The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 26…Hinckley Common

The air was cold on Hinckley Common. Simple-minded Gorse and tough grass lay moistened by early morning dew. A grubbing stream of undisciplined water splashed up from the rakish earth and grumbled its way awkwardly down the Heath.

He was carelessly superior. ‘I do think this is such an evoking spot!’ he grinned at her foolishly, as if looking for some support to his observation. She remained silent, suspicious of his sudden motive for their being there. He had groaned and moaned the upward climb and now he had brought her to a spot beside a large Hawthorn bush that seemed to oversee the inclining hill beneath them. He spread a thick Tartan blanket on the ground and placed a small wicker food hamper on top of it.

‘Come on… Sit down.’ It almost sounded like a command. ‘You will like it here.’ he added.

He kissed her cheek when she sat down. She moved away from him a little without really thinking about it. ‘Something wrong my child.’ His words were thoughtful, yet his eyes searched her, almost probing her it seemed for some sign of weakness.

She smiled churlishly and said nothing. Thoughtlessly she undid the straps of the wicker basket. He watched her intently, and then said: ‘I wonder what goodies Rose has packed for us.’ The remark somehow was out of character to his mood. They ate chicken sandwiches and drank half a bottle of wine. They made awkward small talk and Edward remarked on the prettiness of their situation.

‘This is grand’… he announced …’And what about Charles?’ Suddenly his face had deepened and was now as black as thunder.

Her body stiffened and her mind froze.

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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