The Matthew Chance Legacy

Preface

 

Monday 10th April 2006.  Rushworth Moor, Lancashire

 

Naomi checked her mirror and then pulled over to where she’d stopped on her first visit. She took out her binoculars, walked across the lane to the dry-stone wall, and looked down Lark Hill. She put the binoculars up to her eyes and tried to see if she could spot the remains of any digging near the side of the lake.

For several seconds she scanned the area, looking for signs of latent activity, and then every hair on her body stood on end.

The same gaunt looking figure that she’d glimpsed before stepped out of the trees at the bottom of the hill and looked right back at her through another pair of binoculars.

Her first instinct was to drop hers and to look the other way, but she was made of much sterner stuff; she kept them trained on him and waved. The man, whom she presumed to be the sinister and creepy Les Spooner, didn’t respond, but kept on looking.

Naomi tried waving again but still drew no response.

The Chance family throughout history had been known as the ‘Iron Chances’ because of their inherent resolve and tenacity, and some of that kicked in. She knew that she had permission to be on the site, and ignoring the voice in her head that kept repeating ‘No, don’t…’ she walked back to her vehicle, put the binoculars inside, and locked it, with a steadfast determination to climb over the wall and confront the gamekeeper.

She turned to cross the lane and her heart leapt into her mouth.

Spooner was standing behind the wall that she had seconds earlier been leaning on.

The shock of his appearance was so great that she jumped back, yelped “Jesus Christ!”, and banged into the side of her car. There appeared to be no way that he could have got to the wall in such a short time.

As her heart rate slowed she stared at his fearsome appearance. He was wearing a long black coat and wide-brimmed hat, his skin was thin and pallid, and appeared to be stretched over his bony face and hands. His dark, sunken eyes looked weird, more like an animal than human, and he looked as though he had been dragged out of a Victorian mausoleum.

In a raspy, hollow sounding voice Spooner said, “Don’t you ever step onto this land again, or I’ll shoot you where you stand…”