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The Ghost and Mr Doyle

Chapter Text

Raymond Doyle's funeral was not a very large affair, but all the Jaxes were there, and the Vicar's wife (Mr Parker, of course, officiated), and the fire brigade, and the fishermen. Young Zadie Jax, her bandaged hands to her blotched face, cried inconsolably in Mrs Parker's arms all through the service. Mr Cowley stood near the back. Regina and Pamela Murphy felt they should have received more consideration, for it seemed no one wanted to hear their stories of Ray's dependence on their brother and on their own help. A paperback copy of Blood and Swash, with the new cover design, stood next to the coffin, and Ray's solicitor had already located and brought to the service the first four residents of the W. A. P. Bodie Home for Retired Sea Captains. The four grizzled men, one with a cane and another with a wooden leg, sat awkwardly together, looking at the stained glass and the book and the motley crowd. The youngest of the fire brigade members was talking in a low voice to Reginald Jax.

“I swear I saw it,” he said. “Two men, one Mr Ray and another one just as tall, but dark haired, looked like that picture on the book there. Hand in hand they were, walking out toward the Channel, through the buildings, looked like. In a blue mist.”

“I believe you,” Reg said, thinking of the voice he'd heard in the middle of his school day, as if Captain Bodie was standing right there beside his chair.

“Now, my Sunshine, we are together, as we were meant to be.”

Reg had known he was not the person to whom Bodie was speaking even before he heard Mr Ray's voice answering, “I feel so strange, so happy.”

“Come with me,” Bodie's voice said. “Now, my Ray, now I am ready for Heaven.”

So Reg felt no surprise when he was called to the telephone to hear the sad news; especially, he felt no surprise to hear that Mr Ray had saved Zadie. Reg knew Mr Ray was no small man, no weak one. Reg only wished Mr Ray had known how much his leadership had meant to Reg, to the others. But he supposed that, now, Mr Ray knew everything he needed.