DEBUT FLASH: 'All that Glitters' by David Qualter

Edith pushed open the heavy oak door of her cottage and braced herself for the rush of wind sweeping across the moor. Squelching across the sodden earth, her eyes fixed on the dim lights of a vehicle slowly making its way across the potholed track: Him again.

She pulled her shawl tighter around herself then smiled as she felt the jewel on her finger beneath her thick black gloves. The diamond was hard, solid: Reassuring.

She glanced across the expanse of moorland behind her solitary hovel; dark clouds were forming and the bog appeared to be encroaching, threatening to swallow up Edith’s home. A home belonging more to the native fauna than anything man made.

The driver wound down his window.

‘Good morning Ms Cumberland. I thought I would call by and see if you had seen anything since yesterday’.

‘Hello detective. What an awful evening it is. No, I am sorry to say that I’ve not seen a soul all day. Have you still not found her? I’m sorry, I forgot her name’.

‘It’s Jane Myers... Err Lady Myers actually and no we haven’t found anything as yet. The detective looked sympathetically at Enid; a crumpled diminutive bundle of rags cowering against the cold.

‘And you said she might have been walking on the moors? Enid asked.

‘Yes, that’s right; we’ve had teams of police and volunteers combing the area but nothing as yet. I just hope that she’s hopped on a train... It happens all the time with missing person’s cases.

‘Well I do hope so detective. It is such a worry. You see it’s very boggy around here and if she veered off the track in the mist … well, oh dear, it really doesn’t bear thinking about. Her hand went to her hip and she grimaced as though stifling the pain.

The detective took the cue. He hesitated before asking ‘Mrs Cumberland are you…. I mean, I don’t want to pry but are you ok living out here on your own? It just seems so…’

‘Oh yes thank you detective. I’m used to it now, and I’ve got my Maggie to keep me company.

The detective looked confused… ‘Maggie?’

‘Yes, my pet’, she replied in partial explanation.

He turned the car around as Edith walked back towards the cottage: A nice pot of tea. She felt the diamond again; how it would sparkle in the light of the fire. 

She glanced across to the old well, ‘Silly me, losing my touch’. She used a clod of earth to wipe away a blood stain from a pick axe lying against the well wall. A squawk rang out and a Magpie swooped to rest on Edith’s shoulder, a shiny metal item hanging from its beak.

‘Now my Maggie, what have you brought me this time?’

She took the coin from bird’s beak and peered over and down the well to the water far below.

‘Night night lady Myers’, she called into the void.

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