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BlackEagle Girls

Chapter 5 - Now let's see what Gizzard got

'What do you mean, you think you unlocked the kitchen door?' Priscilla whispered conspiratorially as they stood on the landing at the top of the stairs. 'You either did or you didn't.'

'I don't know for sure, Cilla. I had this strange dream, at least it seemed to be a dream...'

'C'mon, down to my...to our bedroom,' Priscilla corrected herself, 'and you can tell me all about it.'

As the two girls hurried past Grandma Black's room and the boy's bedroom, Monique said, 'it's all very confusing. When we woke up this morning I heard you mumbling something about a dream and I thought...Well, I thought I had been dreaming too.'

'What exactly did you dream about?' Priscilla asked, entering the room and throwing herself onto her bed.

'I dreamt that I woke up in the middle of the night. Moonlight was shining through the window. I was standing there, looking down into the garden. When I turned around I suddenly realised that I seemed to be kind of floating. My feet were just...dangling...I can still feel the sensation of my toes...'

'Yes! And do you remember a loud sort of snapping sound?'

'Yes I do! That is what seemed to have woken...Cilla how do you know that?'

Priscilla sat up, her fingers rubbing her forehead. 'I'm not sure...But I think we maybe both had the same...
experience...Tell me more. Go on!'

Monique sat down on her bed, her eyes wide. 'I looked at where you should have been, where I expected you to be, asleep right there,' she pointed at Priscilla's bed, 'and you were not there, but there was something else there, right where you are sitting now. It was a figure, like a large doll, or a...what do they call them...a shop dummy? Yes! That is it! And also, I recall that I was not afraid. I just seemed to wander away out of the room and past the other rooms and down the stairs.'

'What happened next?' asked Priscilla, spellbound.

'I drifted along the hall to your parents' bedroom. I watched over them while they lay there asleep. Then I came back down the hall and out into the kitchen.'

'Can you remember whether the cellar door was open?'

'I do not know where the cellar door is,' said Monique, puzzled. 'All that I can recall is that I went to the kitchen door and had a great compulsion to open it. I could see outside through the glass. The garden was beautiful in the moonlight, even with all the wreckage from the house lying there...'

'Did you see anything moving?'

'Non. I cannot remember anything like that. All that I recall is that I unlocked the door and drew it open. Yet before I could go outside, a feeling swept over me, so that I must return upstairs, and I was transported away, back up here to this room. And when I came in I saw you again, lying right here, asleep.'

Priscilla nodded, 'What happened next?'

Monique shrugged her shoulders. 'I felt a wave of relief and also of tiredness. I slumped down onto the bed. There again came a loud noise. Then I was asleep. And this morning I awoke. But I do not forget.'

'Phew!' said Priscilla, 'Neither do I.'

'Oh, but wait!' said Monique, her hand rising to her mouth, 'I do recall now the smell!'

'What smell?'

'It came when I entered the sitting room near the kitchen. It was an odour of dampness rising. A musty kind of smell...'

'The cellar! That's where the smell came from! The door was open, and it was me that opened it!'

Both girls sat staring at each other in amazement.

'Mon Dieu! But how could that be?' Monique shook her head, as if to clear it of confusion. 'How could we both have had the same dream? Or...was it a dream?'

'No! It couldn't have been a dream. Not if we did the things we thought we dreamed and they came true!' said Priscilla, breathlessly. 'What happened is that I woke up first and went downstairs to Mum and Dad's bedroom, and then back along to the kitchen where I thought I saw a tiny black dog through the window, out in the garden. Then I wandered into the little sitting room and opened the cellar door. But I didn't go down there. Instead I went back upstairs and saw the same thing as you did, a strange doll-like form in your bed. Then I got into my bed and heard that sharp noise and that was it. All I can think of is that you were doing the same thing, somewhere just behind me. When I was going upstairs, you were in Mum and Dad's bedroom.'

'Then we were sleepwalking?' Monique said this with little conviction, and yet it seemed the only possible explanation.

'Then how come we both saw the...the things in our beds? What were they? And if part of it was true, all of it must be true.' Priscilla waved her hands in disbelief. 'Could this house be haunted?'

'Where I come from, in Africa, there are many people who still believe in ghosts; but I should not have expec...'

"Woh!' The sound of Henry's excited cry reached the two girls as both the boys thundered up the stairs.

'Mind how you go, you pair!' came Grandma Black's stentorian voice from below.

Both Priscilla and Monique had barely enough time to compose themselves before Henry, and then Louis, came bursting through the doorway.

'We found Gizzard! Look!' yelled Henry, thrusting his cupped hands toward them. The little green skink peered out from between his fingers, its tiny eyes fixed and staring.

'And Gizzard found something else,' said Louis mysteriously, holding out a clenched fist.

Priscilla and Monique leaned forward. 'Whatever is it?' asked Monique.

Louis opened his fingers to reveal a chain attached to a ring that was set with a pale green stone.

'Where did you find that?' said Priscilla, peering closely at the object.

'We didn't find it. Gizzard did,' crowed Henry. 'I went down into the cellar looking for him and he was at the bottom of the steps and so was this.'

'But it wasn't there before,' Priscilla replied quietly.

'It could have been,' said Louis. 'We only took a quick look in the cellar the first day we got here and because it was empty we didn't bother going down there again. This,' he lifted the ring and dangled it from the chain, 'was tucked close to the bottom step. We probably just didn't see it.'

'Anyway, I think it's a sign of good luck,' said Henry cheerfully, 'and since Gizzard found it and I found Gizzard, he and I want to give it to you Monique. We hope it might cheer you up a bit.'

'Oh Henry, that is very kind of you both,' said the girl, taking it from Louis. She tried the ring on several fingers and finally it fitted her third finger on her right hand. 'Oh but what about the chain?'

'Yes, what about the chain?' Priscilla wondered. 'Why would a ring have a chain on it?'

'Who knows?' said Henry cheerfully, happy to have his lizard back again. 'Maybe whoever it belonged to used to hang it on a hook. Anyway this time I'm going to give Gizzard a better home.'

'Oh yeah?' challenged Louis, as any older brother would.

'Yeah. I've got this big clear plastic container from the unpacking. I'm going to fix it up with dirt and stuff. Gizzard can have all kinds of adventures amongst the rocks and he'll be able to see out too.'

'Well, he's your lizard. You have to remember to feed him and look after him,' Louis said, shrugging his shoulders as if to absolve himself of any responsibility.

'Come and see what I'm going to do!' Henry replied, bounding to the doorway with Gizzard firmly clutched in his hand. 'Beat you downstairs!'

'No you won't!' shouted Louis, darting after him. There came a pounding of footsteps toward the stairs and down to the floor below.

'Hie, hie!' cried Grandma Black. 'Slow down or I'll have to...'

The sound of a power saw drowned out her last words as one of the carpenters began trimming a bench end in the kitchen.

Monique wriggled the ring off her finger and handed it to Priscilla, who looked closely at the chain and then the ring, turning it so that she could see the inner surface. 'The chain unclips, there's a tiny catch here. No markings on the metal. I wonder what kind of stone this is?'

'And what sort of metal?' Monique said, staring at the chain. 'It seems to be silver with a faint goldish tinge.'

'The stone isn't just pale green either, see, there's a soft yellow kind of look to it. Maybe we should take it to a jeweller and ask what it is.'

'Yes, that is a good idea. I should like to know more about it, after all it seems to be mine now.'

'It is yours,' Priscilla said, smiling and handing it back to Monique.

'And I shall keep it as a good luck piece. Perhaps it will bring me some joyful news about my Mother and Father,' she replied, but Priscilla could see that there was little joy in Monique's eyes as the shock of her missing parents hit her once again. Monique lifted the chain and placed it around her own neck. 'I will wear this as a charm in the hope of...'
Suddenly she faltered.
'In the hope of...'
Her voice failed and she seemed to lose concentration.
For a moment, Priscilla thought that the girl was going to faint. Monique's eyes drifted about the room as if following some invisible object, and then finally came to rest on the ring in her hand.

'What is it Monique? Are you alright?' asked Priscilla, coming to her side.

'Why yes, yes I am alright. It is just that I seemed to have seen something, a vision...'

'A vision of what?' asked Priscilla, placing an arm around Monique's shoulder.

'It was an eagle. Here in this room. A majestic eagle, swaying and swooping and then...vanishing!'

'Oh,' said Priscilla. 'Perhaps all that's happened over the past days has been too much for you. Never mind. We'll have a quiet time here today and you can rest and...'

'But Priscilla, don't you know?' Monique shook her head, partly baffled, yet exalted.
'Of course you couldn't,' she hurried on, 'my name! My name is Bateleur!
The Bateleur Eagle! I saw it!
I saw a Bateleur Eagle!'


Chapter 6 [Next]


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