“You have to help me,” she said, “We’re of the same blood.”
Three in the morning and she’d shaken me awake, grinning broadly and asked if I would help her hide a body.
I’d got used to this since moving into my grandfather’s house. She came with the territory it seemed. She was gorgeous, pale and entirely insane. At the moment she was dressed as a combination Girl Guide and Victorian funeral mute. Mute. I should be so lucky.
“The same blood,” I said, “What does that mean?” I followed her downstairs. She paused to lick a landscape painting. Pink cherry blossom vivid and glorious.
“That’s not real,” she said, “Just old oil paints. And we are. Kindred. Kissing cousins” She looked up impishly, her head on one side. “Do you want to kiss me, cousin?”
“No,” I said. “And how can we be… cousins. You’re in my grandfather’s diary. A pain in the backside he said.”
“Oh,” she said, “Does that mean you want to..”
“No,” I said as she clarified her question with an indelicate gesture. “Figure of speech. Means you’re a nuisance.”
“Oh that,” she said, “Suppose so. We’re related through his grandfather. Naughty fellow, Josiah. Stumbled into mother’s grove and had his wicked way with her. Took him weeks to get away. Now help me with this body?”
She’d left it on the floor of the lounge. Small and ugly, limbs twisted, mouth open, staring eyes fixed on the dusty ceiling.
“It was him or me.”
It was a ventriloquist dummy.
“Alright,” I said wearily, “I’ll bury it in the garden.”
“Goody,” she said, “face down, with salt in its mouth, or it will come back and haunt me. You. Us. Very bad.”
I picked up the little wooden and plastic figure. A long groaning breath of freed air rasped from its mouth and I felt warm blood sticky and foul on my hands beneath its back.
Face down, I decided, with salt in its mouth. Oh hell yes.