The Greenhouse Murders Part Four By: L.M. Mercer


The Greenhouse Murders
By: L.M. Mercer

Time passed unnoticed while Justin searched the internet. It was early afternoon before he took his eyes off the computer screen and then he only looked up when Susan began to stir and move around in the bed. Wiping chip grease on his pant leg, he stood and walked to the head of the bed. “How are you feeling, baby? You gave me quite a scare.” Justin pressed the back of his hand to Susan’s forehead and cheeks, checking her temperature. “You feel warmer than you did a few hours ago, but I don’t think you feel feverish. What were you doing out in the greenhouse in the middle of the night, and why were you sleeping on the ground?” he asked moving to pile pillows behind Susan’s back as she sat up in the bed.

“Well, you might not believe this-” she began, before Justin interrupted her.

“After the last few days, I doubt there’s anything you could say that I wouldn’t believe.”

Susan smiled sweetly before continuing. “As I was saying, you may not believe this, but I saw Emma, or rather I dreamt I saw her. I’m not entirely sure, anymore. It is all quite confusing.” She paused to rub her forehead. “I woke up to the sound of a clock chiming the hour, but we don’t have a clock with a chime. I looked around the room and focused on a glowing aura at the foot of the bed. It took the shape of a person and when the brightness dimmed it was Emma, dressed as she was in the photograph. It was very disconcerting to be lying in bed, staring at another version of yourself, let me tell you.”

Unable to remain still, she reached for her brush on the nightstand and began to smooth out the snarls in her hair. “There she was, motioning for me to follow her, so I did. I lost my nerve once we got to the parlour and she was beckoning me to look into the spare room. When I wouldn’t move any closer, she reassured me the events I was to witness were only her memories and nothing could harm me.” Laying the brush in her lap, Susan began to French braid her hair. “I took her hand and entered the room and as I stood there in the doorway, the room was transformed. Our boxes and things disappeared, to be replaced with items present during Emma’s captivity. The room we plan to turn into our office/ studio was actually her prison until after the birth of her child.”

Tears ran unchecked down Susan’s cheeks as she revealed the rest of her dream. “Emma was the next to change-- like the room, her appearance altered. Her dress was replaced by a filthy nightgown with large rips through the fabric, her skin became soiled and her hair was mussed and dripped with oil and sweat.” Impatiently, she brushed at the salty wetness that covered her cheeks before curling her fists into tight balls. “As I stood there, I saw her daughter’s birth and I saw how Archibald practically ripped the small infant from her womb in his hast to dispose of the child. I witnessed the anguish that Emma had to endure during the days after her child was born, as well as the grieving she did for the daughter she would never see as a grown woman.”

Susan slammed her fists into the mattress on either side of her legs, sorrow turning into anger in the blink of an eye. “I was there days later when he came for her and I observed his final act of cruelty, but I was unable to prevent the pain she felt when he dragged her out to the greenhouse by her hair. I had to stand there and watch as he forced Emma into a grave in front of a rose bush and then buried her alive. I was there when he threw the last shovelful on top of her and with a tap of the blade atop the mound said, ‘You will never be unfaithful again!’” Susan shuddered, folded her knees to her chest and pulled the blankets tighter around herself. “I couldn’t hold the tears in at that point and so I lay down next to Emma and Jebediah, her lover, and I must have cried myself to sleep.” Leaning over, she rested her head on her knees.

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