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Rings and Fings Episode 4A
Rachael stopped moving and managed to speak to the tall smiling man standing in her doorway.
“What do you want?”
The man lifted off his hat and bowed in one swift movement.
“The police were just here, I could call them back you know.”
The smiling man recovered from his bow, holding the hat to his chest. He looked behind as if he was looking for Bobbies lingering in the bushes.
“Madam, my dear lady, I assure you that I mean you no harm.”
His voice was deep and liquid. There was something weird about it, and it wasn’t just the medieval fair speak.
He continued, “I saw the sign, and I am betwixt villages,” he turned gesturing towards the stars, “and with the storm coming in and all.”
Rachael looked beyond him at the crystal clear night.
The traveler actually looked shocked. “Why, the sign at the entrance to your farm.”
She stared at him.
“The sign says, 'farmer is friendly to travelers, offers a shelter in the barn and food in exchange for labour'.”
Rachael took a swig of her whisky. “I’ve never seen that sign.”
“I can assure you dear lady that not only is it there, but has been there for a very long time,” He looked at her intensely, “Is this not your family’s farm?”
Rachael gazed at him.
Due to the accident and the scotch things were becoming a little fuzzy.
He was tall and lean. His face was narrow and handsome. He looked young but seemed as though he had been around a while. He had a large pointy nose, but it looked good on his face. Long thick black hair flowed over his shoulders. She could not see his eyes clearly; they seemed dark and hidden in shadow.
She did remember something her Dad had told her once about old gypsy signs that were found the world over. Only the Romany could make them and read them. Typically they indicated whether a village or town was friendly to them and what kind of trade was available or welcome there. Individual buildings and walls were marked for similar reasons, and apparently she had one at the end of her lane.
“How about that?”
Rachael promised herself that she would find this sign, and probably remove it, tomorrow.
Right now though she wanted to get rid of this dark bloke and get back to her drinking.
“Look,” she said, “I don’t believe there is a storm coming, but seeing as I have the sign, ” she lifted her palms toward him and spread her fingers, as if she was trying to indicate TEN to him. He looked puzzled for a second. “You can stay in the barn if you want to,” she offered.
The stranger turned and glanced in the direction of the dark barn.
“But, be warned I bolt every door and window, and I have a Purdey.”
He nodded slightly, looking perplexed. “It’s a shotgun, and I have a cell phone so cutting the wires won’t stop me calling the police back.”
Shaking off confusion the man the man started to speak. “As you wish dear lady, but I . . .” Rachael stepped forward and slammed the door before he could finish.
“Why do I keep on having to slam my door on people tonight?” she muttered.
She put an ear to the door. Nothing. She went on tip toes, peering through the crescent moon window and saw the man gripping his old lack bag as he made his way up to the barn.
“I will put some food out here for you soon,” she shouted.
“Moley, I am treating him like a dog.”