Thursday, December 21, 2006
EXCERPT: Haunted Heritage and Other Stories
Haunted Heritage, a tale about Margaret, a Dominican nurse returning to her homeland accompanied by her British husband. She soon becomes the joke of the village when she appears to be overtaken by bouts of manic depression as diagnosed by a psychiatrist…
But as the story unfolds, to the bemusement of her husband, Phillip, Margaret, is later hailed as one of the town’s famous residents when not only is she discovered to be the descendent of a famous writer, but also has a celebrated manuscript of her own.
Other stories in this collection: I’ve Seen it all before’, Baby in the Middle’, ‘Nature Guide’ Recipe For Murder’, Dear Sisters,’ 'My little Lamb', ‘The Storm and ’ ‘A Christmas Story’, explore the lives of seemingly ordinary characters, thrown into unusual situations.
The book also includes the love poem, GODDESS.
This publication will provide many hours of pleasant reading that will have you gagging for more from the same source.
Albert Williams was born in Emsworth, England in 1962.
His previous publications include the poetry titles:
· Honourable Natty Dread 1982
· One Dominica-Odes for I beloved 1985
· Through the Far Eye –1996
Williams is currently working on his first novel.
Copyright 2005 Albert Williams
BABY IN THE MIDDLE
(EXCERPT FROM HAUNTED HERITAGE AND OTHER STORIES BY ALBERT WILLIAMS)
She had instructed the gardener to mow and rake the lawn just as he would have done; Raleigh loved his front garden lawn trimmed every two weeks. Six months following their marriage, he had accepted a seven-year scholarship to study medicine. She only saw him once a year. Then for six weeks, they would enjoy each other’s company, and in the evening have passionate sex all night long.
In the sixth year, Mrs. Gamely announced to her husband over the telephone that she was expectant with child. Her husband of course received the news joyfully.
“I can’t wait to leave the University to hold little Bernard if it’s a boy,” he said “or little Bernadette if it’s a girl.” He told his wife that he would be coming home to stay, in the summer of 1989. That summer arrived sooner than Mrs. Gamely would have liked, but he was already here.
Raleigh had hired a taxi, arrived at 8:30 am at the Canefield airport two hours ahead of time. “At least he could have
telephoned to say that he had arrived,” Mrs. Gamely thought to herself.
“I see you have managed to keep the keep the lawn and garden under control,” he said.
“Whilst you were away,” she replied, “the neighbour’s son offered to do the gardening for us, you don’t mind, do you?”
Mr. Gamely sat down on one of the upholstered chairs; he reached into his shirt pocket pulling out a packet of cigarettes.
“Aren’t you going to kiss me?” his wife asked. “You haven’t even asked to see the child, it’s a boy.”
“I know it’s a boy! How many times do you have to tell me that!”
“Come-come-Raleigh, there’s no need to be upset now. What you need is a long rest after your journey home.”
“What I need is some good advice,” he replied stiffly.
Mrs. Gamely had gone to fetch the child who had been asleep, but was crying full guns. “Voila!” She thrust the little child on him.
“He doesn’t look a bit like me,” Raleigh said. “Come to think of it he doesn’t look like either of us.”
“Raleigh! What has gotten into you, first you arrive two hours ahead of schedule…”
“Are you afraid of something?” Raleigh asked raising his voice.
“You’re not getting swell-headed, are you doctor?” Mrs. Gamely rocked the baby in her arms gently.
“And what do you mean by that?”
“I mean you have changed so much these last few years, you’ve even taken up smoking. Surely doctors shouldn’t smoke, especially in the company of women and children.” She left the room with the baby crying loudly.
Later, Mrs. Gamely prepared a supper for her husband consisting of his entire favourite dishes and liqueurs. ”Honey, you’ve hardly taken a bite, is there something wrong?”
“Yvette, I need to talk to you.”
“That’s what I’m here for,” Mrs. Gamely replied, “all those years.”
“All those years I trusted, provided for you and…” his voice trailed off to a whisper, “you’ve done this to me.”
Mrs. Gamely grew as white as a sheet. “I can’t take it, I can’t take it.” She stormed from the table.
“Yvette! Yvette! Get back here at once!” the Dr. called out to her. He got up from the table and rushed to catch up with her. Yvette was in the room gazing at the little
boy, her expression one of puzzlement. “Yvette, can we talk this over like two adults.”
“What is there to talk about,” Mrs. Gamely sobbed. “You’ve got what you wanted, you’re doctor so and so…”
“I had a sperm count,” the doctor said coldly.
“A sperm count?” Yvette repeated doubtfully.
“Yes,” replied the doctor. “You see…It was optional, for our own benefit. Reproductive cycles forms part of human sexuality, you know that much, don’t you.”
“How could I not have,” Yvette replied. “Your studies made quite a difference in your love making, all that tantric stuff and…”
“And the results,” broke in the doctor, “were negative.”
“Negative, what do you mean negative?”
“I mean that according to the specialist, the number and quality of these little wrigglers in my scrotum are very low and unable to produce a child.”
“Unable to produce a child!” replied his wife.
“Unable to impregnate a female’s ovary,” the doctor explained.
“Are you telling me that?…”
“I’m impotent.” The doctor crumbled to the floor, his head resting on the edge of the bed. The room swirled around him in contrasting emotions. “I don’t believe this nonsense.” His wife hoped that he
“According to my results I could not have fathered a child, not even if I wanted to.” Raleigh stood up, and drew the window curtains letting in the moonlight. In the
distance of about ten yards, the neighbour’s house stood out with its high railings and red galvanised roof.
“Are you serious?” asked his wife.
“Then you have been unfaithful to me.” The doctor turned round, his light brown eyes focused and cold. He suddenly grabbed Yvette and shook her violently. “You were unfaithful to me.”
“You’re hurting me,” Yvette screamed. At the sound of his mother’s voice, the baby began to wail even louder. Mr. Gamely let her loose. For a split second he had lost his sanity. His wife’s shrieking had brought him back to his senses. “Tell me the truth woman!” he growled, “or else.”
Mrs. Gamely realised that she could not play the game any longer. She confessed that while he had been studying she had been rather lonely. “I tried to keep
myself occupied,” she explained. “I went to church meetings, to the gym, I even started taking computer lessons, but at nights…At nights.”
“Go on,” demanded the doctor, “go on.”
“O.K. Raleigh, I’ll tell you the truth. I had Roger come over a few nights to keep me company,” she said softly.
“Roger? Who is Roger?”
“The young man who looked after the garden,” she replied.
“Is that the truth?”
“Yes I swear Raleigh, I swear.”
The doctor ran his hand over his head, then over his furrowed brow where a light sweat had broken out. “But did he have to go all the way. At least he could have had
a little respect for you,” he said finally.
“I tried,” defended his wife, “to explain to him that all I needed was company, but he didn’t listen I suppose.
The doctor summarised. “At least he could have used protection, you could
even have contracted AIDS.”
“Oh Raleigh, what are we going to do. I’m so embarrassed.
“The child should have a father and a home, but what about our reputation?” he said, “I need to think.”
After a period of fifteen minutes, Mr. Gamely broke his silence. “We’ll have to keep this under cover.”
“Under cover? What do you mean?” asked Yvette. “I mean, I know you always wanted to have children,” he began. “And since it’s been clinically tested that I can’t
produce sufficiently healthy sperm to impregnate you, we’ll have to adopt the little bastard.”
“You mean,” exclaimed Yvette.
“I mean, having considered all the options, and the scandal this would cause if it were to leak out to the public,” he concluded, “We’ll have to raise him as if it were my very own.”
Yvette gazed at the month-old infant sobbing on the bed, his head was turned to the left, and the profile bore
a strong resemblance of Roger. “And what about Roger?”
“What about him,” he replied. “I’m sure that you don’t expect him to claim the child and face a lifetime of shame.” Raleigh was breathing evenly now. “And besides, he has not got the wherewithal to provide for a child.”
“Oh Raleigh, what have I done to you.” Yvette moved closer to Raleigh and sobbed on his shoulder. “I’m sorry, so sorry.”
“As I said the best plan of action is to accept the circumstance,” declared the doctor. “So much for bedroom manners and respecting your neighbour’s wife!”
“And what about Roger, do you think he’ll agree?”
“Don’t worry about him from today. Tell him he’s been fired; we’ll give him a handsome severance pay. I’m
sure he’ll find somebody else’s garden to mow and tend to.”
Two weeks later Mr. and Mrs. Gamely christened the babe, Bernard. He grew up in their household unaware of the irregularities surrounding his identity. Roger was forbidden from seeing the child, and the doctor kept his secret for the rest of his life. After all which one is worse: to be unable to father children, or to raise an illegitimate child from an adulterous union. Neither the doctor nor his wife needed any prompting here.
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