Chapter 8

Julia woke late the next morning. Martin had already taken the two dogs out for a walk, so that after they had finished their breakfast they could make their way to Christine’s house, White Cottage.

Julia played with her cereal.

“I hope the police find that awful man. I wonder if we should go to Christine’s this morning in the circumstances?”

“She may be glad of a friendly face. I think we should go.”

“I can’t believe that it was her brother. I’m absolutely sure that it was. How did he know about the dragon?”

“Well, Christine must have told him about it, but I don’t know how she knew.”

“Michael told her I expect. They must have been closer than we thought.”

“Hmm. I phoned the hospital earlier. Michael had a good night’s rest, but they’re keeping him in for a few days observation. He wants to see us. Did you sleep well.”

“Yes. Eventually. It was a very long evening with D. I. Matthews” she yawned.

They had gone to the police station and given an account of the attack on Julia and the finding of Michael in the old farmhouse. Julia had recognised one of her assailants as the man from the café who they now knew to be Christine’s brother. The police had a bulletin out for his arrest, but they had no leads to go on at present. The police had gone to interview Christine but she said she knew nothing of her brother’s whereabouts, and she appeared to be very shocked and tearful, whether about John, her brother or Michael her friend it was hard to tell.

After Julia and Martin were finished at the police station they went to the hospital to see Michael. They found him sedated and sleepy after his ordeal, and he had a nasty gash running down the side of his face. He was very weak after spending two days as a prisoner, but he managed a weak smile and offered his thanks to the couple.

As they were leaving the hospital Martin spotted Christine getting out of her car in the car park, She then rushed inside the hospital before Martin could call to her. She appeared distraught, with her mind firmly fixed on the one thing she was doing, to notice Julia and Martin. They got into their own car and returned home, had a stiff whisky and tumbled into bed.

Barney now came up to Julia wagging his tail.

“And how are you my love? “ she looked at the wound on his head. While they were giving their statement at the police station, Barney had been taken to the vet by the policewoman who had visited them the day before. His wounds were only superficial, although tender to the touch, and they would heal quickly.

“I think it would be best if we left the dogs here while we visit Christine.” Martin said

“Then afterwards we can pick them up and take them for a long walk along the beach if the weather keeps fine.”

“Before that, lunch at the Fisherman’s Inn.?”

“You know me so well.”

Christine greeted her visitors with relief.

“ I thought you might not come” she said. “I’m not everyone’s favourite person at the moment. Especially Michael’s”

Not wanting to mention that they had seen her at the hospital, they stayed silent waiting for her to speak again.

Christine busied herself making coffee for them all, and then sat down at the kitchen table.

“I wanted to talk to you about this cottage” she said. “I had been thinking for some time that I would move, and now circumstances have changed, I don’t want to stay here any longer.”

“How can we help you” Martin said.

“Well. I know that you are looking for somewhere bigger than the house you are in at present, and I think this place would be perfect for you.”

Martin shook his head.

“Christine, we just can’t afford a place this size. It would take us years to save up a deposit”

“I’m not offering it for sale. Not yet anyway. What I was thinking was to rent it to you, with the provision that you would look after my ageing animals. I can’t take the horses with me, so caring for them will reflect in the rental price. Before you say anything, please have a good look around, inside and out. I realise it needs a lot of work done, which I would leave to you to do”

Martin got up and went to the door.

“I’ll pop outside then” he said leaving Julia sitting at the table with Christine.

“I had hoped that my plans would be different to this” Christine murmured.

“Michael and I had talked about moving in together, but now he wants nothing more to do with me. He thinks I betrayed him, and I did, without knowing. Michael had told me about the dragon, and the reason he left it in the security box was that he was meeting me for the weekend and didn’t want the responsibility of having it with him.

It was just a chance remark I made to John that I now bitterly regret.

“When Michael is feeling better, I’m sure he’ll change his mind” Julia suggested.

Christine shook her head. “No. I don’t think so. He said he wants nothing more to do with me. He blames me for letting the information slip to my brother John. Anyway I have been offered a job with a firm of solicitors in Cardiff. I was going to turn it down for Michael but now I think I shall go ahead and take it”

She got up. “Come and look at the rest of the house while Martin is outside”

Julia knew without looking, that this would be the perfect place for them, but she was still worried they wouldn’t be able to afford it and said as much before they went too far.

“I’ll make sure that you can afford it” was Christine’s reply. “Jenny Warriner the estate agent will draw something up, and look after the details for me, We’ll make it a year’s term with a option to buy later. You can build sheds and do whatever you want to with the land. There are no restrictions. Now take a good look around and then talk to Martin while I put that kettle back on.

Excitement was mounting in Julia when she met up with Martin who was feeding the horses.

“It’s perfect for us. Oh Martin, I want to live here”

He turned to her grinning, “So do I” he said.


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