The village centre clustered around a large green, formed in the shape of a triangle. In the centre mushroomed a large oak tree, its canopy almost as broad as the green. A stone-built church, the vicarage, and its graveyard dominated one side of the green. A Smithy, a convenience store, and Ye Olde inn with its stables ranged along a second side of the triangle. Mr Styles, the owner of The Stables, lived in a stately town house that shared the third length with administration buildings.
Penelope passed Ye Olde Inn. She advanced slowly; her features smooth and expressionless, headed for the church.
The church was small and practical. Above the entrance porch, painted in large flowery text, was the church’s name: All Saints. It contained a railed off sanctuary at the head with stained-glass windows. Within was the altar, tabernacle, raised pulpit, and a chair for the vicar. Maggot-eaten oak pews filled the church’s body with room for three hundred people. Organ and choir occupied a small loft at the back. The church smelled of candle wax and incense.
A group of devout members gathered for the evening service, and when the steeple clock chimed eight, the meeting began. Theirs was a tiny, tight-minded group. They asserted they alone obeyed the scriptural doctrines full out. On the day of judgement, God would save them alone. All other denominations, part-time worshippers, unbelievers, and those who practised homosexual behaviour or sex out of marriage would rot in hell.
Vicar Bitter conducted the service, a bulbous man who loved to preach doom and gloom. He was a tall, heavy-boned man, with a vacant look on his leathery face.
One after another, the members rose to receive the body and blood of Jesus at the Holy Communion. They were a gaunt and plainly dressed lot, rather elderly and complacent. The most honoured among them was Penelope.
To be continued…
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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What I like about these books is that the film versions are such accurate copies. They complement each other. Once having seen the film, all the characters and locations are burnt into your memory. When you read the book, you see the film in your mind. When you watch the film, all the extra details from the book fit snuggly into place. Marvellous stuff!
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