There are four puzzles that stand out:
What are the second Mrs De Winter's names and background?
Whose is the first body identified as that of Rebecca De Winter?
Why in his last encounter with Rebecca did Maxim have a loaded gun?
Who set fire to Mandaley?
Summarised from "Where Was Rebecca Shot?"
By John Sutherland
From the Scarlet Records of Raebek-Ra
I have opted for a revenge worse than fire, although fire will be part of it. I have taken the child growing in my womb and dedicated it to the treader of dust, so that it will grow swiftly and be open as a portal to my own spirit.
I have pushed it mewling in its weed-strewn perambulator passed the long gallery in which every painting has the face of my betrayer. Its quick childhood will lie lightly on its mind; a murmur of forbidden books, a passing memory of insane chattering behind the locked and bolted iron doors. When it is two, and seems ten times that age in growth, I will loose it into the world, and blank eyed, innocent, it will hunt him for me. I will see through its eyes, hear its muted broken thoughts around the hard kernel of my revenge.
What did he think? The snivelling bridegroom as he drove up with his new wife in the screeching clanking hideousness of their car, to see the blood red fires of his beloved home burning against the sky: the tiny vampire-flames dancing at my behest?
Did he think of me, dreaming under the waves? He should have.
I will have my revenge.
Oh, I have read the nauseating account of the affair by that hack its waterlogged pages bloating into pulp. How closely she hints at the truth and yet departs from it. She has him say of me, "She was not even normal" as if some simple lesbianism or mere rejection of his body should give carte blanche to his heroic murderousness.
Perhaps I'll publish my story too then in some out of the way place. Just to right the balance. My kind is long-lived, my story will wait its turn.
Maxim De Winter claimed I had betrayed him. That I had taken lovers.
Oh, as the sea is my witness it was not that easy. I had not wronged him then.
Oh I had sat with Jack, in that little hut, staring out at the sea, and no doubt longing had come into my voice, but not longing for him, oh never that. The shark does not long for the lion, nor the eel for the viper. I was never unfaithful. Not in any sweaty, mammalian way. Jack was kind to me, for someone of his upbringing. He knew I was not well - as he chose to view my changes, when the wind blew cold he would bring me a tasselled rug and sit beside me with it about my shoulders. The sea-spray would bring me ease. I could abandon my gloves with him; show the changes in my hands, discover some tenderness. Although, I knew it couldn't last.
Unable to make him understand I told him I was leaving, not as he thought because of the cancer he believed I had - the sea-cancer that comes to all like me in time, nor need he have dreaded contagion except in his ignorance. Instead I was returning to a home he could never share, changing in ways he could not..heh..fathom.
It was Jack and I that Maxim expected to find in the cottage that day; but instead he found my maid and myself; she who had grown old in my service long before I had embarked on this doomed marriage. She had warned me no good could come of it, but I had been young then and apart form my family. Now older, and much changed, she could visit me only infrequently when the tides permitted.
It was unfortunate that Maxim De Winter found us together. Maddened with his jealousy, assuming I had some other man or woman, some other human playfellow besides him to warm me, he burst into the hut, a rifle crooked in his arm. From the look in his eyes I know he had always intended to kill.
Oh how he screamed to see her. Her eyes bulging; her skin a green shimmer.
By his standards no doubt my maid was startling, still despite his panic I believe he knew what he was doing when he killed her. I think I hate him for that more than for his attempt upon my life.
He tried to shoot me through the heart, little knowing that in our kind the organ is displaced, the rib cage soft and turned to cartilage. I dropped, cold, not breathing, mimicking death; weeping inwardly. As he hefted our bodies into the sea, he swore, to see on me, as in miniature, those distortions and departures from his normality that he had been made to face full blown in my handmaiden.
Later when her body, further gone as it was in that great change which must comes to all of us, blew ashore he hailed it as mine, whether in ignorance or by design rejoicing that no signs of violence marred its bulk. How I cursed him for that, for keeping her body from its natural rest in the deeps.
It was then I started to crave revenge. To kill a woman was easy, to find one like I had been was harder, but not impossible. I suppose I regret that now, a little. She hadn't done anything to me, except to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Deep sea bathing in winter. Cramps would have got her if we had not. A pity our science doesn't run to guns, I had no way to make the marks he tried to make on me. Still the finding of her body wearing my wedding band, that was hard for him to shrug off with my maid buried in the De Winter mausoleum. I have to smile thinking of the lively awfulness, the putrescent remains of my maid, which when exhumed proved too horrific to prompt more than a rapid and lawless burning by the magistrate. A fate the Dauphne woman merely hints at in her narrative.
It shook him, the second body.
Made him confess to her, to my nameless afterbirth. My alter-ego: my huntress.
I'm glad I burned his house. I'm glad I have worse yet in store for him.
I wonder where they'll live. I wonder what he'll do when he finds out why she's nameless. Why she has no background, except the epistemological void. There are more things than flame-vampires, Deep Ones can conjure up. There are worse fates than fire.
Simon BJ [19th May 2009 post]