Crankwood Chapter 11 A religious musing.

The boy, Ashes? was sitting rigid on the makeshift camp bed at the back of the room staring at the yellow curtain. This Simpkins presumed led to the mortuary. Having not been long enough in the village to visit in one of his sad official capacities, he took it on trust and the fact that everyone, Doctor included, was staring, blank eyed and slack jawed at the doorway. He considered that beyond that shiny sick coloured curtain lay the body of the unfortunate suicide. If he could be forgiven such Popish sentiments, the poor unfortunate lump of soulless flesh that would be interned beyond the pale for indulging in mortal sin. Strange concept, he then thought, indulging? This brought back the Doctors cryptic remark about ,what was it, Soul Lacking?

Suppressing a smile and strictly reining in such inopportune musings he brought his mind back to the boy and the important present. The thing now was to get him home and away from all incidents, suicides and views that apparently still caused harm. Perhaps he had actually witnessed the suicide? No, that could not be. According to Tom on the journey here, the body was quite badly decomposed when found. Still, quite a shock for our friend, in any case, to find such a rotting, obscene lump, hanging discarded from a tree. This thought brought in turn a faint sickly sweet whiff to the curates naturally flared nostrils.

Did that curtain then twitch? Come on, old son, he berated himself, you are a professional man of God; Dr of Divinity, the Rev Uriel Simpkins did not jump at stupid ghost stories. The dead were dead, no matter how long matured, no matter how gamy, they were finally beyond this mortal coil. The only hold on the dead had on the living was through the unfortunate and mistaken grieving of relatives and friends; not of course that this unfortunate had any of those apparently.

No one in the tableaux under the yellow light seemed inclined to speech, thought Simpkins. So it looks like it is down to me. to take charge and to demonstrate my control of the situation. This is my job. This is partly why I joined the church. His mind jumped instinctively away from the other more accurate reasons. This again in turn brought a rather embarrassing cold sweat to his temples. He flagellated his thinking once more.

The words " Where does he live?" came rather loudly and strained to his ears, before he realised with some degree of shock that he was the one who had actually uttered them. The other three men in the room jumped from near sonambulence at this unexpected noise and all looked in his direction with varying degrees of incomprehension pasted large upon their faces. The boy remained rigid and uncomprehending.

Tommy was the first to recover. " He lives in’t Britannia, with his Mum and Dad. His Nan runs it. good woman, his Nan"

Simpkins was aware that the Britannia was the local ale house near the swing bridge over the canal. This large and rather imposing edifice had been built some hundred years before to service the drinking habits of the mining community. It opened only on change of shift and the miners attended still in pit dirt to drink away wages. It had all the misplaced grandeur of a homage to a considered mystical past in its architecture, and had become by dint of this the semi official meeting place for the village. Having assumed an importance beyond that of the church , much to his superior’s annoyance. Simpkins considered how to get Ashes home without causing considerable interest and inevitable gossip.

“Tell me about him”, he said pointing at the pale and shaking young boy. " I don’t think I’ve seen him at service, hmmm?"

Tommy started to answer before Albert placed a strong and restraining hand on his arm.

“You’ll have to see his Nan about that” said Albert taking a well bitten pipe from his mouth and gesturing over his shoulder with it. “Me an Tom, ave nothin much to say about it”. Simpkins was acutely aware of the lapse from and to dialect and he wondered.

Crankwood Chapter 11 A religious musing.


Joined January 2008

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A Religious Musing

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