So it turns out there used to be a secret military establishment up in the ruined upper village. WWII shenanigans, all hush hush and top secret and so, Bob’s your uncle, whisperings of plot, murder, conspiracy and other dark imaginings.
I think Charteris just sits in this cottage and spins out conspiracies by the yard — he’d do better to take a turn down in the cotton mills just a little further along the lane.
M. finally opened up a little to me after we got home, after I’d taken my tea upstairs in disgust to read a bit more of Bateman’s fascinating Victorian studies of the local Iron-Age tumuli scattered about that have filled my heart with delight.
M. read me his latest journal entry in whispers — the bright white light that had engulfed the ruins, the cordoning off by the authorities — now that was interesting. I know the hills around here are full of lead, I wonder that there is not uranium as well? Or phosphorous perhaps? I wonder what they had stored up there, and just what they were doing in such a remote location during the war…
It is mysterious, I confess. Rather thrilling in fact. But far more wonderful was M.’s revelation that underneath the village there are a series of tunnels dug by the miners, connecting one public house with another, one church with another (connecting churches is more puzzling, I confess). He and Charteris actually went in one of them without me, and I tell you, I have never been so hurt and angry in my life.
M. knows how much I love tunnels and caves. He still has not forgiven me for the time I dragged him to Nottingham, ‘city of caves’, and a succession of tours led by characters in costume, a sublime sandstone made sadly shmaltz. It crossed my mind that perhaps this was all just one long, drawn-out attempt at revenge.
But he was shaken, I knew this wasn’t about me at all and tried to let go of my anger as he hoarsely whispered of the cold damp tunnels and the scabrous stones and the growing feeling of evil and then…he could barely speak as he told me of the throbbing. Of the face.
I can only think that Charteris has somehow been feeding him shrooms. ‘Mycological abominations’. ‘Vile mycelium’. Call them what you will.
At least, I hope he has. M., I fear, is beginning to believe in its reality though at least he is now becoming doubtful of Charteris’s intentions. I need to get into the tunnels and see what Charteris is really up to, and how he is drugging my dear M. It might just be the mouldy miasma that Charteris carries with him like a cloud, poisoning his blood and his brain.
Mothers, don’t let your sons grow up to be dirty bastards who don’t know how to wash their clothes.
So tunnels… I’d make every effort to get into those tunnels regardless. But Charteris and those two lackeys of his are certainly up to no good there…