The Abandoned Room eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 307 pages of information about The Abandoned Room.
after a time the pallid frames of the windows, the pillow on the bed, and the wall above it.  He fancied the dark stain, the depression in the mattress where the two bodies had rested.  Those physical objects forced on him the probability of his guilt.  Then he recalled that both men, dead for many hours, had moved apparently of their own volition; and his grandfather had come back from the grave and then had disappeared, leaving no trace; and he comforted himself with the thought that the explanation, if it came at all, must arise from a force outside himself, whether of the living or the dead.

Because of that very assurance his fear of the room was incited.  Could any subtle change overcome him here as it evidently had the others?  Could there be repeated in his case a return and a disappearance like his grandfather’s?  There was, as Rawlins had said, no way in or out for an attack.  Therefore the danger must emerge from the dead, and he was helpless before their incomprehensible campaign.

The whole illogical, abominable course of events warned him to bring his vigil to an end before it should be too late; urged him to escape from the restless revolt of the dead who had dwelt in this room.  And he wanted to respond.  He wanted to go to the corridor and confess to Rawlins and Robinson that he was beaten.  Yet he had begged so hard for this chance!  That course, moreover, meant the arrest of Katherine and himself in the morning.  For a few hours he could suffer here for her sake.  Daylight, if he could persist until then, would bring release, and surely it couldn’t be long now.

He shrank back.  Steadily it had grown colder in the old room.  He shivered.  He drew his coat closer about him.  What temerity to invade the domain of death, as Paredes had called it, to seek the secrets of unquiet souls!

He ceased shivering.  He waited, tensely quiet.  Without calculation he realized that the moment for which he had hoped was at hand.  The old room was about to disclose its secret, but would it permit him to depart with his knowledge?  He forgot to call.  He waited, helpless and terrified, against the wall.  He heard a moaning cry, faint and distant—­the voice they had heard in the forest and at the grave.  But it was more than that that held him.  He knew now what Katherine had heard across the court, heralding each tragedy and mystery.  He caught a formless stirring.  Yet on the bed there was no one.  Fortunately he had not gone there.

He tried to call out, realizing that the danger could find him if it chose, but his throat was tight and it permitted no response.

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The Abandoned Room from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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