Saturday 6 December 2014
Startling everyone inside, the door of Ravenbridge Pub burst open and Terry Andrews fell through, a look of terror spread across his face.
‘It’s M-M-M-M-Matthew Jenkins,’ he stammered.
‘Keep yer shorts on, Terry,’ Big John replied. ‘I didn’t think Jenkins was your type.’ The locals joined in with Big John’s laughter.
‘What?’ asked Harry. ‘He’s what?’
‘He’s dead. I fell over him just other side of the road. By the green.’
Big John emerged from around the bar and eyed Terry up and down. His eyes squinted, disbelieving what Terry had just blurted out, John opened the pub door and peered outside.
‘You’re ‘ardly gonna see anything in this mist,’ Terry said.
‘Then ‘ow’d you see Jenkins?’ John replied.
‘I told you, I fell over him. If he’d been a few steps to my left, I would’ve missed him. Walked straight by. But he weren’t, and I fell over his leg I think it was. His face was all smashed in.’ Terry shivered as he described what was left of Matthew Jenkins’ face.
‘How did you know it was Jenkins then, if ‘is face were all smashed in?’ asked Harry.
‘You twat, everybody knows what Matthew Jenkins looks like, face or no face. Use your noggin’, Harry,’ replied Terry.
During the banter, Big John had left the pub and cautiously wandered across the road. The five tourists all gathered around the open door but could see nothing other than the all-enveloping mist. However, the sound of someone vomiting was unmistakable.
‘It’s him alright,’ called Big John in between retching. ‘At least I think it’s him. Not much left of his face, that’s for sure. Harry, you’d better get Norton on the blower and tell him to get his arse over here quickly.’
Harry staggered from his seat and took himself behind the bar. He pulled the telephone from beneath the bar and dialled the number of the police station.
‘Norton, there’s been some trouble at the pub. You’d better leg it over here now. Righto, see you then.’
‘Well,’ said Ray, ‘seems like things have suddenly got interesting here in Strangler’s Cove.’
Harry snapped a reply. ‘We never ‘ad none of this sort of trouble before you tourists arrived. How’re we to know that it wasn’t one of you who did Matthew Jenkins in?’
* * * * *
Excerpt from Jonathon Castledene’s journal.
January 10, 1763
I know he isn’t my son. I know beyond any shadow of doubt that she has been intimate with another man, and I know who he is. In my dreams I have killed him one hundred times in one hundred different ways, and those are the dreams that bring me the greatest pleasure.
January 11, 1763
The old woman told me that I already know what I must do. I don’t believe her claims that she is in league with the Devil or that she is able to see the future. She is nothing but soft in the head. There is no league with darkness. If there was I am sure that I would be at the head of the table with Satan for all of my black thoughts. Wilkinshaw will pay for his part in MY wife’s infidelity. I will tell him that the boy is his, that I know he took my wife, and then I will take them all back.
January 12, 1763
Tomorrow will be the end of the Castledene empire. I’m going to kill them all. To begin with, I will take her children away and I will make her watch as I do so. I will beat the life from her and I will do it slowly so that she feels the pain that she has inflicted upon me. I want to make sure that he sees what I have done. I name the adulterer Sheriff Richard Wilkinshaw and I name HIS son, Callum Castledene.
January 13, 1763
Whilst I don’t believe what the old woman told me I have spent many hours wondering about the possibility that there is something to be said for the darkness in men. Good men can be broken, and good men can be made to follow only the blackness in their hearts. Good men can be broken beyond repair. Dewlyn and Wilkinshaw have broken me, and so it is that I will meet my maker and be judged not upon the good that I have done in this world, but upon the one heinous deed that I have been forced to commit. If I believed such, I would curse the Wilkinshaw line for as long as they exist, now and for all eternity. The Wilkinshaw line will pay.
. . . To be continued . . .