Wednesday, September 3, 2008
First misty morning of the year and the grass scintillated with drops of water in the low-slanting sunlight. Felicia is so light on her (four) feet that she left a perfect trail of trodden stalks as she ran across it into the woods beyond. I followed after her, marveling at the beauty around me and wondering why Big G and the angels were so desperate to reduce the planet to radioactive ash. If I was a photographer I would have regaled you with a series of dewdrops caught in spiders webs and mist hanging in Laverstone valley with the sunshine beating across the top of it, as Felicia and I saw from the top of rise.
Needless to say I didn’t take any photographs. If you want some I’m sure you’re capable of googling them.
Frederick was a bit more forthcoming on the subject of St Marples’. His standard of living has declined so much in the past few years that he’s generally happy to talk about the past, as if remembering the histories would make him more solidly tied to the present.
The incident Harold obliquely referred to was in September 1971. Ada was taking Harold around the market, shopping for school clothes for the new term. St. Marples’ had a frontage on High Street at the time (before they put the by-pass in and pedestrianised the centre). Since it wasn’t a real church, the council allowed traders to set up market stalls in the grounds and Ada was moving round them, shopping. Harold, Frederick tells me, was already laden with more bags than the average five year old could carry (Frederick was watching from where he’d parked his Beetle against the kerb.)
As Ada approached the last of the stalls a figure darted from the church with a naked blade, heading straight for Harold. Ada, to her shame (and this is the reason she won’t talk about it) froze, but before the figure reached the boy it was stopped in its tracks by a large lump of carved stone in the shape of a hooded bird.
Frederick looked up but saw nothing. The police, who cordoned off the scene before too many onlookers had gathered, declared it a freak accident and laughed at Harold’s stories of an assassin. No weapon was ever found.
The deceased, Matthew Bembridge, was buried in the churchyard of St. Jude’s.