Resistance: a short story
“At this time the king began to be haunted with sprites by the magic and curious arts of Lady Margaret, who raised up the ghost of Richard Duke of York (second son to King Edward the fourth) to walk and vex the king” – Francis Bacon, The History of the Reign of Henry VII
Robert Poxwell turned in his bed. Or at least we may imagine him turning in his imagined bed, unwilling to rise but unable to sleep.
That surname, Poxwell, tells us that his people came from the West Country. On this particular night, however, he was not in the West Country. He was on the north coast of Norfolk. Under the sea to the north of him — or in front of him, rather, when he turned onto his left side, hoping to find rest there that he could not find on the right — lay that hard long spine of submerged land, still larded in its watery exile with the remnants of human business, that used to connect East Anglia with Denmark. And above that vanished causeway sailed the king’s ships, similarly sleepless, keeping watch against an invasion fleet.
Or at any rate, Parson Poxwell believed that the king’s ships were keeping watch against an invasion fleet. That, after all, was what James Hubbard had told him, or at least implied. And it wouldn’t be like Mr Hubbard to be ill-informed, would it?