Chapter Eight Unfinished business.
The following day Gareth and Jenny tried hard to get things as normal as possible in the riding school. Gareth as usual, turned the horses out and cleaned the stables which he found he completed in double quick time because Matthew insisted on helping. Gareth decided that this was nothing to be scared of, Matthew had not acted in an aggressive way and was obviously trying to help. He wouldn’t do anything if you were watching but, rather like Wayland the Smith, he would work when your back was turned.
Jenny on the other hand was nervous of the whole idea and had become jumpy and worried by every movement. She tried not to let on to the people who kept their horses there or the clients who arrived for their riding lessons, but it was obvious to everyone that something was wrong.
Once Jenny had left Havillands taking a group of older children with her for a hack, Gareth went to deal with Meredith his own horse. He found a contented and calm Meredith gleaming like a conker, Matthew had already decided to groom him. Gareth decided that he needed to contact Matthew,
“Thank you!” he shouted to thin air “Can you hear me?” then rather cornily “Is any body there?”
The phone rang in the office. Gareth went to answer it.
“Hello, Havillands Riding school and Livery.” he said.
“Hello? can you hear me?” came the faint and crackly reply.
“Yes,” Said Gareth, “Can I help you?”
“I think you can, can you help me with some unfinished business?” asked the faint voice on the phone.
“I don’t know,” said Gareth sounding confused ” It depends on what it is and anyway, who are you?”
“I’m Matthew,” said the voice.
Gareth dropped the receiver in surprise. He hastily picked it up, and listened hard to the faint voice on he end of the line, he scrabbled around and found a pen, he made a series of notes. He put the phone down. He knew now what had to be done.
Jenny reluctantly came back to Havillands with the ride an hour later. Once the children had departed Gareth grabbed her arm and pulled her into a nearby empty loose box to talk privately.
“I spoke to Matthew” he whispered.
Jenny went white “What do you mean spoke?” she said.
“Well he rang you on the phone to tell you that he was helping you that time he cleaned all the tack, he rang me to speak to me.”
“Can ghosts do that?”
“Well, unless this is some gigantic wind up thought up by a disgruntled customer, yes they can. The thing is, Matthew is stuck.” announced Gareth.
“Stuck, here on earth, there is a bit of unfinished business which, if we sort it out, will allow Matthew to continue on to the next life.”
“Well what ever it is” said Jenny “Let’s do it quickly and get rid of him, this is doing my nerves no good at all.”
“Aww, don’t be like that Jen,” said Gareth disapprovingly, “Matthew has been nothing but helpful, look at all the work he has done for you, and... he really likes you!”
The sound of slamming doors and running feet made it clear to Gareth that Jenny wasn’t in any mood to discuss it further.
“Sorry Matt,” Gareth said to thin air, “I don’t think you are her type!”
Gareth didn’t try to speak to Jenny for the rest of the day, he let Matthew be his usual charming, helpful self which drove Jenny mad. Every time she put anything down and took her eyes of it for a moment, Matthew whisked it away and tidied up. Soon every bridle was hung on a peg, all the saddles were clean, the grooming kits had been sorted and the sand school had been raked smooth in the two minute gap between lessons.
Eventually Jenny cracked under gentle, thoughtful, and considerate pressure.
‘ALRIGHT!” she yelled to no one in particular, once she had discovered that the show jumps had all been arranged by type and colour in the shed. “What do you want me to do?”
A piece of paper fluttered down from the rafters, Jenny caught it and read the copperplate writing
Jenny went and found Gareth who was engaged in his favourite chore, organising the muck heap, this was actually quite a good job on a cold day because although it was smelly, it was also warm.
“What is this unfinished business then?” snapped Jenny.
“Has Matthew changed your mind?” said Gareth cheerily
“Stop being irritating and just tell me. I can’t stand having this dead bloke invisibly floating around. I don’t like the idea that he is looking at me and I can’t see him, it gives me the creeps.”
“Go and saddle some horses” said Gareth, I need to show you something on the other side of the estate.
Ten minutes later Gareth and Jenny were riding over the Havillands paddocks towards the far side of the grounds. Gareth was riding Meredith who was in top form and doing his best Welsh Cob trot, Jenny had Sailor a grey thoroughbred who was in need of exercise.
“Where are we going?” asked Jenny, glad to be free of the stables and Matthew’s invisible helping hands.
“We have to examine a hedge on the borders of Havillands and Mr Greenwood’s land.” replied Gareth.