Yellow Hill

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Next part to Cuckoo Hill. Leading to Old Doc Brown Mysteries. Due soon.

Submitted: May 11, 2016

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Submitted: May 11, 2016




The small congregation sang hymns.  Then when the mass had ended saw their beloved old priest fall from the pulpit.  The everpresent Doctor Brown ran to the side of his old Bridge partner.  And helped him to walk slowly in to the vestry, the old vicar wrote his sermon.


The news spread around the Borough of Rochdale.  The faithful Christian and notibly Catholic society prayed and wondered who could fill in for the ailing man of God.  It would soon be the Harvest Festival, for the Church of John the Baptist.  Bells rang out, in search for a good replacement, over Yellow Hill.


Laughter spilled out from the humble but smart flat of Arthur Smith.  For the first time, Tom Smith saw his foster mother and father, giggling their heads off.  He had just put on his old jumper, from when he was a teenager.  It was so tight, he almost passed out.


Tom wore clothing to go walking in.  He had not seen the Pennine Way for seven years.  He used to run up there to hide.  Now he was waved off by Penny Black, a good foster mother.  The wind followed him up the moor, pushing the Holy Order to his next venture.


Yellow Hill whistled like a bird in pain.  The craggy hike took the healthy young man to Blackstone Edge Reservoir.  He came to the White Horse pub.  There he sat down with a large coke, next to an old man. 


Tom took out some Rosary Beads and thanked the Lord for his offering.  The elderly man noticed the red ribbon with the Vatican Crest.  A large black briefcase was moved from the table.  It rested on the man’s lap.  ‘Are you a priest, you man?’ He took a sip of his whiskey and prayed to himself.  Hoping the boy was a miracle, come true.

* * *

It was late in the day, when Tom Smith returned home.  His father was waiting for him.  Still holding a bottle of whiskey.  Sat on the stairs that lead to his flat.  ‘Where have you been?’ Spat out the dirty remark.  Flashbacks of his past haunted Tom, again.  It knocked his memory and reason for being late.


The pretty blond Penny Black was not present.  A dark sad cloud filled Tom’s heart. ‘What happened, Dad?’

Silence was his dads weapon.  Ignoring the worst.  ‘Drug overdose,’ was the deadly saying.  But stuck on a life-support machine.  Doctors had given her 24 hours.


A lone crow lost its barings, up on Yellow Hill.  A strange gust sent it down into town.  To the windowsill of Birch Hill Hospital.  Near to the monitor of Penny Black.


Arthur Smith shuffled his hoody gear and squeezed his holy bling.  As his mature boy, drove his nifty Robin Reliant over to the Medical Centre. Where Penny worked.  Now she was a gaunt form of life.  Both men knelt and prayed by her bedside.  The nurse frowned, but let them be. 


Arthur moved to the window and stared out into the fading daylight.  A big crow cawed and flapped away, startling the lost man.



Arthur Smith walked alone.  Then entered into an unfamiliar public house.  It was full of old men.  Retired, pensioned and as old as felt. 

The Chav was looking at the bottom of his glass.  Like his boy used to do.  When a hand touched his shoulder.  It was an old priest.  He told Arthur to go back.  And that everything would be okay, now. 


The thin Rochdale alcoholic thought, ‘Oh God, not another one.’  Yet he did go back to the hospital.  His facial expression did change.  The sight of Penny Black sitting up in bed, caused her man to smile and cry.  And praise the Lord.

* * *

On Friday, a few weeks later.  Penny was well again.  She urged Arthur to take them to a church.  It was the funeral of a local man.  The holy place was full up.  Yet Arthur found himself sitting up front, near the Altar. 


Penny and her guy watched the service take place.  Near to them sat a doctor.  A good friend of the deceased.  The once evil foster dad, saw his son, dressed in a white robe, presiding over the People.  His pride for his only son beamed.  He held firm to hand of Penny Black.  Two men from Rome also attended the funeral.  Accepting Tom Smith, as Deacon of the Church of St John the Baptist.


The Good Arthur Smith mingled at the wake the late priest.  He spoke with Doctor Brown.  He had found Tom and persuaded him into becoming the new priest.  When a photograph of the old vicar was shown, Arthur was bemused.


‘That cannot be him!’ he gesticulated with Doc Brown.  ‘This was the man who told me to go back, to the hospital.’

‘That was impossible,’ explained Tom, ‘I was told he had died before, Penny had overdosed!’


Two strange men spoke with Italian accents.  One said, ‘The Lord works, in many ways.  They placed hands on Arthurs shoulders and both proclaimed, ‘God Bless You.’

* * *

As the people went home, a murder of crows soared away from the Catholic Church.  Tom Smith was smiling.  The toll of Arthur Smiths soul burst open.  The man laughed whole heartedly, for the first time.  He could hear the black birds cawwing.  And saw them flying to the summit of Yellow Hill.



Tom Smith locked up his church.  Bade farewell to his Vatican Brothers.  Then returned to the small flat with Penny Black and Arthur Smith.  They each shared a bottle of red wine.  That was the last time that they stared into their drinks.  They were a real family from then on. 


Praise be to God, and the birds on Yellow Hill.






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