by Rohn Federbush
I met her in Ludington where writers sometimes met in an abandoned church to nurse the wounds of rejection and engender futile hopes of fame. We stayed as it happened in a bed-and-breakfast built by the gigantic ego of a man destined to be forgotten, too. He’d installed a balcony to the upstairs master bedroom in case he needed to give his governor acceptance speech to an adoring crowd gathered on his front lawn.
All the rooms were huge with the landings and halls between them large enough for an average family’s media room. They don’t call them living rooms anymore because they can’t really exist or grow when the contraption is sucking out their brains and leaving no time for conversation or reflection.
Maybe that was the trouble. No televisions invaded the rooms; only the front room next to the entrance harbored one, maybe to not frighten future borders away. The library, however, was a sumptuous place with tables to write on and comfortable nooks to hide way in with tables for the twelve-hour fresh coffee and cookies provided whilst taking pleasure in turning the glue-spelling, paper pages of actual books.
The first night of my stay, I heard a noise, not really a shout and opened my door in time to see a black maid barely dressed, but toweled and burdened with clothes clasped in front of her heading in nude feet for the back servants staircase.
“The ghost is back,” she whispered, bug-eyed.
Henry, Heather’s husband dove toward me as he snatched a fireplace iron from the hearth in the hall and rushed to the opened door leading to the master suite. “Don’t come in!” he yelled at us.
I hadn’t noticed Heather was standing in her night clothes next to me until she took my hand and we followed Henry despite his warning across the hall.
He blocked the entrance. “Call 911. Tell them there’s been a suicide.”
“Who is it?” Heather asked sinking down into one of the love seats in the hall.
“His head is gone.” Henry shut the door and replaced the poker, before joining her on the small sofa. “No one you would know,” he said.
But Heater seemed too distraught for the plight of a person she’d never know. Surely she’d set eyes on a fellow tenant of the house.
“How long have you been staying here before I arrived,” I asked.
“Two years.” Her face was wet with tears. “He loved the library.”
Reason enough to grieve, I thought.