A Heartfelt Thanks!

I freely admit that I started this Blog with more than a little trepidation. My thought being that there are so many people out there whose talent far overshadows my own faltering efforts. I was very pleasantly surprised, everyone has been so kind and supportive in so many ways. And so I wish to humbly thank all my new friends and to wish a very warm welcome to any new friends who may be waiting in the wings. Thank you and bless you all!

Malkie

One of my strange little tales – entitled The Raggedy Man

Josiah Pitkin was employed as his Bailiff, by the Lord of the Manor. He was tasked with the rents and the eviction of tenants who were poor payers or consistently in arrears. Josiah was not a mean man, but to keep the security of his own employment he often had to do things that he wasn’t particularly fond of.

Today he was tasked with the eviction of an elderly widow, he had made many excuses in her favour to try to prolong this event, but his Master had told him she must go, so go she must. She was all packed and ready to leave, Josiah was surprised he thought she might be troublesome. Some people had branded her a witch.

Josiah believed none of that, but was very wary in his dealings with her. She made no protests but just as she was leaving she called back, ‘ Josiah Pitkin, beware the Raggedy Man!’ Josiah stood bemused, he had no inkling as to her meaning.

That night, after a satisfying dinner Josiah decided to walk up the hill to the local Inn. Just for a drink or two, nothing more. But Josiah already quite a hefty man did enjoy a drink, he had fallen in with congenial company, so he remained and had several more.

As he said his goodbyes and left the Inn, it started to pour with rain and the wind started to howl, ‘ Thank God, It’s all downhill!’ thought Josiah, who by now was beginning to feel the drink he had consumed. As he walked purposefully in to the storm, out of the corner of his eye he saw a shadow on the wall opposite, illuminated by the gaslights arc. He knew at once, it was the Raggedy Man.

He quickened his pace, stole a quick glance at the opposite wall. the shadow was still dogging his heels. He could not hear footfalls behind him but then he didn’t expect too, he was convinced that the Raggedy Man was some supernatural being that had been summoned to harm him. He tried to run, but staggered and fell, he cursed himself aloud for having drunk so much. He staggered to his feet, and ran as fast as he could down the hill, his heart was pumping, his chest was heaving, his breath was almost gone.

But the Raggedy Man still pursued him, Josiah reached his front door and slid down it wheezing and holding his chest. The wind dropped suddenly and the Raggedy man was laid to rest beside Josiah. It was just a bundle of rags packed with paper and straw to resemble a man by the children who had been begging for Bonfire Night outside the Inn, but had abandoned it when the storm began. This revelation came too late for poor Josiah, he was already dead, his heart had given up on him.

(c) Damian Grange 2017

For anyone who is unaware it is a British Tradition on the 5th of November to have a Bonfire and burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes, one of the thirteen conspirators who planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament with 36 Barrels of Gunpowder,

 

I’ve something a little different today, a little slice of Gothic Horror.

The Priest was encountering severe difficulties filling the containers with Holy Water. At best not an easy task but one made even harder by his trembling hands. He was a man of God, but the fear that had infected the village had even managed to reach in to his soul.

To his knowledge he was the only one left in the village. The others had fled, hoping to find refuge elsewhere, or had been victims of the creature. The Vampire, if that was the name it went by.

He was not a courageous man, just a simple village priest. Who was petrified at the thought of squaring up to a creature of this kind. But someone had to, and it seemed that the role had been ordained for him by the cassock that he wore. The undead despised Priests.

He had gathered his weapons, if you could term them that. He had containers of Holy Water, which when thrown would burn the creature and distract it. His principle weapon was the Holy Cross, which was quite hefty and had a pointed end on which he hoped to impale the creature and bring about it’s demise. He also had his Latin prayers and incantations for defence against demons and other creatures from the abyss.

His arsenal was meagre but sufficient, if he could only find the courage to stand up like a man and face the creature. But he was a humble village priest, he was not a warrior and had no training as such. His strength was his faith, but he was beginning to have misgivings about that too.

He heard a noise, which both startled and frightened him, something or someone was tapping on the door of his Church, He called out, ‘ Who’s there? identify yourself ?’ a young girl’s voice answered, ‘ Please let me enter, Father, I’m frightened and it’s getting dark!’ The Priest although wary opened the door slightly to admit the little girl.

She was he thought a pretty little thing, but she seemed very pale and frightened. She looked around the Church, her eyes were everywhere, they missed nothing. the Priest couldn’t help but wonder why she was so curious. ‘ What is it child, what are you searching for?’ Her reply was, ‘ If the creature comes, we have no way out, only the door in which I entered.’ ‘ Don’t fret so child, if the creature comes I will defend you!’ said the priest marvelling at his new found courage.

The child looked up at him smiled and uttered, ‘ Fool!’ then she metamorphoses in to the Vampiress that she truly is. But the priest for all his timidity acted quickly, he threw the containers of Holy water in to the creatures face, temporarily blinding it. The creature was burnt and screamed in both pain and anger, the Priest lifted the Holy Cross with the point facing away from him and charged at the creature, impaling it while reciting the Latin Prayer to return the creature to the Abyss from whence it had come.

The creature turned to dust before his eyes, then vanished completely. The priest picked up the Holy Cross and retuned it to its rightful place in his Church. Then he knelt on his knees and gave thanks to his saviour.

(c) Damian Grange 2017

Another of my Teachers

Continuing with my theme of Teachers, I will today feature Mr. Edwards my English/Drama teacher.

A diminutive Welshman, Mr.Edwards was very theatrical but not in the ‘ducky’ sense more in the Producer/ Director mould. Although of diminutive build he had presence and a powerful melodious voice, he was rather like a Richard Burton mini – me. His major vice was smoking, he must have sat in the Staff – Room chain-smoking all through lunch, his breath and clothing reeked of stale tobacco fumes.

Due to his diminutive size, he was smaller than the majority of his pupils. Some clown in his wisdom christened him ‘ Stretch’ and from then on that was what he became, teenagers can be so cruel and thoughtless.

I have to thank or blame, depending on how my performances were viewed, this man for my forays in to the world of Dramatic Art. My first role was in Julius Caesar, I was cast as a spear holder or to be politically correct should that read pilum. My next role was in The Tempest as Trinculo, one of Prospero’s servants, and a light comedy part, which went well. The final role I was offered was the role of Banquo in Macbeth, this was a major part, which I believe I was offered as much for my height and build as my acting ability. When I auditioned for the part one of my major bits went ‘Oh, Horror, Horror, Horror! my version was more akin to ‘Oo, orrer, orrer, orrer’ needless to say I didn’t play Banquo, but a more subordinate role, where I could do less damage. I often look back on this and find it hard to supress a smile!

The Suspect – Conclusion

The phone on the desk rang several times, The Junior Inquisitor answered it, his face dropping as he took the call, he handed the phone to his Senior saying, ‘ I think you had better take this, it seems like we might have a problem?’ his Senior took the call, when the call was over, he slammed down the phone in frustration.

‘ Do I take it that my alibi just came through?’ asked a grinning suspect. ‘ Not at all!’ was the reply, ‘ But another Bank was robbed around ten minutes ago, and apparently by the same gang. I don’t believe for one moment that you are innocent, but with this new development I have no choice but to release you!’

A few minutes later, when the suspect walking away from the Police Station, he entered the first phone box, once inside he dialled 141, then the number that he sought to conceal, after a couple of rings it was answered.

‘ Excellent!’ said the suspect, ‘ You couldn’t have timed it better Sergeant, it was getting a little tense in there!, they were putting pressure on me!’ ‘ The ruse worked brilliantly Sir, like you always taught us, hide in plain sight’ Replied the Sergeant.

‘Very true no one ever suspects the obvious, it is beyond suspicion!’ ‘All credit due to you Sir, you were the perfect decoy!’ Said the Sergeant smiling.

(c) Damian Grange 2017

The Suspect – Part Six

The Junior Inquisitor dialled the number he had been given by the suspect, the phone rang several times, then was answered by a female voice, ‘ Abs Security, may I help you?’ ‘ I am trying to contact your Mr. Geoffrey Lester, is he available, it’s rather urgent, I am calling on behalf of the Metropolitan Police!’

I’m afraid he is out of the office at the moment, May I help in any way, I am Mr. Lester’s secretary. I keep control of his day to day appointments etc.’ ‘ You may be able to help, are you aware of any appointments he may have made to meet an old Army colleague outside the Northern Bank, there were six in total, all at random times, no set pattern to them in any way.’

There is nothing written in his diary, but I know that he did on occasion meet up with his old Army colleagues. the fact that they are random suggests to me that they were someone he was trying to slot in between his normal round of clients, a little odd, but not really that unusual!’ she answered openly.

‘Well!, so it would appear that you have no alibi which puts you back squarely in the frame!’ He stated as he rose from his chair and hovered menacingly over the suspect.

To Be Concluded – Tomorrow.

 

The Suspect – Part Five

‘Very amusing!’ said the Chief Inquisitor, ‘But you are not out of the frame yet, so I don’t know why you are looking so smug?’

‘You are bluffing, we both know that all you have is a flimsy piece of circumstantial evidence, you have no forensics, because I wasn’t present at the robbery and no matter how hard you try, you will not be able to place me there and you can lean on me all you like, but like I keep telling you, I am an innocent man!’

‘If you are innocent, as you say! why are you being so evasive?’ queried the Chief Inquisitor.’ ‘How can you reasonably say that, every question I have been asked, I have answered, I will agree that where you have tried to put words in my mouth I have disagreed. But you dragged me in here. I would have happily have come voluntarily had I been asked, so don’t dare expect co-operation from me!’ the suspect spat out angrily, as he thought with good cause.

‘Have you made any attempt to check out my alibi? because I am telling the truth, although you obviously have your doubts?’ asked the suspect. ‘I suppose you have a contact number that we can call?’ queried his questioner. ‘I do! it’s in my phone under Geoff, you will probably get his secretary, that is his office number.’ the suspect replied quite candidly, as if he had nothing to hide.

His attitude was beginning to confuse his interrogators, normally suspects had confessed by now. But this one exuded confidence, he seemed not to have a care in the world, it was most odd!

To Be Continued ……

The Suspect – Part Four

‘Ok!, his name is Geoffrey Lester, Ex Major, My old C.O., he was trying to fix me up with a position at the security company that he works for. It was all a little hush-hush i gather it’s for some Ministry or other. He kept arranging to meet outside the Bank, but for one reason or another, he never turned up.’ ‘Did he contact you with his excuses?’ asked the Junior Inquisitor. ‘Not at the time, but as I found out later he is a very busy man with a lot of responsibilities and I was just an old acquaintance trying to get a job. I’m a little low on his priorities, I guess,’ stated the suspect sadly.

‘That’s all very well’ said the Inquisitor, ‘But will he vouch for your story and in doing so furnish you with an alibi, which I think you badly need?’ ‘What I fail to understand?’ queried the suspect, ‘Is, Why me?, at any given time there were probably upwards of a dozen people stood waiting outside that Bank, so why have I been selected as the guilty party, I just don’t get it!’

‘When we checked the surveillance tapes, you were there on at least a half a dozen occasions, others were there once or twice, but you were there the most often so by process of elimination you became our prime suspect!’ answered the Inquisitor. The suspect once again burst out laughing, much to the dismay of his questioners and said, while trying not to laugh, ‘Come home, Sherlock! all is forgiven! Dr.Watson is missing you?’

To Be Continued Continue reading

The Suspect – Part Three

‘I think that maybe it’s time to come clean and explain why you were waiting outside the Bank at those particular times, I admit the thing that I find rather odd about them is that they appear to be quite random, that puzzles me?’ said the Chief Inquisitor.                  ‘Don’t tell me that you are finally beginning to have doubts, if that is the case, I’ll explain why I was waiting there, not that I think that for one second you will believe me?’ the suspect stated with conviction.

‘Why now?’ asked the Chief Inquisitor, ‘ You have kept it secret till now, Why?’                   The suspect appeared a little sheepish, then said, ‘Because it means I have to betray a comrade, it’s something I had no wish to do, but it would seem that I have very little choice in the matter.’

‘I respect your sense of loyalty, but your neck is the one on the block, not his! maybe now it’s time to start talking, for your own good, if not his!’                                                         ‘Point taken,’ said the suspect, I am out of work, which I would imagine is one of the reasons that I am a likely suspect, I suppose in your position it makes some sort of sense, although I for one fail to see it!’ he tried hard to suppress his anger but failed.

‘Well!’ stated the Inquisitor, ‘Betrayal or not, if he is your alibi, you had better spit it out, we need to know?’ he demanded angrily.

To Be Continued …….

The Suspect – Part Two

‘The robbery itself was planned meticulously and carried out expeditiously with the minimum of violence, with dare I say, almost military precision,’ was the reply. ‘And do forgive me if I am wrong, but I do believe that you are Ex – Army?’

‘I have never at any time denied it, but then I can’t deny a fact, and in any case I can’t answer a question I was never asked!’ he replied a little annoyed at the assumption. ‘Are you admitting that you have the necessary skills and training to have both planned and implemented this robbery?’ queried the Junior Inquisitor,’ Could you have learnt this whilst in the Army?’

The suspect, burst out laughing almost falling off his chair in the process, ‘That I must admit, is the most amusing thing I have heard for ages. you are saying that all the Army Officers who are made redundant by Defence cuts are out to supplement their pensions by robbing banks. That is by far the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard, even for the Police!’ he added sarcastically.

‘But my problem?’ stated the Chief Inquisitor, ‘Is that you were in the wrong place at the right time, on not one, but several occasions!’ ‘I have never denied it, or in any way, tried to conceal the fact, so what is your problem, Why me?’ he replied angrily, ‘Or are you too bloody idle to find the real perpetrators, so am I to be your scapegoat?’

To Be Continued ……