Magnum Opus, Part 3 of 3
The next day, bolstered by daylight, she walked to the basement and sat halfway down the stairs. “OK. This is weird for me, but here goes. Michael, I think I know why you are still hanging around, and I think I know what you need to hear. I can promise you two things: one, I will take excellent care of your beautiful home. I will keep it clean and maintained and fill it with happy memories. Just like you intended when you built it. And two, I won’t sell any of your things. Everything will stay where it is, and I’ll make sure Sean stays away from your stuff.” She took a breath and closed her eyes for a moment before continuing. “But…. I need to ask something of you. Please leave Sean alone. I know you mean him no harm, but you scared him, and I can’t have you scaring him again. Please.” She waited, half expecting to hear a response from out of thin air, and she was not entirely sure how she would react if she did. After a few moments, when no response came, she went back up the stairs, pausing at the top step. She could feel someone watching her. If she had turned around she would have seen a dark figure standing at the bottom of the stairs. Instead, she darted through the door and shut it behind her.
A few days later, Carla returned to the basement to collect some cleaning supplies she had stored down there. As she was leaving she noticed that the red light was on in the darkroom. She approached it cautiously, fighting her instinct to turn and run. Slowly, she opened the door. Hanging on the wire was a picture, and she walked across the room and grabbed it. It was a picture of Michael and her from when they were kids. She smiled, feeling tears build behind her eyes. On the table beneath it was a bottle of her favorite wine – Phantom Chardonnay – which she knew was a token of his thanks.
“You’re welcome,” she said to the air, raising the bottle like a toast. After turning off the light and shutting the door, she smiled to herself. She knew Sean wouldn’t need to fear the basement any longer. And she looked forward to pouring a hearty glass of wine and drinking to Michael’s memory.