|The Ghosts Of Chelsford
Author: Kirk Hastings PM
Superman travels to England, and has a return encounter with The Baffling Brockhurst, the renegade magician!Rated: Fiction K - English - Adventure/Sci-Fi - Words: 5,664 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 11-30-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7596867
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
THE GHOSTS OF CHELSFORD
by Kirk Hastings
A "Lost" Adventure of Superman
(Based on the original teleplay by Jackson Gillis)
Author's Note: This story takes place just after the events of "A Ghost For Scotland Yard" (1953).
Jimmy Olsen rushed into Clark Kent's office at the DailyPlanet like he almost always did - with a sense of extreme urgency and with something on his mind.
"Mr. Kent!" he announced. "Did you see this teletype from our overseas news bureau yet?"
Kent stopped typing, and accepted the sheet of paper that Jimmy handed him. Quickly he scanned it.
"That's very interesting, Jimmy," he told the cub reporter. The news report related that Brockhurst the Magician, whom Jimmy and Clark had just encountered on a recent trip to England, had been killed. He had been in the process of being transported to a court hearing in a suburb of London after his recent arrest for murder and attempted murder, when the police car he had been riding in mysteriously blew up. The British police were considering the possibility that the incident had been an attempt by one of Brockhurst's many enemies to assassinate the notorious magician.
"I guess that's finally the end of 'The Great Brockhurst', huh?" Jimmy quipped.
"I guess so, Jimmy," Kent replied.
# # #
Later that day, the intercom on Clark Kent's desk buzzed. Kent flipped the 'answer' switch on it.
"Yes Chief?" he said.
"Kent, come in here right away. I've got an assignment for you," came the voice of Perry White over the instrument.
"Right away, Chief," Kent replied.
Jimmy was sitting on the other side of Kent's desk, looking over some galley sheets. He liked to hang in Kent's office whenever he could get out of the City Room for a while.
"Hey - how come you get to call him 'Chief', but I can never get away with it?" Jimmy asked indignantly.
"Seniority!" Kent quipped with a smile, as he got up from his desk and headed out the door.
A moment later, Kent entered White's office and walked up to his desk.
"What's up, Chief?" Kent asked.
"I want you to do a follow-up story on that Brockhurst the Magician yarn you did a few weeks ago while you were in England," White told him. "Some funny stuff has been going on there since you left."
"Yes, I heard that Brockhurst had been killed."
"Not only that - people are mysteriously disappearing around the little town in southeastern England where Brockhurst originally reappeared - also, petty crime is up there, and some are even saying they've seen Brockhurst's ghost!"
Kent's eyebrows went up.
"Oh, no - not again!" he replied. "I thought we had settled all that 'ghost' nonsense!"
"Apparently not!" White told him. "I have it straight from my friend Sir Arthur McCredy that a number of respectable people around the town of Chelsford have claimed to have seen Brockhurst there since he was killed!"
Kent shook his head. "Chief, you know as well as I do that your friend Sir Arthur is a somewhat high-strung type who tends sometimes to imagine things that aren't really there," he explained.
"I know, I know. But the overseas teletype has actually been corroborating some of these stories. It's not just Sir Arthur's imagination that's involved here. Something else is going on, and I want you to snoop around a bit and find out what. That last article on Brockhurst was popular, and I think a follow-up will also serve to generate readership."
"Oh, all right," Kent replied. "If you really think there's something there."
"I do. I also want you to do this assignment undercover. Don't go under your own name, and don't let on that you're a reporter."
"Shall I take Jimmy with me again?"
"Heavens no! The paper doesn't have the money to send him with you again. Besides, Jimmy doesn't know the meaning of undercover. Once he's there, everyone this side of Outer Mongolia will know we're investigating this thing!"
Despite himself Kent laughed.
"Well, maybe you're right," he said. "I'll get ready to leave immediately."
# # #
It was a different experience to fly in a commercial aircraft for a change, but Kent's plane finally landed at London's Heathrow Airport. From there he rented a small car and proceeded to drive the 50 miles or so down to England's southeast coast.
A little over an hour later he found himself in the wide open spaces of the parish of New Romney. By now it was late in the day. The sky was overcast, with large dark clouds scudding overhead, and the air was chilly. It looked like it might rain at any moment. This gave the area a mournful, yet somehow sinister, atmosphere.
Wanting to remain incognito this time around, Kent decided to skip visiting Arthur McCredy and his sister Mabel. So he drove on to the small hamlet of Chelsford, a few miles from the country estate where McCredy lived. As he came into the outskirts of town he noticed a small pub called The Cromwell Inn, and he decided to stop there, since dusk was beginning to settle across the New Romney countryside.
He strode into the inn. After negotiating a small vestibule he found himself in the inn's main pub area. It was cozy and comfortable looking, with dark wooden walls and an Old World flavor to it. There were numerous nautical-appearing bric-a-brac hanging from the walls and ceiling. But there seemed to be no one around.
He approached the bar, which had a register book sitting on it. He looked at it. It indicated that there were six rooms in the inn, and that two were currently occupied.
Just then a lovely young blonde woman came out from behind a curtain hanging behind the bar. She had evidently been in the pub's kitchen attending to some chore. At the sight of Kent she started.
"Oh - I didn't know anyone was here!" she said.
"I'm sorry," Kent apologized. "I didn't mean to startle you."
The girl quickly appraised him. Seeing his neat appearance and friendly demeanor, she smiled at him. "Actually, I'm kind of glad that you're here," she replied, in her clipped British accent.
"Oh?" Kent asked.
"Yes. We don't get many visitors this time of year, and it gets kind of bleak out here near the marshes," she told him.
"But I see from your register that you have two other guests."
The girl frowned. "That's true," she said. "But they're both the kind that you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley at night. Or even a lighted one. And they probably won't be here for long. We've had a lot of lodgers like that lately - people that come into town and only stay for one night, and then they move on."
Kent sat down at the bar and pulled the register book over in front of him.
"Well, I hope to stay for a little longer than that," he said. He signed the register. After he had done so the girl turned it around so that she could read it.
"Jim White," she read.
"From America, I gather."
"I'm Heather Jeffries. My father owns this inn. I help out around the kitchen and such."
"A pleasure to meet you, Heather."
"Will you be staying long, Mr. White?"
"Please, call me Jim," Kent told her. "Yes, I'll probably be here for a couple of days, at least. I work for a real estate firm that has connections on both sides of the Atlantic. I'm here to scout out the area for possible future development."
"Oh, I don't know why anyone would want to build around here," Heather told him. "We're pretty small, with only a hundred or so residents. Not much going on around here anymore, since the local air base outside of town closed up a few years ago. Been there since before the war, and it took most of the jobs with it when it closed. The only thing we're really known for around here anymore is our ghosts."
Kent's eyebrows perked up. "Ghosts?" he asked.
"Yes. Some people have been spreading stories lately of seeing ghosts prowling the local streets. Of course, I don't believe any of that rot."
Just then a small, nervous-looking man came into the pub. He was dressed warmly, with two or three layers of shirts on under his threadbare jacket, but he looked like he hadn't bought a new set of clothes for years. He sidled up to the bar and addressed Heather.
"Can I have me usual, lassie?" he asked her.
Heather poured him a pint of English beer. The little man threw a coin on the bar, took his glass, and went over to one of the pub's booths, where he sat down.
Heather leaned over to Kent. "As a matter of fact," she told him in a low voice, "There's one of the local gents who claims to have seen one of the ghosts. His name's Angus Todd."
Kent nodded. "Excuse me a moment," he said to her. He got up and went over to the booth where Todd sat.
"Pardon me," Kent said to the man. "Mr. Todd?"
Todd looked up, surprised.
"Yeah?" Todd replied. "What do ye want?"
"I'd like to talk to you about the strange goings-on you say you've seen in town."
Todd waved his free hand in dismissal. "Ah, you're just another one of them blokes that wants to make fun of me."
Kent sat down in the booth opposite Todd, facing him.
"I'm not here to make fun of you, Mr. Todd," Kent assured him. "I really want to know what you saw."
Todd looked at him.
Todd took a swig of his drink.
"It was the Great Brockhurst," he said slowly. "I saw Brockhurst the Magician a couple nights ago, just as plain as I'm seeing you now."
Kent's eyebrows went up.
"You mean the famous magician that reappeared recently after supposedly being dead for five years, and then was really killed just outside of London by a car bomb?" he said.
"That's him," Todd replied. "And I'm not the only one that's seen him hereabouts. A few other people in town have seen him too, walking around just as alive as you or me. But they're too scared to say anything about it. They know he's supposed to be dead. But they're afraid if they say anything Brockhurst will put a curse on them or something. He was one of the greatest magicians there ever was, they say. He could do anything, they say. Even come back from the dead."
"But he claimed that before, you know, and it was proved that he was never dead to begin with. It was all a fraud."
"Oh yeah. I heard about that. But it don't make no difference to the people around here. They believe Brockhurst has really managed to come back this time."
"Do you believe it?"
"If you had asked me that question a few days ago, mate, I would have said no," Todd told him. "But I can't deny the evidence of me own eyes. I saw him. It was Brockhurst, all right."
"Did he originally live around here?"
"Yeah. He lived in a big old house on the west side of town, on Oxford Street, just off the marshes. It's been deserted ever since he disappeared the first time, about five years ago."
Kent placed a coin on the table in front of Todd, the same coin that Todd had used to buy his drink.
"Thanks for your help, mate," Kent said. "Have one on me."
Kent got up and started toward the pub's exit. But as he did a big, burly man with a beard dressed in dark clothes, a pea coat and a black sailor's cap came clomping down the stairs.
"By thunder!" the man was yelling. "There's no hot water in me room! What kind of a joint is this?"
The big man stomped over to the bar and got right in Heather's face.
"What kind of a robber's den are ye running here?" he shouted in her face. He ranted and raved a couple of more minutes about every little thing that was wrong in his room, before Kent finally decided that he had heard enough.
Kent came back over to the bar.
"I don't think that's the proper way to speak to a lady," he interjected.
The big man stopped suddenly, his bushy eyebrows arching upward to touch his cap. He looked at Kent, who was an inch or two shorter than he was.
"Oh, is that so?" he bellowed. "And just who are you to dictate manners to me, four eyes?"
Kent stood his ground. "It doesn't matter who I am. I think you should apologize to the young lady," he said, his voice low. "Now."
In response the big man threw his arm out at Kent, as if to brush him aside the way someone would brush aside a fly. But as he did so Kent grabbed him by his arm and the front of his coat. Then he threw the giant bodily across the room. The big man flew through the air like a sack of potatoes, landing on top of a table. Both crashed heavily to the floor.
The giant sat up and shook his head in an attempt to clear it. He looked up at Kent, anger and hatred now blazing in his eyes.
"Why you misbegotten little flea," he growled. "I'll crush you like an old beer can!"
He got up and charged across the room at Kent like an enraged bull.
The big man smashed against Kent in a full body block, but Kent did not move. He just stood there like an unyielding stone pillar.
Seeing that this maneuver had failed, the giant grabbed Kent around the chest and tried to bear hug the breath out of him.
But this did not work either.
Finally, Kent whacked the big man on the forehead with the butt of his open palm, and the giant fell backwards to the floor. This time he did not get up.
Heather stared down at the unconscious man. "Blimey!" she cried. "No one else has everbeen able to beat Clive in a fair fight before!"
Kent nonchalantly dusted himself off. He smiled at Heather.
"I have an errand to attend to now," he said. "But I'll be back later. Keep a light on for me."
He turned and headed toward the pub's exit. Heather and Todd both watched him go, a look of great admiration and respect on their faces.
# # #
Once outside on the street Kent looked around to make sure he wasn't being observed. Then he ducked into the shadows around the side of the pub.
A moment later the powerful costumed figure of Superman came stepping out of the gloom. Raising his arms the Man of Steel leaped upward, soaring up into the overcast sky.
He rocketed through the misty, cloud-laden atmosphere. He watched the small buildings and narrow streets of Chelsford pass by below him, until he came to a street at the very edge of town. Spotting the big old mansion that Todd had identified as Brockhurst's house, he plummeted downward, landing on the ground in front of the structure with a thump.
Superman surveyed the sprawling, decaying old hulk, thrusting upward like some huge, crouching monster silhouetted against the rapidly darkening sky. His cape flapping in the breeze, he used his powerful x-ray vision to scan the inside of the entire building from one end to the other.
Unfortunately, there was no evidence inside any of the interior rooms that anyone had been there any time in the recent past. There was dust on everything, and most of the furniture was covered with yellowing old sheets. Interestingly, he noticed that there were a number of secret panels and hidden passages throughout the house. But none of them appeared to have been used recently.
Satisfied that the house was a dead end, Superman ran a short distance down the road and then leaped back up into the air.
# # #
The sun was just setting on the horizon as old Willie Clanraith made his way home from visiting friends. He trudged down the street, passing a large cemetery and the ruins of an old stone church up on the hill behind it that hadn't been used for many years. The property was surrounded by a bent, rusty old wrought-iron fence.
Willie suddenly stopped. What was that odd sound he had just heard, that sounded like stone scraping on stone?
His attention was abruptly snared by a crypt that was a few yards inside the iron fence. As he stared at it, he realized that the lid of the crypt was moving!
Suddenly, a man dressed all in black began to rise up from the opening in the top of the crypt.
Willie had a small flashlight in his coat pocket. With trembling hands he pulled it out and turned it on, training the narrow beam on the face of the dark figure.
He instantly recognized that face. It was the Great Brockhurst!
# # #
A short time later, the owner of a little grocery store located on the main street in town was just preparing to close up his shop. There was a distant rumbling of thunder outside, indicating an approaching storm. The man was sweeping the floor with an old broom when the bell above the front door jingled, signaling a customer. He turned around and looked over toward the door.
There was no one there.
He shrugged his shoulders. Maybe he had just imagined the bell had rung. He went back to his sweeping.
Suddenly he had the odd feeling that someone was in the room with him. He stopped sweeping and turned again.
Now he observed that there was a man standing in the middle of the room, all dressed in black. The man spread his arms out, holding open the wide black cloak that he wore. The posture made him look like a giant bat in the dim light.
"I am the great and powerful Brockhurst!" the man announced in a weird, trembling voice. The shop owner's eyes went wide as he recognized the stranger's face.
Suddenly the lights in the shop went out!
# # #
Kent returned to the little pub, shaking the water off his coat as he entered. A light rain had just begun to fall outside. He went over to the bar, where Heather was busy serving drinks. A number of people had come into the pub now, to get out of the weather and warm their stomachs with an English brew.
Just then, Willie Clanraith came stumbling into the pub.
"I saw him! I saw him!" he babbled. He had a look of stark fear on his face.
"Saw who?" Heather addressed him.
"Brockhurst! I just saw him rise up right out of the grave, and walk out of the old churchyard!"
Kent turned to Heather. "Where is this churchyard?" he asked.
"Next to the little stone church on the hill, just down the road outside of town about a half a kilometer," Heather replied. She pointed in the opposite direction from which Kent had originally driven into town.
Without another word, Kent jumped up and ran out of the pub.
# # #
The wind was beginning to really bluster as, minutes later, Superman landed in the center of the small churchyard Heather had told him about. He looked around. Spotting the crypt that Willie had mentioned, he walked over to it.
Just then he heard a slight sound. Quickly he ducked down behind the crypt.
He observed four scruffy-looking men come into the cemetery. The rusty wrought-iron gate at the entrance to the churchyard creaked as they pushed it open. They had large sacks filled with something slung over their shoulders.
Superman used his x-ray vision on the sacks. They were filled with food items, toiletries, and other daily necessities.
Bought from somewhere? Superman wondered. Or stolen?
As Superman watched from his hiding place, the men passed through the graveyard. They trudged up the hill behind the cemetery, and then entered the ruins of the old stone church there.
Once they were out of sight Superman stood up. He went back to closely examining the crypt he stood next to. Thanks to his incredibly acute eyesight, even though it was by now quite dark he could see every detail of it.
It looked like the top had recently been opened, as there were fresh scrape marks along its edges. Using his great strength, the Man of Steel yanked the entire top of the stone crypt off, throwing it onto the ground.
A pair of relatively new metal hinges had held the top in place, which Superman broke when he ripped the cover off. He looking down into the concrete structure.
It was empty. Not only that, there was an open shaft inside it that descended deep into the depths of the earth. With his extraordinary vision, Superman could see that the shaft descended about two stories down into the earth.
This suggested a couple of possibilities to him. He turned and picked up the heavy stone lid and replaced it on top of the crypt. Then he climbed up the hill to the old church.
Once inside the building he looked around. The church had obviously not been used in a very long time. Cobwebs were everywhere, and it was in pretty dilapidated shape. It appeared to be a very old church - a fact which the antiquated architecture also strongly suggested.
The four men who had entered it just a short time before were nowhere to be seen. That suggested to Superman that there must be some kind of secret passage somewhere.
He scanned the inside of the structure with his x-ray vision. It wasn't long before he discovered such a passage, hidden behind a fake wall panel.
He went over to the wooden panel and examined it. There didn't seem to be any visible means of entry to it. Not wanting to spend any more time looking for the proper way to open it, he smashed both his palms against the panel, causing it to fall inward onto the floor of the hidden chamber behind it.
He stepped inside the inner chamber. There was no light, but he was able to easily see, thanks to his amazing infra-red vision.
He was in a large, catacomb-like room that appeared to be an old burial chamber of some kind. Thick spider webs hung from the ceiling and walls. There were various concrete vaults embedded into the walls of the chamber, where numerous people were interred.
He walked over and looked closer at the plaques on the vaults. The dates ranged from the 1600s to the early 1900s. This was when the church was probably abandoned for one reason or another.
At one end of the chamber he noticed that there was what looked like a circular metal cover of some kind on the floor. He went over to the cover, unlatched it, and opened it. Under it was another vertical shaft that went deep down into the earth. But this shaft had a series of iron rungs attached to one of its walls that were spaced apart every foot or so, enabling anyone using it to either climb up or down. This shaft looked like it was of more recent vintage than the church or its old burial vault.
Ignoring the metal rungs, Superman leaped down into the shaft.
He plummeted downward, landing on the bottom with a thump. Now he found himself in front of a bolted steel door - but he wasted no time knocking it down with a single powerful blow of his fist.
He emerged into a small room, illuminated by a single light bulb that dangled from a wire coming from the ceiling. There was another unkempt individual here holding a rifle, apparently standing guard. He was frozen in place, having been startled by the steel door suddenly flying inward off its hinges. Superman easily dispatched the man, knocking him unconscious to the floor. Then he took the man's rifle and bent it into a pretzel for good measure.
Throwing the now-useless weapon aside, the Man of Steel looked around. He was now in what appeared to be an underground bunker of some sort, with plain concrete walls and floors. He remembered that Heather had mentioned back at the pub about an old, abandoned air base outside of town that had been around since before World War II. He speculated that he must now be in some kind of underground shelter that had been built under that air base, in case of attack. It had probably not been used since the war, and by now most of the locals might have even forgotten that it existed. At some point someone had connected the burial vault in the old church above with this section of the underground bunker by the vertical shaft he had just exited.
Now he understood: the thugs that he had seen passing through the cemetery and entering the church had just robbed some nearby grocery store for food and supplies, and then had come back to this underground shelter via the vertical shaft, all of which they had discovered at some point in the past. Now they were probably living somewhere inside this ancient underground refuge, where they could come and go without anyone being the wiser.
He exited the room he was in, entering a long, dark hallway. From somewhere up ahead he could now hear muffled voices.
He followed the sound of the voices to another slightly larger room. Fearlessly he stepped into the open doorway of it.
Inside the room were five men. Four of them were the same ones he had seen up above. Their sacks were now lying on an old wooden table in front of them, and they were in the process of sorting the contents.
The fifth man was Brockhurst the Magician!
The eyes of the men went wide as they spotted the costumed intruder. Brockhurst himself was as shocked and surprised as any of them to see this superhuman hero from the United States again - the same one who had been responsible for his capture some weeks before.
"Get him!" Brockhurst yelled. "Get him!"
Three of the men picked up their pistols and rifles from the table and began firing at the Man of Steel. But the bullets had no effect upon Superman. They bounced off his chest in every direction, ricocheting off the room's cement walls.
One thug pulled a long blade from his belt and rushed Superman. The Man of Steel grabbed the man's wrist just as the thug tried to thrust his knife into the crimebuster's heart.
Superman allowed the man to slowly lower his blade. But instead of penetrating the Man of Steel's chest, the blade bent as it pushed against the red "S" on his costume.
The man's mouth dropped open in unbelief as he saw his knife crumple into a useless hunk of metal.
Then Superman delivered a powerful blow to the man's jaw. The man went down like a dead weight.
Superman waded into the other thugs, grabbing away their weapons and smacking them left and right with his fists. He picked up one man and dropped him bodily onto the heavy wooden table, which collapsed under his weight. Both fell to the floor. The man did not get up.
Now Brockhurst and the Man of Steel were the only two left standing in the room.
"Who are you?" Brockhurst yelled. "What are you?"
"I'm your avenging angel, Brockhurst," Superman replied. "I'm here to see that you don't continue your life of crime and violence against any more innocent people!"
Brockhurst just stared at him, a mixture of fear and loathing on his face. Then he pulled something out from underneath his black cloak and threw it against the floor. A huge cloud of black smoke billowed upward, completely obscuring the mad magician.
When the smoke wafted away, Brockhurst was no longer there.
Superman sprinted forward to where the magician had just stood. He knelt down and smashed his fist into the floor, creating a hole which he quickly widened. He then straightened up and jumped down through the hole.
He landed a few feet below in another small space, which was part of an old drainage tunnel. It was wet and damp here, and the floor was covered with an inch or two of water.
With his super-sensitive hearing, he could hear Brockhurt's running footfalls splashing off into the distance.
He sprinted after the escaping magician.
As Superman ran the tunnel gradually became more and more filled with light. Finally, after a few minutes, he came to the tunnel's end.
Abruptly he found himself standing on the tunnel's edge, where it suddenly emptied out of the side of a high cliff. Some fifty or so feet below lay the choppy waters of the English Channel.
Brockhurst was nowhere to be seen.
Superman scanned the area with his telescopic and x-ray visions, but he could find no trace of the vanished magician.
# # #
Back in the United States a couple of days later, Kent discussed the entire story with Perry White in his office.
"So you say Superman was not able to locate Brockhurst anywhere after the magician escaped through that drainage tunnel?" White was saying.
"Unfortunately, no," Kent replied.
White put his glasses back on and continued to look over the galley sheets that had been made up of Kent's story.
"Interesting coincidence that once again Superman happened to show up over there the same time you were there, isn't it?" White said, without looking up.
"Uh, yes," Kent replied. "Isn't it?"
"I guess he heard you were going over there again, and followed you across to keep an eye on you."
"That sounds reasonable," Kent said, relieved that White had thought of that explanation. "He apparently still had an interest in the Brockhurst case too, having been there before when Brockhurst was captured. Or perhaps he just wanted to take an overseas vacation?"
Kent waited for a response to his joke, but all he got was a muffled grunt from White.
"We also found out while you were away that the man who was killed in the earlier auto explosion in London was, of course, not Brockhurst. It was a fellow prison inmate that Brockhurst had made up to look like him. The poor chap had probably been promised either freedom or a lot of money to impersonate Brockhurst, but he didn't realize that Brockhurst intended him to be killed as part of the ruse. He was identified by prison dental records. Wasn't much else left of him. In all the confusion Brockhurst somehow managed to escape custody entirely."
"Brockhurst is a pretty slippery customer. Clever too. He was in the process of recruiting followers from the local population in Chelsford," he said. "A big fellow named Clive that was staying in a local pub was supposed to be inducted into Brockhurst's little group too, but fortunately he never had the chance to follow through with his membership."
Kent recalled his little tussle with Clive. He also remembered how good it had been to be able to defend the honor of a pretty young lady without having to maintain his meek, mild Clark Kent pose that was so useful in the United States. After all, no one in Chelsford, England knew who Clark Kent was. They only knew him there as "Jim White". He contemplated actually going back there someday for a real vacation, where he could be free to act like who he really was without anyone knowing him.
"Mr. Kent!" suddenly came a boisterous voice from behind the newspaperman. Jimmy Olsen came bustling into the room, with Lois Lane a short distance behind him.
"Hi Junior!" Kent greeted him.
"How was your trip to England without me?" Jimmy asked.
"Oh, not nearly as exciting as the last time!" Kent told him.
"Yeah, sure," Jimmy replied, smiling. "Not from what I've heard."
"Yes, Mr. Kent," Lois chimed in. "We hear you were able to go undercover this time, and play the part of an international secret agent, sneaking around and tangling with nasty villains and insane magicians." There was a slight bit of sarcasm in her voice.
"Uh, yes, Lois," Kent replied, trying his best to humor her. Like he always did.
Yes, life was definitely back to normal.
# # #
Somewhere out over the bleak, roiling waters of the English Channel huge, dark clouds scudded across the night sky, occasionally obscuring the bright full moon from view. The wind keened and moaned. There was a deep chill in the air.
If one had a vivid imagination, one could almost make believe that, out over the bleak marshes of Old Romney and the little hamlets of Dymchurch, Hythe and Chelsford, the whistling wind seemed to be saying:
Beware ... I will be back ... I am the great and powerful Brockhurst!