It took me until this very morning, almost an entire day, to find a driver who would take me out to Janus House, there on the outskirts of Mount Airy. In that time my anger cooled a bit and I was able to compose myself for the journey – and for facing Janus. I had words for him to hear, but I believed I could say them with a relatively rational tongue in my head. After I arrived at the house and began to slog through the mounting snow up the long path to its front door, my anger returned, though, and it was only the unexpected sight of the sergeant himself on his front porch that kept me from taking a poke at him.
I opened my mouth to remonstrate Janus for his bothering me about supposed messages from Miriam when he held up one hand, smiled and then reached out to take my own hand. Something about his demeanor brought me up short and I meekly shook his offered hand. He then ushered me inside Janus House as if I were an old friend.
The insides were dark. I didn’t know what to expect, having heard many wild tales of the mansion’s particulars, but I could make out little in the gloom. Janus explained that the house was being “cleaned” and seemed to think that a good enough reason for the darkness. I turned to him in the shadowy foyer and demanded to know why he persisted in approaching me about Miriam.
”She is lost, as I have endeavored to tell you,” he said simply. “She is quite lost and even my own abilities are not enough to shed light on the path back to her designated resting place.”
Before I could speak again, he continued. “You see,” he whispered, nodding, “her mind has not healed beyond the grave, as is…customary. It was shredded when she was very young, and the damage was so extensive it was a wonder she was able to function into adulthood. Perhaps some credit for that was due to your very great love and depth of feeling for her.”
I was stunned. I came to Janus House with thoughts of malice in my head and here the sergeant had defused me completely with only a few words. Knocked back on my heels, I stammered out a reply.
“Shredded?” I asked, confused. “By what?”
”Spirits,” said Janus, his cool eyes searching mine. “Selfish, vengeful spirits…”
TO BE CONTINUED in Part 5.
All contents © Jim Beard 2012
Pick up a copy of SGT. JANUS, SPIRIT-BREAKER at Amazon.com.