Owl hoots down from the hills agreed with Old John and so did the hangers on of the saloons and gambling places.
But superstitious nonsense had no place in a rational mind and I rejected the notion that the recent string of murders were ghosts from the Ol'acanee massacre. While the townspeople may be terrified by their guilty consciences, I figured a living, breathing two-footed varmint was to blame.
I had already talked with the families of the other two victims and now needed to talk to Renee's family.
"The Edfu tradition, and so perhaps the traditions of many other temples evidently looked on the far-distant temple as the work of the gods themselves in which the creation of the earth was completed."
Jacques Bournee Wang pontificated the last while looking gravely down at an ancient pile of stones. At this point the slow and very deliberate raps shook the panels of the door.
"Jacks," came the screech of his landlady, Mrs. O'Flanagan. "You stop bothering that pretty lady with your nonsense and bring her in for a cup of tea."
We exited the small enclosure surrounding Jacques' Temple of Edfu and walked across the lawn towards the two-story house. Wang saw two foxes standing on their hind legs and leaning against a tree and pointed them out to me, but I had other mysteries to solve.
"Why do you think your sister was murdered?" I asked him over tea and biscuits.
He shook his head sadly. "Had I known I'd be raising the ghosts of the priests of Edfu, angered at their massacre I would never have started the ritual."
"How terrible," she said, shaking her head and wiped a tear away with a lace-edged hanky pulled from her bosom.
I responded to Jacques comment, "So you think a ghost did it?"
"Oh, yes. What else could it be?" He looked at me with guileless eyes. "The other two men were most responsible for the massacre and then my sister bought up the property where it happened, to make money, simply to make money...filthy lucre."
"Really," I said. sipping my tea. "So your sister was wealthy?"
"Oh yes. Our father choose to leave all his wealth to my sister. It was perfectly fine with me. I am a poet, a man of letters. I choose not to be tied down with the need to earn a living. I got to the park and write while the rest of the world slaves away."
"But you need to eat, though," I offered this as a query with a plate of scones.
"My sister gave me a pittance for my needs."
"Hmm," I said. "And now that she's dead?"
"I believe I inherit it all," he said stiffly.
"So the doctor said the wound on Mr. Frazer's back was clearly made by a gun. Do you think your vengeful ghosts would use a gun?"
"That's a lie," Jacques stood up and shouted at me. "Mr .Frazer fell atop a root and got injured. He wasn't shot, he was poisoned, just like my sister."
I looked at him, Mrs. O'Flanagan looked at him and we knew. Mr. Frazer had been found quickly and his injuries and his cause of death had not been released yet.
"Jacques red face and glaring eyes took in our expressions and he screamed, "I'm guilty, guilty, guilty, I did it," and sobbing he fumbled with his cup and took his last big draught of tea and then collapsed, gracefully, I would even say poetically, onto the floor.
I finished by biscuit and cuppa. "Look at that, his cup didn't even break. At least he didn't leave you a mess."
"First time for everything," she replied, and got up to clear the tea things away.
Written 8/20/11 at Cal Anderson Park with William Lindberg, Philip, PurpleMark Wirth, Priya Keefe and Shannon Kringen. We passed our books around and I choose Page 67, Paragraph 2 of each as my prompt (see italics). The others did modified cross-outs, but I was clueless and wrote a story instead. The books (in order) were: The Stranger in Boots by A. Scott Leslie, Heaven's Mirror by Hancock & Faiia, The Tomb by H.P. Lovecraft, The Chinese Fox in the Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges, Madeline is Sleeping by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum