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The Chapel - Part 6
by Theodore K. Nasos
2015-11-24 13:21:27
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“No.” Was Sir John’s answer when I mentioned Emily and it was loud and clear. “Emily has absolutely nothing to do with this case.” He added emphasizing the absolutely. But she told you… “Emily told me many things including the fact that the weather was getting worse and as I said she has absolutely nothing to do with this case.” The absolutely again. Fine, Emily was going to the back of my mind but she was there to stay.

sirj01_400So, what now? I asked purring a cup of coffee and pretending that the last exchange had never happened. “Now we just have to wait for the evening prayers. If you hadn’t slept for so long we might had time to reach him earlier.” Again me. I should get used to that.

But it was Chief Inspector Christopher Bennett’s words that stopped me from a new complaint. “It was the tall pastor from the Chapel. The same chapel our victim used to work. And he was on his way to the Chapel for his morning prayers when everything happened.”

“Do you know what’s really strange? Never got his name.” I looked at Sir John and tried to search my memory every moment since we stepped in the Chapel the night before. I was in owe. Nobody had ever mentioned the name of the pastor. He was the tall blonde pastor and nothing else.

“I checked in the register book and I only found the name of an eighty years-old pastor for the chapel who according to a clipping I had, died a few months before.” Things like that happen Sir John, I dared say. There is nothing strange with an old man dying and a new pastor appear to his place without the registry having the time to add an announcement. “True, true. Things happen.” Sir John said moving his head up and down. “Still…” and he didn’t continue. A soft knock at the door made us both turn. “Enter,” Sir John said loud.

Mary, Sir John’s maid, entered the room and with a very soft voice said looking at the floor. “A priest Sir John, a priest is outside and he wants to see you both gentlemen.” And she looked at my direction. He knows I’m here? I asked surprised. She nodded and Sir John smiled. “Please Mary, show him the way and bring some more tea if you don’t mind.” Mary left leaving me looking at Sir John in wonder.

It was the thick sideburns, the blonde hair and the white collar of course. “Harold Feelgood the name, even though I’m more used to pastor or father.” The pastor said entering the room with a wide smile. This time we were home, in our safety and I felt more at ease even to notice a slight accent in his first sentence.

Chief Inspector gave me your name and your address, Sir John and I found it most proper to pay you a visit. After all we all witnessed the murder of my trustee and that was not nice at all.”

“Please, please sit, Mr Feelgood. Is this the proper way to call you or you prefer father?” Sir John asked and I sense a small sarcasm hiding behind the words.

“Harold will be fine.” He answered sitting on the wide sofa opposite of me. American. He was American. Undoubtedly. Sir John was still standing between the French doors and his desk. He didn’t say anything and he kept quiet while Mary returned carrying a tray with a new boiled tea and a plate with small buttered scones. “Anything else Sir John, perhaps some small toasts.” Sir John answered something I didn’t hear and she left the room fast.

sirj02_400“So, the victim was not just your cook but he was your trustee, you said.”

“A fine man. He looked …big and perhaps he had a past like most men like him, but he was a good Christian dedicated to the church.”

“Did you know him for long?”

“Well I met him before coming here and we had agreed to reach for him on my arrival. And I did exactly that. A handy man is always good for a chapel and there are always things to do, so I hired him.”

“He was not just a cook?”

“He was not just a cook.” There was silence in the room for a few minutes and Sir John had moved and sat in the comfortable chair next to the sofa looking at our visitor.

“And what is your work, Sir John, if I may ask?” So, so foreign I thought.

“Retirement is not exactly a job but a condition so you can say I’m in retirement condition.” Sir John said and the pastor laughed. It was an easy and relaxed laugh even though the question was weird.

“And you sir?” he said turning to me and making me suddenly feel very uncomfortable.

“A researcher, helping Sir John with his research.”

“Right, right. A researcher.” He looked at me waiting for something more but I wasn’t going to add anything.

“What about the man you were looking form, Sir John? Did you find him?” he turned to Sir John somehow dismissing me.

“No, unfortunately we didn’t find him. Part of my young friend’s research.” Sir John answered fast looking at his cup.

“Right, right.” Said the pastor also looking at his cup.

“Right, I think it is time for me to go. Evening prayers and all that. You know!” The pastor had suddenly stand up and he was already heading for the door when Sir John and I tried to follow. “Please don’t bother. I think I can find my way. It was a pleasure to see you safe home and I was glad that it was my testimony that helped to that.” Why I felt that I heard a warning in his tone, a mystery.

“And please don’t hesitate to visit me, any time your steps lead you to my Chapel.” And he left without shaking hands or in a matter of fact no other word.

We heard the outside door closing than we both stood quiet looking at each other. “That was strange,” I said after a bit not be able to cope with the silence in the room. Sir John looked out of the window.

“We started looking for an old friend and in few hours we found ourselves looking at a mystery.” Sir John said after a bit. “The best part of it is that while we started looking for something now we have to wait for it to come and find us. And before finishing his sentence Mary opened the door carrying a letter.

“Sir John, a big man left this for you, when the priest was here!”

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