I read the Craysfield Bugle in the High Street, the pages were displayed behind glass on the side wall of the newspaper office. Lots of colour pix of the Red Devil, but no names, but everybody in the village knew more of the story. The police stated that the suspect was denying all charges. One picture of the editor and Harry smiling into the camera. No pictures of me and, of course, none of Susan. The story was also in the national press.
I should have been happy, Jacob Haitsbury had been arrested, but I wasn't glad. There were all his other crimes. And what about the Bishop? He had moved Haitsbury to another church parish every time Haitsbury had been caught in the act... The Bishop was guilty too.
Page three was filled with this message:
I continued down the street and crossed the moors to the hill where Ronny was standing. It was the first time that he had seen my real face. I walked up to him, I put my face under his chin and kissed his neck. He put his arms around me. After five minutes:
“Hello, my name is Ronny, that's Ronald Pyke. I think I know who you are, or I think I do, but I won't tell anybody, not even you. You're very pretty, you know. Fancy you being so close to me. I think that is a very good place for you to be.”
“You must wonder why I stand here every day. I once had a dog, a black Labrador, I brought her here every day, her name was Blackie, she's buried just over there. I still come here every day, if the weather's good enough.”
It was the right place for me, I had made the right choice, black and white, I said nothing.
“I think that you know a lot about me already, that I live with my mother and sister in the village, don't you? My sister is younger than me, we both go to school here, we're in the church choir. Mum has a shop, she sells souvenirs and haberdashery, she makes and repairs clothes. She's very good to us.”
He talked for hours, I wanted to hear every word. I kissed the other side of his neck and said nothing.
I met Ronny the next day on the hill. “Hello, hello, I'm glad you came. Tell me something, you can speak can't you?”
“Ronny, yes, I can speak. I have a question for you. You have a name for me, don't you? I'm not ‘that girl’ to you, you have a name for me.”
“I've always thought of you as Mary, but what is your name?”
A bit more fear and another letter were needed.
I got on my bike that I had hidden in the Vicarage garden and headed towards the cathedral in the big town. The service had already started, I could see the Bishop before the altar, but where were the candles, try the sacristy.
I lit a giant altar candle with the matches that I had brought with me and whitened up my face. I waited in the dark by the entrance until the Bishop read the banns and notices. I walked slowly along the aisle holding the huge, burning candle in both hands. The Bishop stopped in mid-sentence. I threw the candle to his feet. Molten wax flew in all directions. Tarnished in so many ways.
I disappeared in front of everyone, but very slowly. I reappeared in the sacristy and pulled all the circuit breakers, the lights dimmed and the organ made a sound like a dying animal.
Hopefully that would be the last appearance of the girl in white and the last letter. I placed it on the desk of the editor of the Craysfield Bugle, together with more of Haitbury's “sermons”.