The Bracelet

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Old sins cast long shadows.

Submitted: December 16, 2012

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Submitted: December 16, 2012

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THE BRACELET

Stephanie hadn’t been in hospital long when she died. Her arrival at the hospital had been like that of many others ill and elderly, she had been declining gradually for the last two years of her life and in the end her body was worn out. She had died of old age and something else, a tormented mind. Before entering into the last part of her earthly life she had had terrible nightmares. This had been one of the reasons her son and daughter had thought it better to intern her in a hospital where she would be looked after properly.

Granville, Stephanie’s son, and Pearl, her daughter, gave instructions to the funeral parlour. And then there was the funeral which was sparsely attended as most of her relatives and friends had already departed this world, even her husband, Wayland.

As soon as the house was empty of visitors, Granville and Pearl got down to going through their mother’s possessions. Pearl was interested in the jewellery and Granville in clearing out a lot of old rubbish that his mother had prohibited to be thrown away. Stephanie was a hoarder and she was incapable of throwing anything out. Wayland had died when Granville and Pearl were still at college, nevertheless his clothes were still hanging in the marital wardrobes, watches in boxes, presents from business associates, tie pin and cufflinks sets as well, none of which had ever been used. Stephanie used to say to Granville that one day all his father’s clothes and other belongings would be his. Now that he was in his fifties, Granville was as uninterested in his father’s things as he had been in his twenties.

“Granville, I have to go. I promised Vincent I would be as quick as I could with all this stuff. I’ll be back tomorrow,” Pearl said as she was walking to the front door.
“Have you got the jewellery you want?” Granville asked his sister.
“Yes, I have. There were only a few pieces I really liked. What are you going to do with the clothes?”
“I’ve decided to take them to the local church and there they can distribute them as they want. I wonder if they really are in good enough condition to give away. After all there’s nothing very fashionable here,” Granville declared, staring at his mother’s old clothes spread out on a hall table.
“Never mind, let the ladies of the parish do the sorting. See you tomorrow.” Pearl opened the door and walked out to her car, got into it and drove off, leaving Granville alone in the old family house.
Granville began to tidy up the clothes and put them into bin bags ready to be taken to the church. There was his mother’s quite large jewel box. Nobody was ever allowed to see inside it. The jewellery that Pearl had taken was from her mother’s dressing-table. He opened the box and took out some very old pieces. Granville had no knowledge of jewellery and so didn’t know whether what was inside was good or not. There were various earrings and rings that looked ancient but what caught his eye was a wide carved silver cuff bracelet. He picked it up and felt how heavy it was. He then remembered that he had seen his mother wearing it all the time when he was a boy but then the bracelet was not seen on her wrist any more. She probably got tired of always wearing the same thing, Granville thought to himself.

The house was put on the market a few days later, neither Granville nor Pearl wanted the dark, dismal place. They had no idea how much it would bring them but they preferred something, however small, than to live there. They hadn’t lived there for many years, only paying sporadic visits to their mother, who had become almost a stranger to them. Granville rang several second hand jewellery dealers to see whether they might be interested in the jewellery. At last, after some fruitless tries, he found one who wished to see the goods.

On a misty morning he drove to the dealer’s, which was in a cathedral town he was not familiar with.
The name above the shop was Ryman & Sons, and it was situated in the old part of the town near the cathedral, which gave the shop an air of old fashioned respectability. Granville rang the doorbell and the door opened automatically. Mr Ryman was standing behind the counter. He was dressed in a dark green velvet smoking jacket and gold framed glasses. He was not a man to be messed about with. Granville wondered whether or not he had made a mistake in going there.
“Good morning, what can I do for you?” asked Mr Ryman.
“Good morning. My mother died not long ago, and my sister and I are selling off some of her jewellery. My sister has kept what she wanted but I’m not interested in anything here, so I’ve come to see if any of this is of any value. By the way my name is Granville Hall.”
“Please sit down and show me the items you want for valuing,” the jeweller said, indicating a chair.
Granville sat and watched Mr Ryman while he looked thoroughly at the pieces through a special magnifying lens. One by one he carefully examined them and put them to one side. He picked up the silver cuff bracelet last, and then he said, “Please excuse me for a moment.”
Mr Ryman went into the back room where he had a computer. As it was already switched on, he only had to type into a police programme. On that programme there was a list of articles of interest to the police. He scrolled through the jewellery and found what he had suspected. Mr Ryman rang the police and then returned to Granville, who was looking at a catalogue of new pieces.
“Sorry, to have kept you waiting.”
“Oh, that’s all right,” Granville said.
Mr Ryman thought to himself that Granville looked the most harmless man he had ever met. But then, you never knew. Looks can be very deceptive.

The doorbell rang and a detective walked into the shop. He greeted Mr Ryman and then Granville. “Are you the gentleman who brought this bracelet to be valued?”
“Yes, I am. The bracelet belonged to my mother, who died recently. Is there anything wrong?” Granville asked, puzzled.
“There is something very wrong. This bracelet is on a list of articles wanted by the police in connection with a crime.”
“What crime is that?” Granville asked, knowing full well what the detective was going to say.
“The murder of Bridget Brooke. Do you remember it? It must be all of twenty years ago, now.”

Granville was not listening to the detective, he was remembering twenty years ago. He and Bridget had been engaged to be married. He had never been so enamoured in his life. Bridget had been the personal assistant to a man who ran a thriving transport business. They had met in the foyer of an hotel where she had gone with her boss and other employees for the weekend as a present for their good work.
Granville had been at the hotel as an escape from his mother. He and Bridget had started talking at the bar and after, went out together over the weekend. Neither thought they would ever meet again. Granville had never met anyone so friendly, and when he got back home he discreetly rang her, because the last thing he wanted was for his mother to find out that he had met a woman.
His mother was the typical matriarch, she was forever telling her son and daughter that their friends were never good enough. Pearl had met Vincent and gone out with him in secret. His mother had almost had a heart attack from the shock and shame, as she put it. Worst of all there was nothing wrong with Vincent, only that he had a job she didn’t approve of. Vincent ran a popular disco and it was considered the ‘in’ place for teenagers and older people to go to and dance. Mother was unable to believe that Pearl had fallen in love with Vincent, but Pearl had known what she was doing, and had kept her mother in ignorance till a short time before the wedding. Pearl had told her mother that if she didn’t want to attend the wedding it was OK by her, but that if she did go, then not to spend the whole time with a long face. The wedding was Pearl’s and Vincent’s, not Mother’s.
From that time on Granville was under permanent vigilance from his mother. She was always at the door before he’d hardly taken the key out of the lock. He often found her meddling in his bedroom, then pretending she was putting his ironing away. The only bright spark in Granville’s sad life had been Bridget. Mother had found out about Bridget and ordered him to give her up. He wouldn’t inherit the house if he married her. Granville didn’t want it, and told his mother, but she made out as if she hadn’t heard. Granville then did what Pearl had done years ago, he got engaged to Bridget, then fixed a date for the wedding. Just when it seemed nothing could go wrong Bridget was found dead, murdered in a country lane. The only clue as to how she had died were the marks of a bracelet on her neck.
The detective was still talking. Granville’s mind flew back to the blackness that had enveloped him when he knew that his mother had killed Bridget. She had confessed to him in one of her self-righteous rages, telling him that she had done him a favour, that Bridget just wasn’t the right one for him. He had screamed, and thought seriously of killing his mother. Of course, he did nothing about it. But he had lived with the terrible secret till his mother had died. Now, as all the story was coming out he felt anger and disgust for not having informed the police at the time. Now they were both dead - his mother and Bridget.
He remembered his mother’s last words about Bridget. “She’s only after your money and to live in a large house. She doesn’t want you for yourself.”
Alone, in his middle years, he had often said to his mother, “Who does want me for myself? No one. Bridget was the only one who made me happy, and you took her away from me with your arrogance.”

The detective stopped talking and gazed at the pensive Granville, “Are you all right, Sir?”
“Yes. Yes, I’m all right, thanks. The bracelet is still for sale if the police don’t need it. How is it related to Bridget’s murder?”
“There were clear marks of the engraving on Bridget’s neck. How do you know the victim’s name?” the policeman asked.
“She was my fiancée and we were about to be married. Her killer was my mother, a jealous and vindictive woman.”
“I see, would you like to come to the police station and tell us the whole story?”
“Willingly,” replied Granville.
Mr Ryman asked Granville, “When the police don’t need it any more, will you bring it back for me. I can get you a good price for it.”
“Thank you very much. I don’t want to see it again, ever,” were Granville’s last words as he went off with the detective.

But his last thoughts were, True love never dies. He had never stopped thinking about Bridget and the life they might have had together.

Mr Ryman made his wife sit down and watch the news on TV. The closure on Bridget Brooke’s murder was the highlight of the evening, and all the time he was wondering what to do with the bracelet. Would anyone be ghoulish enough to buy it?


© Copyright 2017 Georgina V Solly. All rights reserved.

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