The Greville Murder

A short story that I wrote for my English assessment (although I got lower marks on this than the others!!)

When Ralph Heywood finds out that he is left nothing in his masters will, after long hard years of service, he is outraged. But how will he plot his revenge? And does he have the guts to do it?

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1. The friend, the will and the murder

My ear was compelled against the heavy oak door; listening intently to the conversation between my master and his lawyer. Hands shaking, heart racing in my ribcage, sweat dripping down my forehead. If I get caught, it will be the end of me. My ragged breaths echo around me as I listen. It was all a bit muffled, but I was certain they were discussing Fulke Greville's will. As loud as silence, I attempted to calm my breathing and my heart; the two things I was sure the men on the other side of the door would hear. I glanced around, anxious that servant or maid would come and discover me. Feeling slightly malevolent, I continued to make an effort to decode what the gentlemen were saying. Having been a loyal servant and friend to Fulke for as long as I have worked, I received little reward; however, surely it was all about to pay off. Fulke, being 74, had decided that it was finally time to compose his will. Having been a poet, dramatist, and statesman who sat in the House of Commons (at various times between 1591 and 1621), had 3 children, one of which was adopted, and granted Warwick Castle in 1604; Fulke has led an exciting life! Again I leaned in closer, so I could hear what the men were saying.

Hours passed. My ear picked up something about Greville's children; the land and the castle; his many riches. Soon, it would come to what I was waiting for...

 

 

Nothing! The rage bubbled inside me, literally bubbled. Lying on my bed, my fists clenched, I wanted to go and give him a piece of my mind. Hours, hours, I sat there listening to the conversation between Fulke and his lawyer, and not once, not once, was 'Ralph Heywood' mentioned!  I was fuming; I may as well just go and quit my job now! See if he can get a better manservant than me! He wouldn't get anyone as half good a friend! And yet, I still get nothing. At all. It was about midnight and everyone had gone to bed. Most probably, everyone was asleep. But not me, my eyes wouldn't close, out of sheer fury. Oh, how dare he!                

"Breathe," I told myself. "It's not that much of a big deal," But it was! How many years had I served him? 10...? 20...? More than that? And he didn't even bother to add me into his will!

The next morning, I knew I would have to act normal, seeing that if he were to find out that I had been spying on him, I knew there would be consequences. Straightening my tie, I knocked lightly on the door to Greville's sleeping chamber before entering. Realizing he was just waking up, I walked over to his closet feeling guilty. But still, the anger churned in my stomach. Every time Fulke said something to me, I was sure he was going to accuse me of spying on him. Days went by, I was so afraid of being caught, I kept my head down, did my work well and hardly made conversation with my good friend. Until one day, the cauldron of frothing outrage inside me overflowed.

The date was the 1st of September, 1628. I was assisting Fulke with fastening his breeches. In my mind, I was replaying the moment when I realized that I would be receiving nothing in my masters will. A scowl took over my face...then, my eyes were drawn to the sharp knife on the table. From then, I was no longer in control of my body. Whilst Fulkes back was turned towards me, a hand that was mine (but no longer my own) reached for the knife. Grabbed the handle.                                                                       

Felt the heavy weight against my skin. I raised the knife.

Just as it plunged into his stomach, he turned, a look of pure astonishment upon his face. He fell to the cold stone floor, the knife buried deep into the pit of his stomach. Blood cascaded from the wound. Immediately, I was flooded with guilt, grief and sorrow; all traces of anger gone. Sobbing, I knelt down next to him. What had I done? He was my closest friend... and now, look what I had done. No tears squeezed from his wrinkled eyes, which just made it worse. Just a blank expression, eyes staring at me; life still there but hanging only by a thread. He was going to die, I knew it. Oh, why, why had I done this? Knowing that I wouldn't be able to live with myself after this awful deed, I lifted the knife a second time. Salty wetness dripped from my eyes, off my cheeks before eventually splashing down onto the grey floor, already a red carpet. I looked at my friend, master, employer. A sob escaped from the back of my throat, but I forced myself to look. Look at him. Look at what you have done. You monster. Finally, I could take it no longer. Gripping the knife tightly in both hands, it plummeted towards my heart. I was still focusing sadly on Fulke, through blurry eyes. My last though was:

"I hope he will forgive me..."

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