Monday, September 22, 2014

Dream 09 "The Ghost of John Ridout" (Samuel Jarvis, 1826)

Nearly ten years after he killed the man in a duel, Samuel Jarvis dreamed that he was being haunted by John Ridout’s ghost. The young man appeared at the foot of his bed, naked, dead, pale gray and blue, with a messy, gaping hole in the middle of his chest. You could see straight through it to the wall beyond. And all along the wound’s edges, rotting flesh twisted and squirmed, made alive by the gluttonous writhing of maggots and worms.

Jarvis froze. His breath caught in his throat. His eyes slammed shut. Tight. His heart hammered in his ears. He tried to keep still, perfectly still, to not flinch or twitch a single muscle as he felt his feet go cold. The blood and pus was oozing out of Ridout’s wound and dripping wet onto his naked toes.

Jarvis woke with a start. The ghost was gone. Mary slept peacefully beside him. He was safe. He caught his breath, pulled the linens down over his feet, and lay there, awake, until the sun rose.


Learn more about the true history of Samuel Jarvis and the Jarvis family here. Explore more Toronto Dreams Project postcards here.

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