Endless Night
Author:Agatha Christie

Chapter 24
There isn't really very much to say after that. I mean, things came to a climax there. One forgets, I suppose, that there can't be anything better to follow - that you've had it all. I just sat there for a long time. I don't know when They came. I don't know whether They all came at once... They couldn't have been there all along because they wouldn't have let me kill Greta. I noticed that God was there first. I don't mean God, I'm confused, I mean Major Phillpot. I'd liked him always, he'd been very nice to me. He was rather like God in some ways, I think. I mean if God had been a human being and not something super-natural - up in the sky somewhere. He was a very fair man, very fair and kind. He looked after things and people. Tried to do his best for people.

I don't know how much he'd know about me. I remember the curious way he looked at me that morning in the sale room when he said that I was "fey". I wonder why he thought I happened to be fey that day.

Then when we were there with that little crumpled heap on the ground that was Ellie in her riding habit... I wonder if he knew then or had some idea that I'd had something to do with it.

After Greta's death, as I say I just sat there in my chair, staring down at my champagne glass. It was empty.

Everything was very empty, very empty indeed. There was just one light that we'd switched on, Greta and I, but it was in the corner. It didn't give much light and the sun - I think the sun must have set a long time ago. I just sat there and wondered what was going to happen next with a sort of dull wonder.

Then, I suppose, the people began coming. Perhaps a lot of people came at once. They came very quietly, if so, or else I wasn't hearing or noticing anybody.

Perhaps if Santonix had been there he would have told me what to do. Santonix was dead. He'd gone a different way to my way, so he wouldn't be any help. Nobody really would be any help.

After a bit I noticed Dr. Shaw. He was so quiet I hardly knew he was there at first. He was sitting quite near me, just waiting for something. After a while I thought he was waiting for me to speak. I said to him, "I've come home."

There were one or two other people moving somewhere behind him. They seemed to be waiting, to be waiting for something that he was going to do.

"Greta's dead," I said. "I killed her. I expect you'd better take the body away, hadn't you?"

Somebody somewhere let off a flash bulb. It must have been a police photographer photographing the body. Dr. Shaw turned his head and said sharply,

"Not yet."

He turned his head round back to me again. I leaned towards him and said,

"I saw Ellie tonight."

"Did you? Where?"

"Outside standing under a fir tree. It was the place I first saw her, you know." I paused a moment and then said, "She didn't see me... She couldn't see me because I wasn't there." And after a while I said, "That upset me. It upset me very much."

Dr. Shaw said, "It was in the capsule, wasn't it? Cyanide in the capsule? That's what you gave Ellie that morning?"

"It was for her hay fever," I said, "she always took a capsule as a preventative against her allergy when she went riding. Greta and I fixed up one or two of the capsules with wasp stuff from the garden shed and joined them together again. We did it up in the Folly. Smart, wasn't it?"

And I laughed. It was an odd sort of laugh, I heard it myself. It was more like a queer little giggle. I said,

"You'd examined all the things she took, hadn't you, when you came to see her ankle? Sleeping pills, the allergy capsules, and they were all quite all right, weren't they? No harm in any of them."

"No harm," said Dr. Shaw. "They were quite innocent."

"That was rather clever really, wasn't it?" I said.

"You've been quite clever, yes, but not clever enough."

"All the same I don't see how you found out."

"We found out when there was a second death, the death you didn't mean to happen."

"Claudia Hardcastle?"

"Yes. She died the same way as Ellie did. She fell from her horse in the hunting field. Claudia was a healthy girl too, but she just fell from her horse and died. The time wasn't so long there, you see. They picked her up almost at once and there was still the smell of cyanide to go by. If she'd lain in the open air like Ellie for a couple of hours, there'd have been nothing - nothing to smell, nothing to find. I don't see how Claudia got the capsule, though. Unless you'd left one behind in the Folly. Claudia used to go to the Folly sometimes. Her fingerprints were there and she dropped a lighter there."

"We must have been careless. Filling them was rather tricky."

Then I said,

"You suspected I had something to do with Ellie's death, didn't you? All of you?" I looked round at the shadowy figures. "Perhaps all of you."

"Very often one knows. But I wasn't sure whether we'd be able to do anything about it."

"You ought to caution me," I said, reprovingly.

"I'm not a police officer," said Dr. Shaw.

"What are you then?"

"I'm a doctor."

"I don't need a doctor," I said.

"That remains to be seen."

I looked at Phillpot then, and I said,

"What are you doing? Come here to judge me, to preside at my trial?"

"I'm only a Justice of the Peace," he said. "I'm here as a friend."

"A friend of mine?" That startled me.

"A friend of Ellie's," he said.

I didn't understand. None of it made sense to me but I couldn't help feeling rather important. All of them there! Police and doctors, Shaw and Phillpot who was a busy man in his way. The whole thing

was very complicated. I began to lose count of things. I was very tired, you see. I used to get tired suddenly and go to sleep...

And all the coming and going. People came to see me, all sorts of people. Lawyers, a solicitor, I think, and another kind of lawyer with him and doctors. Several doctors. They bothered me and I didn't want to answer them.

One of them kept asking me if there was anything I wanted. I said there was. I said there was only one thing I wanted. I said I wanted a ball pen and a lot of paper. I wanted, you see, to write down all about it, how it all came to happen. I wanted to tell them what I'd felt, what I'd thought. The more I thought about myself, the more interesting I thought it would be to everybody. Because I was interesting. I was a really interesting person and I'd done interesting things.

The doctors - one doctor, anyway - seemed to think it was a good idea. I said,

"You always let people make a statement, so why can't I write my statement out? Some day, perhaps, everybody can read it."

They let me do it. I couldn't write very long on end. I used to get tired. Somebody used a phrase like "diminished responsibility" and somebody else disagreed. All sorts of things you hear. Sometimes they don't think you're even listening. Then I had to appear in Court and I wanted them to fetch me my best suit because I had to make a good figure there. It seemed they had had detectives watching me.

For some time. Those new servants. I think they'd been engaged or put on my trail by Lippincott. They found out too many things about me and Greta. Funny, after she was dead I never thought of Greta much. After I'd killed her she didn't seem to matter any more.

I tried to bring back the splendid triumphant feeling that I'd had when I strangled her. But even that was gone away...

They brought my mother to see me quite suddenly one day. There she was looking at me from the doorway. She didn't look as anxious as she used to look. I think all she looked now was sad. She hadn't much to say and nor had I. All she said was:

"I tried, Mike. I tried very hard to keep you safe. I failed. I was always afraid that I should fail."

I said, "All right, Mum, it wasn't your fault. I chose to go the way I wanted."

And I thought suddenly "That's what Santonix said. He was afraid for me, too. He hadn't been able to do anything either. Nobody could have done anything - except perhaps I myself... I don't know. I'm not sure. But every now and then I remember! I remember that day when Ellie said to me 'what are you thinking of when you look at me like that?' and I said 'like what?' She said 'as though you loved me.' I suppose in a way I did love her. I could have loved her. She was so sweet, Ellie. Sweet delight..."

I suppose the trouble with me was that I wanted things too much, always. Wanted them, too, the easy way, the greedy way.

That first time, that first day I came to Gipsy's Acre and met Ellie. As we were going down the road again we met Esther. It put it into my head that day, the warning she gave Ellie, put it in my head to pay her. I knew she was the kind who would do anything for money. I'd pay her.

She'd start warning Ellie and frightening her, making her feel that she was in danger. I thought it might make it seem more possible then that Ellie had died from shock. That first day, I know now, I'm sure of it, Esther was really frightened.

She was really frightened for Ellie. She warned her, warned her to go away, have nothing to do with Gipsy's Acre.

She was warning her, of course, to have nothing to do with me. I didn't understand that. Ellie didn't understand either.

Was it me Ellie was afraid of? I think it must have been though she didn't know it herself. She knew there was something threatening her, she knew there was danger.

Santonix knew the evil in me, too, just like my mother.

Perhaps all three of them knew. Ellie knew but she didn't mind, she never minded. It's odd, very odd. I know now.

We were very happy together. Yes, very happy. I wish I'd known then that we were happy I had my chance.

Perhaps everyone has a chance. I - turned my back on it. It seems odd, doesn't it, that Greta doesn't matter at all? And even my beautiful house doesn't matter.

Only Ellie...

And Ellie can never find me again...

Endless Night... That's the end of my story...

In my end is my beginning - that's what you always say.

But what does it mean?

And where, exactly, is my beginning? It is up to me to find out...