The Hands of Time - Book Two

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter Three.

Janet loved her new home, she felt unburdened, especially now as the cattle farm was no longer her responsibility, and it was now being run by various members of staff, who were well paid, and they had acquired company cottages which they stood to inherit, and were now running the farm for little Dorothy.

Janet had planted a vegetable and herb garden, and with her own money she had purchased five huge Polly tunnels, and had tables fitted, so that members of staff could use them to start growing various herbs and vegetables. Also, she was passionate about growing twin stem Phalaenopsis orchids, and had arranged with her team of gardeners to have had everything ready for her by the time she returned.

They had had the security company vet local applicants and had taken on eleven various part time to full time employees, to also help her run the cottage and her side of life in working in the garden and helping her in whatever other ways that they could.

I had preferred to have those who I had already known stay close to me, and I had built up a close working arrangement with some of them, and it was also their duty to care for me in helping me wash, dress and as needed.

I had loved the country life, and had the team develop the Pheasant shoot and had it made more accessible to the locals. The reason it had come onto the market was because the previous owners had refused to adapt and had tried to hold onto the old Victorian values of been above the local common folk.

Times had changed and people now had a right to feel wanted and of value and disliked immensely someone looking down upon them, and at first the locals had not been sure what was to happen to the land.

When they read an advert inviting membership into a newly organized community land share scheme, there was not a single member in the village who had not submitted a form, children included.

What I had proposed was to section off the land, and I had taken three hundred acres, in one area, and three hundred in another, and had it divided in half acre plots.

After having carried out a census, I had learnt that including my staff, that there were eight hundred and sixteen residents including the children, and I was prepared to make a single plot available to each resident, in return for a signed pledge to work the land to grow fruit or vegetables, and to help those within the community who needed help, by working their plot of land, and helping them where so ever was needed.

I had my solicitors draw up a legal binding agreement that if after one year, they could show that they had actively met the required rules which my staff were drawing up, then the plot of land was legally theirs, and they in turn could become life members of the pheasant shoot, but on condition that they all took it in turn to assist in the upkeep, with beating and shooting as their turns came round.

I had soon learnt that the village had an active fishing community, however the huge old lake which they used was now been sold on, and that they had all lost their fishing rights, the owner had a beautiful little estate, of eight hundred acres and two huge carp ponds, which his father had hand dug with a team of men long before he had been born.

However, so present the owner had wanted to hire one lake out on condition that he could sell his estate and the other lake, and then move abroad. I felt he was scamming something, so I had my solicitor look into it and discovered the asking price was five Million seven hundred and eighty-six thousand, less the one lake, which he had wanted to hire out as a retirement income.

So, I Instructed my solicitor to acquire the estate, and negotiate for the additional pond, and keeping me informed, three weeks later I had acquired both ponds. It was my intention to set up the new fishing club, and again on a community system, and have one lake for the under sixteen’s and the second lake for sixteen and over.

I had acquired planning permission and had four overnight huts erected with two kitchens on each lake so those fishing all night could make hot soup and a light meal, and have use of hygienic toilets, around the car park area I fitted picnic tables for families to use on day trips out and a first aid station.

I had obtained planning permission for two residential caretakers, and had the Canadian firm erect two beautiful split-level pine homes on the site, and from there I advertised in the community for a dream job of two qualified fisheries caretakers.

I did this as I had learnt that an elderly couple’s son, had been to college and passed all his exams and gone on to university, it had been his dream to become involved in inland fish management, however his family had become ill and his father had suffered a mini stroke, so he had sacrificed everything and had returned home to look after them.

Without telling the young man that I was aware of his situation, I had arranged for a friend to let him know that a position was to become available, along with a home and a substantial salary. He had applied for the job, but had thought once the employer was aware of his circumstances that he would be over looked and not considered for the position.

I personally interviewed him and gave no leeway with regards his education, as I wanted to see what type of character he had. Later after eight days Simon Barrette had received a letter, and it offered him the position of head keeper, along with a home, and a salary of One hundred thousand pounds a year, plus use of a company vehicle.

He was almost balled over with emotional shock, as he had told me, if he could that he would like to employ locals to help look after his family so he could once again have the dignity of working for a living.

Now he was in a position to employ help and still have a respectable wage after all deductions. As it happened, he was more than qualified for the post, and after consulting with me, he had found a suitable trainee keeper’s assistant to live in the other home and work with him.

The trainee received a salary of twenty-five thousand a year, two days a week off for college, and a home and company vehicle. It was a wonderful start for a young person in life, my only main stipulation had been that there was no working on Sunday; it was to be their day off.

Their area had included the trout lake and the section of river as well, and the two fishing club lakes, and within the lake everything was catch and release and every member had to agree to that rule, people who lived outside the village could join the club, and use the facilities, however they were charged at full commercial club rates.

This brought a steady income into the area, and as I had paid a considerable sum to have the lakes restocked, word had soon gone around that there were some beautiful and very large fish in those lakes.

It was known for certain that the junior lake held three huge carp reputed to be over forty pounds, as a photo hangs up in the club’s new hut, showing a local boy aged eleven who caught two of them and lost the third after seventy-two minutes of trying to land her, she was nicknamed queeny, and the two he held in his keep nets were from her offspring.

The two fish were weighed and released both unharmed, and they both toped forty pounds and Queeny was at least a third in size larger. Plus, there were numerous twenty plus pounders in the lake, and they could be seen swimming among the water lilies.

The adult’s lake held far larger fish, and they had become that way, by learning and becoming wise to the tactics of the anglers, and as no barbs were allowed, it was not easy to land some of those mighty giants.

What had also made it so difficult for those fishing this lake, was there was a long island, fairly central in the lakes and it was just out of casting range, so the locals had developed a method of delivering their bait by using a remote controlled specially designed boat which carried their bait so they could bait the area, and then took their lines and baited barbless hook over and dropped it, just over the feeding area, the boat then quietly sailed away under radio control and was brought back to the fishermen.

There were even women who were members and it was not unknown for them to fish two or three days at a time, and having had the first aid room installed, plus the kitchen, toilets and rest area, had made a vast difference.

Also having my security team keep a watch over the area had been a blessing, as one evening a van had pulled up alongside the adult’s lake, and two fishermen who as it turned out were not even members, had lifted their keep nets from the lake and taken then straight over to the van, their they were caught placing five decent sized carps into a water tank and a good selection of other fish.

What they had been doing on all accounts was electrocuting the water and taking out the stunned fish. What they had not been aware of was that I had the security team place remote camera’s around the site, and they were digitized and sent by satellite to the security centre at the farm by the airfield, and from there twenty-four hour paid staff monitored the lakes and other areas, and they called in anything suspicious so the local security team could take care of it and held a recording as evidence.

When the police looked into it, they discovered the East European men owned a restaurant, and they were stealing fish from a variety of fisheries and subsidizing their business at another person’s expense. On sentencing such poaching crimes were looked upon very harshly in these communities, and they received five years, this had shocked them as they had thought they could get away and play the system.

Stephen Hawkins had received an invitation to present a talk at the Royal Albert Hall in London, however three of his usual personal team who travelled with him whenever he was requested to go abroad and or make such presentations, had only recently been involved in a car accident and had needed to be temporarily replaced.

Little Sparrow was now a valued part of the research team, and who Hawkins enjoyed debating with, so he had asked Mouse if he would consider for a temporary period of time helping as one of his team of physical assistance, it did however mean there would possibly be periods of travelling abroad, and working long hours.

However, as Hawkins was famously known for gate crashing parties, little Sparrow was rather attracted to the idea and had accepted. The remaining other two replacement staff were found from friends of Hawkins and they had stood in before they were fully aware of all that was involved.

The presentation at the Royal Albert Hall, had been an outstanding success, and as this was the first time young Sparrow had attended this type of function, he was taken aback in awe at how this crippled entrapped person before him, had mastered his mind and developed it to reach into the higher levels of thought, of which so few ever even knew existed let alone explored so openly.

The body might well now not want to work as it was designed, however, Hawkins had refused to allow it to hold him back, and had pushed himself beyond the realms that was ever thought possible, and to hear him talk in such a way, was to Mouse when he closed his eyes and listened to his friend and employer, like seeing a caged bird been released, and discovering freedom.

There had been a party been held in one of the local night clubs, and Hawkins in his usual fashion had used his fame and instant recognition, to gain entry for himself and his team. It was a sight to watch him dancing in his power chair twirling it around on the dance floor, as if all his caged feelings were being released.

To Hawkins this was his way of releasing stress and a safety valve, which helped him adjust to the vast demands placed upon him by his work, the media and society.

It was just gone 03am when the fire alarm had sounded, and there was a sudden panic of some three hundred guests rushing in a confused, semi-conscious state, and been restricted from the consumption of alcohol and other substances.

To their horror the nearest fire door had been blocked with a car parking across the exit door, and making it impossible to open and vacate the building, and it had taken some time before the guests had realised where the remaining fire door was, however by then the dance floor room had started filling with smoke, and Hawkins was helplessly entrapped not been able to get passed the sheer volume of people.

Suddenly there was an explosion and part of the room burst into flame, and as the crowd had rushed racing for the remaining exit door, some people were trampled, and Hawkins chair was knocked over.

People were in a blind panic and they cared only for their own lives, Hawkins was unable to move, and had his right arm trampled, and crushing the fingers, and as he had not been able to move his arm out of the way, he was trapped.

His care assistance was literally carried away from him by the sheer force of moving bodies all wanting to save their own lives, and as almost all of them were intoxicated, they just did not realize what they had done or at that just who had been injured or left behind.

Young Sparrow managed to grasp hold of one of the female helpers who had been knocked over and was been trampled on, when he pushed people aside and pulled her to the safety of a side wall.

By now the fire was spreading and had already travelled across the ceiling, and the smoke was making it difficult to breathe or see that well. As the room thinned out with guests, young Sparrow looked around and could see Stephen Hawkins still laying where he had fallen. Quickly he pointed to his fellow helper and pointed towards Hawkins, and they both started crawling beneath the smoke towards where Hawkins was.

By the time they had reached him, they had realized that it would be impossible to lift the chair, and had started to undo the seat belt which had kept Hakims safely in the chair, as had he have not worn it, he would have most certainly have been thrown from the chair, and having been unable to move away, he would have been trampled possibly to death.

As they freed Hawkims, they slowly dragged him towards the exit, and just as they reached it Susan, could see in the distance another body lying on the floor, blinking her eyes and rubbing them she realised it was a member of the care staff. As they pulled Hawkins safely out, she told young Sparrow that Adrian Phillips was still inside, so once Sparrow was sure Stephen Hawkins was safe, he re-entered the building.

As he did the police and a fire crew arrived along with an ambulance, the resulting chaos resulted in further delay, and an extra thirteen minutes had passed before rescue workers found Professor Hawkins and Susan Jennings.

Susan frantically told them what had happened and that young Sparrow was still inside trying to rescue their friend, as they organized themselves, and entered the building they found Sparrow almost instantly, he was only some three feet from the door but had been overcome by the effort of trying to drag his friend to safety. They gave him oxygen and had him rushed to hospital, along with any others who required medical attention.

Professor Hawkins was admitted with the rest of the injured, amazingly he had remained conscious during the incident and was able to give his own version of how Susan and young Master Sparrow had re-entered the burning building and rescued him at great risk to their own lives.

It had taken about three hours after Sparrow was admitted into hospital before young Dorothy alerted her mother and father as to what had happened, and as to where our son was being treated.

Sadly, by the time we had arrived our son had passed away, and no amount of technology could bring back his life. In the morning newspapers, its headlines told of how a hero had put his own life on the line to save the life of the famous Stephen Hawkins, and how he had re-entered a dangerously burning building to try and bring to safety a second friend.

Incredibly he had not known it but his efforts to save the life of his friend had paid dividends, as although he was on the critical list, it was thought that he stood a good chance of pulling through. It was not known at that stage as to how much lung damage there was, as they had placed him into a forced coma to induce healing, and to give his body the time it needed to rest and heal.

By the next day the police had gone through the club’s surveillance recordings as that was one of the two rooms untouched by the fire. After reviewing the recordings, it was discovered that a female employee had gone into the stock room to have a quiet smoke.

What she had not been aware of was, that a bottle of brandy had been dropped and had broken, only a short time before she had entered the room, when she finished her smoke she had thrown what she thought had been the now unlit cigarette onto the floor, and as it lay there when she opened the door to exit, a draft had caused it to relight, and instantly the brandy caught on fire, and from there the fire grew.

Some of the crates and bottles had been stacked on shelving, and as the bottles fell and breaking they just added more fuel to the fire, which resulted in the eventual loss of five lives, and sixteen people on the critical list, with some it was still not known if they would make it.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.