HE KILLED me quite easily by crashing my head on the cobbles. Bang! Lord, what a fool I was! All my hate went out with that first bang: a fool to have kicked up that fuss just because I had found him with another woman. And now he was doing this to me— bang! That was the second one, and with it everything went out.
My sleek young soul must have glistened some-what in the moonlight: for I saw him look up from the body in a fixed sort of way. That gave me an idea: I would haunt him. All my life I had been scared of ghosts: now I was one myself, I would get a bit of my own back. He never was: he said there weren’t such things as ghosts. Oh, weren’t there! I’d soon teach him. John stood up, still staring in front of him: I could see him plainly: gradually all my hate came back. I thrust my face close up against his: but he didn’t seem to see it, he just stared. Then he began to walk forward, as if to walk through me: and I was afeard. Silly, for me— a spirit— to be afeard of his solid flesh: but there you are, fear doesn’t act as you would expect, ever: and I gave back before him, then slipped aside to let him pass. Almost he was lost in the street- shadows before I recovered myself and followed him.
And yet I don’t think he could have given me the slip: there was still something between us that drew me to him — willy-nilly, you might say, I followed him up to High Street, and down Lily Lane.
Lily Lane was all shadows: but yet I could still see him as clear as if it was daylight. Then my courage came back to me: I quickened my pace till I was ahead of him— turned round, napping my hands and making a moaning sort of noise like the ghosts did I’d read of. He began to smile a little, in a sort of satisfied way: but yet he didn’t seem properly to see me. Could it be that his hard disbelief in ghosts made him so that he couldn’t see me? “Hoo!” I whistled through my small teeth. “Hoo! Murderer! Murderer!” — Someone flung up a top window. “Who’s that?” she called. “What’s the matter?”— So other people could hear, at any rate. But I kept silent: I wouldn’t give him away —not yet. And all the time he walked straight forward, smiling to himself. He never had any conscience, I said to myself: here he is with new murder on his mind, smiling as easy as if it was nothing. But there was a sort of hard look about him, all the same.
It was odd, my being a ghost so suddenly, when ten minutes ago I was a living woman: and now, walking on air, with the wind clear and wet between my shoulder-blades. Ha-ha! I gave a regular shriek and a screech of laughter, it all felt so funny . . . surely John must have heard thai: but no, he just turned the corner into Pole Street.
All along Pole Street the plane-trees were shedding their leaves: and then I knew what I would do. I made those dead leaves rise up on their thin edges, as if the wind was doing it. All along Pole Street they followed him, pattering on the roadway with their five dry fingers. But John just stirred among them with his feet, and went on: and I followed him: for as I said, there was still some tie between us that drew me.
Once only he turned and seemed to see me: there was a sort of recognition in his face: but no fear, only triumph. “You’re glad you’ve killed me,” thought I, “but Til make you sorry!”
And then all at once the fit left me. A nice sort of Christian, I, scarcely fifteen minutes dead and still thinking of revenge, instead of preparing to meet my Lord! Some sort of voice in me seemed to say: “Leave him, Millie, leave him alone before it is too late!” Too late? Surely I could leave him when I wanted to? Ghosts haunt as they like, don’t they? I’d make just one more attempt at terrifying him: then I’d give it up and think about going to Heaven.
He stopped, and turned, and faced me full.
I pointed at him with both my hands.
“John!” I cried. “John! It’s all very well for you to stand there, and smile, and stare with your great fish -eyes and think you’ve won: but you haven’t! I’ll do you. I’ll finish you! I’ll — “
I stopped, and laughed a little. Windows shot up.
“Who’s that? What’s the row?”— and so on. They had all heard: but he only turned and walked on.
“Leave him, Millie, before it is too late,” the voice said.
So that’s what the voice meant: leave him before I betrayed his secret, and had the crime of revenge on my soul. Very well, I would: I’d leave him. I’d go straight to Heaven before any accident happened. So I stretched up my two arms, and tried to float into the air: but at once some force seized me like a great gust, and I was swept away after him down the street. There was something stirring in me that still bound me to him.
Strange, that I should be so real to all those people that they thought me still a living woman: but he — who had most reason to fear me, why, it seemed doubtful whether he even saw me. And where was he going to, right up the desolate long length of Pole Street?— He turned into Rope Street. I saw a blue lamp: that was the Police Station.
“Oh, Lord,” I thought, “I’ve done it! Oh, Lord, he’s going to give himself up!”
“You drove him to it,” the voice said. “You fool, did you think he didn’t see you? What did you expect? Did you think he’d shriek, and gibber with fear at you? Did you think your John was a coward?— Now his death is on your head!”
“I didn’t do it, I didn’t!” I cried. “I never wished him any harm, never, not reallyl I wouldn’t hurt him, not for anything, I wouldn’t. Oh, John, don’t stare like that! There’s still time . . . time!”
And all this while he stood in the door, looking at me, while the policemen came out and stood round us in a ring. He couldn’t escape now.
“Oh, John,” I sobbed, “forgive me! I didn’t mean to do it! It was jealousy, John, what did it . . . because I loved you.”
Still the police took no notice of him.
“That’s her,” said one of them in a husky voice.
“Done it with a hammer, she done . . . brained him.
But, Lord, isn’t her face ghastly? Haunted, like.”
“Look at her ‘ead, poor girl. Looks as if she tried to do herself in with the ‘ammer, after.”
Then the sergeant stepped forward.
“Anything you say will be taken down as evidence against you.”
“John!” I cried softly, and held out my arms— for at last his face had softened.
“Holy Mary!” said one policeman, crossing himself. “She’s seeing him!”
“They’ll not hang her,” another whispered. “Did you notice her condition, poor girl?”
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