The Noogan

Somewhere in Britain’s ancient and mystical landscape, there
lies a village. A place that has witnessed ages come and go. Its
stories are many. Most forgotten, some buried. And at least one
is hidden.

1939 three children were evacuated to a country village in
the south west of England. The idyllic yet antiquated village of
Abbeyton Lacey. By the end of the following summer, pretty-faced
Rosey Larchwood had disappeared. One foggy night she ran off and
was never found again.
In the summer of 1976 a schoolboy found a dilapidated diary
hidden in an overgrown garden.
But only now, many years later, the time has finally come for
him to tell of what he had discovered. The tale of those three
evacuees, consequentially of his own childhood and the dark side
of a village called Abbeyton Lacey.

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1. The Stranger Who Awaited My Coming

 

 

 

           The Noogan

                                                     Stories from the Book of Autumn  

 

                                                                By Billy Lou Silver


 

                                              

 

Copyright © 2017

All rights reserved.

 

   

 

                                                       

 

 

Dedication

 

 

 This book is dedicated to my brother without who, such a childhood would not have been and therefore such a story not told.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When woodland dusks and shadows long

Across the forest floor

And bird chatters cease to eerie peace

T’is the Noogan come once more

 

Fern or clump or Ivy'd stump 

You never can be sure

‘Til you see it rise, a monstrous size

T'is the Noogan come once more

 

For through those trees, the Noogan sees 

And hears all the forest floor

More swift than deer, lest it appear

Until its catch is sure.

 

 

 

 

England 2007. Winter.  Bodmin Moor. Cornwall.  

-Approximately 8.30 p.m.

 

I always knew this day would come. But on the morning I did not realise it would be the night.

A small orange light, blinking from somewhere ahead. Hazard lights signal the meeting that is about to take place.  As my car approaches, it shows a vehicle that has left the road that we are on. A narrow and neglected road. A no-mans road, a road that tonight sparkles with frost in my headlights. The car’s tracks  are revealed running across the frozen verge and lead to a final location. I slow up carefully and can see from the spiralling exhaust smoke in the cold night air that the engine is still running. 

On knocking the fogged up side window, a figure inside responds, all but slowly. Cautiously I open the door. A man of around mid forties is sitting at the wheel. Togged up in hooded duffle coat, bracing himself, he acknowledgs me with his hand and smils awkwardly as one might in such a situation. He tells me he’s o.k. Cold. Seems a little sleepy- been there for about an hour. Engine running for the heater. The steering he says, is buggered. 

So from here, he joins me for the rest of my journey. He grabs what little possessions he had, wittering apologetically all the while. As he does so in the fringe of my headlights I can glimpse this chap who will accompany me from here on. He was a medium build sort, not overly tall and fairly smartly dressed with polished black shoes. I don’t know why I remember the shoes. Perhaps they looked too smart for stepping around in the frozen leaf-litter. Below his grey woollen duffle coat, the trousers  dark brown corduroy, the sort that teachers like to wear and I suppose that made me feel a little more at ease, thinking this man was probably a teacher of some sort. He turns, pulls his hood back and speaks. Vapour clouds drift from his mouth and across the headlights. 

“Hope this won’t put you out too much,” he says in a stifled yawn sort of way, then smiles to show me his face for the first time. I detect a slight country accent in his words and assume he must be from around here. Our meeting was under the night skies of Bodmin Moor which can leave you surrounded in a shroud of the blackest velvet. But I glimpse a few features. The rosy cheeks and with the hood back, straight brown hair which ended in a ruffled fringe. Holding his things, he smiles in a grateful sort of way, not showing the teeth and awaits my invitation for us to go. With his zip-up travel bag and a Tesco’s carrier bag, he climbs in, sits them on his lap and onward we drive. His destination ultimately London apparently and would I drop him at the nearest city train station. I didn’t mind. 

His car, he says had slid off the road. I have no idea what he intends to do about it.

 “I‘ll leave the bloody thing,” are his only words on the matter.  So on we drive. Heater blasting away. Where had he been coming from? I ask, not wanting to seem too prying. He tells me it is village about fifteen miles away. We don’t have much conversation after that-For his part anyway. And when I next look over actually, he’s nodded off.

A while later, maybe an hour, he stirs as I join a major road. I don’t know why, but he takes up my last question once again. With only the cast of green light from my dashboard to illuminate our presence, I would have to listen more carefully. His voice speaks to me in the darkness as if I know him better than most. It is then that he begins to tell me of the village from where he had come. “I remember one summer,” he begins. “1976. I was just a young boy then. It was evening and I was making my way home. Clutched in my dirtied hands, a frail old and tarnished box. It was my treasure, my prize. It was… my undoing.”

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