Someone in the House

Someone in the House by Barbara Michaels Page B

Book: Someone in the House by Barbara Michaels Read Free Book Online
Authors: Barbara Michaels
out like a vulgarity.
    “This is a very old house.”
    “I know, I know. But damn it, Bea, I’d rather believe I was sick in the head and hallucinating. And if you quoteHamlet to me, I may call you a bad name.”
    “Horatio, wasn’t it? Anne, would you like a cup of tea?”
    I had to laugh. “What I really want is a drink, but I don’t think that would be a good idea. Go ahead and make the tea, if you want some; I can’t quite visualize us calmly discussing ghosts over a cup of tea, but—”
    “I don’t intend to discuss it now. You’ve had enough for tonight. You need to rest. What are your plans for tomorrow?”
    “I may drive to Pittsfield and try to locate a good shrink.”
    Bea frowned. “I suppose joking about a shock is the way your generation handles it.”
    I had not been joking. Before I could tell her so she went on, “I’m meeting Roger for lunch. You had better join us. He will want to hear an eyewitness account.”
    “Roger? You’re going to tell him?”
    “Why not? We need advice.”
    I could think of a number of reasons why not, but the decision was not up to me. I had no copyright on the “ghost”; in fact, the problem was Bea’s. Kevin was her nephew, the house belonged to her sister and brother. She had no need to consult me.
    “I just don’t like running to some man, like a couple of helpless little females,” I muttered.
    “Believe me, I’m not in the habit of doing that either,” Bea said dryly. “My ex-husband was a leaner, not a rock. Roger is an intelligent man, rational and skeptical. Too skeptical, in my opinion, but that quality may be what we need just now.”
    I couldn’t argue with that. In fact, the more I thought about it, the better Roger seemed. Feeling as he did about Bea, he wouldn’t dismiss her ideas as menopausal fancies. He was a sophisticated man who had been around—and he was an atheist, or close to it. He wouldn’t mumble about troubled spirits or suggest solving the problem by prayer.
    “That’s settled, then,” Bea said. “Now try to sleep. I’ll just stretch out in the big chair over there.”
    “You don’t have to do that. I’m not nervous now.”
    She didn’t argue, she just smiled and sat down, wrapping the skirts of her robe around her. It was nice to have her there, even if she didn’t resemble the conventional little old gray-haired mom. In a surprisingly short time I felt my eyelids getting heavy. As I drifted off, I thought it was strange that I felt so comfortable. I ought to have been afraid.

    THE OLD STONEINN, five miles west of us, was one of Bea and Roger’s favorite restaurants. The exterior was charming—weathered stone and dark shutters, shaded by tall old trees. I thought they had gone a little overboard on heavy beams and quaint carvings when they restored the interior; the room was so dark I could hardly see where I was going.
    That was the least of my worries. I was absurdly self-conscious at the idea of telling my story to Roger. My state of confusion had not been alleviated by seeing Kevin that morning, all tanned and bright-eyed and cheerful and full of concern for me. He had even let me off playing tennis. There was only one thing. I couldn’t stand the idea of his touching me. When he put out his hands I saw those same hands caressing a melting, twisting horror.
    The hostess led us to the table where Roger was waiting. I don’t think he saw me at first. Rising, he took the hand Bea extended, and they just stood there looking at each other. It was rather sweet.
    I had wondered how Bea would lead up to the subject we wanted to discuss. There was no need. No sooner had we taken our seats than Roger said quietly, “What is it, Bea? Something wrong?”
    “How did you know?” I exclaimed.
    Roger made an impatient gesture. “I’ll always know when Bea is upset. Want to tell me about it?”
    “It’s very simple,” I said. “Either Kevin is losing his mind, or I am.”
    “It isn’t that

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