Rings and Fings Episode 4

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Rachael still could not work out how she got here.

The police and ambulance people told her that her wrecked Volvo was in a field more than a mile from her house.

She sent them all away with gracious thanks for their concern and efforts.

The paramedics wanted her to go to the hospital; the police were very curious about how she was able to walk to her house while she was knocked out.

“Stranger things have happened,” she told the handsome copper, Constable Stevens. “I just hope my eight-track is okay.” He laughed.

"Well," he said looking back at the ambulance, it's doors still and impatient EMTs shuffling around, "Last chance for the limo."

"I fine," she smiled, "I feel fine." She lied.

She watched everyone leave, single file down the lane that ran to the road from her house. When they had all gone away she closed the heavy front door and rubbed her head. She headed up the short hallway and turned left into her kitchen.

It was a typical country kitchen and the largest room in the house. It had a stone floor and a huge black range which spread nearly halfway down the right wall, a bench and a long wooden table stretched along the left wall, and a big window above deep granite sinks looked out of the back of the farmhouse.

She stepped over to the sink and looked out of the window

It was pitch black out there so all she could see was her reflection and that stupid bandage around her head. She shivered, it was cold upon cold in this house during winter, but it was the middle of summer. There was no need to light fires.

Rachael decided she needed a drink. It had been a monumentally bad day and despite the advice of the medics she grabbed the Laphroig from the cabinet at the back of the kitchen pulled the cork and took a large swig as she reached into the freezer for her favourite drinking glass.

She sat down heavily on the long bench, and poured some scotch into her frosty glass. “No ice, chilly scotch,” she thought to herself.

She drank. The golden liquid scorched her throat and she found herself staring at the picture on the wall opposite her. It was one of her Mum’s acquisitions. She said she had bought it locally and she loved it. Rachael had always found it creepy, just like the owl on the stairs or the picture of the Maori warrior on the hallway table.

The picture was of a church at night time; isolated on a steep hill. A path ran down the hill through a damaged cemetery to the base of the picture, and as she stared, with her brain turning fuzzy, she saw a figure she had never noticed before. It was a gaunt man in a black suit looking like he had just walked down that path. As she focused on his grey face it suddenly seemed like he was staring back at her, she shivered, then quickly downed some more whiskey.

“Must be that bang on the noggin.”

The loud banging made her jump so much so Laphroig splashed onto the wooden table, she gulped.

“Who’s that?” she said to herself, maybe the police had come back.

Scotch in hand, she made her way to the front door. She noticed she had not bolted it. That annoyed her.

Rachael swung the door open. “Evening Rachael.” It was farmer Spike, a large gruff man, he owned most of the farmland around here, and definitely wanted to own Kelly Mill.

“Yes Mister Spike,” she sipped from her glass, “How can I help you this evening?”

Farmer Spike lifted off his dusty flat cap, “Just checking you are okay neighbour, heard you crashed.”

Probably wishes I was dead, she thought.

“Yes I did,” she said curtly taking another swig of the whisky.

“Well I thought that if you needed anything, well you know.”

“No thank you, I’m fine.” She began to close the door.

“That smells like good whisky, Miss….”

“It is.” Rachael slammed the door, her last glimpse of the boorish farmer were his shocked blue eyes and that great big scruffy beard.

She squatted down and bolted the door with the heavy iron bolt the blacksmith had made for them.

“Them,” she mused. Her parents hadn’t been here for a long time.

“Humph, yuck,” she uttered as she walked back to the kitchen for more sitting, staring and drinking.

She stopped and swore as the door knocked again. “Grrrr . . .” Rachael spun and quickly reached the door, “What do you want?”

Silence.

Squatting down again she slid the bolt without spilling a drop of her drink, rose up and swung the door open, “What do you …….”

Rachael stepped back and nearly dropped her glass; it was her turn to be wide-eyed.

Standing in her dark doorway, framed by the stars of the valley, was a tall figure dressed all in black, heavy long overcoat and a tri-cornered hat.

It was the street performer.

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