I am not prepared to give the title of the story, but I hope you like this Prologue. It does have darkness in the story, which is why I am only posting the prologue, if you have any further interest I can send it to you via email as an attachment, and if any one knows anyone who can edit and is trustworthy, then I will appreciate them to check grammer, story points and so on... please, what is your opinion?
Hank glanced out of the window of his country cottage. His eldest girl was playing in amongst the shrubbery with her younger sister and cousin, Cody. He was preparing a sermon for his Parish. He had finished some parochial duties. Mrs. Blake was organising an Am Dram society and wanted to know how the local Priest thought about such ‘frivolity and fun making!’ Mary had crawled out of the shrubbery; the childish shrieks could be heard through the single paned windows. He shivered and shrugged on a blanket. He blew on his fingers and stared at the blank piece of paper and blinked. He could not think of a single thing to talk about … maybe he should discuss forgiveness. No, he had trouble with
that himself these days.
Rachel walked into his study; she set a cup of coffee down and rubbed his shoulders. She leant down, kissed his cheek and sighed as she spotted the blank sheet of paper. He squeezed her hand and wished to take her to bed with him right now. Hmm, sex … carnal desires, good subject! He looked up the passages on Sodom and Gomorrah.
“Interesting, you did that last week,” Rachel murmured in his ear. “You know, the Parish of Calkley might think you have sex on the brain.”
“With you as a wife, it is amazing I get to do anything,” he joked.
“Come on, Ralph and Philip want to talk to you.”
“How are Julia and Anna?”
“Fine,” Rachel said.
Hank stood up, shaking the blanket off. He loved the way the bushes at the corner of the garden seemed to change in different phases; the corner was a rainbow of golds, reds, yellows and greens. The pond in the middle of the garden was decorated with the vari-coloured foliage. Mary and Rebekah were playing kiss-chase with Cody.
“I don’t mean to be anti-social,” Hank said taking his collar off so that he could relax properly. “Calkley is a very busy place.”
“You mean Mrs. Blake has nothing better to do than to commandeer my husband.”
“She’s a bore,” Rachel said.
“I am only expressing an opinion,” Rachel sighed. “We’re all entitled to one.”
“You should try and be more Christian towards her,” he patted her bottom.
She pulled him closer towards her. “Yes, dear. Maybe that should be your theme.”
“No,” he sighed. “Don’t worry I’ll think of something.”
She picked up his cup of coffee. “Come on. Your sister is desperate to see you.”
“You sure she’s not just desperate?”
His wife gave him a withering look. He smiled and took her hand. They exited the room to enter the lounge at the far end of the cottage. Anna and Julia were watching some more of the brood.
“Where’s Cody?” Julia asked.
“Playing with Mary and Rebekah. Kiss-Chase I think,” Hank replied. “Cody definitely likes Mary.”
“I hope it doesn’t happen all over again.”
“It’s all right,” Rachel said. “They aren’t too close related. Not as close as some.”
“Comment directed at me,” Anna sighed.
Philip and Ralph had entered the room. “We’re pleased you do still exist as a human being,” Philip said. He scratched at his arm.
“I do,” he said. “It’s just that I have parochial duties to attend.”
“Mrs. Blake, in other words,” Rachel murmured.
Philip made his way to Anna he needed a hug from his wife. “How are Lucy and Eowyn?”
“They are sitting upstairs in the spare room reading.”
“I’m worried about those two, they hardly say a word.” Anna said.
“What about Jonathan?”
“Jonathan is fine; he talks, laughs, plays and pinches girls like a normal boy.”
“Identical twins can have silent communication. Sometimes one talks and the other lets her,” Ralph said. “Louisa is doing a study on them.”
Hank stared around his family; he could still hear the squawks of happy-go-lucky children gambolling about in the garden.
“What was that sigh about, Hank?” Philip asked.
“Did I sigh?”
“You did,” Ralph said.
“Well,” Hank hitched his trousers up. Philip admired the colour, he loved black. He could not believe his cousin was a Church of England Priest; in the country no less, and somewhere so beautiful he had often thought of uprooting his family to join him. The Forest of Dean was a magical, enchanting place full of dark corners for wonderful scenes of wilful heroines, ordinary heroes and dashing villains. “I was ruminating on our lives. How did we get here? I mean, with all we’ve been through! How?”
“How we’re still friends?” Ralph asked.
“How we’re still smiling?” Anna said clinging onto her husbands’ Nightwish tee-shirt.
“How free we are?” Rachel concluded.
“Well, I was just thinking on the plain ‘How?’ but you all have different emotions attached to this don’t you? I am just wondering how we all ended up so—happy.”
“Well, HE is no longer with us, and hasn’t been for ten years!”
“I carry the guilt of taking his life,” Hank said.
“We’re not going to repeat this again, are we?”
“I know what the Law says. Adrian keeps reminding me of it. The police still refuse to shackle me in chains.”
“That’s because in the eyes of the law you have done nothing wrong,” Anna said. “Now stop beating yourself up.”
Hank glanced at his cousin. “I did that to you, Phil. How can you look me in the eye?”
“I jumped in the way. This is my fault!”
He tilted his head to where a limb used to be. The brain sometimes thought that it still had a right arm.
“You had no choice, Hank. It was either you or HIM. As far as I am concerned you made the right choice!”
Hank gazed off into the distance. His eyes glazed over. He still felt guilty, whatever anybody said. The straight facts were he killed a man! Hank never hated anyone. Whilst he despised the creature that had robbed him of his innocence and taught him a lesson he could have lived his life without knowing, he knew, deep in his heart that he had never wanted to take the man’s life.
He was vaguely aware of his friends and family peering at him. He laughed; it was humourless, dry and bitter.
“Most of us here, you know!” Phil exclaimed. “Maybe I ought to get the story written down. That way then we can finally convince Hank that he has done nothing wrong.”
“What a great idea,” Anna said. “It’ll be like Dracula where all the characters have a say in the story!”
“It might also give us an understanding into the whole matter too.”
“It’s a good thing mum kept HIS case book … or as he terms it, the bible of an Earthly God!”
Even Ralph shuddered at the blasphemy of this statement.
Hank mulled this conversation over in his mind, it wouldn’t hurt. He still found the idea of taking a life, no matter how despicable wrong and Godless. He respected life! But, as he found out, there was a fine line between love and hate, right and wrong, even black and white weren’t what they appeared to be.
Philip opened his lap top. “Let’s start at Grandma’s funeral, hey? That seems to be the starting block to all this!”
Anna sat down and began to type. “First we need a title.”
“We’ll come to that when we’re finished. Let’s start with Hank’s birth and carry on from there, let the fingers decide how to tell the story, shall we?”
Mary, Rebekah, Cody, and Jonathan had come back inside, breathless from their rough and tumble in the bushes and trees. “We’re going to see if the twins are okay, mummy!” Jonathan said.
“Good boy. And the four of you have a nap now okay. We’ll wake you when it’s dinner time.”
The children ran up stairs their feet vibrating through the ancient cottage.
“Childhood - oh for those halcyon days again.”
“Well, we’re going to capture those halcyon days on software now.”
The autumn sunshine streamed into the cottage giving it a warm, fiery glow. “We were in a church. Let’s tell it like it was someone else’s story.”
Hank wished it was someone else’s story. He longed to be rid of the nightmares that assaulted him nightly, the constant unclean feeling in his mind. The story ought to be told, if only to purge the bloodguilt from his conscience. He sighed, clasped his hands together and began the story slowly so that Anna can type every word he said. Already he began to feel the cleansing process taking effect.
This would not be the first story of its kind but by God, it certainly won’t be the last! He longed to be able to have it different—to have a second chance. Still he couldn’t change facts.
“Innocent or guilty, we’ll let you decide!” Anna said as she began tapping on the keyboard. “Hmm, like the sound of that.”
This is my story, my characters and my world. Please, remember I am not Terry and this is only the Prologue.
Calkley is a fictional place that I made up. Nightwish is a band that I absolutely adore. I have yet to ask their permission.
Who Watches The WatchMan?