“Not my baby!” she cried.
A moment later, a rather large, bald man appeared from the house. In his arms he clutched Victoria’s body, hugging it to his chest. He squeezed his eyes for a second as if to hold back tears. The woman, Mikey assumed to be the mother of the child who had just died in his arms, appeared from the open door. Sobbing into a handkerchief and clutching onto the arm of a young man. Her husband carried Victoria away from the house slowly as she stared after them, crying over the daughter she had just lost in such a cruel manner. Frank and Penina quickly followed Victoria’s father. Frank looked over at Mikey, frowning at him slightly. Mikey could not stand to see this for any longer and made his way back to the inn.
Making his way up the stairs, a muffled sob could be heard from someone. “Mrs Fisher?”
At the top of the stairs, Bryn appeared clutching a handkerchief with red rimmed eyes that glittered with tears. The pair walked back down the stairs and into the bar. Sitting on one of the stools, Bryn took out a bottle of gin and poured them a glass each. Her hands shook as she did so, causing the bottle to clink against the glass. Bryn immediately emptied her glass in one gulp before pouring herself a second. She then looked up at Mikey with a worried frown on her face.
“It’s getting late,” she choked “you’ll miss your train.”
“I’m not leaving yet.” Mikey said sternly.
“Please don’t go back to Eel Marsh house
Bryn placed her hand over his to plead with him, “Mr Kipps. You said you have a son.” He nodded solemnly. “Go home to him, cherish him, love him.”
“I wouldn’t be here if I did” Mikey said before walking out the door and making his way to meet Ray.
He walked through the yellow fields where he found Ray standing in front of a large monument which was now covered in thick decaying leaves and branches.
“Mr Toro?” Mikey called out to him.
The curly headed man turned and smiled at him, “ah Mr Kipps.” Mikey stood next to him and looked up at the large monument. “I was just bidding goodbye to my son, Nicholas.”
“My condolences, Mr Toro” Mikey replied.
Ray shook his head, “it was a long time ago.” They began walking back through the fields to Ray’s house. “There’s a place for him now, and hopefully we will all be together again someday.”
“I heard about the incident with the girl in the village, terrible, terrible business.” He said.
“Yes it was.” Mikey looked down at the ground at the memory of the little girls blood spilling out of her mouth.
“My wife doesn’t know,” Ray continued, “and I’d be grateful if we could avoid the subject. Indeed the subject of children all together.”
The younger man nodded, “of course.”
Once inside the Toro house, Ray brought Mikey a drink and showed him a photograph of Nicholas when he was still alive.
“He would’ve been about your age by now.” His voice was flat and empty of any emotion.
A pale woman entered the room with hair so startlingly red it resembled blood as it stopped at her shoulders. She smiled at Mikey with sparkling eyes and walked over to her husband’s side, letting the skirt of her fine dress brush off the wooden floors.
“Mr Kipps this is my wife Raven.” He gestured to her with pride.
Raven held her hand out to Mikey for him to shake it, “Mr Kipps, it is so nice to meet you.”
“I’m sorry I appear to be in a bit of a mess, I have found myself without a room tonight.”
“Oh well you must stay with us,” Raven’s smile was warming. “Mustn’t he Ray?”
“Indeed, darling,” he took Raven’s hand and kissed it gently before they made their way to the dinner table to take their seats. “The twins won’t be dining with us tonight Archer,” he told the butler.
“Now Ray,” Raven spoke with a slightly stern voice, “I’m sure Mr Kipps won’t mind.”
Mikey shook his head, “not at all.”
Raven left the room for a moment and Ray sighed, taking a large gulp of his whisky. When she returned, she was carrying two little Chihuahua puppies, that wore little sailor outfits similar to the one Nicholas wore in the photo Ray had shown Mikey earlier. Raven brought them over to Mikey with a large smile on her face.
“Say hello to Mr Kipps,” she cooed.
Mikey stood, wide eyed and slightly concerned but said, “hello,” causing Raven to giggle before handing one of the puppies to the butler. The dogs were placed in two high chairs on either side of her. She began feeding them some of her own dinner from a spoon.
“Married, Mr Kipps?” She asked.
He did not respond but she did not seem to notice as one of the dogs dropped a chunk of food onto its high chair and so she tapped it lightly on the head saying “rude.”
“Have any children?”
“A son,” Mikey replied.
Raven smiled at him once more, “ah lovely, don’t want to end up like us do you?” She joked. By the expression on Ray’s face he did not find it particularly funny. “Has Ray told you about Nicholas?”
“Raven…” Ray tried to prevent her from saying anymore but she ignored him and pointed to the wall behind Mikey.
“That’s him there,” Mikey looked at the painting of the boy dressed, once again, in a sailor suit. “I painted that myself.
“I love to paint and sketch. Nicholas loved to sketch too.” She paused before saying “he still does.”
She dismissed Ray again and closed her eyes for a moment and her head rolled around in a strange fashion before she said, “he wants to draw you a picture.” With one arm she swept away everything on the table in front of her and pushed it away. She grabbed her knife and looked up at Mikey with a deranged look in her eyes. Her arm slammed down and she began carving something into the mahogany table. Ray stood up and grabbed his wife’s arms before calling out to the butler.
“Archer! Archer, the medication!” He cried while trying to stop Raven from stabbing the table again.
Raven struggled against him, her hand still gripping the knife tightly and started to shriek “NO, NO!” As Archer appeared next to them pouring something onto a cloth which he quickly handed to Ray. He clamped the cloth over Raven’s mouth and her cries became more muffled before her eyelids grew heavy and she sank into Ray’s arms. He held his wife close to his chest, cupping her face in one hand and kissing her forehead.
Later on that night, Ray and Mikey sat in the study discussing what had happened at dinner.
“I thought some company would do her good.” Ray sighed. “She thinks its Nicholas speaking to us through her. You don’t believe in this spiritual stuff do you?”
“I didn’t since my wife passed away.” Mikey stared into the bottom of the glass he held.
“Oh forgive me.”
“Sometimes I feel like she is still with me,sometimes I just feel like she’s there, in the room, trying to reach me.”
Ray frowned, “Well Mikey you must be careful. All these supposed spiritualists who claim to contact the dead, they prey on those who are most in need. They do more harm than good.”
“The worst they do is disappoint. I have to keep looking.” Mikey’s voice was grim and he still did not look away from his glass.
“It’s not natural to lose someone so young.” Ray took a sip of his drink. “But if we open the door to superstition then where does that lead? It’s just chasing shadows Mikey. When we die we go up there, we don’t stay down here.” He tilted his head up the way as though gesturing to heaven.”
Little did they know that outside the house was a woman whose face was masked by a thin, white veil. It was the woman who was once known as Veronica Kipps and who still remained in Mikey’s mind at all times. Ray’s words rang in Mikey’s ears as he settled into the guest room of the Toro house. The room was filled with more of Raven’s paintings and sketches of Nicholas. Including a painting of two young boys, one of which Mikey guessed was Nicholas, standing in the ocean, while a woman dressed entirely in black watched from the beach. The woman in the painting was very similar to the one he had seen at Eel Marsh House.
Mikey left the room to go and find his jacket in which he had left the drawings Tommy had given him before he left London. On his way down the corridor, he heard the soft hushing of Raven from an open door. He peered in to find her dressed in a long, white nightgown, gently rocking the two puppies in their cot. Mikey hurried on and found his coat hanging on a rack in the hallway. I took the paper out of the pocket and flipped it to the page with the day, Thursday. That was tomorrow. He had at least two more days to finish the Bryar case and then be reunited with his son. He clutched the childish drawings close to his chest as if they were the most important things he owned. Mikey placed his coat back on the rack, before he looked into the dining room. The table had been cleared and even in the dark, Mikey could still see the markings that Raven had carved into the wood. He stepped closer to get a better look. Scrawled onto the table was a stick figure of a woman. A woman who was hanging herself.
A/N Well guys, looks who's back. Missed me? No...Um Remember me at all? Oh ok then. Well anyway since I've been away for so long on account of everything that happened I decided that I owed you guys a chapter. This was actually meant to be 2 or 3 chapters but since it's been a while I thought I might as well just give you one big long chapter. Anyway enjoy. Rate and review and all that shit. Goes back to sitting in room crying and singing to self