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NC2 Death at The Grange. (standard:mystery, 1980 words)
Author: red1holsAdded: Jul 01 2005Views/Reads: 2533/1640Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Ernest Potts, the owner of 'The Grange', is dead in the garden. Ernest himself believes his death was unique and will remain unexplained. (1650 Words + blurb)

Death at The Grange. 

Ernest Potts, the owner of The Grange, is dead in the garden. Ernest
himself believes his death was unique and will remain unexplained. 

People milled around the gardens of ‘The Grange'. Under the shade of the
Magnolia tree, two men in white coveralls examined the body. From the 
patio, a small knot of neighbours watched and gossiped in turns. A 
uniformed policeman watched the neighbours while standing guard at the 
French Windows. 

The spirit of the very recently deceased Ernest Potts stood in the
summer house with the spirit of his longer deceased wife, Elsie. 

“What a carry on!” Ernest exclaimed, “I'm an old man.” 

“Was, dear. You were an old man” His wife patted his arm. “Beside, they
think it an unexplained death. They have to investigate.” 

“Unexplained?” Ernest guffawed. “I'd like to see them solve this one. My
death was totally unique!” 

“It's not our worry now.” His wife snuggled up to his arm. “We've got
eternity to plan for.” 

“Yes, dear.” Ernest said lamely and wandered off towards the forensic

Persopolis Chalmondely-Featherstonehaugh was coming to terms with his
sudden extreme lightness of being. In life, he maintained an ancient 
clockwork toy grace in life. With the great weight lifted, the tortoise 
experimented with a skip, considered a jump, and then sprinted to the 
sooty scorch mark in the middle of the manicured lawn. 

“Percy!” Even after recent events, Ernest insisted on calling him Percy.
“Who'd have thought that tortoises have souls, eh?” 

Unbeknown and unseen by Ernest, the souls of millions of tiny
crustaceans filled the garden. Small groups of them discussed their 
sudden increase in mobility and the large bang. Gangs were setting upon 
the spirits of the crustacean priests. Undertakers were heard cursing 
lost revenue. 

Another spirit tortoise arrived at the black smear on the grass.
Unsteady on his feet and a touch boss eyed, he stared at Persopolis. 
Percy ignored him, sniffed the black grass and quickly drew back his 
head. It took several blinks to clear his vision. That aroma had 
plagued his later years. On still days, especially warm still days, all 
he could do was stay on the move. For a tortoise, that wasn't the 
lifestyle of choice. 

“Do you want to know something ironic?” Ernest kneeled down and looked
at Persopolis. “Not that tortoises understand irony, I suppose.” 

Persopolis made the mistake of turning to face Ernest. It wasn't that
she understood irony. In fact, Persopolis didn't understand English. 
All she was trying to do was to avoid the attentions of the other 

“You know my first and last memories are of this exact spot?” Ernest was
up and running. “I must have been four years old. Sitting on a blanket 
with Mother – and you were there of course. Remember?” 

Ernest didn't pause for a response. “We were sat on a rug having a
picnic. Summer of '15 it must have been. Father was away in the war. 
The Great War, not the second. Mother was feeding you bits of cucumber 
from her sandwich.” 

The other tortoise watched Persopolis. Persopolis studiously watched

Ernest recounted how he first discovered the barnacles that grew on
Persopolis's back. How he and a school friend had examined them with a 
magnifying glass they ‘borrowed' from his father's study and then 

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