A Haunt of Murder by P. C. Doherty

By P. C. Doherty

As evening units in, Chaucer’s weary pilgrims locate themselves in a Kent copse, rumored to be haunted. Huddling round the fireplace, they convince the Clerk of Oxford to inform a ghostly story of affection and dying that would additional relax their blood...

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Ralph laughed. ’ ‘So you look among the manuscripts for clues,’ said Father Aylred. ‘The tale appears in many forms, handed down from one chronicler to another,’ Ralph explained. ‘It is recorded that even those who built this castle searched for the cross. ’ He glanced sideways at Beatrice. ’ ‘In which case you are well qualified,’ Father Aylred laughed. ’ A cloud crossed the sun and the Franciscan shivered. ’ ‘Quite possibly,’ said Lady Anne. ’ Marisa asked excitedly. ‘Yes, and not only by Cerdic,’ declared Adam, eager to show his knowledge.

Of course he has,’ Adam laughed. ’ Sir John waved an admonitory finger. ’ Father Aylred exclaimed. ’ Adam scoffed. ‘Tell us about it,’ said Father Aylred. ’ Ralph would have refused but Lady Anne insisted. ’ Ralph pinched Beatrice quickly on the thigh. ‘But, centuries ago the pagan Danes landed a raiding force at the mouth of Blackwater River. Brythnoth was a great earl, he marched an army down to meet them. The battle was a fierce one. In fact, there’s a poem written about it, copied by the chroniclers.

The taverner approached, confident that the knight would protect him from the miller’s fierce rages. ‘Sir Godfrey speaks the truth,’ he barked. ’ the miller spat back. ‘You wouldn’t know a firkin from a cask or a tit from a—’ Sir Godfrey’s sword slipped nearer his neck. The miller caught the reproving eye of the lady prioress seated on her palfrey, still clasping that bloody lap dog. Behind her was the pale-faced monk, cowl pulled up. He was the only one who took pleasure out of the chaos caused: red lips parted, those white, jagged teeth jutting down like a dog’s!

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