“What are you doing?” she questioned abruptly “I’m sorry” I stammered. Rita placed the tray upon the table calmly and indicated for me once more to sit down “You’re here about The Palvine Residencearen’t you?” she said in a hushed tone. “Do you know anything?” I asked unsure of how she felt on the subject “As a matter of fact there is a lot I could tell you about that place, but I warn you, it’s the sort of thing a young girl ought not to be getting involved in…” she whispered as if afraid someone might hear her “Please tell me what you know… I’m just interested as I’ve never seen anyone go in or out or anything but there was a pumpkin outside on Halloween and…” I stopped “I know this all sounds very odd.”Yes, it does, I didn’t think he was still living there.” She murmured “What ever do you mean? Who lives there?” I said rather too excitedly “A teenager, well he was a teenager when I last saw him, when anybody last saw him for that matter, must be a young man now, we all thought he’d gone… didn’t think the family would let him stay on the estate after what he done…” “What did he do?” “Well, all these strange things are connected you seen… think about it; first, all the noises at night, then the couple opposite that house have a daughter die, then there was that incident with the nursery and then…” she stopped speaking “and then my husband passed away.” She sighed as she finished her sentence “I’m so sorry…” “Oh don’t worry, the man had it coming to him… my late husband may have been a wonderful man for me, but others were so fond of Lieutenant Miles Pearlhall as I was.”. Deciding not to pry, I asked no more of her late husband. “Who did all this?” I asked, carful not to seem too interested “Sylvester Spence Palvine. At least that’s what I knew him as, whether that’s his real name I don’t know, he was about 16 at the time of the death of that little girl Clara and at the time of the indecent and 17 when my dear Miles died. No one has seen him since. No one goes into that place. No one leaves. You know, I’m sure that pumpkin was just a stupid joke. He can’t still be there, that’s all I’m willing to say on the matter. If you’re stupid enough to want to know more then you should find the parents of poor little Clara, but you already know too much, you’re not going to like what you’ll find.” “But please Rita, if all this has happened surely Sylvester is in jail? Or he’s at least moved a very long way away?” I shouted “My husband was poisoned. But when they went to find Sylvester, he was gone. Vanished. No one could find him anywhere. Now I’d like you to leave.” She finished. “I know it is stupid to continue with this, but what are Clara’s parents’ names?” I said calmly “Florence Parker is her mother. He father is long gone.”
I thanked Rita Pearlhall readily and left her home.