was no one there.
“He was here,” she said, with a touch of obstinacy.
Lucy was now behind them. When Aidan turned, he saw her
scanning the slopes above them. The trees clustered
more thickly here. He could not see past them.
But Aidan himself went striding forward towards the little
well house they had not yet explored. He bent to look inside.
The water was deeper here than in the southern well.
He half expected to see a body slumped in it. There was
only the gleam of coins again in the captured stream, pausing
on its way into the chapel sanctuary, and the tiny ferns in the
crevices of the stones.
With a touch of impatience, he straightened up into the
“There’s no one here.”
Melangell still looked pale and scared.
Lucy went down on her knees, speaking gently to the child.
“Look, honey. What did you see? Why did you say there was a dead
Melangell pouted. Words normally came readily to her, pouring
out in an excited chatter. But now she was having difficulty articulating
“He looked dead.”
Aidan put his arm around her. She was trembling slightly.
“Who did? Just tell us what you saw.”
“It was a tall man. And he had on a black suit and a very white
shirt and a very red tie. But his face was white too, and his
hair. Well, almost white. He looked as if he was dead, but walking.”
Aidan could not help hearing the sharp breath Lucy drew.
“You thought he was dead,” Aidan pressed Melangell. “But walking?
Not lying down?”
She shook her curls again. “No. He was standing. Well,
sort of bent over, as though he was listening.”
She motioned with her head to the shadowed north wall of
the chapel, where the stream entered at the base of the wall.
“Outside the church. Right where we are now.”
Lucy got to her feet slowly. “Did he say anything to you?”
Again, that shake of the head. “No,” Melangell whispered.
“He just put his finger to his lips. Like this. He didn’t want
me to say anything. But I have.”
Aidan hugged her close. “It’s OK, love. You did exactly
the right thing.”
“Who was he? He wasn’t really a dead man walking, was he?”
“Of course not. I haven’t the faintest idea who he was. But he’s
gone now. He’s not going to hurt you.”
His eyes challenged Lucy over the girl’s head. He had not
the slightest doubt that she had seen this man before. That she
probably knew who he was. He felt a sudden flame of anger. Whatever
was going on that had made her so edgy this morning, she should
not have involved Aidan and Melangell.
Or not Melangell, at least.