The Immortal Countess – Chapter 3 – Scene Three

Tomas was startled by the persistent knocking on his door. He put on another coat to face the blast of icy air he knew would come when he opened his door.“Who is it?”, he called.“It’s Martin! We need to hurry.”Tomas opened the door, still pulling his coat on. “What is it?”“We’re going to search by the river. Bring some picks.”“I don’t like the sound of this.” Tomas said. “Not just us, I hope.”“No.”, Martin assured him. “The Constable and Kristof are helping.”“Alright. Four picks, then.”, Tomas confirmed.He came out of the house and, closing the door, Tomas went round to a lean-to on the side of his house and withdrew four picks from inside a cabinet. Two of them he handed to Martin.“Watch that one with the red handle.”, Tomas cautioned. “The head might come loose if you’re not careful.”“Alright, thanks.”, Martin replied as he started to lead the way.“So, what news do we have?”, Tomas asked.“Can’t talk about it.”, Martin answered.“What? How can you not talk about it, Martin?“I just can’t. And if you’re smart, you’ll leave it at that.”“Well, I might leave it at that, but you know others won’t, Martin. People in this town are already half mad and half grieving. How do you know to search by the river?”“Look, Tomas. I can’t talk about it, don’t you understand? It’s something that I’m forbidden to talk about.”“Oh, like confessional, right?” Tomas asked.“Yes. Exactly like a confession.” Martin answered.They walked on a few minutes in silence.“The Constable and Kristof are meeting us at the river, are they?, Tomas asked.“Yes, Tomas.” Martin answered.“Do they know about the thing you can’t talk about?”, Tomas pressed.“No. They only know the same thing I told you.”“You mean they didn’t want to know about the thing?”“I’m sure they did, Tomas. But they knew better than to ask.”“Oh.”, he replied.As they neared the frozen river, Constable Melles and Kristof stood at the bank. They stood out easily against a backdrop of white.The Constable called out. “Hey Deacon. Thanks for getting Tomas. Those picks of his will be a great help.”“Closing down the tavern today, Kristof?”, Tomas said when they got closer.“Maybe.”, Kristof answered. “We’ll see how long we’re out here and if we find… if we find anything.”“But we checked down here at the river almost three weeks ago. We didn’t find anything then.”, Tomas said.“We didn’t know to check under the ice three weeks ago.”, the Constable replied as he grabbed a pick from Tomas.“Under the ice?”, Tomas questioned. But the river’s been frozen over since before… well, since before. Why are we checking under the ice?”The Constable visibly started to lose his patience and Martin placed a hand on the big man’s shoulder to help him stay calm.“Tomas”, Martin began. “Please just check the ice where we tell you and stop asking so many questions.”“Okay.”, he agreed.Within an hour, they found what they had almost hoped they wouldn’t. It was Kristof that found it. Removing a chunk of ice revealed a child’s hand protruding from below. All four men stood still and quiet, as if not saying anything could somehow keep it from becoming real. Constable Melles was the first to break the silence.“Alright, men. This is what we thought we might find, even though it was the last thing we hoped for. Let’s get the rest of this ice out of the way so we can see what we have here.”

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