30 Aug

 

 

THE CASE OF THE GOLDEN EYEGLASS

SHORT SKIRT GIRL photo: Caution caution.jpg13.

There’s nothing drearier, nothing more depressing, than the wild, unkempt moorland where the ancients of medieval military mayhem decided to build Brainache Castle, and where, centuries after it was first built, reinforcements made it an ideal bastion of one side and then the other during the Civil War that raged during the seventeenth century. Though the accounts of those battles have been lost to history, more blood flowed on that foul land than anywhere else.
Even the skies are dreary, a mottled grey that occasionally weeps tears of sorrow upon all who wretchedly try to shelter on the lands below.
And as for shelter, there is none. Any woodland that had existed in primeval times was destroyed as woodsmen and carpenters worked upon them and crafted first one fortification and then, later, a second one of stone, and because of the poverty in the soil, the trees never replaced themselves. Instead, a thorny kind of heather, dull as ditch-water even in high summer, seemed to blanket the ground, covering rocks and crevices like a magic invisibility cloak.
And it was there that Royston and Angelina stood, staring wretchedly at a world that might never have been had medieval warns raged more soundly. But world it was, and the crumbling remnants of an ancient castle did nothing to increase its beauty, especially bearing in mind the knowledge in both of their heads that an assortment of old bones had been piled underground, waiting for historians to gloat over them and count their vertebrae.
“It’s horrid,” shivered Angelina, “and so cold… I wish I’d put more clothes on.”
Royston shivered. “It was sunny back at 221c,” he reminded her, “and it looked as if it was going to stay that way. But here, in the wretched fringes of life … I’m cold too!”
“I thought this little skirt that I chose would lighten things,” sighed Angelina, “I thought it would help make the sun shine if I wore a nice colourful cotton skirt… but I feel wretched, and my knees are shivering along with the rest of me…”
“If it helps, I think you look lovely,” muttered Royston, a lump in his throat. “If it wasn’t for the way you shine I reckon I’d be doing myself in right here and now!”
“Do I shine?” whispered Angelina.
“Do you shine? There’s nobody brighter, not here, not back home, nowhere!” declared Royston. “I think … Angelina, I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but I think you’re the most beautiful creature on this entire planet!”
“You can say nice things like that as often as you want,” sighed the young woman. “It never does any harm for a girl to be told that she’s appreciated.”
“Well you most certainly are, and if you’re cold I’ll lend you my jacket,” he said stoutly.
“No. There’s not need for that. Just snuggle up to me,” whispered Angelina, “and I am glad that old Blinky isn’t here. Even with his non-existent eyesight he’d put the dampers on anything remotely … intimate.”
“Do you want to be remotely intimate?” whispered Angelina.
“If it helps.” His voice was shivering, but it wasn’t the cold.
“It helps.” the sound of her voice was dressed in silence. Her eyes spoke loud as thunderclaps. Hold me tight in this depressing place, they shouted, take me in your arms, Royston, and cuddle me … that’ll make this whole adventure all right!
“Now then, now then, now then, what’s going on here?” came a voice through the daylit gloom of the dreadful moor. They remembered it so well: the guard or whatever he was who had, according to Blinky, stolen the loupe. “We can’t have hanky-panky here, no we cannot! This is a sacred place where the gods forbid naughtiness!”
“There’s nothing naughty about comforting a lady in distress and if any gods ever trod on this revolting land they can’t have been up to much … and hey, we’ve come to see you!”
It certainly was the peak-capped uniformed guard who they had seen during their last visit. He was quite clearly of the breed of men who likes power over others, whose whole life is guided by who he can obstruct and in whatever way he can find to do it. Mean he would have been as an infant in arms, biting the teat that fed him with embryonic teeth and staring with vicious baby eyes into the face of its adoring mother, and mean he was now, needing to dominate but with a minuscule amount of power with which to do it. He was little more than the attendant of an unused car-park, and that offered him precious little opportunity to exercise his power.
“Haha!” called Angelina, snuggling close to Royston, “the very man! We have been sent to retrieve what you stole from out boss!”
“I never steal,” grated the guard, “I take what is rightfully mine, and I guess it was the eyeglass you believe I stole? Well, it was mine, left to me in her will by my aunty Gladys, and when I detected it in the blind man’s pocket I resolved to reclaim it! No man should be denied what is truly his, by right. I then took myself to the late lamented aunty’s graveside, and I said a little prayer. Oh, yes I did! I prayed that she be reunited with her precious eyeglass because it has brought me nothing but ill-luck since she bequeathed it to me!”
“Tattle!” declared Royston, “that worthless lump of glass and metal had nothing to do with you!”
“How dared you!” almost exploded the guard. “When I saw it deep in the blind man’s pocked, glinting at me, I knew what it was! It was my inheritance, and I did the only right thing! I stood by her grave, the grass beginning to grow in tufts where it had been filled in, and I knelt as if in prayer. But it was no prayer! Oh no! Before it was stolen from me I had placed a curse on it. I had danced at midnight under the moon, naked on the moor, willy flapping about like a wild thing, and I had beseeched the spirits of the underworld to wrap themselves inside its shiny metal structure, and go magically from there to the old lady in her grave, and touch her still and decomposing heart until it beat again…
“I had cast a spell than no man could break!”
Angelina and Royston stared at him in horror. Before them stood a man who was so clearly insane that they feared his madness might go beyond imaginary spells and weird incantations, and come forth as a threat before them in that direful place.
And the light in his eyes confirmed that might be a truly justified fear.
© Peter Rogerson

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2 Responses to “”

  1. pambrittain August 30, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

    This is getting stranger and stranger.

  2. Peter Rogerson August 31, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    Why shouldn’t it, Pam?

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