Three Mile Drove

Three Mile Drove Three Mile Drove

Status: Finished

Genre: Horror


Status: Finished

Genre: Horror


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.


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.

Chapter7 (v.1) - Three Mile Drove, Chapter Five

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: September 22, 2007

Reads: 357

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: September 22, 2007



Three Mile Drove

Chapter Five

McPherson parked his car in the rear yard of the “Bird In Hand,” but he hadn’t got his mind on a drink just yet. It was a short walk from the pub to the vicarage, where he’d arranged an appointment with the parson, David Endleberry.

The nineteenth century building lay back from the street, dark and sombre, flanked either side by cedar trees. Just a faint light illuminated the porch and a yellow glimmer emanated from behind the curtains of a downstairs room.

It seemed a rambling property for somebody who lived alone, but then Claire had told him that the house served as a meeting place for several groups in the community, including apparently, the attic, which provided a club for the local children.

Endleberry must have seen or heard him approaching because the door was opened before he reached the porch step. ‘Come in Sergeant.’ In the dimly lit hallway, Endleberry, a tall gaunt man, stood aside and ushered him through. ‘Not often we see your lot in our neck of the woods,’ he said closing the door, ‘nothing too amiss I trust.’

‘Damned awful night,’ McPherson said, hearing the parson’s remark but not responding directly. He bit his lip at blaspheming the moment he’d crossed over the threshold, though Endleberry hadn’t seemed to have taken offence as he took off his coat and hung it on the stand.

Endleberry lead him through to a front room which fitted its nineteenth century status every bit, ‘Take a seat won’t you, what can I get you, tea – coffee perhaps?’

‘No thanks,’ McPherson politely declined; he had his sights set on something stronger once he’d finished his business here.

‘There can’t be many goings-on around these parts that escape your eye Mr. Endleberry,’ McPherson paused, not really sure how to address the man appropriately - what was it, vicar, parson, something like that?

Endleberry seemed to be aware of his dilemma because he gave a smile, ‘David will do,’ he said. ‘I take a particular interest in the community as I’m sure you’re aware, otherwise I doubt that you’d be calling on me, though there are one or two other small communities that consume my time. As a matter of fact you caught me on one of my quieter evenings.’

‘I’m glad about that,’ McPherson leaned forward, clasping his hands together, examining his fingertips, then shooting Endleberry a glance, ‘I’ll come straight to the point, how much do you know about Three Mile Drove, the derelict house midway along it in particular?’

Endleberry shrugged, sitting himself opposite; a middle-aged man, his face seemed lined with leathery furrows, ‘Not much at all Sergeant, why do you ask?’

‘Call me Tim. My enquiry surrounds a missing child,’ McPherson said with marked gravity, ‘I was called to a spot on the drove where the girl was reportedly sighted, close to a derelict house.’

McPherson recounted his experience as he settled his eyes on Endleberry. The fire in the grate threw out almost as much light as the low-wattage bulb in the ancient table lamp, and through it he thought he saw the grooves in Endleberry’s skin thicken. Surely, McPherson thought, Endleberry had more than a little knowledge of what went on around these parts.

But when he’d finished Endleberry simply sighed and shook his head. ‘I’m sorry you didn’t find your missing child Tim, all I can tell you about the old place is that it’s not been lived in since the mid sixties.’

‘Who were the last occupants?’

Endleberry frowned, rubbing his fingers through the thick furrows of his forehead, ‘I’m not sure, it was a long time back,’ he met the policeman’s firm gaze, ‘but I can check.’ Endleberry drew himself up, crossing the room to an old bureau, taking from it an ageing leather binder and flicking through its yellowing pages, ‘Yes, an old couple by the name of Henry and Maisie Thompson. I recall it now, the old man died of pneumonia and that instead of seeking medical help he tried to ride it out, only to pass the illness onto his wife who survived him by just a few days.’

McPherson nodded, ‘And that was it? No survivors to inherit the place?’

Endleberry coughed, shaking his head, ‘What happened thereafter was all down to rumour, but rumour had it that the place had been bequeathed to a child too young to occupy the property and that consequently it had fallen in to an increasing state of disrepair. I’m afraid that it’s a complete mystery; who the youngster was, and what became of it nobody seems to know, nor even if the child was aware of its inheritance.’

Endleberry shook his head again, ‘But a scenario such as you’ve just described, I just don’t see it frankly.’ He walked to the window, made a minor adjustment to a curtain that flapped in the draught and turned to face McPherson, ‘The conditions, the children you say you saw, yes, there are families out on the fens who keep to themselves, old habits die hard, especially in the fens, but I don’t see…’

‘The scenes I witnessed weren’t about family,’ McPherson protested, Endleberry was making it all seem like all he’d stumbled on was a children’s playroom, ‘The kids I saw were grotesquely distorted, the conditions in that place were a pit of filth, I’ve told you, animal limbs, excrement – surely to God…’

He stopped. The Grandfather clock boomed out seven enormous chimes, resounding enough to wake the dead. He reminded himself of his surroundings and tried to curb his frustration.

‘Sergeant - Tim,’ Endleberry moved to the fireplace, spreading out his hands as if about to start a sermon, ‘What you probably saw were children from a nearby farm, they probably seemed deformed to you but there’s an explanation. You see for a long time in the fens, inbreeding was a fact of life; minor deformities are commonplace, there’s nothing grotesque about it, I can assure you.’

‘Inbreeding,’ McPherson muttered, ‘what’s that?’ the word meant nothing to him.

‘Yes,’ Endleberry affirmed, raising his eyebrows at McPherson’s ignorance, he crossed the room to an oak bookcase, selecting a book from the second shelf. ‘Here, read up on it, it’s folklore in these parts.’

McPherson accepted the copy without taking his eyes off Endleberry, ‘I still say they were grotesque, like nothing I’ve seen before, and what about the rotting carcasses and excrement, what logical explanation do you have for that?’

Endleberry seemed to rise above McPherson’s sarcasm, ‘Tim you told me that upon your return everything had vanished, as if the place had been magically tidied up. The place you’ve described has been derelict for years, it’s bound to be a trifle dirty, wouldn’t you say? The rest I think is down to your imagination, if I dare to suggest as much. I think you might have over-reacted a little, you know conjured up something that wasn’t really there. Stress can do that to you, did you know that?’

McPherson could only stare, he judged it was time to leave; he was boiling at Endleberry’s dismissive attitude, amazed at it. The scene he’d witnessed bore no comparison to civilised life, if the missing child had entered this grizzly mess she was in dire trouble, it might already be too late. And he had witnessed it, this wasn’t a figment of a stressed out mind, no matter what Mr. pompous parson said.

‘Thanks for your time at any rate,’ McPherson gave Endleberry a curt nod, gathered his coat from the stand and made for the door.

The parson and the vicarage had plenty in common; they seemed encapsulated in a time warp.

** *

© Copyright 2018 Brian Cross. All rights reserved.


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