The Dividing Tide – Episode 23

Garren leaned on his shovel as he stared out from the clay store at the busy yard beyond. It was over a month since he’d accidentally strayed into Arthek Nankerris’s office, and he’d done his best to keep out of his boss’s way.

His job in the linhay was a good one, and he needed it to support his mother and Tansy. He daren’t displease him again.

He noticed his employer walking across the yard, and quickly bent his head to his task again. But above the scrape of his shovel and the thud of the clay as he tipped it into the barrel, he was conscious of footsteps approaching.

A shadow fell across him.

“You. Quick, isn’t it?”

“Yes, sir.” He stood up, his mouth dry.

“How are you settling to your work, Quick?”

Garren was surprised at his boss’s civil tone.

“Very well, thank you, sir,” he replied.

“Good, good.” Arthek glanced around before returning to Garren. “Look, about that day in my office. No need to mention it to anyone, eh?”

“Of course not, sir.”

Arthek nodded.

“On with your work, then, Quick. You’re not paid to be idle.”

“Yes, sir.”

As he bent to his shovel again, Garren pondered on the words. Why had Nankerris brought that up again? It was obviously important.

Then he shrugged. It was no business of his what his employers got up to, after all, and soon his mind turned to Jenna, as it so often did. He had to find a way to see her.

“You’re a local man, Ben,” he said to a man with a barrow of clay from the drying kiln. “Ever been to Nankerris House?”

The muscles in his colleague’s forearms tightened as he emptied his wheelbarrow.

“The boss’s place? Why d’you want to know?”

“Friend of mine’s been taken on there, that’s all.” It wasn’t exactly a lie.

“I was thinking of going to see them. How far is it?”

Ben scratched his head.

“’Tis a grand place ’bout three mile out on the Truro road. Just follow the road to Sticke, go through the village then turn right.

“Don’t take the main lane to the house, mind. Master wouldn’t like that. There’s a track as goes round to the servants’ entrance.”

He bent to grasp the handles of his barrow.

“Thanks,” Garren called to Ben’s retreating back.

He finished filling his barrel and reached for a wooden lid to seal it. He’d go on his next day off, he decided, and ask to see Jenna. For see her he must.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.