Just a short excerpt from my novella Salmonweird today, no more serials planned for the immediate future and I might take a break from it as I work on this. I am away this week and have scheduled some posts so it will be a little sporadic between now and my return. Enjoy this little snippet.
I met him at the gate, halfway up the slope that led to the church. Yes, there’s a lot of hills to climb here and it keeps me fit! The churchyard is the least flat I have ever seen; the tombstones peppering the hill almost made it look like a hedgehog. ‘DI Blackman.’
‘Good Morning, Eli. What can I help you with?’
‘Brother Jowan.’ He waved a finger at me as though it was my fault. ‘I knew it would come to this, the man is quite unreasonable!’
‘I might have guessed. What’s the problem this time?’
‘Not content with assuming his own primacy over this church, now he has decided to lock himself in and refuse me any entry whatsoever!’
‘Why? What did you say?’
He hesitated, trying to think up a story, and that’s when I knew he was not entirely innocent in this matter. To hide his discomfort, he turned his back on me and walked up the hill, beckoning me forward.
‘Did you threaten to hang him again?’ I asked, trying to keep up with his pace.
He pushed through the gate and held it open for me to step through behind him. ‘No, I.’
‘And why don’t you just Pop in there?’ Popping is what we call how the ghosts teleport. Not all of them can do it – fewer than 10%, but Eli is one of those who can.
‘That would be rude.’
Despite that he was brash and short-tempered, Eli had a good sense of what was right and wrong. I might even say he was surprisingly reasonable a lot of the time – so long as he managed to keep his temper in check.
‘Will you please talk to him?’
‘Yes, but you need to tell me why he’s upset with you this time.’
He pursed his lips and let out a sentence without pausing for breath.
‘I heard “burn him” and “bonfire”. I guess I don’t need you to fill in the gaps?’ Without waiting for an answer, I marched into the porch and banged heavily upon the old oak doors. ‘Jowan, it’s me. Open up please.’
For some minutes, I could hear only silence from inside. I raised my first to bang again but Jowan opened the door. ‘The answer is “no”,’ he snapped.
‘I’m not here to convince you to be burnt at the stake on Bonfire Night.’ I turned to face the Puritan. ‘Eli, go to the pub or something. I’ll handle this.’
‘I don’t indulge, you know that.’
‘Then ask for a plain tap water, maybe really push the boat out today and ask for ice and a slice of lemon?’
His gaze flicked from me to Jowan and back again before he walked off down the path.