Old Crane sighed and sat down at his desk. His hands were still shaking and his stomach hurt as if there was someone piercing it with a sword. What have I done..., he thought. Truth be told, getting rid of her had been his plan for a very long time, and he was watching her every move like a patient spider in order to catch her in his web. Now that the deed was done, he felt no satisfaction, only fear. That boy, no, that little warlock was going to get back at him. Now that she was gone, there was nothing and nobody left to restrain the boyʼs rage. Ichabod hasnʼt said a word since the execution, but his stare was worth a million words and even more screams. Crane could tell that there was darkness building up in the boy, darkness that was personally created by him, making it even more sinister. Ichabod had suffered with her when her flesh was spiked, he could hear the blood that was flowing from her veins, he could sense her warm tears as they fell off her cheeks. A part of him died with her, a part of him shared that last breath with her. Ichabod had been there in the chapel, watching the torture chamber that contained the corpse of his mother. He had locked the doors of the chapel from the inside so no one could take his final moments with Lady Crane away from him. His father was banging on them and trying to break in.
Ichabod had sat on the floor and hugged his knees to him. He was completely numb. It took Crane a whole hour to get the doors out of their hinges and barge in the only sanctuary Ichabod had left. He tried to grab the boy by the hair but, to his astonishment, Ichabod grabbed him by the wrist with such force that made Crane turn a few shades paler. Ichabod had stood up, still holding the manʼs wrist. His eyes had changed, they did not belong to a child anymore.
-Let go, you demon!
-Demon? Well, sir, if I am a demon, then why should I take orders from an insignificant being such as yourself?
-I am your father! Do as I say!
-Hmmm...I am afraid that that will be impossible to arrange. From now on, I am the one who is going to be giving orders around here.
The most disturbing part of the whole scene was the fact that this was a child we were dealing with. A child with the mind of a very disturbed adult that has no mercy when it comes to revenge. Crane tried to release his hand, but Ichabodʼs grip only got tighter, and soon Crane couldnʼt feel his hand anymore.
-The others will come looking for me, and then you are going to be in a lot of trouble, boy.
-Be quiet, I am trying to think of the first order to give you.
-How about this one: stop breathing!
Before Crane could even react he felt a pressure against his chest, as if there was someone sitting on it, and he felt his lungs shrinking. He tried to say something, but he could not even find the strength to open his mouth. He grabbed his chest with his other hand. He needed to breathe in, he desperately wanted air. Ichabod didnʼt even blink as he watched him. After a few more seconds, Crane felt that his lungs had been released and he started to hyperventilate. He looked at Ichabod.
-Dear father, you didnʼt think that I was going to let you die just like that, now did you? No, death would be a mild punishment for you. I am going to make you suffer for the rest of your days.
Those words had carved themselves in Craneʼs mind and condemned him to live in constant fear of the boy. He knew very well that he had to get Ichabod out of his house before something even worse happens, and so the boy was sent to live with that Berry woman. But sending Ichabod away did not help. Crane was still experiencing the manifestations of the boyʼs curse. Ichabod had been sending him horrible nightmares every night, that involved Crane drowning in a pool of blood and being attacked by a bunch of living corpses, and sometimes he was being eaten alive by rats. He soon discovered that every book he owned had changed its contents, and the only words present in them were murderer, damnation and death. All of his servants had fallen ill and they left the house. Candles were going on and off every night, chairs had been falling apart in front of his very eyes, and even his food would turn rotten every time he touched it. In short, his life had become unbearable. The worst of all was that the palms of his hands were full of little red dots, as if he had injured himself with spikes. Just like the ones that killed his wife...
Oh, how he had wished to die. Even death was better than this cursed life that was making him insane. He couldnʼt even find solace in his religion, and every time he would try to pray the only sounds that would come out of his mouth were the screams of Lady Crane. Old Crane had even tried to commit suicide, but to no avail: all of his wounds would heal in a matter of seconds. Ichabod did not even allow him to die in peace by his own hand; only by the hands of other people. His only comfort was the fact that the boy had not spoken a word since their chapel incident, for he could not bear to hear that voice again, or have to look into those eyes. But the monster was still there, eventhough it was concealed for the moment. And that monster was probably ready to chase him down even in his afterlife. What have I done...