The Lady


 

Is Lady Irwin here?” asked Rahul, panting heavily as he knocked on the door of Mr and Mrs Irwin.

“The Lady will be downstairs in a minute” replied a sturdy looking man with a dark moustache and a heavy accent. “He must be in his late 40s, probably a military veteran” thought Rahul as he endeavoured to say the correct something to entertain this man of the moment without duly discounting the lady who was about to come. After all, he drove all the way here to talk to her about her husband.

“Do you know many of the people around here?” asked the man with a sturdy voice.

“Hardly a soul” replied Rahul. “In fact in all my years around here, I have barely interacted with many people.”

“Ah! Then you practically know nothing about the story of Mrs Irwin? Do you?”

“Only her name and address.” admitted Rahul. He was wondering whether Mrs Irwin was in a married or a widowed state. The old habitation in the room seemed to suggest something else.

“A tragedy occurred here a few years ago.” the man said with serious expressions as he looked over the window that opened into the lawn. “A tragedy she couldn’t recover from.

“Her tragedy?” asked Rahul with sweat beading from his forehead, as he followed the man’s gaze towards the window. “Has that window got to do anything with her tragedy?”

“Out through that window, three years ago today, her husband and her young brothers went off for their weekly shooting and never came back. In crossing the stream to their favourite shooting ground they all were engulfed in a treacherous piece of swamp. It had been a dreadful summer, rainy and wet, places that were safe on any other given day’ gave way without a warning. Their bodies were never recovered.” Informed the man with his voice now sounding heavy. “Poor lady, always thinks that they will someday come back to her, right through that window. In that hope, she walks up to that window at dusk.” Continuing with his gazing eyes “You know, sometimes on a quiet evening like this, she believes that her husband will walk through that window”.

He broke off with a shudder. It was a relief to Rahul when he heard the lady’s footsteps coming down the stairs. She bustled into the room with a whirl of apologies for being late in making her appearance.

“Ah, you have made yourself comfortable. I see. I hope you don’t mind the open window” said Mrs Irwin, “my husband and brother will be home shortly. They always come this way when they are off for shooting”. She rattled cheerfully about her husband and her brothers. To Rahul, it was purely horrible. He was conscious that the hostess was giving him only a fragment of her attention, and her eyes were constantly straying past him to the window and the lawn beyond.

“Ah, but Miss, who was the gentleman that received me on the door?” asked Rahul, in a desperate attempt to change the conversation. 

“Who?? I was alone in the house at the moment.” retorted the lady.

“The sturdy man with a moustache…”

She suddenly brightened into attention, but not to what Rahul was saying. Her gaze never leaving the window. “Ah! Here they are at last!” she cried.

Rahul shivered slightly on the revelation and turned towards the man with a look intended to convey horror in his eyes. Instead, a photo frame was staring out from the wall behind. The photograph of the same sturdy man with a dark moustache pointing towards the window. In a chill shock of nameless fear Rahul swung round in his seat and looked in the same direction.

In the deepening twilight, three figures were walking across the lawn towards the window. It was the same quiet evening like this, as her husband walked through…

***

– by boringbug

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