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A very short halloween serial - Laura Wise

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October 24th, 2011


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06:35 pm - A very short halloween serial
I've been listening to the new Kate Bush song "Wild Man," which doesn't have anything really to do with the very short serial story for Halloween I'd like to offer, but anyway.... Kate Bush!

And Halloween, obviously.

This isn't like other stories I've written for the season. I'm not going to update every day this week, but every other day. And so, a historical trifle without a title yet, one we must blame on too many Golden Age detective stories....


“You may wait here, Miss James,” hung in the air even after the door of the snug closed on the pub landlord.

Guinevere James took off her gloves and then raised bare hands to the respectable-spinster hat she wore. She left the hat, poor disguise as it was, but pulled three sharpened hatpins from their clasp of hatband and thick grey-brown hair.

One never knew how long it would take Jeffrey to reach the Loaf of Bread after his parish duties, and the windows of the snug looked full on the crooked, moonlit path to the Old Wood. Anything might dance, open-mouthed and clawed, up that path – until she and Jeffrey made all safe again, of course.

She sat down then, as tidy and contained as her tweeds and sensible shoes might suggest to those who didn't know her and some of those who did, and tilted her head. Yes, Smithie the landlord had kindly turned up the volume on whatever radio programme he and his patrons had been listening to, and voices rose in cheerful contention louder than the BBC. Should there be trouble –not that Guin anticipated any, no – the noise would mask it.

Nodding in unseen approval, she crossed her ankles. Then, for amusement and practice, she formed a weapon out of fist and hatpins, and stabbed the business end of said hatpins several times into the old pillar candle Smithie had left on the table. The points slid in, easily as anything.

So they would if she encountered some malefactor, Guin thought cheerfully to herself. Some other malefactor than the one expected, that is.

Outside, on the furthest edge of the crooked, moonlit path, something moved. She reached up with her free hand and turned off the electric lamp in the snug, in order to see better. Yes. There, just in the shadows of the nearer trees.

“How provokingly early,” Guin said under her breath. “It's not gone nine yet.”

Even as the words left her mouth, the noise in the pub rattled louder, cheers and greetings and hoots, and then the door of the snug opened.

She turned her head and smiled at the broad-shouldered, middle-aged man in a clerical collar who stood there. The wicker basket in his hand swung in a circle as he smiled back before shutting the door.

“Hullo, my dear. Sorry I'm a bit behind time,” he said, in the deep, sonorous tones which so pleasantly filled St Martin's Elizabethan interior every Sunday.

“Hullo, Jeffrey,” she said, “you're here just in the nick,” and offered her free hand for his kiss. She did like the way his lips caressed palm and then wrist there under the ruffled edge of her blouse.

Then he nipped once, gently, and let her go. “Shall we?”

“Yes, let's. I fear a little bother tonight, he's already restless.” She stood, brushed down her skirt, and then opened the wide window of the snug.

“It is All Hallow's Eve, not just the full moon,” he said amiably, “only to be expected,” and steadied her as she climbed out. Then, “do you have your blessed candle as well as your knife, Guin dear?”

“Of course. Do you come along, Jeffrey,” she said, and put her foot on the path.
….......................................


Happy Monday! More Wednesday, I think.

(14 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:paratti
Date:October 24th, 2011 10:47 pm (UTC)
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Love it.
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From:laurawise
Date:October 25th, 2011 10:46 am (UTC)
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Thank you, L -- and happy Tuesday! :-)
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From:anne_d
Date:October 24th, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
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I like this already!
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From:laurawise
Date:October 25th, 2011 10:46 am (UTC)
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Thank you, A! Thanks and a good day to you.
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From:stateless82
Date:October 25th, 2011 05:04 am (UTC)
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Yay! I love having one of your stories to look forward to :-D
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From:laurawise
Date:October 25th, 2011 10:46 am (UTC)
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Thank you thank you, S! :-)

Cheers for your Tuesday, too.
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From:kathyh
Date:October 25th, 2011 09:21 am (UTC)
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one we must blame on too many Golden Age detective stories....

I can't think of a more enticing prospect :) Great start and I'm looking forward to more.
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From:laurawise
Date:October 25th, 2011 10:47 am (UTC)
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The Golden Age stuff is setting only, but... I blame a weekend rereading Ngaio Marsh. ;-)

Cheers and a good day to you.
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From:janus_74
Date:October 25th, 2011 02:27 pm (UTC)
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I *love* golden age detective stories! This one sounds interesting.
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From:laurawise
Date:October 25th, 2011 04:11 pm (UTC)
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Well, the setting is Golden Age detective vintage... the story is more one of my usual magic ones. ;-)

Thanks, T! Happy Tuesday!
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From:stevie_carroll
Date:October 27th, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
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Oh, wonderful. I like Guin a lot already.
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From:laurawise
Date:October 27th, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC)
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Thank you, Stevie, thank you. :-)

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From:desdemonaspace
Date:November 29th, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)
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I don't know who these two are, but I love them. So often are middle-aged people portrayed as sexless, but (*ahem*) they're not. Well done!
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From:laurawise
Date:November 29th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
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I should have explained -- this is the first part of an original story. Guin and Jeffrey are mine. :-)

And yes, that issue about middle-aged people annoys the heck out of me too. Et voila.

Thanks so much for reading this opening taste! Much appreciated!

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