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The mourners listened in silence, focusing upon him. Be brave. Protect your children while they yet live. Do not do as I and wait not for the curse of Murdac to strike. For then it is too late. The reviled name spoken out loud drew gasps from the crowd, heightening their fears, giving rise to questioning exchanges. But what could be done against the will of the Lord? The cloudless sky stretched as far as the eye could see in every direction, but the bright winter sun provided little warmth. Excitable children, though, are immune from the cold, and to the three friends the sub-zero temperature was barely noticeable.
For the umpteenth time, Ruth, Abigail and Morton set off down the steep slope on their flimsy wooden sledge, fast and precarious over the snow. It lay at an ideal depth for sledging; deep enough to allow the conveyance to glide easily over it, but not too deep to ensnare the runners and slow it down.
The thrill, intermingled with fear, bestowing a delicious sensation that animated the three friends as the sledge sped faster and faster down the hill, bouncing over ridges and leaping into the air, skewing this way and that. After veering suddenly left, Ruth and Morton were catapulted from it; over and over they rolled in the powdery, cold snow.
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Abigail, the least experienced in the art of sledging, had somehow managed to cling on; and with the load lightened, the sledge sped faster than ever down the steep incline. Ruth and Morton, rendered insensible from giggling, rose from the snow together and watched their friend. Morton looked on with envy, hoping that Abigail would fall from it too. But she did not fall off, and the sledge came to a halt at the foot of the hill.
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Abigail, relieved that her moment of terror was over, but reluctant to show it, dismounted and turned to her approaching friends. Abigail, eager to assist, hurried to her side. The three children were suitably dressed to combat the cold on that bitter December day. They wore extra layers of woollens beneath heavy overcoats, wellington boots to keep their feet dry, thick woollen gloves on their hands and scarves that were wrapped several times around slender necks.
Morton appeared burdened within the long black overcoat that he wore, being several sizes too large for his small frame — he was shorter than both girls — the ragged hem flapped only inches above his ankles. A dark blue balaclava, knitted some time ago by his mother, kept his head and neck warm. Ruth ignored him and kicked harder. The sledge gathered speed quickly, almost unbalancing her as raced from her reach.
The sledge sped away down the ridged hill, skewing one way and then the other, bouncing off a furrow and leaping high into the air. It landed on one runner and flipped over, throwing Morton from it. He rose quickly spitting out snow, but giddy with laughter. Ruth and Abigail, laughing hysterically, joined him. Morton removed a wellington boot and rested his stockinged foot upon the upturned sledge, he upturned the boot and slapped the floppy rubber sides to clear out the snow that had worked its way inside.
When her dog reached her side, she bent and lifted the animal from the snow, setting him down on the sledge. Sputnik had other ideas and jumped from the sledge the instant that it moved.
Barking maniacally, he began circling the children again and again until he must have been dizzy. Sputnik continued to bark. He rolled in the snow and wriggled around on his back, kicking his legs in the air, before scrambling to his feet, barking and growling. He lowered himself onto his forepaws, burrowed under the snow with his nose, like a pig might in mud. Madness in animals is sometimes interpreted as a warning of impending stormy weather, but excitable children could not be expected to be aware of any such signs.
The mourners shuffled uneasily about, whispering cautiously to each other; reckless talk they feared might provoke evil consequences.
But Gabriel Mayhew seemed not to care; he watched as two men lifted his wife up from the ground. Enfeebled with grief, she flopped in their arms like a drunk, looking forlornly to her husband, as though questioning the point of living in such an unforgiving world. Gabriel turned to the mourners. We have suffered enough. Now is the time for action.
Whose child might next fall victim to the curse of Murdac? We must act. We must act now, today! Who will plant the corn when you are old and weak? The crowd remained silent, shuffling their feet, staring with unease at the agitated speaker. Gabriel lips tightened, and then burst apart. Who will join me? Tell us, Gabriel, what? Dressed in a ragged gown, a scarf was wrapped carelessly about her head and fell with equal disorder over her bony shoulders. She stood awaiting an answer, blinking the rain from her eyes. We must stand together, seek out and destroy the evil that afflicts our children.
Take up arms and march to Blackdaw Cottage, purge the evil that lurks among us. We must drive away, destroy the evil pair that steals the lives of our children. The crowd turned to a bald-headed man forcing his way forward, waving a Bible above his head.
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Not you or I. And make no mistake, there are sinners who must be purged of. This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue? Upload Sign In Join. Save For Later. Create a List. Blackdaw Cottage by Philip Dent.
Blackdaw Cottage by Philip Dent - Read Online
Summary When Abigail, Morton, Ruth and her dog go sledging one snowy day in their sleepy village, they wander off into the forest to find the cottage of the notorious recluse, Bentley. Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere. CHAPTER 2 s Grief-stricken mourners strode wearily into the cold, wet churchyard, walking without speaking until reaching the newly-dug grave. CHAPTER 3 The cloudless sky stretched as far as the eye could see in every direction, but the bright winter sun provided little warmth.
I can go faster than any girl can, much faster. CHAPTER 4 The mourners shuffled uneasily about, whispering cautiously to each other; reckless talk they feared might provoke evil consequences. Start your free 30 days. Page 1 of 1. Close Dialog Are you sure? Dining area with table and chairs.
Bedroom 1 with king size bed and en suite shower, WC and basin. Separate WC and basin. Bedroom 3 with twin beds and en suite shower, WC and basin. Patio area to the rear with seating leading to private lawn area and onto the communal paddock. Oil central heating. All power, starter fuel for fire, bed linen and towels included in rent.
Private parking. Please bring your own dressing gowns and slippers for sauna. Beau Monde Leisure Spa Free one hour swim or gym passes up to the occupancy of the cottage. Below is a location map to the property, if you need any further direction, please contact us. Kitchen exceptionally equipped.
The garden to the property was larger than expected giving our dog the safe space she needed without wandering off. Constantly changing beach view, amazing! Clean well-equipped cottage and the little extras made all the difference wine, biscuits and flowers. Lovely huge living space. Impressive collection of DVD's and books to borrow! A wonderfully well-equipped kitchen, and large neat garden overlooked only by the Castle ghosts!