GILBERTINE & THE EXCHANGE (Volume One) — Chapter 8, Part 1: The Witch’s House (4 August 1964)

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Hi Rashmi (thanks ever for making copies of my letters for Lucy) –

Hi Lucy (congrats on the tower flat and a room of your own; tell me more; and thanks for showing Don your copy of my last letter) –

Hi Dex (thanks for your help in finding Don, too, mate) –

Hi Don (took some time & effort to find you, but you’re worth it – I guess (heehee))

Hi Stan –

Hi Ian –

Hi Jenny –

Hi Brenda –

Hi Mick –

Hi Wack —

As you can see, I’ve found a place with a photocopy machine. I hope you don’t mind getting photocopies – my hand would cramp up having to recopy this by hand so many times. At least each signature is in ink and hand written.

Dex gets the original – just a tiny tribute, I know you don’t like a fuss made about it, Dex, so I’m trying not to – but it’s the second anniversary today and I can’t help it if what happened isn’t on my mind a bit.

I’m not sure Stan would be here today, and I know I wouldn’t, if you hadn’t gone for help despite your own very serious injuries, I don’t know how you did it.

Others may say I was the hero that day in Dudley, but you’ll always be mine, and I’ll always remember what you did.

Speaking of memory, mine is starting to come back a bit about what happened to me this past June.

Bit disturbing, actually – not sure if I should tell the police or not. I told them, as I told you, that the incident had happened near the mall. I truly thought it had – so that’s where he police have based their assumptions about where what happened to me happened. Thing is, I now know that whatever happened to me didn’t occur anywhere near the mall. I thought it had, because I’d initially intended to go there.

But, just after I’d crossed the bridge on Halcyon Street that day, I now remember I’d changed plans. I’d reaised I hadn’t brought any of my slot cars with me. I’d have to turn around, cross the bridge, go past that creepy park and go back up the hill to fetch one. So, I‘d decided the whole thing could go to blazes.

Besides, half a block or so on the other side of Signal Way, if I kept going on Halcyon, the street begins to wind, in a well-meaning if crude attempt to make it adapt to the contours of the land. It may not be Edgbaston, but trees unexpectedly pop up almost like mushrooms. It’s like a little woods in a midst of all the pavement, bare dirt and baby vegetation.

I’d wanted to know more about it for a while, and took this as a sign that today was the day. So, I kept on going down Halcyon, crossing Signal Way instead of turning left, and went into the woods.

Next thing I remember was seeing a house across the street from me. It looked like a witch’s house – what you’d think one would look like. For some reason, a dragon was climbing up it. I heard some giggling – like little girls giggling – then, somebody grabbed me, and they screamed.

That’s all I remember. But, I don’t think the police would believe the part about a  witch’s house, much less a dragon, and I’m not sure I want to go back in those woods again to find some way of proving it to them — assuming there is a way.

I’ve been having some very, very strange dreams lately – at least I think they were dreams. I’m not sure that whoever – or whatever – grabbed me was human – or at least fully human — and I’m not sure I want to know  who or what it truly is.

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