work in progress book 3

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Document 7 Journal entry

20 FEBRUARY 2015

POL WINCHESTER

If this is being read things have not gone to plan. I am writing this because I want my voice heard. I am deeply suspicious. I know what I say will never be released, these words will never meet the light of day, they will remain in the dark of the governmental archives. They will remain hidden with the records of sordid deeds and sordid men.

When the madness of the Masons had been seared from my memory I hoped that I would never again have contact with men that have no names. No more Mr Green, Mr White or any of them. But no. It seems that before the ashes are even cold the embers are glowing.

So I will record this. I will record my confession, maybe it’s a testament, maybe it is some sort of justification.

On Tuesday evening I had just returned from walking the dogs. I had been down in the woods and as I walked up to the house the grey skies were darkening. I watched the lonely and desolate raven skim down the wind. I could not hear his call; he did not speak to me. He was a patch of darker black against the steel grey of the growing night. He was high and his wings clipped out their beats. The wind blew the high dark clouds, the Vikings called them the Valkyries; the daughters of Odin, high above the dark sentinel. Rain drove down. This rain was the heavy, cold drenching inter rain of the Welsh hills. Driving from the immensity of the Atlantic, what defence could my coat be against this onslaught. The rain lashed the already sodden track. The grey slate of the track shone in the rain. The drops bounced from the dark stone, as the swirling squalling wind drove all before.

From the growing gloom of the darkness and the storm the light spilled from the house and into my soul. The dogs started forward, eager for the warmth and the welcome that awaited man and dog alike at the hearth. The raven swung back overhead, he seemed to play in the storm, riding the wind, turning, twisting and swirling. The splayed feathers of his wingtips like fingers against the darkening sky.O Still he was alone, still I could not hear his call, still I could not hear him sing. I marvelled at his command of his element and I envied the freedom that he carried on his broad black back.

I heard the diesel engine as it headed up the lane from Denbigh. The smooth modern diesel was different to the rough diesels of the old four wheel drives I was accustomed to hearing. It would soon pass and drive on towards Nantglyn. The revs dropped, it sounded like it was at the junction of my track and the little road. The gravel at the junction crunched. I was coming down my track. The first I saw was the sweep of the headlights over the fields. I had not realised how dark it was until I saw the halogen lights sweep through the rain and across the field towards me like a search light.

The car was a standard Mondeo, black, clean and out of context. Lost in the Welsh hills. It slowly made its way down the drive. The tinted windows prevented me from seeing how many occupants it carried. I stepped back into a gateway and it passed me and stopped the hundred yards away in the yard of my farm. The engine stopped. The doors remained closed. My two dogs circled the car. Maybe the occupant didn’t want to take on the two Alsatians. Maybe he didn’t want to get his suit wet whilst he waited for me. I now suspect the latter. I looked for my raven, I fancied I heard his call on the edge of the wind. Maybe I heard him, it was a suggestion on the edge of my consciousness. I couldn’t see him against the now black sky.

I went into the house, I left the door open for our visitor.

Presently we sat together in the living room. The log fire hypnotically blazed in the hearth. Flames licked round the seasoned logs. I had felled the beech tree earlier in the year. It was long dead, blasted by lightning in some long forgotten storm, smashed and burned; twisted and blackened. The warmth was starting reach me fighting for possession of me and pushing the cold of the wet walk through the woods away. I had changed when I came in the house. As I walked through I said to Fleur ‘best put the kettle on, we have a visitor, I will get out of these wet things and be down’.

‘Who is it?’ Fleur asked.

‘I don’t know. I think he is some official’. I carried on through and climbed the stairs. I was thinking of the raven. Why would he be flying in the storm? He wasn’t just transiting from one place to another. He was playing in the wind, the driving rain and gale was his playground. Surely he would prefer to be in some cover, tucked in the lee of a cliff, dry and warm. He was just an animal, could an animal play? Could a raven enjoy the storm?

When I came back into the lounge the smell of the coffee greeted me like an exotic friend; dark, strong and so intense. My mug was on the coffee table together with Fleur’s and another one for the suited stranger who sat on my sofa.

‘Hello, how can I help you?’ I asked the stranger. I had seen men like him many times in the past. Grey suit, maybe Marks and Spencer, not tailored but not cheap. Short dark hair, clean shaved. In London this man would be invisible. But he was in my lounge, sat on my sofa, drinking my coffee; he wasn’t invisible here, I could see him.

‘This is really sensitive matter’, he looked over towards Fleur.

‘She stays or you go’. I sipped my coffee.

‘OK, we would like you to do a job for the government.’

‘What job?’ I asked.

‘One that would secure your retirement and ensure both of you remained comfortable for the rest of your lives’. He sipped his coffee.

‘I have a job, I am an author.’ I became quite uneasy. Big money equals big job equals big risks.

‘We know what happened in Scunthorpe, we know what happened to the Mason’s. We know what you did.’ He sipped his coffee whilst his strong, dark eyes interrogated very feature of my face. Seeking a response and an indication that he had penetrated the implacable façade that I had constructed. This man was no fool.

I hesitated. He exploited. He was in, it was check-mate. There could be no going back now. The scales had tilted in his favour and what he had left unsaid remained all powerful.

Later, in the dark of the night. I lay awake. Fleur slept with her head on my chest, her soft snores wrapped me in their loving embrace. My right hand fell on the hollow of the small of her back. Her smooth and soft skin warm under my hand. The storm had passed and the night was clear and bright now. There would be a frost in the morning. I could see the stars from the uncurtained window. There was little light pollution out here and the stars shone with an almost blue white brightness. The unseen moon painted the Welsh hills in a clear silvery light. The dry stone walls that crossed the pastureland drew dark impenetrable shadows in the moonlight. I would always be there. They would just appear from nowhere, tell me they knew about me and I would go and do their dirty work. How many people would have to suffer this time? How many young and innocent lives snatched away by my hand? The memory of the boy in Tanjoc nearly 25 years ago remained my constant companion. He reached across death and time to touch my soul in these darkest watches of the night. I would never lose his step beside mine. Maybe, I didn’t want to. Maybe if little Jesus left me he would take my humanity with him.

In the morning I would get up and head to their meeting. All would become clear. Until then I knew that I would have to watch the minutes tick over one by one. I knew if I slept I would be visited by my nightmare. I knew that once again I would have to watch in infinite detail as my death unfolded on the canvas of my dreamscape in the same way as it had done for years, at the hands of the IRA in an attack on the Falls Road. Between the images of my service in Belfast Jesus would be there. I would pay this price always.

secret

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