Gateway Cottage: Fimble Road Place Post 14
The Gateway Cottage is first mentioned in The Kissing Ring, but it’s first visited in Pisky Business, when Keeley Marsh, Linda’s old dance teacher, encounters Linda and Jory at a school reunion and expresses a desire to talk to them.
“I’ll meet you at the gateway cottage.”
“The gateway cottage. It’s on a small drive off the corner of Fimble Road. There’s a stand of trees there.”
Jory is suspicious, but…
[Linda] followed the blue Toyota out of town and along Fimble Road where it slowed, indicated and pulled into a narrow, rutted track. “Some driveway.”
“If this was a movie, it would be the prelude to a slash-fest. Are you sure you want to do this?” Jory muttered.
“She was my interpretive dance teacher. Ever heard of a homicidal dance teacher?”
The Toyota bounced along for another five minutes then slid up under a giant spreading tree and halted. Its lights dimmed, and a shadowy elongated figure got out.
Linda pulled in beside it and cut the engine.
[Jory said,] “I don’t see any cottage.”
Neither did Linda.
Mrs Marsh loomed out of the dark. “Just along here and down the slope. You might want to hold hands.”
Jory grabbed her hand before she could offer it. The dim outline of a cottage shifted into view at the bottom of the surprisingly steep slope, and Mrs Marsh stepped up to open the door. Welcoming light streamed out, and she caught Linda’s free hand and brought them into the cottage.
The cottage turns out to be cosy but rustic.
It was like stepping back in time. The cottage was warmed by a low fire and full of golden light from old-fashioned lanterns. An iron trivet stood in the fireplace, and Mrs Marsh swivelled it and set a kettle in place. She brought a jug of milk from the larder, and set out a dark fruit cake, flour-dusted scones and a dish of blackberry jam and one of thick cream.
It might all be a bit too good to be true, and in a way, it is. Keeley Marsh has a lot to say, most of which Linda doesn’t at all wish to hear, and eventually she says she has to go, but invites them back the next day to meet someone else.
Linda and Jory prepare to leave, but the cottage has a secret.
Linda felt oddly disinclined to step out into the foggy night, but she followed Jory, and he closed the door behind them.
“Right, where’s the car?”
“Over that way and up the slope.” Linda’s unerring sense of direction had kicked in.
“What slope?” Jory asked as she slapped the door with her hand and located the keyhole. She let herself in by feel, reached across to unlock Jory’s door and stuck the key in the ignition.
Linda frowned and twisted the key again.
“I can have a look at it if you like.”
“Have you got a torch?”
“No. So that’s no use.”
“Do you have your phone?”
“Oh—yes.” She dug it out of her coat pocket, thumbed it on and groaned. “Dead. What’s that all about?”
“We’d better start walking,” Jory said.
It later devolves that there’s a perfectly good reason that the car and phone are kaput, and it ties in with the lack of mod cons in the cottage. It also has to do with the car not being quite where Jory and Linda expected… and with Keeley Marsh.
As Linda said, “Ever heard of a homicidal dance teacher?”
Keeley’s not homicidal but she not exactly a straight arrow either.
About the Blog
Sally is Sally Odgers; author, anthologist and reader. You can find you way into her maze of websites and blogs via the portal here.(Sally is me, by the way.)
The goal for 2017 was to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. 2017 is well behind us, but I ran out of year before running out of books. As of June 2018 I STILL hadn't run out of books, but many of those still to come are MIA by which I mean I don't have copies and remember little about them. There are more new books in the pipeline, and I'm certainly showcasing those, but in between times, I'm profiling some of my characters, places and objects. Thank you so much to everyone who's come along on this journey so far!