A Haunt of Murder by P. C. Doherty

By P. C. Doherty

As evening units in, Chaucer’s weary pilgrims locate themselves in a Kent copse, rumored to be haunted. Huddling round the fireplace, they convince the Clerk of Oxford to inform a ghostly story of affection and dying that might extra relax their blood...

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The sun began to set. Wheeled braziers were lit and brought out, and pitch torches fired and lashed to poles driven into the ground. Their flames spluttered and danced in the night air. ‘We shall feast and we shall feast,’ Sir John declared, ‘until we have feasted enough. ’ ‘Time for a pause, I think,’ said Theobald. ‘A brisk walk, clear the dishes and the tables, then some marchpane. ’ Lady Anne beckoned to Marisa and Beatrice. ‘Help me carry these pots to the kitchens. ’ Ralph pinched the back of Beatrice’s hand.

His hideous smile disappeared as a dreadful scream pierced the night. ’ Beatrice demanded. ’ His face became sad. ’ And he was gone, walking through the wall, spurs clinking, heading towards Midnight Tower. Beatrice climbed the stairs. She could do this effortlessly; there was no need to stop to catch her breath. As she turned a corner, following the spiral staircase up, what looked like a monk in a dirty grey robe passed her. She glimpsed white, pinched features though he seemed unaware of her.

Phoebe’s throat had been cut from ear to ear and it was apparent, so Theobald Vavasour said, that she had been attacked and cruelly beaten before she was killed. ’ Father Aylred asked. ‘I …’ Beatrice stared across at an old mangonel which lay on its side on the far side of the green. ‘Go on, Beatrice,’ Ralph urged. ’ ‘When I left on Monday,’ she said, ‘I thought I saw someone near Devil’s Spinney. ’ ‘The roads are full of wolf’s-heads and outlaws,’ Sir John commented. ’ Ralph shook his head. ‘The trackway from the castle is fairly busy.

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