|The Long Gallery (standard:mystery, 1490 words) [1/6] show all parts|
|Author: Brian Cross||Updated: Oct 02 2015||Views/Reads: 10754/1009||Part vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Daisy Truman has inherited Harvest Hall, a rambling country house on the Sussex/Kent border. But why has her uncle left it to her, and what are the memories surrounding her childhood that she cannot recall? Chapter one of my new mystery/drama.|
The Long Gallery Chapter One Adam Belmont shook his head, shot a sceptical look at the woman by his side. ‘Doesn't it seem strange after all these years – I mean to be back at your uncle's old house? If you ask me he hasn't done you any favours leaving it to you, what with the maintenance of all this land and everything that goes with it. And the change to your lifestyle, are you sure you can cope with it? It's going to be too much for you, if you ask me.' ‘I wasn't aware that I'd asked you.' Daisy Truman bit her lip; ignored Adam's resentful glance. She clutched her hands together and held them down by her waist, then slid them down the fabric of her blue denims. Yes, it did seem strange, but no stranger than the circumstances that had brought her back to Harvest Hall. And now that she was the unlikely inheritress of the old manor, she was going to see it through. Besides, this was no time to display reservations, to appear flustered. Of course she could bloody well cope, and no, it wasn't going to be too much for her. She'd always had resolve, and although she couldn't say why she felt it exactly, there was a sense of challenge here, one she was going to take up ... Daisy took a deep breath, brushed away the rogue strands of long curly fair hair that swept around her oval face and gazed at her friend long and hard. She fought back the acid Adam's comment had brought to her throat and chose a more reflective stance than she'd intended. ‘There really isn't a choice; I have to take it up.' Her mind wandered momentarily as she stood on the edge of the forest staring downhill, taking in the finery of the place, with its four imposing chimneys reaching up towards the windswept heavens, proud and indomitable, whilst below them the estate's grassy fields rolled upward across the acres to where she stood. This was a place that evoked mixed memories of her childhood, some unexplained, some cloaked in mystery that her mind struggled but failed to unravel, but notwithstanding that, this was an estate in need of attention since her uncle had passed away – the pleasant, expansive greenery was in danger of becoming a wilderness. However, with a little work and care, maybe – ‘Why do you have no choice? You can always sell it, fetch a pretty penny,' Adam was saying, not prepared to let the issue drop, ‘Perhaps if you find the right agent – there are people who specialise in ...' ‘No, the covenant decrees against that, besides the family have lived here for generations ...” Daisy said firmly, cutting him off in mid-sentence. ‘Then there you go, job done. Lease it out to the family ...' ‘Absolutely not, now drop it Adam.' Daisy clenched her teeth. Irritated by Adam's stance, what did he know about her connections with the Hall? It wasn't just something that could be sold for a ‘pretty penny' as he put it, or simply hived off to the family for that matter. And anyway, she'd not asked him along to cast his vote against her intentions. She sighed, silently, unwilling to give him reason to think he was making headway. He wasn't, of course, but still, he was voicing concern and possibly justifiably; it was going to be a monumental task. She was on a tightrope balanced somewhere between resentment and appreciation, and it resulted in a moderated tone. ‘Look, there has to be a reason why the place was left to me, and besides, I wouldn't give them the satisfaction.' ‘I don't understand all this needle between you and ...' But Daisy Truman was no longer listening. She stood, arms crossed now, her eyes roaming over the large house and estate. Childhood memories had begun to overwhelm her cognition, piercing lances of recollection her mental armour was too weak to fend off. She was in the Magic Garden as they named it – she and William that was – playing their little games on the sunken oval lawn, surrounded by a privet hedge and a circle of stone animals which William incessantly Click here to read the rest of this story (91 more lines)
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