Elizabeth cringed as she commenced her trek across the highly polished floor of the library accompanied by the nerve-tingling click click click of her high-heeled boots. A choir of gargoyles commented on every step.
Too much noise
Elizabeth reached the harbour of the doorway and smiled at the librarian who, even though she was sitting at a low desk, managed to look down at Elizabeth from over the tops of her contemporary spectacles.
“Can I help you?”
“I hope so. I have a reader booked for 11:00?”
“Ah, yes. You wanted to look at the Observer archives?”
Elizabeth tried to focus on the smilingly insincere professional in front of her and fought to retain a portion of the instructions she was being bombarded with. Eventually, she managed to get a word in edgeways, “I have used one before, I should be OK.”
The librarian nodded brusquely, showed Elizabeth to the machine and returned to her desk. Elizabeth took off her long red coat and glanced shiftily around the room. As she slid the chair back, the legs scraped loudly across the floor. She grimaced and felt even more uncomfortable when she observed several other people quietly and competently engaged in research. She cringed again as her car keys slipped from her coat pocket and clattered to the floor.
She bent down to retrieve them and tried unsuccessfully to avoid eye contact with an elderly gentleman to her left. Her hands shook as she loaded the microfiche into the reader. Why couldn’t she just calm down? It did not take long to find the edition she was looking for; it was front page news. The microfiche, however, was rather grainy and difficult to read.
“WHY DID I DO IT?”
MURDER CHARGE AGAINST LOCAL SOLDIER
A Midnight Call to the Police
With bowed head and obviously under great mental stress, William Lawrence, aged 34 years, of 24 George Street appeared in the dock at the Borough Police Court on Monday to answer to a charge that he “feloniously, wilfully and of his malice aforethought” did kill and slay. It is understood he had been on leave from the army in which he holds the non-commissioned rank of Corporal. The court proceedings were brief. Superintendent Finch said it was proposed to offer evidence of arrest only at that stage and Lawrence was remanded until Wednesday of next week. The Chairman stating that a certificate of legal aid would be granted. Mr S T Birch, who was present in court, replying to the Chairman said he was prepared to act for the accused.
Mr S T Birch? Stanley! That was a surprise to add to the fact that she had been correct in her assumptions about her grandfather being involved in the death of her great-grandmother.
Even though the information she had uncovered was grim, Elizabeth was excited by her discovery. It was liberating to release a secret from the past. Who else knew that her grandfather had been a murderer?
Minutes later, the microfiche displayed the report of the murder trial in the December 1940 edition of the paper. The headlines cut to the core.
FIVE YEARS “PENAL” FOR SOLDIER
A Story of Disputes and Drink
“All right, dear?” Elizabeth was startled back into the present by another interruption from the overly helpful librarian.
“Yes, of course I am!" she snapped.
Now you know who you get your temper from
“I was only trying to help,” muttered the librarian, clearly hurt by Elizabeth’s rebuttal. Feeling guilty, Elizabeth decided it was time to take a break and headed to the library café.
Fortified by a full pot of tea and a four-finger Kit-Kat, Elizabeth rubbed her eyes and prepared to return to the local studies section and continue her research. It was interesting learning more about her grandfather like this. She supposed that she was learning more about herself in a roundabout way.
Billy Lawrence had not been perfect, yet Stanley had still thought highly of him. She did not like to admit it, but perhaps Grispheran had been correct when he claimed that she was her own torturer.
The discarded red wrapper of the Kit-Kat glared accusingly at her from the edge of the saucer, mocking her lack of resistance to temptation.
Should have had the smaller one
Labels: Billy, Elizabeth, Present Day, Refuge of Delayed Souls, Volume 2, Web Fiction