• James E Aarons DVM

Goddess of Death

Updated: Oct 3, 2019

“Did Marion spend much time at the castle here in San Simeon?” Katie asked.

“Yes, but she disappeared when Mrs. Hearst visited. Hearst loved Marion and vice versa. They found a note she wrote to a friend; ‘God, I’d give everything I have to marry that silly old man. Not for the money and security, he’s given me more than I’ll ever need. Not because he’s such cozy company, either. Most times, when he starts jawing, he bores me stiff. And certainly not because he’s so wonderful behind the barn.’” Denise liked that particular letter. Smiling, she turned her hands over, sending the dialogue to Russ. “Here we are in the barn.”

“Okay, we’re here. This is the sitting room, the room between their bedrooms. Marion’s is through this door,” Russ pointed to the right, “and Hearst’s is directly opposite.”

“Can we go in, Russ?” René asked?”

“Certainly.”

“Here Pelipa, let me carry you across Hearst’s threshold.” They giggled their way into the bedroom.

“Marion wrote that to a friend?” Katie asked.

“Yes siree,” Denise continued quoting. She said, “’Why, I could find a million better lays any Wednesday. You know what he gives me, sugar? He gives me the feeling I’m worth something to him.’”

“Yeah, and it explains a lot of things,” Russ began. “It says, ‘A lot of what we have, or don’t have, I don’t like. He’s got a wife who’ll never give him a divorce. She knows about me, but it’s still understood when she goes to the ranch for a week or a weekend, I’ve got to vamoose.”’

Katie stepped away and wandered into Marion’s bedroom. She felt a sharp pain that traveled from above her right eye to her left, forcing her to close her eyes. She pressed each side of her head firmly with her fingers. Feeling she would faint, she sat on Marion’s bed. She knew she probably shouldn’t, but she needed to sit down. She pressed her temples against the pain and lay back on the bed. The pain diminished, and the dizziness subsided. She opened her eyes as she lay there, breathing deeply, and wondering what was going on with her.

The episode seemed to last forever, but the others continued in the same conversation. Katie heard them from the other room.

“’And he snores,’” Denise quoted. “And he can be petty. But he’s kind, and he’s good to me, and I’d never walk out on him.’"

Katie lifted on her elbows when she heard a noise that came from Marion’s bookshelf. An eight-inch stone statue fell from the dresser to the floor as she watched. She stood up and bent to pick up the ugly thing. It was more a figurine than a statue that resembled an upright doll with arms and legs and a long neck. She looked at it, wondering why something so hideous would be in Marion’s bedroom, shrugged her shoulders, and went to set it back on the shelf.

The dizziness returned, along with a blinding headache pushing Katie into swirling blackness.

Only when she crashed to the floor did the others notice her distress.

“I heard something fall in Marion’s bedroom.” Denise ran to the room. “Oh my god, Katie has fainted!”

The others rushed in, gathered the limp, unconscious Katie, and laid her on the bed. Rory cradled her head, gently pushed the hair off her face, and spoke quietly to her until she returned to him.

“Katie, are you, all right?” he asked when he saw her eyelids flutter.

“I, I think so.” She nodded her head and rubbed her forehead. “I have to leave this place.”

“Russ, Denise, she wants to go. What is the quickest way out?”

“Follow me.” Russ guided them through a door, down a flight of stairs and into a utility hallway. This area was a stark change from the opulence of the rest of the Hearst castle. Modern light fixtures and drywall were the only adornments.

“Rory, do you need help?” René hollered down the stairs from the open door.

“Yes, get Katie’s purse from the bedroom.”

Russ led the way down the dark utility hallway. As he and Rory carried Katie, he realized he hadn’t turned on the lights, but there was a kind of glow illuminating the hall. It dumbfounded Rory to see the fluorescent bulbs glowed a brilliant greenish/blue hue, much brighter than typical fluorescence. He was even more surprised to see the lamps glowed bright and dimmed, one by one, as Katie passed underneath. She was energizing the neon gas to excite the phosphors lining the lights. It was breathtaking and spooky.

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