Yay! Something new! Wanted to try out something different, writing this. Hope you enjoy and do tell me what you think! 🙂

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It is said that the marshes are alive and sometimes, can be heard. No one knows its history or why it came to be the human death trap that it is now. Many a person have lost their lives to its deceptive nature.
Non-locals of course.
Even Old Jim, the village idiot knows better than to traipse around the road that leads to the marshes after his nightly affair with the bottle…or bottles in his case.
This of course, was told to Master Jonathan Parker, a non-local and new occupant at Bricklow house.
“Oh I shan’t disparage yer good advice sire. I shall be sure to veer well away from them.” He told the store keeper as he collected his purchased goods and shillings in change.
“Make sure yer don’.” The keeper said gruffly.
Master Parker lifted his beaver top hat briefly, and ventured out into the rain while Old Joe watched him thoughtfully.
A gentleman must always keep his word. Of course, he didn’t believe in the stories one bit.
“A learned man, I am. I shan’t be caught believing an old maid’s tale.” He murmured to himself as he gingerly walked, ‘brella in hand.
It was almost dark.
The warning to Master Parker is indeed, quite necessary. It would have been negligence on Old Joe’s part. For you see, Master Parker’s house is situated just a walking distance from these marshes. No one had lived in the house for years on the account if this terrible location.
But Master Parker, oh so nouveaux, modern!
“Pish posh!” He had said to the local housing agent who suggested another house for his abode.
“I’m quite able to take care of myself sire, never you mind!” With a shrug and several signatures later, Master Parker owned it.
He whistled a jaunty tune as he walked on home with his groceries.

Master Parker, a bachelor wasn’t in Devonshire for a holiday, oh no! Quite contrary to what he told the local agent. He had come for refuge. Being mixed up surreptitiously with gentlemen of ill repute meant he had to exit the city for a little while. The gendarmes did not take kindly to the pilfering that went on at the newly opened East India Quay docks. Because of his links with the illegal tradesmen, his name had come up in the list. Thanks to a tip, he was able to take the next coach out of the city before the hand of the law fell on him.
“Lay low till everything is blown over, my love” his mistress had whispered quickly as she tiptoed to brush her lips against his before he left.
All these, of course, were Master Parker’s secrets. As far as the locals were concerned, he was just another affluent city lad.
He quite frankly enjoyed the way the ladies looked at him here in the village, as he tipped his hat in greeting. Of course, they are no match for his conquests in the city but women are women are women. He did quite like the look of the scullery maids that came to cook for him weekly. Maybe if predisposed, he could convince her to take a different kind of cooking. His skills, after all were quite legendary in the brothels he frequented.
The men, he noticed, looked enviously at his immaculate clothing; cravats, neck ties, colourful breeches.  Although he had rushed out of the city in a hurry, his wench had slipped a wad of notes into his coat. He had done a little shopping out-of-town. The clothes he had now were by no means any match for what he had ensconced in his drawers in the city. These town fools couldn’t tell the difference and it was just alright by him.
All in all, Master Parker, was seen as a gentleman here. He could not disabuse them of that notion.

Of the habits that came with him from the city asides his smoking from a fancy pipe, was his nocturnal habit. Sometimes, falling asleep come quite hard to him. Unless it was after a very vigorous night action. Of course. In the city, there had been different establishments that stayed open all night. This is where this town had failed. There were no suitable places for a man of his station to go to. Well, discounting the church which seemed to be open all the time. These lots, sadly, have not discovered the fine arts of gambling or night games. The only place where the spirits didn’t taste like diluted piss in the town closed early, every day. What kind of pub did that!
Frankly speaking, Master Parker couldn’t wait to shake the dust of Devonshire off his shoes.
Good riddance!
For the lack of these sorely missed entertainments, Master Parker took to long night walks.
“To clear my head” he had said in the most austere of tones to the butcher who once saw him.
“Strange fellow he be, that Master Parker. Fancy clothes. Even at night.” The butcher had said to his wife later that night when their course of gossip got to the subject of Jonathan Parker.

On one of such nights, he threw on huge coat, his boots and left the house. He didn’t have to check his gold-plated timepiece to know that it was well past midnight.
He breathed in the cold damp air. Without a thought for destination, he allowed his feet to take the lead. The moon shone brightly, illuminating his way. He affected the air of a worldly man. Humming a soft tune that had been the rage in the city, he found his legs were merely retracing his well-known travelled routes.
Store.
Drinking house.
Fountain.
Home.
Well, almost home.
He found himself taking the route that led him to the marshes.
He stopped.
“Let it not be said that Jonathan Parker has turned lily-livered!” he murmured.
Smiling roguishly, he walked on.
He cleared his throat and sang:
                        “Oh, lovely Mary Donnelly, my joy, my only best!
                            If fifty girls were round you, I’d hardly see the rest;
                                Be what it may the time o’ day, the place be where it will,
                              Sweet looks o’ Mary Donnelly, they bloom before me still.”

He had a powerful tenor voice which he was proud of. Hearing it in the still, calm, night thrilled him.

                         “Her eyes like mountain water that’s flowing on a rock,
                     How clear they are, how dark they are! they give me many a shock;
                           Red rowans warm in sunshine and wetted with a show’r,
                         Could ne’er express the charming lip that has me in its pow’r.”

“Quite a powerful voice you have there, Sir.” a voice said, bringing him to an abrupt halt.
He turned, looking for the source of the voice.
Just a little down the road, stood a woman. She drew closer.
“Please Sir. Do sing!”
“An evening to you, fair lady” He sketched a little bow.
She giggled and curtsied.
“Not a safe time for a lady to be on the road, alone” he said, smoothly smiling.
“And it’s safe for you I suppose? Oh hush Sir!” she laughed, as she pulled her shawl closer to her shoulders.
He liked her.
“May I escort you home, lest you’d be prone to attack”
She smiled prettily and his heart thumped in his chest.
“Would you sing for me Sir? Would you sing when we get home”
“Of course! Any song you like!” He knelt down on the wet road, took her hands and kissed them.
He never noticed their coldness in his fervour to please.
He rose and she pointed.
“Home’s that way.”
He was puzzled.
“But…that’s the Mar….”
She looked at him, a small smile playing on her lips “Yes?”
He shook his head, clearing the confusion from his eyes.
“Nothing! Let’s get you home!” He daintily took her arm in his, and side by side, they walked home.
If you can call Death home.
For what Master Jonathan Parker saw, was a long road that lead to a house. A road that was the Marshes, few minutes ago.
He of course thought he was just delusional. He couldn’t scare away this beautiful damsel with his rambling about the Marshes.
For all he knew, they did not exist.
And soon, he did not exist.

The locals knew.
The Marshes had claimed Master Parker.
Why else would they have found his beaver top hat and coat, cast carelessly on the muddy road?
The housing agent was contacted.
He sent a telegraph to the name the late Master Parker had scribbled as next of kin.

‘Dear Miss Penelope. stop. I’m saddened to say that Master Jonathan Parker is no more. stop. Drowned in an unfortunate incident. The Marshes. stop. Body not recovered. stop. My condolences. stop. Master Phillip. stop. Agent. stop.’

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Hope you enjoyed that! 🙂

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