The Secret of Trefusis Cove – Episode 04

It was dark when they reached the coast of Cornwall. At a pub Peter had marked on the map, along the coast road to Trefusis Cove on the outskirts of St Ives, they asked the way to their destination.

The landlord looked puzzled.

“What do you want to go there for?”

“We’re staying at Tangara Cottage,” Betty explained.

“Why?” he asked again.

Betty began to feel cross. She was tired and hungry.

“Are we on the right road?” she asked as politely as she could. “We’ve come to caretake the cottage for Mr Peter John.”

“Oh, you’re them.” He grinned. “We know all about it. Couple of artists, no doubt, searching for the right light.” He grinned. “Place is swarming with the likes of you.”

There was a collective “Aah!” from the few people in the bar.

“Is it signposted?” Val asked.

“Nah. You drive a couple of miles till you come to a turn on your right. Two white stones; you drive between them. There’s a steep lane down to the cove, then you’ll come to a turn on your left.

“There’s a beach shop there. He may have shut up for the night, but if you knock loudly maybe he’ll hear. He has the key, see.”

He glanced at the clock over the bar.

“Better get a move on or he’ll be closed and might have gone to the shanties.”

Betty had no idea what he meant about shanties, but she thanked him and they returned to the car.

“Couple of miles; first turning on right; steep lane.” Betty repeated the instructions under her breath. “Two white stones.”

“It’s pitch dark,” Val whispered, peering through the windscreen. “No cat’s eyes, no street lights.”

Betty drove carefully, concentrating on the way ahead.

“There!” Val pointed. “Two white stones, see? Turn there, Betty.”

Betty made a slow turn between the markers and down the steep incline.

The lane flattened out and they came to a stop outside what looked like a small wooden kiosk. Steps up to a door were illuminated by the headlights of their car.

“This must be the place.”

“There’s no light anywhere,” Val replied.

Betty opened her door and got out. She stretched her limbs.

Val did the same.

“So, this is it.”

“Seems like it.”

In the darkness they became aware of the sound of waves washing on the shore but could see nothing.

Betty removed a small torch from the glove box.

“Let’s see if we can rouse anyone.”

She went to the steps of the small building and mounted them. There was no door knocker so she rapped with her fist.

They waited a while but there was no response. Betty rapped again.

“Is anyone there?”

She tried the door. It was locked.

“Oh, Betty,what if it’s the wrong place? Maybe we’ll never find the cottage and have to spend the night in the car.” Val was tired, too, and near to tears.

“Don’t fret, Val.” Betty led the way down the steps. “If worst comes to worst we can go back to the pub and spend the night there. I’m sure they have rooms, and we can tackle this problem in the daylight.”

Val sighed.

“I just want a cup of tea and a bite to eat – I don’t care what. Let’s find Tangara Cottage and see if we can get in.”

“We must find the man with the key. He knows we’re arriving today so he’s bound to be near. Let’s sit in the car and wait. Maybe he’s gone out and will be back soon.”

Betty went round to the driver’s side and opened the door, then paused.

“What’s that noise?”

“What noise?” Val leaned across the driver’s seat.

“Singing.” Betty held up her hand. “Listen.”

They sat still in the dark, straining their ears to catch a sound above the wash of the waves on the shore.

“There it is again. Did you hear it that time?”

“Yes,” Val whispered. “It sounds like a choir. It’s spooky. I don’t like it.”

“Don’t be daft, Val. It’s probably on a radio or a CD player. Listen so we can work out what direction it’s coming from.”

“Over there.” Val pointed a shaking finger.

“Let’s follow the sound.”

She shut the car door and waited until Val joined her.

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.