From my YouTube channel: a reading of Chapter 8 of this short story, which you can also read on Amazon Kindle.
Mark Bonner is a young college graduate from Ohio with an exciting new job. He has been hired as a private English tutor at the estate of Raul Garcia, a wealthy businessman of Zacatecas, Mexico.
But there is more to the Garcia family than meets the eye. The Garcia's oldest daughter, Ana, is inexplicably missing. And there is something about one of the guesthouses, which the rest of the family avoids. The maid, Marisol, crosses herself when she passes near the guesthouse, and whispers, "¡Brujas!"--the Spanish word for "witches".
Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher", "Thanatos Postponed" is a tale of a family with more than one secret, and a story of death "postponed".
My teaching of the other three Garcia children, no doubt, suffered in the days after Marisol’s revelations. How could it have been otherwise?
Prior to that night, I had figured the Garcias to be a pleasant enough, if a bit eccentric, upper-class family. Now I had to live with the knowledge that my employer was a drug dealer.
But more than that, of course—the undead girl in the guesthouse adjacent to mine.
I supposed that there was little enough physical danger. After all, Ana had been there, in the next building over, for the entire time I had resided at the Garcia estate. She was restrained in her chair, and securely locked inside the walls of the guesthouse. But having seen her, I could not unsee her. Nor could I rid my mind of the few minutes I had spent in her midst.
I was therefore sleeping poorly. My insomnia was worse than ever, but I abandoned my prior habit of going for late-evening walks. I loathed the idea of running into Raul Garcia again. (After that night in the adjacent guesthouse, I avoided him as much as possible.)
And I wondered: How much did the rest of the household know?
Luciana, I figured, would know everything. But what about Maria, Reinaldo, and Felipe? Surely Raul Garcia would have spared the other three children the awareness of what their older sister had become.
I had thoughts of breaking my contract, of taking a taxi into town and boarding the next flight for the United States. Raul Garcia would have questions, of course; he might protest, fearing that it would be difficult to replace me on short notice. But in the end he would let me go.
The only obstacle to that plan was Marisol. Our romance was still in its early stages; but I didn't want to leave her. At the same time, I knew that if anything was going to continue between us, we would both have to make a decision: I would have to remain in Mexico, or she would have to accompany me to the United States.
She had visited me twice in my guesthouse since that night. These visits were of a different nature. On these occasions, we did not go to the adjacent guesthouse; and we both tried to ignore what we had seen there.
She was getting dressed that second time, preparing to go back to her own quarters in the main house, when she started crying.
“What is it?” I asked, caressing her bare shoulder. I already knew, didn't I?
“I can’t stay here,” she sobbed. “Not with,”— she gestured in the general direction of the building where Ana was restrained in her chair—“not with that.”
“I understand,” I said. “To tell you the truth, I don't want to stay here any longer, either.”
“But I can’t leave her—Ana—like that,” Marisol said. “She is an,”—Marisol struggled for the right English word as she often did—“una abominación.”
“Yes,” I agreed. “An abomination.”
“Not Ana anymore. I need to leave here; but I can’t leave Ana like that.”
“No,” I said. “I suppose you can’t.”
She turned to me. “Will you help me?”
How could I refuse Marisol’s request, despite all the obvious danger involved? I could not have told Marisol no about much, in my current state of infatuation with her. More than that, she was right: It would be wrong to leave Ana as the surgeon and the Aztec sorcerer had left her.
A concrete plan formed in my mind. “I’ll take care of it,” I said, “but I need you to get me some things.” I gave her a small list of items, all of which should have been stored somewhere on the estate, in areas that Marisol could enter more easily than me. “And I’ll need that spare key to the other guesthouse.”