|occhi_bella (occhi_bella) wrote in unknown_fandom,|
@ 2008-03-08 16:32:00
|Entry tags:||fan fiction, sleepy hollow (movie)|
Aftermath - Chapter 14
story_arc Set: 15-03
story_arc Theme: Shock (5-04, #4)
Fandom: Sleepy Hollow (movie)
Character: Ichabod Crane
Warning: Non-explicit implications of rape and incest. Spoilers
Disclaimer: Sleepy Hollow and its characters do not belong to me. I make no money from this.
Link to Chapter 1
Summary: Ichabod departs for New York with Katrina and Young Masbath, but their journey is delayed by unexpected complications. Picks up at the part where the Hessian disappears into the Tree of the Dead for the last time with Lady Van Tassel.
Ichabod’s eyes fluttered open as the morning light began to stream through the window, waking him. With a soft grunt he slowly sat up and glanced around, orienting himself.
Van Ripper had offered to keep vigil the previous night in order to let them rest, but both he and Katrina were too distressed to leave the boy’s room. Ichabod had still managed to doze off sitting in the chair by the fireplace; but one look at Katrina told him that she hadn’t slept a wink. Her face was pale and haggard, her eyes were red and puffy, and he could see the traces of tears on her cheeks.
“Katrina?” he murmured groggily. He pulled himself up to standing and moved over to her, reaching around her from behind and embracing her tightly. “Why didn’t you wake me?”
“I thought you needed to rest.”
He gave her a comforting squeeze and rested his chin on her shoulder.
“Did he wake during the night?”
“No. But his fever is rising again.”
“Why Stephen?” Ichabod lamented as he gazed at the boy’s prone form once again. “If Abigail was going to possess someone, why did she choose a child?”
“Because he was vulnerable,” she answered, resting a gentle hand on one of his.
“Odd that Stephen never spoke of Abigail. He only mentioned Emily. I can only assume that he never actually saw Abigail.”
“I suppose it is because Emily was another child.”
“Yes, of course. Another child, who presented no danger or suspicion and befriended him. She does not seem to have possessed him from inside. He saw Emily and mentioned that she was with him at the cemetery in fact. And…of course…I saw Emily just yesterday.”
He shuddered as he thought of the shadow of the small figure that he’d glimpsed on the stair and the corner of pink material that disappeared from view no sooner had he set eyes on it.
Katrina sensed his unease and squeezed his hand comfortingly.
Ichabod sighed wearily and shook his head. “I don’t know. It’s still difficult for me…I fear that the supernatural insists on following me everywhere. But…it is no matter now. I…”
He paused, distracted by the memory of Emily’s drawings that he’d spent the previous evening examining intently. Releasing Katrina abruptly, he headed for the door.
“I’ll be right back,” he called out, dashing out of Stephen’s room to retrieve Emily’s ledgers.
When he returned, he took a seat in the chair by the fire again.
“Have you found something in Emily’s ledgers?”
Ichabod opened the ledger to the entry from late April, in which Emily drew herself with a sash around her mouth for the first time and Edna Jenner with a sash around her eyes, blinding her. He flipped through the pages, looking for drawings of Abigail in the context of this oddity. Although Abigail was never drawn with a blindfold, Ichabod now noticed that in the sketches with images of Emily and her mother, Abigail almost always appeared in a separate room, a wall between them. In the drawings in which they were in one room, Abigail always had her back to her daughter.
Frenziedly, he perused the other ledgers, hoping that perhaps there was one that followed this one, covering a later time period. Perhaps Emily had drawn a picture of the murder scene. Unfortunately, the ledger with the odd drawings was the latest one and it only went up to November of 1798. The last entry was dated 30th November, 1798, the same as in her mother’s ledger.
“Ichabod? Did you discover anything?”
She approached and took a seat in the other chair.
He frowned as he flipped though the pages of Emily’s ledger for the third time, stopping to examine her drawings once more, hoping to see something that he’d missed before.
“Those drawings are so realistic.”
Ichabod started at the sound of Katrina’s voice. She had come around to stand by him and was peering into the journal. He was so absorbed in studying the drawings that he hadn’t noticed.
“Yes,” he replied in a shaky voice.
“Is there something to be learned from them?”
“Perhaps. But I’ve yet to figure out what it is.”
“What an odd picture that is, though,” she remarked, gesturing to the sketch on the open page. It was one of the drawings of Emily lying in bed, with Mark Jenner seated by her side and leaning over her. “Look at his left arm.”
Her finger rested on the page now, indicating the detail that she was referring to. He studied Mark’s arm. It appeared as if he was reaching down toward her, but his hand wasn’t visible.
“His hand is hidden. Or missing. I doubt that she drew him without a hand. She was obviously too talented an artist for that. See, there’s his right hand. He must be supporting his weight on the bed with his left hand. It’s behind her leg. But it’s odd. Incongruous. The expression on her grandfather’s face isn’t loving or tender and yet he’s leaning over her as if to kiss her goodnight. He looks almost angry. Perhaps it was unintentional.”
“I don’t think so,” Ichabod murmured. “She was clearly too talented an artist, as you have noted as well as I. The way she captured facial details and expressions in her drawings was exceptional. No, she intended to draw him with this expression…”
He trailed off and gulped involuntarily. Now that his wife had drawn his attention to Mark’s expression and arm position a suspicious thought was forming in his mind. He studied the sketch carefully, taking in the facial expressions now, following the line of Mark Jenner’s arm with his eye and reaching the same conclusion every time. Hurriedly, he flipped through the ledger, looking for similar drawings and taking note of the position of Mark Jenner’s hands and his accompanying expressions.
Ichabod dropped the sketchbook and stood abruptly as a wave of nausea rose up inside of him. How had he not noticed the nuances of the expressions Emily had drawn on her grandfather’s face? Perhaps it never entered his mind because it was something he could never have believed.
“What is it?”
“I…I need to take in some fresh air.”
“Ichabod, are you alright?” she exclaimed with great concern. “You look positively green.”
“Stay here,” he managed to answer.
Leaving her bewildered and anxious, he hurried out of the room and stumbled down the stairs. As he stepped outside, the sudden blast of cold air hitting his face offered him relief for a moment. He quickly made his way toward the bridge and the stream, and sank to his knees as the nausea overtook him.
He was still retching into the stream when James McKinley emerged from the tavern and found him.
“You look like you could do with something ber, Constable Crane,” McKinley remarked as he set down a cup of steaming tea before him.
“No, I prefer tea. Thank you.”
“Your wife was worried. It was she who sent me after you.”
The tea was a bit too hot to drink, but Ichabod needed the stimulation that it would give him so he took a few small sips, then set the cup aside and faced McKinley.
“Mr. McKinley, I believe…that now I understand the reason for your reluctance to provide me with all of the details of…and the reluctance of everyone in town to discuss this. Emily’s drawings…are quite telling. It is this discovery…that has made me quite ill. I believe that you know what I am speaking of.”
James McKinley averted his eyes.
“Abigail wrote in her ledger that Emily was the same age as she was. It seemed to be a cryptic phrase to me when I read it at first. But…”
Ichabod trailed off as McKinley lifted his gaze.
“Your suspicions are correct, Constable,” he replied, confirming the implicit understanding that Ichabod felt they had just established the moment McKinley met his eye. “I didn’t…know about Abigail. For some time I suspected that something…had happened to her at home.…”
He trailed off, hesitating for a moment.
“Something wasn’t right. I suspected, as I said. Looking back…I suppose we all did. But a man’s home is his private domain, and what happens inside of it is not for anyone else to meddle in. Abigail was beside herself with worry for months. Shortly after Emily’s birthday it started. She all but stopped eating and sleeping. She cried all of the time and wouldn’t tell her mother what was wrong, no matter how much Abigail coaxed her and pleaded with her. So Abigail looked in her daughter’s ledgers, hoping to find a clue about what was troubling her.”
“And…she knew immediately what it was.”
“In order to protect her daughter she went to Magistrate Dockery…who didn’t believe her.”
“No one did. And yet, deep in their hearts I believe everyone knew she told the truth. But even I…it was difficult. After her meeting with the magistrate she came to me frantic. She told me that…from the time she reached her tenth year…I knew that she was not prone to lying, but…who could imagine a parent doing that to their child? Or their grandchild, as she was further suggesting? And yet, on the other hand why would she make it up, as Magistrate Dockery suggested?”
Ichabod dropped his head into his hands and sighed sadly.
“She did not make it up,” he answered softly when he raised his head again. “It does seem impossible that any man could do that to his daughter. And granddaughter. I can’t believe it either…but…the sketches that Emily drew…and Abigail’s reaction. It all connects now. There is no denying what happened.”
“Abigail was inconsolable during those last months of her life.”
A sickening thought crossed Ichabod’s mind and he nearly retched again. “Oh, my!” he exclaimed weakly. “Emily! Mr. McKinley…do you know who Emily’s real father was? Was it…?”
“No. Abigail knew for certain that it wasn’t. Apparently he stopped once she reached a certain age.”
They both fell into somber, thoughtful silence. Abigail had been denied justice, as had Emily. No one could believe the mere suggestion of such actions on the part of a parent, especially a father like Mark Jenner, who was the financier and pillar of the town. Thus no one came to her aid. And so, driven by unspeakable grief and rage, Abigail took matters into her own hands and carried out that justice in the form of an extremely violent execution. Edna Jenner was not involved, but she might have witnessed something, or learned of it eventually, and so she became a victim of Abigail’s rage as well.
Perhaps unable to live with the guilt of what she had done, Abigail then ended her own life just a fortnight later. Then there was Emily. Ichabod assumed that she had run off in terror after witnessing her mother killing her grandfather. She likely got lost or drowned in the frozen stream, as he had supposed after speaking with Dr. Thompson.
“So now you know,” McKinley began then hesitated. “How does knowing this help matters?”
Ichabod shook his head slowly. “Her ghost could not rest after all of these months,” he murmured. “What happened to her…and to Emily…is appalling. And worse, no one credited her story or came to her aid. Magistrate Dockery still refuses to believe the truth; in fact he argues vehemently against it. But I have no doubt that it is the truth.”
He sighed sadly again.
“It is no wonder…she was trying to protect her daughter. At the very least it provides insight into what happened and why.”
“Then you are concluding that it was Abigail who killed her parents?”
“Yes. You know this to be the truth, Mr. McKinley.”
“Not for certain,” he mumbled, staring into his glass of beer. “But I did suspect. What will you do now?”
“I don’t know.”
“Perhaps knowing that someone believes that what she told Magistrate Dockery was true may bring Abigail some peace.”
Ichabod started at the sound of Katrina’s voice. She had descended the stairs so quietly that neither of them had been aware of her presence in the room.
“Katrina,” Ichabod exclaimed breathlessly. “What are you doing here?”
“You ran off so abruptly and you appeared quite ill. Are you alright, love?” she asked worriedly, approaching the table where the two men sat and resting her hand on Ichabod’s shoulder. Her hand slid down his back and she began to stroke him gently.
A startled expression spread across her features as he turned and seized her free hand abruptly, gazing into her face fiercely.
“How much did you hear?” he demanded in alarm.
“I…I just came into the room minutes ago, Ichabod. You said something happened to Abigail and Emily Jenner. And that when Abigail went to the Magistrate for help, he didn’t believe what she told him and he refused to help her. Have I done something wrong?”
He lowered his head sheepishly.
“No. You’ve done nothing,” he answered softly.
James McKinley stood up. “I need a refill,” he declared. “Mrs. Crane, may I bring you something to drink while I’m up?”
“Tea would be lovely if you still have hot water,” she replied, eyeing Ichabod’s half-empty cup. “Thank you.”
When James McKinley had disappeared into the kitchen Ichabod raised his gaze to meet his wife’s again. She extracted her hand from his and took a seat at the table beside him. He reached out and placed his hand over hers once more, giving it an affectionate squeeze.
“Katrina, there is so much in this world...there are so many unspeakably horrid things that occur, that people do to one another. It is bad enough that I must deal with it on a daily basis in my profession. A lovely young woman should not have to be privy to it. I was concerned that you had overheard everything…I didn’t mean to startle you, my love.”
“You have discovered what happened to Abigail and Emily, Ichabod.”
“I’ve discovered part of it.”
“She said that you know now.”
“Stephen is awake now. Abigail spoke to me through him. Her exact words were, ‘your husband knows now’. I was anxious to tell you about it. And to make sure you were alright.”
Ichabod was too stunned at this revelation to speak.
“If you do not wish me to know, I will not ask you what happened to them. But, my love, if ever you must unburden yourself of this knowledge, I will listen. You do not have to protect me from everything, Ichabod. I’m ber than that. Know that whatever you need from me, I will gladly give it. And I want to help Stephen.”
He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it tenderly. When he spoke his voice was breathy, almost a whisper. “Just knowing that will be enough, Katrina. I would ask nothing more from you.”
“What will you do now?”
“If Abigail is now willing to speak through Stephen, I shall attempt to interview her. It’s rare that victims can speak for themselves. In this case I believe that Abigail is both an assailant and a victim. And…perhaps she knows what became of her daughter.”
“And Magistrate Dockery?”
“I shall not bother him anymore. He has no further information to offer and I doubt he is interested in helping. I’ve devoted my life to discovering truths and facing them; but this…I can understand that he and the others could not face this. There is no need to press anyone further about this painful incident.”