Chapter 8

Ziggy sat in Jack's sitting room in a gloomy silence.

“Alex? You want to go out and play in the garden for a while?” Jack asked his son.

“Has your brother upset you Ziggy?” Alex wasn't easily fooled, even though he was only seven.

“No sweetheart.” Ziggy smiled. “He can't upset me when I've got two fantastic men looking after me!”

“You bet.” Alex said seriously. “You should have kicked his head off, dad.” Off he went to play in the garden.

“My son is a hooligan.” Jack frowned at the door, before coming to kneel infront of Ziggy. “You OK? Had it a bit rough as a kid eh?”

“We all did.” Ziggy smiled sadly. “I told you my mother was nuts. Lavinia and Eric's dad wasn't much better. It's just as well she planted him six feet under.”

“What about your dad? You've mentioned him a few times, very fondly.”

“Well I can't despise him just because he was a doormat, can I?” Ziggy shrugged. “She trampled all over him Jack, broke him completely. Oh don't get me wrong, he didn't ignore the abuse that Alicia was dishing out, he just didn't know. I was too scared to tell him. I can't stand to think about the shit she must have lashed out at him. Don't ask me why he stayed, I honestly don't know.”

“Probably because he loved you, Ziggy.” Jack said. “Single dads are only a recent thing. I know I had the children's services in everything after Lynne died, in a good and supportive way. They wouldn't have involved themselves at all if I was his mum, instead of his dad.” He smiled at Ziggy. “I don't blame you for resenting Eric either. He's obviously one hundred per cent pro Lavinia, and one hundred percent anti Ziggy.”

“He is, yes. I can't deny that he did protect me from a few beatings, but when it came to the crunch, I was still only a half sister and he never let me forget it. He's dished out a few hidings himself until I was too strong for him to do that.” Ziggy said miserably. “What's going on, Jack? They killed Bernard Pallister. You do understand that, don't you?”

“Yes.” Jack nodded. “He was here examining Alex just before you did. You knew he was here didn't you?”

“Yes, of course. That's why I was outside.”

“He was absolutely fine while he was examining Alex at first. He saw the scar on his chest and that was that. Clammed up completely and couldn't wait to get out of the place.”

“The one he got falling off the sofa? Yes I saw it too when I was using the crystals.” Ziggy nodded.

“He said it was a marker.” Jack tried to recall what the doctor had actually said. “Like Alex had been reserved. Then he said he'd said to much, to see you, then he all but ran out. Now he's dead.”

“Marker?” Ziggy frowned. “Made by who?”

“Well no one. It was a scar left by an accident.”

“He told you that you needed to see me? He told me to clear off when he saw me outside. That's when he thought he was treating a little boy for nothing more than a bug. Right. I'm going to rip lumps out of Lavinia.” Ziggy stated flatly.

“Eh? Hellno you are not, you nutter.” Jack sat Ziggy back down. “So these weirdos in town mark people for some reason? They mistook Alex's scar for one of their markers, Ziggy. It's all a mistake! Oh come on! Who the hell marks kids?” Ziggy lifted her hair at the back and turned round. Jack winced and caught his breath when he saw an ugly red scar on the nape of Ziggy's neck. Then he almost fainted when he saw the shape of it. Two curves coming from a single point.

“Branding iron when I was eighteen months old. Three guesses.” Ziggy let go of her hair.

“Good god. I feel sick.” Jack said in sheer revulsion.

“So if mine's a marker, no one's come to lay claim to it.” Ziggy chewed her lip.

“Alex's is a scar!” Jack protested. “We lived fifty miles from here and hardly saw anyone from one week to the next. I think I'd have remembered if there was a freak with a branding iron lurking about.”

“I know. It doesn't make sense does it?” Ziggy scowled.

Book Index       The Pledge       Previous       Next

©Jack Frost & The Hooded Crow