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Thompson’s Lost Plimsole

Part fifteen

 The felons’ car was driven into the old stable yard at the rear of the school, so as not to alert anyone trespassing on the school grounds. As Colin and his passengers alighted from the vehicle, they were met by the school caretaker, Mr Twist, who was universally known throughout the school by the pupils as Oliver Twist, Twisty or simply as Olly. Charles Twist was a tall thin man with a gaunt expression, a burn scar on one side of his face and a pronounced limp. Mr Twist was short on conversation; hence little was known about his background other than that he had served during the First World War and had spent some time rehabilitating in a nursing home on the south coast. His quarters were in the former servants’ wing, well away from the main part of the school and that is how he liked it. It was quiet, he had his armchair, his books, a gramophone record player, and a roaring fire. He wanted for nothing more than that. There were no pictures on the walls of his small living room, just a small framed photograph on the mantlepiece of a young man in the uniform of a Royal Flying Corps officer. Mr Twist had a pickaxe handle in one hand and an old service revolver in the other. “I’m pleased you’ve arrived, Sir” he said to Mr McQueen. “There’s some funny goings on down near the old chapel and I didn’t want to disturb the Headmaster, so I was going to investigate on my own”. “I know” replied Colin, “and that’s why I’ve brought these officers with me. I was assaulted earlier this evening by them and I was kidnapped and there’s a couple of monks downstairs in the cellar and one of them has been shot in the backside and there’s a small boy with a strong punch who I caught smoking and…” Mr McQueen was cut off abruptly by the Sgt. “Yes, yes, sir, we’ve had that story half a dozen times on the way here. what we need now is a plan of action. Mr Twist, you accompany me and show us where you saw the trespassers. Constables Blott and Perkins, you two go round the edge of the wooded area and wait for the signal from my torch just in case anyone makes a bolt for it. Mr McQueen, I’d like you to wait here with Miss Clench and make sure no harm comes to her”. The officers made their way to the front of the school and then disappeared into the darkness. Colin turned to speak to Miss Clench who he believed was still sitting in the rear of the car. She wasn’t!

Hepzibah Clench had slipped away quietly and was now making her way along the woodland path leading to the site of the ruined chapel. Films such as The Mad Axeman of Donegal, The House on Hangman’s Hill, and The Corpse in the Copse, had taught her a number of lessons on how to move silently through tangled thicket, how to time the sweeping beam of a prison camp searchlight and how to recognise the sound of a real owl as opposed to someone pretending to be an owl. She tensed as she heard a twig snap behind her. Someone close by whispered her name. “Miss Clench is that you?”. “It might be, who’s this?” she whispered back. “It’s me, Colin, we met outside the shop. I was the one who got kidnapped and…” She cut him off. “Yes, yes, please not again! how did you find me?”  “I followed the scent of Lily of the Valley; you were supposed to stay in the car”. Colin moved a little closer but even with his years of martial arts training, the floor of this untended wood was a veritable bed of dead and dry branches. Another branch snapped underfoot at which point an owl hooted. “That’s not a real owl,” whispered Hepzibah, “it’s someone pretending to be an owl”. In the distance they could hear voices and could vaguely make out the shape of a small lorry and two figures moving about. One of the figures was moving towards them. Miss Clench moved silently behind a large tree and Colin crouched low in the darkness. Within moments the figure was beside them. A torchlight flashed on and as the beam moved back and forth, the light illuminated the white handbag on the arm of Miss Clench. The hooded figure made towards Miss Clench and, sensing danger, Colin emerged from his hiding place. The beam of light now shone in Colin’s face. He could also see that the hooded character was also in possession of a pistol. The monk motioned with the gun for Colin to step onto the pathway and then turned in the direction of Miss Clench, obviously not quickly enough, because as he turned his head in her direction, it was met with the full force of a half house brick filled handbag.   

Meanwhile, Old Twisty and the Police officers were making their various ways towards the old chapel.  There had been a number of impressive buildings over the centuries where the present school now stood, and the old chapel once formed part of a Knights Templar Preceptory, reputed to be the third wealthiest Preceptory after Lincoln and London. There had always been rumours that these local Templar’s had buried much of their wealth prior to the dissolution of their order, in, or near the chapel; and some archaeological excavations had taken place in the late Victorian period, but nothing of value had ever been found. That is, until a few years ago when some of the school’s boy scout troop were camping out in the woods and had found a gold coin whilst digging a latrine. The find caused a sensation in the town and prompted further exploratory excavations. However, nothing else was found apart from Scout Master Mr Robinson’s glass eye, which had popped out during a heavy bout of coughing due to an excess of pepper in the Cock-a-Leekie soup.

The various sighting over the last few years of red eyed wolfhounds, hooded monks, ghostly apparitions, and also the mysterious fire that had gutted the old chapel, had caused it to be a no go area. However, it hadn’t been phantoms this evening that had beaten and kidnapped Mr McQueen or punched him in the groin!  These ghosts were definitely of the mortal species and at least one of them was out of his dorm after lights out.


Published by crispinunderfelt

All round good egg. Humanist and red wine drinker.

8 thoughts on “Thompson’s Lost Plimsole

  1. That house brick is sure getting some frequent flier miles. Will all become clear in the light of day? Can Colin kick his way out of the impending doom and gloom? Will the faux owl take flight? Can the White naugahyde handbag take any more strain…

    Liked by 1 person

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