Thomas Radwinter, the main character in my Radwinter series, is doing a little genealogical research and exploring his maternal line, the Magick family. He finds an unexpected communication from the past:
It was actually tucked into the lining. It was only because it was old that the paper had gone a bit crackly and I could feel it, actually stitched inside the fabric. There was maybe a dozen sheets of very thin pale blue paper, covered in an elegant handwriting. It just started without any preamble… “We were three, me and Charlie Radwinter, and somehow we ended up with Harry Collins…” The three pals… Danny, Charlie and Harry…
“Good grief, Kylie, look at this…” and I began to read it out loud to her…
We were three, me and Charlie Radwinter, and somehow we ended up with Harry Collins… We’d joined up with a lot of other lads from Strand and Easthope, his family came from Bristol so he could have joined the Gloucesters, there was even a Bristol battalion.
I don’t think in another time or another place we would have had much or anything to do with him, for he was a rogue, and I don’t think either Charlie or I realised quite how much of a rogue. Oh we knew that he had been in an industrial school – not that we knew exactly what it was. We only learned much later why he had been sent there.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish I had never fallen in with him. My father John has always said, do no harm to any man, speak evil of no man, and be true to yourself; if I could, I would have done harm to Harry, if only I had known.
It is history now and all in the past and I will not rehearse the facts of it here; it is enough to say that in war bad things are done by good men. We were often hungry, always cold and if we could get an extra tin of beef or an extra pair of socks then most of us would not have cared how honestly they were come by.
It is true that Charlie and I went along with the ‘borrowing’ and ‘pinching’ at first but before long we had to admit that what we were doing was nothing less than thieving. Then Charlie bought one, a genuine blighty and he went home and I missed my mate. I said enough was enough and told Harry no more.
Whatever my good and my honest intentions there were reasons at that time which I cannot now recall and I continued to be drawn deeper and deeper into Harry’s web.
My beloved Grace and my family’s letters were a constant reminder to me of the path I should be following. My father Horatio and my dear mother Rosina were taken when I was but four years old and John Magick my cousin took me into his home even though he and Alize had eight children of their own and cousin Walter living with them. They became my parents and their children my brothers and sisters, but little Grace was the dearest of all to me, and I to her.
I will say no more except an officer was found dead and although there was death all around it was apparent that a hand of a different sort of evil had brought him down. Later, much later and I never knew all that happened I was found in a hospital with the name Harry W. Collins and his number. As well as my physical injuries I was suffering from extreme shell shock and although I claimed I was Daniel Horatio Magic I was told that a man with that name had been shipped home.
If you want to find out what happened next to Daniel Magick, Charlie Radwinter and Harry Collins, then here is a link to my novel: