by J.J. Beazley
17th April, 2001 was Fiona Colclough’s
eighteenth birthday. She was a full time student at the local FE
had decided to forgo all her classes that day. She planned to lie in,
lazy day at home and then spend the evening in celebration with her
a group of friends. She rose late, dressed scruffily and made her way
downstairs. Her mother was in the kitchen and called out to her.
breakfast today. What would you like?”
some toast, thanks. I’m not really hungry,” said
birthday girl as she sauntered lazily into the kitchen.
“Never am when I’ve
it’s a special birthday,” came the reply.
eighteen every day, you know.”
had learned to tolerate her mother’s habit of stating the
obvious as though it were some profound revelation.
know, but I just don’t feel like a big breakfast.”
mother tutted and gave in without further protest.
Go and sit down and I’ll bring your toast. Your cards are
on the dining table.”
wasn’t yet fully awake and ignored the cards for the time
being. She slumped into an armchair in the living room of their smart
semi and yawned repeatedly until the toast appeared.
happy returns, dear,” said her mother as she handed over a
tray, prepared in a grandiose manner disproportionate to the nature of
placed upon it.
took the tray gratefully and noticed that her mother’s
hands were trembling slightly. She also saw a look in her eye and an
awkwardness about her general demeanour that suggested some sort of
OK?” she asked.
know what you mean,” said her mother. “Why
knew her mother well. She knew that she didn’t like lying
and that she usually avoided doing so by the use of some clumsy evasion
counter question. It was obvious that she was unhappy about something.
or no birthday, Fiona wasn’t the sort to let problems fester.
She knew that
they didn’t usually go away on their own and had always been
openness and direct, curative action.
on mum, spit it out. What’s the matter?”
mind,” said her mother. “It can wait until later,
your dad gets home.” She hurried back into the kitchen.
can?” Fiona called to her mother’s receding back.
was silence from the kitchen. Fiona placed the tray on the
floor and walked through to where her mother was filling a bowl to do
can wait until later?”
mind,” repeated her mother irritably.
if there’s something difficult to tell me, I’d
did it now. Otherwise I’ll be on pins all day.”
Colclough turned off the tap and her shoulders dropped in
resignation. She remained quiet for a few moments and looked out of the
Without turning around she said quietly
idea was that your dad and I should tell you tonight, after
dinner. But you’re right; it wouldn’t be fair to
leave you hanging on all day,
now that I’ve opened my big mouth. God, I wish I was better
at hiding my
turned her head and looked at her daughter.
make some coffee and then we can talk. Why don’t you go
and sit down and I’ll bring it through.”
minutes later Fiona and her mother were settled and Mrs
Colclough began to speak, hesitatingly at first but with increasing
the tale unfolded.
told you when you were a little girl that you weren’t our
natural child, that you were adopted.”
nodded. She had always been aware of the fact and it had
never concerned her that much. She had thought occasionally that she
to contact her real parents one day, but she had never known any other
Colcloughs and had always put back any attempt at finding them until
in the future when the matter might become relevant. Her mother
of what we told you was a lie. We said that we didn’t know
who your real parents were, that you had come to us through an adoption
Well, we did. We knew them very well indeed.”
Colclough paused for a second. Admitting to a lie of that
magnitude did not come easily to her.
parents were close friends of ours. Your dad – Mr
Colclough, that is – had known your real father for years,
ever since they were
boys; and your mum and I became close friends after they were married.
to go everywhere together as a foursome and were like one big, happy
When you were born I’d just discovered that I was pregnant
and we all had this
lovely, rosy picture of both sets of kids growing up like brothers and
Little did we know what was in store.”
paused again and gathered herself.
you were about six months old your mum and dad decided
they fancied a weekend break and asked us to look after you while they
away. I was only about a month off having Fliss and thought the
be useful, so we agreed. They dropped you off here early one Friday
set off for somewhere in Wales.
the Sunday your dad came back in a terrible state. It seemed
your mum had died suddenly in her sleep, during the second night of
From what, nobody knew at that stage; they would have to wait for the
mortem. Your dad was completely distraught. He doted on your mum and
had sent him a bit strange. It was a hell of a shock to us too, but he
you could stay here for a while, just until the port mortem had been
and the inquest was over. We agreed immediately, of course; we were
glad to be
able to help.
didn’t hear from him for some weeks and didn’t like
pester him. Obviously we were worried about him but respected his need
time to sort things out and get over the shock. He never did.
came round one night and told us that Maggie, your mum, had suffocated
but what had caused it was a mystery. He said there was some suggestion
she might have suffered from some sort of a
‘syndrome’, but there was no direct
evidence of that either.
was a complete wreck, worse than he’d been when it first
happened. He said he couldn’t cope with you on his own and
asked us if we would
adopt you, as he wanted to be sure that you had a good home.
was quite a bombshell and we were a bit reluctant as I was
about to give birth myself, but eventually we agreed. What else could
we do? It
was obvious that he would have been quite incapable of looking after
you in the
state he was in, and we felt we owed it to Maggie to take care of you.
formalities were gone through and then your dad disappeared
for a while. He asked us never to tell you about the adoption
– felt it would
be better that way – but we decided that you had a right
know. Apart from
anything else, you would have twigged eventually that your sister was
seven months younger than you and put two and two together. And so we
to you gently when you were about five or six.
day – it must have been a good two years after your mum
died – he rang us to ask how you were. He didn’t
want to see you, or us for
that matter - said he’d started a new life and felt it was
better not to
disturb you. But he did give us his address, in case any sort of
up and we needed to contact him. It was the address of a flat in Stoke
and we realised he’d gone there because that was where your
mother came from.
We never heard from him again, but we used to write occasionally and
know how you were doing. He never replied. Then, about five years
dad had to go to Stoke on business and decided to look him up.
address turned out to be in a scruffy council block, one of
several near the main bus station. It was really tatty, your dad said;
everywhere, broken fences, a couple of abandoned cars with their
smashed – that sort of thing.
went and knocked on the door. It was opened by a scruffy,
middle-aged woman who was obviously the worse for drink. But she was
enough, apparently, and invited him in. Your own dad, your natural
is, was asleep on the sofa. He’d put a lot of weight on and
There were empty cider bottles and lager cans lying about, and several
full of cigarette ends.
woman apologised for the mess and started clearing it up.
She was going to wake your father but your dad said that he suddenly
didn’t want to speak to him. He was shocked to see him in
that condition and I
think he felt a bit embarrassed. He just said ‘no, just tell
him I called’ and
then left. And we’ve never seen or heard from him since. I
sometimes felt a bit
guilty actually – wondered whether we should have done
something to help. But
your dad said he was beyond that and we let it drop.
we decided that you should know the truth and agreed
that we would tell you on your eighteenth birthday. We thought you
the right to choose whether to try and make contact with him. And, just
fair, we wrote to him and told him what we were going to do. He never
back and objected, so here we are.”
Colclough stopped speaking and waited for a response. It
was his name?”
had been leaning forward throughout the revelation,
listening to the details with evident interest and showing no sign of
Mrs Colclough had been half-expecting an emotional outburst and was
the brightness of Fiona’s manner.
she said. “Alan Frobisher.”
said Fiona. “I like that. Has a nice ring to it.”
used to be a nice man,” said her mother. “God knows
he’s like now, after all those years of drink. Probably taken
to drugs too, I
was irritated that her mother should make such a
predictable assumption, but said nothing and fell silent. Her mother
go and finish off that washing up; leave you to think. I
know it’s a lot to take in suddenly.”
isn’t actually,” said Fiona.
“I’ve always known I was
adopted so there’s no shock there. This has just added some
I’m not upset at all, just intrigued.”
Colclough breathed another sigh of relief.
he give you a phone number?”
just an address: 14 Willfield Court, Hanley. Why, are you
going to try and see him?”
bet, as soon as I can,” said Fiona with an air of certainty
that was typical of her nature.
just be careful dear,” said Mrs Colclough.
telling what sort of state he might be in now and he might not want to
I suppose he might even be dead for that matter.”
went off to the kitchen to busy herself with the familiar
comfort of the post-breakfast washing up. While she was out of the
heard Fiona using the telephone. It was obvious from one side of the
conversation that her daughter was calling Directory Enquiries and
luck. She put the phone down and came through into the kitchen.
no Alan Frobisher listed at Willfield Court,” she said,
could have moved,” offered her mother.
“It’s been a long
so. But I can’t think where else to start. I’m
drive up there. It’s not that far, is it? If he’s
not there, maybe the current
tenant will know where he went. I’ll go on Wednesday.
I’ve only got one lecture
that day and it’s not that important.”
won’t be that easy to find,” said her mother.
“Stoke’s a big
place, you know.”
it?” said Fiona brightly. “Never mind. Dad will
give me some
directions, and I can always ask the way to the bus station. The rest
that, she skipped off back to her room to phone her best
friend with the news. Mrs Colclough shook her head with a mixture of
admiration. Her daughter was so much more decisive that she’d
like Maggie,” she said sadly under her breath.
Mr Colclough arrived home that night, his wife told him of
the conversation. He admitted to being relieved to have been spared the
He was happy to give Fiona approximate directions to the city centre,
pointed out that the road layout would probably have changed over the
suggested that she should seek directions to the bus station when she
was going to do that anyway,” said his daughter.
course you were, darling,” he said with a knowing smile.
“How could I have thought otherwise?”
days later, Fiona was driving up the motorway heading for
more than one sort of unknown territory. She felt a tingle of
excitement at the
prospect of meeting her natural father, or at least beginning the
him. The prospect of rejection didn’t worry her unduly as she
felt no emotional
attachment. She only wanted to see what he looked like and ask him a
questions. Whatever followed could take its natural course and it would
of the adventure to see what it might be.
found the drive on a busy motorway tiring and a little
stressful. She had passed her test a mere five months earlier and had
acquired her own vehicle at Christmas. But that was part of the
and careful reading of the road signs soon had her approaching the
Stoke on Trent.
helpful pedestrian pointed her in the direction of the bus
station and she spotted the blocks of flats just where Mr Colclough had
her they would be. She drove around the access roads until she saw the
Willfield Court and parked in a bay close to a set of concrete steps.
It was a
low-rise block on three levels, with the front doors accessed from
walkways. The plate on the wall read Flat Nos. 2 –
18. She had arrived.
was a dull day, and chilly for April. A cold, gusting wind
shook the weeds that grew out of every crevice and parapet, and the air
seediness was little short of palpable. She saw only one abandoned car,
graffiti was well in evidence and the pavements were patchily stained
strewn with the detritus of urban culture. She climbed the steps
avoiding two polystyrene trays that had been abandoned with half their
festering contents still in place, and a mess of vomit two steps
reached the top of the second flight and turned to walk along a
walkway lined with faded and rusting iron railings. There was no-one
she was glad that she was at least spared the ordeal of running the
gangs of youthful residents.
door marked 14 was, like all the others, dark blue and
shabby; with old, flaking paintwork and just a simple Yale lock for
The flap that should have covered the letterbox was missing.
heartbeat quickened as she knocked firmly. One knock was
enough. Within seconds the door opened and a shabby, overweight man
the doorway. Fiona was quick to notice his greasy hair, several
day’s growth of
beard and the tell-tale red flecks on his nose and cheeks. But it was
that spoke most fluently. They were the eyes of a man who had long
up. He looked back at her, and then she spoke.
you Alan Frobisher?”
didn’t answer the question. To her surprise, he simply said
must be Fiona.” His speech was only slightly slurred, but
he smelled strongly of drink. He didn’t smile or show any
overt sign of
welcome. “I suppose you’d better come in.”
followed him through a narrow hallway and into the
sparsely furnished living room.
did you know it was me?” she asked as he beckoned her to
was your birthday two days ago, wasn’t it? The Colcloughs
said years ago that they were going to tell you about me on your
And you look too much like your mother to be anybody else.”
sat down on a worn old sofa that stood in front of a cheap
gas fire. Alan Frobisher sat in an armchair of similar vintage and
and picked up a half drunk mug of tea from the floor. Fiona
wasn’t sure how to
take him and felt nervous. His manner was cold and distant, but there
sign of outright hostility. She began cautiously.
was worried you might not want to see me,” she said.
don’t,” said Alan flatly, then took a sip of his
thought about you a lot in the early years, but life moves on. I
should say I’m sorry for abandoning you but, to be honest, I
don’t give a toss;
so don’t expect any emotional reunion. I had a
lifetime’s worth of emotion
eighteen years ago. I don’t do emotion anymore.”
felt slightly stung by the directness of his rejection but
hadn’t expected, or even wanted, any “emotional
reunion” herself so her
composure remained intact.
why did you let me in?”
I realised you’d have questions that only I could
answer, and decided you had a right to ask them. And I figured
you’d track me
down one day anyway, so it seemed a good idea to get it out of the way
as possible. Then we can both get on with our lives.”
smiled a sad, sardonic smile as his eyes flicked around the
shabby living room.
that you can call this a life, but that’s my problem. So,
go on; what do you want to know?”
sat on the edge of her seat, taken by surprise at this
sudden projection into the practicality of her visit. She had hoped for
polite, preparatory conversation first; but no matter. She had long
that there were two things she wanted to know and put them to her
father in his
own direct manner.
– a couple of things. First, where’s mum buried?
I’d like to
pay her a visit. Second, how did she die? I gather there was some
first one’s easy,” said Alan. “She
isn’t buried anywhere. I
couldn’t stand the thought of her body lying in a wooden box
under the earth so
I had her cremated, then scattered her ashes on Derwentwater in the
District. That’s where we first met, at a conference in
Keswick, so the place
was special to us. I went back up there, took a rowing boat out onto
and chucked her over the side. As for the second one, that’s
a bit more
difficult. It’s a long story.”
sat and looked blankly at the gas fire for a while, then drew
I didn’t really want to relive all this so I’ll
make it as
brief as I can.”
thought for a few moments more and then launched into the
and I had been happily married for two years and, one
day, we decided we fancied a long weekend break. She said
she’d always wanted
to go to The Mumbles in South Wales so, one Friday morning - the 7th
of October 1983 it was, I’ll never forget it – we
left you with the Colcloughs
and headed off for Swansea. We hadn’t bothered to book a
place to stay as it
was late in the year and we knew it wouldn’t be difficult to
was all for taking the Heads of the Valleys road all the way
to Swansea but Maggie wanted to get down to the coast as soon as we
could, so I
turned south at Merthyr and headed for the Vale of Glamorgan. The road
us out at a place called Cowbridge and we spotted a sign for some hotel
Plas something-or-other – it was in Welsh – that
was supposed to be a historic
building. As we weren’t far from Swansea and the day was
wearing on, we decided
to go and take a look. It was pretty spectacular. A big stone-built
among trees and obviously very old. We liked the look of it from the
we went in and booked a three-night stay.
were shown to our room by the landlady and it turned out
that we didn’t just have a room, we had the whole wing on
that floor to
ourselves. We went up some old stone stairs and noticed how shabby
was. It had all been done on the cheap. Nothing matched, the carpet was
the fittings were cheap and tacky, that sort of thing. There was
staircase leading off the landing and several other doors along the
didn’t like it. She was always one for feeling
‘atmospheres’ as she put it, and told me when the
landlady had gone that it
gave her the creeps and that she wanted to move on. I was more
persuaded her that it was only for three nights and it would do. God
regretted that later, though I don’t suppose it would have
made any difference.
first night passed OK, but we didn’t much care for the
state of the dining room when we went down for breakfast and decided we
eat out for the rest of the stay. We spent the Saturday exploring The
and found a nice restaurant on the main road where we had dinner. We
to the hotel at about nine o’clock and sat up talking for a
bit before turning
in. Maggie was still unhappy with the place, but otherwise seemed
went quiet for a minute.
following morning I woke up and got a shock I’ll never
I shook her to wake her up and she was stiff and cold. Dead. I
couldn’t take it
in and didn’t know what to do for a while. Eventually I
managed to pull myself
together and found the landlord to tell him what had happened. He
police. They took me into the lounge and asked me a load of damn fool
while the doctor examined the body. I never saw her again. They must
her out by a back door or something, as they didn’t come
through the lobby. Bad
for business I suppose.
police asked me to go down to the station and kept me there
for hours, prodding and poking to try and get me to say something they
pounce on. It was obvious they suspected I might have murdered her.
they let me go and took me back to the hotel. I packed up our things
home. They’d told me that the body would have to be held for
a post mortem and
they would be in touch when the results were known.
went straight to the Colcloughs and made an arrangement with
them that you should stay there until it was all over, and then went
the house and went to pieces. The doctor gave me a sick note and a load
pills but they didn’t make a jot of difference. As far as I
was concerned, my
life was over. God knows why I didn’t commit suicide
– didn’t have the guts, I
suppose. Some time later I got called to Cardiff to attend the inquest.
didn’t want to go, but dragged myself down there out of a
sense of duty to your
police had already told me that she’d died of asphyxiation
but they were pretty tight lipped about the cause. I didn’t
press them – I
didn’t really want to know; didn’t see that it made
any difference. They just
said their investigations were continuing. At the inquest I heard the
post mortem showed that she hadn’t died suddenly; her death
had been caused by a gradual drying up of the oxygen supply to the
were no visible marks or signs of a struggle and they’d found
no motive for
murder. The pathologist said that he couldn’t explain the
cause and suggested
that some kind of syndrome might have been responsible. He obviously
know and the coroner had no option but to give a verdict of natural
body was released and I arranged for a private funeral
locally. Neither of us had any close relatives and the Colcloughs were
real friends. But then, I didn’t want anybody there anyway. I
distraught and just wanted to say goodbye to her quietly and then crawl
the nearest hole and leave the world behind. In a moment of madness I
here to Stoke where she’d been born and raised.
I’ve been stuck in this
God-forsaken dump ever since.
close to where she’d been brought up was both a comfort
and a torture at the same time. I was in such a state that the doctor
me for psychiatric assessment and I ended up on incapacity benefit. I
drink; it was the only thing that numbed the pain for a while. But I
to it and now I’m permanently numb. That’s how I
stopped and looked blankly at the gas fire again. Fiona
felt a stirring of pity for him, but it was clouded by a sense of
his weakness in being unable to handle the situation. She felt,
perhaps, that her mother would have reacted better if things had
other way around. She was also intrigued about the manner of her
and put her mixed emotions easily to one side.
take it you never found out the cause?” she asked.
Wasn’t interested. Something a bit strange happened at the
inquest, but I couldn’t be bothered to follow it up and I
don’t suppose it
amounted to anything anyway.”
looked at her and uttered a tired sigh. It was obvious he
wanted the meeting to be over, but continued with a few more sentences.
was a journalist there, from the South Wales Echo. Perky
little sod he was; didn’t like him. He asked me,
‘did I know that the same
thing had happened in the same hotel twenty years earlier?’
‘No’ I said, ‘does
it matter?’ Then I walked away. He was all I needed, the way
I was feeling. He
kept pestering me as I was walking out of the building but he gave up
eventually and I drove off.”
interest leapt to a new level at this intriguing bit of
you follow it up?”
course I didn’t,” said Alan peevishly.
“Why should I? What
did it matter? I didn’t give a toss about somebody else dying
the same way.
Perhaps they had a fuckin’ syndrome too. So what?”
you remember his name?” asked Fiona.
asked Alan, his voice becoming raised at what he began to
see as an interrogation.
I don’t, I didn’t ask him,” he retorted,
stung by the
implication of criticism. “Will there be anything
was obvious that the reunion had turned into a difficult
interview for Alan. He wanted to get back to the comfort of his bottles
cans, and Fiona wanted to be on her way home. She stood up and prepared
for seeing me anyway,” she said coldly.
“I’ll let myself
shrugged and remained seated.
on the exposed landing, Fiona pulled her coat collar around
her neck to keep out the cold wind. She made her way to her car and
her route back to the motorway.
she drove home she thought of nothing else but the circumstances
of her mother’s death and the mystery of the previous
occurrence. She wasn’t
the sort to let mysteries go uninvestigated and planned to do what her
should have done eighteen years earlier.
would mean another trip into unknown territory, to the
offices of the South Wales Echo. Their archive should contain the
report and name the reporter. Perhaps he would still be around and she
talk to him. She planned to go at the earliest opportunity. This
moved away from a matter of dubious, familial reunion and taken on the
potential of a detective story. It had the makings of a fascinating
and Fiona began to feel the thrill of the chase.
evening she told the Colcloughs all there was to tell about
her meeting with Alan Frobisher, including the bit about the earlier
They were mildly interested, but took the view that it was all old news
worth pursuing. They were more interested in the fact that their
showed no inclination to keep in touch with her natural father and were
relieved that a fly had been removed from the proverbial ointment. Now
could get back to the familiar routine of uncomplicated family life.
however, was determined to pursue the mystery and rang
the offices of the South Wales Echo the following day. She made an
to go down the following Wednesday, her quiet day at college, and
necessary directions for getting there. The few friends that she told
only polite interest in the story, and the reaction of her sister was
think you’re wasting your time,” she said.
I’ve got plenty of time to waste, haven’t
Fiona. “I might as well waste it on something
was apparent that she would be doing this on her own, and was
happy enough with that.
arrived at the newspaper offices just before lunchtime on
the following Wednesday and was soon settled into the archive. She had
realised that she had never asked Alan for the date of the inquest, but
that the death itself would probably have been reported. Indeed it had,
Monday 10th October 1983.
was a small piece on an inside page and told her nothing that
she didn’t already know, apart from the inconsequential fact
establishment had previously been called The Manor Hotel. What was
however, was that it named the reporter as one David Griffiths. She
whether he was the same journalist who had covered the inquest and
father, but he would be good starting place if she could track him
she was there, she looked at the papers for twenty years
earlier, starting with 10th October 1963 and
looking a couple of
days either side. She found nothing and realised that ‘twenty
years’ could have
been an approximation and that she could spend all week there going
records. She went over and asked the librarian whether David Griffiths
worked on the paper. Apparently he had moved on years before. Fiona
you know where he went?”
librarian asked one of her colleagues, an older man who had
been with the paper for most of his working life.
of the London papers,” he said. “Evening Standard,
you have their number?”
librarian searched the database and gave Fiona the direct
line for the news desk.
a lot,” said Fiona and left the building.
went back to her car and unwrapped the packed lunch that she
had brought with her. Then she reached for her mobile phone and called
London Evening Standard. She asked whether a David Griffiths still
them and was visibly thrilled at being told that he did. She asked if
speak to him. The operator went off the line for a few moments and then
informed her that he wasn’t in at present, but was expected
later that evening.
it about?” asked the man.
couldn’t be bothered to run through the whole story. She
simply said that she needed to talk about a case that David had covered
years earlier and that had resurfaced. The operator was happy with that.
he said. “I’ll leave a note for him to call you
gave him the numbers for both the home phone and her
mobile, then drove home feeling excited that some small progress had
She was concerned that offers to return calls didn’t always
was determined not to let the matter drop even if no call was
the event, she needn’t have worried. At eight
o’clock that evening her mobile
rang and a male voice said
I’m Dave Griffiths from the Evening Standard. I gather
you’ve got some information about an old story of
vague message had obviously intrigued him and she felt
slightly embarrassed at having to correct him.
actually, no. I’m afraid I was hoping to get some
information from you.”
was a hint of deflation in his reply.
alright; what do you want to know?”
years ago you covered a story for the South Wales
Echo, about a woman who had died in her sleep at the Manor Hotel near
Cowbridge. I wonder if you remember anything about it, and whether it
who covered the inquest.”
Griffiths’ voice regained its enthusiasm.
it?” he said. “I became quite obsessed with it for
while. I take it you’re talking about the Frobisher
said Fiona. “She was my mother.”
OK” said Fiona reassuringly. “I was only a baby at
time, but I’m curious to know what happened to her. I
understand there was some
question of another death twenty years earlier. The reporter who
inquest told my father that.”
that was me.”
looked in the archive and couldn’t find anything for twenty
dates did you look at?”
thought for a moment. Her mother’s death had been on 8th
October and she had searched a couple of days either way.
5th October 1963 - that was the Saturday - to
didn’t look far enough. The date of the earlier death was
the 13th October. I remember it well. I remember
all the dates well,
because there turned out to be more to it. And the story might not be
I think you might be very interested to hear the rest.”
was, indeed, very interested to hear the rest.
said David. “Let’s meet. I’m a bit too
busy right now to
give you all the facts over the phone. Where do you live?”
that’s not too far. I’m off this weekend. Could you
the train down on Saturday and I’ll meet you at the station.
Let’s see, that
would be Euston wouldn’t it?”
I suppose so.”
vocal reticence was not reflected in her feelings. A
thrill of excitement and expectation set her nerve ends tingling. She
have travelled to the other end of the country to hear the story unfold.
call the timetable tomorrow morning and let you know what
time the train gets in,” she said.
said David. “Expect to hear from you. Leave a message
if I’m not here. Oh, and by the way, you’ll know me
by the red baseball cap
I’ll be carrying. Not wearing, you understand, carrying.
It’s my standard
couldn’t wait to ring the timetable the next morning.
There was a train that arrived at Euston at eleven forty-five. She rang
Evening Standard straight away and left a message. At eleven forty
Saturday morning she was hurrying along the platform towards the exit
Once through them, she almost bumped into a short, dark haired man in
she said instinctively, then noticed the red baseball
cap he was holding in his right hand. She looked at him more closely.
he said with a broad smile. “Pleased to meet you.”
shook hands and David guided her towards the food franchise
area at the side of the concourse.
paid for the train ticket, I’ll buy the lunch,” he
bargain” joked Fiona. David lifted his shoulders in a mock
were soon settled with baguettes and coffee, and this time
there was some polite chat before the conversation began in earnest.
instinctively used the time of exchanging pleasantries to weigh up her
manner was a little on the brash side for her taste, but his
general appearance was casual and unpretentious, and there was an
about him that she found appealing. She came to the point of her visit
brief account of what she had recently learned about her
mother’s death. David
listened patiently and without interruption. Being the silent partner,
finished his lunch first and was already drinking his coffee when his
he said, “I’m not surprised you were intrigued. And
think you’ll be even more blown away when you hear the full
story. There’s a
lot more to it than you’d credit. If you’re sitting
comfortably, I’ll begin.”
indulged his predictable whimsy with a polite smile.
in 1983, I was in my second year as a reporter with the
South Wales Echo. My editor was just beginning to give me more serious
than whist drives and village fetes, and when a report came in of a
death at a hotel in Cowbridge, he sent me out there to bring in a
Everybody at the hotel, including the police – especially
the police -
were keeping stum, and I had to settle for the barest of facts and
small piece which didn’t really say very much.
the next day I went back to try and find out more. As I
expected, the landlady played the whole thing down; but she did let me
room. Number twenty-six it was; I remember thinking it was two
thirteens – I’ve
always been a bit superstitious, you see. Anyway, she even left me
there. Why not? It was unoccupied and everything had been tidied up, so
was nothing to see or find anyway.
I was leaving the room, I saw a chambermaid coming down the
corridor. I struck up a conversation with her and asked her about the
She was a bit reticent too, but there was something about her manner
suggested she knew something, so I persevered.
a bit of flattery and a quick backhander, she whispered
to me that there was something not quite right about it. She said that
thing had happened in the very same room twenty years earlier.
worked there for twenty-five years and remembered it well.
that was quite a revelation; but I was a bit
sceptical at first and asked her if she could remember the date so that
check it out. She knew that it was 1963, she said, because it was the
before she got married and she remembered telling her fiancé
about it. And she
was sure it had been in October because it wasn’t long after
they’d changed the
duty routines at the end of the tourist season.
was pretty excited about it. It would have been quite a
feather in my cap to come up with a mystery story to intrigue the
That sort of thing sold papers then, just as it does now.
I went to the police station and talked to the inspector in
charge of the case. He was totally offhand with me. Said he knew
any earlier death, but that they had investigated the current one and
no suggestion of foul play. I would have to wait for the inquest to get
went back to the office and checked the archive. It was all
still on microfilm in those days and it was a bloody long job trailing
all the papers, starting on October 1st.
Eventually I found it. The
date of the death was Sunday 13th October 1963
– another 13!
businessman from the north of England had come down that
day, presumably to get an early start on the Monday morning, and had
dead in bed the next day. It didn’t say which room
he’d been in but I was happy
to take the chambermaid’s word for that. I searched through
to the inquest and
found that the cause of death had been asphyxiation, but the reason for
unknown. The verdict was ‘natural causes’, just as
it later turned out to be in
your mother’s case.
of curiosity, I calculated the number of days between the
two dates. It turned out to be 7300. That’s twenty times 365
– exactly twenty
years worth of days. The difference in dates is caused by the
years, of course.
tried to interest my editor in the mystery but he wasn’t
really into that sort of thing. He was a cautious sort of bloke and
have to wait for the inquest. When the verdict turned out to be
causes’, he told me to drop it; said there was no story
there. The two deaths
were just coincidental.
I wasn’t prepared to drop it. I was young and excitable
and sure there was something there to be found if only I looked deep
was fascinated by the exact number of years and wondered, a bit
might think, whether it might be part of a repeating pattern.
I calculated back another 7300 days and came up with 18th
October 1943. I checked the archive again and found – nothing
at all. Lots of
stuff about war casualties, but no suspicious deaths in hotels. Was I
disappointed! I checked the dates either side for several days but drew
blank. It seemed there probably wasn’t anything in it after
all and I decided
to let it go.
thought no more about it for a couple of years but then, one
day, they had this reunion for some of the old reporters
who’d been on the
paper during the war – it was in 1985 and part of the
fortieth anniversary do’s
they were having.
got talking to one old chap who was having a whale of a time
telling me how tough the job had been in those days, how they
have word processors and mobile phones, how easy we’d got it
today; that sort
of stuff. To be honest I was beginning to find him a bit tedious; but
mentioned the old Manor Hotel and my ears pricked up.
told me that it had been requisitioned by the military
during the war and used as some kind of research establishment. The
talk in the
town was that they were doing work on some sort of biological or
weapons, but nothing could be reported because it was top secret. And
told me – and I couldn’t believe my ears
– that there had been a suspicious
death there one day that they weren’t allowed to report. My
and I pressed him for details.
seems that, one evening, he’d been called out to cover a bad
road accident involving a couple of fatalities. When he arrived on the
found a nurse there who was friend of his; she was with one of the
that had been called out. She told him that the dead men
weren’t local, but
worked for the MOD up at the Manor Hotel. He knew he wouldn’t
be able to report
that because of security restrictions and would only be able to say
were strangers to the area.
seemed like a routine job, but then the nurse joked that the
mortuary would soon be full of Manor Hotel people, because
they’d had another
one brought in the day before. That one was a bit strange, she said,
she’d been told that he’d died of suffocation and
there was a suspicion of foul
the possibility of something a bit more juicy, he
tried to press her but she clammed up; said she’d told him
too much already and
it was more than her job was worth. He was intrigued and wanted to
story up but the editor sat on it. He said they’d only have a
D Notice slapped
on them if they tried and there was no point. So it never did get
Things like that happened during the war, said the old chap.
really couldn’t believe what I’d heard. A
suspicious death by
asphyxiation at the Manor Hotel - and one that went unreported because
security restrictions. I thought Christmas had arrived early. I asked
him if he
remembered the date. No, of course he didn’t; it was over
forty years ago. But
then he thought for a bit and said he was sure it was in the middle of
– ’42 or ’43 - and he remembered it being
in the autumn because the accident
had been caused by an early cold snap that had put some black ice on
was good enough to warrant another bit of research, so I
did my sums. If my theory about the date was right and the death had
on 18th October, the body would probably have
been taken to the
mortuary on the 19th. The nurse had said that it
had been brought in
‘yesterday’, so the road accident would have been
on the 20th and
reported on the 21st. I went back to the archive
and looked up the
paper for Thursday 21st October 1943. And there
it was: ‘Road
accident kills two men. Police have yet to identify the
was good enough for me. Obviously there was no way of
checking that the ’43 death had been in the same room, but I
justified in assuming that it had. Three deaths in the same mysterious
circumstances at exactly twenty-year intervals. Very strange,
had sat and listened to the journalist’s account with
what did you do about it?”
I’m afraid. What could I do?” continued Dave.
1943 story was based on hearsay, the body of the man from 1963 would
well-rotted and, if you’ll pardon me for saying so, your
mother had been cremated.
There would have been no forensics to check even if anybody had
listened to me.
And the hotel room was, well, just a hotel room. What was there to
said Fiona, “but didn’t you say on the phone that
story might not be finished yet?”
course,” said Dave. “If it happened three times at
year intervals, what’s to say it won’t happen
again? I calculated 7300 days
forward from your mother’s death.”
3rd October 2003. That’s only eighteen
what are you going to do, buy a guinea pig and sit it on the
I’m going to be the guinea pig.”
can’t. If there is something in all this, you’ll
die. How will you know what happened if you’re
I’m hoping it won’t come to that. Forewarned is
as they say.”
obviously I gave some thought to what might possibly have
caused the deaths. Something had apparently cut off the
victims’ oxygen supply,
but done it slowly; your mother’s inquest showed as much.
That ruled out the
possibility that they’d been smothered.
I wondered whether it might have been some kind of gas,
something they’d developed there during the war perhaps.
There were two
problems with that. Firstly, why would it reappear at exactly
intervals? And, secondly, why did it only affect your mother and not
father who was sleeping in the same room? Besides, some traces would
have shown up in a modern post mortem.
had to be some sort of a third agent and, quite honestly,
I couldn’t think what it could be. But I reasoned that, if I
were to spend the
night in the room and stay awake, I would be in a position to witness
was responsible and take the necessary precautions to stay alive.
I intend to spend the night of 3rd October 2003
in that room and keep a couple of oxygen cylinders with me, the sort
in ambulances. If I get affected I can take a whiff of that and get out
you forgetting something?” said Fiona after a
thought. “As far as we know, all the victims were sleeping
when they were
killed. It might be that this thing only affects sleeping people. If
awake it might not affect you. If you go to sleep you’ll be
dead before you
did think of that, actually,” said Dave. “But the
only way to
get over that problem would be to have a companion with me, somebody
keep watch and take the necessary action at the right time.
Who’s going to do
that? It would be placing a hell of a burden of responsibility on
what I was thinking,” said Fiona. “I’d do
come on,” said Dave. “You’re young.
You’ve got your life
ahead of you. It’s not worth it.”
is to me,” answered Fiona enthusiastically. “I want
what killed my mother. And I love a mystery.”
looked unconvinced and offered a compromise.
you what,” he said. “It’s eighteen months
away yet. Your
circumstances might have changed dramatically by then. I’m
going to do it
anyway, so let’s leave it like this: if you really still want
to come along a
month or so before the date, give me a call and we’ll do it
said Fiona, “sounds fair enough. We’ll leave it at
gave her his mobile phone number, just in case he’d moved
on from the Evening Standard by then, and went off about his business.
caught the next train back to Northampton.
night she told her parents everything she had learned from
the reporter and wasn’t surprised that their interest was
were a comfortable, suburban couple who prided themselves on their
approach to life. They weren’t the sort to feel the incessant
tug of a mystery
or acknowledge such a feeling in others. Their need for predictability
provable certainties was well entrenched and formed a strong barrier
anything that might disturb the established order.
of course, she omitted to mention her plan to accompany
Dave to the hotel. She knew there was no point. They would only have
silly and would probably have objected strongly to the moral ambiguity
spending a night alone with a strange man. She would carry on with her
usual and see what the next eighteen months would bring.
the event, the next eighteen months brought nothing of
substance at all - certainly nothing to alter her life or dull her
solve the mystery of her mother’s death. She continued her
college course to
the end, obtained the attendant and effectively worthless
ended up working as a receptionist at a local health club.
the end of summer 2003 she was so keenly in need of something
to break up the humdrum nature of her life that she looked forward more
more to the big adventure. Despite the obvious danger, her only concern
possibility that nothing would happen on the appointed night and there
no further avenue to explore. Her diary entry for Monday 1st
Dave today - obviously still
unsure about my going along but relented when pressed. Made arrangement
at J.15 of the M1 at 10 am and then it’s off to Wales.
Can’t wait! Don’t know
what to tell the folks yet but will come up with something. Wonder how
costs to get a taxi to J15?? Or should I use the car? Don’t
know yet. Dave has
booked hotel. Roll on next 5 weeks.
didn’t normally keep her diary locked away but decided that,
from now on, she would keep it with her at all times. She wanted to
possibility of her parents gaining premature knowledge of her plan.
the appointed day approached, she became increasingly
concerned about what to tell them. She was reluctant to lie, but
reluctant to tell the whole truth. She considered a range of excuses
but they all
amounted to lies of one sort or another. Eventually she decided to say
but indulge in a minor subterfuge. On the morning of 3rd
left the house at her usual time for going to work. Her mother called
you later dear.”
said nothing. She had left a note in her bedroom
explaining that she had something important to do, that she would be
overnight and that they weren’t to worry - she would be home
explain everything. She knew her mother would find it some time during
morning when she made the bed. She was painfully aware that her parents
worry and felt wretched about it, but had decided that it was the least
problematic of the options.
eight thirty she parked her car in the health club car park and
called a taxi to take her to Junction 15. She arrived at nine thirty
at the top of the southbound slip road. Fortunately, Dave was early and
were on their way before ten o’clock. Fiona turned off her
mobile phone as she
was sure that her mother would ring as soon as she found the note.
are you feeling?” asked Dave.
said Fiona brightly. “Excited.”
not frightened exactly. Nervous, I suppose.”
can still pull out, you know,” said Dave.
“I’m sure I don’t
need to tell you how dangerous this could be.”
course Fiona didn’t need to be told; she wasn’t
she was confident by nature and still possessed of that youthful
which a belief in her ability to deal with whatever came along had, so
her life, gone unchallenged.
way,” she said. “Let’s do it.
What’s the plan?”
for a start I’ve booked us in as a couple; hope you
mind. It seemed pointless paying for separate rooms in this day and
doubt they’ll form their own opinions when they see the
difference in our ages.
Is that a problem?”
shook her head.
thought we’d split the night into two periods for sleeping
purposes. I realised that it’s not going to be easy getting
to sleep in these
circumstances, so I deliberately didn’t go to bed last night.
I reckon I should
be ready to drop by ten o’clock, so I thought I could take
the first sleep from
ten till three while you keep watch, then you could take three till
How’s that sound? Hopefully, whatever it is will strike early
and you won’t be
in any danger.”
admit, I hadn’t thought of that,” said Fiona with
irritated frown. “It won’t be easy, will it, going
to sleep when you know
something homicidal might be about to pounce on you? I should have
last night as well. Oh well, let’s hope I’m dead on
my feet by three in the
looked at one another.
choice of phrase,” said Dave.
conversation was fitful and largely trivial as they drove
towards their destination, and only became earnest when they reached
Fiona asked Dave how he had arranged for them to have the right room.
it a year ago. Told them it was a special anniversary
and I wanted that room for nostalgic reasons. Well it was partly true,
arrived at the gates and drove through a long arcade of
trees that opened eventually into a capacious car park. The building
them was a large, impressive Jacobean mansion; set in a valley and
entirely surrounded by woods.
isn’t it?” said Dave. “The oldest part
medieval times. The local baron had a castle here and successive
added to it until the seventeenth century when it was knocked about by
Cromwell. Then ownership passed to a Roundhead branch of the family.
changed sides when it mattered and came out of the Restoration well
have the money to rebuild the place in a grand style. Room twenty six
is in the
old bit – the creepy bit, no doubt.”
got out of the car, collected their small amount of luggage
and went into the lobby. Dave went through the booking formalities
wandered around taking in the look and feel of the place.
there had been a few superficial changes since her
parents had stayed there twenty years earlier, it had the same air of
that her father had described. The rich, ancient fabric of wood and
badly set off by cheap and tawdry fittings; and the curtains, carpets
wallpaper could well have been the same that her parents had
felt a sense of unease that she presumed was something similar to how
mother had felt.
booking clerk led them through a corridor to the next wing,
stealing a sly look at Fiona and smiling a false smile. She led them up
carpeted staircase and then a second flight of stone steps that ended
quiet landing. The first door on the left was marked 26
and stood ajar.
The other doors off the landing were shut and another flight of stone
climbed at the far end.
up there?” asked Fiona.
another room that we only use when we’re full,”
young woman with a patronising tone. “It’s empty at
the moment. All the rooms
are. You’ve got the whole wing to yourselves.”
handed a key to Dave and left them alone. Dave sat on the
double bed and yawned. Fiona looked out of the small window onto a
landscape that ran as far as she could see.
ready for sleep now,” said Dave, stifling another yawn.
“That wouldn’t do, would it? Are you
nodded. It was early afternoon and she was ready for
said Dave, “let’s go and get something to eat and
I’ll take you for a drive around some of my old haunts.
I’ll tell you some of
the stories attached to them. It’ll pass the time until
left the hotel and drove to the town where they found a pub
and had a light meal. The next four or five hours were spent driving
Dave’s old stamping grounds, and Fiona was entertained with a
selection of his
stories from his days on the South Wales Echo.
was dark by the time they returned to the hotel and they took
dinner in the dining room before retiring at nine o’clock.
Dave had been
yawning increasingly as the evening had progressed and it was obvious
self-imposed sleep deprivation was having the desired effect. He
bag and took out two oxygen cylinders with attached mouthpieces.
nearly time,” he said. “I’ve waited for
this for nearly
twenty years and I’m getting a bit nervous. Trouble is, I
need to stay relaxed
or I won’t be able to go to sleep. Let me show you how these
look dead beat to me,” said Fiona, not knowing whether she
should be pleased or alarmed that she would soon be left with the sole
responsibility of monitoring the situation. Dave offered a tired smile.
wish you’d stop using that word. But you’re right,
pretty knackered. There’s a bit of a war going on at the
moment. My brain and
body are telling me to go to sleep, but my instinct is offering strong
resistance.” He yawned another long yawn. “I think
it’s going to lose.”
showed Fiona the controls on the oxygen cylinders and then
gave her a notepad and pen.
down anything strange you see or hear - or smell or feel
for that matter - while I’m asleep.”
went over to the door and snapped the latch to the open
want to be sure that this can be opened without any fumbling”
was dubious. She’d have been happier with it well locked,
but understood the logic.
starting to hit me too,” she said. “Up to now
this whole thing as an adventure but, now we’re here,
I’ve got mixed feelings.
Half of me thinks it’s probably all just a coincidence and
that nothing will
happen. The other half is aware that three people died in this room and
knows why. And it could happen to me – tonight.”
won’t,” said Dave reassuringly. “If
all’s well by the time
you wake me at three o’clock, you can rest assured that
I’ll take good care of
you when it’s your turn.”
wasn’t so easily reassured, but smiled anyway.
to ten,” said Dave. “Might as well see if I can get
sleep, I suppose.”
took off his shoes and lay on the bed, pulling the duvet over
me a favour and switch off the ceiling light, would you.
It’s in my eyes.”
turned on the small table lamp that stood on the dressing
table and walked over to the light switch by the door.
you sure?” she asked. “I won’t be able to
see you as well.”
see me well enough,” replied Dave. Fiona flicked the
sat in the armchair that stood beside the dressing table and
prepared for the next five hours. They might be the most tedious five
she’d ever spent, or the most dangerous. She took a deep
breath then lifted a
book out of her bag and settled down to read it.
minutes later she heard a snort come from the direction
of the bed. She got up immediately and went over to find Dave lying on
side, looking fully relaxed and breathing normally. His fatigue had
been well advanced and he had gone to sleep quickly. She went back to
and picked up the newspaper that she had brought from home. She turned
crossword page and rummaged for a pen. The first clue shook her
Across. Red Rum returns for the
clues don’t come any easier. It was hardly necessary to
have seen The Shining to know that Red Rum spells
“murder” backwards, and she
wasn’t in the mood for reading bad omens.
put down the paper and settled back into the chair. She
glanced at Dave again and saw the duvet moving slightly as he breathed.
room was uncannily quiet apart from the ticking of a wall clock that
noticed earlier. Now it sounded intrusively loud against a backdrop of
silence. The only other sound was the occasional spitting of rain when
of wind blew it against the window. She looked at the door that was
unlocked, and felt a slight thrill of fear that something might come
at any moment. She suppressed the feeling and picked up her book again.
the next hour she read fitfully, stopping every so often to
reassure herself that the door was still fully shut and that Dave was
normally. She got up and paced around the room for a while. She did
stretching exercises as she was beginning to feel tired herself. She
over the whole story and reasoned that, if anything was going to attack
the sleeping Dave, it would have to come through the door. The windows
tightly shut, there were no ventilation grills and there was no other
door became the focus of her attention and it began to worry
her that she might fall asleep before it was time to wake her
companion. As a
precaution, she fetched the copy of the Gideon Bible from the bedside
and balanced it on the door handle. If anyone tried to enter the room,
would fall to the floor and wake her – she hoped.
went back to her chair and continued to read, occasionally
glancing around the room. She looked at Dave’s sleeping form
and at the rain
running down the window. She looked at the door and the skirting
looked in all directions except up at the ceiling. It didn’t
occur to her that
any danger might come from there.
before 1 am, something that had the appearance of a
light, misty substance oozed out of the tiny gap between the light
the ceiling. It was about the size of a fifty pence piece and would
virtually invisible even in the bright light of day, let alone in a
only by a sixty-watt bulb burning in a table lamp on the far side of
It was, in fact, a gathering of hundreds of tiny microbes that drifted
down from the ceiling and towards David Griffiths’ warm,
settled on the duvet and moved silently towards his face,
unseen by the young woman sitting a mere twelve feet away. Some entered
nostrils and others by his half open mouth. So tiny were they that they
able to move into his larynx and travel down into his lungs without
the sensitive membranes that would otherwise have triggered a cough.
nothing and Fiona was blissfully unaware that anything untoward was
they reached his lungs, they latched themselves onto the
capillaries that carried the newly oxygenated blood and began to feed.
you might imagine, on the blood itself, but on the oxygen contained
red corpuscles. Dave continued to sleep and Fiona continued to read.
And as the
microbes fed, they grew.
1.30 Fiona put her book down and stood up. She was feeling
drowsy and took a walk around the room in an attempt to ward off the
sleep. In her lethargic state she was beginning to doubt that there was
point in being there and felt irritable. She looked at Dave who
appeared to be
still breathing normally and wished it were three o’clock so
that she could go
drama being enacted inside her companion’s lungs, where the
microbes had now grown to the size of small maggots, was hidden from
sat down again and picked up the crossword. She scribbled
“murder” into 5
across and moved onto the next clue. The mental effort of working out
cryptic puzzles proved too much and, half an hour later, she fell
then the disruption to the oxygen supplying David Griffiths’
brain had caused him to go into a coma. He was no longer asleep, but
unconscious. At 2.15 his heart stopped beating and he exhaled his last
Ten minutes later, the mindless creatures that had caused his demise
their journey home while Fiona slept.
erupted as a wriggling mass back into his drying mouth and
sought the nearest exit. Some crawled over his tongue and teeth and
between his lips; some found their way into his nasal cavity and
crawled out of
his nostrils; a few went further still and squeezed out between his
and their sockets.
were the size of mealworms; pink, hairless and transparent.
Their rudimentary organs could have been seen by the naked eye, had
anyone awake to witness the grotesque exodus that was underway.
made their way slowly to the edge of the bed and dropped to
the floor. From there they crawled to a gap behind the skirting board
ran beneath the bed, and then made their way up to ceiling level behind
plasterboard wall. There they settled to live out their pointless,
life cycle of inactivity, living off the oxygen that was stored in
bodies. Such a redundant existence should have no place in nature; but
were not natural creatures. They had been created exactly sixty years
by the scientist who had been their first victim.
woke with a start at 2.45. She was disoriented and felt a
mixture of panic and shame. Her first thought was to look at the book
on the door handle and she relaxed a little at seeing it still in
checked her watch. Seeing that it wasn’t yet three
o’clock, she was relieved
that she would be able to take her place on the front line at the
hour. She rose unsteadily to her feet and went over to wake Dave.
next few hours brought a range of emotions crashing so
heavily into Fiona’s young mind that they threatened to drive
her to the edge
of true despair. First the shock, then the intense panic, then the
finally the sense of disbelief were more than she felt she could stand.
the police arrived they questioned her as harshly as they
had questioned her father twenty years earlier. She told them every
the facts and research that had led up to the visit. Eventually they
sufficiently convinced of her honesty as to concede that there might be
something strange about the case that would warrant further
had no doubt that it would prove fruitless. She was sure
that the post mortem would produce the same inconclusive result as the
ones had done, and that the police would have no more idea of where to
what to look for, than she had. The following morning a police car
home to an emotional reunion with her anxious parents.
several weeks she vacillated between states of distress and
a manic determination to continue the quest for an answer.
Dave’s editor came
to see her, as did several members of his family and a number of
from several papers. And, of course, there were more interviews with
police. They all went away convinced of her innocence and the baffling
of the circumstances.
none of them came up with any plausible explanation. Intense
forensic examination had found nothing out of the ordinary and her
offer the slightest clue as to where to start looking meant that the
would remain unsolved, at least for another twenty years.
found a date calculator on the Internet and worked out that
if the pattern were to repeat, it would do so on Thursday 28th
September 2023. A couple of the journalists who had come to see her had
the same thing. They expressed their intention to mobilise their
contacts and conduct a more sophisticated investigation next time. They
to know that it would be too late.
had no way of knowing that above the ceiling of room 26,
hundreds of tiny worm-like creatures were undergoing a change. They had
created by an unnatural artifice of science a mere sixty years earlier,
nature had started to claim them for her own and the process of
latest renewal of their life force had triggered the
development of a simple form of asexual reproduction that would soon
doubling their numbers in exponential certainty. And the offspring
ready for their first intake of energy as soon as they came into
just as the originals had been in 1943. The next victim would not be as
into the future as everybody thought.
© 2008 J.J. Beazley
JJ Beazley lives near a small village in rural England and has been fascinated by all things metaphysical since early childhood. He has published short stories in a variety of periodicals. He loves dogs, kind people and most things weird.
Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum
Return to Aphelion's Index page.