The Bluebottle Boys: Whitfield’s World of Wonder

The Bluebottle Boys – Chapter 11, Part 6 – Solihull, late March 1962: Whitfield’s World of Wonder (Section 2 of 3)

“You spoke of marking a presence at Warstone Lane Cemetry,” the strange Shopkeeper began. “Officially that is the purpose of these mirrors.”

“And unofficially?”

“You think quickly, boy. Unofficially, the mirrors – that you will place in keyholes and tree hollows, wedge into tombstones, branches and walls, and entangle them in vines, ivy, leaves and limbs – will, in addition to marking your presence, serve to confuse the dark spirits when they arrive – and they will arrive. Once they bounce off the mirrors – and this they shall also do – they will begin to ricochet around the cemetery and will lose their sense of direction. In trying to retain their bearings, they’ll ignore you entirely, unless you give them reason to focus their attention upon you.

world of wonder“If, in each hole or hollow you leave a mirror, you plant a pinch of the pouch’s contents, you will weaken the dark energy of the spirits who enter there. This will engender apprehension amongst them, perhaps even fear or terror in some weaker spirits, and, if you are awfully lucky, they may ultimately make a mad dash, en masse, to escape the area entirely.

“But, use no more than the tiniest pinch in each, for I fear you shall need most of it for darker, stronger, more deceptive entities. And do not be deceived by appearances: One day, you’ll learn not every angel glows and has wings, though some surely do.”

“I’ve already learned that,” I replied.

His look grew more intense.

“And, for the same reason, not everything that glows and has wings is an angel. So it is here. You will meet two entities that glow and have wings: One truly is an angel, the other a dark demonic entity – a fallen angel – who will attack you, once you have dispelled all the other entities.

“You must save the great bulk of the pouch’s contents for this second being, if you expect to survive the night. Keep your wits about you, your head down and remember that only the fallen angel can withstand the touch of this,” he said, touching the silver charm, “without sustaining great damage, even destruction.

“Bethany is sacrificing much letting you use it, even temporarily. Do not let her down. You’ve been led – I know not by whom – into doing something terribly foolhardy; take care that you do not make the situation riskier than it already is.

“And now, night approaches. You must return to your grandmother, post haste.”

I reached into my pocket.

I’d been thrifty with my spending money and had nearly a pound, but wasn’t sure it would be sufficient. Could I talk him into setting up some kind of account for the rest?

But when I drew out my coins, there were a pair of gold ones amongst the others – very old – with angels on each of them. I’d never seen them before. He lifted them from my palm.

“Two gold angels would be more than sufficient to start an account you can draw on for quite some time,” he said, smiling, adding, “and it would behoove you to do so,” when I thought to challenge him on his presumptuousness in taking the angels from me.

“M’friend Bethany must’ve slipped ’em into me pocket when I wasn’t looking,” I said. “How do I know she intended ’em for you?”

His smile was kindly, but a little too wide, slightly reptilian.

“When would a servant girl have ever had a pair of gold angels to give? Yes, I know your friend Bethany well, and she is more blessed than she realises; the coins are a message to me from – erm – higher up; she has been the conduit. Now go home ere you find yourself in trouble with your grammer. You’re a handful to watch over as it is – Reggie.”

© 2017, 2016, 2015 G. H. McCallum and Duvanian Press, all rights reserved.

Check out my website at Leave your first name and email address at the opt-in box, and you’ll receive my new ebook “Alice Pleasance Liddell (4 May 1852 – 16 November 1934): A Tribute to the Girl from Wonderland.” In it, you’ll meet the real-life girl who inspired the “Alice” character in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.” You’ll learn how Lewis Carroll met and became friends with Alice; how the stories arose; who may have helped Carroll create the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter; why Alice of the illustrations is a long-haired blonde, when Alice Liddell (at least as a young child) was a short-haired brunette; who the model(s) for Alice of the illustrations may have been; why certain illustrations were likely an inside joke between Carroll and Alice; how the real-life Alice had a love affair with a prince; who talked Carroll into making Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a story for all children, not just the Liddell sisters, and so much more.

The Bluebottle Boys (Volume One) is available from Amazon books. The Bluebottle Boys (Volume Two) is due out in September.

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G. H. McCallum

G. H. McCallum is author of the Reggie Stone series, the first of which, Walking Backwards for Christmas: A Tale of Woe from Soggyhall, was released on 12 December 2014; look for the second, The Bluebottle Boys, in late spring of 2016. He blogs principally on the 1960s, Victoriana and magic realism.