The Sins of His Grandmother

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Chapter 58

Years of being mentally stifled had caused Ms. Sillow to become reclusive; but due to her circumstance, that was about to change. Just one day after murdering her grandson, the deranged old woman was forced to step out of her comfort zone in order to recruit a young boy who would have to receive her daughter’s end-of-the-month phone calls on Presley’s behalf. Fortunately for her, she wouldn’t have to look too far.

On one side of Ms. Sillow’s cottage lay acres and acres of forestry that stretched back as far as the eyes could see. On the other side of her home was a set of neighbors. Stuart and Ann Cople and their eight-year-old son Joshua had been neighbors to Ms. Sillow for quite some time now. Construction on their home had started a year or two following the passage of her husband. Although she didn’t remember exactly when construction on the home had gotten under way, what she was certain of was that she wasn’t too fond of the idea of gaining a set of neighbors; and she made her feelings known very early on into the home’s construction phase. Just a week after construction on the Coples’ quaint little abode had started, one of the men involved in the building process witnessed something that he would never forget. Jebediah Kelk, a soft-spoken, white-haired and -moustached gentleman in his mid-to-late 60s, was a renowned carpenter in Yarmouth whom Mr. Cople had specifically requested to work on his house. One morning as Mr. Kelp was going over the house’s plan, he decided to take a seat on a tree stump situated between Ms. Sillow’s cottage and the spot where the Coples’ ranch house was being erected. Nothing was out of the ordinary that day. The skies were clear, the birds of the forest were making beautiful music, and the natural ventilation of a light northerly breeze made working conditions on this particular morning extremely pleasurable. After he had gotten through looking over the blueprint, he sat staring at Ms. Sillow’s cottage and began thinking to himself how he could use his carpentry expertise to restore the dilapidated structure to its former luster. After all, once completed, the beauty of the Coples’ brand-new ranch house was going to be overshadowed by the imposing two-storey eyesore that was in such close proximity to it. Mr. Kelk knew that this was something the Cople family wouldn’t be too thrilled about, but there was nothing that could be done about the matter. The belief of everyone working on the Coples’ home was that the cottage next door was unoccupied… just an abandoned home with no one living inside of it to make a refurbishment offer to. But as Mr. Kelk tilted his head back to take a drink of water from his vacuum flask, he noticed an eerie figure standing in one of the windows of the cottage’s attic. Taken aback and a little confused by the sight, he froze in place. Some of the water inside of his vacuum flask continued to go into his mouth while the rest poured out onto his shirt. At first, what he was seeing in the window was unclear to him; but as he remained focused on the object that was approximately 100 yards away from where he was seated, he was able to make out that it was a woman… a woman wearing a spectral black apostolnik on her head and a black nightgown. It was none other than Ms. Sillow herself. The angry scowl upon her face as she glared down on him made his very skin crawl, and a sudden gasp inadvertently resulted in some of the water he was drinking going down the wrong pipe. Mr. Kelk immediately hunched over on the stump, as the water that had gone down his trachea instantly induced a violent bout of coughing. Once his lungs had expelled all of the water out of it, he raised his head to see whether or not he was still under surveillance; but Ms. Sillow was by now long gone. Regardless, the spooky sighting was the carpenter’s cue to call his break off early.

Up until that point, no one would have ever dreamt that someone was actually living in such indigent conditions. Ms. Sillow’s cottage was literally falling apart. Its windows were all smudgy and dirty; its paint was badly chipped; and its roof was in total disrepair. And if the outside looked that shabby, one would naturally assume that the inside was just as run-down, if not worse. Apart from the terrible physical condition of the cottage, it was also believed to be unoccupied due to Ms. Sillow’s exceptional ability to stay low-key. From a distance, the workers spotted no sign of life in or around the decrepit cottage. Those horses that her husband once owned, following his death, she poisoned them. But there was something else that she had done after her husband had passed away that really allowed her to continue to fly under the radar. After Mr. Sillow’s long battle with Chron’s disease had finally claimed his life, a bereaved Ms. Sillow dragged his corpse all the way from their bedroom to the backyard and made that big midnight blue buggy with the ornate gold bulbs on top of it his final resting place. After saying a brief prayer for his soul, she went inside, retrieved several black bedsheets from the attic, returned to the backyard, and draped the sheets over the makeshift casket, making it one less traumatizing object from her past for her to ever have to lay her eyes on again. She then similarly covered up the stolen white carriage that was situated next to it. Out of respect for her late husband, she wanted to conceal anything that would have made her think of him in a negative light. Call it a stroke of luck or sheer good fortune, but had Ms. Sillow not covered up that blue buggy before construction on the Coples’ home had gotten under way, workers would have immediately reported its sighting to local authorities. Up to that point, the majority of residents in Yarmouth still believed that the notorious midnight blue buggy was something that only existed in popular folklore. Had the construction workers actually seen it with their own eyes and reported it, an investigation of the cottage would have ensued - since authorities were still of the belief that wherever Mr. Sillow resided, so did Amanda - and the mystery of that innocent little girl who had been abducted so many years ago would have finally been unraveled. And yet Mr. Kelk had no idea that he was actually looking directly into the eyes of Ms. Sillow herself just moments ago.

Ms. Sillow had intentionally made herself visible to the carpenter that day, making it the first time that anyone besides her late husband had seen her in over 20 years. Her hope was that he would have been filled with so much dread that his apprehension would have automatically been transferred over to his co-workers, causing work on the Coples’ home to immediately cease and desist.

Part one of Ms. Sillow’s stratagem worked perfectly. When Mr. Kelk had gotten back over to where his co-workers were, his startling appearance was the first thing that they noticed. He looked as though he had just seen a ghost. All of the workers immediately dropped their tools and raced over to him to find out exactly what the matter was. The elderly gentleman went into a complete frenzy as he engaged in a heated back-and-forth argument with some of his co-workers regarding what he had just witnessed. At one point, he had gotten so heated that he even threw his vacuum flask at one of the men contesting his assertion. As much as he insisted that he wasn’t “bullshitting” them, Mr. Kelk’s co-workers just didn’t buy his story of the strange woman in black standing in the attic window. Their disbelief meant that part two of Ms. Sillow’s ploy would turn out to be an utter failure. Work on the Coples’ ranch house wouldn’t be halted. Instead, the foreman on the site, Theodore Brable, wound up giving the perturbed Mr. Kelk the rest of the week off.

Once Mr. Kelk had left the job site, his outrageous claim was the hot topic amongst the workers for the remainder of the work day. After picking up and examining the empty vacuum flask that he had hurled during the contentious argument, some of his co-workers claimed that whatever was inside of the container was spiked, while others went so far as to assert that the old man always seemed to be a little off of his rocker. But whether or not they felt sorry for Mr. Kelk, all of the men got a good laugh out of his risible claim. However, no one’s teeth could be seen the following day when they reported to work and saw that black curtains now covered every single window of Ms. Sillow’s cottage.

Mr. Kelk never returned to the job site after his week off was up.

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