Esobel – Chapter one

 A sneak peek from my next book (The Evening Wolf – Chapter 5) …

“Tis a blood moon,” John Barker observed loudly and rushed back inside the inn to tell his fellow drinkers. His cronies came out into the lane to see the strange spectacle for themselves. “Tis an evil moon tonight fer sure an’ nay good’ll come t’ pass,” John concluded. His friends nodded and mumbled their agreement before returning hastily to their drinks. Few wanted to stand beneath such an awesome but menacing event in the heavens; the sky seemed full of an enormous, red-coloured moon, the likes of which had not been seen by most of these men in their lifetimes. 

   “What’s John fussin’ about?” Robert asked one of them as he came back inside. Robert was sitting quietly in the corner, supping a pint of ale before going home. He was the local shoemaker and had a small workshop behind the inn, where he specialised in making riding boots. Robert’s boots were deemed to be the best in the county and fortunately, much sought after by the local gentry.

   “He’s talkin’ o’ that moon,” Ralph, the blacksmith replied. “Tis a worryin’ sight. Ah’ve never seen anythin’ like it before. Tis blood red all right.”

   It was a full moon tonight and with little cloud in the sky; a clear one. John, and his son, William, were going to take advantage of the good light and get their lambs to town to sell the following day. They would journey all night then sleep when they arrived, after finding a good pitch to set up in. But John changed his mind and would not travel any further than the inn this night.

   “Ah’ll nay go out ont’ road under this moon,” he told his son. “We’ll have ti’ sleep here ‘till mornin’.” William stared up at the sky. He did not understand what had happened to the bright, full moon that was there two hours earlier, when they stopped off at the inn to have some ale and pie before making their journey into town. William had never witnessed a lunar eclipse and knew nothing of them, but his father seemed to believe they were a bad omen and he was obliged to do as he was told.

   “Why is it an evil moon father?” William asked. Before answering, John ushered his son back into the inn, as if he could not speak outside for fear of being heard by some injurious force. Once safely inside, John’s group of friends surrounded them, eager to hear his pronouncements.

   “A blood moon brings death ti those weak an’ barely fightin’ fer life,” he proclaimed with some authority. “It sees dead bairns into t’ world or makes ‘em bad’ens, if they get born alive