Awaking the next morning James lay in bed and watched the rain lashing the high bay windows. The bed was a luxurious four-poster, the walls covered with excellent reproductions of classical paintings. Alfred had taste.
He availed himself of the facilities and while he was in the shower a dream from the night before came to him and was gone just as quickly. He was in a dimly lit room with many other people, all of who were standing against the walls just out of range of the light of the candles on a rough wooden table at which he sat. The table was bare except for a plate and a crude knife decorated with hair and beads.
As he stared at the knife a pair of hands appeared before him holding…what? The dream was gone. He strained to remember more but it wouldn’t come. He dried himself off and got dressed and left the room to see what was going on.
He found the kitchen and a small elderly woman standing at the stove cooking turned and greeted him.
“Hola Senor. Hungry?”
“Good morning. Yes, I suppose I am at that. It smells wonderful. Is Arthur about?”
“Yes, mister James. He will be down shortly.”
She had no more than spoken when Alfred was at this side smiling. He sat down at the table and gestured for James to join him.
“Sleep well James?”
“I did, Alfred. Thank you. Such a wonderful room.”
“Yes, it’s a wonderful house. I bought it not long after I arrived here.”
Placing plates in front of each of them the cook stood back and beamed at both of them. Alfred thanked her in Spanish.
“How rude of me. James, this is Maria. The grandest cook in all of Dominica.”
Maria let loose girlish laugh. “Alfred is too kind James.”
They tucked into their food and conversation came to a halt until they were both done. James put down his utensils and patted his stomach.
“I must say, Alfred, I believe you. That was amazing. Where did you find such a treasure?”
“Oh, Maria came with the house actually. She worked for the former owner.”
“Well that was fortunate.”
“If you’ll excuse me now James I have some matters to attend to for the university. You’re welcome to avail yourself of my library or take one of my cars if you’d like to go into town. We’ll be going to Nasio’s house for dinner so if you go out please be back here by six.”
They parted company and James went to the study and perused the library. Impressed with the extensive range of literature and noting that the storm was worse he chose some books and settled into a comfortable leather wing chair and read.
After awhile he grew tired and nodded off. Once again the dream from the previous night came to him. This time when the pair of hands appeared as he sat at the table he could see that they were cradling an object roughly round in shape and dark red in colour.
As he gazed at the object trying to make out what it was the characters lining the walls began to take up a low chant in an unfamiliar language. He looked around trying to make out their faces and when he looked down at the plate he saw there was a pool of blood on it. He was overcome with the urge to pick up the crude knife and…
A flash of lightening followed closely by a deep, rolling thunder that fair shook the house and James was startled awake, confused and disoriented by his surroundings. Maria was standing in from of him with a tray.
“Would you like some tea James?”
Part 7 Tomorrow