(Note 2 – I split this chapter in half to make for shorter reading. This is the first half)
I was doing my usual after-work walk on Monday and had just entered the “down town” part of the village when I noticed Galvin. From where he was I figured he had just left Maude’s and was heading towards home, away from me. That was fine, I didn’t want to talk to him. He stopped, and then quickly crossed the road. There isn’t much of a sidewalk on that side, so he half jogged until he could pass behind the town hall. At first I was a little confused, but then I saw Izle walking towards me. I’m sure Galvin saw her and didn’t want to talk to her.
In my mind, I sometimes thought of Izle as a female Galvin or Galvin as a male Izle. Of course, that wasn’t fair to either of them. They were close to the same age, with Galvin maybe 65 and and Izle was perhaps in her early 70s. But it was more that they were both considered the town eccentrics, if for very different reasons, that made me think of them together.
I can clearly remember the first time I met Izle, though I didn’t know her name for a few more years after that encounter. I was walking in the village and came across her staring at the town hall. She had an odd smile, a mix of serenity and the ecstatic, almost rapture. I was about to pass behind her when she turned to me and spoke.
“Isn’t it just beautiful?”
I looked up at the town hall, one of the symbols of Amesbury, and said, “Yes.”
She turned back to the building but was still talking to me. “I always love to watch them, don’t you? It fills my heart with joy.”
I searched the town hall to try to find the “they” she was talking about. I didn’t see anything, no birds or squirrels or anything else.
“Oh, they’re leaving now. But at least we had this little peek, right? Anytime I see the angles I know that things are right with the world.”
She looked back at me and continued to smile serenely.
“Uh, yeah, uhm, I feel the same, of course. About angles and all. Got to go. Talk to you later.”
The problem with Izle, at least for me, is that I never knew what type of conversation I would have. I didn’t see her often, but when I did, she might just say hi, talk about the weather, she might talk very rationally about current topics, or she might go off into some bizarre spiritual rant.
I half laughed. I had been talking to and about ghosts for several days, so who was I to call other people’s opinions about the spiritual “bizarre”?
“Hi, Izle,” I said as I drew near.
“You aren’t going to be going into the Old Mill today, are you?” she asked.
“I wasn’t planning on it.”
“Stay out of it. That woman is trying to bring back Thomas. I can feel his presence in town and have been able to since she started to mess with the Mill in October. But it’s worse now. All of the spirits in town are disturbed. I’ve seen them everywhere and they are bewildered. That’s not the worst of it. The angels are gone. The angels have deserted us.”
“Are we in for bad times, then?” I asked.
She nodded. “Of course. Good people might be able to change it. The innocent. The murdered innocent need our help, but without the angles…”
She lowered her head and rushed past me. I wasn’t sure, but I thought she was in tears.
I watched her retreating back. She always spoke in weird riddles, but for once I almost knew what she was talking about. Was I going insane?