The Depth: Seventh Wake
It was Farringate, the city magistrate, who had thought of his old colleague, Mr. Moss. Wake had come along (by private car) docilely enough. We shut him in a room, there, at Abbothurst Farm. I think it is nothing—that is, I do not find it sinister—that your uncle’s house has since burnt down. I told Wake I thought he must know what to do. And he had said to me, though reluctant, I believe, ‘Yes, likely I will.’ Last of all he said, ‘You will be careful, sir, of that man Howitt.’
I am in an attic, a low, chill chamber
Smelling of linens, wax, and dust
Samuels has placed a vial…
With a plink of glass his fingers snuffs
Next the basin. Shall I fill it?
And taking poison, wash my hands?
His hands betray a season come too late
I gave my soul to him a moment after
This, Wake, is what you never knew and hoped to fathom
He starts, and drops the victim’s head
That he had pressed his eyes to
The voice is Howitt’s
‘Yes, constable, very true. An old woman’s dream,
and her day help gone missing. Hysteria. The girl will turn up.’
Howitt seems to think of things. He chuckles,
and this rattling, lacking mirth, ascends the stairs.
Wake sees his half-closed door begin to swing.
(2017, Stephanie Foster)