Tuesday, December 08, 2009
At the Waterman's Midwinter Party
Midwinter solstice was the night of the most lavish party in Laverstone, when the Manor was opened to all and sundry from the town – the only stipulation for entrance being that you had to have a Laverstone address to be admitted. This often led to several Henry Smiths attending the celebration, each one living at 14 Hazel Coppice. Harold didn't mind. Lies were, in effect, the family business.
Certain parts of the manor were out of bounds – the cellars, the upper floors and the kitchen area – but that didn't stop Hilary Sweet, junior reporter on the Laverstone Times, from investigating. She looked upon it as a public duty to get the inside scoop on the Watermans. Where did the vast fortune come from? How did they afford such an elaborate lifestyle on the takings of a small antiquarian bookshop and gallery? Just what was the relationship between Harold Waterman and the mysterious Jasfoup de Ville?
What she saw in the cellars turned her hair white overnight. She would never speak of it, but afterwards she quickly rose the head reported, editor, owner and finally mogul all in the space of three years. She developed a penchant for fine clothes, gourmet food and speciality lovers. Despite her white hair, she never aged a day after that night but died exactly ten years later on the night of Harold Waterman's Midwinter Birthday party, alone in a locked penthouse flat with a look of absolute terror contorting her features.
Jasfoup kept the pen.