Well… first off. I must tell you; this town I speak of is very much a real town. The mill and graveyards, river and abbey, all of it stuck thick within the twisted branches of this tree we call reality. Don’t take me for a fool. The story however, well I leave that up to you to believe…
Tewksbury is a small riverside town in Gloucestershire, England; it flooded pretty bad back in 2007. It was just like the one back in the 1960s… and back in the 1940s. I remember it well. I was stood in the highest reaches of the mill; looking over my kingdom. Soon to become drenched: drowned: washed away.
My name is Noah, a seemingly appropriate name I always thought. I am sixteen years young just to let you know my dears, I dare not bother in describing my appearance since that is of little importance. The lights twinkled below me; all the little houses full of lovely people. I planned not to kill anyone, living. My eyes slowly trailed over to the small stinking grave yard over the crumbled grey wall; coated thickly in jagged toothed brambles and wire, this yard across the river reeked; flies buzzing around the fallen fruit causing the noise of annoyance to reverberate into the mild zephyr of the night. I despise that tiny ‘resting’ place; full of cracked graves and decaying webs lain by spiders that had long since dispersed into dust. This small section of catacomb left my gaze as I continued my eyes up to the spire of the nearby abbey. So many souls screamed from this unholy hallowed epicentre. A smile formed across my mouth as I heard their distance screaming, I thanked God of this pleasant noise that drowned out the petulant buzzing.
I hated the dead of this place, despised them. Dirty peasants who never thought a fleeting ponder as to the lives of others. They only cared about their squandering personal existence. Because of course, if you aren’t a local… you don’t even matter to those blind cretins. They make my blood boil; my eyes turn a red fire in an extravagant flurry of rage. As I growl the thunder cracks, the clouds seep open and the calm waters of the river below the mill begin to form thousands of spiraled eyes as the life is dripped into them from our most holy God. Yes, tonight these ghosts scream, the graveyard buzzes and the spirits of peasants residing in the twinkling houses cower in close knit fear. They know this hellish flood hath been sent to claim only one thing, and let me tell you now; this flood is not intended for the living.
Avery Phelps heaved her child from the tin bath and placed the girl on her small feet to the grassy ground to dry off. Despite living this close to the river; water these days was scarce. After that outbreak of cholera a few years back, she had become awfully weary as to where her water had come from.
“Now my love, do be still; I cannot dry you when you fidget!”
Her daughter resisted as she pointed over past Avery’s shoulder.
“Who is that strange man the horse looking over at us, Mama?”
Avery turned her head after becoming curious herself. A boy, no more than sixteen or seventeen sat straight on a white horse; fair hair slicked away from his soft features and piercing grey eyes. His clothes belonged to high society, a black suit with a white crisp shirt and grey waistcoat, fashionable shorts and long riding boots. He kicked the side of the house as it trotted over.
“May I take upon asking a question, ma’am?” He asked; his voice soft as velvet.
She continued to slowly dry her child while he looked down at her. “Certainly… what do you need to know, sir?”
He dismounted the horse with little difficultly, sweeping the stray hairs from his face.
“I wish to enquire, I require board. My manservant is sick and he needs rest.”
She tilted her head. “Ill? Sir, well. The doctur’ is out of town at the moment. So I suppose your best bet is the small chapel by the river side. I know a tad o’ medicine; what’s wrong with the poor man?”
The pallid boy blinked, holding the horse’s reigns tightly.
“He has been complaining of muscle cramping and needless to say he has vomited countless times.”
Avery’s heart stood still; ‘oh God, no…’ She pleaded internally. ‘He’s got it… Oh God; the boy. He might- oh please no!’ She hid her concern well.
“Oh, he might have a stomach complaint? The best idea would be to take him to the chapel my love.”
She smiled, holding back tears of worry. He nodded to her, getting ready to lead the horse off.
“Many thanks.” She watched him disappear around the corner, hearing the horse’s hooves tap on the stones well into the center of the town.
“Go inside Julie.” If this was the cholera again, the town would become frenzied; it was hard to transmit from person to person, but even Avery knew well of this towns ignorance. She hitched her dress and began to quickly rush over to the nearest male.
The local priest, she grabbed his vestments heatedly as she quickly halted.
“O’ father, a boy just spoke with me! His man servant might have the cholera! I sent him to the chapel! We have to get him away!”
The priest instantly became filled with terrible stifling panic, his voice caught in his throat.
“No, my child; please do not tell me that the child was fair haired?”
She nodded, tears sliding from her eyes in upmost worry, the priest paled. Falling onto the stool behind him which he had been previously sat on.
“A rich young man wondered past me on my travels a few days ago, they claimed to be parched after their journey. So I gave them my fresh bottle of the water from the blessed fountain. I do not recall either drinking it in front of me, but… Oh Lord!” He bellowed as his head fell into his hands.
I place my white hand against the glass of the window, the rain heavily beating down upon the frame. I smile; the water level rises. Their screams increase and the buzzing fades into a pandemonium of ringing and cries for help and impotent prayers to an ignoring God. I laugh ever so slightly, the dark night creating the most perfect of all deathbeds. I hear the priest calling, over the sirens of the living; I wish not to pay much attention to those whose hearts still beat. But this priest- ringing that ghostly bell to call all spirits to prey and hide delights me in upmost entertainment. I begin to shake with laughter, idiotic peasants. Stupid godless peasants, you really think you’ll enter heaven? I cannot wait to hear their screams as my sacred flood drags them down to where they truly belong. Seething in ignorant filth, the filth they created. I laugh chaotically; my head tipping back as the screeching laughter explodes into the air.
“He bought it back to our town! He bought back the devil!”
“He’s just a boy, husband! He didn’t know!”
“He’s killed his man servant. He’s killed himself to doom us all too!”
“He’s right! Kill the boy! Kill the devil!”
Avery screamed as the gang of angry villagers tried to penetrate the cemetery of the chapel as the monks dug a fresh plot for the man servant. The boy, sat on the upmost beam of the upper reaches of the chapels innards. He was shaking with fear. He had not caught the disease, he felt fine! He didn’t even drink that stupid water! Those people outside however; did not care for this matter. They only cared for their own salvation. The worst most crushing aspect became clear. The one to lead the group had been the priest himself, he rallied the group and denied ever giving the travelers the water. Avery had tried to stop this madness; but as we was simply a woman, no gave her the slightest bit of attention; they all had been brainwashed with the suffocating fear of a painful death and Satan himself ruled their minds and controlled their actions.
A monk opened the door the chapel.
“Run! We cannot hold off the hoard! Run to the mill! You can reach it past the cast iron! Be careful, the waters are enraged!”
The boy nodded, running down to the door as the monk ushered him out. He ran through the alley into the small graveyard obscured by the small grey wall. He began to climb it, the jagged brambles tearing his dirtied clothing and pale frozen skin. He wept as he finally reached atop the wall, it was a long jump down into the dark dirt and onto the raging river bank and a loud crash behind him signaled the break of the barrier; the rabble came rushing through the alley.
The boy jumped the wall, falling heavy. Landing awkwardly, his bones cracking under the position they had been thrust into. He staggered, getting enough strength to run to the cast iron bridge. He whimpered, the water was vicious; untamed and deep He heard the gang screaming as the monks tried to create calm only to be silence after a few screams of desperate prayers to an uncaring God. The young child stood as he tried his best to keep his balance over the cast iron- dangerously close to the animalistic rage of white polluted foam firing up attempting to viciously grab the young boys trembling ankles. He jumped the remaining feet; arms outstretched to a pair of hands that were not there. No one was here to save this poor young child.
One time, I heard a story. That a boy called Noah Esteriege visited the small town to Tewksbury. His man servant had caught cholera from an unknown source; poor Noah caught it too. After he died; the respectful town’s folk buried him and his servant in the small plot behind the chapel; since they did not want to transport the infected bodies. This story cannot be found in the tattered books. I still like the belief in the human kindness behind it. Don’t you? I got it from a dairy actually, belonging to an old priest of the town. He suspected a witch named Avery Phelps poisoned the poor boy because she wanted his fine white horse; shallow reasoning? Yes?