Bharathy stood in front of me. Between us, was the fire, literally.
Sean’s body was burning before my eyes. His eyes were wide open, as if he laid, staring out at this misbegotten sky, all so filled with smoke & dust, or the likes.
Sean was my paternal uncle. He had been my Grand Perè’s second son. He could’ve been the Estate Heir, he was entitled to, actually. Though Cooper now held the power, I wonder if why he must consider him a threat. Sean suffered from a mysterious lung disease that could have been fatal if he inhaled arsenic. And so he did inhale it, not on purpose of course.
‘Here,’ Bharathy hands me a white paper, half-burned in my hand.
‘I thought you wouldn’t be able to acquire it.’
‘Fires in your room tend to awaken & unarm you.’
‘Fire in his room? He has not spoken of it.’
‘He tends to hide things… quite a lot from you, & your mother.’
‘Yes, indeed. But how did -’
‘I opened the window and released the charcoal fumes. It was a mirage, actually.’
‘Brilliant as ever, Bharathy.’
‘Your compliments, all so false and fantastic, do not at all flatter me, Mr Ascendant Stapleton.’
Just then, the sky growls. It is after midnight, hidden we are in thick bushes and grasslands of the Estate, where I was ordered - by Cooper of course - to burn Sean’s body.
‘It must rain now.’ I tell, changing the concern.
‘Yes, and she would be waiting for us. We are to depart now… soon. Have you contacted Dr William yet?’
‘I have, yes. But a guest would be accompanying us.’
‘A guest -’
And from the front, Priscilla walks towards us, striding confidently, or is it surprise?
‘Hello.’ She says, with venom only I could hear in her voice.
‘Namaste,’ There is an immediate dislike formed mutually between them.
‘Has Candice spoken?’ Priscilla asks me, disregarding the ashes fallen on the ground.
‘No, not yet. That is why we must visit her before dusk. And only till dusk, Sir William cannot manage after that.’
‘Are we going through an automobile?’ Priscilla has a dislike, or rather phobia of, automobiles.
‘No, a horse carriage awaits us at the backyard, driven by Hannelore Ensley, the pianist.’
‘And is she…?’
‘Yes, mother. Bharathy is accompanying us to Candice. She is my apprentice and I must-’
‘Aren’t you taking the “apprentice” quite seriously? Apprentice, is perhaps not the suited word, your companion?’
‘We are not companions, Mrs Stapleton, we are mere consociates.’ Her words are smooth, elegant & cloying.
‘Let us not waste our time. Hannelore must be waiting for us. Let us depart.’
Priscilla, without a glance at our sides, strides to her left. I follow her while Barathy takes my side.
The sky growls again, with a few spots like drops of rain falling through the sky. Though mere, they do seem to lighten one’s mood.
Bharathy strides forward.
The back gate opens with *swish*. The carriage camouflages with the sky, and as thunder bursts, it reflects his face.
The face of Moore. And he sits on the driver’s seat, snarling.