The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...


The principle of beauty had not been lost on their evening of reunion. Toby had brought Esme to the little shop in Bayswater and then retired to his small room at the rear of the building. Esme spent most of the evening and night in the protective arms of Charles and it was in the early hours of the following morning just as the first trickle of light began to enter their upstairs room, that the hammering and hollering began on the shop door downstairs. They both woke with a start. Charles guessed at once that it must be Edward and that he was clearly deranged. He hurried with his clothes and told Esme to stay in bed. He made his way downstairs and into the dim light of the shop. The hammering became louder and the door shook and juddered about to give.

‘Alright!… Alright!’ he shouted the words, but doubted they were heard above the din. He slid the bolts, top and bottom, and fumbled for a fallen key. The sound of its turn in the lock for a moment silenced the noise from outside, and he slowly opened the door. It was barely open a few inches before a boot was forced inside and a fist was thrust through. It caught Charles fully on the jaw and sent him reeling across the floor.
‘You Bastard, you have my wife here, where is she?’ Edward was in the room and hunched over the crumpled figure of Charles.

He looked at Charles with a fortified insanity, and hit him several times at the side of the head with his hard clenched fists.

The delinquency of a madman conceded Charles, and he passed into unconsciousness…

Author Note: 'Shriving' is an old Biblical term for the state of 'Transition'

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