Royds Part 8 - Shimmer

July 1940

Billy had no idea how many were onboard the S.S. Lancastria, but he knew for sure there were far too many. He glanced at his watch: 15:38. Only three minutes since the last time he’d checked. His childhood friend Charlie was mercilessly teasing a couple of young RAF lads who were vying for a few inches of the deck. A gentle breeze smoothed its way across the ship as her engines began to chug their way out of the harbour.

“Hey, Billy!” He looked up to see a smiling Charlie bearing down on him. They had both been wearing similar smiles all day. Nothing could take away the joy they felt at the prospect of going home, not even the advancing enemy. The unexpected sounds of approaching aircraft quickly changed everything.

Billy’s awareness came crashing back to the interview room when a boot smashed into his ribs for a second or third time.

“Christmas has come early for me, pal! I can’t wait to see you hang!”

He looked up at the policeman and felt his chest tighten, he needed more air.

“Right, let’s get this done properly. Don’t want you wriggling off that rope, now, do we?” The Inspector began to half-chant the memorised lines he was required to say. “Do you wish to say anything in answer to the Charge? You are not obliged to say anything unless you desire to do so; but whatever you say will be taken down in writing and may be given in evidence upon your Trial.”

“I have nothing to say.” Billy gasped and coughed the words out as best he could.

Somewhere in the distance the cell door slammed shut.


Peg felt a little uneasy about walking away and leaving everyone to it, but then grudgingly accepted she wasn’t going to be much use to anyone staying put.

“I’ll go get my coat.”

Hughie started laughing again. “It’ll not do you much good. You can’t wear it, putty brains! Look, I’ll show yer how it’s done now. Yer just think how yer would like to appear and Bob’s yer uncle, Fanny’s yer aunt!”

Peg watched in amazement as Hughie’s army uniform transformed into full evening attire complete with monocle and silver-handled walking stick. “Just imagine yer coat and it’ll be there!” He informed her, giving a twirl in the process.

Peg closed her eyes and imagined wearing her green wool coat. She opened them and looked down, amazed.

“See! Benefits or what?” Hughie chuckled.

His laughter was contagious and Peg joined in. Feeling guilty she checked herself and stopped. Hughie frowned for a moment and changed back into his uniform.

“No matter how daft this may sound, Peg, life goes on. Or rather death does! Nowt yer can do for ‘em now by being all bloody miserable like. They can do that for themselves. I’m sure if we feel brighter, they do too. It’s how I look at it anyways.”

Strangely enough, it seemed to make sense to Peg. She took in the scene behind her and was astonished to discover that the members of her family gathered in the house appeared to be shimmering ever so slightly.

“Yeah... lovely to see isn’t it? It’s their life force I think. Leastways, it's how yer make out the Living from the dead most times. It’s if they’re darker than dark and lurk in the shadows, yer’ve problems. I’ll tell yer more about them later.”

Peg shivered. “I don’t think I like the sound of that.” She looked down at her coat, thought of something a little more fashionable and expensive looking and smiled brightly when it appeared.

They both started laughing, and following one last lingering backwards glance, made their way out of 24 George Street and into the world beyond.

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  • At 30 September 2009 at 17:14, Blogger Vesper said…

    I like how Billy retreats into a pleasant, luminous memory, and how Peg gradually discovers how... death goes on. A very interesting concept!
    And those darker than dark who lurk in the shadows... hmmm, something to worry about...

    Looking forward to next Saturday! :-)

  • At 1 October 2009 at 01:26, Blogger Melissa said…

    Poor Billy -- the things that happen to him!

    And I just love these scenes with Peg and Hughie (who is one of my favorites of your characters!) -- he's such a great character in so many ways. He comes through so clearly and you use his personality and dialog to explain and describe so many juicy things (for Peg, but for us at the same time). Like the sparkling life around the living ... and the ominous sounding dark ones ... shivers deliciously!

  • At 1 October 2009 at 17:23, Blogger Jannie Funster said…

    I'd almost consider delaying my soul a while if I could get gorgeously garbed on a whim. And could I eat anything I want, as much pastry whenever I want without gaining an ounce?? :)

  • At 1 October 2009 at 21:25, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I started to read this so long ago and got too busy to keep you've tweaked it all and are re posting I thought I could pick it up again.I enjoyed the first few chapters on the first round but this time its even better! The descriptives grip the reader and the story flows really well (even though time warp isn't my cup of tea). It is such an easy read - keep up the good work and go with it. ILY.XX Sir H

  • At 1 October 2009 at 23:22, Blogger Miladysa said…

    Vesper - Thank you :)

    "And those darker than dark who lurk in the shadows..."

    We've all encountered a few of those in our time! LOL

    Melissa - LOL I love it when you "shivers deliciously!"

    Really makes me feel that I am achieving something :)

    Jannie - Exactly! :)

    Sir H - What do you mean "time warp isn't my cup of tea"? I would have thought it was right up your street considering your taste in music! :)

    Thank you for reading & commenting.

    LY2 xx


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Whituth's living can't see the dead but psychic Elizabeth Whyte can see everyone: living humans, delayed souls, fallen angels, vampires and fae. She helps maintain the fragile peace between light and darkness in her work with RoYds, an unworldly refuge. But that peace has suddenly become fragile. Whituth's carefully maintained balance is tipping toward darkness. Now Elizabeth and her angelic allies must discover who or what is threatening both town and refuge before balance is lost forever


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