The layby opposite Pascoe’s Farm wouldn’t be a bad spot for a picnic. The ochre-pink single-track was quiet but for the occasional tractor, the parking space turf-lined and broad in the shade of a spectacular Cornish hedge. Still, Gideon hadn’t meant to come here. “I don’t know. I really only thought about Lamorna because it seemed so beautiful last night, driving about through the lanes in the moonlight. How do you feel about it?”

“Well – not called as such, not the way I sometimes am. This guy’s been dead a long time.” He gave Gideon a sheepish grin. “Maybe I’m just on the lookout for my next Spirits of Cornwall script.”

 

“Sounds like it has potential. Want me call DI Lawrence and ask her to run some checks on that name?”

 

“Not yet. I’m not sure, and... we’re on our day off, aren’t we?”

 

Hanging around at a crime scene. Gideon shook his head. Still, maybe the distraction would be better for Lee than brooding about Tamsyn’s latest display. That too was on the board for discussion, for some reason harder to begin than it should be, as if a danger lay there, a source of conflict. That was ridiculous, of course. He and his husband disagreed about plenty of things, but when it came to their kid, they stood united. “Do you want to take a look? The field’s just through that gate.”

 

“Isn’t it taped off?”

 

“Just the section where the diggers unearthed our guy.”

 

“Any chance we’ll run into old man Pascoe and his shotgun?”

 

“I don’t think so. The police doc gave him a sedative last night, and he’s very fragile anyway. He’s probably tucked up in bed.”

 

Slowly they both got out. It was the kind of day that fostered unhurried movement, the stretch of car-cramped muscles in the fragrant wind, whose touch here felt powerful enough to lift you up into flight. Beyond a rise of land to the south lay the sea. Despite all these beauties, uneasy protectiveness surged through Gideon, and he ushered Lee across the quiet road like a true village bobby, opened the gate for him and gestured him through. Lee broke into laughter at these attentions. “What’s up with you?”

 

“Nothing. Just looking after my investment, the famous TV psychic who’s gonna save me from a lifetime of pounding the beat.”

 

“Like you’d ever quit.” Lee grabbed his belt and pulled him in for a swift, electrifying kiss. He took a few strides into the field and looked around. “Oh, wow. That’s the one of the Drift stones, Gid.”

 

Gideon came to stand beside him. “The what? Oh, like the ones over by the A30?”

 

“Yeah. The remains of an alignment that ran through here from Madron and Tremethick and all the way down to Drift farmhouse. My dad and Jago said there was one right in our garden down there in my grandfather’s time, before it got blown up by a hellfire preacher.”

 

“Ugh. Probably one of my ancestors – or Zeke’s, anyway.”

 

Lee chuckled. “I think they were probably shared.”

 

“Yes, more’s the pity.” The meadow swept away to a sun-haze distance. The rough grass was awash with buttercups, giving back the dancing light with interest. In the centre of this dazzling space, a single megalith thrust skywards – one of the largest Gid had ever seen, held invisible from the road by the thick Cornish hedge and the rise, swoop and dip of the land. “I didn’t even know this was here.”

 

“Come and introduce yourself, then.”

 

They went hand-in-hand into the shadow of the giant. There was a sense of ceremony, of a vast presence somehow acknowledging his transient flicker of life. He doubted he’d have felt it on his own: Lee, no doubt, was on first-name terms with every great rock in the district. The wind blew strangely around this one, creating in his head an echoing song. Not questioning his impulse, he laid his free hand to the warm, lichen-rough flank. “Lee,” he said softly, “I love you. This is sacred land.”

 

“Yes, it is. You can see the top of Carn Brea from here, and the spire of St Buryan’s church, and the mound where Maze Quoit used to be. I love you, too.”

 

“Shit, though. It’s not gonna be sacred for long once that lot get done.”

 

They both turned in the direction of the farmhouse. A line of yellow police tape ran across the field’s far corner, and beyond that – lined up like a cavalry force – were nigh on two dozen JCBs, backhoes and caterpillar-tracked excavation machines. Lee shuddered. “The stone’s protected, though, isn’t it?”

 

“Yes, if it’s a scheduled ancient monument. I’ve been driving past here all my life, and I didn’t know it was there – maybe it’s slipped through the net.”

 

“That’s insane. It can’t have done.”

 

“Well, finding a body here will hold everything up. Not for long, though – the routine with cases like this is to take

the remains off-site and let everyone get on with their jobs. Why don’t you give your mate Jory from CAMS a call?”

 

“I will, just as soon as I’ve...” Lee had already taken his mobile out. He looked up reproachfully at the looming stone. “As soon as I’ve got a signal again. I am trying to help you, you know.”

 

Movement from across the field caught Gideon’s attention. There was so much light in the air that he struggled to focus, and although the woman making her way along the edge of the tape was familiar, it took him a moment to place her. “Looks like we’re not the only ones wasting our day off. That’s Lawrence over there.”

 

“Really? I don’t think I’ve ever seen her out of a business suit.” Lee scanned the far side of the drystone wall that bounded the farmhouse lane. “Hang on. I can see somebody else, and he is in his business suit. What’s going on here today?”

The four met up awkwardly by the gate to the farmyard. DI Lawrence seemed to have mislaid her usual brisk demeanour along with her suit, and it was Ezekiel who broke the windswept silence first. As Lee had pointed out, he was emphatically in uniform: shining dog-collar, jet-black suit. Having one of his crow days, as Gid called them, with the attitude to match. “I’d hazard a guess,” Zeke rasped, folding his arms on the top bar of the gate, “that I’m the only one here on legitimate business today.”

 

“Zeke, you know Detective Inspector Lawrence, don’t you?” Gideon laid a faint stress on the Detective. His own business here was debatable, but Lawrence was perfectly entitled to be poking about in her civvies if she wished. “DI Lawrence, this is my brother, the Reverend Ezekiel Frayne.”

“Of course. I remember you from Lee and Gideon’s wedding.” Lawrence put out a cordial hand, which Zeke took with equal grace. “Do you know the family here, Reverend Frayne?”

“No, although my father knew them well. I’m visiting a parishioner today.”

 

Something in Zeke’s formality awoke an old demon in Gid – hardly deserved these days, with a brother so transformed and ready for mischief of this own, but old patterns died hard. “You’re a long way out of your parish, Reverend.”

 

“So are you, Sergeant,” Zeke smartly returned. “Mr Penyar over there used to live up in Dark, and he still comes to my chapel there on Sundays. He called me last night to say he felt spiritually threatened after the discovery in the field yesterday.”

“Spiritually threatened?” Until now, Gid hadn’t noticed the skinny, beak-faced old man lurking on the far side of the lane. “Good day, Mr... Penyar, did you say the name was? I’m a police sergeant. Can I help you in any way?”

 

Apparently not. Penyar scuttled out of the shadows where he’d been lurking and made off down the verge without so much as a backward glance. “Great,” said Zeke. “Drive off my customers, why don’t you?”

 

“You said he felt threatened.”

“Yes, spiritually. There used to be a lot of local legends about witchcraft in this area. From what I can gather, the body that’s been found dates from around that time, and he’s disturbed about it, that’s all.”

 

“Well, let me know if somebody lobs a brick through his window. I might be able to help him then.”

 

A brief silence fell. Gideon turned to see Lee and DI Lawrence staring at him, bemused. “Gid,” Zeke said cautiously, “I haven’t done anything to upset you, have I?”

 

Of course not. Gideon wasn’t upset. His skin was prickling in the heat, and he could’ve used a good run, followed by a steak and nice solid fuck. “No. I’m fine. Lee and I were passing by this way, and we wondered...” He tailed off, not sure how he could really justify his presence to his brother or his boss. “It’s a bit of a strange case, I suppose. And old man Pascoe was very distressed last night.”

 

“So you came to check in on him,” Lawrence offered. “And maybe Lee thought he could have a look around, too?”

 

“Yes, ma’am,” said Lee, who’d caught the habit from Gid. “I wasn’t sure you’d want me messing around this early in the investigation.”

 

“No, you’re very welcome. You know the drill for forensic hygiene – a lot better than some of our younger officers, sad to say. And the remains have already been taken away.”

 

“Have you heard back from the lab?” Gideon asked, trying to regain a civil tone and some kind of professional balance. “I know it’s early days, but...”

 

“Nothing, and to be honest we’re not likely to. It’s all very well being able to extract DNA, but a sixty-year-old corpse is highly unlikely to have got any of it registered anywhere, and dental records won’t help until we know who he is or where he’s from.”

“Er... I know who he is, ma’am.”

 

Lawrence turned to Lee in surprise. “Really?”

 

“Well – not exactly,” Lee corrected himself. “I think I know his name, that’s all, and that’s a different matter.”

 

“It’s still a hell of a step forward. Lee, I’ve seen enough of what you can do that I should’ve learned not to ask questions, but... how do you do this? How do you know?”

Lee shrugged. “Honestly? I have no idea. I dreamed about him, and the name was there. Just that, and the... the back view of him, walking away from me between hedgerows full of spring flowers. It’s this time of year, almost to the day, and...”

“Gideon!” Lawrence took an alarmed step back. “What’s happening?”

 

“Well, you did ask him how he did it,” Gideon said grimly, coming to take Lee’s arm. Zeke climbed over the padlocked five-bar gate with surprising agility and took up position on the other side. “He’ll be all right, though. Won’t you, love?”

“His eyes just changed colour. I saw it. They were green, and now they... they look like moonlight.”

 

Lawrence off-duty was a lot more easily fazed than the upright little martinet who ran Bodmin Police HQ. “It’s okay. It just means he’s having a vision,” Gideon said reassuringly, more for Lee’s sake than hers. Sometimes he throws up or has a seizure, and sometimes his heart beats so fast I’m afraid it’ll tear out of his chest. Sometimes he sees things that make him want to die, and I’m sometimes afraid that the good things of this world – the things I can show him – won’t be enough to make him stay. He held on tighter. Zeke, who knew about some of this, met his eyes, his silence a rough comfort.

Suddenly tension left the rigid arm Gid was holding. Lee sucked in an unsteady breath, trance breaking with a near-audible pop. “Sorry,” he said. “Sorry, Marjorie. That’s all I’m getting anyway.”

 

“Well, good.” Gideon rubbed his back, and he and Zeke carefully let him go. “You are meant to be on your day off, you know. Er... who’s Marjorie?”

 

“I am. I’m Marjorie.” Poor Lawrence had retreated all the way to the edge of the taped-off trench. “It’s my first name, but I hated it, so I always used Christine. No-one knows that except my parents, and they’ve been dead for ten years.”

© 2023 by Samanta Jonse. Proudly created with Wix.com