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My Inspiration Monday contribution, this week, has been inspired by the prompt; Writes but can’t read. While the rest of the UK, indeed perhaps the world, has been celebrating HM’s diamond jubilee, I have been exploring darker places …

Be careful what you wish for

Blindness was all she knew, she could sense only the creamy glow from the gas mantle. She sat in the high-backed chair, the oval table in front of her was spread with a deep maroon, chenille tablecloth.

Helena sat, eyes closed, with her hands resting on the table while the family filed in. They removed their hats and bonnets and took their places. Helena’s maid drifted from the shadow and closed the door, locking it behind them. The maid brought the devices of Helena’s communication and laid them carefully before her; the writing paper directly in front of her, the crystal inkwell at the tips of her right thumb and forefinger, and the pen across the top of the paper.

Helena spoke, “Please, place your hands on the table and link with the person either side.” The family eyed each other across the table and reluctantly touched the fingers the person next to them. Immediately  the link was complete Helena opened her eyes. The sitters stifled gasps as the blank alabaster orbs glowed from her eye sockets.

“Please don’t be concerned at my disfigurement,” she smiled, “for it allows me to see beyond the physical.” she paused. While they waited, the temperature in the room fell noticeably, the chill brushed past the napes of their necks like the finger of death. As it reached Helena, she sighed and, to the relief of the sitters, her eyes closed.

After a minute’s silence she took the pen in her left hand and dipped it in the inkwell, the words flowed from right to left across the page in a perfectly reversed form, her black lace cuff dragged across the paper.The old woman opposite her hissed to her brother, “She uses her left hand, surely a sign of Satan!”

Helena’s eyes flashed open again. “Silence!” her voice much deeper now, “You have paid but a guinea for this communication, for information known only by the dead. Surely that is cheap enough, even for the likes of you?”

The old woman gasped and took her hands from the table.

“Don’t break the link!” the voice from Helena boomed across the table and the link was remade by trembling hands. Then in a more gentle yet sneering tone, “Now we continue.” Silence enveloped the room, except for the scratching of pen on paper, and the rustling of coarse black lace and taffeta.

Helena wrote for fifteen minutes then stopped, placed the pen on the table and pushed the inkwell away. She leaned back in the chair and slumped, exhausted. Her maid dabbed the last of the writing with blotting paper, and handed it to the head of the family group.

“You will need a mirror to read it,” she said, “You may all stand in front of this one and read it together.” She pulled aside a curtain and revealed a large gold framed mirror, wide enough for the whole group. They stood and the man held the sheets towards the mirror. The writing appeared in perfect copperplate. They read, in awe of the information that was there. As he read aloud the final sentence a shadow formed behind their reflection. The dark voice that previously emanated from Helena, was now discarnate around the room.

“Now you must pay the final price, for as I said, this information is known – only by the dead.”

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Inspired by Inspiration Monday on the Bekindrewite blog of 28 May 2012

(c) 2012, K Patrick Moody