Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chapter 29

     Trask unexpectantly learned of the duke's plan to transfer his estate to Roderick McDonald
late one the afternoon while gambling in the woods with his compatriots another friend approached and told the news.  He was enraged like no one had ever seen before. The first thing which he did was to leap to his feet and with challenging fists, howled from his innards a deeply painful and agonizing moan.  Then his large hairy hands grabbed the neck of the winner and smacked him across the jaw.  The others tried to hold him off, but he lashed with his fists in all directions before leaping to his horse and furiously whipping the roan mare into a full gallop.  For the next hour or so his fury drove her through the briary woods under low branches, over creeks and hills, until she spit a white foamy lather from her mouth and her roan coat was soaked. He simply drove the mare until she stopped dead in her tracks, then whipped her again for good measure.  But she would not move.  He dismounted.
     "Am I nought to be obeyed!  Even so, an animal!"  He screamed.  Then he began to cry. It was not the tears of sorrow, rather the anguished frustration of disappointment.  The sounds of his wild rage reverberated throughout the woods until he could bear no more and finally scorned the horse with these words: "You will take me now to the bosom of my torment."  The mare had a crippling injury on her front fetlock and attempted to ease the pain by shifting the weight of her carcus but instead slipped and fell to the ground. Mr. Dobbs' favorite mare struggled to regain her feet while he stood and watched.  After about an hour, she lay still. "Ah so!" Trask sneered viciously.  "You choose to die rather than to serve your master."
      Trask walked away, leaving her to die and forgetting where she lay.  His eyes frantically searched his surroundings to get his bearings.  His only worry was himself and wrestled with himself upon which direction to take himself.  His feet crunched on the leaves as he wandered first in one direction, then another.  It was the fall of the year and there was no moon and when darkness wrapt its blanket across the sky, his numb body fell to the ground and slept. When he awoke, he was tangled in a bed of brambles and while fighting the apparition the thorns cut deep into his flesh drawing blood to his arms and chest. The white ruffled shirt he'd worn the day before was torn and bloody.  A squirrel scampered in the brush, then dashed up the tree.  Trask reached for one of the pistols in his trousers, fired and missed.  The sound of the exploding bullet in the stillness of the early morning rendered him momentarily deaf.  There was to be no game that day and hunger would gnaw in the pit of his stomach.  Despite his aching legs and feet, he compelled himself to walk.  He must find Manningham.
     While thus lost in the woods, Mr. Potts commenced on a long and protracted journey into London to engage Mr. Biggers' solicitor to cut off the Trask Martain inheritance. The duke was unrolling a large plat for the extension of the brick wall outside of the courtyard and sketching in the location of fountains and statues.  Beyond that, the soil was being turned for a vegetable garden to be planted in the spring the fruits of which he planned to share with poor widows and orphans.  Another generous gesture which rendered him more beloved and appreciated by the villagers.  When he completed those sketches, he rerolled the plat and carefully locked it in the wall safe. While returning to his desk he was alerted to the sound of a slamming door, then footsteps. 
     "Mr. Potts?  Did you forget something?"
     No answer. Only the footsteps, getting louder and louder until he recognized the sound of Trask's heavy boots.  The large hairy hands thrust open the double doors to the study, then arched disapprovingly on his hips at the sight of the old duke using his cane to ease himself gently into his chair.  The key to the safe was yet in his fingers and he quickly poked it into his vest pocket. The sight of Trask's disheveled appearance, the torn shirt and blood on his skin, mud caked into his boots and wild eyes signalled the duke to take care.  "What is wrong, my boy?" He asked.
     "So ye cut me out, disinherited me," he said working himself in a lather. 
     "I know not where you received such intelligence, nevertheless, Manningham is yours," the duke answered truthfully, aware that Trask would not be allowed to retain the estates or titles.
     "I signed all of the documents. What is required of me that I should inherit now?"
     The duke did not answer.  He faced too much angry fury in Trask, a wildly distempering and uncontrollable spirit. It was this unsettling attitude and anger which caused him to conclude that the experiment had failed. It was not possible for Trask to change his roots.  "Answer me!" Trask yelled.
     "These issues take time....and patience." 
     "But what will make it so now?"
     The duke was sweating; his face flushed pink and he swallowed hard as he made an accurate accessment of the question. "My death," he said tearfully.
     Trask's eyes glazed over with demonic terror.  For a moment he stood frozen in his boots and then as the light switched on inside his brain, snatched a pistol from his trousers and pulled the trigger. The duke's influencal status and symbolisms failed him as his fragile body fell like a we dish rag to the floor.   Trask, with the pistol still smoking in his hand, ran to examine the body. He'd shot him dead center in the heart!

The End

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