Bog Man, p.1M T McGuire
A short story by
M T McGuire
Published by Hamgee University Press www.hamgee.co.uk
© M T McGuire, March 2010
Latest edition, April 2015
The right of M T McGuire to be identified as the author of this Work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
This book is a work of fiction and, except in the case of historical fact, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Bog Man is written in British English
I would say the UK film rating of this book is: U (universal) or G (general)
Thank you to Damian Wilson https://www.flickr.com/photos/scampbird for use of the cover photo.
ISBN no: 9781452339399
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A perfectly preserved pre-historic cadaver is discovered in the fens and brought to a Museum. For the new Director it should present a major opportunity but is it real? And if it is, how come the pre-historic ring it's wearing also bears the marks of a local shop. And where is the Museum's Head Electrician? If the Director doesn't find answers soon the unthinkable may happen. He may look an idiot.
Who is M T McGuire?
M T McGuire’s full length novels: The K'Barthan Series
The Director lay back on an eighteenth century chaise-longue – which, like the rest of the furniture in his office, was a ‘stored’ exhibit from the Department of Furniture and Paintings – and listened to the music. The tinny computer speakers made it sound as if it was coming from behind a curtain or a sheet of glass; loud, immediate yet somehow, not quite there. Since his secretary dealt with all his paperwork and correspondence the lap-top was little more than an expensive ornament; so after being shown how to play a CD with it, he was delighted to have found a use for the wretched thing.
The report lay across his stomach, he took a sip of wine, placing the glass back on the occasional table beside him – another piece of stored art – he flipped the document upright and leafed through the summary paragraphs again.
“Who wrote this drivel?” he said, to no-one in particular. He stared up at the stuccoed ceiling. He was going to put a rocket up the Keeper of Antiquities’ arse for this. He could pass it on to whoever was actually responsible. It had to be a joke, no keeper in their right mind would knowingly sign this off although, the Director reflected dourly, few keepers were in their right minds, eccentricity – extreme in most cases – came with the job.
He examined the week’s events. The body of a man, thousands of years old, perfectly preserved, had been lifted from the mire of one of the local fens. The fen in question was not far from the Museum, just on the outside of the town on a patch of what was now, scrubby river meadow although, of course – as the Director had knowledgably explained to the gathered press – in the time of their find, it would have been marsh. It was difficult to grasp the significance of the event. Similarly preserved cadavers had been found in marshy areas of the UK and several deep-frozen child sacrifices had been discovered in the higher regions of the Andes. But there was an incongruity about such a happening so close to the centre of a university town.
The figure, clad in rough clothes of a sack-like material had lain with its spear in the peaty soil for thousands of years – eight thousand to be precise – until somebody’s dog had uncovered it. The Director thanked the Lord his dog hadn’t been responsible for digging up the Museum’s oldest (and newest) acquisition and wondered idly what existence would have been like, eight thousand years ago, for a man living by his wits in the tall reeds of the marshes. Needless to say, as the body was finally removed from the earth, some joker had suggested calling it Bob. Within minutes this had transformed itself into Bog and unfortunately, like the mud from the site which had clung so tenaciously to the Director’s knees, ruining a perfectly good suit, it stuck.
Bog was now reclining in the palatial splendour of a humidor constructed specially for him in the staff kitchen of the Museum’s office area – there was no room anywhere else or insufficient security because of the building works. Initially, the staff had been barred and this had caused murmurings until they had been allowed to have a closer, more private examination of Bog in groups of three.
On his first sight of Bog the Director had been shocked by his greenish black colour and he was finding the thought of him, curled in his humidor downstairs as he and his family slept peacefully in the flat above, no less harrowing. Was it the way the leathery skin was drawn taut across the face or the staring, sightless eyes? Possibly. But the Director’s quiet fear was that Bog reminded him of somebody and at the moment, he couldn’t pinpoint who.
He turned his attention back to the report. It was patently ridiculous.
He got up, slipped on his shoes and went downstairs. After turning on every light and turning off the alarm he unlocked the door of the kitchen. Bog was reposing in perfect serenity as he had been for the last twenty four hours since he had finally been exhumed, transported the few hundred yards to his current resting place in a special air-ride suspension lorry and installed. He had been wearing a bright gold ring, surprisingly well preserved, on his left third finger which had been removed for further examination and which – and this was where the problem with the report arose – the Keeper of Antiquities believed came from Tatners, a cheap and cheerful jewellery chain with a branch in town.
A Tatners ring. Except that it was also supposed to be a few thousand years old. It had been biked over to Archaeology and Anthropology who were better equipped to date prehistoric artefacts.
“Where did you get that, Mister Bog?” said the Director. “Married were you?” His voice seemed unnaturally loud in the silence of the kitchen. Bog was lifelike. The Director almost expected him to bang on the glass in which he was encased and demand to be let out. He imagined the voice as Bog argued the toss, a thin weasely whine like Terry the electrician demanding immediate release.
“I’m sorry but you would dry out and crumble to dust …” said the Director. Why was he talking to this thing? He sighed. He hoped it wasn’t going to be lying about where it was for long. He turned to leave and hesitated.
Terry. That was it! That’s who Bog reminded him of. Terry was the head electrician, in charge of all the systems at the Museum. A couple of weeks previously, he had popped out to lunch and never come back. No-one knew where he was or what had become of him, not even his wife. The technicians had irreverently started a rumour that he’d drowned after having too beerier a lunch and falling, unobserved, into a less frequented part of the river on his way back to work. The Director wouldn’t have been surprised. Staff members did disappear from time to time, even commit suicide, it was all part of the rich tapestry of working in a museum. But Terry had been happily married and apparently had never confided anything in his wife that might shed light on his unexplained disappearance.
The Director switched off the lights, reset the alarm and climbed upstairs to bed. As he passed through the hall in his flat, he tossed the Antiquities Department’s ludicrous report on the table. The phone rang.
He consulted his watch.
Yes, it was aft
“Hello, I need to speak to the Director.”
“Not at this time of night you don’t–” he began.
“This is Sally, I need to speak to Dr Bond, it’s about Terry… I think he may have committed suicide…” She burst into tears.
No. Not this, not now. The Director rubbed one temple with his free hand. “Ah,” he said, “this is Dr Bond.” His pyjama-clad wife put her head round the bedroom doorway and mouthed, “Who is it?”
“Sally,” said the Director, with his hand over the mouthpiece.
“Terry’s wife, she’s in a terrible state,” smiling kindly, the Director’s wife walked over to him and put her hand out for the phone. “Sally, I’m sorry but would you like to speak to my wife? She’s a bit better at … um … providing succour and comfort than I am.” Succour and comfort, what in the name of God was he saying?
“Yes … thank you …” sobbed the stricken female on the other end. Obviously Terry had confided something to Sally, something which, the Director realised, she was much more likely to tell his wife. He handed the receiver to a more sympathetic ear and went to bed.
Bog Man by M T McGuire / Fantasy have rating 3 out of 5 / Based on18 votes