 17th century past. Who knows but Greg has planted the seeds of something that could be sinister and ghostly. This whole chapter is to do with setting and getting into the 'meat' of the story. The last paragraph certainly gives us a clue and leaves the next author the opportunity to lay bare the bones of the story. Nice work, Greg.