A Walk On Pointless Grounds


ago
5 min
16
readings
1
Qualified
It was midday and Joseph was at the end of an arduous drive. As the sedan pulled along the final stretches of the meticulously kept brick road and hedgerows, a sigh of relief escaped from him upon glimpsing the iron gates that marked the start of the property walk of the estate. Joseph had never been here before and wondered how his car was to be secured in the property. Driving around the bend of the driveway brought him to the gate, but he had yet to see the estate house.
A thin and tall man in a tweed suit rushed out of the small security shed attached to the gate while the gate started opening. Joseph let down his window when coming to a stop and asked the man, “where should I park?”
A voice of velvet replied with, “I’m security and valet, sir. I shall park your vehicle for you.”
“Oh! Alright, I’ll just put it park for you.”
“Thank you, sir. Now, what name should I announce to the house?”
“Joseph Grimm, son of the master of the house.”
“Very good, sir. Your presence is awaited in the house. The master wishes to speak with you about the arrangements for the funeral. I will phone ahead.”
“Thank you. It’s uh... Peter, right? Your name is Peter?”
“Yes sir.”
“Thank you, Peter.”
Joseph leapt from the driver seat with aching knees and hoisted his bag from the trunk. Feeling the crisp forest air for the first time since the start of his lengthy drive had him feeling refreshed before the long walk up to the house, and he started on his way along the path of the grounds.
Once Joseph passed the gate it started to whine closed as if it waited for him to pass.
“Oh, and sir. Mind the beast roaming the grounds,” Peter yelled after the gate had closed.
Joseph sighed. He knew about the beast, He felt unready to face it. Regardless, he had to get to the estate house.
Joseph’s walk was accompanied by dreary cloud-fare with black skies heading towards him from a distance, and long rows of trees and bushes on both sides. It looked like rain would greet him before the end of the walk.
Joseph came around the first bend with the gate still in sight albeit just a speck in the distance. Before him laid the splendour of the estate with the servants’ cottages sprinkling the grounds along the pathway, but he still had yet to see the estate house.
As he came near to the first cottage, a woman wearing a tweed suit walked out of it and leered towards Joseph.
“You there. I need help moving my table inside. Could you help me?” She asked in an angry and hurried tone.
Joseph obliged and picked up the table on the opposite end to the woman. They carried it from behind the cottage to the inside, and the woman scolded Joseph the entire time they were labouring the table inside.
“No, carry it this way. Carry it higher, I’m doing all the work.”
Once it was placed under the wooden chandelier in the far corner of the cottage, she threw a wrapped object of significant length and heft into Joseph’s arms.
“For the beast,” she barked, and then slammed the cottage door behind Joseph.
Joseph unwrapped the object as he walked along the path again, and discovered that it was a rifle. Joseph understood what this meant, but hoped there would be no need for it.
He continued on his walk and got to the second curve after an hour, but he still had yet to see the estate house. The bag was beginning to feel heavy and there would have to be a rest before the next curve. This curve was not as long as the first, and Joseph spotted a bench to rest on lying well before the next bend in the path.
He was about a minute away from the bench when he heard a hair-raising growl behind him. He turned around with his gun and fired off a shot into a large creature behind him just as it had leapt into the air in a pounce and collided with him. The collision left Joseph in a dreamless unconscious state.
“Get up sir.”
Joseph woke up with a start, a hammering headache, and a child in a tweed suit standing over him pushing him to wake.
“Sir, I need your help. I need to move my table inside before it rains, but I don’t know how.”
Joseph looked around for the beast that he had shot while nodding yes to the child’s request. The beast was not there, but instead, there was a trail of blood leading into the trees that Joseph was not adept enough to track, nor had the time to do so as it looked to be the start of the evening. Instead, he followed the child to their cottage and helped them bring their table inside. While doing so, Joseph scolded the child telling them, “No, carry it this way. Carry it higher, I’m doing all the work.”
After the table was under the wooden chandelier on the far side of the cottage, the child said “thank you” to Joseph and threw him a knife.
“For the beast,” the child said sweetly and slammed the door in Joseph’s face.
The black clouds were getting nearer and it was starting to get darker. Joseph decided this meant that there was no time to rest on the bench to make it to the estate house in time. He would just have to bear the burden of the bag until he could rest on the next curve if he made good time.
He set out with a strong pace and with a throbbing head. As long as he followed the path his father made, everything would be fine. It took only half of an hour to reach the end of the second curve, but now being on the third curve he still had yet to see the estate house.
The third curve was the longest, but there were no cottages to put tables in, so it was simply a matter of reaching the end. His only worries were the rain, the beast, and the increasing weight of the bag that he carried, which felt like it added a few grams every step.
He trudged on with his head aching, and his torso lopsided from the bag. Both were becoming a burden he could not carry. Just as it felt like the bag would cleave the shoulder from its socket, he spotted a bench on the third curve. At this point, he did not care for the timeframe, just a break.
When Joseph sat down, the black clouds were above. Rather than rest his arm while on the bench, he clutched the bag tighter as if the rain signalled a thief amongst the drops.
Although the stop was long, Joseph got no rest for worry filled his mind. Worry about the beast, the rain, about not making it to the estate, and about the funeral arrangements.
A black shape breached the trees across from the bench. It started towards Joseph, and a shot filled the air from his rifle. Afterwards, a click as there were only two rounds in the magazine. The beast was slowed from the shot, but still, it kept towards Joseph. Joseph dropped the rifle and ran along the now drenched path that gummed the bottom of Joseph’s shoes with mud.
The bag was cumbersome and kept the beast and Joseph in pace with each other. They rounded around the fourth bend, and Joseph finally saw the estate house. It was beautiful, and it was brightly coloured with a fountain by the front door that seemed to eject pearls of silver. The dark clouds seemed to make way overhead of the estate house and a setting sun shone down on it.
The rain was soaking his clothes and the bag, slowing him to a limp. Joseph ran up to the steps before the fountain out of breath. He dropped the bag, stopped moving and looked over at where he knew the open grave plot was and read the tombstone.
“Herein lies Joseph Grimm, A hard worker, husband, and father. May he find rest.”
The beast pounced onto Joseph who had the knife ready to pierce it. Joseph whispered, “for the beast,” and they descended and found death’s face who was ready to prepare them for the next journey.
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