This post is part of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, wherein participants blog throughout the month according to the letters of the alphabet. For more on the challenge, click here.
Note: If anyone wondered, I tagged the blog as having adult content due to a few factors: one, strong language; two, the possibility that excerpts I post may have graphic descriptions of sex or violence and therefore unappealing to some readers. Never fear, though, I’ll be sure to warn y’all if a post of that nature comes up! In the meantime, feel free to read on!
Cheers and happy ABC’ing,
The Lawsons may be dead, but don’t let that fool you. They’re still very much a part of the book. Eliza Lawson is featured for obvious reasons: The story of her unsolved disappearance in 1914 quickly became a thing of local legend, the kind of story whispered around a campfire (often at the start of an episode of Supernatural, maybe?) Her ghost is complicated, a tangle of mourning for a life ended too soon and fury at those who started it all.
Originally, I didn’t think Charles Lawson would have a role except for what others said about him, but he decided to prove me wrong. His ghost interests me for different reasons. Portrayals of him while he was alive were of a ruthless man who built himself up from nothing, moving to Canada to make a name for himself as an engineer after a childhood in a British orphanage. Like many men of his time, he wasn’t given to displays of emotion, and yet, the impression his ghost leaves behind is that of a raw, bleeding wound, unhealed all these years.
Even their daughter, Mariah, has her role to play. For now, though, here are two excerpts, featuring Darcy’s first meetings with Eliza and Charles, respectively:
Ghosts have no sense of time, so they can’t really be faulted, I suppose, for being late. That said, I’m somewhat surprised to see the figure standing on the railing of the bridge, one slim hand appearing to be wrapped around the lamp post beside her.
Her head turns, the light nearly shining through her and making her features invisible to me. “I wondered if you would come. Was it the blood?”
I lick my lips. “Yes and no. I was curious.”
She makes a faintly troubled noise, then steps lightly down, landing noiselessly on the bridge in front of me. Without the light beaming directly through her, it’s easier to actually look at her and pick out some key features. The rich brown hair, the eyes the colour of sherry, their colour faded now as she lingers between two worlds.
“I died, you know.” A long, gusty sigh, almost wistful. “It hurt.” Her head turns, looking out at the river. “It burns, to drown. A funny thing, that. One wouldn’t expect to describe a death by water with a word so reminiscent of heat.”
And then we have Charles:
“Eden,” he breathes. “Thought… but… not right.” His head shakes, the gesture of someone trying to dislodge a persistent annoyance. His eyes go out the window again, his hand lifting to the window pane but not quite touching it. When I look out, I see what he sees. Down the hill, the lights that line the North Street Bridge gleam, all the lights blazing. A shadowy figure, as easily from his memories as from reality, stands on the bridge itself, high on the railing, gripping one of the lamp posts.
The figure falls and I know what he’s stuck picturing. His wife’s death, one of the many scenarios he’s no doubt tortured himself with ever since she disappeared.
“Eliza,” he says brokenly, and his hands come up to cover his face as he crumples inward on himself with a sob. I wish I could help, but all I can do is politely avert my eyes as he falls to his knees and sobs with his head in his hands, his image finally flickering out and disappearing.