Friday, July 13, 2012

The Devil in Jutland (vi)


         “How can you say the Devil doesn’t exist, after this?”  He said the words in the church before their bodies were buried, and then he heard it a second time, somewhat later and altered in tone.  The voice was familiar; it seemed to be that of Devon Wormwood, oddly accented and mocking.  It came as Soren lay in bed, three months after the deaths.  
          Soren’s doctor had given him a sedative.  At first he used it only at night, but had begun to take them during the day as well.  But sleep seldom came.  Instead, he heard voices.  He thought he heard his wife calling him, his children's voices raised in gleeful play.  At first he cried bitterly; then, he grew accustomed to the voices, which became comforting in a sad, distant way.  Then one day they stopped.  Soren seemed to suffer again from the death of his family.  He cried without control.  Friends and colleagues feared for his sanity.  They were afraid he would drown himself in the North Sea.
            Two months later the maid knocked on Soren’s bedroom door.  There was no answer.  She was afraid to open it, so she ran for Constable Andersen.  He rapped hard on the door.  It was locked.  He called Soren’s name authoritatively, asking him to please open the door.  There was no response.  After a few well-placed kicks the door swung open.  Soren Christensen was gone.

No comments:

Post a Comment