Germaine Clermont hurried across the platform and huffed when she stopped for a breath. She had a bad premonition about everything here. She always had--though she had never been able to determine what for. But she had something else on her mind. When an opportunity came, Germaine hurried to an unused public telephone. She picked up the phone but stopped.
Could she still remember it? It had been a long time--perhaps the number had changed or they no longer lived there. She picked her brain for the number. Got it!
She dialed a number and waited with abated breath.
The phone rang a couple of times--Germaine was just about to hang up, disappointed, but was actually surprised when someone answered.
"Hello?" Germaine was overjoyed.
"Marceau? Marceau Brisbane?" she said. There was a period of silence as Marceau thought for a moment.
"Who is this?" she said hesitantly.
"Germaine--Germaine Clermont--you must remember me from Islantilla." Another silence.
"Germaine--THE Germaine? Oh my God! What a surprise--I-I don't know what to say."
"Me neither--I can't believe that I still remember your number." The two chatted away for a minute more but Germaine had something serious to ask.
"Marceau--I need to speak to Zaire."
* * *
Waverly's cellphone rang. She pulled it from her back pocket, excused herself and walked away as she answered it. "Hi, Mom."
Ishod glanced at Waverly, arching a brow.
"Can I call you back later? This really isn't a good time." Waverly spoke into the phone. "No, I'm not in trouble. Just looking for something."
After a few seconds of listening, Waverly nodded and said goodbye.
"I thought you said your mother was in the cemetery?" Ishod voiced his question as Waverly slipped the cellphone into her back pocket.
"My birth mother is. I was adopted when I was very little by Adam and Molly Clark. They used to live here, but they moved to America for different reasons, none of which I'd like to discuss right now." Waverly said, observing a bookshelf and avoiding eye contact.
* * *
Ishod smirked and looked at Waverly with a strange smile.
"Just out of curiosity, Waverly...just HOW much do you know about your aunt, Lucinda Cain?" Waverly stopped in her tracks and whirled around to face Ishod.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean EXACTLY what I said: just how much do you know about Lucinda Cain?"
* * *
"She's my aunt. I know a lot about her." Waverly said, shrugging her shoulders.
* * *
"Oh, is that so? Like what do you know about her past?"
Waverly turned red and felt like smacking Ishod.
"And why do you want to know about her past? It's none of your concern." Ishod laughed and shook his head.
"As far as I see it, I would have to say that everything around her is suspicious--including your aunt it would seem."
"You don't know anything about her!"
"You're right--I DON'T! So why don't you enlighten me?"
* * *
With little help from the Rector, Azzy retrieved a round-edged spade from a nearby shed, whistling all the while. He stepped over the grave and made a show of stabbing the spade into the soft earth.
"Well, are you going to help me, or no?"
Lebanon stood shocked, just staring. "Well, I've never experienced this before, not in St. Barthelemy. It's unheard of. The thought of disturbing the rest of the dead..."
"How about the thought of destroying the life of the living? That's what I'm suspecting, here. No one's supposed to be dead, and yet here we have what seems to be evidence of a dead body. If someone is buried here, it is our duty to find out who they are and why they're dead. If, in fact, the grave is empty, then it's all just as well and we won't be disturbing any resting dead. Alright?"
Without waiting for a response from Lebanon, Azzy began shoveling the loose dirt away from the grave, tossing it in a messy pile on the lawn. He chuckled as he did so.
"It may come as a shock, but believe it or not, this isn't the first time I've exhumed a grave, you know. Long story. All started in Glasgow, back in '07. Or was it 04? No, never mind, couldn't have been '04, I was in Aberdeen that year. Quarantined, actually; that's the year I got terribly sick with a very rare flu strain..."
After several minutes of digging and relating tales of his past life, Azzy suddenly stopped cold as the spade slammed into something hard.
"Bingo," Azzy said with a grin, and swept aside the dirt to uncover the top of a cold, casket-sized iron box, locked tight with at least five padlocks.
"Someone doesn't want us getting in," Azzy remarked, and then gave Lebanon a severe look, "Or perhaps... they don't want someone getting out?" He held the severe gaze for several long seconds, as the air seemed to get colder. And then, suddenly, he started laughing.
"Just kidding, of course. Good joke, though. Anyhow, are you any good at picking locks?" He asked with a casual sniff.
* * *
Waverly thought for a moment. She detested how Ishod was attempting to pry into personal affairs...but she couldn't shake off that feeling...that feeling that there was something in what he said. What DID she know about Aunt Lucinda? She had heard her aunt talk of her past quite frequently but there was nothing in particular that stood out to here---or was there? She had always talked about her mom...how they were the best of friends along with several others. But that was about it. Nothing else. So why did she feel like she was missing the point? Had she not listened carefully?
The expression "read between the lines" kept repeating like a stuck gramophone in her head--gramophone. Waverly smiled as she thought of something as old as a--
Suddenly her memory pricked. Something stirred...a vague shadow of a childhood attempted to call out the answer. Gramophone...why had she been reminded of a gramophone?
* * *
Waverly held up a finger, thinking. She looked around the library, but didn't find a gramophone. Narrowing her eyes, she tried to remember where she had seen one. Mr. Weston's room!
Without saying anything to Ishod, Waverly ran out of the library and up the stairs, her tennis shoes tapping the hard marble flooring.
"Mr. Weston!" Waverly knocked on the door. She had seen the gramophone when he opened his door this morning.
* * *
ST. MARK'S CEMETARY
Emilia Carson wondered in and out between graves. Her face was pale and in cold sweat--a face that showed that she always lived in fear. What was she supposed to do? She had to get out...as if by instinct she looked up to the sky and saw that the rain was letting up. It had now become a modest drizzle but the air was humid and sticky. Emilia kept walking until she came to a stone wall--was this the church? She could comprehend what she was doing--her thoughts were blurred and fuzzy.
There was a door. She tried the knob and it opened.
She closed the door behind her and found herself in a dark vestry. There was a lone candle lit around a corner and all was quiet except for the gentle pitter-patter of raindrops outside. With her back up against the cold stone wall, Emilia slid down until she was sitting. Her head rested up against the wall. Her eyelids fluttered.
She fell asleep...
* * *
Germaine hung up the phone and shook her head in disappointment. She kept up with the time and saw that it was time to go. She had to get to St. Barthelemy. She had to get there soon.