Monday, 3 August 2009

MULTIPLY The Horror of It All #1: Give me a Helping Hand

„Ok, Mr. Granger, I think that will be all for now. I have explained how the generator works for the electricity and don’t forget from nine in the evening there is no electricity, but only candlelight. The cottage is so old that it wasn’t possible to make a better connection” and with that last comment Reggie Makepeace left the Grangers on their own and returned to the farmhouse where he and his wife lived.

He met his wife busy preparing lunch in the kitchen.

“Smells good Mary, what’s for lunch?”

“Today it’s a stew with dumplings, just the way you like them Reggie; by the way how are the Grangers settling in at the cottage?”

“Fine Mary, they seem to have the hang of the generator and the fact that they have no electric in the evening doesn’t seem to bother them.”

“Did you tell them about.....”

“Mary, don’t start getting worried. They will be ok in the cottage. Mr. Granger wanted somewhere where he can finish writing his book and his wife is happy to be in the country taking in the fresh air. They live in the town and are glad to have a change of scenery.”

“You mean you didn’t tell them.”

“There is nothing to tell Mary. I am sure they will enjoy the next couple of weeks living in the cottage with no problems.”

“Yes, but you remember what happened the last time we rented the cottage.”

“Nothing happened Mary. They were just a couple that did not like life out in the country. Why his wife did a jump every time she saw a spider. Now where do you find a cottage here without spiders? No, I think this time the Grangers will enjoy their stay here. And now, I am hungry, so where’s dinner?”

Mary Makepeace had finished cooking the meal and her and her husband sat down to lunch, although she still had some doubtful thoughts.

Meanwhile back at the cottage Margaret and Clive Granger were unpacking and making themselves at home in the cottage.

“We were really lucky to find this cottage Clive, it was so reasonable and in such a nice place. When you look out of the window you just see miles of farmland, not a house in sight.”

“I suppose you are right Margaret, but we are really isolated here. If anything happened we would need at least ten minutes to get to the farmhouse where Mr. and Mrs. Makepeace live.”

“But just think Clive, at last you have the peace and quiet you need to finish your book and I can catch up on some knitting and reading. This is really a good place to relax. At last a few weeks away from the noise and stress of the town.”

It seems that everyone was happy. Even the electric problem did not bother them too much. There were enough candles inthe cottage and Margaret thought how romantic it would be in the evening, her reading by candlelight and Clive writing even if he was using the computer, but with the battieries. She did not even mind being without the generator in the evening. The noise went unnoticed during the day, but she was sure it would be an annoyance at night. At the point of nine in the evening the generator noise ceased and all was silent in the cottage.

“Clive can you give me a match to light the candle” and a hand reached out to Margaret with a match.

“Thank you Clive” she said

“For what Margaret?” was the answer

“Why for the match of course dear.”

“I didn’t give you a match. As a matter of fact I was on the toilet if you must know.”

“Well someone gave me a match. Although it was a bit dark in here I definitely saw a hand giving me a match.

“Must be imagining things Margaret; been reading those mystery books again?"

Margaret decided to say no more. She was sure that Clive had handed her a match, but on the other hand she was tired as it had been a long day.

“Clive I think I will go to bed. Can you give me that candle that I can find my way up the stairs to the bedroom?”

“No problem dear, and she had the lit candle in the holder and carried it up to the bedroom.”

“Just a minute dear, where did you get that candle from?”

“Now you really are dreaming Clive, you gave it to me” and so Clive had to think things over a bit. He did not remember giving Margaret the candle but was too was tired, the light on the computer was not so strong when it was running on the storage battery. His eyes were burning and he decided it was really time for a sleep.

They were both exhausted and as soon as their heads hit the pillow they were both asleep; at least they slept for an hour and then it started. Margaret felt her cover being pulled from the bed and managed to retrieve it before it uncovered her completely.

“Clive what are you doing. I thought we both decided we were too tired for doing anything except for sleep tonight, tomorrow is another day.”

“What are you saying Margaret. Now I'm awake. What’s the problem?”

“The problem is you Clive not being able to keep your hands away from the bed cover and me.”

“Come on Margaret, there was I in a deep sleep and you say I am up to all sorts of tricks. At the moment the flesh is willing but the mind is weak if you must know.”

“But Clive look my bed cover is moving away and you are pulling it.”

“No, just a minute, look Margaret. Here are my hands, each one with ten fingers and they are attached to my arms on the bed cover.”

and it was then that Margaret screamed. A very loud scream and Clive jumped out of bed.

“What is the matter Margaret?”

“Clive, look, my bed cover.”

“Yes will it does look a bit strange sort of being dragged across the floor by an unseen hand. Let’s light a candle to see what is going on.”

Clive took the candle and was searching for the matches when a lighted match was placed in his hand.

“Margaret, you are on the other side of the room.”

“Yes Clive, and I am not moving until you tell me why my bed cover is being dragged over the floor by a hand.”

“Then you did not give me the lighted match for the candle.”

“No Clive, I gave you nothing, I was too busy screaming.”

Needless to say Clive and Margaret spent the rest of the night in their car which was parked on the road leading to the cottage.

The next morning Reggie and Mary Makepeace heard a knock at their door. When they opened it they saw Clive and Margaret Granger standing there.

“Good morning Mr. Makepeace” Clive said “I am afraid my wife and I will have to leave your cottage and return to town.”

“No problems with the cottage I hope Mr. Granger.”

“No, no.... it’s just that my wife’s mother is in hospital and we must return immediately.”

“I hope nothing serious Mrs. Granger.”

Margaret answered that it was an inflamed appendix and her mother had to have it removed. Nothing dramatic, but she would rather be at her mother’s side for such a problem. Actually Margaret’s mother had died ten years ago, but Mr. and Mrs. Makepeace did not have to know that and so the Grangers left.

“I told you Reggie” said Mary Makepeace “they found it out.”

“Found what out woman?”

“What all the others found out that stayed in the cottage before and left on the next day.”

“Forget it Mary. We have now got the money for two weeks rent again and I am sure they won’t ask for a refund. No-one ever does.”

“Yes Reggie, but it’s not right really, is it?”

Reggie supposed not, but you do not have to say everything. Of course if people knew that the cottage had been built by the original owner of the farm Geoffrey Makepeace, an ancestor of Reggie Makepeace, as a place for his son Jonas to live, things might have been clearer, but there are some things that should be kept as a secret. Jonas was born without hands. Now how can you have an heir without hands? In those days it was a disgrace; so Jonas was hidden in the cottage. If Clive and Margaret Granger had taken the effort to go to the local library and read in the old newspapers of the last century they would have read of the unexplained disappearance of young men and male children at the time of Jonas’s childhood and if someone had done some digging in the shed where the generator was they might have found some skeletons with the hand bones missing. If someone had dug further then a casket would have been brought to light with the bones of the missing hands. Yes, Geoffrey Makepeace never did find out how to attach the hands on Jack’s arms.

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