But what should be a pleasant, well-paid jaunt to celebrate a noble wedding gets worse and worse, with a sinister arranged marriage, a possible suicide, and finally a case of outright murder against an ancient backdrop of Stonehenge. All rights reserved. He watched his victim closely, alert for the slightest sign of life.
There was a twitch from an outflung arm, a spasm in a sprawled leg. The man who was still standing raised his club in the air, ready to bring it down once more on his victim's head.
But there was no need. The other was safely dead, and all those little shifts and shivers were no more than the dregs of life departing from him. A dark thick red pooled from where his skull had been stove-in. The murderer, who had been wholly absorbed in his task up to this point, now began to take in his surroundings. Dusk was falling. Shadows were gathering in corners. He glanced uneasily to the right, then the left.
What was that crouching in the underwood?
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Whose were those gleaming eyes? He moved uncertainly in that direction before some sound spun him round to face danger from the opposite quarter. He lifted his club, then lowered it once more.
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He waited. Flicked a glance down towards the corpse. Started to realize the need for concealment.
Awkwardly, still clutching the club tightly enough to throttle it, he bent down and nudged and tugged the body towards a nearby bush. No time to dispose of it properly.
He would leave it to be buried in the maws of kites and crows, of bears and wolves. They would do his filthy work for him. The murderer left the body part-hidden under the foliage. He turned round and, stooping slightly, began to exit from the scene of his crime. He walked on tiptoe, as if frightened the ground was going to swallow him up. Suddenly he halted. Above was the arch of the sky, a deep darkening blue. The murderer had been looking in the wrong direction all this time. His yellow beard jutted out from his chin.
If I have an enemy, his posture seemed to say, then that enemy is looking down on me from above. At this moment. While I have been thinking myself invisible, he has been watching me. My every move.
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Worse, he has read my every thought and inspected the chambers of my heart. He has seen my hollowness, my arrogance and anger. Everything was conveyed in the murderer's huddled shoulders, in the limp helplessness of the club swinging between his knees. He seemed to be at once looking upward and downward, to be apprehensive and abject.
Gooden, Philip (Philippa Morgan)
Now fear and dread overcame him. He turned back to regard the evidence of his crime, improperly concealed. Tremors ran through the murderer's frame. He made to fling the club away but the haft of it seemed to stick to his hands, to refuse to be released. Then he made to fling himself away. He turned in circles which grew wider and wilder by the instant. He spun round until he collapsed on the ground. Only then did the club fell from his nerveless fingers. He clutched his face with his hands. What have I done? God hide me from the knowledge of what I have done, from the knowledge of myself.
Oh hide me from God. But it was no use.
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