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Authors: Kirsty Ferry

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BOOK: Refuge
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Jenny lifted her tear-stained face up to his. ‘I like you Lucas. I really do. But Cass saw you first. You’re a nice person; a good person. In some ways I want her dead as I can have you then...but that’s a really bad thing to think, isn’t it?’ She stared up at him. ‘Isn’t it? You’re shocked aren’t you? I’m a horrible person. My family always thought I was a horrible person.’ Then suddenly she laughed. ‘They’re all dead too. That’s awful, isn’t it? It’s just me and Cass now, and I’m worrying that she’s going to leave me, but I’m telling you I want her out of the way. God!’ She flung herself away from Lucas and sort of concertinaed onto the ground. She sat on the wet grass, her hair plastered across her face and stared out to sea. ‘Can you help me, Lucas? I need help.’

                ‘I – I don’t know what to say...’ he began.

Jenny laughed again. Then it turned into another heaving sob. ‘Sit down, Lucas. Sit down next to me. Can you think what we can do? I can’t leave her out there alone. Maybe she’s in the refuge hut? Do you think she’s in the refuge hut, Lucas? Can we find out?’

Lucas followed her gaze, seeing the greyish-white hut that stood proud of the waves. ‘There’s a light on inside the hut!’ he said suddenly. ‘Look!’

Jenny sprang to her feet and leaned forward, as if she could get a better view of the hut. ‘There is! Oh –Lucas. If it flashes out her name in Morse code, it’s her!’

                ‘What?’ asked Lucas, staring at her.

                ‘It was my idea.’ Jenny giggled. ‘Didn’t Cass tell you I was creative? I thought it was a really good idea. It’s our signal to each other.’ Her face crumpled again. ‘You don’t like it, do you? You think I’m stupid.’

                ‘No, you’re not stupid. That’s actually really clever,’ he said.

Jenny threw herself back into his arms and took his face between her hands. ‘I knew I liked you. I knew it. Kiss me, Lucas. Please. Cass will never know... she always gets the boys. I never do. If you kiss me, it will make me so happy.’ Lucas couldn’t help himself. He leaned forward and covered her hands with his. He closed his eyes and kissed her. Jenny pulled away first. Lucas opened his eyes and saw a smile playing about her lips. ‘Thank you, Lucas. We’ll not tell her. It can be our secret.’ She pushed him away gently and turned back to face the refuge hut. ‘It will flash any second...now,’ she stated: it was as if, Lucas thought with a stab of annoyance, the kiss hadn’t actually meant anything to her at all.

                Sure enough, he saw the lights waver in the refuge hut. They flashed on and off. He couldn’t make what they were supposed to be doing, but Jenny started jumping up and down.

                ‘That’s a C. That’s an A...an S...another S...it’s her! Lucas, it’s her! Can you go and get her? Please? If you don’t I will. That’s my rowing boat there – I’m going for her...’ Jenny started scrambling down the slippery grass and heading towards the boat that was being tossed around on the waves. ‘She’ll be scared on her own,’ she shouted back over her shoulder, pausing on the slope, silhouetted against the sea. Lucas caught his breath; she was the most stunning creature he’d ever seen.

                ‘No! No, Jenny,’ he shouted, ‘you can’t go out in this. I’ll go. You go home, go and wait there for her. Do you need to let the coastguard know or something?’

Jenny shook her head. ‘I don’t think so,’ she said. She frowned a little, confused. ‘Do I?’

Lucas slid down the hill towards her. He grabbed hold of her arm and tried to tug her away from the shore. ‘I’m going Jenny. I’ll see you later.’

                ‘Will you telephone me from the hut?’ she asked.

                ‘How can I? There’s no signal.’

                ‘Didn’t you bring a telephone?’ she asked, opening her eyes wide. She sat down again. ‘That’s good. I’ll just wait here.’

Exasperated, Lucas pulled her to her feet. ‘No. Go home,’ he said.

She clung onto him and kissed him again. ‘I will see you soon, Lucas,’ she smiled.

Lucas disengaged himself and waded over to the boat. He climbed into the boat and settled himself best he could. The North Sea had sloshed into his trainers and soaked through his jeans: and the seats on the boat were soaking too. He looked back at the shore and saw Jenny. Exasperating though she was, she was still stunning. He just couldn’t deal with all these conflicting signals. Jenny raised her hand to her lips and blew another kiss. Then she pulled the band out of her hair, wound it around her wrist and sat down on the ground again. She didn’t even seem to be that cold. It was getting dark now and the moon was breaking through the clouds. Lucas began to row.

 

 

1964

 

The place to be in London during the so-called ‘swinging sixties’ was either Carnaby Street or the King’s Road in Chelsea. The area was the hub of sixties glamour and anyone who was anyone in the world of fashion design had a presence there. There were some marvellous shops, Clara had told Guy. The theatre was boring now; next time he visited, he had to take her shopping. Guy had wanted to know what he would gain out of it. Beatniks and bohemia were not his pleasures, he had told her. Clara had laughed and said ‘ah’: but
she
was his pleasure. Guy had to agree. So it was that he found himself absorbed in the hustle and bustle of London yet again. Clara greeted him wearing a tiny mini-skirt and knee length white boots; but Guy, although appreciative of her charms, was still unsure of modern day fashions: a by-product of the time when women wore long skirts and bustles. Clara told him he needed to understand the concept of Biba and Mary Quant.

                ‘The wonderful thing about our lives is that we can evolve as we need to,’ Clara said. She hung onto his arm as they strolled down Carnaby Street looking in the windows of the boutiques they passed. Clara lived in a flat now, a three bedroomed affair, converted from an old Victorian house in the Swiss Cottage area of Hampstead in North London. It was the perfect compromise. She still lived in a style of house dear to her heart, but in a flat, one found there was a very fluid population in the building - nobody wondered why she never aged and what her story was. It suited her. Guy remained non-plussed with the fashion revolution. He was simply there as Clara’s companion, staying at her home and sharing her bed, but even he realised that it wasn’t as easy to haunt the East End and feed these days. There was, of course, the gang culture. If people disappeared at random, one of the gangs would get the blame – but it wasn’t ideal. You would always have the runaways, though – the ones who left their homes to ‘find themselves’ within the LSD and cannabis induced haze of the London Scene.

                ‘Look at this!’ Clara exclaimed, drawing to a halt outside a designer boutique. She wore huge, black sunglasses and pushed them up onto her head. Her eyes were just as green as ever, the red around the irises not as noticeable today. She pointed at a silver necklace in the window, showing a tiny dagger on a silver chain. The detail was precise and she pressed her hands against the window. ‘Oh my, now that is rather special,’ she said.

                Guy looked at it without much interest. ‘It’s simply a necklace,’ he said shrugging.

                ‘Look at the craftsmanship,’ she said. ‘I wonder if it’s vintage?’ Then she laughed. ‘Wouldn’t that be the very thing - perhaps that there is the stuff of vampire legend. Now wouldn’t that just spoil our folklore? Imagine if that was the replica dagger the Slayer had created.’

                ‘Replica dagger?’ repeated Guy. He looked at the necklace more closely.

                ‘Yes,’ said Clara. ‘It was created sometime before you were re-born. Haven’t I told you? How lax of me.’ She pouted. ‘And I thought I had taught you so well. You’re far more civilised than many of us. I shall take credit for that at least.’

                ‘You may certainly take credit for that, but you have told me nothing about a dagger,’ said Guy. He concentrated on steadying his voice. He knew that, wrapped in a towel, in a drawer at his country estate was the dagger he had taken the first night of his new life. He had taken it, he remembered, for protection. He had carried it with him for a short while until he became more confident about his new abilities. He didn’t need it now and he certainly didn’t need protection.

                ‘Oh dear! I am sorry. It’s quite exciting, really. There is a legend which suggests a silver dagger was created to kill vampires and then it was subsequently lost in the Crusades. So, we were all safe for several centuries. Then, about one hundred years ago, evidence appeared which seemed to suggest that a jeweller in Clerkenwell had been commissioned to make a replica of the dagger. Several of our kind made a pact to locate it, and one young female never returned from her quest. Legend has it, that she had discovered the dagger and the owner. The dagger went missing, but everyone knew that someone was using it – certain vampires simply disappeared and it was all just too coincidental. The last anyone heard, was a rumour that some stupid half-witted girl in the slums had lost it.’ Clara pulled a face. ‘They get too confident, you see, these new ones. They think they are invincible and become careless. Nobody ever managed to trace the girl who had lost it – she probably didn’t even know what it was. Or that she had even lost it!’

                Guy nodded. ‘That makes a lot of sense,’ he said carefully.

                ‘Oh, it gets better!’ laughed Clara. She replaced the sunglasses on her face. ‘The so-called slayer blessed it with Holy Water from a Priory in Lindisfarne in Northumberland and they say he buried a phial of it up there to keep it safe.’ She shuddered. ‘The thought of even setting foot in a place like that repulses me.  I hope it is just a legend and it stays buried, if indeed it is true.’

                ‘I suppose that one would need to acquire the dagger and the Holy Water,’ said Guy lightly, ‘in order to ensure our type were safe.’

                ‘Yes, I suppose that would be a plan,’ smiled Clara, ‘if indeed it were all true. In the meantime, I think I shall purchase this little bagatelle. It is rather sweet and an excellent talking point.’ She reached up and kissed him. ‘I am so sorry, darling, I thought I had taught my little protégé everything he needed to know.’

                Guy smiled. ‘You are my dearest friend, Clara,’ he said. He bowed slightly to her and she laughed.

                ‘You are still so old-fashioned,’ she said. ‘Come inside with me.’

                ‘I don’t think so,’ he said. ‘I have some business to attend to. I will find a telephone and call my contacts to see what is happening. There were some issues I needed resolving at home.’

                Clara nodded. ‘Of course, darling,’ she said. ‘If there are any...issues...I can help you resolve, do let me know.’ She leaned in towards him and whispered in his ear. ‘I do love a good kill.’

                ‘You are my first recourse to action,’ he whispered back. ‘I will return shortly, I promise.’ She kissed him again and pushed the door open to the boutique, disappearing inside. Guy walked a little way along the road and ducked up a side street in case she came out and looked for him. He had no calls to make, of course, no issues at home to resolve; he just needed an excuse to leave London as soon as possible. Then he would go back to the estate, collect the dagger and travel up north. This way, if it all worked to plan, Sir Guy Montgomery would be the invincible one.

1964

 

 ‘
Do you wanna know a secret...
’ The Beatles thrummed out of the radio and Christine lay back on the grass, taking a long drag from a cigarette.

                ‘It’s nice here, isn’t it?’ she asked, looking sidelong at the young man lounging beside her. It was his vehicle. One of those VW bus things that were so popular. The van had a sort of bed in it that converted from a seat. The blankets were pretty messed up now, that was why they had come outside into the salty air, catching some welcome daylight before the sun dropped into the North Sea in a great, big fiery orange ball.

                ‘Yes. It is very nice,’ he agreed. He stretched his long legs out in front of him and clasped his hands behind his head. ‘I haven’t seen much of the Island today. Would you be so kind as to take me for a tour? Later on, maybe, when it’s darker. And there are fewer people about.’

BOOK: Refuge
3.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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