01 September 2012

The Night the Gin Froze - Epilogue

In 410 A.D., a Roman soldier stood, sword in hand. At the other end of the sword, on the ground, lay his fellow soldier. The lifeless body belonged to the husband of the woman he desired. The fierce wind, known in this part of the world as an ally on the battlefield, whipped through the field with such force it caused the murderer to falter in his step. He welcomed the wind—counted on it to spread the smell of blood. Hungry dogs with the scent in their noses found the body quickly. The soldier watched as they devoured the corpse. He was so pleased with his cunning—he wished he could brag of his ingenuity. But the soldier had been sliced in the struggle; blood pulsed from his forearm. The dogs were starving, and had been for some time. Girth was helpful in battle, but not in flight.

The soldier was outnumbered. His blood mingled with that of his victim, as it seeped into the soil.

In the fourteenth century, a trio of French men lured a young Roman boy left behind to the paranormal spot. Bulging with jingoistic bravado, they tied the boy to a tree. As they lay their torches to the boy’s garments, the wind soared in and changed the flame’s direction. The boy, a kind soul, would have given them aid, had he not been bound. The wind concealed their screams.

A house was commissioned on that bloodstained site in the mid 1500’s, by a less than honorable man as a gift for his beloved wife. He killed the builder after the completion of the second floor to avoid payment, and buried him in a makeshift cave in the kitchen. Once in her new home, his wife became plagued by visions and severe headaches. A second floor window was left open during a terrible storm. The wind carried in several drops and placed them on the tiled floor. The wife, exiting her bedroom, slipped and fell to the ground and into a coma. With her mind quiescent, the visions migrated to the man, driving him mad.

A young couple, very much in love, built two more stories in the 1700′s. They were well liked in town; beautiful, boisterous, lavish. They were brother and sister. Deformed babies lay beneath their beautiful rose garden, dead before they drew their first breaths. They constantly tended to the rose garden, as the wind kept unearthing little, bleached bones.

In the 1890’s, a gentleman moved into the house. He was a patron of the school of music that stood next door. He put a window in the kitchen so he could hear the music coming from the schoolyard. Graciously, he offered to mentor children in his home – children he, personally, selected. Those mentored were lower echelon and had nothing; including a voice against those of such an elevated status as the Monsieur. None of the children smiled again after their first visit to the house. The Monsieur mysteriously fell down the elaborate circular stairway. No one could understand why the walls did not stop him from falling all four levels and on to the living room floor where he finally broke his neck. The windstorm that night had pulled off his shutters one by one.

In the 1950s, a man and wife rented the house for some time. They were a lovely Swedish couple who integrated into the town well. The house remained quiet, until their children came to stay with them. The two adult children of the couple despised each other. However, they had traveled to South America together and then to Arles to see their often neglected and very wealthy parents. The small terra cotta pots they had carefully carried from South America had remained beautifully intact for the trip, but crumbled instantly when the children extracted them for their intended purpose. Clay debris sliced their hands; the curare the pots contained poured into their wounds. Their twisted, asphyxiated bodies lay beside a copy of their parents will. The Swedish couple had small statues commissioned for each and placed in front of the stair railing on the fourth floor, in effigy. The lady got the idea from a paper that had been blown onto her doorstep.

The house often called to those with consciences weighted by duplicity. Its walls housed many tales most did not want told. It provided asylum and bore their scars; all the while waiting for the wind to pass judgment.

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