Sunday, 8 July 2012

The new Ben Chatham Story: "DRAGON'S EAR & DRUID'S SPEAR"


The sound of laughter and clinking glasses echoed through the old, country house as the party was in full swing. Heavy metal music blared loudly from the speakers and outside in the gardens several couples were copulating in the bushes, in between swigging from bottles of wine. In the main hall, young, vivacious and nubile Anthropology student Gabriella Dent sidled up to her boyfriend the bearded Archaeology student Elliot Rhys-Mandeville:
“Hey I like still can’t believe you were able to rent this place for the whole weekend for next to nothing. This Kerrigan guy must really rate your research skills.” Elliot grinned at her and swept his long hair aside:
“Yeah babe, I can’t like believe what a great 21st party this is turning out to be. All my mates like pissed as ****s, Slayer blasting out of the speakers and me about to take you upstairs and shag you ragged. What more can a dude want?” Gabriella laughed out loud and stroked his beard. Outside, beyond the misty lawns and dark spinney, the surface of the lake gently rippled and glimmered in the moonlight. It was a warm, sultry summer night with the light mist gently drifting across the water. Occasionally bats glided and swooped between the trees of the spinney as the sound of the party in the distance punctuated the night with its incongruous and intrusive presence. Slowly something began to stir under the water of the lake. It sensed the noise in the distance, the sound of young people shouting and laughing. It moved towards the surface, the predatory senses alert and engaged……

Back at the party, two long haired youths wearing Iron Maiden T-shirts were dancing on the table kicking beer glasses at the walls as others laughed. Elliot was leading Gabriella up the stairs when there was a massive crash and the sudden sound of screaming. They turned and saw it……. Elliot screamed at Gabriella to run as a clawed arm thrashed towards them, blood spattering in all directions as the sound of teeth crunching through bone could be heard……..

In Cambridge, Ben and Emma Chatham walked towards the car as Kyle Scott loaded luggage into the boot.
“Ere you two ‘ave a good time okay” Kyle said as Emma smiled:
 “How could we not do? A honeymoon in the Algarve… wonderful.” Ben frowned:
 “I would still have preferred that we stuck to my original plan of a serious trip to the excavation site near Rouen where they think they have discovered the site of one of the Frankish king Clovis’ battles.” Emma was irritated:
“Ben, I want a proper honeymoon not an Archaeology trip.” As she spoke, Ben’s mobile rang. He had a short, muttered conversation before looking up with a grin:
 “Hey guys, looks like the honeymoon will have to wait. We have a case!” Emma frowned:
“What do you mean Ben?”
“That was one of my old university lecturers Professor Gus Renfew. One of his most promising current students has gone missing under very odd circumstances. I need to go and visit him at once. Kyle, you may come along. I’ll text you later Emma.” Emma was disgruntled:
“Look I don’t care about your old lecturer or his students. We are supposed to be going on honeymoon Ben.”
“It is far more important that I follow up a potential Operation Delta case than swan off on some holiday Emma”, Ben firmly replied.
“You are not being fair Ben” Emma angrily stated.
“I will discuss this with you when you are less emotional. Come on Kyle”.

Ben drove Kyle to Katie Ryan’s flat to pick her up before heading off to Professor Renfew’s rooms in Magdalene College. Katie was disgruntled as she had missed her breakfast:
“I was about to prepare myself some poached eggs and lightly grilled tomatoes. I don’t appreciate being dragged out without having eaten so I hope that this turns out to be important Ben.” Kyle looked out of the window:
 “Ere there’s a McDonalds over there. Lets stop and gerrus a bite”. Ben was bemused:
“I do not and would never consider frequenting a McDonalds Kyle. It is low quality food for the lumpen masses.” Katie interjected:
“Well I’m ******* famished Ben. Pull in there.” Ben flicked his luscious blonde locks out of his sad, dreamy eyes and sighed deeply:
“On your own heads be it.”

Entering the McDonalds Ben felt slightly nauseous as he saw the room overcrowded with screaming children, obese women in skin-tight leggings shouting at each other and teenage youths wearing baseball caps who were scowling at everyone. Ben reluctantly sat down as Kyle and Katie went to order food. Looking around, Ben was sickened by the tasteless garish colours of the d├ęcor and the inability of the customers to interact without shouting. A smiley McDonalds worker approached him:
“*smiling* Good morning Sir. I hope you’re having a nice day. Can I take your order?”
 “*smiling* Oh I’m sorry Sir. I didn’t know you had ordered already.”
“I haven’t. I have no intention of doing so. Please don’t smile at me as if I am a close friend or something. I’m not.”
The worker looked uncomfortable and left. Ben noticed a young woman with a lip piercing on the next table shoving food at two emaciated looking children:
“’that’s ‘alf an ‘appy meal each for yer. Gerrit down yer, its all I can afford till I get me giro.” Ben was disgusted:
“Excuse me, but if you bought your food wisely off the market and learned how to cook then you could feed those children far more nutritiously and for a fraction of the cost of the rubbish they serve in here. No doubt the reason that you don’t is that you are too idle to prepare food yourself.” The woman flares up:
“Who the fuck asked your opinion? Snotty cunt!” Ben sighed:
“You clearly think it is appropriate to use such invective in front of children. You are a disgrace frankly.” One of the children makes a rude gesture towards Ben and the mother laughs. Ben turned away and saw a middle-aged and smartly dressed man approaching. The man leant over to Ben:
“I’d just like to say that the way you told it like it is to that woman was admirable *gestures to an empty seat* may I?”
 “Er yes” Ben replied. The man sat down.
“I must confess Mr Chatham that me encountering you in here is no coincidence. I also know that you are about to visit Professor Renfew about a missing student.”
“How do you know this….. Who are you?” Ben asked.

A short time later, Kyle and Katie returned to the table after ordering their food. Ben was nowhere to be seen.
“Eees probably in the bog” Kyle observed. However after a while there was no sign of him.
“Either he’s having a marathon dump or something is wrong. Ring his mobile” Katie stated. Kyle rang Ben’s mobile:
 “Ere its switched off. Summat’s up ………”

…….to be continued.