Now Andy seemed nervous telling what he had learned, but he had done his job. I paid him as was previously arranged and I promised him cream for the next 3 mornings. He was happy I was keeping my half of the bargain and breathed a sigh of relief. But before Andy left, he told me Darby (The black cat caught on security cameras.) knew more than he did and that Darby could summon the ghost almost any time.
Now since the day I caught Darby snooping around my master’s house and I sent him packing back to the barn, I hadn’t seen much of him. But I know he has eye power. Not green and strong like mine, his is a darker force. I did not, however, know he could summon ghosts and spirits. I also didn’t know if he could only summon The Ghost of 545, or if he can summon any previously alive but now passed on spirit. After all it is said of cats they come from a dark realm. Few cats have supernatural powers. Of those that do, most use their powers for evil purposes or self-indulgence. I have known none which use their powers for good.
I found Darby laying on the front porch and before I could approach him he began trying to control me with his mind. Foolish cat! He didn’t know I’ve been alive for ages and have met this red power before. He tried what I call “blazing” me anyway.
My powerful green eyes trumped his red ones and he moved under a porch table with lightning speed. I jumped on a chair and prepared for his second blazing attempt. He poked out from under an adjacent chair and I was ready.
As I stared him down I searched his mind and placed my desire to see the ghost deep within him. He knuckled under as I knew he would and together, under my mind control, we looked off the porch toward the trees in the side yard.
The ghost appeared with a scary wail. She was weeping and angry and full of sorrow. As Darby and I looked upon her she became more solid and began to speak. She said the words I’d heard from her before…
THE GHOST OF 545
Alice Morphy lay in a snow bank bleeding to death and unable to talk. Her baby had landed beside her unharmed. Through dying eyes she watched her newborn child cry and reach upward for a mother who’d never pick him up again. Thoughts of her husband and her life rushed past her. She could hear his voice. The voice of a devoted husband and father. The voice of the only man she had ever loved. As all living light faded from her eyes she heard him calling her name, “Alice! Alice!” And then she died.
Warden Heck, even though drunk, was the first to reach the slain mother and her infant. He picked up the child and headed back to the prison entrance without checking on Alice. Two uniformed prison guards were heading to the blood stained snow when Heck shouted, “Leave her be! Go back inside and bring me prisoner Morphy.”
“But she might still be alive,” shouted one of the guards.
“She’s dead!” shouted Warden Heck. “Bring me prisoner Morphy immediately.”
Without further protest the guards did as he ordered. They returned to the guts of the prison and climbed down the spiral staircases between the prison floor levels. The prison populace knew something had happened but they were only guessing what it was. Most thought an escaping prisoner was shot.
Mr. Morphy was yanked from his cell in solitary confinement and slapped around quite forcefully by both guards. When he was crouched down on the prison floor with his hands covering his head the guards figured he’d had enough and put hand cuffs on him. They led him to Warden John Heck’s office.
Warden Heck was ready. He’d given Jack Morphy’s son to one of the prison cooks and the child was being fed milk in the prison kitchen. Morphy ordered the guards to remove Jack’s cuffs and leave. They did.
Heck began by approaching Jack and putting his arm around Jack’s shoulders. “Your wife was to visit today, Jack, isn’t that right.”
“Why yes sir,” Jack answered. “But I haven’t heard anything about her arriving. I think maybe the blizzard may have kept her from coming.”
“Let us go for a walk, Jack. I have something I want to show you.” The warden opened his office door and lead Jack to the huge prison entrance. No one else was around per the warden’s instruction. “You are a farmer and I know you shouldn’t be here. The circumstances which brought you here seem quite unfair.”
“Yes, Sir. Thank you for saying so Mr. Heck.”
The Warden opened the inside door of the entrance and Jack followed him into the vestibule. “You have a newborn son, is that right?”
“And your wife was going to bring the baby?”
“Yes Sir,” Jack said, wondering what the warden was getting to.
“Let’s take a look outside and see just how bad the blizzard is getting,” said the warden. He pulled two huge bolts and pushed the giant wooden door open. The cold and snow rushed in. John Heck and Jack Morphy stepped out into the cold white night.
Jack looked up at the guard towers and saw there were no guards.
The warden shoved him from behind and Jack fell.
“What are you doing?’ yelled Jack.
The warden pulled a pistol from under his coat and pointed it at Jack.
“Your wife did visit today, Jack. She arrived a few hours ago just after dark.”
“What?” Jack yelled again, trying to make his voice loader then the hollowing wind.
“She’s there, in the snow.” The warden pointed to a hump in the snow about ten yards from them. The blood from Alice’s wounds was partly covered now and shown pink through the snow cover instead bright red.
Jack jumped to his feet and plowed through deep snow toward his fallen wife. He reached her and uncovered her face. “Alice!” He cried out. “Oh no! Alice!” He cradled her in his arms, brushing away snow from her face. “Oh my sweet Darling!”
He looked up now at the warden who leveled the pistol toward Jack’s face. “Why? What happened to my wife?” he screamed at Warden Heck.
“I want your farm!” yelled the warden. “I want your farm.” He pulled the trigger and Jack Morphy collapsed beside his wife.
To be continued…
Mark E. Schrull
All rights reserved.