A Story by mark slade



“Jenny, sweet, Jenny. I come see you as soon as I heard about the accident,” Dale said rushing through the door. He barely let the maid open the door when he tossed his hat to her, pushed her away from the bed room door. He saw that Jenny's mother was there as well as her brother Elijah.

Jenny was lying there with the covers to her neck, feeling faint. Beads of sweat had multiplied on her pale small face, her black  hair was drenched, stuck to her neck. Her once lively beautiful blue eyes were sunk in now. Her thin lips barely moved when she spoke.

“Oh, Dale. It's lovely of you to see me,” She whispered, holding out her hand to him.

“I would never leave your side in a time like this,” Dale took her hand, managed a slight smile. He fell to his knees at her bedside, kissed her hand.

“Betsy, get Mr. Toddler a chair,” Jenny's Mother said.

“Yes ma'am,” Betsy began to leave.

“Don't bother, Dale said. “My comfort is the least in my mind.”

“I wish this whole thing hadn't happened,” Elijah said. “It's all my fault.” Elijah placed a hand on his forehead.

“Please, Elijah,” His Mother said. She touched Elijah's arm. “Don't put all the blame on yourself.”

The Mother shifted in her chair, the long black gown becoming uncomfortable in the heat. “I told her not to go riding yesterday. The stars predicted a tragedy.”

“Has the Doctor been here?” Dale added some pepper in his words. He kissed Jenny's hand again.

“Yes,” Elijah said. “He has been here several times between today and tomorrow.”

“And he said what?” Dale demanded.

“Mr. Toddler. I do not like your tone. In my house you will be civil.” Jenny's Mother bolted up from her chair.

“You never liked me and liked it even less that I was with Jenny,” Dale shot back.

“It was the accusations, Mr. Toddler, that put you in ill favor with me. Of course I think you are beneath my daughter---”

“You don't have the right---”

“Please you two!” Elijah interrupted. “For Jenny's sake. Stop this. Mother, you can see Dale is upset, and with good cause. Let him be.”

“He always said we mismanage Jenny's money. We do right by her.” Jenny's Mother fought back tears.

Elijah put his arm around his Mother. “Let it go for now, Mother. Let us give them some time together. Come...have some tea.” Elijah urged her to leave with him.

As they went out of the bedroom, Jenny's Mother said, “I shall have something stronger, for my nerves.”

“Yes, Mother,” Elijah said.

Dale waited for their voices to disappear down the hall before he broke down. He sobbed terribly. He lowered his head into her covers. He felt Jenny's hands on his head, rubbing gently.

“Everything will be fine,” Jenny said, her voice weak.

“How did it happen?”

Jenny took a breath, the pain came in tiny parts. “My horse reared at a snake. I fell. The frightened creature stepped back, crushed my legs.”

“How long before those vampires called Dr. Mays?”

“He was out of town on a call. He came as soon as he could.”

“They did it on purpose. I knew I shouldn't have left you.”

“I suppose it was in the cards.”

“Please don't quote your Mother. Silly superstitious cow.”

“I often think of us...you at your desk writing for the stage for me to perform my dance.”

“Soon, you'll be up and dancing again, I know it. As soon as the sickness is gone.”

Elijah appeared at the door. “Dr. Mays is here. Dale, I will fix you drink if you come with me.”

Dale stood, turned to Jenny. “I wont be long.”

Elijah cornered Dale in the hallway. He leaned closer to Dale. Dale turned his head from Elijah.”We would never do anything to hurt Jenny purpose. Mother and I are her only family.”

“You're drunk.” Dale said.

“I always have protected my little sister.”

“Didn't protect her well enough the past few days.'

“I already said I was sorry. I knew that horse was no good....she insisted on riding it.”

Dr. Mays came through, breaking up the private conversation. He went to the door, took one last look at Dale and Elijah. He gave them a hard look, then went in the bedroom.

“I didn't want to get rid of you,” Elijah said. “Mother didn't trust you. She thought all you wanted was Jenny's money.”

“Why did you tell Jenny about my wife, then?”

“I didn't....what wife?”

Dale stared at him. “The wife I left behind in San Francisco six years ago. I received a note from someone saying that if I didn't leave Jenny, they would tell her everything. The paper it was written on had a strange discoloring, the logo from your publishing company. I naturally assumed it was you because you were in Frisco last year. Maybe you checked up on me.”

Elijah shook his head. “No. I didn't know you had a wife at all. Didn't care to check on you. I was there to buy some property. Getting into the Hotel business...or was. Lost it mostly due to that bad land deal. It wasn't me. No interest in you at all.”

“When I was in Frisco, I noticed someone had been following me. A man watching my every move, hanging around street corners, hiding behind buildings. I was going to see my estranged wife. Ask her for the divorce. I always planned to tell Jenny. When I noticed the man following me, I hid in a church. I waited for two hours, as he did waiting for me to leave.

“He grew tired of the waiting, headed down the street. I turned the tables on him. It turns out he was Pinkerton man. A private investigator.”

“I had nothing at all to do with that. Perhaps, this is Mother's doing.” Elijah said.

At that moment Dr. Mays exited the bedroom. He was looking rather pale, confused. Dale and Elijah approached him, cautiously, exchanging looks. Dr. Mays closed the door behind him, leaned on it.

“What's wrong,Doctor?” Elijah asked.

“Extraordinary,” Dr. Mays sputtered. “Completely...insane.”

“What is?” Dale became excited, dread in his voice.

Dale put his hand on the doorknob. Dr. Mays shook his head. “Don't go in there,” He begged. “You will not believe your eyes.”

Dale turned the doorknob, the door thrust open. Jenny was hovering in the air above her bed. She was maybe ten feet up, and rising toward the ceiling. She lying on her back, her nightshirt dangling behind her. Tresses of her hair were waving, as if a gust of wind was the source of her ascent.

Jenny was smiling. Happy. She looked at the three of them and spoke softly. “It's amazing, isn't it? I don't know how...or why. I feel...invincible.”

Dale was without words. Elijah struggle to stay on his feet as he pushed past Dr. Mays, galloping down the hallway calling for his Mother. Dr. Mays closed his eyes, whispered some prayers.

“Why is this happening, Doctor?”

Dr. Mays was busy, his lips moving, barely a sound coming from his parting lips.

Dale put his hands on his shoulders, shook him. “I want an answer, now!” He screamed.

Dr. Mays pushed his hands away. “I don't know why this is happening! All of these years as a man of science..I have never prayed before tonight. This incident has frozen my ability to theorize. I simply can not explain this.”

Dale saw the notepaper on the table next to Jenny's bed, the paper with the logo of Elijah's failed publishing company. He was flabbergasted.

“Dale,” Jenny said. “If I can do this, then I will be able to walk. And I can return to the stage and dance.”

“Is that true, Dr. Mays? Will be able to walk again?” Dale turned to the Doctor quickly.

“No,” Dr. Mays said. “Did they not tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

“The sickness,” Dr. Mays continued. “It spread to the other crushed leg. I had take them both.”

Dale walked to Jenny, who had not come down to her bed yet, still floating in the air, legless.

© 2012 mark slade

My Review

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The suspense was at such a nice pace, loaded up with details. Like the "Pinkerton man" reference, sets the time period and the couple drama added that extra tension which, like life, there is plenty. The ending had your particular touch.

And thank you for submitting this to Surreal-zine.

Posted 11 Years Ago

That was pretty good. I like the way you made the characters distinctly different. I'd like to know more about what will happen in the story which is always a good sign. The story itself had a very good cliff hanger that wouldn't have guessed. Really good

Posted 12 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on May 14, 2012
Last Updated on May 15, 2012


mark slade
mark slade

williamsburg, VA

a writer of horror and dark fantasy http://bloodydreadful.blogspot.com/ more..


A Story by mark slade