Grave Truths by Anne Morgellyn

Grave Truths by Anne Morgellyn

Author:Anne Morgellyn [Morgellyn, Anne]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Endeavour Media
Published: 2012-12-22T22:00:00+00:00


Chapter 11

It didn’t stop me, of course. It didn’t stop me seeking Roy out. I set my alarm for eight on Monday morning, took a careful shower, and dressed warmly for the walk across the park, even putting on a red scarf to add colour to my outfit, as he had suggested. There was every chance he wouldn’t be there, of course, especially if Samuel Veil was going to visit him today, to make his assessment. But I pressed on regardless to the point where the Broadwalk intersected with the Inner Circle road, then turned left towards Queen Mary’s Gardens.

He was there, unmistakably there, seated on a stone bench in an arbour at the far end of the rose garden. He was wearing all his outer layers, the parka topping making him look like a bug half cracked from its casing. By his side was an upturned cap, the sort old men used to wear. I saw a gleam of silver in it. Was this his line then, was he begging? Drawing my shoulders back in a vain attempt to ease the ache at the top of my spine, I continued towards him, passing an old couple on a wooden bench, one of the kind that has a memorial plaque affixed to the back. This spiked my hope that I could fix up Roy’s mother’s floral tribute after all.

An old woman, a mean-eyed tricoteuse, was watching my progress from one of the benches, her husband at her side, at least I assumed he was her husband from the hangdog look on his face, even though the counselling training warned of the dangers of pigeonholing people too soon. Roy had spotted me now and shifted slightly on his seat, the rustle of his clothes launching the smell of things composting on the still autumn air. He was larger built than I remembered, but that must have been the layers. In the daylight, his hair was glossier than Chas’s hair, but not so black. His cheeks were hale and stage-paint red, like those of a garden gnome. He bent down stiffly and pocketed the coins from inside his cap. Then he put this on – a mistake, since it was far too small for him.

‘Time for the cup that cheers,’ he said by way of acknowledging me.

I followed him to the café on the other side of the garden, where he entered the gate to the café and peered dubiously round at the well dressed ladies of a certain age taking tea in the September sunshine. I took the initiative here, offering to fetch the tea while he chose a table.

‘Sugar’s sweet but not for me,’ he said as I came back. He pushed away the sachets of powdered sweetener I’d brought and drank half of the scalding tea in one gulp. ‘Asbestos lining,’ he gasped. ‘That’s what my mam used to say.’

‘Has Dr Veil been to see you yet?’ I asked. ‘He said he was going to today.’

A shadow seemed to fall on him again.


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