The Proof After the Deaths (: formerly posted)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A sad obligation towards the dead - all of them lost their lives in grave tragedies involving one of her relatives ....

Submitted: November 17, 2009

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Submitted: November 17, 2009

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This long, winding staircase was more than she could climb. She stood looking up at it and felt her heart sink into her shoes, already brim full with her swollen feet. - Oh, she exclaimed, turning around and looking appealingly at her son.

- All right, he said, a little annoyance in his voice, I shall get it for you. Then he started to climb the stairs, his big frame making it creak at each step. She felt exited, hopeful and at the same time resigned to the message she expected to have from up there where he was now, looking at all the binders with papers, pictures and clippings.

- Here it is, he exclaimed and started back down to her. Three binders. How heavy they are, he said, annoyance in his well moduled voice. His civilization-organ she had called it as it was such a polite and schooled voice, trained to impress voters and journalists.

- Come, she said, pulling his sleeve, let's go to the table and have a look. They cleared a corner of the large table, now littered with papers and scraps of papers. - This is so exciting.

He smiled at her eager face and hurriedly opened one of the binders. - Hm, strange, a lot of envelopes, closed and sealed ... It looks very private indeed.

- Never mind, she said merrily, never mind, he is dead now and all of it belongs to us. She started to tear at the lock of one of the other binders. It was obviously old, but the lock looked new. Like our marriage, she thought. Old meets young ...

The lock gave way and she saw a lot of closed envelopes. - There are some here too, she said, very surprised and a little annoyed. - Well, let's open them.

He didn't look happy at the thouoght. - I think we should bring them to Mr. Caribbean, after all he was his lawyer.

- Mr. Caribbean is a good lawyer, but I was married to your father and night after night I saw him sitting there, browsing his binders without ever telling me what they were about. I want to open those envelopes.

- And if we find something you'll not like?

- I never found anything in that relationship I did like ...

He looked sad and hurt when she said it. - Except you, of course. You were the gem he gave me. But now I want to see those envelopes.

- OK, let's open one each ... He tore at the paper, and then turned the envelope upside-down. Out fell 4-5 photoes, a small tape and a few other objects. She dashed for the photoes, but had to turn them over several times on the table before she realized what they were. Then she let out a sigh and fell to a sloping posture in her chair. He took the photoes from her hand and at first glance he let out a: "Damn creature. How I hate him!"

Her eyes filled with tears, but then she started to tear at another envelope. When it gave way, out fell a small heap of photoes, a tape and a lady's wristwatch. This time she didn't reveal any emotions, just slammed the emptied envelope down on the table with its former contents.

Mother and son sat back, their eyes locking across the binders, the full envelopes and the emptied ones. - And this you wanted to give to the lawyer .... Oh, what are we to do?

Her son's eyes had grown narrow, but also very thoughtful. - I shall never accept to let anyone in on this secret, he said, I have a family and I have a career ...

- Yes, and so had he, she said bitterly. She raised her hand when she saw him ready to talk. He was my husband, our marriage wasn't easy which you know, but I loved him when we married. What he felt I have no idea of, but I honor my own young love. Also, he was your father, from seeing these photoes I wish he wasn't, but that's neither here nor there.

- What do you suggest?

- To destroy all this ...

- But what about the families of these young, missing girls? Shouldn't they know that they are dead and that the murderer is known?

- No, and as you said, you've a family now, should your kids know what kind of a man their grandfather was?

He sat silent for a while. - What about opening all these envelopes, collect the photoes that tell of their death and get them to the police?

She didn't answer, but sat back in her chair and let her eye wander over all the shelves of the library. Suddenly she caught sight of the large full body painting of him in a riding dress, whip in hand. She rose to her feet and went over to have a closer look. His beautiful eyes stared at her from the painting, his handsome looks always made an impression on her, and this time it annoyed her. She bent forward so her face was close to his and then she let herself sink into his eyes. Darkness was what she saw, darkness beyond brown which were the true colour of those eyes. It engulfed her and when she lifted her head, tearing herself away from him, she knew her son was right.

- Yes, she said, they should know, but how?

- I fear they shall find out from the furniture where the torture is, but it must be done. If my Sophie disappeared for years I would want to know ...

- The furniture? Oh, it's gone, the weekend cottage burnt down five years ago, when he wasn't as agile as he had been.

They started to open and browse all the envelopes, then they chose all those that were of the final moments in many, many young women's lives. After doing that they put them into one large envelope, sealed it and then they found a London police station on the map. - This one, she said, turning once more to look at the painting. She felt that those eyes had changed from the darkest black into the colour of the sea when it mirrors the approaching storm.

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