By 9 P.M. the storm had broken with full force, and a stiff wind was sending powerful waves crashing against the eastern shore of Cape Cod. We're going to get more than a touch of the nor'easter, Menley thought as she reached over the sink to close the window. It might actually be fun, she thought, in an effort to reassure herself. The Cape airports were closed, so Adam had rented a car to drive from Boston. He should be home soon. There was plenty of food on hand. She had stocked up on candles, just in case the electricity went out, although if she was right about what she was beginning to suspect, the thought of being in this house with only candlelight was frightening.
She switched on the radio, twisted the dial and found the Chatham station that played forties music. She raised an eyebrow in surprise as the Benny Goodman orchestra went into the opening notes of "Remember."
A particularly appropriate song when you're living in a place called Remember House, she thought. Pushing aside the inclination to flip the dial again, she picked up a serrated knife and began to slice tomatoes for a salad. When he phoned, Adam told her he hadn't had time to eat. "But you forgot to remember," the vocalist warbled.
The unique sound that the wind made when it rushed past the house was starting again. Perched high on the embankment over the churning water, the house became a kind of bellows in a wind storm, and the whooshing sound it emitted had the effect of a distant voice calling out "Remember, Remember..." The legend was that over the decades that peculiarity had given the house its name.
Menley shivered as she reached for the celery. Adam will be here soon, she promised herself. He'd have a glass of wine while she made some pasta.
There was a sudden noise. What was that? Had a door blown open? Or a window? Something was wrong.
She snapped off the radio. The baby! Was she crying? Was that a cry or a muffed, gagging sound? Menley hurried to the counter, grabbed the monitor and held it to her ear. Another choking gasp and then nothing. The baby was choking!
She rushed from the kitchen into the foyer, toward the staircase. The delicate fan-shaped window over the front door sent gray and purple shadows along the wide-plank floor.
Her feet barely touched the stairs as she raced to the second floor and down the hall. An instant later she was at the door of the nursery. There was no sound coming from the crib. "Hannah, Hannah," she cried.
Hannah was lying on her stomach, her arms outstretched, her body motionless. Frantically, Menley leaned down, turning the baby as she picked her up. Then her eyes widened in horror.
The china head of an antique doll rested against her hand. A painted face stared back at her.
Menley tried to scream, but no sound came from her lips. And then from behind her a voice whispered,
"I'm sorry, Menley. It's all over."
Copyright © 1995 by Mary Higgins Clark