Sunday, 26 September 2010

The Resurrection Bureau - Part 5

Halcyon hesitated. What had he said? When it came to it the old man had pretty much talked nonsense, hadn’t he? But Young Brian nodded nevertheless when Halcyon told him Ambrosius’s odd and convoluted tale.
‘The dog headed men, that was one of the heretical Arthur stories,’ Halcyon shrugged, and Young Brian sighed. ‘Don’t you ever read a book, Ghost? The story of the cynocephali, the dog headed demons, is one of the contended Gospels of Saint Gawain. There was a lot left out of the New Testament, stuff about demons and giants that people would just laugh at now.’
‘And the Titanic, mastermind, was that in Saint Gawain’s Gospels too?’ Young Brian was Halcyon’s best friend, but his condescending attitude sometimes got on his nerves.
Young Brian grinned. ‘Nope, no Titanic in the Bible,’ he replied. ‘But the Gospels do say that whenever Merlin used his powers it was always followed by a great disaster. Remember, when Merlin brought Arthur back from death Avalon fell.’
Halcyon stared at Young Brian for several seconds, and then shook his head. ‘What a load of old crap,’ he said at last.
‘Took the words right out of my mouth, Ghost,’ Young Brian replied. ‘Game of pool? Fiver a frame?’


It rained in Northumberland. It rained a lot. When Eve stepped off the train it rained in vertical rods, when she finally caught a taxi (there appeared to be three to cover the whole county) outside the station the rain was falling horizontally, and as she sat in her hotel room trying to dry off the rain appeared to be falling in curls. She was almost certain at one point, as she looked out of her window at brown, mist obscured streets, that it hailed.
Hadn’t anyone told them it was August?
There had been the usual literature in the cramped hotel room, declaring Northumberland to be “The Avalon of the North” and “The birthplace of Lancelot”. Eve had grown up in Wanstead in London, she and her mother living above The George pub in Wanstead High Street. Chingford was the furthest she had ever travelled north. She had always assumed there were nothing but cows, factories and ruined castles once you crossed the M25.
The view out of her window did little to reassure her that she had been wrong.
She knew very little about Northumberland, accept, of course, as every school child knew, that Bamborough Castle was the birthplace of Saint Lancelot, and that his body, according to legend, had been interred at the nearby holy island of Lindisfarne. From what she had been able to tell from her taxi window, Bamborough was a large and prosperous city, not perhaps the bustling metropolis of Glastonbury – but then again, outside of New York or Paris, where was? – but, she admitted somewhat grudgingly, it was quite cosmopolitan. They even had a Starbucks.
She had very little idea of what lay between Bamborough and North London. There were a few small industrial towns, she knew; Newcastle, Sunderland, Manchester … Or were they north of here in Scotland? Eve wasn’t quite sure.
She had stopped only briefly in the hotel. The Governor had given her a very tight schedule which hadn’t been helped by the train pulling in an hour late and the lack of taxis. She hadn’t time for a shower, but had just enough time to discover that the radio stations listed on the hotel literature had no earthly connection to the stations that were actually available, to try and to fail to connect her iPad to the hotel’s Wi-Fi, drink a mouthful of the most repulsive coffee in existence, and to stare out of the window at the dismal weather.

To be continued...

No comments: