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Grieving of the Butterflies (standard:Ghost stories, 2764 words)
Author: HulseyAdded: Apr 16 2011Views/Reads: 2696/1718Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Are the two portraits of French medieval children really cursed?

Spencer Pardew whistled as he paced along the picturesque and tranquil
harbour road. The morning sun heralded another fine July day, and the 
thirty-five year old teacher was a content man indeed. He and his wife, 
Jill, had recently purchased a cottage in Whitby, after agreeing to 
sell their home in Loftus. The two teachers had found employment in a 
local primary school; the circumstances prompting their decision. 

Whist Jill was in the process of decorating the riverside cottage,
Spencer had opted to visit the local market, which was situated at the 
foot of the abbey steps. He breathed in deeply, the bracing sea air 
filling his lungs. The squawking seagulls foraged for food and titbits 
that had been left by the early morning fishermen. 

Spencer mingled with the locals and holidaymakers, who had risen early
to search for a bargain. After purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables, 
Spencer was attracted towards a bric-a-brac stall. His unblinking eyes 
focused on two oil paintings. The first was of a young, unsmiling, 
medieval boy, who was wearing a brown, floral gown, black hose and 
pointed shoes. His hair was cut in a pudding basin style. The girl, who 
bore a striking resemblance to the boy, wore a green, laced-up gown. 
Her hair was worn loose and was covered by a black French hood. She too 
showed no sign of merriment. 

“Lovely paintings aren't they, mate?” insisted the stall holder. 

Spencer examined them closely, but was unable to see a signature.
“They're prints, I gather?” 

“I bleeding hope so, mate, or I wouldn't be letting them go for forty
quid each.” 

The teacher tried to imagine them on the walls of his cottage. Even
though he could not afford to purchase them both, he deemed it 
sacrilege to split them; after all, the children surely were brother 
and sister. 

“I'll give you twenty each for them.” 

The stallholder chuckled. “You having a laugh, mate?” 

Spencer removed forty pounds from his wallet. “Prints, you said. Take it
or leave it.” 

Jill was sitting out on the balcony and sipping a cup of tea when
Spencer arrived home. The odour of paint compelled him to join his 
wife. He kissed her, before gazing out onto the river. 

“I've a surprise for you,” he gloated. 

“Not more flowers... We've enough blooms to...” 

“No, not flowers... Close your eyes, Jill.” Spencer returned indoors to
fetch the paintings. He placed them against the railings of the balcony 
and smiled. “Okay, you can look.” 

Jill did not seem too impressed. She cocked her head to one side and
then to the other. “Paintings? You've been on one of your bargain 
hunts, I see.” 

“Well, what do you think?” 

“Honestly? I think they're grotesque and have no place in our modern new

Spencer shrugged. “I'd hardly call it modern... They'll look great
either side of the fireplace.” 

Jill moved towards the prints and picked one up. She examined it
closely, but still she was not convinced. “So who are they?” 

“How should I know... They're obviously French though, and if I‘m not
mistaken, they‘re posing in some palace. When I see old Keller, I'll 
ask him if he recognises them.” 

“Miserable pair aren't they?” moaned Jill. “I just don't see the charm

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