"IT WAS what we call the middle of the night. One, two in the morning -- something like that. All of Blackwood Manor slept. I slept. Big Ramona snored. I woke now and then. I had a vague sense of a conversation with Rebecca. We were on the lawn, in the antique wicker chairs from the attic, and she was explaining to me that all the old wicker had been hers, that Manfred had bought it for her.
"She was so happy that I'd taken it down and had it restored, that Pops had painted it white. How handsome it was.
" 'You are my world, Tarquin,' she said.
"But that was only part of what she tried to tell me. She was trying to talk of other things, things I must do, how justice would be achieved, and I was arguing with her.
"How thin and indistinct was all this. I woke and stared in front of me and all the fabric dissolved. Then I turned over again and I was talking to her.
"Suddenly, I was wrenched up out of the bed and dragged across the floor!
"I was fully awake in an instant.
"Into the bathroom I was forced by powerful hands that hurt my arms. My head was smacked against the wall. I was lifted off my feet and held that way, and by the thin light from the door through which I'd just been dragged I saw that it was a tall man who held me.
"His hair was cleanly brushed back from his high rounded temples, and his large dark eyes were fastened on me.
" 'Oh, so you burn my books, you little imp, do you!' he whispered to me, his breath warm and odorless against my face. 'You burn my books! You play with me!¡¯
"I could feel my emotions coming together and I knew all of a sudden that what I felt wasn't terror after all, it was rage, the same rage I'd felt when I'd done the thing that had so angered him.
" 'Get away from me and get out of my house!' I cried. 'How dare you come into my very room! How dare you trespass again!¡¯
"I struggled violently to get free. I pushed against his chest with all my might. He was immovable.
"His eyes were a glare in the shadows. Of the rest of him, all I saw was an open white shirt with white cuffs and a black coat. And he let me down on my feet slowly.
" 'You little fool,' he said, gripping my shoulders, and he smiled, and for the first time I saw his mouth, very finely shaped, with thick but perfectly sculpted lips.
"Again, I went wild in his grip. I pushed my knee against him, I kicked his shins. I gained nothing!
" 'Never go near the island again!' he hissed. 'Never touch what's mine, do you hear me?¡¯
" 'You're a liar and a trespasser,' I said. 'Bring your claim in a court of law!¡¯
" 'Don't you realize I could kill you?' he returned with blazing anger. 'I have no qualms about it whatsoever. Why do you protest? Why do you do foolish things? What's so precious to you?¡¯
" 'What's rightfully mine!' I said. 'Get out of my house before I bring it down on you.¡¯
"Of course I knew that no one could hear me. Ramona slept like the dead. The house was too big, the walls too thick, and here we were in a windowless tiled bathroom.
"Suddenly he released his grip. My shoulders ached. He didn't let me go, however. And then when he spoke it was more calmly:
" 'I'm not going to kill you. I don't want you dead. I have a theory about you. But you ever go near that island again and I will kill you, you understand me? You warn everyone away from that island forever. You make it off limits to the world, or I'll come back here and drag you out into that swamp and kill you slowly just the way Rebecca died, you impudent child.¡¯
"He had scarcely finished the last two words when the big mirror to his right shattered and great dangerous pieces of glass fell with a loud noise all over the lavatory and the floor. I glimpsed Goblin behind him.
"Goblin's hands came up around the stranger's neck and I saw Goblin vanish as he obviously and fiercely exerted pressure.
"The man cursed in another language. He let me go, reaching for his own throat reflexively, and then the glass of the shower door broke and Goblin appeared again, tissue thin but visible to me and flashing a knifelike piece of glass at the stranger, which the stranger pushed away with his immense strength rather easily.
"Again the man cursed, looking hastily to the right and the left and then behind himself. I saw that his black hair was very long and worn in a slender wavy ponytail. He had sharply squared shoulders.
"He was maddened, pivoting and grabbing me again, but there came from Goblin another assault with both his fists, and more fine bits of glass hurled at the intruder, who let me go, backing up and twirling like a dancer.
"Glass was flying around the room. The stranger had to duck a fragment aimed right at his face. More glass clattered to the floor as the lower portion of the shower door broke into finer pieces.
" 'What is it?' he hissed, warding off the shards with thrusts of his hands that came so fast I couldn't follow them.
"Goblin bore down on him with his fists and then throttled him again. He threw off Goblin with visible effort, and furiously.
"The light flashed on, then off, then on again. I saw him fully illuminated, a young man with perfect skin and satin black hair, his black suit very fine and his face, even in its obvious hatred, no less than beautiful.
" 'What is it, damn you!' he snarled at me. Daggers of glass were raining upon him and he batted them off like insects. The lights continued to flash.
" 'You think I'm going to tell you!' I charged. 'You're in my house now, same as when you read your books on my island! Get out of it, or who knows what will happen? I can see the creature who fights you now. It's plain as day that you can't!¡¯
"I was boiling with rage. I stood poised, lacking only the nerve to try to thrust a piece of glass right into his chest, and then he was gone, gone silently and swiftly as though he'd never been there, and I was alone in the bathroom, in the dark, amid all the broken glass, and Big Ramona in her bare feet and in her rose-print nightgown was staring at me.
" 'Lord, Child of Grace,' she said. 'What have you done!¡¯
" 'It's not me, it was him, didn't you see him! Oh my God, didn't you see him?' I pleaded with her.
" 'I don't know what I saw. Don't you move, don't you walk in that glass! I was sound asleep and I hear all this glass breaking.¡¯
"Goblin stood before the lavatory, and in a reserved manner, a wise manner, he smiled at me. I threw my arms around him. I felt his shape.
" 'Thank God for you,' I declared. I caressed his hair. I kissed him. 'You scared him off. You did it.¡¯
"The whole house was waking up. I could hear feet pounding up the stairs. I heard Clem holler out to me from the hall. I heard an alarm go off, though how or where I didn't know.
"And as they crowded into the bedroom, I knew what they saw. They saw me standing alone amid all the broken glass, as barefoot as Big Ramona, and embracing a form they couldn't see -- the empty air for all they knew or had ever known."</