Ghost Story - Silent Partner


Mike Spera

Part 7

While a group of kids waiting for a school bus stared at him, Dominic went around to the backyard of the small, two-story suburban home he formerly shared with his sweetheart and kneeled in the dirt before a small basement window that was just a foot or two above ground level, getting his burial suit even dirtier, but I don't think it mattered at this point. He dug his fingers under the frame and pushed the window inward as far as it would go.

"That's still a tight squeeze, Dom."

"It's big enough," he said as he sucked in his gut and forced himself through the window feet first. He almost broke his neck getting his torso and head through, but at least he didn't do too much damage to the house.


At the moment, the basement was lit only by the mid-morning light coming through the window, which Dominic immediately closed behind him. Rosemary wasn't home, but Dominic figured he'd take a look around the place and get reacquainted with his old stuff while she was away.

He knew, maybe she'd come home to see her dead husband sitting on the couch in his sweatpants and sweatshirt, watching the game with a beer in one hand, the clicker in the other, and his feet up on the table. That's a Kodak moment right there.

Naturally, most of the stuff in the basement was Rosemary's, and all of Dom's stuff had been shoved into one corner section. No clothes (probably given to some charity or other), but a few Red Sox caps remained. A bunch of CDs and tapes, but nowhere near as many as Dom said he originally had.

"She probably sold some of your stuff, you know. It's not like she thought you were going to use any of it again."

"I hope she didn't sell... shit, where is it?" he got exasperated.

"You're looking for the Hardingfele, aren't you? Can you tell if it's in the house?"

Dominic stopped what he was doing, closed his eyes, and concentrated for a moment: "It's definitely in the house, but not here - probably stashed away in the closet of the music room. Either that, or it's somewhere in my old office with the rest of my stuff."

"You haven't seen it in all the years of stalking her?"

"I'm watching over her, not stalking her."

I snorted: "Po-taY-to, po-taH-to."

"And no, I haven't actually seen it. I know it's in the house, but I've spent all my time watching her. The violin's just a minor thing that I had that I like to know is still around."

"Don't lose track of too many of your anchors, Dom."

"I only have two, you should know that,"

I do now, I thought with a snicker: And thanks for the heads-up.

Dominic looked through his old music collection: Dave Matthews Band, Green Day, Nirvana... he eventually put them back on top of his dusty old stereo {which itself was sitting atop his grandmother's dust-chocked and rickety bed stand} and turned towards the stairs leading up to the ground floor.

All the floorboards that used to creak still did, only a few years' louder now. Dominic and I knew the layout of the house all too well from years of watching Rosemary, but I was surprised that Dominic didn't even know where his own earthly ties were. Was he that fixed on her and her alone? Come to think of it, I shouldn't be that surprised.


The house was mostly a soft blue with white edges and outlines, whether it was in the paint or the wallpaper. The door to the basement led up to the kitchen, which had piles of dishes in the sink and a stack of indisposed local newspapers on the kitchen table next to a bong and some needles. Rosemary hadn't even left a crumb of whatever drug she had done that morning before work.

Leading out of the kitchen was the main hallway with the front door at the end, the living room on the left, and the ascending stairs on the right. The only photos that lined the walls were of Rosemary herself throughout the happy moments of her life: rolling around the yard with her puppy dog when she was a kid, her graduation photos, a few pictures taken at friends' birthdays, a few photos of her parents... no photos of her deceased husband, though.

I thought about making a joke to Dominic about the lack of police line-up photos, but I held my tongue. With Dominic in awe at actually walking through his old house again, he'd forget about me for a bit if I slipped to the back of his mind and kept quiet enough. I was going to hang back and watch for a while.

The living room looked big only because it was sparsely decorated. A few comfy chairs sat in the corners, facing the surprisingly fancy, new television. A long, low table sat in front of one of the chairs with a few TV Guides and various gadget remotes atop it. Nice TV, high-tech VCR and DVD player, stereo speakers on top of the television.

Dominic stared at all this for a moment, then turned towards the stairs. Thirteen steps up led to a narrow hallway with two doors on the left, one door on the right, and one down at the end of the hall.

Through the years of haunting Rosemary with Dominic, I knew which room were what, although I didn't get a really clear look at the details of the rooms from the Deadlands - just a general sense of what the furniture was and where it was placed. The door at the far end of the hall was a bathroom, unused for quite some time since the master bedroom on the right had its own bathroom.

The two doors on the left were the ones that Dominic was most interested in.

The first one was the "office" or computer room. Of course, it hadn't been dusted or kept up since his death, so a layer of dust covered the chair, the now-obsolete desktop, even the photos that he kept next to the keyboard {the only photos in the house of Rosemary and Dominic together}.

His tiny CD player/boom box had been sold, but his collection of "mood music" to write to was still stacked on the desk - apparently Rosemary hadn't found anyone interested in buying them off of her, and she sure as hell wasn't going to listen to them herself. The walls were lined with movie posters and bookshelves, stuffed with books on writing, grammar, multi-lingual dictionaries, more books on writing, old issues of the Writer's Market for Blah Blah Blah, and even more books on writing.

Dominic reached over and grasped the doorknob of the closet, pulling it open ajar with a noisy creak. It was completely barren except for a few wire hangers and some mothballs tossed haphazardly on the floor.

"She sold the rest of my books and my jackets," he mused.

I said nothing as we both gazed at the dangling wire hangers for no damn good reason. He was reflecting - this wasn't his house anymore.

And he was really starting to feel it.


Dominic finally turned away and went into the next room - the music room, as he and Rosemary had called it. Bed stands were placed in the corners of the room at both the floor and ceiling level for the ultimate experience in surround sound.

A few stools and chairs were in the middle of the room, facing the most slick, expensive, fanciest stereo in the house {possibly in all the town of Braintree}, which lay atop a desk against the left-hand wall with stacks and stacks and stacks of music tapes and discs piled up beside it. Some were Dominic's, most were Rosemary's.

None of Dom's writing mood music was here, and whatever Rosemary didn't like was in the basement, but that left a lot of music still left over to be played in this room. Classical, easy-listening, country, rock, punk, metal, hip-hop, dance, trance, even that banal, sleep-inducing meditation music... it was all here, along with the instruments on the floor. Bongo drums, acoustic guitars, keyboards, even a microphone and small amp from when Rosemary used to sing were all still here.

Dom started to get nervous when he didn't see his favorite piece. He went over to the closet and whipped the door open, his hand shaking. A shitload of shoeboxes littered the floor. Extra dresses, shirts, skirts, and outfits hung on the hangers. More shoeboxes were on the shelf atop the hangers.

Dominic's heart went cold and plunged into his guts. I ate it up, smiling inside. He was getting himself into a wreck for nothing.

"You know it's in the house, Dom. Just look for it,"

He started tearing through the shoeboxes on the shelf, whipping through them looking, searching. It only took him a few minutes to find what he was looking for.

In the very back of the closet, buried by half a dozen tacky high-heeled shoes, was a beat-up mahogany box. It had lost its luster, but the simple lock still held.

Time almost stopped completely as Dominic pulled the box gingerly down from the shelf and placed it on one of the sitting stools. Dom tossed the shoeboxes back onto the shelf, not really caring how neatly they went back as much as caring that he could get the closet door shut again without a major avalanche.

When he was finished, he turned to the small box resting on the stool. He didn't have the key anymore, but the lock was small and mostly ornamental. With a small boost of strength from me, he ripped it clean off and opened up to see the beautiful prize inside: a completely dust free and still-brand-new looking red Hardingfele violin.

Dominic gingerly lifted the piece from the box, admiring it. Sealed inside the dust-free box, it was still a beauty after all these years.

Dom stiffened his back, picked up the bow in his dead fingers, closed his eyes, and began to play.


To Be Continued...