Mr Greene had to admit that his morning began with a fright. At first, he panicked over the spilled tea which ruined his favourite waistcoat. Then, he realised that Mrs Inglis’s now muffled cries still resounded from afar. Surely, there was more to this than mere fuss over spilled tea and a ruined breakfast. Leaning across his writing desk in search of a clean napkin, Mr Greene hurriedly reached to the right. His outstretched fingers landed in a pool of smooth warm liquid. With a swift movement of the hand, Mr Greene wiped his fingers on some papers and muttering a curse looked down. The horror! His palm and fingers were completely covered in blood, blood which had started to clot right on top of his great-grandfather’s desk, blood which had infiltrated the pores of the wood and had left a large and irregular dark stain there. Realising that Mrs Inglis’s fright could not have been caused by anything but the blood, Mr Greene rushed down the stairs in pursuit of his housekeeper and found her huddled in a corner behind the stables.
“Mrs Inglis, please! I am fine!” Mrs Inglis looked at him in disbelief and hiccupped.
“Are you… are you… a ghost? Oh, my poor Mr Greene, I am so sorry that it had to end like this! What a horrible way to die…” She swallowed back her tears but a distracted sigh escaped her.
“No, you are mistaken, Mrs Inglis, I am fine. I am not a ghost. The stain you saw… it is not my blood.” Mr Greene tried to reassure her and took out a bloody napkin from his waistcoat pocket. Mrs Inglis sunk back against the wall, her wild gaze set on the napkin.
“Oh, this… I tried to clean up the mess upstairs… Mrs Inglis, please, come up and help me out with this. I have so many things to do and now this… Please!” Mr Greene waved impatiently and started for the house.
Mrs Inglis strutted reluctantly along, feeling incredibly silly and outrageously superstitious. Yet, if Mr Greene was not dead and if the stain of blood on his writing desk was not his, whose blood was it? Mrs Inglis and Mr Greene rarely left the house at all. Mrs Inglis’s domain was downstairs – the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, the stables and the back yard. When Mr Greene was not tending to the rose garden in the front yard, and this he usually did in the mornings, he spent a considerable amount of time in his study or in his library and he always left the door separating the two rooms open. Wiping her eyes in her apron, Mrs Inglis dashed forward to catch up with Mr Greene who was opening the back door. Whoever had bled on that desk must have been very quiet and very inventive indeed, she thought.