May 21, 2009
Letters on the grave.
Since the stranger's visit at Cranshawe's cafe, rumors were buzzing around the village. Was what he had said actually true? Who was he? How did he know so much about this old, sad story? And what had happened to Peter Whitcome's family?
"You know, it's really about time we put this whole incident behind us," said Reverend Holtworth in his church office. Thomas Black had come by to tell him the latest rumors. He actually felt a bit childish reporting the stranger's tale, but, on the other hand, he felt that the vicar should know what was being talked about. "I've no doubt some idiot was up there in the bell tower and disappeared before we got there. And now, well, you know village stories. They just get bigger and bigger," said Thomas appologetically, seeing a look of irritation growing on the vicar's face. "Well, we've both got work to do, Thomas, but I appreciate you letting me know. I've got a regional meeting in an hour, and a wedding to do out of town this afternoon," said the vicar putting on his overcoat. "I hear you," said Thomas, "I've got orders up to my ears; business is good at the moment. We can hardly turn out enough cabinets; everyone seems to want them." He followed the vicar out of the church and to the parking lot. "We've got a lot to be thankful for," said the vicar out of his window as he drove off.
Thomas stood and watched him leave. He considered him a good friend. The Black family had been church men for generations, vicars even. Thomas was the first to break that tradition. He had a passion for wood, and building, so as he was a straight forward man, he had set up his own business and done well. But he had an attachment to things of the church, and would help out where and when he could. He took a deep breath, taking in the view of the village that he loved so much. Everything was green or in flower, and the air was heavy with the smells of the season. As he turned his head to look at the trees in the graveyard, his eye caught a light, dry spot among the graves. He walked over and saw that a large clump of ivy had been pulled back from what looked like a very old grave. He bent down and wiped the earth away from the lettering. W-H-I-T-C-O-M-E. He stood up quickly, eyes wide, and he looked around, to see if anyone else was close by. It must have been a recent uncovering, because the ivy roots were not completely dry.