|occhi_bella (occhi_bella) wrote in unknown_fandom,|
@ 2007-09-06 13:10:00
|Entry tags:||fan fiction, sleepy hollow (movie)|
Aftermath - Chapter 8
story_arc Set: 15-03
story_arc Theme: Blood (5-01, #1)
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 jotted down a few quick notes in his ledger as James McKinley described Emily Jenner’s appearance. When she disappeared she was ten years old, nearly eleven. She had long dark brown hair, which she wore loose, and brown eyes. He estimated that she was about four feet ten inches in height and quite slim.
“There is a picture of Abigail and Emily hanging in one of the rooms still.”
“Good. I would like to see the rooms now, starting with Emily’s.”
They climbed the stairs to the third floor and approached the room at the end of the corridor. McKinley unlocked the door for him but would not enter. Ichabod nervously walked into Emily’s room alone.
He stood in the doorway at first and his eyes combed the room, observing as many details as he could. It had been decorated in muted reds and pale pinks. No one had stepped foot in here for a very long time, nothing had been moved. The room had apparently been preserved exactly as it was when Emily still lived here. A thick layer of dust was settled upon the furniture and knick-knacks, and he spied cobwebs in the corners of the room. There would be spiders here. He began to tremble at the thought and his eyes darted around quickly, scanning the floor for signs of anything crawling.
Finding nothing, he turned his attention back to the desk, which was stacked with elegant stationery, also coated with dust. Ichabod gingerly stepped inside the ice cold room and went to the desk first, brushing off the dust and thumbing through the stationery. It was all blank, save for the EAJ engraved on each sheet of paper in beautiful calligraphy. On the left side of the desk was a lacquered case with pen and ink and next to it a candlestick holder. A red candle burned to half of its original size remained wedged into the holder. He pulled back the chair and opened the desk drawer, only finding more stationery.
Ichabod withdrew his ledger from the pocket of his coat then. He began to write notes about the details of the room, quickly sketching the layout and furniture.
Once he finished sifting through everything on the desk he moved about the room, examining the closet, the shelves and all of the books that lined them, the bed, even the floor underneath it. There was nothing out of the ordinary and he tucked his ledger back into his pocket. But as he made his way back toward the door he spied the small black spider creeping out from underneath the desk.
He jumped and let out a yelp, then dashed out the door, nearly crashing into James McKinley.
“What is it, Constable?”
Ichabod leaned against the wall in the corridor, his hand on his heart, attempting to catch his breath.
“It’s nothing,” he finally gasped, not wanting to admit to James McKinley that he was terrified of spiders. “I…I was startled.”
McKinley instantly tensed up and alarm spread across his features. “Startled by what?”
“There was nothing…just my eyes playing tricks on me.” Ichabod rose to his full height and tugged at his coat, straightening it. Having regained control of himself, he turned back to questioning his host. “You still have not told me what brought shame upon this town, Mr. McKinley.”
“Why, this horrific crime, of course,” he answered. His voice was thin and he refused to look at Ichabod directly.
“The other day I heard you say that you were all guilty. That you all knew something even before you were told about it and did nothing. What is it that you knew? You couldn’t possibly have known that the Jenners would be murdered,” Ichabod prodded him, undeterred.
McKinley glanced toward the entrance to Emily’s room nervously, then quickly stepped over and pulled the door shut, locking it once more.
“No,” he finally answered. “But we knew of the quarrels in the family and the worsening violence.”
Ichabod suppressed a sigh. One thing he’d learned in his years as a constable was how to judge if someone was lying, or at the very least withholding some of the truth. And James McKinley was definitely withholding some of the truth. His eyes had met Ichabod’s as he answered, but he was looking through him not at him.
Whatever it was that he was withholding, Ichabod sensed that it was so shocking the man could not bring himself to speak of it. Was it possible that Abigail Jenner had murdered her parents? It was too ghastly to imagine such a scenario, a woman lashing out in such a matter; but with all of the quarreling in the house, perhaps her rage had escalated to a pitch that she could no longer control. Then, filled with remorse, she took her own life. But what of Emily? Had she actually harmed her own daughter too? It was unimaginable.
“I should like to see the other locked rooms now.”
James McKinley nodded reluctantly and gave him a tour of the third floor. Abigail’s bedroom was next to Emily’s. The next two rooms were a reading room, which had also served as a playroom, and a sewing room. Edna Jenner’s boudoir was several feet down the hall from the sewing room. The master bedroom, and largest room, was adjacent to it, at the other end of the corridor.
“In which room did the murders take place?”
“Mrs. Jenner was killed in the master bedroom. One of the maids claimed that she had gone up there to take a nap.”
“Who was the maid?”
“Her name was Katie Doyle. She left town after the three Jenners were buried.”
A perturbed frown darkened Ichabod’s features. No doubt everyone who knew anything had been paid to leave town, or merely chased out, he brooded cynically. “And Mr. Jenner?”
McKinley gulped audibly. “He was killed in his study. That’s on the second floor.”
Ichabod’s eyebrow lifted involuntarily.
“It’s…the room next door to where your boy is staying.”
He closed his eyes. “Of course it is. Well, I suppose I should be grateful that it isn’t the room where he is actually sleeping. Only next door.”
“And now, Constable, there is an errand I have to attend to. Could we continue this later?”
“Of course. Just one other question. Where did the servants sleep?”
“There are servants quarters downstairs and in the small building behind this one.”
“What about the rooms on the second floor?”
“Guest rooms. Mark Jenner’s private study and a separate private bedroom. Your boy is in what was his private bedroom.”
“I see. Thank you, Mr. McKinley. I shall have additional questions for you later.”
Ichabod was in no hurry to minutely examine the rooms where Edna and Mark Jenner had been murdered. No doubt they had been scrubbed clean and there would be no evidence left to find in any case. Still, it was a necessary task, and, as with any necessary task that he loathed or feared, he would gather all of the determination and inner strength that he could muster and forge ahead.
But first he had to relieve poor Van Ripper, who had been keeping watch over Stephen all night long.
Stephen was tossing in bed and mumbling feverishly when Ichabod entered the room. He nodded to Van Ripper and thanked him before taking the seat beside the bed.
“Has he been this way all night?”
“Unfortunately. At times he stopped moving, but his fever continued through the night.”
Van Ripper left the room and Ichabod leaned over the boy, feeling his forehead.
“How is he?” Katrina asked softly from the doorway.
“Feverish,” he sighed worriedly. “Van Ripper reported that he’s been like this all night. After that dive into the icy stream, I fear that whatever illness he started out with is now progressing into pneumonia.”
“I’ll bring a basin of fresh water and a cloth.”
She disappeared once more and Ichabod turned his attention back to Stephen, frowning unhappily. He studied his face carefully. The boy had barely eaten these last days, unable to muster a real appetite and his face was beginning to appear gaunt and haggard. This illness was not a natural one, he thought with a shudder. Something beyond the ordinary was going on here and Stephen’s illness was tied to it.
Is it something about this room? Ichabod mused fretfully.
Mark Jenner was killed in the room next door not this one, and it wasn’t he who had appeared to Stephen. Still, Ichabod realized, he hadn’t paid much attention to this particular room. When Katrina returned with a bowl of water and a cloth, he stood up and began to scan the room carefully, taking note of the details of the room for the first time.
A portrait of the Jenner family was hanging on the wall still, he noticed now. A blonde-haired woman who appeared to be in her late twenties or early thirties sat on a divan and a young girl with dark hair sat beside her; she appeared to be in her teens. Sarah and Abigail Jenner, Ichabod presumed. Mark Jenner, a dignified man with dark hair, a thin face and a stern appearance, stood behind the divan and between them.
Somewhere in this house there was a picture of Abigail and Emily and Ichabod began to wonder if perhaps Stephen caught a glimpse of that portrait. Maybe he hadn’t met or seen Emily at all, but merely saw a picture of her. And his fevered imagination filled in the rest.
That would be too good to be true.
If this was the case, it would rule out the possibility of a supernatural explanation. But he knew that they wouldn’t be that lucky. Besides, all the other rooms had been locked. There was no way that Stephen could have wandered into one of them and seen any portrait hanging on the walls there. Once more his rational mind was being challenged by the spirit world.
Ichabod’s attention was drawn back to the bed as Stephen began to groan.
“Shh,” Katrina was trying to soothe him. “Your fever stubbornly refuses to subside.”
“Does this mean that Dr. Thompson will have to bleed me?”
“What?” Ichabod exclaimed, shocked. “You heard him?”
“Yes, sir,” he answered weakly.
“Perhaps it will not be necessary,” Katrina reassured him, her voice filled with tenderness and confidence. “Keep this cloth on your forehead. If you feel up to it, I can bring you more tea. What do you think?”
“What about food? You must be a little bit hungry.”
“A little bit.”
Ascending the stairs to the third floor once more, Ichabod began his inspection with the master bedroom where Edna had been killed.
He walked around the room slowly, observing the muted green décor, the large canopy bed, a rocking chair in the corner. A painting of men and women gathered at a banquet was on the wall above the fireplace. According to James McKinley, a servant named Katie Doyle claimed that Mrs. Jenner had come in here to take a nap. Unless the killer was waiting for her, striking her down when she entered the room, Edna had most likely been laying in bed when she was killed. There would have been blood everywhere given the assassin’s method at the time. Naturally that had all been cleaned up immediately, linens and bedding removed, the walls scrubbed, bloody clothes and bedding burned in the fireplace.
After sketching the room and taking notes, he inspected the sewing and reading rooms, just to be thorough. Then he made his way downstairs to find McKinley. Except for the three rooms where the four of them were lodged, the second floor remained locked. He would at least need McKinley to unlock the study, where Mark Jenner had been killed.
Their host had not yet returned, but something else occurred to Ichabod and he hurried back upstairs, to the third floor. He entered Abigail’s room, which was still unlocked. Hanging on the wall over the fireplace mantel was the portrait of mother and daughter.
Abigail was a pretty dark-haired woman with wide, soulful brown eyes and great poise and elegance. Dressed in a pale pink dress with puff sleeves and a high neckline and a high bodice, she was perched at the edge of an armless chair. Her hair was worn in a bun. The little girl Emily, who shared the same dark hair and eyes, sat at her feet. She wore a smaller version of the same dress in the same color, but her hair was worn loose.
The expression of deep sadness in Abigail’s eyes penetrated Ichabod’s very soul. It was the exact same look that he’d seen in Stephen’s eyes at the stream, and he was filled with an unreal sense that Abigail had been peering out at him through Stephen that night. Dizziness began to circle his head and his vision was dusted with flurries. He was on the verge of swooning. His knees gave way and he sank into one of the chairs that stood before the fireplace.
For a long time he sat there, waiting for the dizziness to pass and regaining his senses.
He straightened in the chair as James McKinley entered the room.
“I met Dr. Thompson when I was out, Constable. He will be here shortly.”
Ichabod sighed wearily. He was losing all hope that Dr. Thompson’s ministering would accomplish anything.
“Have you…discovered anything…?”
“I see that you found the portrait of Abigail and Emily. The artist who painted this was very gifted. He captured Abigail’s beauty and demeanor perfectly. Her elegance. And her sadness.”
“Yes,” Ichabod responded, raising his head and looking into McKinley’s eyes. “Her eyes.”
“You see it, too.”
“What…what was it that made her so sad?”
James McKinley merely shook his head, indicating with a shrug that he didn’t know. Ichabod’s instinct told him that the man knew exactly what it was but wished to evade the question.
“Whenever you are finished with this floor, I’ll unlock the other rooms on the second floor for you.”
“Thank you, Mr. McKinley.”