The Cup Bearer

by DJ

Chapter 72

Front page of The Trentham Chronicle Friday 27 th December. 1995

MAN FOUND MURDERED IN VISICK STREET HOUSE

Police are investigating the murder of a man in a house in Visick Street, Trentham. The victim suffered a fatal blow to the neck from a Japanese short sword, and bled to death. His alleged assailant, his sixteen-year old stepson and owner of the house, was found lying in the ground floor hall, deeply shocked and suffering from severe bruising, a fractured skull and covered in the victim's blood. The police were alerted by a friend of the assailant who had come to the house with his father in the early hours of this morning. On being asked why they had gone to the Visick Street house, the youth said his friend had phoned him for help. Both the youth and his father are said to be suffering from shock at the discovery. The police are not searching for anyone else in connection with the incident at this point in time.


Thursday 2nd January 1996. The Rosscroft Clinic. Cheshire.

Manuel sat by his son's bed and gazed at his heavily bandaged head, wondering if all the surgery he'd undergone to rectify the damage from Guido's brutal attack had been for nothing. The signals on the monitor, connected by wires and tubes to Gypsy's body, were the only indication that he was alive at all. Seven days had gone by and the doctors had indicated that his son's coma was deepening to a level where recovery was considered unlikely. Arrangements had been made to move him from Trentham General to the Northern Rosscroft and placed in the expert hands of Rosscroft Junior and Monclare. But even they were mystified as to why the coma should take such a hold. The operation to remove a blood clot from his brain had been successful, and his other injuries were serious but not life threatening. He should have woken up long before this.

Manuel felt devastation fill him; his beautiful son was going to be taken from him, just when they were becoming great friends, and all because of that monster Guido Gomez and only The Good Lord knew, who else. The MacCaffrey family had expressed their shock at the news and had told the police that Gypsy had been taken ill on Christmas Day and had left Northwood Hall early on Boxing Day morning without even saying good-bye; none of the staff had seen him leave. Knowing there was no public transport that day, the MacCaffreys and their guests had searched in the direction of West Houghton where the O'Rileys lived, assuming he would try to hitch-hike to his grandparents' farm. It never crossed their minds that he would head for home.

Manuel blamed himself for being in Spain on an important engagement at the time. If he hadn't, this would never have happened because he had intended to accompany Gypsy to Northwood in place of Shana; giving his talents free of charge as a thank you to MacCaffrey for showing such interest in his son's first steps to becoming an entertainer. But why should Guido suddenly turn up at Visick Street at this very moment, when the police were convinced he had fled the country on board a friendly ship? There were questions about this whole episode that needed to be addressed; questions which would never be answered unless his son came out of the coma. Even if he did recover, the doctors had warned Manuel to expect a certain amount of brain damage involving speech and sight, if only temporarily. Also the shock Gypsy had suffered would probably have caused a loss of memory and they would never know what really happened. Manuel dropped his head into his trembling hands as the tears finally flowed, and he prayed as he had never prayed before.

Everything that could be done, to draw Gypsy from the coma, had been done. Sandy had brought a keyboard into the room and spent most of his school holiday playing Gypsy's favourite pieces, including Schuman's 'Traumerei', Chopin's 'Berceuse in D flat major Opus 57' and a piece Gypsy had fallen in love with and had developed a skating routine to, Beethoven's 'Charisima'. When Sandy couldn't be there, Manuel had also brought his own guitar in and played Spanish music for hours. Manuel also played the tapes 'Different Hats' had recorded. They weren't to Manuel's taste but anything was better than the silence. At least two of the family visited every day to sit and talk to Gypsy, all except Jose who had refused to have anything to do with his father's killer. But it was Manuel who bore most of the vigil on his own. He stayed at Gypsy's bedside for most of the day and night, catching a couple of hours sleep on the spare bed in Gypsy's room, when someone else took over. As Gypsy's father, Manuel felt no resentment at this arrangement; it was his right and his duty to do this. He just hoped Shana would come home from the States soon.

* *

{{"Gypsy?"}}

"Who are you?"

{{"I am your Lord and Saviour."}}

"You came to me, you called me that hateful name, and you hurt me."

{{"It was not I who came to you, Gypsy. Would I call you by that name? He is one of my fallen children who no longer acknowledges Me as Lord. I told you, you had to suffer for these people so they can be brought into the Light. I have come to comfort you and uphold you in your hour of need. Do you hear the music? Is it not beautiful, so soothing? Do you remember playing these wonderful pieces with your friend? Wake up, My child, and you can play them again."}}

"No."

"Why not?"

"Safe here; no one can hurt me here."

"Where are you?"

"Somewhere warm and dark."

"Describe it to me, Gypsy."

"So tired."

"Describe it to Me."

"Small, warm, dark, and moist. No one else can get in here, just me."

"Like a womb?}

"Mama's womb?"

"You ought to know, My child, you lived there for nine months."

"Don't know, want to sleep, so tired."

Gypsy, I command you, do not go to sleep. If you do you will never wake up again."

"They said I can go sleep, they want me to sleep."

"You must not listen to them, they mean you harm. They serve another master and they do not want you to reveal who they are. When the time is right you will do that. It is the burden I asked you to carry but you have a long way to go yet. They want you to stay here in the darkness, they want you to die, but if you do, all with be lost. There are many hurting souls waiting to hear about Me, even from your own lips, including those who are against you. There are so many children who have suffered as you have and they are crying out to me. You are the one who will be My servant in this. You are the one who will carry my cup of salvation for the sinners, and justice for the abused. Sleep now and you will let children like you down. You must fight this darkness, My child."

"Can't, don't want to anymore, my head hurts."

"Trust Me, Gypsy. I will not let you fall. I say again, it is My command that you do not go to sleep."

The nurses came in to wash and turn his son, and they brought the head of the bed up and propped him up on pillows, treating him with the utmost gentleness but talking to him as they worked, as if he was awake and able to react to them. Manuel looked at his watch. It was nearly ten o'clock and time for Shana to arrive. She had arrived home two days ago and each time she came, she left in tears and had begun to look tired and careworn, but she also felt it was her right and her duty to be with Gypsy. Mrs. Cole had taken the Gomez family into her home and had invited Shana to stay there too, and she was sharing the family responsibilities with Perquita and Barry. Meanwhile, the Visick Street house remained off limits till after the trial, which was inevitable if Gypsy ever recovered. Only Barry had been allowed access to the house, accompanied at all times by a police officer, to remove clothes and necessary items. Manuel doubted the Gomez family would want to stay in Visick Street now, and he had already asked Edward to apply to the Court of Protection on his behalf, in case he had to sell the house once the police released it. There was always some morbid thrill seeker willing to buy a 'scene of crime' house.

* * *

"My precious Ganymede, are you listening to me? Why don't you give up? Let go, and save yourself more suffering. No one wants you. You will only cause many people a lot of trouble. You killed your stepfather and the law says you must be put on trial and punished for what you did. You will go to prison for a long, long time. Think what happens to pretty boys like you in prison. Do you want that to happen to you? If you hide away in your little hole, you won't have to go through all that, will you? I t is time to hide away, precious Ganymede. Don't listen to these people, who play music and talk to you, they don't know you like we do. Come to me, Ganymede ... Come to me….."


Sandy had been thinking hard about Gypsy. He'd been to church and told Pastor Hooson about his worsening condition and they had prayed together. During the morning service the Pastor had asked the whole church to pray for Gypsy, and to keep him in their hearts. In fairness to Pastor Hooson, he and two of the elders had gone straight away to the Rosscroft. They had prayed over Gypsy, and had anointed him with holy oil, and offered Manuel what comfort they could. Meanwhile Sandy had prayed that God would help him find the answer to a question that had been niggling at him for days. He certainly didn't believe his mate was going to die; if there were way to help his dearest friend, he'd find it. After two days of hard prayer, it slowly dawned on him what he had to do. It wouldn't be the first time he'd bullied the grownups into to doing something, would it?

He persuaded his dad to drive him to the clinic and he marched into Gypsy's room. Instead of going straight to the keyboard as he usually did, he tapped Manuel on the shoulder. Shana was there too, sitting on the other side of the bed and holding Gypsy's hand. Sandy wiggled his fingers at her. Manuel stood up, thinking Sandy wanted to sit down in his chair. Sandy beckoned him away from the bed and led him out into the corridor beyond.

"I've been thinkin'. It was Don Clooney who discovered Gypsy was 'ypnotised. Gypsy never said 'ow, and I'm wonderin' if Gypsy's been got at again?"

"Surely not," Manuel replied. "Horace Jones would have said something. I believe it was Horace who brought him out of the hypnosis, and he's been in here talking to Gypsy every day."

"Has he now?" Sandy looked round to make sure no one was in earshot, and lowered his voice. "What if 'Orace didn't do what 'e said 'e did; I 'eard the doctors tellin' you the other day that they couldn't understand why Gypsy wasn't comin' out of the coma; think about it. Manuel."

Manuel rewarded him with a tired smile. "You and your 'mother hen' mentality; I think you have an overactive imagination."

"Please, Manuel, get in touch with Don and ask 'im 'ow 'e did it, and you try it. Only don't go askin' Adams or Horace about it, 'cos if I'm right, they won't tell you anythin' and they'll destroy any evidence they might 'ave stashed away. Gypsy told me they made tapes and stuff, isn'it?"

"No one knows where Don is."

"I do." Sandy gave him a crafty wink. He reached inside his parka and pulled out a birthday card. "This is the card Don sent Gypsy last October. Take a look inside."

Manuel took the card and opened it. "How did you get hold of this?"

"I asked Barry to get it from the Visick Street 'ouse." Pointing to the number written on the bottom left hand corner, he said, "That's Don's US zip code."

"How do you know this?"

"Gypsy showed me the card, and I just guessed."

Manuel rubbed his chin, thinking the matter over, but Sandy was too impatient to wait for his reply. "Come on, man. Gypsy's goin' to die unless we do something. If you won't, I will."

"What made you think of this crazy idea?"

"It's not crazy. I remember seein' somethin' on TV some time ago. It was a documentary about 'ypnosis and the dangers of amateurs dabblin' in it. One of the persons interviewed was a man who stayed under for more than three weeks because it all went wrong; even the experts 'ad a job bringin' 'im round and 'e spent the next two years in a mental 'ospital."

Again, Manuel rubbed his chin, and paced about before saying. "Okay, Sandy, leave this with me. You go and keep Shana company; Gypsy's not the only who loves to hear you play."

Sandy watched Manuel stride purposely down the corridor, and with a sigh of relief, he went back into the ward, this time walking towards the keyboard. "Right Mate, what would you like today; a bit of Liszt or a touch of the Jools Holland?"

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