For example, "A Royal Issue" tells of the king's difficulty in selecting a suitable husband for the royal princess. How will they choose the right one from such an unpromising list of available males? Or that of a weather disaster that turned into a riot that turned into a bonus in the story entitled "Zoo."
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.30(d)|
Read an Excerpt
A ROYAL ISSUE
And Other Fateful Tales
By John Margeryson Lord
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2014 John Margeryson Lord
All rights reserved.
WHAT WAS IT ABOUT HIM?
It had been a very, very long two years. He had been taken from her at the peak of their relationship. She had needed every day of those twenty-four long months to get used to the idea that he was never coming back. Never again would she hear that cheery voice following the front door being thrust open to be followed by his sure footfall. His greeting was never the same two days running.
'Hi toots, your favourite man has arrived.'
'Prepare yourself Joy has arrived at this house.'
'What's for tea I'm desperate.'
He liked to surprise her, and mostly he succeeded.
Quite often he would enter carrying a bunch of flowers or when in that special mood a small gift usually of a sexy implication, which would indicate an early night.
He was a good deal older than she but was vigorous enough to keep her contented.
Any problem and he would smile at her with those lovely brown-green eyes and her heart would melt.
He had been taken from her in a most cruel manner. They had no warning. He had spent the best part of the morning gardening, an activity that he very much enjoyed, Having cleaned himself up he sat with the newspaper to finish the crossword. When she went to tell him that lunch was ready she found him dead.
A sudden massive heart attack they said.
Of course she missed him, but she was still young and attractive with strong physical desires.
Now, here she was. Much later on a coach trip to a nearby city. She recalled seeing the day out advertised in the local library and decide to treat herself. Later remembering, a thrill ran down her spine, as for the umpteenth time she went over that wonderful feeling that took her by surprise, the one that she thought she would never experience again. It was then that she first saw him and felt the strange inner certainty that he would come to mean everything to her.
The day of the trip was sunny and rich with promise. She was on the last minute for the coach and as she climbed aboard she saw that all the seats were taken—except one.
He stood as she approached and grinning suggestively offered her the window seat. She thanked him and sat.
His starting ploy was conventional enough.
'Have you been to York before?' He asked politely.
'No. Have you?' She asked.
'Yes I have, and I can tell you that you are in for treat. It has everything—old worldly shops and eating places. Lots of fascinating historical sites to look at. And,—Some pubs of great character.'
'Sounds interesting.' She said.
Then he made his move.
'Perhaps you might let me show you around?' He asked hesitantly. 'I would be delighted.'
All very conventional—so why was her heart beating so violently?
'That would be very nice, thank you.' She acknowledged.
'No,' he said gallantly, 'thank you—the pleasure will be mine.'
And so it began.
He bought two tickets for the Yorvic train which took you on an historical journey based on York, After which they had a delightful lunch in an old worldly pub down by the river. Marks on the wooden beams supporting the ceiling indicated the water level at times when a swollen river had invaded the place. When that happened, as it had many times before, they simply moved upstairs the landlord told them.
Vick, as he was called, was an entertaining companion with a ready wit and a heart melting smile, and the time passed too quickly. They were just able to do a little shopping before making a dash for the returning coach. He even bought her a small handbag she had admired, 'As a memento of the visit.' He said.
They were both quite tired on the return trip and discussion was at its minimal allowing her to take advantage of the window seat and enjoy the countryside they were passing through.
It was at journey's end that things suddenly took a step forward as it were.
As they left the coach Vick waved a cab over and asked her if he could give her a lift. It was now growing dark and this was the part of the day that she was not looking forward to. 'Yes please, it is not far,' she said.
'Good. Where to then?' He asked.
She gave the taxi man her address and they climbed aboard.
'I hope This isn't taking you out of your way.' She told him.
'No it's fine,' he replied.
'It's only a couple of minutes walk, and it is a nice night for a stroll.'
As the taxi drew away and left them standing by her gate, she wondered what he would do. To her surprise she felt her heart beating strongly. Then unexpectedly she found that she did not want him to leave. She was enjoying his company and wanted it to continue.
'We have only just met.' She said to herself. 'I need to be careful.' But she need not have worried.
'Well then—its Good Night, And I hope to see you again very soon. I must say your company made the trip for me. Er.... could I take you for lunch or even dinner sometime in the near future—say tomorrow?' He asked hesitantly. And in the exchange that followed, a dinner date was arranged for a couple of days hence.
Tired as she was, she watched him until he had vanished round the corner. He gave her a little wave as he disappeared.
She did not sleep well.
Her thoughts chased each other round and round. Would he come to mean anything to her, Was she ready or was it too soon. Did he like her. She would have to book a hair appointment before the date. She wanted to look her best.
Should she invite him in. What if he wanted to stay the night—it had been such a long time. If he did—could she respond or would the image of her dead husband get in the way. What would the neighbours think—or did she care.
She wondered just what he was really like, it had been a long day and trouble free. What was he like in an emergency?
What was his job? And even—was he already married?
Questions, questions, and still more questions and no answers.
As sleep eventually took over she pictured his face, a pleasant even attractive one, but what was it that was special—her very last thought was of his brilliant smiling eyes. Eyes that were full of laughter, and the joy of living.
The time seemed to pass very quickly in spite of her anxiety, and in due course the date they had agreed arrived. She was so nervous that she actually considered cancelling their meeting—but she had no idea how to contact him.
What to wear? She did not know where they might dine. Casual or semi formal? She had no way of guessing—in the end she chose a simple evening dress that was flattering but not too severe. Blue to match her eyes.
Eyes !!! That was what was troubling her, what was it about his eyes?
Her door chime startled her at spot on the agreed time.
A last glance in the mirror, and satisfied by what she saw, she tugged the heavy door which did its usual trick of catching on the carpet, and it took a good shove from the other side to cause it to swing open.
And there he stood smiling at her.
It seemed a long time before either of them spoke.
'Gosh! But don't you look nice. The taxi's waiting, shall we go?'
He took her arm as she stepped out closing the door with a good tug behind her.
'Do you like Italian food?' he asked as the taxi moved off.
She felt a flood of relief.
'I love it.' She said smiling at him.
'Good,' he said, 'I thought that you might. Do you know Marko's in Mason Street?'
She said that she had not been there, but had often wondered what it was like.
'Well you are about to find out, I think you will approve—Marko is a friend of mine—known each other for years.'
Marko himself welcomed them and saw that they were comfortably seated as he waved the wine waiter over to take their order.
Her attention was everywhere, and the food was proper Italian and not the usual English imitation and very beautifully served.
It struck her that they made a very handsome couple as she became aware of the many admiring glances from the other diners. Marko made a fuss of them and she revelled in the atmosphere.
It was as they were sipping the last of the wine that it popped into her thoughts unasked, just as it had before.
—What exactly was it about his eyes? She reached into her mind for an answer—but the knowledge would not surface.
But his eyes said it all—that he was enjoying himself just as much as she. She could not remember afterwards what they talked about, but the conversation never flagged. He did not say much about himself although she did learn that he had a well paid job, was single and lived on his own. But whether or not he had been married or engaged she was non the wiser. If she enquired of him he would skilfully turn it round to her likes and dislikes.
One thing was clear to them both—that mostly they took great pleasure in much the same things.
In other words—"they got on." as they say.
But what was it with those eyes?
The evening so far was agreed by both parties to have been a very enjoyable success.
Taxi home and he took her hand and held it as she alighted.
What now? She wondered, her heart racing.
At her door—'May I kiss you?' He asked.
And he did.
He refused her offer to come in for a last drink with the excuse of an early start the next day. 'Next time.' He said.
She had a very disturbed night and at breakfast the next day realised that she wanted him in every sense of the phrase.
But those beautiful eyes—what the heck was it?
It was still niggling away at the back of her mind.
He phoned and they dated again—this time she had prepared a meal which he clearly enjoyed and afterwards he admired her home making.
It was mutual. And seemed to be natural—they made love on her settee.
And it was good—and they knew there would be more.
So over the following months they saw much of each other. He cooked her a meal at his flat where she stayed the night. She noted that he was tidy but not un-naturally so.
It soon became obvious that the relationship was getting serious, and it began to puzzle her that whereas he had told her about his past relationships he had shown no curiosity about hers. He had not once asked her about her late husband.
But she found that it did not matter to her at all.
Then one evening as they were relaxing after making love she happened to mention her husband by his Christian name—Osborn.
He sat up with a startled expression—'Did you say he was called Osborn? He asked.
'Tell me—what was his surname?'
'Morrison.' She said simply.
He was lost in thought for some time.
'Did you know him?' She asked.
He regarded her with a strange expression.
'He was my father.' He said. 'He left us when I was young.'
* * *
Then it came to her—those eyes—those hauntingly lovely brown-green eyes of course—they were his—her husband's—and his father's
JML 2/3/2013CHAPTER 2
THE SMOKING CHIMNEY
That was the whole trouble with older properties—there was always something that required fixing. If it wasn't the heating it was a misbehaving electrical plug or a door knob that came away in one's hand.
Still it was her own choice, Susan had dreamed of living there since childhood. 'Don't be silly dear—it would be far beyond your means.' her loving parent would insist.
But she could dream.
And when the seriously wealthy Lloyds bought the place she recognised the possibilities when she saw their youngest lad, Lance. Almost the same age as herself and a keen athlete she laid plans to get to know him, and to her surprise she found that she liked him, liked him very much indeed.
Then the old man took ill and was advised to live in a warmer climate and the family moved to the Mediterranean leaving young Lance to finish his schooling back home, as a lodger in her house.
What followed was almost inevitable.
Lance got her pregnant—or so it was thought and the family returned for the wedding. But the baby proved to be just a bad bout of wind., and the old ones couldn't wait to get back to the sun. The old house was something of a financial embarrassment but both she and Lance loved the place in which he had never lived, but which held many happy memories for them both. It was the utter peace of the place that they liked. They both revelled in the quiet when all that disturbed the tranquillity was the chirping and calling of the wide variety of birds that regularly visited the large garden.
And so the day arrived when Lance landed a good job as Clerk of Parks for the Council and our recently married couple moved into the big house. As the place had not been lived in for some time there was a great deal to do just to make a small part of it habitable. It was summer and a seriously hot one, and they were able to go through the place chucking out all the old stuff that was beyond the end of its life. They were in no hurry and decided that it would take as long as it took to furnish the house to their own taste—and that they would do so at their own pace—one room at a time—starting with the lounge.
Mostly an inconvenient place to run. It nevertheless had a nice airy feel about it, with a sizable kitchen and a comfortable lounge, where sat the large TV purchased by the grace of Lance's first wage packet.
This lounge was heated by an enormous log fire which sat under a rather grand stone canopy.
On each side of the fire was an ingle-nook stone seat almost completely under the canopy.
The big disadvantage of this arrangement was that be nice and warm seated by the fire, or you could sit in the settee and watch TV, but to do both was difficult.
But they were happy.
Lance promised to find a way round the problem.
It all seemed a bit too easy—
And it was.
* * *
Nothing untoward happened in the first couple of months as they settled in. The summer was sunny and hot and most of their free time was spent outside attending to the flower beds or mowing the extensive lawns. Or simply lazing in the easy deckchairs which they found in the garden shed. They had no need to use up any of the stack of logs laid up for the winter months by Sam the elderly gardener and odd job man.
Two resident families nearby and worked in the big house in exchange for their cottage accommodation. Sam and his family occupied one of these comfortable places,
And their cleaner Maisie and her lot the other.
Sam and Maisie had always been regarded as part of the estate, a situation happily continued by Lance and Susan.
They had just about settled in at the end of the first six months or so, and to date,
Lance with Sam's assistance had dealt easily with any problems that had arisen. And they had done so without the need for outside help.
It was as they felt that they had got most of the place under some sort of control, that they were faced with a situation so serious that they were tempted to leave this place that they loved so much.
The effect at times was as if they were living in a waking nightmare. Their dreams of solitude gone.
It all began quite suddenly and without any warning in that comfortable lounge one quiet and to begin with—uneventful summer's evening.
Susan was watching a soap on TV and Lance was sitting in an ingle nook concentrating on the newspaper's version of the local football derby.
Outside there was a fairly gentle breeze blowing from the north-west as it had done from their first day.
Now however a sudden change took the wind round to the south-east and it began to gust quite strongly.
In the lounge they heard it before they saw it.
There was a kind of moan followed by a loud 'woosh'. And then a cloud of black smoke billowed out from under the canopy and into the room where it swirled round covering everything with a layer of fine grey dust, and set the pair of them coughing.
They did not wait, with watering eyes they quickly made for the door.
Once outside and with the door shut they looked at each other and would have laughed if it had not been so shocking—they resembled a pair of crows with just their eyes peering out of faces covered in grey dust.
As they coughed and spluttered they found it difficult to see as the grit found its way into their eyes from which tears made pink rivers down their cheeks.
Lance was the worst having been directly in the path of the soot fall.
'Bl**dy Hell!' He exclaimed through bouts of coughing. 'What in heaven's name caused that?'
Just then a second icy blast swept under the closed door and chased along the corridor leaving a mess of thick sooty dust.
'What do we do now?' Asked Susan, without expecting a reply. 'I'm not going back in there tonight.'
So they each took a shower and settled for an early night and a good read.
What else they did is not recorded.
* * *
By dawn the following morning the wind had all but ceased and a bright yellow sun had begun to warm the day.
When Susan found the courage to open the lounge door and peered in, she wanted to cry. Everything, absolutely everything was covered with a dirty gritty layer of black soot. Nothing had escaped its attention—TV, sideboard, chairs, carpets, absolutely everything, even the flowers in the vase on the table.
Excerpted from A ROYAL ISSUE by John Margeryson Lord. Copyright © 2014 John Margeryson Lord. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
* What Was It About Him?, 1,
* The Smoking Chimney, 9,
* Wealth, 23,
* What Price Riches?, 31,
* The Luckiest Man on the Planet, 37,
* The Zoo, 47,
* The Girl In Question, 57,
* Of Golden Hair, 75,
* Stick, 85,
* The Whereabouts, 93,
* A Royal Issue, 113,
* Murder—The Only Way, 125,