Yesterday was odd, not in the major way that some of my days are odd but unsettling nonetheless. I was spending the day in the library up at the ‘big house’. I don’t go there often now Magnus is no longer about as it’s too upsetting and the house is mostly let out for private groups much of the time. Where is Archie living I hear you ask?….More of that soon.
Anyway, I was in the company of two black Labradors. Midge and Mango, my two lovely girls. I had lit the fire and settled in, a pot of tea and a slice or two of Mrs. Urquhart’s famous lemon drizzle cake to hand I continued cataloguing some of the older volumes. The dogs were flat out in front of the fire in the way Labradors always seem to manage, Mango snoring loudly, Midge letting off the odd waft of tripe scented vapour.
Probably fifteen or twenty minutes had passed when there was a creak from the library steps – a short moveable ladder for accessing the high shelves. The dogs and I all jumped slightly and looked across the room. Nothing. We settled back to our respective jobs – cataloguing, snoring and farting. The noise came again around ten minutes later. This time a double creak, a short pause between each, almost as though someone took two steps on the ladder.
Again, the dogs and I jumped. This time Mango took a few tentative steps towards the source of the noise then stood, hackles raised. Midge joined her and the two took another couple of steps forward, shoulder to shoulder. They stood again, apparently watching. Suddenly both tails started to thrash madly as though they had seen a familiar person. They took a few more paces forward and milled around, much as they would if they were greeting an old friend. I watched bemused.
A minute or two passed as they got it out of their systems and they returned to the hearth rug. I continued to stare across the library. Nothing moved, nothing changed. We settled once more.
Then it happened, with an amazing suddenness one of the volumes crashed to the floor. The dogs rushed over to it, sniffing madly, tails wagging crazily. I walked over, shaken but curious. There on the Persian rug was a copy of Alien Animals by Janet and Colin Bord. This book had been the foundation of Magnus’s passion for cryptozoology, I remember him reading me snippets at the breakfast table and showing me the picture of the ‘Skyclad Witches’ which seemed terribly dangerous to a thirteen year old.
I stood and looked down at the book. Shyly peeking from between two pages was a piece of paper. I pulled it out and saw that, in Magnus’s youthful hand, was written ‘I Will Find You’. I put the book back on the shelf, the piece of paper carefully put back into the page where I found it. Page 147.