Archive | February, 2011

~ the raven chronicles ~ 4

25 Feb

(Chapters are stored chronologically in ARCHIVES.)

Fr. Michael Leavell, OP.
Sacred Heart Church
Raven, Ohio

November 16, 1932

The dreams have not ended since Halloween night. I misname, calling them dreams. They are nightmares, pure and simple, full of dread and vile atmosphere that follow me out of the land of Nod and shadow me long after the sun has risen. “By the clock ’tis day, and yet dark night strangles the traveling lamp.”

Though the weight is oppressive, I think it is better that I bear this burden than some other poor soul who might have descended those steps to the basement of that yellow house. Wallace was there too, but he is of a different breed, a man who accepts what we saw as the business of the world. Or rather, the business inflicted on this world by the powers who live in its shadows. Listen to me, acknowledging his beliefs in an offhanded manner as if it were a day at the races. If not careful, I will sound nearly a madman myself, fit for my own cell at Sterns-Carson.

And now I have finally met Rhea Sinclair, the sole survivor of that gruesome scene of carnage. In the aftermath, she was whisked away from the Echo Lake Grand Hotel before Wallace and I had left the yellow house to seek her out. The trail had gone cold until Luigi Ciccone mentioned his conversation with his niece about her husband’s behaviour since the arrival of a certain patient at Sterns-Carson Sanitarium.

Contrary to my ill-defined expectations, Mrs. Sinclair appears to be just a woman; a woman of striking beauty, even in her drab hospital sack, but just a woman, nonetheless. As to her mental state, I cannot attest with any authority. She seemed attentive, or in the least, aware of my presence during the entirety of my short visit. Dr. Agnostica said that she had not spoken since her arrival, but as soon as the door closed and we were alone, she fixed me with her vibrant blue eyes and seemed to be on the verge of a pronouncement, only to turn away and look back out the high window of her cell. I cannot call it a room, it is a cell, and she has been locked away in it like the bride of a Tudor king. Why Jacob Drummond would sanction such treatment of his daughter is beyond me, but as I told Dr. Agnostica, that cell may be the safest place in the world for her right now; at least until I can better determine what happened on All Hallows Eve. In my heart, I know that I will never find the whole truth without the help of Mrs. Sinclair. (I must remember to refer to her in formal terms, her allure is too powerful to do otherwise, any intercourse of familiarity will distort my objectivity. )

It is problematic that I must work alone. Wallace would be invaluable to me, but if he knew the whereabouts of Mrs. Sinclair, I fear that his mind would be set on one solution, and one solution only. Though Mary tends to her every day, I believe she does not yet realize the true identity of her patient. That revelation is merely a matter of time. When that day comes, and wife consults with husband, Wallace will construe my secrecy as a betrayal and he will be suspicious of me from that point on. But it can’t be helped, I must risk our relationship to protect Mrs. Sinclair in order to discover exactly what it is we are dealing with. I am pledged to a higher authority, if my friendship with Wallace must become a casualty of this battle, then so be it. Greater sacrifice has been made by those who have gone before me.

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