“How did you know?” the police asked.
“Everything is cheap here. Look around. Cheap. But the paving stones are nice. Why? He would not have buried her in the bushes just in case someone dug the bushes up to plant roses or something. The paving stones were here to discourage anyone digging.” Then I took everyone up the stairs and showed them how the second wife died. I took the police into the drawing room and opened the piano lid to show them the missing wire. They rummaged through the steamer trunks and nodded.
“Son. You guessed right.”
“Where is he?”
“Yes. Where is he? Aren’t you going to arrest him?”
The Policeman smiled an ironic smile. “No. But in as way —- Justice has already been done Son.”
“How did he die?”
“Odd that. For some reason no one could figure out the man decided to take down the mirror in the drawing room. He was standing on a chair to take down the mirror. That is a damned heavy mirror. And as he balanced the mirror on the chair, well, the chair suddenly tilted over and he fell backwards and stuck the floor with the mirror landing right on top of him. The glass smashed and one of the jagged fragments of glass, like a dagger it was, by chance impaled his jugular. He bled to death. What makes it even worse was the small child was in the room and she kept on playing with her dollie oblivious to the carnage. The servants came and found the man dead, blood all over the place, blood spattering the child, and the child playing with her dollie. She was about four by then. Not infantile. But curiously bland about the whole thing. But then she was considered fey. Daft. Since her mother died she was not right in the head. She never learned to talk much above baby talk and one sentence.”
“Where is Mommy?”
“Yes. Actually. She is in an asylum now. But she is quite bland about it all. Like I said. She apparently stopped —- growing in the head you might say. She is still mentally only about two years old. Always will be. As long as she has her dollie she is perfectly happy.”
The police left with all of the grisly evidence and Mary and I and the kids sat on the bottom step of the stairs. “Is it over?”Mary asked.
“No” I said.
“Why nnnnot remmmmmove the mmmmirror and pppput it bbback in the attic or else even dddump it” Alex stuttered.
Because they are still here. The mirror just opened a sort of door for the ghosts to relieve the horror over and over and over. You will see. Tonight it will still play out. This house has absorbed the evil like mold. And both women are still trapped here and need to be freed.” And indeed that night the scene played out unabated. At the peak of the ghostly noise I marched downstairs and slide open the heavy siding doors and marched into the dark, still, empty drawing room. “Fuck you Mister Murderer!” I snarled. Then I saw it. The mirror. The mirror was actually oozing blood. Blood was oozing down the mirror and dripping onto the mantle, dripping on Mother’s remaining treasure: that damn clock. “Do you fucking think that is going to scare me away?” I snarled. “Fuck you! Asshole! You fucking killed yourself when you tried to take down that fucking mirror on that fucking rickety chair over there! Fuck you! Asshole! You killed yourself! What did you see! The ghostly reflection of time replaying the first murder? Did you see yourself murdering your first wife? Did you panic and climb up on that rickety chair and try to remove the evidence? The mirror? Fucking go to hell Mister Murderer! ‘Cause I am not scared of you!” Then I went up stairs and went to bed.
“Well! That is that!” Mary announced the next day as we inspected the stench coming from the drawing room. The dawn of day revealed a stinking mass of greenish purification oozing all over Mother’s clock and the entire mantle from the mirror.
“It was blood last night” I said. “I guess it is a sort of festering pox of a ghostly nature from an unhealed wound.”
Charlie gestured to touch it and everyone screamed out ‘Don’t touch it!’
“Don’t ask me to clean it!” Maeve wailed as she crossed herself and then touched every single lucky charm she had pinned about her person.
“At least that damnable fire and brimstone and turpentine minister of Mother’s can finally do something constructive” Mary said.
Exorcism?” Maeve asked as she crossed herself. “Like my Catholic priest can do?”
“He would do a better job but I suspect Mother will insist we get the kirk minister rather than a papist” I said.
We all rapped on Mother’s bedroom door but she had bolted herself in and now she was quite implacable she was not leaving her bedroom. Then I told Mary to raid the kitchen fund and take a cab across town to fetch Mother’s minister to earn his keep at last. At that Mother unbolted the door and yanked it open and screamed out bloody murder. “We can’t tell the good minister this house stinks of evil and damnation! He will think we are evil! How could you do this? Dig it up? Dig up the evil? Now everyone will know how evil we are? Only the Scion of Hogg would know about the evil and dig it all up! You evil boy! Evil! Evil!” Mother grabbed me and shook me violently, her face transformed into some hag-ridden hysteric.
Thinking back now I can see how my mother was transformed from the winsome girl in her wedding tintype photograph into that hag-ridden hysteric eaten up by fear which drove her ever deeper and deeper into that religious dementia. But at the time it was all but impossible to not take it personally. How she hated me!
She slammed the door and bolted it. We are retreated to the kitchen. “What do we do?” everyone asked me. I did not know what to say. But Maeve did.
“Ouija Board!” And that night we did our own exorcism. It was a pity it did not turn out exactly like we hoped. But then Ouija boards can be dangerously unpredictable…..