Margery left early the next morning with the local solicitor, Martin Shrubsbury, to speak with, or more likely to, Cuttlebuck & Dee. Since she was very focused on legal matters, the absence of her daughter was overlooked. You might think that she was a bad mother but to be fair, checking to see if your offspring was abducted by an enchanted pony doesn’t come up very often, if at all.
Later, that morning, Constable Clive was biking out by “That Place” as per the orders of the town council, just to check on things. He didn’t enjoy it. But his desire to not be called on the carpet by Mrs. Woodsmith outweighed his fear of “That Place,” just barely.
Today however, his fear was replaced by confusion. About five meters from the road side, a tent had been erected. Not a grubby little pup-tent like he had as a child. This was a splendid tent. It was made of striped, green and gold fabric and was as large as a cottage. In fact, a small stream of smoke emanated from a hole in the top.
Sitting on a chair before this tent was small man. He was dressed in long coat, boots and what Clive thought at first glance was armor but at second glance appeared to be rugged, outdoors style clothing.
Clive got off his bike and approached the man.
“Mornin,” said Clive.
“Who goes there!” bellowed the man, who had leapt to his feet.
Clive held up his hands, to show he meant no harm and said, “I’m Clive Barrowman, as you can see, I’m a constable.”
The man produced a device, it looked like a mix between a sextant and a kaleidoscope, and inspected Clive from head to toes. With a satisfied “hmmm”, he put it away.
“Please accept my apology,” the man said with a formal bow, “but I cannot shirk my vow, given what is to come.”
“Right, of course,” replied Clive who was more confused than before.
“Allow me to introduce myself, I am Godfrey, Keeper of the Gate.”
“Nice to meet you sir.”
Godfrey looked at him expectantly.
“And what can I do for the Shire Reeve this fine morning?” asked the Keeper of the Gate.
Clive paused, it took him a beat to realize that that he was the Shire Reeve.
“Well sir, it’s just that there’s been a bit of controversy about…This area.”
“And I just wanted to check and see if…”
Clive realized that he had no solid orders as to what to do if a large tent, like you might see in a historical drama was erected on the side of the road.
“All was well,” finished Clive.
“Indeed it is!” said Godfrey, “And I thank you for checking in on your side of the veil.”
The question of what exactly his side of the “veil” was tabled as the car pulled up to them. It was a sleek German roadster with a dark red paint job and the driver-side window lowered with the sound of tiny motors whirring.
In that window was a breathtakingly beautiful woman with silver hair, bright green eyes and a sly smile on her perfect face. She extended her perfectly manicured hand to present an envelope to Godfrey.
“Lady,” the Keeper of the Gate said as he bowed and took the envelope.
Clive also bowed. He was not naturally a bower, but this seemed to be the proper thing to do.
Godfrey opened the envelope and scanned the contents.
“You are expected, Lady,” said Godfrey.
She laughed and it sounded like rain on the leaves. With that, the window whirred closed and the car sped off towards “That Place.”
Godfrey turned to Clive and said, “If you’ll please excuse me, things are about to get busy.”