The storyteller of pain, p.9
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       The Storyteller of Pain, p.9

           Loren Molloy
 
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  I choose to see you in each moment. I chose to ask you to come with me. If you said no, you know I still would have gone. I chose to trust you and ask for your help and I am not regretting that for one single second. I really would like to continue seeing and speaking with you long afterwards too, but I cannot ignore this demand from within me. This screaming voice that’s saying something is very wrong in this case. Now I believe there is more wrong then I ever realized before.

  People go to Danvers to get better but fall into the hands of our own dear Dr. Page. And we have a shining star of the community, sipping tea one second, evil the next. I’ve seen needlepoint be therapeutic not a portal to evil. I mean something is seriously wrong here and I made a solemn vow to heal and help those people. By God I mean to! So if you please; 1772 Willow Wand Way. Please my handsome hunk and step on it before we lose daylight, Sugar.”

  Lily laughed a throaty, sultry chuckle. He liked it. She was right. Something was very wrong at Danvers and if he were in her shoes, he’d do the same damn thing. He put the car in drive and took off toward their destination.

  She called him, ‘Her handsome hunk!’ She called him ’Sugar!’ John was grinning ear to ear.

  “What you smiling about?’

  “You! Just you!” He continued to smile as the radio played the popular tune “Love Sends a Little Gift of Roses” by Carl Fenton.” He looked over to see Lily bopping her head to the tune. By the time they got onto Willow Wand Way, Louie Armstrong’s “Dippermouth Blues” was crooning from the radio. They both were smiling and enjoying the sunshine and jazz music. He was stunned when the song came on and she was all excited about it being Louie Armstrong. She drinks whiskey and listens to Louie Armstrong, amazing!

  As they drove up and over the hill, Willow Wand Way came into view. Two large pillars stood tall on both side of that street. A lavish and elegant landscaping of cherry blossom trees and tropical flowers encased each pillar. At the top of that grand street stood Willow Wand mansion. The home to Wilbur and Wendy Wurthington and their only daughter Wilhelmina.

  “Only the wealthy can get away with those kinds of names. Wilbur, Wendy and Wilhelmina Wurthington. I mean honestly, only the wealthy!” John had to laugh.

  Only two other houses were on that street, neither as grand as the Wurthington Mansion. One on each side of the cul-de-sac. Each was grand and decadent but not in comparison to the mansion at the end of that road. In comparison, they looked like summer cottages, not the stately manors they were.

  “It says something about a person doesn’t it? A house is tied to a person’s personality, or something. Isn’t it?” John asked.

  “Yes, and theirs mansion screams...’Be intimidated, be in awe. Only I am important here. A God, living high on a mountain, looking down at the peasants.’ Wanna bet these two houses got built first and Wilbur had to make sure he out did them both, didn’t he? These two manors must sit on at least 4 or 5 acres and each house seems to take up most of the property. What does that even say about the size of his house?”

  “The same thing it says about men and cars... you know, the ones who are overcompensating for their short stature. Same goes for this house. That’s one thing we already know, don’t we.”

  “Is that relevant to this meeting?”

  “Yes definitely! We know he has a God complex, a need for power, and an anger problem. He’s easily set off by any hint at him being weak, wrong, not in control, or not powerful.”

  Lilian knew he was right. She just silently nodded her agreement.

  “You didn’t ask for this meeting did you? They have no idea we are coming do they?”

  Lily shook her head at him.

  “Oh, Lily, you gotta be kidding me? How do you even know if she’s there? What makes you think we’ll even get in to see her, if she is. We don’t even have an appointment?”

  “First of all, I did my homework! Thank you very much! Saturday’s Mr. Wurthington goes hunting, boozing, and whoring. He doesn’t get home until very late Sunday night. Mrs. Wurthington stays in her wing while he’s away, drunk on Gin and Laudanum. She knows what her husband does and can do nothing about it. So she stays in a stupor until he comes home. Miss Wilhelmina Wurthington is alone all weekend, except for her maid.”

  John’s look of surprise couldn’t be hidden. “Wow, Kitten how did you find all that out?”

  “In my profession you get to know a large variety of people. Everyone likes to gossip. When booze and whores are part of someone’s lifestyle, there are always people who want to tell you all about what they know.”

  John was startled by how direct she had become. They were also almost at the main gate of the Wurthington Mansion.

  The wrought iron main gate was impressive, to say the least. It had to be at least 8 feet high with the letters “WW” scrolled into the front in gold. There were gold accents throughout the entire fence which must encompass the whole property, but the eye could only see so far. The building itself must have had at least four floors, easily and stretched way into the sky. They both had to squint to see the top of this impressive mansion. Lilian could see a weather vane on the top most point with the gilded WW in gold.

  As John drove through to the main entrance, a massive foreboding began to flood his sense.

  “Just for the record Kitten; this is a very, very bad idea and no matter what, make me a promise Lily.”

  Lilian looked at him wide eyed and said, “What?”

  “After we get out of here, I get to have another Jack & Dr. Pepper. I know I’m gonna need it after this!”

  “Yes, definitely! We each can have at least two! How’s that sound?”

  “I’ll hold you to it,” John said as they pulled up to the vast entrance. A Butler came to the car and bowed slightly, then opened the driver’s door.

  “Welcome to Wurthington Manor sir. I am the Head Butler, Wesley. How may I be of service today?”

  John got out of the car and looked at the head Butler. Wesley- John wondered if all the staff had names beginning with W’s. They had to have flown this guy directly out of some Elizabethan time period film. He had a pure, high class British accent and looked exactly like a quintessential English Head Butler, down to the dignified snooty look on his aged face. The man had to be in his late sixties, easily. He still seemed fit and healthy and stood so erect it made John feel the need to stand straighter himself.

  Lily walked confidently up to Wesley and said, “Miss Lily Tabernathy and Stan Lexington, to see Miss Wilhelmina Wurthington. She knows of our appointment and I shan’t like to be kept a moment longer as traffic made us late as it is.”

  She said it so confidently, so certainly even John almost believed her. She suddenly had the air of wealth about her. The attitude of the wealthy was suddenly her complete demeanor. Suddenly, she seemed like a wealthy aristocrat with all the power and influence attached to it. The look on the Butler’s face also agreed.

  He bowed deeply and said, “Yes Ma’am. Follow me. Right this way and I’ll show you to my Lady.”

  John put out his elbow and Lily took it, like they were an average sophisticated, aristocratic couple. The mansion was even more vast inside. They followed the Butler silently for several minutes before they arrived at the entrance of what was Miss Wilhelmina’s wing.

  The front door to her wing was beautifully scrolled woodwork in shades of whites, pinks, and peach colors.

  Wesley opened the wide double doors and announced, “Mr. Stan Lexington and Ms. Lily Tabernathy to see you Miss.”

  With that, he bowed and walked out.

  Wilhelmina Wurthington was seated at her Bay window reading, when the announcement tore her away from it and toward the newcomers. She didn’t bother to stand, she just looked at them intensely.

  She said, “I know of no such people nor do your faces bring to mind any recognitions. Explain yourselves for this is an absolute and complete farce. Explain your intrusion into my home this instant or I will be forced to call for William and We
ndell to remove you from these premises at once!”

  Lily just smiled.

  “I am here on behalf of a mutual friend of ours. She is in serious danger and I need your help to save her.”

  Wilhelmina closed her book, put it down, and looked seriously into Lily’s eyes.

  “Who?”

  “Delia DelaCour.”

  The look on Wilhelmina’s face was indescribable for a moment. John just froze waiting for what would happen next. He couldn’t breathe. Lilian never broke her eye contact with the woman. She continued to stare down at her until the woman reacted.

  “Oh God, poor Delia! Oh my God, my poor dear friend.”

  Wilhelmina began to sob uncontrollably. Lilian went to her quickly and put a comforting arm around her slender shoulders. The two of them sat in the Bay window with Wilhelmina clinging to Lily, crying hysterically and sobbing over and over again, “My poor friend. Poor Delia.”

  John saw tea on a tray still steaming and brought it to the distraught woman. After two cups of tea, which had the distinct aroma of Laudanum and chamomile, she was calm and began to tell them about her friendship with Delia.

  “She was the only friend I’ve had since I lost my husband. I moved home and was known as Wurthington’s widow. Not many people wanted that at their social gatherings but Delia never cared about that stuff. She met me and the first words she said to me were, ‘I don’t care if you are Wurthington’s widow. Everyone needs a friend and some fun and you definitely need both!’

  We were best of friends from that moment on. She was fun, daring, wild, and she never cared what people thought. She said we were ‘widow buddies’ -- sisters made in the bond of death. It made sense. She was the only one who I could talk to about the death of my husband. To have her completely understand my pain was wonderful. Everyone has always been terrified of my father, but not Delia.

  ‘The man I loved is dead. There’s nothing your father could do to me that’s worse than that,’ she said but she was wrong wasn’t she? He saw to that, didn’t he?”

  Wilhelmina was on her fourth cup of Laudanum tea and seemed to be floating away from them.

  “Who saw to that?” Lilian snapped her fingers in front of Wilhelmina’s face and yelled her name at her as she did so. “Who did this to Delia?”

  “He doesn’t like people knowing his secrets. People don’t survive his secrets long. He uses magic and then Poof! They’re gone. Just like magic.” She giggled and hiccupped. The laudanum was working at full force now.

  “What secrets? Wilhelmina... who doesn’t like it? What secrets?”

  It was no use. Wilhelmina was sound asleep from the copious amounts of Laudanum she ingested.

  ‘Like mother, like daughter,’ Lily thought. Each didn’t leave their perspective wings, and stayed fucked up on laudanum, all the time. They wouldn’t get anything else out of her at the moment. They both knew she would be knocked out for several hours.

  Lilian took the time to look around the large room. She looked at all the books on the shelves. She observed all the knick knack and chachkies she had displayed. Lilian was shaking her head in aggravation.

  John looked at her. “What?”

  “This is all for show. These are all purposely placed and chosen because this is where people would meet with her. Nothing here is personal or sentimental in anyway. The books are all about manners, ethics, nothing like what she was reading when we walked in. Look at the book she’s reading. It doesn’t match any of the books on the shelves.”

  Juliette by Marquis de Sade was next to Wilhelmina’s lap. By the look of the book it was read on numerous occasions. The binding was severely creased and the book looked very worn.

  “This is certainly not the kind of book I expect any woman reading!” John stated shocked.

  Lilian said, “Yes, absolutely! But look what it says about her. The book is worn. She’s read it many, many times. It means she not only can stomach the depravity and debauchery this author is known for, but she must truly enjoy it. For her to have read it so many times means the real ‘her’ can’t be found in this room. We have to go looking further into her place. If she has this book, what else does she like? What else is she into? What else can we discover if we intruded on her inner sanctum? She’s sound asleep. We have time. We might never get another chance like this.”

  John knew she was right, yet again. It’s not every day you find out a woman reads and enjoys the level of filth like that of Marque De Sade. You couldn’t pay John to read that author’s novels for all the money in the world. Yet, here’s a woman who chose to read it and obviously chose to on many occasions.

  Lilian didn’t wait for a reply from John but began walking farther into the wing. John just followed behind her. This wasn’t the same shy girl he met that day in her office. This was a confident, ballsy lady.

  Lilian opened one door after another. She would peek her head in, show the room to John, then close the door, and keep going. Most rooms were a waste of time to look into. They both knew if she was hiding anything it would be in her personal sanctuary, her bedroom.

  Lilian opened the last door at the end of one hallway and found what they were looking for. Wilhelmina’s bedroom didn’t look like the rest of the wing. No one is probably ever allowed inside. The whole wing was done in tasteful white, peach, and pink colors just like the front door to her wing.

  Here, it was a different story. This room definitely was a true look at who Wilhelmina really was. Everything was done in dark cherry wood. The bed was a massive four poster, dark cherry wood bed in a very distinct Gothic revival style. Its ornate carvings and scalloping, carved finials, turrets, spirals, and lace gingerbread trimmings, all screamed Gothic revival. The bed even had an elaborate carved wood-topped canopy. Thick burgundy velvet drapes were upholstered to the canopy, draping down, touching the floor.

  ‘Yes, the woman who reads Marques De Sade lives in this room, most definitely,’ Lilian thought. As they entered the room, Lily could tell this would be the key to unraveling this case. It just had to be.

  “Sisters bonded in death,” Lilian said out loud.

  “What?” John asked still quite overwhelmed by all the revelations.

  “She said they were ’sisters bonded in death’.”

  “Yeah both widows, so what?”

  “Yes both widows who became so close they became sisters. If Wilhelmina enjoys books of that kind, you think a sister wouldn’t know about it!? Maybe she even exposed her to it in the first place. Remember what she said, ‘Delia was wild, daring. Didn’t care what anyone thought.’ She was Wilhelmina’s only friend, whom Daddy didn’t like. What if the rest of the wing was before Delia and that book and this room shows the dark transformation that was occurring because of Delia’s influence. I don’t see a book shelf visible either. So I think daddy didn’t approve of what Wilhelmina was becoming. So much so, she had to hide that part of herself and if we can find the hidden ’self we might find much more information. She said, ‘Daddy made her disappear just like magic.’ I’d hide anything that could piss off a man who could do that, wouldn’t you?”

  “Definitely!” John said.

  “So, it would have to be hidden even from the staff, too. Otherwise those very well paid informants would tell their boss, her daddy. That book wouldn’t exist and who knows what would happen to Wilhelmina!”

  “Convent probably. One very far away,” John said.

  “Yeah. I would bet on that too. So would Wilhelmina, it seems. So she had to figure out a hiding place safe enough that the servants couldn’t possibly find it. Let’s search quickly.”

  They both began to touch and push on everything in sight but to no avail. Finally, completely exhausted and frustrated, John kicked the bedpost and heard a click. Lily’s eyes flew wide open.

  “Of course! Kick it again!”

  John did and they heard a second click but nothing happened. He looked up at her and threw his hands in the air.

  “Damn. That woul
d have been too easy, I guess. Plus any maid polishing could have triggered it that way! But we are on to something here. I know it!”

  “Yeah, bedposts don’t just click when you kick them. Not when it’s suggested to be solid wood!” John said frustrated.

  “You’re right John!” Lily’s face lit up.

  John chuckled. “Thanks. Been a long time since a woman told me I was right about anything!”

  Lily just blinked at him several times then looked at the bed again.

  “It’s supposed to be solid wood but it can’t be. So it must be some combinational effect. I remember from history, many pieces of furniture were made with secret levers and such, to hid secrets.”

  “Okay so what’s the combo, kick twice, slap once?”

  Lily got hysterical which made John laugh. Her laugh was like its own magic to his soul. That thought forced John back to the reality of the situation. “So...what do you think?”

  “She would want it to be quick and easy to do if you know how, but not easy to stumble upon. Give me a few minutes to think.”

  Lily just stared at the bed not blinking. She didn’t seem to even be breathing like she had her body there but she had left the building, so to speak. He didn’t like just standing there. Any second they could be caught in the lady’s private bedroom with the lady unconscious in the living room. There would be no way to explain themselves if they were caught in there. Just as he began to truly panic and was going to say something, Lily suddenly burst out...

  “I got it!” scaring the bejesus out of John.

  Lily went over to the bedpost next to John. She kicked it twice and twisted one of the decorative, ornate scroll works on the bed post. John heard the first two clicks and then a third, afterward a panel at the base of the bed jutted out, smashing John in the shin.

  “Ow!” John jumped back and grabbed at his aching shin. “Damn that smarted!”

  “John look!” Lily’s voice was a few octaves higher, in awe.

  He hobbled back over and looked into the hidden compartment. It was a large section of the base of bed frame. It was completely hollowed out, lined in burgundy velvet like the drapes. Inside there were Wilhelmina’s collection of Marquis De Sade novels, her diary, a half used blood red candle, and a very antique looking Ouija board with blood red wax drippings on it.

 
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