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Authors: Graham Adams

Tags: #Mystery, #Suspense, #Thriller, #Europe, #France

Lewi's Legacy

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Lewi’s Legacy

 

By Graham Adams

 

The first sequel to: ‘The Stone’

Index to the Chapters

 

1.………………..…..........……The Boy’s night out

2.…………….………….............…..A rare sighting

3………………………............Return of the favour

4.……………………........…..Victor learns Russian

5………..…………….……................…..Sally’s find

6……….…………….……....………..The awakening

7………..…………..…............………Aladdin’s Cave

8…………….....................……………New brothers

9.…………..................………….…Sally goes home 10………….......................……….……Moving time

11……………………...........…….Ancestry revealed

12…………..................…..All hands to the pumps

13………….........................…………..A new friend

14……….…........................…………..A pick me up

15…………………………...............……The Big Sale

16……….………………................………..Enquiries

17……………….….…..........………….Coming home

18……………………................…………….The Heist

19…………............................…………….Discovery

20……….…..............………….Parting of the ways

21……....................………….Strange happenings

22……………….….…..........……………….Sew it up

23………………….…....………….Difficult decisions

24…………………..….............…...Mikhail exposed

25………………..……..........….A surprise for Louis

 

 

 

1
The Boy’s night out

The big top

One early Friday evening in midsummer, two young boys began their climb of the steep High Street, the main thoroughfare in a busy south Derbyshire market town. Coal and steelmaking were the main industries for the men folk, but many men and women were now turning to textiles and clothing factories that sprang up all around the district. In all, the mid 1950’s in this area was typical of the new wave of confidence following the dawn of the second Elizabethan period. Six days a week this particular road was buzzing with shoppers of all kinds. All their needs were provided by the small businesses each providing specialised goods and services. The mile long hill would easily house half a dozen butchers and although each provided the same basic product, each would have its own speciality. One butcher would display a sign in the window:

‘Black pudding fit for a Queen’.

Whether the Queen would like, or even eat, black pudding was open to question, never the less, lovers of this product would certainly have to be at the shop early to avoid disappointment!

Another tradesman, the baker, would be just as evident, and each one proud of his own loyal customers. At this time every baker’s shop-front would be supported by its own bakery on the same premises, so that casual passers-by would be treated to the smell of baking fresh produce, and could never be able to walk by the door!

In less than ten minutes the boys had reached the halfway stage of the hill. All of the shops that they had passed were, by this time, locked and boarded up for the night, except this one that one of the boys, Danny, was standing by, proudly pushing his face against the still brightly lit window. They were watching intently as Danny’s father, Dan Sanderson senior retrieved all the empty square enamel trays that displayed the portions of tripe, and this was the only Tripe Shop in the town.

Tripe was the one thing that Louis, the other boy, had to avert his eyes from, especially after his friend had explained in meticulous detail just what tripe was and how it was cooked and eaten. It certainly was a delicacy, to some but not at all for Louis. Danny’s father and his mother Mary had run their business in the town since before the war in the late 30’s and had brought up their two children, Susan, now 15, and young Danny. Tripe of course, was the centre of their world, and each of the children was expected to do their part on Saturdays and to some extent in school holidays. It was no hardship for them at all. They never complained, in fact they both loved it!

There were benefits of course to their duties, two of which young Danny was clutching in his hand that very minute – two ringside tickets for the opening night of The Bulgarian State Circus. It was becoming a tradition in the town, a bi-annual visit by the circus, enhanced by the regular concession for all trades people who were willing to post the familiar colourful ‘Circus in Town’ poster. Those that centred the poster in their shop window would be offered opening night tickets for the show. Young Danny had no hesitation in offering his other ticket to his best school pal Louis.

Danny waved at his dad as his father wiped the enamel trays, and a large red face smiled back at the two boys. At the same time he briskly waved them on towards the top of the hill, as if to say to them, don’t be late! For those few moments Louis looked at his friend’s face, and then his father’s. Both had the same healthy complexion, strong, honest, reliable and most of all, kind. Louis however was as different to his friend as chalk is to cheese. Slighter in stature, with black tightly curled hair, as opposed to Danny’s thick blonde mane. His thin aquiline nose centred in a dark skinned face with dark brown eyes that somehow asked questions of you without even trying. Quite simply one could only assume that Danny’s friendship of Louis could be put down to the fact that they were opposites, as they never tired of chattering and exploring together.

If on met met the two youngsters out together, it was easy not to notice Louis at first, as the boy seemed the more retiring and introverted of the two. His self consciousness seemed to make one focus on his acute limp, yet with his friend alongside him there was really no need to hang back. In fact, just recently, he had been able to ape his big friend’s more confident ways somewhat as often, clever comments would flow, surprising everyone.

The boys turned away from the shop window in unison and proceeded to tackle the rest of the hill climb. At the top of the High Street stood the Market Square and it was dominated by St. Steven’s church with its impressive castellated tower. The next day would be Saturday, and the now empty market place would be thronged with townspeople hunting bargains in the hundred stalls, rain or shine, winter or summer.

Across the space they ran to the other side with a sense of excitement, and down the other side they could easily make out the huge Big Top with its great canvas roof all red and white stripes and a great pole with a long thin flag protruding from the middle, fluttering from the top in the summer breeze. The two boys gasped in amazement and were urged on as they could see the build-up of the crowds making their own route towards the same goal.

They reached the Victoria Park playing fields, now thronged with men women and children forming a very wide queue leading to the main entrance, which was covered in flashing lights. As the way to the tent was down a gentle decline, the boys could see over the heads of the people in front. The massive tent was surrounded by fifty or more caravans of all shapes and sizes. As they slowly got a little closer, they perceived that the caravans were beautifully painted with massive images of clowns or fierce animals like lions or tigers. Some had trapeze artists and others bareback riders on white horses painted on them. It was obvious that the pictures were all there to fire the imagination as the spectators approached the showground. Louis thought that the pictures on the sides perhaps depicted the artist who slept there.

Suddenly and out of character for him, Louis dashed towards the nearest caravan to grab a sneaking look inside though its small window. His quick spontaneous action startled his friend who just stood and watched, transfixed. Just before he jumped on a stool outside the tiny caravan window, he indicated to Danny in the queue with his fingers, just two minutes!

Louis slowly eased himself onto the stool, and slowly raised his head above the window sill, peering in through the open, curtained window. Dressed like a tiny ballerina, standing on tiptoe stood a young girl about his age, arms aloft in the classic pirouette turn. Watching the girl, sitting on a tiny settee was a little white toy poodle, which suddenly turned to look at the face at the window. The dog suddenly started yapping at him, which caused alarm to the girl, who looked in the direction of Louis’s head. The soft wispy smile on the little ballerina suddenly changed to a snarl, almost as if a horrible mask had been revealed to him. Had she seen him? Louis had already jumped off the stool and was hightailing it back to Danny, who was about to offer the tickets to the doorman.

‘What’s up Lou? You look like you’ve seen a ghost’. Louis shrugged, but didn’t answer him.

An usherette quickly showed them to their front seats, right on the edge of the show ring. They could smell the odour of the slightly damp wood shavings that constituted the main arena floor. Directly above them had been fixed the huge safety net, and peering through they could see the trapeze artists’ swings and ropes swaying gently, as if they were waiting for the action of the brave flyers. Suddenly Louis was gripped by another impulse and whispered to his friend that he needed to ‘go’. Looking around the arena he gauged that there was still time before the start, as people were still streaming in. He quickly collared one of the brightly dressed usherettes and she indicated a small exit sign at the far side of the circle. Just a few yards from the exit his way was blocked by a huge man carrying a whip and dressed in a leopard skin leotard.

‘And just where are you going young man?’ He boomed. Louis looked suitably distressed and pointed to the exit sign, the giant stepped aside with a knowing smile.

The tunnel exit looked surprisingly long and dark, but he was spurred on by the little light at the end of it. On emerging, several rows of little huts appeared with the appropriate toilet signs roughly stencilled on their doors. He could just reach the handle and was about to turn it when he nearly jumped out of his skin. A short piercing scream seemed to come from behind him. As he peered, he saw a small pile of clothing and further in the distance, a large horse was galloping away with two men running behind trying to catch hold of a trailing rope. His gaze was interrupted by movement from the small pile of clothes.

A low moaning sound was emanating from it. He gingerly edged towards the little pile, and as he almost reached it, he could just perceive a small head with wispy long grey hair, and then a small, thin, bony hand also started to appear. He reached for the hand which suddenly gripped his, startling him a little. It continued to grip harder, pulling, pulling until the boy could eventually see what it was.

An old, very old, woman sat up on the ground and her little dark eyes looked directly at Louis. Firstly there was a strong stare from the heavily lined face, but in a short time the boy could depict pain and he noticed a little pool of blood on the ground. He gently lifted the clothing to reveal a large gash on her shin, which was the cause of it. Instinctively he stood up, looking for someone to help.

‘No!’ The old woman shouted, and her hand pointed to a tiny caravan very close to them. Although the boy was small and awkward, he had no trouble helping the old lady to her van, up the steps and finally onto an old, rickety wicker chair, just inside the doorway. He looked around the room. As tiny as it was, there were plenty of cupboards built into the structure. After a couple of attempts, he was able to find a clean cloth which he tore into strips and quickly bound around her thin, bony shin. He remembered the same method his father had used on him, to secure the strips of bound cloth. He left an unbound portion of the last strip and tore it into two lengthways, making a simple yet secure tie.

During all this operation, the woman did not speak. In fact not a sound did she make, but instead just looked at the boy as he performed his rudimentary first aid on her. At the completion, she looked into his eyes, and she gave him a strange crooked smile.

‘What happened to you?’ Louis finally asked her, as he gently tied the second knot in the bandage.

‘The horse, he kicked out, I was in the way’. She explained to him in a very heavy accent, yet he found no trouble in understanding her.

‘Will you be alright? Shall I fetch someone for you? You see I have to go to the show.’ Louis asked her.

‘No, go now, boy – but’ she gripped the boy’s arm as he turned to go, ‘you must return to me tomorrow, it is very important. Will you promise me?’ She asked him.

‘I must go, I’ll miss...yes alright, I will visit you tomorrow when I have done...’ his sentence was interrupted by the old woman.

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