I napped for about an hour after getting home from the library. It had stopped raining and the sun looked like it was attempting to come out. I puttered around the house, and by the time I ate dinner, the clouds had long since vanished. I felt restless and I knew I wasn’t going to talk to Lyndsey, so at about 8 PM, I went out for a walk.
After doing my normal route, I decided to swing through the “downtown” section of the village. It was beginning to get dark so I figured nobody would notice if I crossed the trestle and went behind the old mill.
I was passing a little hidden cubby in the back of the mill when I heard someone call my name. I turned and saw the black man that had been haunting the mill and my dreams for the past few weeks. He motioned me over to him.
“Today is my last day here and I need to talk to you,” he said.
“What?” I asked. I tried to clear my head. Nothing made sense. “This is a bit odd. Won’t somebody see?”
“Not many will see me, and as for you, we have watchers that will warn us if anyone comes close. If they catch you, say what you want. You were urinating on the wall or reading the inscription over there.” He pointed to a block on the wall. It had always been covered in ivy, but some of the vegetation had fallen away revealing words. I had never noticed it before and wondered if anyone else knew about it. “But you’ll have plenty of warning if anyone comes. The watchers will know.”
“Watchers? I don’t see anyone.”
“Two months ago, you wouldn’t have seen me. In fact, it wasn’t long ago you used to walk right through me. You can see our world better than most, so we can see you. But others can see much more than you. That friend of yours, Isabel, or Izle as you call her, she can see a huge amount.”
“Like the angles.”
“Like what she calls angels. But there is even more that she can’t see, some much more powerful than her angels or demons. Some are much more filled with light and some more evil than she can imagine. These can see both worlds, yet stay invisible to all of the living.”
“So, I can see more, so am seen. And you can see the living more, so more of the living see you. Something like that?”
“Something like that, but I didn’t call you over here to explain the spiritual side of cosmology. I need to thank you and to warn you. The twins. They’re free. And she’s free at last. I need to thank you.”
“You mean the babies? And who is ‘she’? Abigail?” He nodded. “Wait, so you’re Alexander De’Trell.”
He bowed. “The same.”
“And the babies, the twins they’re yours.” He nodded. “Ok, it’s all coming together. The people in town didn’t like you because you’re, uhm, you’re…”
“Because I’m a Negro. I know that word isn’t used as much as it was, which is a shame. But it is a far better word than most of those that I was called.”
“I can imagine. Hold on. That is why Thomas knew the twins were yours. And why he was mad. If they were white, people wouldn’t talk, but since they were black, it was noticeable and….”
“Exactly. He never liked me, but this was the proverbial straw. It still makes me angry the way he treated Abigail and the girls. I did love her and she loved me. He had chased away her first love, but she was able to find love again. Always successful at everything except for love, the people of this area seeing nothing of me but the color of my skin, I was at last made whole through her love. We found each other and made each other happy. Isn’t that a great story?”
“Up until the end, I would say.” I shivered.
Alexander noticed my discomfort and laughed. “You are so right, it’s perfect until he put an end to it with cold iron and hot flames. But, despite his greatest efforts, our love still lives, although we don’t. And tonight, tonight we will be reunited. Now there is your love story.”
“A love that had to wait a couple of centuries to be consummated.”
He laughed again. “No, it was already consummated. Remember the twins? No, it was just put on hold, as you would say. But now it can resume, thanks to you. You freed us.”
“I freed those in the carriage house because I uncovered the story of their demise and found their remains, correct?” He nodded. “But you and Abigail, how did I free you?”
“In a few ways. By freeing our children and by discovering the truth. I no longer live under the shadow of being thought guilty of heinous crimes. She is free partially because the truth was revealed, but mostly because she was waiting for her children and for me.”
“And Thomas, is he now released? Will he no longer haunt the village?”
“Thomas? His memory may have haunted the town, and the stink of his evil stuck to everything he touched, particularly the carriage house and the mill, but he never haunted anything. A great black beast devoured him the second he died. I don’t know if he was drug down to an evil place to suffer forever or if he was utterly destroyed, consigned to oblivion, when he was consumed, but he was never here.”
“But, but… So many people have talked about his ghost. And what was this all about? I thought it was a war between the good spirits, like you and Martha and the evil, meaning Thomas.”
“That brings us to my warning. Although he has always been at the center of it, his evil lasting much longer than his soul, this has never been about Thomas. What you have done is a noble deed, and it took a noble person to do it, but it was only done because you were manipulated into doing it.”
“What? I don’t understand. Who manipulated me and why?”
“Ah, who indeed? I am not at liberty to speak of those things. Just know that by helping where needed, you also were working for those who found us spirits to be a bit of an inconvenience. Now that we are free to go, they think they’ve won. But they haven’t. Once they figure that out, it will begin again, but at an even higher level. Your life has never been in danger, but now it is. There will be death, it is ordained. How much death? I cannot foresee. There have already been those who have died or been lost, but it will go farther, much farther. Before it is over, they may even reach the level that Thomas hit.”
“Wow, that’s awful, uhm, scary. But you can’t say more?”
“No. Just that you need to be careful and keep your eyes open. They have misdirected you in the past, and they will continue to try to manipulate you. But more than that, they may take direct action. There is a saying, forewarned, forearmed. You have been warned. Be vigilant.”
“Thank you. But can’t you…”
“No! I am sorry, it is not to be. I can’t explain. If I try, you cannot hear. It is not my place. Talking to you at all is extremely difficult. But I needed to thank you personally. So here I am. Thank you.” He bowed again.
“You are welcome. And thank you for the warning. But I was wondering about…”
“…George Adams. His spirit seemed to roam freely and then it was gone.”
“Ah, George Adams. You know he really died in the Brick House, don’t you? His body was brought down to the mill, but he didn’t die here.” He point at the brick wall of the mill.
“No, I didn’t know.”
“I will try to tell you. I don’t know if you will hear and this takes a lot of energy, but I will try.”
“She kept his spirit. She is powerful. She can’t see as well as Isabel, but she has greater power, far greater. She held him against his will, so he stayed attached to her. It was a great inconvenience for her, to be sure, with all of the sightings, but she wanted to keep him. When…. he was able to break away.”
“When…. Did you hear? No? As I said, I can try, but you can’t hear. He broke away and came here to learn the truth. When he knew, he left. He went to what you call ‘The Other Side’.”
“”….” I could tell he was talking, but I could hear nothing. He smiled and shook his head. “I am sorry, it is not for your ears.”
“Uhm, OK, thanks for trying.”
“I need to go. Thank you. Thank you for them, for her and for me. Thank you.”
And he was gone.
I walked over and moved the vegetation out of the way of the stone with the inscription.
“Amesbury Mill. 1805 – 1905. One Century of Tradition. All is Good with Goode.”
I went home and sent Mike an email telling him that the mystery behind Alexander De’Trell and the babies had to do with Alexander being black. I also mentioned the inscription.
As I got ready for bed, I thought about the last day. Actually, it was the last two days with only a little fitful sleep. Quite a bit had happened. The ball and the scene at the carriage house. Then the discovery of the bodies and the lost book. All of it, ending up with my talk with Alexander. I couldn’t imagine a longer day.
I fell asleep. If I dreamed, I don’t remember anything. I woke to a bright and beautiful Sunday morning. It was a morning of new hope.
I remembered Alexander’s warning. Or was there new hope?