Chapter9

Arriving back at the Fishermens Rest, they told her Liam had gone for a walk.

She saw a shadowy figure sat on a large rock, dashing pebbles aimlessly into the slowly ebbing closer tide.

“Liam!”.

He rose slowly to his feet. With the sun in her eyes, he remained in silhouette but as he turned around, the gold chain about his neck, glinted briefly  His face was a dark mask of evil intent as he spat out words in a oddly muffled voice. “I am leaving this accursed place and you can rot in hell for all I care”. Striding off, he left her staring after him in astonishment – and he was going in the wrong direction.

“Liam, not that way! You’ll be cut off !”

He seemed did not hear and the distance lengthened between them.  Stumbling over rocks, she ran after him, yelling his name. Glancing back, she saw the water rushing in. It was already well up the beach. They would never get back to the harbour in time and there was no sign of him anywhere. He had disappeared! In desperation she screamed after him. “You bloody fool. You’ll get us both drowned!”.

The sea splashed about her feet as she rounded the bend. Ahead was the sea, endlessly, far reaching, while the land and beach dwindled away. In the distance the tall white tower of the lighthouse sparkled briefly.

Within a few minutes, the Golva had flooded.  She had been warned not to walk on the Golva and here she was stranded and alone, surrounded by the ocean. Scrambling up onto the nearest rock she watched  as the water reached up to cover her feet before draining away only to rush back more fiercely.  How long before the water covered her head? Sue briefly considered swimming but knew the current was treacherous.

Where had Liam gone?

Looking up she studied the cliffs. She would never be able to scale them to safety yet the alternative was drowning. Her nightmare came back to haunt her. Then she had been drowning in the harbour of Portmerryn and Liam had jumped in to save her.

This time he had left her stranded to die.

Clamouring unsteadily up the rocks, her sandals lost, her feet torn and bleeding, she battled with the impossible feat of climbing the smooth cliff face.  Slipping back time and time again, she struggled on, working in a zig-zag route, clinging desperately to the roots and bushes growing wildly between the crevices. As she began to believe she was making progress, her foot slipped and screaming  she fell back down. A sharp stab of pain shot through her shoulder as she landed on a rock. Dazed, she thought she heard her name called from above. Landing in the water had cushioned her fall and she was able to drag herself upright in the waist high water. But her shoulder burned with pain.

“SUE!”

Liam had not left her to die. But where was he? She looked about. The entire world was made of water.

“SUE!”

Looking up, she recognised the dark head hanging over the cliff top.  Dave was throwing down a rope and relief rushed through her. She began to wade closer to the cliffs as the rope uncoiled towards her. Crying out to the man high above, her relief so overwhelmed her that it was several seconds before she realised the rope had fallen too short. Some three feet too short. Tears of despair mingled with the salt sea water on her face as she saw her life swinging out of reach. The sea was rushing in, faster and faster, so that even if Dave was to run for a longer rope, by the time he returned she would be dead. Her control finally cracked.  “HELP ME!”

It was then she saw Dave was not alone.  But how had Liam got up there?

The water gushed in over her arms, covering her in new bursts of waves.  Crawling closer to the rock face, she climbed to a higher level, hugging the rocks precariously.

High up on the cliff edge,  Liam, the heavier of the two, secured the rope around David’s waist before he stretched out on the ground behind a tree, his arms either side of  it’s chunky trunk for support. He gripped the ankles of the lighter man who found himself dangling over the cliff edge, the rope swinging down from his bandaged hand. This time it bounced against Sue’s wet head and with a scream of relief she grabbed it. “Tie it around and under your arms – tight”

Finally, she was scaling the cliffs, pulling herself up over the rope until after what seemed an eternity, Dave’s strong hands were grasping her wrists painfully, his strained muscles and injured hand throbbing incessantly.  Bruised and cut, shaken and soaked, she collapsed, gasping and choking.

Doctor Tangye left her bandaged and sedated and with a suspicious frown muttered to himself. Dave recovered remarkably quickly after a double scotch had passed his lips. The doctor was furious and reprimanded Liam for walking on the Golva, insisting it be made “Out of Bounds”, before someone died.

“That Doctor’s had another crack at me” muttered Liam through tight lips as Colin returned. “I wasn’t on the friggin’ beach.  What was she doing there anyway.”

“She went looking for you” explained Colin, sitting on the edge of the table.

Dave joined them. “I prefer fishing. Even the knife seems kinder after what we just did”.

Colin was thoughtful. “You know, Liam, Sue was saying something about having an argument with you down on the beach.”Liam looked bemused. “I wasn’t anywhere near that beach today. How could I have been. I was with Dave and we heard her calling me”. The landlord wore a perplexed frown. “I expect she’s a bit confused” But he did not sound convinced.

Sue moved painfully just as Liam opened the bedroom door. He sat  beside her. As she eyed him uneasily, Liam was reminded of Colin’s earlier doubts. Easing herself up against the pillow, she asked ‘what’s the time?

‘Just after twelve’

“Noon?”

Liam watched her carefully. “Midnight” then “How you feeling?”

“Sore” she moved carefully “I hurt everywhere”.

“No more groovin’ for a while then”  He was teasing but she needed to know the truth. “Tell me truly …” beginning shakily “Were you on the Golva with me?”

“I was on the cliffs. Dave and me had found an old gamekeeper’s hut and were looking around when I heard you calling. When we looked over the cliff edge, you were running through the tide.  Dave got the rope from the hut …  Don’t you believe me?”

“If it wasn’t you …and dear God, I don’t want it to have been you … but if it wasn’t … then I met someone on the Golva who looks just like you”.  Leaning back against the pillows, she repeated the episode.  “I was afraid you’d be cut off by the tide.  I ran after you but when I reached the bend you had disappeared. And I was cut off”.  Her eyes met his. “Liam, I am not imagining this. I met you on the Golva and we argued.” Her gaze never wavered. “I could have drowned” then “Sometimes you look at me with that same hate in your eyes. Like when you attacked me in Toronto. You wore that same look. It changes your whole face. Turns you into a stranger. An evil stranger. Why do you hate me? Why d’you want to kill me?”. The experience had weakened her more then she realised and tears were close to the surface but she fought them back.

He stood up, turning to the window.  Sue, closing her eyes, felt the tears trickle down her cheek. He had not answered her question.

***

Following the events on Golva Beach, David’s injured hand, still infected by the knife wound, flared up painfully, sending him back to the hospital. Sue’s injuries kept her confined to bed suffering great discomfort from her badly bruised shoulder, whilst her cut hands remained swathed in bandages. Her feet were a tapestry of plasters but Liam’s injuries were of a different nature. His strained muscles eased but doubts persisted as he recalled Sue’s eyes clouded with fear.

Pushing his way through the thick shrubs, he approached a small group of gypsies camped in their modern-day caravans. At the largest caravan, he saw two cheeky brown faces grinning out at him from behind a window. Their dark eyes flashing mischieviously, their teeth white against the skin of their Romany inheritance. The little girl wrinkled her button nose at him and when Liam repeated the gesture, giggled, blushing, until her older brother nudged her warningly. A woman’s face appeared, staring down at him from hostile eyes. Eva came to the door. “What you want, Gorgo?”

“Where can I find Rowena?”

“She’s not here”. The woman continued wiping her hands on her apron. Liam stared back. “I have to talk to Rowena. Tell her it’s Liam?”

“Lyam?”   Eva spoke the word with that odd emphasis, like when Sue spoke the name sometimes. She shrugged. “I’ll tell her when I see her”. The door closed in his face.

Some of the other caravans had fires burning out front with rubbish piled high in the flames.  Circular clothes lines held an assortment of garments flapping in the fresh sea breeze, and all the while the ruins of Rosmerryn loomed behind, dominating the scene.

Liam gave the ruins his full attention. They were merely stones of granite and rock and dust. Yet as he stood beneath the afternoon sun dispasssionately viewing the cradlefoot of their problems, he became aware of something stirring. Staring intently into the skeleton of what had once been the Entrance Hall, Liam found himself looking at a picture.  The rocks and rubble were slowly fading as though someone was fitting an enormous pellucid mural over the ruins. He could see the Hall as it had been. The stairs and panelled walls were there yet transparently because through this ‘picture’ there still remained the ruins of today. His common sense prevailed. It was the sun playing tricks with the curious shadows. He went closer, not seeing the anxious face at the caravan window. Daniel murmured softly in Romany. “Take care, my son”.

Liam was moving closer to the Entrance Hall, merging with the superimposition of the past and present until he saw them. A man and a woman. He felt himself crossing that short distance to enter the man’s shadow until he, himself, stood there.

In her eyes shone the glint of power.  He stiffened, stepping back, but already she was reaching out, her fingers lightly on his wrist. He loathed himself for the traitorous desire he felt throbbing into life again.  Pulling free he heard her voice. “Lyam, no matter that you despise me. I saved your life. The softness had gone. She was cold and superior, and he was furious at his reaction.  Now that she was disdainful, he wanted to see that soft yielding in her eyes again. He wanted to feel her softness in his arms. He was insane! A stupid fool, beguiled by a whore’s eyes. Yet still his body desired her while her words reminded him, again, how she had saved his life. Anger overwhelmed him. He wanted no debt of gratitude outstanding to this venomous strumpet.

“M’Lady, me thinks you have been paid in full for your trouble”. Her cheeks flared red and with a swift, deft movement, her hand cracked against his face, stinging him as his words had stung her, and the impact shattered the illusion leaving Liam dazed standing alone in the dusty remains of Rosmerryn Towers.

“You wanted Rowena”.  It took Liam some seconds to consciously translate the words. Daniel, the stronger by his knowledge, took his arm and led him back towards his caravan.  “I must talk to her” Liam glanced back over his shoulder at the ruins.  Daniel signed to Eva to bring a jug and he poured some lemonade into a glass, handing it to the younger man. “Drink.  It is hot under the sun”. Liam met the gypsy’s black eyes. Had Daniel  witnessed that bizarre incident? Slowly he sank down to the steps of the caravan. Passing a shakey hand across his mouth, Liam looked up at Daniel, their eyes acknowleding a mutual understanding. “Why did you choose to camp here?”

“It chose us, my friend”.

He was reminded of Sue’s inexplicable reason for visiting Portmerryn, and his own extraordinary journey here. Even the Lewis’ had arrived in much the same manner.  None of them had actually ‘chosen’ to come.

The old gypsy, Rowena, came towards them, leaning heavily upon her stick but with her head high, still swathed in the long black garments.  “And how is the rebellious and defiant Mister Meredith today?”

Liam was direct. “May we talk – privately?”

“Daniel is my son, leader of our people. There are no secrets he cannot share” adding kindly. “He is also your friend”. Her dark eyes held fast to his blue gaze.  “Come” she suggested “Let us walk and rest in the shade”, moving towards the ruins.

“NO” Liam’s objection brought the old woman about in an agile manner. “Your fears are childish” she chided.

“We can talk as freely here” he insisted.

Daniel moved closer. “How is the girl?”

Rowena nodded. “We heard about her ordeal on the Golva. The rescue story has fired the imagination of our youngsters. You are a hero, you and your fisherman friend.” She laughed at his irritation, cackling as she walked on towards the ruins, sitting down on a chunk of broken wall overlooking the section where once the stables had been built.

Liam’s dread was very real.  “Do we have to be in this terrible place?”. The old gypsy eyed him sharply before getting to her feet and following him to the other side where they stood together “So what troubles you so much you submit to me?”

Slowly, Liam felt his tenseness fade. “I’m worried. Rowena”.She was easing herself down, her hand covering the hard knoll of the top of her stick. He told her. “You sent me a message, right?  Well, I’m here.” reminding them. “Yesterday, Sue nearly died. She was looking for me.”

Rowena watched him. “And you were not on the Golva ?”.

“How could I have been!”

“Yet she says she met you there?”

“She says she met someone who looked like me” corrected Liam defensively.

“Tell me what you think”.

It was insane yet these gypsies gave the story logic.

“Even if I had been possessed by some evil power and tricked Sue down to the Golva, how did I get back up those cliffs in time to save her once the evil power had released me?”

“So you believe that she encountered a ghost on the Golva?”

He shook his head. “I don’t know what to think”.

Daniel faced the Canadian. “The Captain was betrayed by the Lady Carenza many, many years ago”.

The colour drained from Liam’s face. “You’re not trying to connect Sue with this Lady Carenza, are you. It’s ridiculous”. Fear clutched at his innards so that his brow felt damp. Rowena reached for his hand. Her aged, tough skinned, work worn hands covered his as she stared into his frenzied eyes while Daniel explained. “Until the spirits of the Lady Carenza and the Captain be pacified, they will walk this land searching for the truth they abused centuries ago. Love and hate can be indefinable at times. Sometimes the two emotions are confused. There was a great passion between them, a passion intended for happiness.”

“How can you know that?  Doubt coloured Liam’s words.

“At nights the spirits talk.  Sometimes to us, sometimes to each other, and sometimes I think they talk to you. Yes?”.Rowena pulled herself to her feet. “You are aware that some power is slowly taking charge and now you know why it is happening.  There are others involved”.

“You too?” but she shook her head. “I have the knowledge to bring you together; to control the events which are destined to take place, and to help resolve the truths. The time draws close. That incident on the Golva was the start”.

“Is Sue in danger?”

Rowena chewed on her lip. “You may be unable to help yourself.”  She grew thoughtful. “It would be wiser perhaps for you to stay away from the girl”.

“You mean leave?”

“You CANNOT leave, but you could leave the Inn”.

Liam grinned, jeering. “You think I may hurt her?”

“You have hurt her before, many times, but this would be different”. He glowered angrily at her veiled insinuation. “You are telling me I might try to kill her because I am possessed by this evil spirit you call the Captain.  Christ, this is something from the Middle Ages, or a horror movie”.

She sighed patiently. “We believe in things you gorgos ridicule as nonsense.” and her black eyes narrowed.” The Lady Carenza has suffered for over two hundred years; she has waited patiently for all the signs to be one, for the moment to be right, and that moment is near.  She will be heard”.

“Its rubbish” Liam was losing his acceptance of the situation, reminding himself and them that this was the twentieth first century and he was still Liam Meredith, whose family lived on a farm in Ontario, and he intended to return to Canada – soon

Suddenly Rowena leaned forward, her eyes alert. “You must go. Now! She needs you”.  Liam began to laugh, shaking his head, amused, but they were not smiling.  Her long bony finger prodded his chest. “If you are overwhelmed by powerful feelings of hate, come to me. Do you hear. Come to me. I can help you”. Her face for the first time bore lines of anxiety. “You will come to me at once. “Now go. She is calling you”.

Walking back towards the path, Daniel told him. “This village has called us together with God’s blessings. Not the devil’s.” The words sounded strange on the gypsy’s lips and walking beside him, Liam had the sensation of coarse wool brushing his hand. He looked down. Daniel’s trousers were of cord.

Moving stiffly Sue carefully pulled herself up from the harbour steps where she had been sitting in the hot sun.  She didn’t see Liam until he spoke. “So you made it out of bed”.

“Look” she held out her hands in a childlike gesture. “I threw away those wretched bandages. I have hands again”.

He was reminded of those other fingers- slender fingers curling around his arm, and controlled the spasm of emotion twisting his guts. Instead, he took Sue’s hands, examining her recent injuries. “You really got yourself messed up” but his lips were tender against her palms, sending delicious waves of sensation through her.”Did I thank you for saving me” adding, with a dazzling smile. “Just like in my dream. My hero”.

He released her hands, looking  across the sea. “I’ve been up at the ruins – talking to the gypsies”.

She watched him. “If there is another ‘you’ around here, ghost-like or not, and I cant distinguish one from t’other …  What’ll happen to me if you are not around to hear me yelling next time?  I could be dead before anyone finds me.” Staring at his familiar features she felt a shiver crawl along her spine: was this Liam or was it the other one …

Reading the fear in her face, he took her hand, pulling it through his arm. “Come on, I’ll buy you a beer – let’s pretend we’re in Al’s Bar on Yonge Street – like in the good ol’ days”.

She hesitated. “A while back – I was upstairs dozing. Something woke me. I couldn’t move. I lay there on the bed, petrified. The room felt like an ice box, and there was that lavender smell again. I lost my head, screaming, yelling for you. Poor Velda.  I’m surprised she hasn’t had that baby three times already. ” adding  “I’m not staying in that room alone.’

It was ironic that she should demand his presence while Rowena had warned him to leave.  Rowena had  heard Sue calling him.  His head was ready to burst open. “Let’s have that drink”.

Sitting quietly in the cool bar, their thoughts were muddled. The door opened and young Tony Owen came in, his eyes downcast avoiding theirs, hurrying through to the kitchen. Liam’s eyebrow lifted sardonically. “Strange kid”.

“He gives me the creeps”. Sue saw the kitchen door open again and Colin was busy talking to Tony who managed the Peverell family farm just outside the village. Suddenly Colin stopped dead in his tracks, the colour draining away from his usually ruddy complexioned face and his eyes widened in fear as he focused on Sue and Liam. Fascinated they watched Colin grab Tony’s arm, staring wildly. Then he rushed past, stumbling from the Inn into the late afternoon warmth. Tony Owen, pale and shaken, took flight as soon as Sue began to get to her feet, leaving wide the Inn door.

“What on earth …” she sat down again.

When Colin Peverell returned the Inn was closed. He went up to Sue’s room.  The knocking at the bedroom door halted their conversation. Colin came in, his hands shoved deep into his denim pockets. Liam turned away to where they kept their supply of bottles.  “Drink?”

“Scotch. Straight” muttered Colin, staring dubiously at Sue.”Since you arrived we’ve had some odd conversations about ghosts and things …”.  He took the glass tumbler from Liam. “Have you ever seen anything odd ?”

“Why?”

“Jesus Christ” he swore “Have you?”

Exchanging a sly look with Liam she took a deep breath. “Yes”.

Colin released a sigh and sank down on the edge of the bed. “Then it’s not me. I’m not nuts”. He ran a shaky hand through his thick wiry hair. “I really thought I was going off my head. These past few days …”  He took a deep swallow of scotch. “The other night I was down in the cellar. I needed some beer brought up. It was dark down there because the lights had fused and I had to make do with a torch. I was carrying the crate back to the stairs when I heard something and looking up  … ” He hesitated. ”  there on the top stair stood this man. He was standing in the shadows, you understand.  Anyhow, I called out because …” Again he paused, eyes anxious,on Liam. “I thought it was you.  I mean, he looked close enough to be your twin. I called out: ‘Liam, give me a hand with this, will yer’. He started on down the stairs but as he moved out of the shadows and into the torch beam he …” Colin became agitated ,  “… he bloody disappeared!  He just wasn’t there at all. I dropped that crate and ran to the stairs but there was no sign of anyone, anywhere. I took those stairs like the devil himself was chasing me.  Next morning I had Wally help – in the daylight. I told myself it was imagination but Liam, I heard him. He was there alright, I could hear him breathing. Yet he disappeared. He just disappeared. Never in all my time here, have I heard or seen anything before so I didn’t give much thought to ghosts. But this afternoon Velda told me she passed Sue outside the Linen room, and you’d been all dressed up like you were going to some fancy dress ball.”  Colin took a deep swallow from the glass of scotch.”Velda reckons when she got down stairs and looked up you were gone. She assumed you’d gone back to your room.”  Colin swallowed off his scotch. “I didn’t want to scare her, you know, her condition and all.”  He was looking deep into his empty glass.  “Then this afternoon – it happened again. I saw the pair of ’em –  together”.

“Who?” Sue waited with bated breath, she wanted to hear their names linked but Colin shook his head. “I don’t know. If you like, I saw you two but it wasn’t you two”.  He frowned uneasily. “I never believed this place was haunted. All these years and never a queer happening and now suddenly its all over the place – like something has opened a door and released them all.”

Deciding they should confide in the owner of the Fishermens Rest, kept them talking for the next hour while Colin listened in astonishment as between them they recountered the various events leading up to the present. Colin no longer wore that haunted look of bewilderment. Instead he was anxiously determined to get to the bottom of it. There was no mocking ridicule or common sense logic. Colin’s Cornish heritage accepted the unbelievable with ease.

It was Sue who grew newly nervous. The room had grown icily cold. Although there was nobody loitering behind her, Sue sensed an alien presence. When something touched the back of her neck she gasped, twisting around. For a second it was as if a teasing kiss had caressed her skin.

“What’s wrong ?”  Liam’s terseness went unheeded.

“I’m just a bit jumpy” she lied, the memory of that kiss lingering on her skin.  There WAS someone else in the room, listening, watching.  Her fear honed her senses. Did they hear that mocking laughter?  Sue’s skin began to crawl as she watched the open window moving on its hinges.  Colin was saying. ” … but why should all these … what’ll we call ’em – ghosts?  Why do they look like you and Sue?”

Sue staring fixedly at the window saw it bang shut. Liam looked round without faltering but Sue stood up as Colin prepared to leave.

“Let’s go for a walk.” Her voice held a thread of hysteria.

Without debate they found themselves up-the-hill at the Star where as usual the pub was crowded with local regulars. Sue spied Tom by the door in his usual place. Turning back to the bar she caught her own reflection in the big wall mirror. The face was flawless and creamy skinned, the thick blonde hair piled high in a falling cluster of curls.  Her large green eyes smiled back reassuringly.  She recognised the dark green velvet cloak, caught at her throat by a golden clasp. The girl was familiar because Sue knew it was her own face smiling back at her through the mirror. Then as if someone had come along and wiped the mirror clean, the living portrait of the beautiful girl from another world had disappeared and Sue saw her own reflection: hair, thick and golden, falling about her shoulders, and her own beige silk shirt.

Tom was asking her how she was after ‘that nasty accident on the Golva’.  Sue replied to all questions, without really hearing any of them and when Tom leaned towards her, saying. “You do look a little wan, me handsome”, she nodded “I do feel tired”.

Liam leaning against the bar, was seemingly engrossed in the umpteen rows of bottles confronting him, the dark blue shirt accentuating his blue eyes. As he leaned forward the shirt gaped revealing the glint of a gold chain and crucifix. She made a soft sound and without turning his head he looked at her through the mirror.

“Shall we go?”

“Not yet” she replied quickly.  “We just arrived.”  He was watching her from narrowed eyes. “Why don’t you want to go back to the Inn?”

Like a mouse caught by a cat, Sue backed off. “Its such a lovely night.  Lets take a walk”. But Liam’s eyes narrowed.  “What happened back there?” Turning deliberately he faced her “Tell me what happened”.

The crucifix, encrusted with coloured gems, had been cleaned and shone golden against his skin. She was certain he had not been wearing it earlier. Keeping her voice light, she repeated. “Nothing happened”

“You’re lying”.

Aware of faces watching them, curious, she murmured. “Everybody is listening”

“Let’s go” His hand was around her arm, guiding her through the crowd. Outside Dave joined them.  Together they all walked slowly down the hill, past the low granite wall overlooking the Golva and down along the tiny main road towards the quay.  Dave was humming softly.  Recognising the ice cold anger in Liam without understanding it, Sue was dreading being alone with him.   These days he was ever ready to fight with her. Once it had been impossible to quarrel. They used to laugh such a lot. If one was in a bad mood, the other would do or say something which would crack the other up and they would laugh, ending up in each others arms.  But that was then.  Now his mean mood reopened old wounds. Liam did not want her back. He was showing her how little he cared.

Deliberately slowing down she lagged behind as they neared the Fishermens Rest. But he turned back. “Something wrong?”

“I don’t want to go in yet”.

Even Dave seemed against her, lightly humming, ignoring them, his disinterest appearing to support Liam. “For God’s sake” she grew angry “Why are you staring at me like that?” Once more he was full of suspicion. “This sudden aversion for the Inn intrigues me”. The words were spat out contemptuously. “What happened to you earlier”.  When she refused to answer he grasped her arm and spun her round to face him. “I’m talking to you, lady” There was that frenzied glare in his eyes which chilled her to the bone. This was the Liam who had beaten her, forcing her to flee.

“Liam, don’t start again… ”

His present sullen mood dispelled any thoughts of confiding in him so calling goodnight to Dave, she shoved past, heading for the Inn.

Out on the landing she dawdled, reluctant to open the door to her room. Was that ‘presence’ still loitering in there? From behind her Liam sneered. “We gonna stand here all night?”  Sauntering past her he began to turn the door handle, deliberately looking back over his shoulder, a cruel mocking grin curling his wide sensuous mouth. “Perhaps its me you’re scared of?”

The room was dark.  Throwing her bag onto the bed, she pleaded .”Please switch on the light” He did not move. “Please, I’m scared”. She thought he would ignore her but  light filled the small bedroom. Dampness moistened her lip, perspiration beaded her brow and her hands shook.  Daring to look at him, Sue felt her heart freeze.  His face was twisted and ugly from a confusion of emotions writhing behind his usually inscrutable expression.  Mesmerised by what was happening, Sue stared mutely. It was eerie; obscene, but while she struggled to find her voice, Liam suddenly threw himself around and out of the room. Rushing after him she found him collapsed over the bannister.

“Liam!” She took his arm, convinced he was having a heart attack but he struggled like a madman before abruptly submitting, leaning heavily into her so that she stumbled backwards. He made no sound, just fought to free himself from her embrace.

“What is it.  Are you ill?”.

She took his face between her hands. “Look at me”. But the man who stared back was not Liam and she shrank back, her eyes wide with horror. His steely blue eyes pierced her as he struggled to speak, his face – once so impassive was now a contorted mask of  loathing, and his words uttered in a strangled voice were unlike his own: “Get from me!” With a desperate lunge, he shoved her aside and plunged down the stairs

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