The Moonspinners

The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart

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Authors: Mary Stewart
had imagined nothing like this. No wonder Lambis had been afraid. No wonder Mark had tried to keep me out of it . . .
    I said hoarsely: ‘I suppose they’d left Mark for dead?’
    â€˜Yes. It was dark, you see, and they may not have wanted to go down the gully after him. It was a very steep place. If he was not then dead, he would be dead by morning.’
    â€˜Then – when the Englishman told them to “think it over”, he must have been meaning Colin? The other two ‘corpses’ being Mark, and the dead man?’
    â€˜It seems so.’
    â€˜So Colin must have been alive?’
    â€˜The last Mark heard of it, yes,’ said Lambis.
    A pause. I said, uncertainly: ‘They would come back, by daylight, for Mark.’
    â€˜Yes.’ A glance from those dark eyes. ‘This I guessed, even before I heard his story. When I went back to cover our tracks, I brushed the dust over them, and went down for the haversack, then I hid above, among the rocks, and waited. One came.’
    Again the breathless impact of that sparse style. ‘You saw him?’
    â€˜Yes. It was a man of perhaps forty, in Cretan dress. You have seen this dress?’
    â€˜Oh, yes.’
    â€˜He had a blue jacket, and dark-blue breeches, the loose kind. The jacket had some – what is the word for little balls of colour along the edge?’
    â€˜What? Oh – I suppose I’d call them bobbles, if you mean that fancy braided trimming with sort of tufts on, like a Victorian fringed table-cloth.’
    â€˜Bobbles.’ Lambis, I could see, had filed my thoughtless definition away for future reference. I hadn’t the heart to dissuade him. ‘He had red bobbles, and a soft black cap with a red scarf tied round, and hanging, the way the Cretans wear it. He was very dark of face, with a moustache, like most Cretans; but I shall know him again.’
    â€˜Do you think it was the murderer?’
    â€˜Yes. It was very nearly dark when the shooting happened, and Mark did not see faces, but he is certain that the man who did the shooting was in Cretan dress. Not the others.’
    â€˜What did he do when you saw him?’
    â€˜He looked about him, and went down into the gully, looking for Mark. He took a long time, as if he could not believe that he had gone. When he could find no body, he looked puzzled, and then anxious, and searched further, to see if perhaps Mark had crawled away, and died. He searched all the time below, in the gully, you understand. He did not think that Mark could have climbed up to the path. But when he looked for a long time without finding, then he came back to the path. He was very worried, I could see. He searched the path, then, but I think he saw nothing. After a time he went off, but not towards Agios Georgios. He went up there—’ a gesture vaguely north ‘—where is another village, high up. So we still do not know from where the murderers come.’
    â€˜No. I suppose you couldn’t—?’ I hesitated, picking my words. ‘I mean, if he was alone . . . ?’
    For the first time, Lambis smiled, a sour enough smile. ‘You think I should have attacked him? Of course. I do not have to tell you that I wait for the chance to force him to tell me the truth, and what they have done to Colin. But there is no chance. He is too far from me, and between us is the slope of open hillside. And he has his rifle, which he carries, so.’ A gesture, indicating a gun held at the ready. ‘He is too quick with his gun, that one. I have to let him go. If I take a risk, me, then Mark dies also.’
    â€˜Of course.’
    â€˜And because of Mark, who looks to be dying, I cannot follow this Cretan, to see where he goes . . .’ Suddenly he sat up, turning briskly towards me. ‘So now you understand? You see why I speak of danger, and why I do not dare to leave Mark, even to find where Colin

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