The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 52… Plain truth

With Charles insistence on just a darkened room. Bill suggested the old stone smoke house at the back of the cottage. ‘We’ve not used it since we moved here and there are no windows, so it may suit your purpose Charlie.’ With thought of having brought most he needed with him, he returned to the car for those items that would be useful. Once his photographs became stable from the dim light of his occasional striking match, the pictures seem to be taking on very different images from those he had seen at the ruins. Through Esme’s mind set, he could see the those fine green laws, those beautiful dancing ladies. This magnificent house of true splendour. A place of dreams. A place of hope and love abounded in its every crevice, every fragment of its brick and stone. Now it was there, alive and in those pictures.

‘Look, this is the plain truth. Look at the photographs.’ All of you. ‘This is what Esme saw. For some reason, I was not part of the vision. Somehow, Rebecca Haig planted those images within my shots of the ruins. I don’t no how. Perhaps, she can’t get into my mind. Perhaps, this was her way for me.’ The other three sat around the kitchen table, at first not able to speak, concerned for the truthful reality. That this was a very special place. Moments passed, before Esme spoke very quietly. ‘Then, here we have it. Bill and Margarita’s feelings are right about this place, and those of the villagers. But why, could I hear her wonderful words and see those beautiful images, and yet, Charles did not! Why me? I have no connection with this place!’

‘No… But Tobias does,’ broke in Charles. ‘He is your Guardian Angel. ‘He has charged himself as your protector. He brought you to me when your life near closed on that terrible common. He gave you life and energy. He gave you back to me.

‘Is that why I see him in my thoughts. Because he wants to protect me. Why? I’m sure he has trickery and cunning. Why me?’

‘I’m sure he knows you mean so much to me and that I love you so very dearly.’ Suggested Charles. ‘I’m also very certain that he has ways and powers that are uncommon to me. Odd forces that he can summon at will, and yet, it seems to be a power devoted to helping and healing and not used for evil purposes, although this power that he has, can sometimes be invoked as a correctional tool where there is evil afoot. When I first met him, he arrived quite with purpose at my photographic business and asked if he could live on the premises with me and in return would help me develop my business connections, offering help in any way. His only friend seemed to be a old dull coloured parrot he had with him. A creature, it seemed that would closed both its eyes and slept for most of time. Anyway, I liked him and thought it would be a welcome to have his company, assistance and a somewhat lazy bird.’

Bill and Margarita were silent. This spellbinding side to Charlie was quite unnatural in their minds. To them. he always had been a person of creation and complete self interest.

‘Please go on Charles.’ Said Esme. She could read the Porrit’s thoughts in their faces, but she knew self interest had long since vanished from Charles mind. It had been replaced with her love. That she was quite sure of.

‘In time,’ recalled Charles. ‘I learnt from Toby that his parents had died in a house fire in West London some years before and that he and brother Barney had managed to survive.  Just out of interest and for no other reason than idle curiosity. I read up on the local authority records at the town hall because it puzzled me, how did they survive and their parents did not? Tobias had said no more. So with the records of the event in front of me. I was astounded to read that there were no survivors from this fire and it was believed that all four, two adults and their two young boys had perished, although, the children’s bodies were never discovered and yet, no child has ever come forward to declare themselves… As one or other of the brothers.’

About Patrick

a photographer, writer and blogger, a studio and press photographer since the mid 1960’s, first published writings in 1974

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