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A raucous time, p.1
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       A Raucous Time, p.1

           Julia Hughes
A Raucous Time
A Raucous Time

  By Julia Hughes





  For Bubba: With the hope he never forgets how to fly.





  © Julia Hughes. August 2013. For previous & forthcoming titles visit Julia's website.


  A bonus chapter from "A Ripple in Time" follows the end of this ebook.

  The Celtic Cousins' Adventures. Stories to enjoy time after time after time.

  Editor: Mervyn Walker, Talon 2913

  Cover art by Laura Wright LaRoche of Designs



  Chapter One


  In October 1216 a humanitarian disaster unfolded: An army retreating across the mud flats of the River Wash were engulfed by the incoming tide. In less time than it takes to watch a play, or prepare a meal, over a thousand souls perished under clear skies on that late autumn afternoon. Amongst those safely ashore listening to the screams of the drowning and the high pitched neighing of frenzied horses, was John, King of England, last surviving son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, ruler of Normandy, France and England. The cold unforgiving waters claimed not only the lives of John’s men, but also forty wagons, transporting all his worldly goods. Six of those wagons contained treasure of unimaginable worth: the crown and royal regalia, religious artefacts, gold, silver and other priceless articles and artefacts. Within seven days King John himself was dead. Some blamed a bad dish of eels, others speculated poison. Some kept quiet, and wondered if a man could die of a broken heart. Not too many grieved for him, as the country pulled back from the brink of civil war and life slowly returned to normal.

  Almost eight hundred years have passed since that fateful day. King John’s treasure remains lost to human sight. Its value is beyond calculation.

  Chapter Two


  From the street, the mid terraced house appeared ordinary enough. A little shabby and run down, hinting perhaps that the occupants weren't exactly flush with money, or maybe too infirm or elderly to mow the lawn and fix the lopsided gate. Ducking through the front door, Detective Inspector Crombie swore and caught his breath, not quickly enough to escape the frowsty malodour permeating the lounge.

  Books of every shape and size formed a haphazard narrow corridor to an executive style desk, which looked capable of giving whoever had the task of clearing the house a hernia. The onyx surface was clear though far from clean, even in dim light from the doorway mug stain rings and small piles of cigarette ash were visible. As Crombie deliberated where to place his size twelve’s, a tower of books swayed, toppling against a neighbouring stack before a couple of books slid from the top of the heap to land on the greasy carpet with a muffled thwack.

  ‘Bollocks! Big hairy bollocks!’ The curse from the kitchen area belonged to someone happier captaining the Metropolitan Police hockey team than rooting through this shambles of a life.

  ‘Big hairy bollocks belong in a field, attached to a bull WPC Hewes.’ Crombie admonished, despite a waft of gratefulness that he could retreat back to the station now. ‘Show a little more respect for the dead.’ He added, noting Hewes’s face turning pink. Either she was trying to breathe shallow, or more likely biting her tongue against a sharp retort. Crombie couldn’t care less, although usually he curbed his irrational dislike of the young policewoman.

  ‘Finish up here, speak to the neighbours and make sure your report’s on my desk by lunch time.’ He’d digest her reports in the sanctuary of ‘The Eagle’; a pint of John Smith’s and a pie always helped the thinking process.

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