The Hands: Part 4
‘I turned,’ said Richard, ‘very, very slowly. But there was nothing there. For all that, the feeling was still in the air. Something evil.’ He smiled ruefully. ‘You asked me before whether I was ever scared. Well, I was then. I had to get out of that house. I put on my coat and took off for a long walk. When I got back, I was really worried that when I opened the front door, the atmosphere would remain – the coldness that made your breath mist, the feeling that at any moment something clammy would touch your skin and make the flesh crawl. But it was okay. The temperature was back to normal. The cat was sleeping. My study was as it had always been.’
I was a little disappointed, but I didn’t want to admit this to Richard. It would have appeared rude. But what I really wanted was for something dramatic to occur, not just stuff about feelings or voices in the air or the sense of evil, but... well, something real, I suppose.
Richard toasted me with his wine glass. ‘So, if you want to buy a haunted house,’ he said. ‘then I’ve just the thing for you.’
‘You’ve put your house up for sale?’
‘Sure have. Going cheap as well.’
There was silence for a minute and then my host broke it.
‘Richard isn’t telling you the full story,’ she said. ‘He hasn’t told you what happened last Wednesday. The experience that forced him to put the house up for sale. Go on, Richard. Tell Barry about the hands.’
This sounded more like it.
‘Yeah, Richard,’ I said. ‘Tell me about the hands.’
I swear that when the hands, whatever they were, were mentioned, the colour left Richard’s face. His hand trembled slightly as he ran his fingers through his hair. He didn’t look me in the eyes.
‘No,’ he said finally. ‘I don’t want to talk about that.’
‘Aw, come on,’ I replied. ‘You can’t mention ‘the hands’ and then not tell me. That’s not fair.’ I was aware I sounded more than slightly childish, but Richard didn’t appear to notice.
‘I didn’t mention the hands,’ he pointed out. ‘She did. And I don’t know if I even believe in the supernatural, so the only conclusion I can come to about what happened last Wednesday is that I hallucinated it all, that I am having some kind of mental breakdown. Now I’ve only met you this evening and you seem like an okay kind of guy but, frankly, I don’t want to discuss my mental health problems with a total stranger. Okay?’
There was no arguing with that, but I made up my mind that I wouldn’t leave that dinner party without knowing about ‘the hands’.
Afterwards, I wished I had just dropped the subject.
To be continued.
My next post will be entirely devoted to my fellow-writer, Michael Gerard Bauer. We have history. So if you want the real deal, check out this site over the weekend.