An English Ghost Story

Written by: Frances King

Yet again last night I dreamed I went to Manderley.
Again the rhododendrons perfumed the evening breeze.

I drifted through the terrace doors into the dining-room.
I found Mr. De Winter, sat in the gathering gloom.

Before him on the table, just within his reach,
Lay seven silver salvers, with a cover still on each.

“So hungry, Max?” I asked him. “Oh no!” came his reply.
“For these I have no appetite, yet each one I must try.”

“What are they, then? Do say, Dear! Are they not to your taste?”
“Oh yes, my dear! I loved them all … each in her time and place.”

“My dear, are you unhappy? Why do you feel so sad?
You’re home now, in the place you love. How can that be bad?”

“It is just what you see, Dear, that fills me with despair.
Those dishes on the table, and what is hidden there.

“Each one contains a human soul, of some-one that I wronged.
I must consume them all, or else they will consume my own.”

“If that is so, then eat them, for you cannot hurt them now.
They are all dead, and can’t be harmed, so save yourself somehow!”

“You’re right, my dear,” my husband sighed, “This thing I have to do.
 I am so very sorry for the pain I brought to you!”

“It is not pain, it’s love I feel.” I murmured in reply,
But he had started eating, so I left him with a sigh.

And yet I hid behind the door, and watched him as he ate:
Upon his face, a secret smile each time he cleared a plate.

He worked his way from soul to soul, all seven in a line:
But when he reached the final one, I screamed …

That soul was mine!

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Very loosely based on “Rebecca” by Daphne Du Maurier.

Entry for Joe Flach's "Twisted Minds" contest