The Cowley Avenue Apaches. Part Six.
It’s a week now since that afternoon up St Anne’s Hill, and we are once again round Wadies house. We start talking about what happened last week, .and Johnny started to say what else he had found in the old book
“It has a lot of stories about Chertsey, and there are haunted places everywhere, not just St Anne’s Hill, the top field for instance where the big Mulberry tree is, really is very haunted”.
I started to think Johnny was making all this stuff up, but then he went home and brought back the book. It was a mess with no cover and lots of pages were partly burnt. He said that the Town Hall Library had been clearing out the shelves, and the book was about to be thrown out and that he could keep it. The library lady told him that a lot of books where burnt many years ago because they were about black magic. He started turning the pages and said.
“Look at this one, it’s about the Top field, where we were the other day”.
Then he read out the story of the Mulberry Tree. I must say that I always had a nice feeling about the Top field. We would sometimes go up and lay in the long grass just watching the clouds float by. But it was a very funny place to have such a fruit tree, right in the middle of a field, and why did no one ever eat the Mulberries. The bright red fruit would just fall and be eaten by animals, we were told as kids never to touch them.
Johnny carried on with the story, he said.
“The Mulberry tree is mentioned in the book, so that means it must be more than a hundred years old, and it says that the red fruit was the blood of a monk who is buried in the woods”.
In those few words, Johnny has ruined one of our favourite places to meet. I started to think of the pile of stones that is known as the Monks Grave just inside the woods, it is all starting to fit together, then he said.
“The Monk had fallen in love with a Nun, and they would meet under the Mulberry tree, but it was forbidden by the Church, and rather than commit a deadly sin the Nun threw herself down the well next to the tree. When he found her lifeless body in the well, he carried her over to the Mulberry tree and then, full of remorse he stabbed himself in the heart”.
We just sat there looking at each other when Mrs. Wade, who had been listening, came down and said.
“That place has always been haunted, the dogs won’t go anywhere near it or the old house along Thorpe Road, they call it ‘The haunted House’ for good reason, and no body picks the blackberries that grow on that old well, that’s why its covered over with barbed wire”.
What had started out as a nice day round Wadies house was now turning into a bad dream, and once again bringing out the Goose Pimple’s.