BTW: The photo art and prose included in any given post are separate creations having nothing to do with each other. Duality and such …
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The Tousled Dress
He was certain he would kill them this time. Or maybe he wasn’t sure; they should be dead already. He was confused. Mostly, the thing he felt was confusion. He looked down on them from the fourth-floor attic window of the big mansion, about a dozen of them, with A Guy at the front who seemed to be doing all the talking, gesturing and pointing to the mansion behind him, the group listening intently and looking all about. Some of them looked to his window. He flipped them off. He doubted they could see him, they never seemed to. There was that one time, though, a man’s mouth fell open and he pointed and everybody looked and a bunch of people seemed to gasp and even The Guy doing all the talking went wide eyed, then the sun came from behind a cloud and they all relaxed. Must have been the lighting.
He turned to his room with its sloping ceilings. Nothing was as it should be. So much was different, kept becoming different, things added and taken away and only vaguely the way he and Maribeth had found it. He tried not to think about it because he knew the group below was now moving into the mansion and would soon be climbing the stairs and he intended to be ready for them this time. They would climb the big staircase and stop on the second-floor landing and listen to The Guy. Then they would climb to the third-floor landing and stop and listen again to The Guy. Then they would move down the hall to a smaller staircase behind a door that took a key to open, and they would have to come up single file to the narrow hallway outside his room. Down in the mansion’s library, the Professor hated gatherings and hated entertaining and hated people in general so this must be driving him crazy. In his mind, he could hear the old man cursing and ranting somewhere below as the group made its way through his beloved home, interrupting his precious solitude, disrupting his quite contemplation, coming near his cherished daughter.
Just like that, Maribeth was back in his head. She came out to the back porch that day as he worked the adjacent flower bed under a golden morning sun. “Aren’t you working hard,” she said, that coy, sly smile on her face that she had used on him before.
“Ma’am,” he said tensely, tried not to stare at her in that flimsy white dress that the breeze tousled, and failed.
“So formal,” she teased.
He lowered his voice, said, “Miss Maribeth I have to get these flower beds in shape; your father will be watching”.
“My father is engrossed in his research, in his library, on the other side of the house. He wouldn’t hear a bomb go off.”
He put his garden trowel down; closed his eyes so he couldn’t see her giving him ‘the look’. “Miss Maribeth, please,” he said just above a whisper, aroused despite himself. He remembered The Professor warning him when he was hired, ‘don’t you dare go near my daughter – she’s all I have left and if you go near her, even look at her, there’ll be hell to pay’. He knew she was only using him as her steely dan; he would never be more to her than a hired man servicing her libido as though it were a plant what roots needed stimulating. “Please,” he whispered again, “I just can’t”.
“Yes, you can,” she smiled, held her hand out to him. “C’mon. I need help in the attic.”
And again, just like that, he went from his knees in the flower bed to his knees in the attic, her hands on the back of his head, an inescapable force pulling him in, when The Professor burst in holding something, a tool, a weapon, over his head and screaming, “You bastard!”
“Daddy, no!” Maribeth screamed, but the weapon, maybe a hatchet, maybe a cleaver, was already rapidly on the way down, her hands now inadvertently holding his head in the perfect position.
He squeezed his eyes closed, grimaced tried to push it all from his mind. Then they were there in the hallway, the door to the attic removed and the doorway widened, a heavy, velvet covered red rope stretched across the opening. He clenched his fists and screaming madly rushed The Guy at the front of the group.
And went right through him.
He pushed into the group itself, his fists swinging wildly. Nothing struck home. Nothing connected. He tried to slam the other narrow doors off the hallway; pulled at them, pounded them, howled in rage. Felt utterly ignored and helpless.
“Ooooooo, I just felt something cold!” a girl in the group said.
“I feel a presence every time I come up here”, The Guy said.
“A stale brush of air,” an older guy said with a titillated smile.
“Listen to the way the house moans here!”
“Hey, did that doorknob just rattle?”
And just like that, once more, they were gone, and he was back in his attic room. People mulled about the lawn below, talking, laughing, enjoying their lives as he glowered from his window. Desperate and anguished and overwhelmed with confusion by the strange sign in the front yard, ‘Dr. Davis Glenmore Mansion; Ghost Tours Daily’.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.