“Linus Howell,” announced Stanley perplexed.
“I would recognise him anywhere,” said Elizabeth with an involuntary shudder.
It was the first time they had all been together in one place for as long as Elizabeth could remember. Stanley had gathered together his war cabinet. The group of them were crowded around a large circular table in the red reception room at RoYds. Wilfred was busying stacking coals on the already roaring fire behind them.
“Kelly Crabtree is sitting in a classroom up at the college and all of his other victims are walking around as large as...life,” added Paul. “It’s as if his crimes never happened! Of course we know differently, but somehow Howell, or someone...something else, has managed to bewitch the Living into believing otherwise.”
Elizabeth noted the concerned looks around the room before shifting her attention towards Gemma who had placed herself in between Tashriel and Grispheran. Much to Elizabeth’s annoyance, the latter was sitting sideways against the table his own attention also focussed firmly upon Gemma who was flirting with him outlandishly.
“Then there is only one explanation I can offer,” said Stanley, lighting a cigar. “Whatever Ed Lord uncovered up at Heyleigh Stones has magical properties. It would appear that we need to recover it and return it to where it belongs without further delay.
“Agreed,” said Tashriel almost as if he was speaking for all of them.
Lady Mabel leaned forward, placed her elbows on the table and the palms of her hands together as if in prayer. When she had everyone’s attention, including Gemma and Grispheran’s, she spoke with authority. “The last time something like this happened...”
“Was in 1946 when we first lost poor Mr Lawrence,” interrupted Wilfred standing up from the fireplace and walking towards them.
“Ah, Wilfred,” said Stanley twisting in his chair and looking over his shoulder to get a view of him. “Would you like to join us?” he nodded towards the empty chair beside Paul.
The coal dust disappeared from Wilfred’s hands as he joined them at the table and produced a delicious looking display of cakes upon a silver platter.
“Mr Lawrence?” asked Elizabeth quizzically. “Billy Lawrence?”
“The very one, Miss,” confirmed Wilfred. “I did have a soft spot for Mr Lawrence, Miss. Dare say he reminded me of myself in some ways...”
“Quite,” said Stanley in an attempt to bring them back on track again. “We can’t talk about that little episode now -– we haven’t got time. By the way, has anyone actually noticed the time by any chance?”
All eyes focussed on the Edwardian clock ticking merrily upon the black marble mantelpiece.
“What about it?” asked Gemma. “The clock looks to be working fine to me.”
“Always does, Miss,” replied Wilfred reassuringly.
“Then what are we looking at?” questioned Paul.
“11 a.m.,” announced Archie solemnly. “And totally dark outside!”
Labels: Elizabeth, Present Day, Refuge of Delayed Souls, Web Fiction