Whistle on the wynd part 1
Josh rubbed his three day stubble and turned towards Lyn, who wore her mask well.
The kids were being noisy and the traffic was heavy. A combination that Josh knew,always made her nervous. leading to that tell he knew so well. A slight shake of her tousled blonde hair and that fake smile, that hid her boiling rage. On days like this he wish he could drive. But years of epileptic seizures had closed a door to that. In the back seat of their marine Seat Ibiza, Eleanor 10, Jessica 8 and A.J 6 were bored and painfully showing it to thier frustrated audience.
‘Are we there yet’ called Eleanor
‘-No not yet.’ Josh replied.
‘-Ouch!’ blurted out Jess
‘-Eleanor leave your sister alone!’ Came Lyn’s retort.
-'DAAAD! She’s pinching me. AJ protested
‘Kids keep the noise down.’
Giggles laughter, screams.
‘Come on now girls, mummy is trying to drive.’ Josh sighed.
They stopped the car at the old priory. It was a pre-arranged decision to stop here for a picnic, before returning back home to Exeter, after the weekend at his once best man, Steve and his wife Pauline’s rambling home in Plymouth. Mainly as it was a handy place to let the kids remove some of their energy, in what had been already been an arduous journey and a terrible weekend.
Josh desperately wanted to forget the weekend and especially those silent messages which passed between Lyn and Steve, that became painfully obvious and personally embarrassing after they consumed two bottles of wine.
It was a sultry early afternoon. The sky had thick rolling, dark clumpy cloud that threatened rain. The overgrown grass blew wildly about the wooden fences and the foreground of the abbey; whose dark corners , broken arches and tumbledown buildings made of ancient grey stone mixed with the rich red rock of Devon. Stood out against the sky. As he walked about taking the scene in with his Canon Dsi, clicking here, pausing to set a frame there; Josh felt a nausea grow. He felt it as strange stabbing in the back of his neck, as if unseen eyes, bloated with a loathing of living things, gazed with cold indifference from the very rock itself.
The nausea increased. Signs of a seizure. He mediated the feelings of anxiety down. This is a ruin. There is nothing out of the ordinary. Its energy is in the stone and the stone is old. The dizziness peaked and then ebbed , a dark tide slid back.
It was A.J, her green eyes shone with the delight of pushing boundaries, as she scaled the wall. She had her mother’s beauty and his love of excitement. Still…
‘AJ get down!’
Giggle. ‘come and get me
‘Come on girls, its food time.’ called Lyn.
Two girls came scrambling out of the skeleton shadows of the abbey,as the one in front of him clambered down the rough grey-stone wall.
Eleanor came over to the blanket
'Look what I’ve found.’
Two tiny hands covered with slimy mud, red clay and sand were open, palms up to reveal in the clinging clay a long narrow tube. The trinity as he sometimes called them, instantly began bickering.
'Give it to me!’
‘No! its mine!’
‘It’s not fair!’
Lyn rummaged in her handbag for the wet wipes. Always there for the emergencies.
‘You can’t eat with hands like that...' hher terse voice rose.
The muddy tube being all things dirty to Lyn, was thrown in the long grass by the fence. Josh put down the camera on corner of the blanket and then walked towards where the muddy tube had been discarded. He picked it up and as he did, his curiosity slowly grew .
The encrusted tube was about five inches long. It glinted with an azure stain in the rich near burgundy slimy red clay. Josh casually walked back to the blanket and picked up the plastic packet of wet wipes already almost empty, due to three mucky little girls and their ferocious appetite for adventure. Carefully he began to remove the clay.
‘Josh put it dow-‘ sigh
‘-but it’s actually quite’ –
‘-Daaaad, it’s probably got dog poo on it-‘ Jess blurted
‘-Errgehh! Daddy picking up!’ AJ squealed
‘Eleanor touched it ffirst !’
'Just leave me alone!’ Eleanor barked.
‘ELL EN OAR!’ Jess and AJ howled at the top of their voices
Oh god kids!
It cleaned up well. It was about five inches in diameter, made of bronze, or brass, he couldn’t tell, but then he wasn’t a metallurgist. He was an unemployed father of three, with a condition that restricted his employment and a degree, that, if he had the ambition, (which right now, he confessed to himself he had little of.) he could turn into something valuable.
‘The writing’s familiar-’
‘-Darling, just put it down.’
He noted that Lyn had that awkward face he recognised. He glanced at her, smiled, slightly, and looked down again. Desperately trying not to hear the tiredness in her voice. Knowing and fearing the distance between them.
‘-It’s has some Anglo Saxon runes on it.’
The soft sweet smelling wipes finally removed the wet clay in a smear across the tube. Through the mud, tiny indentations could be seen. There were runes and they were Anglo Saxon. He was certain of it. He recalled during the Dane law, that began around 638 CE, many practices were exchanged, the writing of runes was one of them. The Anglo Saxon Runic alphabet, differed from the Viking in many respects. Some of this was due to accent an dialect differences between locations; making the runic system exchangeable to a point.
The letters stood out C..al e..n..de h..ae w…ill c…y..me. …Cal ende hae will cyme… call and he will come… Fascinating.
There were also three tiny holes near the bottom of the tube.Taking his pen knife from his pocket he began to slowly remove the wet soil from within the tube.Red muddy water suddenly spilled out onto the blanket.
‘Josh! ’ That tired sigh again.
With a little difficulty he removed the rest of mud clearing it completely.
‘Darling, please put that thing down. ‘ she sounded as if she was talking to a child. She always did.
‘-It’s a, a whistle I think.’
‘-Or some old tat some other tourist dropped while climbing the walls. Darling, you dig something up, Eleanor copies you. ‘
‘-She has a love of historical finds.’
Lyn gave her stare to Josh. The stare that Josh new too well. The stare that said don’t be an arse and be realistic.
‘-Have you seen any jobs lately?’
‘-You’re not looking hard enough. Seven years you have been working towards that bloody degree. Now you have it, start making some money.’
Josh looked down and away from the kids. Lyn had said that in front of them deliberately.
‘-Why don’t you look for work.’
‘-We’ve been there Josh. For Christs sake don’t be an arse.’
‘What’s an arse Daddy?’ AJ looked up innocently.
Josh walked away. He found Eleanor at his side a moment later.
‘I love you daddy.’
‘I love you too p-.’ He was going to say pumpkin, but changed his mind, as she was recently diagnosed as having Asperger syndrome Ergo she would not understand a metaphor. She never would. A sad lump formed in his throat. Then he faked a grin and looked at this their eldest daughter with love.
‘Tell me… where did you find it?’
Eleanor smiled and led Josh to the western wall.
‘Just down there Dad.’ She said quietly.
‘Dad, why is Mummy like that?’
Mummy is worried that there isn’t enough money to keep us in our home Mummy hates daddy Mummy has met Steve and thinks he’ s better fuck It happens.Josh’s eyes became strained.
‘It’s nothing to worry about darling.’
The words sounded empty in his voice, Josh knew that Eleanor was smart enough to pick up on it.
‘So where exactly did you find it?’
She pointed down at the base of the wall.
Both of them looked at the hole recently uncovered by the weekend rain. Feeling a little nervous and not knowing why, Josh put his hand into the earth and felt something hard and narrow. He pulled at it. With a soft plop the earth released its secret. It was the topper most part of a human skeletal finger.