Chapter 6: The Stranger
Strange things had happened with my five senses. I noticed things that I never noticed before. The minuscule ant that scurried across my chambers periodically. When he did come along to say his salutations, my eyes enhanced their vision to see my new friend clearer than any person. I learn the anatomy of this little creature so well. I even got the chance to see his mouth open and closed. In my chambers, I also saw the number of flickers that the candle made on my bed table. There had been exactly 325 flashes per candle from when the fire had been lit. In the world who will observe a candle and study and count the number of flickers? Apparently, myself for that matter.
Strange things happened when I was in any area in that matter of fact. One evening I grabbed my treasure from out of its hidden place from beneath my feet. I opened a few pages, nothing out of the ordinary occurred. The sound of the full pages crinkling made me very calm. This enormous leather, bound book had all sorts of stories and spells, it was quite entertaining to read. But I soon noticed as I glanced over to where my hand had been resting or hovering for that matter when I was flipping the pages I wasn’t touching them. I was perplexed, for I could feel the sensation of the rough-edged sides in between my skinny, bony fingers. However, those pages had not been touching the tips of my fingers. My heart stopped beating for a second; my brain couldn’t comprehend what I had been looking at. As I moved my hand up and down, the page followed the path of my hand, but always a few inches behind. Out of frustration, confusion, and fear I slammed the book closed and quietly placed it back where I took it from. Leaving it there for the next time I had the courage to open the binding.
Another day, a similar experience occurred, Master Jim and I were in the drawing room enjoying each other’s company in silence. He was reading one of the hundreds of books that were on the shelves. Here and there you heard him flip to the next page. While I had been playing a lonely game of chess. Trying to figure out a strategy to beat the master of the estate. For Master Jim was an extraordinary player. The fire was crackling, and the noise of the flame had a calming emotion that it brought into the room. Out of the fire crackling silence, I heard Master Jim’s voice in an echo. Compared to when he was in the hallway just outside these doors, talking to one of the maids or even to Ms. Doris. However, I knew he wasn’t in the lobby; he was sitting on the couch right in front of me, engrossed in his adventure. But I heard him reading out loud without his lips moving. I stared at him, trying to figure out how he was doing that. I soon learned he had been reading an adventure that consisted of murder in the wilderness. The authorities had discovered the body brutally murdered. They had an idea who killed the soul, the local criminal. However, he was in the county jail. But the authorities had clues pointing to the fellow in prison. “How did he murdered him if he was in prison.” I blurted out loud.
“What?” he mentioned this as he looked up from his fascinating read.
“The prisoner in the county jail, how could he murder the person in the desert? If he wasn’t in the area?” I questioned.
Master Jim closed his book and looked at the cover, with a confused look on his face.
“How did you know that? Have you read this novel yet?”
I froze. How could I explain to him I heard him reading while his mouth had been closed shut without saying a word. “I think someone read me that story before, but they never finished it. I never knew how it ended. I thought you found out yet.” That was the first lie I told him.
“Do you remember who?”
“No. Excuse me.” And I walked out of the parlor and leaned on the wall just outside the door of the drawing room. I placed my hands on my face trying to comprehend what just happened. “Are you alright, Young Master?” I dragged my hands down and noticed Ms. Doris with a bag in both of her hands.
“Yes, I am. Thank you. If you need me, I’ll be up in my chambers.”
“Of course, Young Master.” And she bowed out of respect and went back to do her daily work and duties.
I ran up the grand staircase, rushed into my chambers slamming the door behind me. The sound echoed throughout the hallways and corridors that laced the mansion. I couldn’t comprehend what had been occurring to me. Was this normal for a boy of my age to go through? I did not want to dwell too much of my thought process on the subject. Thus, I tried to brush it off my shoulders.
Even when I was sleeping, I could not get any relief of this insane, mind-boggling crazy events that were occurring to me. That night I had one of my dreams again. Not of the dirt, dusty road, but of a gray-haired man. In the dream, he was staring at me with a creepy grin on his face. He wouldn’t stop looking at me. Everywhere I turned I couldn’t hide from him! When I woke up, I had been overjoyed it was just a dream. Or so I thought.
At dinner, that evening, everything seemed normal; although the air had a strange sensation to it. While we were eating having a joyful time, Master Jim received an old, yellow envelope. The letter itself had the appearance that it traveled through time. When Master Jim noticed the address, he fell silent, slowly opened it and read it to himself. After he had finished, he brought his perturbed eyes on me. I stared back at him.
Within a few seconds, he pushed back his chair, making the carpet fold. He left the dining hall. I sat there quietly, trying to hear anything. I heard his footsteps receded further and further away. Then another pair followed him. No one was talking. Then suddenly both footsteps dissipated in the mansion. I could hear no more.
After dinner, I traveled through the moonlit hallways to go to my chambers. Before I could turn one of the corners, voices emerged around the bend. I stopped in my tracks. I knew something wasn’t right with the conversation. I heard Master Jim talking with a stranger.
“I know he is in your possession!“, exclaimed the stranger.
“He disappeared fifteen years ago, to the day. Not a soul had seen him since” whispered Master Jim.
“This is not so, both you and I know that you are lying. I can sense him in the air. The world is different as if a spark ignited.”
“Please, leave my abode, Dylan.”
“You claim this estate to be yours? Have you forgotten who else had lived here?” questioned Dylan.
" Have it as you may. You do know that I obtain what I desire when I want it badly enough. Have a pleasant evening.“, This Dylan quoted with annoyance in his voice. His footsteps receded.
I peered around the corner to see Master Jim alone. He took a deep breath. I suppose that he felt a presence staring at him. Thus, he looked over to my way. And I sneaked back around the bend. Hoped that he did not notice me. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
“You do not have to conceal yourself anymore Andrew; I know you are there.” He said.
I exposed myself. I couldn’t hide anymore. Nor could I had run away.
Master Jim continued with a smile on his face, ” How long have you been there?”
“I walked up a few moments ago; I did not hear any of your conversation. I heard you were speaking with someone. To give you some privacy, I withdrew myself a few feet back. When I know longer heard anyone talking, I peered around the bend.” This was my second lie to him. I didn’t like lying to him; for he had been so good to me. He didn’t deserve my lies. He only earned my honesty and loyalty. I extended the conversation, “Who were you speaking to?” I know it was nosy to asked, but something didn’t feel right about all of this.
" No one that you have to be concerned with, it was a family friend.”, Said Master Jim. In his expression, I noticed that he was trying to hide a deep secret. ” You better get off to bed. It is quite late in the evening.” As changed the subject quickly.
To adhere to his request, I uttered, “Yes, Sir.”
When I was about to pass him, Master Jim tightly gripped my arm. Before he spoke, he looked around and whispered, “If I were you, I would lock my chamber door tonight. By any chance, do not leave your suite until the morning hours.“, I shook my head in agreement, “I would not like to keep you waiting.” He let go of my arm.
I sped off toward my bedroom. As soon as I entered my chamber, I locked my door. The door made a loud clink sound. I looked to my open curtained window; I determined to close them. I made myself jaunt over to my windows. Before I shut the curtains, I inspected the grounds. Paranoia filled my body. I closed my curtains tight, made sure no light could penetrate the outside world. Uneasily, I made myself walk to my bed. That night I didn’t blow out the candles.
“What is happening?” I muttered.
As the night dragged on, every sound startled me. Throughout the evening I could hear footsteps going down the hall. Here and there they stopped in front of my door. But they never stayed too long, only for a couple of moments. I hoped that the footsteps belonged to, were of Master Jim, or one of the servants who worked at the mansion. Possibly they were staying later than expected.