Death Dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth Chapter 7 Excerpt.


“What do you want,” he barked as the door flew open, revealing a rather stern looking Clarissa Cleaver, who was apparently not ‘best pleased.’ As surprised as he was to see her, Nick held himself in check and instead of giving her both barrels, calmly smiled at his near neighbour and enquired politely if there was an emergency he could perhaps help with?

“No, no, I just thought that I would call by and mention the speed limit on the lake, which, with you being a relative newby, may not be aware that it is a maximum of ten mph. May I respectfully suggest, that maybe you could keep a check on your speed next time you venture out onto the water? We would hate to have to confiscate your boat.”

Nick, was not expecting that and his mouth fell open in response to her words. He was about to respond to her request, when she spun on her heels and headed brusquely off down the path, towards her vehicle and was gone before he could utter a single word in his own defence.

“Sorry,” he pitifully called to nobody, “I won’t do it again,” and unable to silence the devil within, he finished the statement with a rather sarcastic sounding, “promise.” A little voice called back, from what sounded like it was far away.

“Thank you, Mr. Swann, I’ll hold you to that.”

Conversation over, Nick turned and stepped back indoors, closed the door and mumbled something about Lady Cleaver’s remarkable ears to himself as, he made his way back towards the recliner and the remainder of his rudely disrupted doobie.

‘Fucking spooky, Man,’ he silently said to himself, as he took another toke on remains of the joint, inhaled and held his breath. Nick had met Clarissa Cleaver previously but never without Cuthbert being present. Nick clicked on Heddi and put Ynys y Niwl+Llyn Isaf – By-laws and restrictions, into the search engine and waited to see what turned up. There was only one response, on the screen before him.

“You’ve got to be joking,” he spluttered, as he repeated out loud the information on Heddi’s screen. A plume of sweet smoke exited his lungs, through his nose. “Ten miles an hour!” He gasped, “Fuck me, I could swim faster than that, when I was in Junior School!” Nick protested and having gotten over the initial shock of that revelation, he read on. “Shit,” he spluttered. “There’s even a rule about exceeding the permitted decibel levels, in the shore-side gardens.” His interest now piqued, Nick furtively read on, almost as if he were involved in a piece of espionage. A ridiculous mental picture, of a gang of adolescent youth’s in black leather jackets and ice blue jeans, racing up and down the lake on jetski’s, ruining the Lord and Lady Cleaver’s mid-summer lakeside party, enveloping their guests in clouds of exhaust fumes, came to mind. In his fantasy, there appeared to be great waves crashing down on the beach, sweeping all before them.

“Surf’s up,” he quietly stated, while casting a quick look out of the bay window at the lake outside. These unwarranted intrusions of distracting images, which came to him almost unbidden, often danced around in his head and held his attention. They had become more frequent, since he had lost his Mother but Nick, put it all down to a natural sort of trauma and was just, “riding it out.” If it continued over a long period, then he might look into the possibility of engaging a ‘shrink’ but right now, these interludes often did no more harm than making him smile and sometimes delayed him for a few moments.

“O.K, let’s carry on with this ramble through the roses and see what else turns up,” Nick muttered under his breath. As he read on and got further down this list, of what he decided, were mostly petty infractions of the Cleaver’s own vindictive prejudices made manifest, like the one about playing the radio too loudly while fishing. That was a gem of utter spite and from what he’d picked up from his foray’s in The Poacher’s Rest, was undoubtedly concocted in a fit of pique by Lady Cleaver, under the influence of a few Sherries. “She must have been well pissed, that night,” he joked as he read sub clause two, “The penalty for a second infraction of this rule, was the dispatching of the offending radio, to the bottom of the lake.” Nick looked at the words and just to be sure, read them again. “Christ, that really is a bit severe, if you ask me,” he said and broke into a fit of the giggles.

“Far out and solid, you crazy pop pickers,” Nick said theatrically, thrusting his arms out dramatically and then, he started to laugh out loud again. “These people are fucking crazy! Who do they think is going to wade through all these made up regulations and pay any heed them?” There were rules regarding almost everything. The one about being drunk, while ‘in charge of a vessel on The Lake,’ almost made him choke, when he read it. “How can you tell if somebody’s boating erratically,” he wheezed “and the concept of ‘on the spot fines’ levied by old Seth…….Jeeeeez!” Chuckled Nick. “I’m going through ‘Nothing to Declare,’ when I go out there,” he wheezed as a delicious picture of Lord Cuthbert, in a Nazi uniform, chasing Venezuela and him down the lake, sprang instantly into his consciousness. “Oh god, Man,” he laughingly wheezed “and to think that you bought this cottage, off those two idiots.” With that, he flopped back onto the Lazy Boy and put the last inch of his oft disrupted joint between his lips and re-lit it.


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