Three Mile Drove

Three Mile Drove Three Mile Drove

Status: Finished

Genre: Horror

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Horror

Summary

A faded rock musician inherits a smallholding in the English fens and finds himself plunged into a hidden world of kidnap, inbreeding and ultimately murder.

Summary

A faded rock musician inherits a smallholding in the English fens and finds himself plunged into a hidden world of kidnap, inbreeding and ultimately murder.

Chapter5 (v.1) - Chapter Four (part one)

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 26, 2007

Reads: 299

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 26, 2007

A A A

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CHAPTER THREE

Darren Goldwater had been feeling low, in fact about as low as he could recall. Even allowing for his all night drink and drug sessions, the aftermath had seldom left him feeling as dejected and depressed as this. He’d finally slit open the official looking white envelope that lay on the mat, but with all the enthusiasm of a production line operative on a grim Monday morning. He frowned at the contents, then ran his jaded eyes over the letter again.

It was from a solicitor, Henley and Son, of Ely, Cambridgeshire. From his experience a solicitor’s letter invariably spelt trouble, though not on this occasion it seemed. An elderly relative had passed away, leaving him his bungalow that also included a smallholding of approximately fifty acres. Apparently, with no other relatives to pass the place onto, it had been handed down to him.

Sam Regan was the name of the deceased, a cousin of his parents, Bill and Janet who had died in a train crash three years back. Not for the first time he lost the battle to stop his mind travelling back, like an unwilling prisoner to a grim jail, at the memory of the night he’d returned home to find a card on his mat. He’d been playing a gig, got back in the early hours and picked up the note from the constabulary, it asked him to contact them.

He thought it must be some minor misdemeanour, he’d done himself, perhaps reported for dangerous driving or something, so he’d left it until morning, only to find that there had been a fatal train crash somewhere in the west country. His parents had been travelling back from a holiday there, the train they had been on had collided head on with another, there had been many fatalities, and they had been amongst them. They had been identified by their belongings.

He’d felt a pit opening in the core of his stomach; it had seemed big enough to engulf him. It had been the last thing that he or anybody could have expected, but a cruel reminder of the gut wrenching shocks that life could lay on you.

He turned around, clearing his head of the painful memories and laid the letter on a kitchen worktop.

There was a distant notion that he’d visited the old codger with his parents, as a youngster. He could vaguely recall a dingy, brown place, set amidst a flat, equally uninteresting landscape and of encountering an untidy, middle aged man with abominable toiletry habits.

The news of the inheritance had hardly driven Darren into a fit of ecstasy, it was not as if he had inherited the national lottery when all said and done. For one thing, if the bungalow had seemed to be in a bad state to the mind of a child, what was it likely to be like now, as he, himself, approached middle age? And what of the countryside, from what he could recall it had been about as inviting to him as a lunar landscape. In short, what would he do with the place other than abandon it to rot?

On the other hand his music career seemed at an end if he were to face facts, with no prospect of resurrection. His relations with his former band members looked like erupting into bitter acrimony, and worse, his long time affair with the tempestuous Goldie had sunk to new depths. He had no prospect of maintaining his current extravagant lifestyle and little or no chance of meeting his current financial commitments.

Time for a change perhaps, but what the hell did he know about smallholding? He supposed it wouldn’t do any harm to pay the place a visit. Darren glanced at the letter again; the address of the place was given as Old Bridge Farm, Three Mile Drove, Bramble Dyke. Where the hell was that? Somewhere near Ely he guessed.

Darren dropped the letter onto a kitchen work surface and then climbed the stairs to the small box room he used as a study. He grabbed an atlas from the bookcase, ignoring the loose top cover as it fell to the floor; he flipped through the worn pages of the index. No trace of Bramble Dyke, but what did he expect? From his hazy memories the place had hardly seemed the hub of civilisation.

No matter. He would have a shower and a good night’s sleep, give his drink-ridden head time to clear and then leave for Ely in the morning, where he would seek out Henley and Son collect the key and the exact details of the location.

The phone rang but he made no attempt to answer it. A verbal blasting from Goldie wasn’t exactly desirable right now, neither was a useless, lengthy argument with the other discontented band members.

But the damned thing wouldn’t stop ringing, it felt as though it had been planted inside his head and every resonation seemed to send a shock wave through him. He felt like ripping the thing from its wall bracket and cursed himself for not switching on the answerphone.

Even as he grabbed it the last ring died away, and as he held the receiver to his ear and heard only the dialling tone, Darren wasn’t sure whether he felt irritation or relief that the caller had finally rung off.

Dial 1471 something prompted him. No leave it; he dismissed the temptation forthwith. What could he possibly gain from it in any case? Additional hassle, that was all.

It was mid morning by the time Darren rose, having habitually been a late riser he was normally too knackered either from the after-effects of an evening performance, or because he’d consumed too much drink or smoked grass until his head revolved like a whirligig.

He flung into the Jeep only what he thought he might need, and that simply amounted to toiletries and a change of clothes. He wasn’t sure how long he would be staying but he couldn’t imagine it being all that long. He’d packed his guitar chiefly because it accompanied him wherever he went, but right now he could scarcely imagine playing a note. By way of after thought he grabbed his mobile phone, though he left it switched off, he wasn’t prepared to accept calls now, they would serve no purpose. He thought that at various times during the night he’d heard the main phone ringing but dismissed it as a product of his personal antagonist – a subconscious mind that whirled and spun while he was asleep, creating a string of broken images of Goldie and the band, which although they leaked from his head like a vapour trail in the morning light, nevertheless left a bitter imprint, an unpleasant reminder that they had been there.

Darren chucked his leather blazer containing his wallet into the Jeep and climbed in. He took a final look at his atlas, found what he was looking for, then slipped the Jeep into gear. It didn’t seem too much of a journey, a little over one hundred miles perhaps; he might travel several times as much as that during the course of an average week.

The wipers flicked quickly to and fro across the windshield. The rain that had started the previous evening was forming rivulets in the gutter and then being channelled furiously into the drains as Darren exited the street.

By being a late riser he had avoided the rush hour traffic but progress through the city centre was slow, hampered by commercial traffic and the simple fact that every set of traffic lights seemed to have conspired to change to red as he approached.

Should it really matter though, was speed of the essence? As long as he arrived in Ely before the solicitor’s office closed, and he had plenty of time to do that, then there wasn’t a problem. It was just that in his current, frenetic state of mind even the smallest obstacle provided the greatest frustration. He’d ten or more years of rock band turbulence to blame for that. Years of late night gigs, early morning sleep-ins, afternoon booze-ups, and sex with Goldie before their inevitable rows which could last into the evening, whereupon the whole circle began again.

It seemed an age before Darren finally left the city confines behind, but slowly the claustrophobic streets gave way to the more agreeable suburbs, and then to the rolling farmland beyond. But Darren’s irritation subsided only slowly as both the roads and the landscape opened out, because with the turmoil and upheaval he’d encountered of late he felt he’d still be on edge if he spent three months in a peaceful, idyllic location like the Bahamas. So no minor change of location was going to transform or pacify his mind, he was certain of that.

Suddenly a thought flashed through his mind. He’d forgotten the afternoon engagement, or drinking session in reality, that he’d arranged with a mate in Peterborough. His mind had been so overloaded this last day or two the thought had gone clean out of his head.

Not that he didn’t appreciate the opportunity to duck out. God how the place depressed him. It was the point at which the lie of the land descended to pancake status. Caution you are now entering boredom zone, switch off any stimulating thought, it didn’t belong there. You only had to observe how they drove in Peterborough, and be forever watchful. And driving through the place was a nightmare. It was full of geriatric old gits who hogged the middle of the road because they weren’t capable of driving within the confines of one particular lane, and even then you had to be wary when they approached a junction, you needed psychic abilities to anticipate their intentions. And wherever you wanted to park you couldn’t do it because the streets were lined with cars displaying blue disability stickers, normally abandoned about two feet from the kerb. If they couldn’t drive why didn’t they confine themselves to electric wheelchairs and do everyone a favour.

Darren found himself recalling a gig the band had performed in the city a few years back at a stadium not far from the football ground. They had been at their prime then, and in those days both vocal and instrumental performance had been good. The overall harmony was at its peak, but judging by the response of the audience that night he’d thought they’d have been better advised to spend the night meditating in a monastery. No, when all said and done he wasn’t disappointed at having to miss out on his visit.

Somewhere close to Wisbech Darren pulled into a lay-by and gave himself a breather from the monotony of the journey. The rain still seemed as though it was being hurled down from a vast upturned bucket and the skies seemed to enclose him like a huge grey dome. But at least he was nearly there, if that was anything to be enthusiastic about. In about thirty minutes he’d be in Ely, and on the verge of discovering what his inheritance really amounted to. Darren broke into an ironic smile as he edged the Jeep out of its temporary sanctuary.

* * *


© Copyright 2018 Brian Cross. All rights reserved.

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