Part Twenty – 1912 Revelation
Katherine and Ellen enjoyed their first day as a guest of The Stanley Hotel. They took King Louis on several long walks and watched the wildlife graze on the field in front of the hotel. This first day together would prove to be their last day together. That night Ellen kissed Katherine her goodnight and walked to her room. She never saw Katherine again.
Alvin McSwain was in the room waiting for Katherine, and Alvin McSwain had a plan. He brought everything he needed, all packed away inside what would be her sarcophagus. He told Katherine the heavy trunk was needed for his research. The springs of the Steamer would be put to the test on this trip.
Inside the trunk, which was about half the height of a standard trunk, he had packed all the things he would need. He had six large mason jars, each packed with expensive silkworm cocoons. He had two large bags of rock salt, some red candles, a jar of pine resin, two large bolts of raw unbleached linen, and the tablet he had smuggled out of Egypt on his last trip.
The tablet was the size of a large book and was made of stone. Adorning the face of the tablet were ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. The hieroglyphs were instructions to guide him through the process. One corner of the tablet had broken and deteriorated centuries ago, but most of the instructions were intact. He had carefully wrapped the tablet with a yard of linen.
He also had his tools. Everything he would need to finish his work. He had a hatchet, a scalpel, several types of needles, some rubber tubing, and a long, thin metal rod. The metal rod was fifteen inches long and had a small hook at one end. He had to have this tool specially made, but it was well worth the cost.
The mummification process normally took at least two months to complete. He only had a week. He had studied enough and he was confident that if he skipped all the rituals associated with the process, he could do an adequate job in a week. He had to get started tonight.
Katherine smiled at Alvin as she passed him and walked toward the privy. She heard King Louis scratching at her door seconds later and Alvin let him into the room. King Louis gave Alvin a small snarl as he entered the room. “Soon, my friend.” Alvin said to himself.
Katherine had dressed for bed and was reading in the chair by the window. The gas wall lamp cast long shadows in the room. King Louis was curled up, asleep by her chair. She never saw Alvin open the trunk.
He removed the hatchet from the trunk and hid it behind his back as he stood. Katherine looked over the edge of the book toward the open trunk. “What is it you have in there?” She asked.
“Come and see for yourself.” He answered and she cautiously rose from her chair and walked to the open trunk.
“What in heaven’s name is all of this?” Katherine asked. But she got no answer. Alvin had circled behind her and gave her a swift blow to head with the butt of the hatchet. He did not hit her hard enough to kill. He would need her heart pumping for the next part of the process.
As she fell, King Louis got to his feet and ran to Katherine’s side. He nudged her with his muzzle and she did not move. He looked up at Alvin and bared is teeth in what looked to be a forced smile. A low rumble started from deep in King Louis’ chest, and he backed away toward the privy, as Alvin raised the hatchet again.
“Calm down, boy.” Alvin said as he slowly walked toward King Louis. He held his free hand up to convince the dog that he meant him no harm. King Louis was confused, but he sensed the evil in this human. Alvin delivered a quick blow to King Louis’ neck, which killed him instantly. It took some effort to remove the hatchet from King Louis’ spine. When he finally pulled the hatchet free, blood began seeping onto the floor. He would have to attend to King Louis later. He had to work quickly before Katherine regained consciousness. He could not risk hitting her a second time.
He picked up Katherine’s limp body and moved her to the bed. He tore strips of linen from one of the bolts and tied Katherine’s arms and legs to the sides of the bed. Then he grabbed a strip of linen and folded it into a small square. He shoved the square into her month and tied another strip of linen around her head to make sure she could not call out. He walked out into the hall, closed, and locked the door.
He was excited and needed relief. He walked across the hall and knocked on Ellen’s door. She opened the door with a frown, but invited him in. He finished his business in less than five minutes, leaving Ellen sobbing on the bed. “She’ll learn to like it.” He thought to himself as he walked out of the door.
He casually walked to the maid’s closet at the end of the hall and inside found two metal mop buckets. It was late and the hall was empty. He glanced at himself in the hall mirror. His hair was a mess, he had splatters of blood on his face, and a large blood stain on the front of his shirt. “I look somewhat like a mad man.” He thought, as he unlocked room 202.
Inside he found Katherine awake and struggling with the binding on her wrists. “Hold still” He told her, “I tie a good knot.” She looked at him terrified, as he walked over to her and brushed her bangs out of her eyes. “Pity you woke so early my dear.” He said, “This next part may sting a little bit.”
He positioned the buckets on each side of the bed, just below her tied wrists. He went to the trunk and retrieved two long needles and two pieces of the rubber tubing and returned to the bed. “Of course, Ellen and I will eventually marry.” He told Katherine. “Don’t worry, I will wait a respectable amount of time.” He took one of the needles and affixed it to one end of rubber hose. He placed the other end of the hose in the bucket. “You’re going to feel a little pressure.” He said as he plunged the needle into her wrist. Blood immediately started to flow through the hose and into the bucket below. He secured the needle with a length of linen and walked to the other side of the bed. “Don’t be scared.” He told Katherine, “Soon you won’t feel a thing.”
When he finished, he walked to the privy, poured water into the wash basin and washed his face. Then he removed his shirt and threw it over King Louis’ body. “This should take a few hours.” He thought, and he walked across the hall and knocked on Ellen’s door again.
A few hours later Alvin returned to room 202, closed and locked the door. Katherine was dead and he had a lot of work to do before the sun came up. In the eerie glow of the gas lamp, he continued his work.
He removed the needles from Katherine’s wrists and moved the full buckets over to the wall and out of his way. With the scalpel, he opened a foot-long incision in Katherine’s left side. Through the opening, he carefully removed her liver, stomach, lungs, and intestines. He carefully placed each organ a separate blue mason jar. He took his special tool and shoved it up Katherine’s left nostril. He had to tap the end of the metal rod with the hatchet to push the tool into her brain pan. He then began removing her brain one small piece at a time. There was very little blood.
When he finished, he untied Kathrine’s hands and feet and moved her empty shell to the trunk. He filled her body cavity with rock salt and poured the remaining salt over her body. He repeated the process with King Louis’ body before he finally closed and locked the lid of the trunk. This part was meant to remove the rest of the moisture from Katherine’s body and would take at least five days.
Before he finished for the night, he tried cleaning King Louis’ blood from the floor. He should have done that earlier, because the wooden floor had soaked up much of the blood. He soon fell asleep on the blood-stained bed.
The next day he told Ellen that Katherine had ran off with another man and had taken King Louis with her. “She would not do that.” Ellen said.
“You really don’t know her, Ellen.” Alvin told her. “She has been living two different lives. I guess she liked the other life better than ours. Don’t worry, I’ll still take care of you.”
Ellen shuddered at the thought of living with Alvin without Katherine. “He will start wanting more from me.” She thought. “He will want me to do more, things.”
On the fifth night, Alvin opened the trunk. There was hardly any smell and the rock salt had dried Katherine’s body out enough for the next step. He carefully removed most of the salt from inside Katherine’s body and picked her up. Katherine’s body was extremely light, much lighter than when he had put her in the trunk.
He moved her to the bed and began to work. He filled her body cavity up with the silkworm cocoons and sutured her side to close the wound. Then he started wrapping her body in strips of linen. He carefully wrapped each of her fingers and toes first. Then he positioned her body to take up the least space possible inside the trunk. He coated each layer of linen with pine resin. It was hard work because the pine resin was very sticky. When he was finished, he set Kathrine’s wrapped body next to the open trunk and then started on King Louis.
Next, he had to scoop out the salt from the trunk. Most of was tinted with a pinkish brown hue, and was slightly damp, like wet sand. When he was satisfied, he placed both bodies in the trunk and fit the blue mason jars in the remaining open spaces. Now he had to seal the trunk.
It was two o’clock in the morning when Alvin crept into the kitchen with a bag of red candles. There was a large pot of soup simmering on the stove, but no one else was around. He moved the pot of soup to make room for his melting pan. He opened the face of the stove and placed two more strips of kindling into the glowing embers. He blew on the embers and the kindling ignited. In mere minutes, he had a pan of melted red wax. He placed the pot of soup back in its original position and quietly walked up the stairs to his room.
Once he had sealed the trunk he had to open a space in the floor wide enough for the trunk. He moved the bed to the side and started trying to pry the boards from the floor. After what seemed like hours, he had removed enough of the boards to slide the trunk into the space between the ceiling of the room below and the floor of his room. He then replaced the boards using the remaining pine tar to glue each board to the other.
He did not remember laying down but woke several hours later. He knelt next to the repaired floor. It was still sticky in some areas, but he had done a good job of concealing his work. If asked he would tell the maid that the blood stain was from a couple of rabbits he had killed earlier in the week. It was not unusual for the guests of the hotel to hunt game in the surrounding forest.
Before he and Ellen left the next day, he went about spreading the story of Katherine’s disappearance to several guests in the hotel.
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