Three loud blasts of violins and trumpets broadened the room. Lady Marshall must have gone to the music room to listen to Beethoven’s Third Symphony. This would be the fourth time today she had listened to it.
Edvard walked from the guest room, closing the doors behind him. Turning from the doors he found Miss Cleaver watching him.
They caught eyes. Edvard stifled his rebuke to continue working. Poor Miss Cleaver looked like she had seen a ghost.
“The Lady’s gone mad, hasn’t she?” Miss Cleaver asked, her voice shaking along with her body.
Edvard narrowed his eyes. Beethoven’s cellos overtook the trumpets. He dared not to speak ill of his lady during the pianissimo parts. “To work, Miss Cleaver. Back to work.”
Miss Cleaver bowed and returned to dusting the gold bust of Harold Marshall.
Edvard walked down the hallway to the master staircase. He paused for a moment listening to the echoing theme now in A flat. He hummed to himself, then turned to head to the master bedroom.
Opening the double doors he slide inside and closed them noiselessly behind him. He stood for a moment allowing his eyes to adjust to the dark.
The strings changed to minor. Edvard always thought this part sounded like waves crashing against rocks during a frightful storm. The music room sat farthest from the master bedroom, giving Edvard the best place to think in peace.
He sat, slumped over, upon the bed. If Lady Marshall found him here he would be fired. But he knew she would remain in the music room for the forty-eight and a half minutes it took to listen to the entirety of the symphony. Forty-eight and a half minutes to give Edvard a chance to wonder if Harold Marshall was still alive and wandering the home. Such an impossibility meant it must have been a dream.
Or a ghost.
Pushing his long fingers against his temple Edvard shut his eyes. The night before he had been awakened suddenly by a loud crashing. He’d only heard such a sound once before. Edvard tried to replay that moment, the moment of waking, the moment the sound pierced his ears and his breath was stolen from him again.
“I’m not long for this world.” Lord Marshall had said. His dying words to Edvard as the poor man lay stricken in his bed. Fever had taken hold the night before and nothing could save him. Edvard held his master’s hand before leaving him to his Lady.
Only instead of the quiet sobs coming through the door, upon leaving Edvard heard crashing followed by a horrible shrieking.
“No Harold! Harold! Harold!” Lady Marshall, the essence of decorum, shrieked out the window.
The crashing noise, it was the same. Edvard had to be sure of it. Symphony number three, cracking, crashing, shrieking. All the same.
Minus the shrieking. Lady Marshall only watched her husband jump through a window once.
And now Edvard had heard him fall twice.
The music stopped.
Edvard’s head snapped up. It had not been forty-eight and a half minutes yet.
The shrieking. It was happening again.
“No Harold! Harold! Harold!” Lady Marshall’s voice rose through the floor of the master bedroom.
The bedroom doors slammed open, Edvard stood to meet his Lady. Miss Cleaver walked through the door instead, her hand gripped her rag tightly. Her eyes were wide with fear. “The Lady’s really gone mad, hasn’t she?”
Edvard strode towards her, placing his hands on her shoulders he said, “I fear so.”
Quickly Edvard headed towards the master staircase. Miss Cleaver followed behind. By the time they reached the bottom of the stairs the shrieking had stopped.
The two servants stood for a time listening. The gold frames holding paintings of the Marshall’s children glistened.
A moan came from the music room. Edvard ran. Miss Cleaver followed him as he threw open the doors.
In the middle of the room, Lady Marshall lay still. Glass covered her body. Edvard looked around the room everywhere, but nothing appeared broken.
“It’s glass – glass from the upstairs windows.” Miss Cleaver spoke.
Edvard turned to her, “How can you know that.”
“It’s the only glass with the pink tint. You know how the Lady likes the things pink.” Miss Cleaver picked up a piece of glass and twisted it in the lights. Pink brightened their faces.
Edvard ran to the upstairs guest bedroom. The windows remained intact. He walked to the middle window, the one his master had jumped from two years previous. The sunlight seemed to highlight the place Lord Marshall had fallen. Edvard closed his eyes.
Miss Cleaver came up behind him, “Two years to the day.”
“Yes.” Edvard said through clenched teeth.
Miss Cleaver whispered, “It’s like they planned it.”
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