Day 193 – Quietly The Wind Blows – Part 1

Word count: 865

The day they buried Peter’s Aunt had been quite dreary. Grey clouds gathered while a tired sun rose lazily throughout the day. Birds sung, but not as cheerfully as they had done the previous day. Cats crawled the streets and purred in conversation; ladies in long skirts rode bicycles through the cobbled streets of the little village and the church bell rang low through the valley and travelled out to the eardrums of the labourers on the farms for miles around.
The village of Arduchtie was by no means remote. Indeed it had a bustling little gabble of gossips, snobs and layabouts. The Inn, known wide and far for its potent ales, was the hub of drunken stupors where every Friday night usually ended in a few bloodied cuts and the odd broken glass. Aside from the pub, the village had little else to offer passers-through. The shops catered largely for the locals and there were not boutique hotels or retreats set up solely for sheltering the lost city souls who had fled from the throbbing city streets.
The scenery was unique and often pleasant, however. On a good, clear day the mountains in the Highlands could be seen on a hazy horizon. Nearby there were wondering forests and plenty of rolling hills, blanketed in fields and farm animals. Within a mile or two of the village ran the main road North to Aberdeen, which lay a further hundred miles up the coast. The sea was but a half day’s stroll, with jagged cliffs lining the shore like a barricade to the crashing waves.
Though as pleasant as the place seemed, it was not the sort of place that Peter would normally have found himself in. A man of the capital himself, Peter had travelled North from London to visit a friend in Edinburgh for the summer. Towards the end of his stay, he had received word that his Aunt on his father’s side, whom he had never met but had frequently been reminded of, has passed away. With his parents visiting his brother out in India, he was left with the chief responsibility of attending family occasions, weddings and funerals included.
After sending a letter to his father informing of the sad news, he had promptly boarded a train North. Alighting at a station that he was unable to pronounce the name of, he then took a horse and carriage to the next nearest town, which he had been told was only a half hour away from his intended destination. Upon arriving at this town he discovered that there was no form of faster transport other than his own legs and with much dismay, he had set off towards the village.
The little wooden sign marking Arduchtie was askew in the ground and the white writing in which the letters had been written was flaking away in the wind. Behind it the grey-stoned buildings stood, flanking either side of the road. The terraced houses then opened up into a square, with a small fountain decorated with some bushes and flowers. As Peter walked along the road, he took in the sights and warnings began to flare in his gut. Quiet though it may be, he believed he saw eyes staring at him from the corner of every window. An empty street though he had been walking along, he had felt himself to be as isolated as being in Trafalgar Square on a Saturday afternoon. The square itself was also empty and the only sounds made were that of the soles of his feet slapping against the cobbles and the fountain, gently trickling away to itself.
The overhead sign to The Little Inn poked its head out from above a line of thirsty flowers in a hanging basket above the door. Its pokey windows revealed an even darker glow than the half-light that was slowly descending on the countryside dwelling. Peter, with reserved apprehension, made his way through the front door of the establishment.
Quite surprised, he found himself in a cosy room full of chattering people. The fire in the hearth was roaring heartily and pint after pint was being poured at the bar. A low ceiling, Peter had to stoop in order to walk. As he approached the bar, the moustached and rotund barman scooped him a look of most welcome greetings.
“Good day, sir, wha’ can I get ye?”
Peter smiled and rifled through his inner jacket pocket, “I believe a reservation was made for me for three nights…”
The barman replied whilst absent-mindedly drying a pint glass, “Wha’s the name?”
“Brownings. Peter Brownings…”
The barman slammed the glass on to the counter, eyes bulging with an intrepid anxiety, “And would ye happen to ken a Dorothy who until very recently was a part of this ‘ere world?”
“Why yes, did you know her?”
The man leant back and stroked his moustache, “Wha’ relation be she to you?”
“Oh, she was my aunt.”
At that moment Peter became very aware that many more than the barman’s eyes were watching him.
“Was she popular around here?”
A laugh erupted from somewhere near the fireplace and the barman smirked, “Room four. A sea view.”

~ by S.G. Mark on April 17, 2012.

3 Responses to “Day 193 – Quietly The Wind Blows – Part 1”

  1. those last three words… they work like a hinge!

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