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The Hole in the Wall.

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  • The Hole in the Wall.

    As the last letters flicked across the laptop screen, the Reverend Hatfield
    stretched and switched the printer on thinking, not for the first time, how
    incongruous the computer paraphernalia looked on the Sheraton writing
    He smiled at the faded ink stains on the rosewood surface. How many
    sermons had been written there he wondered? The printer ejected a single
    sheet of A4; he scribbled his signature and placed the folded sheet into a
    cubby hole.
    He stretched again letting his eyes roam around the study. It was
    furnished in the taste of a bygone age. How long ago was hard to
    determine, bits and pieces being added over the centuries. The Queen
    Anne mantle clock on the fireplace for example, had surely marked the
    passing hours for over two hundred years or more. He had considered
    replacing it with a battery update which wouldn’t have needed to be
    wound once a week but he found the slow ticking of the old timepiece
    Lydia poked her head round the study door.
    “Mr. Sims darling, he wants a word”.
    “The back door”.

    “Good morning Mr. Sims”.
    “Morning sir”.
    Sims was a member of that dying breed, a craftsman. A big man, slow
    moving, slow talking and with a calm, patient way of applying his skill to
    everything he put his hand too.
    “Fraid we’ve hit a problem sir”.
    Hatfield stifled a sigh and replaced it with a smile.
    “Problem Mr. Sims”?
    “It’s the big column in the chancery; we agreed it would be better if the
    pipes were round the back if you remember”.
    “Well if that’s the problem Mr. Sims they will just have to go round the
    “Oh no sir that’s not the---- Look, I think it will be better if you came and
    saw for yourself”.
    Hatfield couldn’t deny himself a sigh for a second time.
    “Right you are Mr. Sims, lead on”.
    The Norman church stood on high ground some five hundred yards from
    the rectory. It had looked down on the village of Frensham for over eight
    hundred years. Its tiny steeple pointing its way to heaven as a guide to the
    righteous, how many of Frensham’s parishioners had taken the opposite
    direction was unknown, but quite a few thought Hatfield. Two hundred
    years ago Frensham was home to the Ramsey gang, a band of smugglers,
    or as they wished to be known ‘Free Traders’, with a fearsome reputation.
    Evidence of their demise was marked in the lichen covered gravestones
    around the church.
    The Rev. Hatfield followed Sims up the aisle to the chancery, a small
    alcove to the left of the altar.
    Tom, Sims seventeen year old apprentice, had seated himself on the altar
    “Now look at the window if you will sir”.
    “I don’t see”----.
    “Its all to one side, scarce two foot from the wall”.
    “Yes but”----.
    “Churches weren’t built that way sir. If they put in a window it would
    have been central to the wall. When young Tom here drilled the hole,
    after three inches the drill went straight through”.
    “What are you trying to tell me Mr. Sims?”.
    Sims pounded the wall with his fist.
    “It’s a false wall sir”.
    “You mean its hiding something?”
    Sims shrugged.
    Hatfield looked at the wall.
    “A smugglers hiding place maybe?”.
    Sims shook his head.
    “No sir, I don’t think so”.
    He picked up the brick that had been displaced by the drill.
    “This isn’t a Victorian brick, its Elizabethan”.
    “You sure Mr. Sims”?
    “I’m sure sir”.
    “Well I suppose we will have to take a look inside”.
    “Right you are sir, but we’ll have to take out a few more bricks.
    Tom“. he called.
    “I’m not touching it Mr. Sims, reckon there’s an old nun in there”.
    “What are you talking about boy.?
    “It’s true, in the old times they used to wall up the nuns who got
    themselves in the family way. I’m not touching it”.
    Sims sighed, “Then give me the drill; and get my big torch from the van”.
    With the hole now widened Sims and the vicar looked at each other.
    Hatfield took a deep breath.
    “Give me the torch”.
    He knelt down on all fours and pushed his head through the hole.

    Part one of a Short Story, I will post the two other parts if there is any interest in reading
    Last edited by Cari; 08-19-2019, 08:12 AM.

  • #2
    You surely have a creative streak,
    I'm reminded of Russell Thorndyke's Dr. Syn novels.
    In reading this piece I noticed in the first paragraph your spelling of the priestly office of Reverend (Reverent)
    and the furniture maker Sheraton (Sheridan) depart from normal practice.
    In my case I await the two other parts with interest.


    • Cari
      Cari commented
      Editing a comment
      First of all thanks for your comment and thanks again for spotting the typo. Interesting that you mentioned the Dr Syn books because a mile from me is his favourite pub The Ship, where he wrote at least part of his books there. He painted the smugglers as loveable rogues but I’m afraid the truth is very different.
      Thanks again for your comment.

  • #3
    I'm coming late to the game and read part II first - but hurried down the queue to take a look at the first part straightaway. Engrossing. You say there's a part III? There is definitely interest in my case! Thanks Cari for an enjoyable read.