The Legend of Brising's Farm: by D S Nelson
When you read this the moon will be full and I will be dead. This letter, I hope, will save your life.
Who could have known I would predict my own death, but I can feel it coming. A marauding fox in the shadows of the hedgerow, hiding behind the wooden bus shelter, clanging dustbins in the dead of night, death is coming for me. When it arrives, it will sooth my weary bones and my whole body will sigh as the air leaves my lungs.
The weight of Brising’s has been on my shoulders for many years now. The farm has been in our family for centuries and now it is yours. What you own now I would not sell at any price.
Do you remember the story so often told to you as a child? The Necklace of the Brisings? Let me remind you. Freyja, the goddess of love and war, longed for gold. She crossed many obstacles until at last she found the finest jewellery forged by dwarves. They had fashioned a necklace so beautiful that she was willing to trade anything for it and the price was high.
It is thought that the necklace now lies in one of our fields, but I’ve never found it. I’ve worked this land for fifty years and never found it. My gold is the crops of wheat and barley the earth yields.
As in all the old Norse myths the necklace still instils jealousy and greed in all who hear its tale. Some people need hope however. Hope that a rumour is true; that the answer to all their problems is beneath their feet.
The ditches to the west of the farm have become deeper and at night I hear noises; the clink of metal against the stony soil. In the distance a light, a bobbing ship in the mist. I have tried to discover the source but I’ve never reached the source before it is gone.
I have thought long and hard about the night visitors. A life spent in the same village creates strong bonds and irreplaceable friends, but also crafts old grudges running deep, never rescinded. The legend of the necklace continues to keep good men at war in petty land disputes.
Neighbouring farmers have often made offers for our land. Do you remember Mr Alford? We have sat and shared a meal. He watched you grow up as I did his children. Alford knew of the legend of course, but said he didn’t believe it, just wanted to expand his pig farm. The waft of slurry across the hedges; the land turned to mud - even without the necklace to obfuscate a sale, the village didn’t need more slurry.
Gunther Partridge was none too friendly either. He resented our family’s presence in the village. He would relish the chance to tell me so after a session in the Royal Oak. Why this hatred existed, I’ll never know; my mother wouldn’t say.
Then there was Dagna. How was I to know she cared for me? I thought her chicken farm was her life. After all, I could never replace your mother. I had no intention of marrying again. I did not mean to slight her or to take her for granted; I just assumed she knew there would never be another like your mother.
So Delilah, there are many that may have reason enough to kill me but all have one thing in common - the necklace. It is surely this that has resulted in my demise. If you want to keep your life, you will have to find the necklace before the night diggers.
And now, the burden of Brisings falls to you. I am sorry to have left you in such danger. This letter is all I can do. Sunrise is 06:05 tomorrow, so you must keep yourself safe until then.
My love as always
Delilah looked at her watch; it was nine pm. Ten hours! Her hand shook as she took a sip from the brandy glass. Just half an hour ago she’d stood in the rain watching the ambulance disappear with her father’s body. The blue lights had an eerie glow in the twilight, strobing off road signs and puddles. She had known he was dead, there was no point going with him. She’d been a nurse for too long to have hope.
The paramedics had handed her a few of her father’s possessions, they’d found strewn across the pavement. Among them was the letter. Now sat in the pub, she read it again and tried to absorb its information.
A large brandy sat on the table in front of her. Pete, the local bobby and childhood friend, had wanted an officer to stay with her, but she insisted she was ok. He knew where she was staying and to her that was enough. But she was in shock and she knew it.
She watched the second hand on the clock in the pub, moving relentlessly forward. The gentle ticking seemed louder than it had before. She checked her watch against the clock. Both confirmed nine o’ clock. The darkness outside was barely visible against the bright lights of the pub.
She rarely visited her father these days, preferring the noise of city life to the peace of the farm. If she did she always stayed in the local pub; she liked to be around people. That evening she’d waited patiently in the pub for him to join her for dinner, her treat. Her father normally insisted on eating meals at the farm. Eating out was a luxury he rarely allowed himself.
When Pete had rung her mobile she hadn’t believed him, she’d had to go and see for herself. Her father’s body wasn’t more than a hundred yards up the road from the pub. The whole thing was surreal. How had he predicted his own death?
She rolled the brandy glass in her hand. There was no way she was going to sleep tonight, how could she? Somewhere out there, waiting in the shadows someone was waiting for her; waiting for her to leave her sanctuary. Taking another sip from the glass she looked back at the letter,’ you must keep yourself safe until then.’
Remembering the childhood her father had written of, she thought of her school. She remembered learning about Norse legends. How they explained human nature and the mysteries of the world as they presented themselves to the early Norse settlers. An enthusiastic history teacher had taken them on a trip through the village, pointing out the fields where great battles had been fought and of course the legend of the necklace beneath the furrows of Brisings farm.
All her life, in some way or another, the legend had hung over her. She’d always thought of the village as stuck in time and the main reason she had left was the antiquated life style and the superstition that lived here. Now she knew her father had felt this too.
In a trance she sat watching the clock, willing the hands forward. She pushed her fingers into her temples, trying to think straight. This was too much to take in. How could she just sit here? She had to do something. She couldn’t just wait whilst the ten hours ticked down, like a terrified schoolgirl. How did he know someone would kill him? How did he know someone would kill her?
She was a city girl now, why on earth would she go traipsing about a field in search of some legend. Why did she believe this mumbo jumbo? It was true she had often asked her father to tell her the story, but it was just that, a story.
She shivered and finished the brandy. A waitress removed her glass; smiling sympathetically, she offered her a refill. Everyone in the village had known her father. The wind howled in the pub’s old chimney, resonating around the inglenook as the second brandy appeared in front of her.
The police, that’s what she had to do. She’d take the letter to the Pete. He’d said he was going back to the police station in the village and he’d know what to do. She knew these roads like the back of her hand; she’d grown up here. It wouldn’t take her long to get to the police station; it was just the other side of the village.
She gathered her coat from the back of the chair and pulled it on. Stuffing the letter into her pocket, she left the light of the pub. There was no way she was waiting ten hours.
Her feet were cold in her wellington boots. She should have worn thicker socks, she thought. The gravel outside the pub crunched as she made her way back to the main road. Her hood refused to stay up in the wind so she pulled her collar closer against the rain. The trees bent low to greet her as she pushed forward into the night.
Starting up the main road in the opposite direction to where her father had lain, she looked back at the pub lights glowing reassuringly. It was only a narrow footpath beside the road, but there were very few cars this way, since the new bypass had been built. A bus came about once an hour, but she had no need for it. The walk to the police station wasn’t far: ten minutes.
She laughed at the thought of herself cowering in the pub. Her father had always been a little melodramatic. She pulled her coat tighter against the weather. Never mind ten hours; ten minutes and this would all be sorted out. Tears began to roll down her face as the shock finally hit her.
The safe bright lights of the police station beckoned her forward. So immersed was she in thoughts of her father and the letter, Delilah didn’t notice the shadow appear from the bowels of the bus stop behind her. She did not notice the hands as they clutched their weapon and raised themselves above her. She did not notice the flash of metal in the moonlight. But she felt the warmth of the blood as it soaked her jumper and the overwhelming dizziness as she crashed forward into the road.
The darkness crept up on her slowly, and the glow of the police station faded before her. The smell of slurry and the sound of footsteps, splashing in puddles, invaded her dying senses. She felt the cold grip her, as she lay in the rain, unable to scream. Ten seconds was all it had taken. All that was left – a legend, a letter and the full moon.
©D S Nelson All Rights Reserved