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Night Shift [PDF / EPUB] Night Shift JERUSALEM S LOTOct AR BONESHow good it was to step into the cold draughty hall here at Chapelwaite every bone in an ache from that abominable coach in need of instant relief from my distended bladdera JERUSALEM S LOTOct AR BONESHow good it was to step into the cold draughty hall here at Chapelwaite every bone in an ache from that abominable coach in need of instant relief from my distended bladderand to see a letter addressed in your own inimitable scrawl propped on the obscene little cherry wood table beside the door Be assured that I set to deciphering it as soon as the needs of the body were attended to in a coldly ornate downstairs bathroom where I could see my breath rising before my eyesI m glad to hear that you are recovered from the miasma that has so long set in your lungs although I assure you that I do sympathize with the moral dilemma the cure has affected you with An ailing abolitionist healed by the sunny climes of slave struck Florida Still and all Bones I ask you as a friend who has also walked in the valley of the shadow to take all care of yourself and venture not back to Massachusetts until your body gives you leave Your fine mind and incisive pen cannot serve us if you are clay and if the Southern zone is a healing one is there not poetic justice in that Yes the house is uite as fine as I had been led to believe by my cousin s executors but rathersinister It sits atop a huge and jutting point of land perhaps three miles north of Falmouth and nine miles north of Portland Behind it are some four acres of grounds gone back to the wild in the most formidable manner imaginablejunipers scrub vines bushes and various forms of creeper climb wildly over the picturesue stone walls that separate the estate from the town domain Awful imitations of Greek statuary peer blindly through the wrack from atop various hillocksthey seem in most cases about to lunge at the passer by My cousin Stephen s tastes seem to have run the gamut from the unacceptable to the downright horrific There is an odd little summer house which has been nearly buried in scarlet sumac and a grotesue sundial in the midst of what must once have been a garden It adds the final lunatic touchBut the view from the parlourthan excuses this I command a dizzying view of the rocks at the foot of Chapelwaite Head and the Atlantic itself A huge bellied bay window looks out on this and a huge toadlike secretary stands beside it It will do nicely for the start of that novel which I have talked of so long and no doubt tiresomelyTo day has been gray with occasional splatters of rain As I look out all seems to be a study in slatethe rocks old and worn as Time itself the sky and of course the sea which crashes against the granite fangs below with a sound which is not precisely sound but vibrationI can feel the waves with my feet even as I write The sensation is not a wholly unpleasant oneI know you disapprove my solitary habits dear Bones but I assure you that I am fine and happy Calvin is with me as practical silent and as dependable as ever and by midweek I am sure that between the two of us we shall have straightened our affairs and made arrangement for necessary deliveries from townand a company of cleaning women to begin blowing the dust from this place I will closethere are so many things as yet to be seen rooms to explore and doubtless a thousand pieces of execrable furniture to be viewed by these tender eyes Once again my thanks for the touch of familiar brought by your letter and for your continuing regardGive my love to your wife as you both have mineARLESOct AR BONESSuch a place this is It continues to amaze meas do the reactions of the townfolk in the closest village to my occupancy That is a ueer little place with the picturesue name of Preacher s Corners It was there that Calvin contracted for the weekly provisions The other errand that of securing a sufficient supply of cordwood for the winter was likewise taken care of But Cal returned with gloomy countenance and when I asked him what the trouble was he replied grimly enough They think you mad Mr Boone I laughed and said that perhaps they had heard of the brain fever I suffered after my Sarah diedcertainly I spoke madly enough at that time as you could attestBut Cal protested that no one knew anything of me except through my cousin Stephen who contracted for the same services as I have now made provision for What was said sir was that anyone who would live in Chapelwaite must be either a lunatic or run the risk of becoming one This left me utterly perplexed as you may imagine and I asked who had given him this amazing communication He told me that he had been referred to a sullen and rather besotted pulp logger named Thompson who owns four hundred acres of pine birch and spruce and who logs it with the help of his five sons for sale to the mills in Portland and to householders in the immediate areaWhen Cal all unknowing of his ueer prejudice gave him the location to which the wood was to be brought this Thompson stared at him with his mouth ajaw and said that he would send his sons with the wood in the good light of the day and by the sea roadCalvin apparently misreading my bemusement for distress hastened to say that the man reeked of cheap whiskey and that he had then lapsed into some kind of nonsense about a deserted village and cousin Stephen s relationsand worms Calvin finished his business with one of Thompson s boys who I take it was rather surly and none too sober or freshly scented himself I take it there has been some of this reaction in Preacher s Corners itself at the general store where Cal spoke with the shop keeper although this wasof the gossipy behind the hand typeNone of this has bothered me much we know how rustics dearly love to enrich their lives with the smell of scandal and myth and I suppose poor Stephen and his side of the family are fair game As I told Cal a man who has fallen to his death almost from his own front porch isthan likely to stir talkThe house itself is a constant amazement Twenty three rooms Bones The wainscotting which panels the upper floors and the portrait gallery is mildewed but still stout While I stood in my late cousin s upstairs bedroom I could hear the rats scuttering behind it and big ones they must be from the sound they makealmost like people walking there I should hate to encounter one in the dark or even in the light for that matter Still I have noted neither holes nor droppings OddThe upper gallery is lined with bad portraits in frames which must be worth a fortune Some bear a resemblance to Stephen as I remember him I believe I have correctly identified my Uncle Henry Boone and his wife Judith the others are unfamiliar I suppose one of them may be my own notorious grandfather Robert But Stephen s side of the family is all but unknown to me for which I am heartily sorry The same good humour that shone in Stephen s letters to Sarah and me the same light of high intellect shines in these portraits bad as they are For what foolish reasons families fall out A rifled escritoire hard words between brothers now dead three generations and blameless descendants are needlessly estranged I cannot help reflecting upon how fortunate it was that you and John Petty succeeded in contacting Stephen when it seemed I might follow my Sarah through the Gatesand upon how unfortunate it was that chance should have robbed us of a face to face meeting How I would have loved to hear him defend the ancestral statuary and furnishings But do not let me denigrate the place to an extreme Stephen s taste was not my own true but beneath the veneer of his additions there are pieces a number of them shrouded by dust covers in the upper chambers which are true masterworks There are beds tables and heavy dark scrollings done in teak and mahogany and many of the bedrooms and receiving chambers the upper study and small parlour hold a somber charm The floors are rich pine that glow with an inner and secret light There is dignity here dignity and the weight of years I cannot yet say I like it but I do respect it I am eager to watch it change as we revolve through the changes of this northern climeLord I run on Write soon Bones Tell me what progress you make and what news you hear from Petty and the rest And please do not make the mistake of trying to persuade any new Southern acuaintances as to your views too forciblyI understand that not all are content to answer merely with their mouths as is our long winded friend Mr CalhounYr affectionate friendCHARLESOct AR RICHARDHello and how are you I have thought about you often since I have taken up residence here at Chapelwaite and had half expected to hear from youand now I receive a letter from Bones telling me that I d forgotten to leave my address at the club Rest assured that I would have written eventually anyway as it sometimes seems that my true and loyal friends are all I have left in the world that is sure and completely normal And Lord how spread we ve become You in Boston writing faithfully for The Liberator to which I have also sent my address incidentally Hanson in England on another of his confoundedjaunts and poor old Bones in the very lions lair recovering his lungsIt goes as well as can be expected here Dick and be assured I will render you a full account when I am not uite as pressed by certain events which are extant hereI think your legal mind may be uite intrigued by certain happenings at Chapelwaite and in the area about itBut in the meantime I have a favour to ask if you will entertain it Do you remember the historian you introduced me to at Mr Clary s fund raising dinner for the cause I believe his name was Bigelow At any rate he mentioned that he made a hobby of collecting odd bits of historical lore which pertained to the very area in which I am now living My favour then is this Would you contact him and ask him what facts bits of folklore or general rumourif anyhe may be conversant with about a small deserted village called JERUSALEM S LOT near a township called Preacher s Corners on the Royal River The stream itself is a tributary of the Androscoggin and flows into that river approximately eleven miles above that river s emptying place near Chapelwaite It would gratify me intensely andimportant may be a matter of some momentIn looking over this letter I feel I have been a bit short with you Dick for which I am heartily sorry But be assured I will explain myself shortly and until that time I send my warmest regards to your wife two fine sons and of course to yourselfYr affectionate friendCHARLESOct AR BONESI have a tale to tell you which seems a little strange and even disuieting to both Cal and mesee what you think If nothing else it may serve to amuse you while you battle the mosuitoes Two days after I mailed my last to you a group of four young ladies arrived from the Corners under the supervision of an elderly lady of intimidatingly competent visage named Mrs Cloris to set the place in order and to remove some of the dust that had been causing me to sneeze seemingly at every other step They all seemed a little nervous as they went about their chores indeed one flighty miss uttered a small screech when I entered the upstairs parlour as she dustedI asked Mrs Cloris about this she was dusting the downstairs hall with grim determination that would have uite amazed you her hair done up in an old faded bandanna and she turned to me and said with an air of determination They don t like the house and I don t like the house sir because it has always been a bad house My jaw dropped at this unexpected bit and she went on in a kindlier tone I do not mean to say that Stephen Boone was not a fine man for he was I cleaned for him every second Thursday all the time he was here as I cleaned for his father Mr Randolph Boone until he and his wife disappeared in eighteen and sixteen Mr Stephen was a good and kindly man and so you seem sir if you will pardon my bluntness I know no other way to speak but the house is bad and it always has been and no Boone has ever been happy here since your grandfather Robert and his brother Philip fell out over stolen and here she paused almost guiltily items in seventeen and eighty nine Such memories these folks have Bones Mrs Cloris continued The house was built in unhappiness has been lived in with unhappiness there has been blood spilt on its floors as you may or may not know Bones my Uncle Randolph was involved in an accident on the cellar stairs which took the life of his daughter Marcella he then took his own life in a fit of remorse The incident is related in one of Stephen s letters to me on the sad occasion of his dead sister s birthday there has been disappearance and accident I have worked here Mr Boone and I am neither blind nor deaf I ve heard awful sounds in the walls sir awful soundsthumpings and crashings and once a strange wailing that was half laughter It fair made my blood curdle It s a dark place sir And there she halted perhaps afraid she had spoken too muchAs for myself I hardly knew whether to be offended or amused curious or merely matter of fact I m afraid that amusement won the day And what do you suspect Mrs Cloris Ghosts rattling chains But she only looked at me oddly Ghosts there may be But it s not ghosts in the walls It s not ghosts that wail and blubber like the damned and crash and blunder away in the darkness It s Come Mrs Cloris I prompted her You ve come this far Now can you finish what you ve begun The strangest expression of terror piue and I would swear to itreligious awe passed over her face Some die not she whispered Some live in the twilight shadows Between to serveHimA master storyteller Los Angeles TimesEerie Ought to chill the cockles of many a heart Chicago TribuneA master King will catch you in his web and reach you at an elemental level where there is no defense Palm Beach Post The most wonderfully gruesome man on the planet USA Today An undisputed master of suspense and terror The Washington PostKing probably knowsabout scary goings on in confined isolated places than anybody since Edgar Allan Poe Entertainment Weekly Hes the author who can always make the improbable so scary youll feel compelled to check the locks on the front door The Boston Globe Peerless imagination The Observer London.

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