A Shot into the Light from Victoriana

(to be read amongst friends)

Anna-  She’s here.

Bess-  She’s not here. She doesn’t want to be here! It’s a day off from the kitchens of Audley End.

Anna-  Of course she’s here. It’s a hide and seek game silly! We have to look harder.

Bess-  She’s never seen this garden before. She’s new to the Parish. She’ll be lost in the maze.

Anna-  I have the love letter she signed. It will incriminate her in the shooting. A man’s been shot in the chancel of St Mary’s Church.

Bess-  It was only one shot. Scared away the starlings. I heard it. It’ll be friendly fire from the hunting party on their way back up to the house. We need a fresh meaty bird.

Anna-  A man died. Blood in the crypt. It’s why I screamed let’s run when I made it up to Audley End. Let’s make lawn games our alibi.

Bess-  She took a prop gun from the charades box. I thought nothing of it. it was her first day as maidservant.

Anna-  There’s a shadow behind the statue. Something’s moving. Quick, spin the glass beer bottle. Find the way out of this maze!

Bess-  The bottle’s full of stinking acid. It’s fizzing like an incendiary device. We’ve stumbled into an old bunker!

Anna-  The fuse is too short to bomb. Quick game of charades look normal!

Bess-  Which charade?

Anna-  A book you saw from dusting the library.

Bess-  I just didn’t think you’d run off.

Clara-  There was a shot across the church yard.

Anna-  You saw it?

Clara-  I was there.

Bess- You admit it then?

Clara-  Killed a man. Needed clean clothes. Needed money.

Anna-  We trusted you! Someone’s blood and guts all over St Mary’s just for a nice Summer shawl for you?

Clara-  Pick a side you two filthy drop outs. My time here is running out. You have my letter and angry house staff have sticks and stones and they are the ones who can hurt you. You don’t fit in with the other staff I can help you with that.

Anna- Don’t you want a soul!

Bess-  Heathen!

Clara- No. I want my letter. So hand me it. It was left here.

Anna-  It’s not smooth sailing you know from Colchester port. Why are you fleeing?

Clara-  You two created all this The box was left open and my letter inside you saw me put it there.

Bess-  No. The box was locked and we have the key.

Clara-  Give me my letter. Don’t want to go back there again. It’s why I’m leaving.

Anna-  No one saw you escape from the church with your old shawl wrapped tight. You are incriminating us now in your mission.

Bess-  She’s pregnant. I’ve found what she’s hiding. It’s written. It’s in the letter here in the box. Or she was pregnant.

Anna-  How can we believe it?

Bess-  She’s signed it. She’s written it to the doctor. Wants help with it to take the baby away. Unless she did that already. The ink looks faded and old.

Anna As did the corpse in the church when he held his guts in his hand.

Clara-  Let’s play for it. Winner takes all. Killer round of jacks. One for all and all for one. Friendship and loyalty at stake here. Friends forever or forever parted.

Bess-  The men who will chase you have stones and sticks too remember.

Anna-  You took the prop gun out of the drawing room. You used to kill a man. It’s probably still warm. You did it!

Clara-  Two men held him down. He was careless. Committed friendly fire at the Cambridge regiment. An old liability. He had to take one for the club. I just sold them some information. I told them when he would be visiting me with my new job at Audley End. Only way out is Colchester and as you say it’s a choppy crossing.

Bess-  That’s rich. England gets ready to fight for our last colonies and you shoot one of our own?

Anna-  Coward. The man you killed was your lover!

Bess-  No. He was her father.

Clara-  I couldn’t face him with the truth. It was all over Cambridge.

Anna-  No one can face him now.

Clara-  His body is half way to France now. They’ll eat anything there. Can’t bury it. Revenge makes a meal out of death. It went everywhere.

Anna-  It does after a shot. You’re bleeding too Clara.

Clara-  I fell over the lane, a ladder through my tights. All my own work. Never thought I’d look between my legs and see my father fall. I can begin my life now. Start anew with nothing dragging me back. Be who I want to be. Look my bottle I left for a victory drink. You’ll join me? Warm beer better than no beer. The loose fuse on that old bottle is just a ruse. Don’t worry there’s no bomb here, not amongst friends. And I couldn’t think of a finer toast. To a fresh start in Audley End. One nil. To Friends! Who make the battle worth winning.


enjoy the start of more dialogues here

Enjoy an audio adventure story here < bit.ly/scottishstory

3 thoughts on “A Shot into the Light from Victoriana

  1. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Groupthink | Nola Roots, Texas Heart

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