The Murders At Twelve O'clock Point An Inspector Trent Hastings MysteryThe Murders At Twelve O’clock Point
Inspector Trent Hastings Mystery
Donald Harry Roberts
It was that time of spring just right for gathering the harvest. She was searching for the patches of Fiddle Heads she harvested every year, preserving enough to last until the next season, if she confined her tastes to twice a month. Because she was creeping along with small gentle steps she was making almost no noise and the mossy, damp earth absorbed whatever sound of her tread left over making her passage nearly, if not silent.
Amelia Pontague had been foraging these delightful treats for twenty five years.
Of course, she did not have the crop entirely to herself. There was Mrs. Fettington who gathered the delicious shoots as well and she, having three children, in the old days gathered from the richest growth.
They were friends, awfully close friends, who shared a side yard that had never been fenced but both maintain a row of cedar bushes sectioned by a gate with no lock. There was of course a sort of rivalry, after the Fettington children were grown and gone, but that was more in the making of a serving for the Twelve O’clock Point Community Spring Fair.
This was coming up soon and Amelia, having come second the past year was bent on finding the most luscious crop if she wanted to be first in the 2019 event.
She was dressed in beige and brown camouflage fatigues with a matching blackfly netted hood and carrying a large but light wicker basket in one hand and clipping sheers in her left hand.
Suddenly she found the richest growth of fiddle heads she had ever seen in that part of the woods nestled in the embrace of brambles and hawthorn bushes, which meant she would have to get down on her hands and knees to clip the delicacies from their stalks.
Gently she clipped the heads off, an inch down the stalk, nearly enough to fill the basket, yet leave plenty for Mrs. Fettington.
When she was down she climbed to her feet with a delightful glow in her heart and on her face. “You’ll will have competition this Year Mrs. Fettington”, she whispered and nearly laughed with glee but held it in check.
It was coffee time with Edna Marsh. Amelia had just enough time to hurry home then drive to Trenton so as not to be late, but just as she turned for home a cry, anxious but not fearful caught her attention. It came from beyond the brambles and hawthorns.
Curious as she was Amelia found a way through the tangle quietly and finally peered through a slight clearing. When her eyes fell on the source of the noise she almost giggled, thinking, What and odd place to do that. Still, there was a nice patch of young grass and they had thrown down a blanket. Then, seeing the girls face and knowing it was not the girls husband lavishing her with passion Amelia turned and crept away believing she had left the lovers undisturbed and deciding it was not her affair to get involved, but suddenly she heard thrashing behind here and something of an animal growl, but very human in origin and filled with anger.
Amelia was on the back step of sixty and had been in the habit of daily walks, but she had not done any running for years. But now she felt she must. The charging beast pushing through the brambles and hawthorn did not have a pleasant tone to its grumbling words, though they were not loud enough really, to make out. “Unfriendly”, went through her mind.
She ran and ran until her heart was hammering in her chest and her breath was ruthlessly raw in her throat, but she managed to keep it up until at last she rushed through the door into her little cottage style home on the edge of the woods.
As Amelia waited for her heart to settle and for her breathing to smooth she listened for any sign of her pursuer, but it seemed she was safe enough.
It took several minutes then she started getting ready to drive to town. As she moved about picking this and that and something else to take with her she thought about the young woman and the man making passionate love in the woods. The woman was from the neighbourhood but the man, from the slight glance she had of the side of his face was a complete stranger.
“Young people these days. They have no sense of loyalty what so ever.” She huffed, shaking her head, but then, not being one to judge overly harshly Amelia tried to let the whole incident drift out of her mind and concentrate on getting ready for coffee in town.
After a few minutes, checking the stove and anything else that might have even the slightest chance of a fire, she was deathly afraid of having a house fire, Amelia snatched the keys from the hook by the door and was about to step out.