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The Presence of Mr. Glass

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The Presence of Mr. Glass


“ZALADIN, the World's Greatest Conjurer, Contortionist, Ventriloquist and Human Kangaroo!” The announcer ended the show, followed by thunderous applause. Reverend Brown chuckled, remembering their little incident the prior week. “I’d say he made quite a Mr. Glass today, don’t you think?” he addressed Dr. Hood. Dr. Hood, perceiving the teasing tone in Mr. Brown’s voice, declined to answer.

“Well, I think he’ll make a fine husband!” Maggie responded. After the reputation and profession of Todhunter was cleared, Mrs. MacNab had consented to their marriage. The two were elated, and the couple had often caught each other’s gaze during the performance. Afterwards, as Dr. Hood, Mr. Brown, James, and Maggie were on their way home (they walked because the Empire Pavilion rested a mere two blocks from the MacNab lodging), Mr. Brown, mulling over his thoughts, asked James a question about the incident days before.

“Did you recognize the person that people claim looked through the window of your room—the supposed Mr. Glass?” Laughing at the thought of the whole ruckus being caused by a curious person looking through his window, James answered as best as he could.

“I think I know who you’re talking about, but no, I didn’t recognize him—not really, but he had the strangest countenance. I only could view the upper portion of his body; the rest fell below the windowsill. He had a black suit on, and even in the dim light, I could tell it was expensive. His hair didn’t look like it had been cared for in a long time, or maybe he just had rushed in his combing that morning. He had the bushiest eyebrows I’ve ever seen, they partly covered his eyes, and they seemed to connect in the center. The color of his eyes escaped me, for by then I had chased him off and he disappeared into the thick fog.”

“It’s amazing you remember that much,” replied Maggie, “for even now I don’t remember everything you told us just this moment.”

“I feel the same way. You said he had a tweed suit on?” inquired Mr. Brown.

“No, I didn’t say that, but it may have been. Although, tweed is rough and I think if he was rich, he would have bought a suit made of a better quality material. He was very mysterious; do you think that there is more to this ‘imaginary’ problem?” A small hint of quavering surfaced in Todhunter’s voice.

“There could very well be, but I wouldn’t dwell on it,” soothed Mr. Brown, then laughing, “because whoever it was probably learned their lesson. I’m guessing you don’t take snoopers lightly.” Orion Hood, who until now had been silent and brooding over the embarrassing events the prior week, now antagonized the group.

“My, but there easily could be more to the problem, my dear James.” His voice was dripping with condescension. “This man may have already known that you planned to become a magician. Maybe he was just buying time, checking your progress, waiting for the right time to strike.” His voice rose. “Maybe he’s waiting in your room right now, waiting until you—” The Reverend firmly cut him off.

“That will be quite enough, Dr. Hood!” Sulkily, Orion parted with the group, walking to his own apartment.

“I don’t think we’ll be seeing much of him again.” Maggie voiced the thoughts of everyone.

Back at his own apartment, Mr. Brown settled in for the night. Why would Mr. Hood, he thought, still be so angry about coming to a wrong conclusion? He decided that the man must just have some kind of other problem he was dealing with, and he took it out on others. He had a theory, though, and the theory confirmed itself early in the morning when it was still dark out and the misty fog still draped the town. He heard a very loud banging at his front door; in fact, this is what woke him up! Leaping out of bed and fearing the worst, he found the worst. Maggie, disheveled and panting, revealed his worst nightmare.

“Someone tried to murder James!”



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