“Why don’t you try to sleep,” said Marie to Sir John, as they both sat in the four poster bed.
“I can sleep perfectly well if I want to,” replied Sir John staring wide eyed into the room. “I just simply want to make sure that you are safe.”
He went to pat her shoulders and tapped her pillow absently.
“I don’t think we ‘ave anything to fear here, mon cher,” said Marie.
“Well I have this just in case,” said Sir John. “It’s a daguerreographic device. I can capture the image of anything that appears, as evidence. It has this lightning flash which will render the room as bright as day if necessary.” He indicated vaguely to his bedside table as he stared intently into the room.
“Well, if we need to watch for something, why don’t we take it in turns,” said Marie. “Then at least we get some sleep.”
“Marvellous idea, Mrs Jennings,” said Sir John. “Perhaps you can take first turn.”
Several hours later, the candle by the bed had burnt down and the room was plunged into darkness. Marie was sleeping curled up in the bed and Sir John was sleeping sitting up. A thin rivulet of saliva ran down his chin and he was snoring gently. On the ceiling of the room, an area seemed to light up and drift down. It hovered at the foot of the bed and expanded, getting brighter and finding form. The shape that had once been dust, and before that a young man, rested at the end of the bed. Sir John started to stir as the light grew in intensity. His eyes began to move and he opened them up.
“Good God!” he exclaimed and reached for the bedside table. The noise woke up Marie just in time to watch her husband pick up the the cumbersome device and press a button. There was an explosion of light.
“I’m blind, I’m blind,” said Sir John, who dropped the device and waved his arms around.
“Shh, mon cher, it’s just the lightning flash,” said Marie holding her husband. “It will pass.” She looked at the apparition at the foot of the bed, tilting her head quizzically.
The apparition, still with a tear on its cheek, raised an arm to point to its right. Marie nodded at it, and it faded away. Sir John had calmed down by then and looked around.
“What the blazes was that?” he said.
“There was nothing, it was just a dream perhaps,” said Marie.
“The daguerreograph!” said Sir John. “We may see something there.”
They looked into the box and saw a close up picture of Sir John’s startled face.