Reviver – Ch 1
A corpse in a copse
I’d reached the point where my life was all but perfect. But then my best friend was killed. Murdered in a horrendous fashion. Well, I say ‘best friend’ but he was more accurately described as my enemy. Everyone’s enemy in fact. He only became my best friend after his death.
Now, this may all sound very confusing and contrary but I’m sure that as we progress you will begin to understand things a little better. Let me introduce myself. I am Charles and I’m not human. I’m not a monster either but I suppose I am a little frightening on the eye when you first meet me. On the other hand my enemy turned best friend was indeed a monster. Perhaps I should describe this monster as my best fiend instead? A clever turn of phrase which will make the telling of this story a little easier.
As I was saying, my best ‘fiend’ was murdered and news spread across the village and realm with speed. These events happened some years ago but it is only now I find I have words enough to tell the story. In fact, until a few months ago I didn’t have any words whatsoever – I had been literally struck dumb for the past 7 full moons. Let me tell you that a full moon in this quarter does not come along very often – as you would say in your quarter ‘once in a blue moon’ we in our quarter quote ‘once on a full moon’. And not only was I struck dumb I was also struck ‘literally’ dumb, that is to say, I could not utter words nor write them down. A most difficult and unpleasant way to live for 7 full moons worth of time. Oh, a word of warning. This story isn’t for the gentle of heart or delicate of nature. It happened truly and I will tell it true even if it means telling of some unpleasant situations with unpalatable descriptions. So if you are looking for a happy, gentle tale to while away your evening then I fear you should put this book down and move along the shelf.
And so back to the story. let me take you back 7 full moons. To summer in fact and to my tidy little study where I was contentedly thinking how my life was pretty much perfect. I had a fine wife – Avora, a fine house situated at the centre of my thriving aluvo plantation (I’ll tell you about aluvo later). I had many fine friends and lots of extended family scattered far and wide – in fact further and wider than I ever realised at that time! I was fit and healthy with a vim and vigour that only good living provides. I had little inkling of the events taking place some miles away on the east side of the village. A child, hunting for mushrooms stumbled upon the grisly sight of my best ‘fiend’s’ lifeless body. A corpse in a copse if you pardon the pun! And in this corpse was a dagger, protruding from the neck like a deadly exclamation mark. This dagger is important to the story as it connects things that seem totally random at first glance so remember the dagger if you can.
The corpse on the sharp end of the dagger was my best fiend – at the time a sworn enemy named Lammal. He only ever had one name, no first or last name just Lammal which as you can see reads the same in reverse – an interesting titbit of information but not overly important.
Now Lammal had no friends and many enemies. He was the type of soul who looked for trouble anywhere he went and if trouble was not found he would make it. He was big – huge in fact and not many in the village or realm had the muscle to match and so it was easy for Lammal to antagonise and terrorise any and all who had the misfortune to get in his way. Lammal used his considerable bulk to his advantage and there were those in the area who paid him for the services he was apt at providing. This village is not all summer fates and afternoon tea. There are things that occur behind the scenes that do not make comfortable reading. I found this out after I became involved in searching for Lammal’s killer. Until then I was of the opinion that not only was my life all but perfect so too was the village in which I lived. As an aside I can tell you the village has gone. More of that later.
Now I have a notion that you are somewhat puzzled by the early details of my story. Don’t worry, you will begin to see that the loose threads of this tale create a clear pattern on the fabric as I weave them into a story of quite amazing danger and adventure. the fact that I’m still here to tell this tale is neither here nor there but like me, some of the characters survived the ordeal – alas some did not.
So, the corpse, the dagger, Lammal’s shady dealings and my good self are all ingredients that become entwined together to spoil my ‘perfect life’. Let’s get started!
Like I said earlier, unbeknown to me the folk of the village found Lammal’s body after an unfortunate child got more than he’d bargained for on a mushroom hunt. Lawmakers were quickly called and it was not long before two lawmakers came knocking on my study door. Oh, how I rue that day. I opened the door while holding a cool mug of ale in one hand and a half eaten aluvo in the other. Aluvo cannot be equalled as an accompaniment to ale but that’s just my opinion. The two lawmakers were a curious duo. Both were of equal height yet one was narrow while the other was wide. The pair made a perfect ’10’ framed in my doorway. The round fellow of the duo possessed an accent of the Old Country. An accent very rarely heard nowadays. This told me he was of an age great enough to have been born as far west as it was possible to go and more to the point he was not by nature overly fond of our part of the county. He seemed to be the one in charge and he spoke with purpose and authority.
‘Sire. I beg forgiveness for this intrusion but we have a situation which requires your attention.’
I allowed the two characters to explain their visit from my vestibule. I’m not in the habit of entertaining visitors and few folk make it across my threshold.
He continued. ‘We bring news of a death in the village and our investigation so far suggests that you, sire, may be in a position to help with our inquiries.
‘I’m sure I do not understand the nature of your visit!’
‘You are aware of a landowner who goes by the name Lammal?’
‘Aye, I am aware of the fellow.’
‘He was found dead some hours ago in a most frightful manner. Our initial search of his property has provided us with information that you might be able to help us with.
‘What information do you seek?’ I asked with much puzzlement.
‘It would seem that sire Lammal and your father Amos are business partners.’
‘Were business partners.’ I corrected him. ‘My father died many years ago and you will find that sire Lammal was in part responsible for my father’s death.’ I felt my face begin to flush at the thought of that horrible time many years ago when I was faced with burying my beloved father.
The two fellows at my door exchanged glances before the rotund one continued. ‘It would seem, sire, that your father is very much alive and we would like to talk with him in relation to sire Lammal’s murder.’ My furrowed brow was enough to tell the two fellows that I was not at all following the thread of this conversation. So the thin fellow who had up until then remained mute uttered a final sentence that made my legs buckle.
‘Sire, we are of the opinion that it is your father, Amos, who is responsible for Lammal’s murder.