Fog settled over areas of the port city closest to the sea. As winter approached, the man-made wharves were often invisible from the seawalls, and lichen grew healthy and phosphorescent on the brick facades of mercantile warehouses. The fog hung around the landfilled sections of the city like ghosts, lingering over the long since-buried bodies of water. Once a bay inlet itself, Colchester Park welcomed such weather. It was through the park’s sitting mist late one evening that Abraham trudged, sucking air through his bad tooth.
He spat in frustration. The pain was getting worse, and if it continued, he’d have to get the tooth pulled. Abraham was afraid of surgery, the irony not lost on him. He was certainly no God-fearing man, whatever the others around him professed, but, still, he thought it unnatural to manipulate one’s body. If a tooth went bad, it would fall out on its own. Nature provided that solution. This was how he approached medicine too. If you were vomiting, it was because your body was supposed to vomit. Let it. To swallow some arbitrary tincture, to attach some awful parasite to your skin in order to curb the illness—that was mad. But the pain in his mouth was beginning to outweigh any personal philosophy. The logical debate was becoming a shouting match in his head, and the ache was getting louder. The doctor may inevitably be in his future. He pushed it again from his mind.
Colchester Park was still. At this hour of the night, in summer, he might have expected to run into vagrants or the poorest of the poor, sleeping in the grass or on a bench. But now at the tail end of autumn, when the chill threatened to grab hold of anyone lingering outside, the transients kept moving and Abraham was left to occupy the park alone. At least, he hoped so.
The hazy gloom had settled amongst those centuries-old elms and chestnuts; beyond the light of the newly-installed electric streetlamps, their spectral silhouettes stood shivering. The trees had shed most of their canopies for the year, and the rhythm of Abraham’s boots as they swept through dead leaves and chestnut husks was the only consistent sound That and the suck and gargle of rum that swashed in the half-empty bottle in his hand.
After a long day of work, and with the prospect of yet another beginning at first light tomorrow, Abraham ached with fatigue. His head was heavy and his eyes, by default, retained a soft focus on the ground before him. There was much reason to be alert; his life, he understood, depended on it. There were police to be concerned about. He hadn’t bumped into one on patrol yet but knew it was only a matter of time, especially down here in the southern part of the park, bordering the poorer neighborhoods where officers preferred to do their rounds.
But the familiarity of this near-nightly routine, paired with his demanding daytime job and a heavy dose of sleep deprivation, was numbing. This was not good. He knew it, and every few minutes would try to will himself into alertness.
Sometimes little will was necessary. A leaf might drop into his periphery, or a twig might snap innocuously off to his side, and the disruption to his revery would send a shock through him. He’d stop mid-stride. All senses would, like a stray dog’s, kick in to interpret his surroundings for danger. The leaf invariably hit the ground and stopped, the twig remained broken and broke no more, and the stillness resumed. He’d listen to the park breathing in its slumber, the mosaic crinkling of leaves moved by a breeze too gentle to feel on his own hardened face. He’d feel his pulse knocking against the inside of his throat. Police were a concern, yes. But in moments like these, the law was not the initial fear. There was no one walking toward him after all. Nothing watching him from the mist.
In the aftermath of these nervous breaks, when recognition and common sense resumed, the temptation to take a pull from the liquor bottle in his hand was strongest. But the hallucinations had been getting worse, and abandoning alcohol was a step he took a few months back to preserve his sanity. If he couldn’t have sleep, he might as well have sobriety. Besides, men were not meant to drink poison. It was also unnatural, he had reluctantly decided.
The fog was deep and sank into the grass. Abraham’s boots were already soggy and threatening to yield to the damp where the leather was thinning or cracked. He had entertained the idea of wearing his work boots out instead of these time-beaten things. But the idea of going into the university the next day in his pressed uniform and mud-caked shoes seemed unwise. He was getting a frustrating amount of attention at the school for these evening errands, and did not want to make things any more conspicuous.
Somewhere close by, along one of the main city arteries that pumped lazily around the park, a horse-car trolley screeched and rattled by, the horses’ hooves snapping a tired beat. Its bell could still be faintly heard as Abraham passed through the gate in a wrought-iron fence and entered a field of mossy and tilted tombstones. On the southern border of the park, the burying ground was separated only by that lazy boulevard from the bars, brothels, and poor and immigrant communities of the city that built upon each other through narrow streets along the docks. The park as a whole acted as a passive partition, separating the less polished elements of the city from the government buildings, universities, and old families’ neighborhoods to the north. It was “a people’s park,” as those on the university campus liked to remark around Abraham, a space for those of every social strata to gather. Within the wrought-iron border of this burying ground, though, he knew, only the lowest classes rested. Among people who would know such things, it was said the plot of land—no more than a few thousand square yards—held over ten thousand nameless bodies beneath its uneven surface. The few dozen thin tombstones scattered around the grounds were markers for mass graves.
Eventually Abraham stopped beside a low stone structure at the western edge of the burying ground, about as narrow and long as a townhouse but rising only a few feet from the grass. The tomb was a relatively new structure in the yard—the recessed moat of space that circumnavigated its foundation, dug about a half dozen feet into the earth, held only the layer of this year’s fallen leaves—but the stone walls were already forfeiting their polish to an aggressive growth of moss and ivy. No one waited for him outside the structure.
He stepped up to the edge of the moat and searched with his toe for the ladder’s first iron rung. Once found, the rum bottle was tucked into his jacket beside the old crowbar and he lowered his aging body gingerly over the edge. The cold was not doing his sore joints any favors, and a long line of curse words escaped under his breath as the rest of the burying ground disappeared overhead. A practiced leverage of the crowbar and he was through the iron doors, within the tomb.
The silence here revealed just how loud the night above ground had actually been. This was an atmosphere of suffocating quiet, heavy with the smell of mildew. Abraham felt along the grit of the stone wall until his fingers found the cold metal ring they were searching for. With a snap of a match, the lantern now in his hand illuminated a part of the space. Rather than wait, as he assumed was expected of him, he shuffled over to one of the corners. As he paced along the wall, the unsteady lantern light chased away the dark to reveal a series of narrow, deep, empty pockets in the wall. Abraham walked until the door he’d come in by disappeared, and he came to a pocket that was not empty. Inside the hole, disfigured by pools of shadow, something was loosely wrapped in burlap. He set down the lantern and the liquor bottle on the floor and reached out for the shroud. A throat cleared behind him.
Abraham was startled but not surprised. It was a sound he’d heard before, and recently. It was an impossibly dry cough, a terrible rattle of dust and stone, accompanied by a whiff of something like apples souring on the sidewalk. He turned from the hole and watched a figure lean out of the darkness and into the halo of light. The woman from the nights before.
“Hello again,” she said and smiled.
Abraham grunted in response. The contempt he could muster surprised him. He dared to turn away from her, to glance back at the shrouded pile in the hole before returning his gaze to the woman. She had on the same moth-eaten attire, a soiled black lacy dress long since out of fashion. As with the previous night, and the night before that and so on, it was difficult to guess the woman’s age, in part from the strange garb but mostly from her physical appearance. Her body was alarmingly frail, and her hair was fair to the point of translucence and pulled up into a disheveled nest above her face. Sharp cheekbones underscored sunken eyes resembling the holes along the tomb walls, and her lips, when not opened in speech, held the kind of knowing smile that lifted the hairs on Abraham’s neck.
“Where is your lively friend?” she asked. Dust and stone.
“Hasn’t shown up yet.”
“I thought you might have disposed of him, what with the way you looked at him yesterday,” the woman said. “Sold him, maybe.”
Abraham turned his back to the woman and reached for the burlap bundle in the wall. “I ain’t that kind of man,” he said, almost to himself.
“No, you aren’t, are you.”
The woman cleared her throat again. He winced.
“That one there is new,” she said, raising her voice. He knew she was referring to what lay beneath the sheet, and he pulled away the burlap to see for himself.
“They brought him down here this morning,” she said.
In the hole, laying on its back, was the corpse of a young man, no more than twenty-five years old. The skin was ashy and dull in the low light, and the hair already lacked the lustre it might have had not twenty-four hours earlier. The face looked grotesquely deflated, a common sight, when the cheek and brow muscles that worked so hard in life retired with the soul and let the face fall without resistance. What was most striking to Abraham, though, at it always had been, was the body’s extraordinary stillness. And its stillness was extraordinary. Like entering the silence of the tomb, the corpse’s inactivity reminded him of just how much movement the living make. Here, on the face that used to belong to a young man, no lips twitched. The chest refused to rise and fall. The eyelids effortlessly remained shut. Unnatural, it had seemed to a more innocent Abraham, and yet.
He could remember some of his first intimate moments with death. The idea of it, the existence of it as an inevitability, in this city, was not a new one. Poverty and winter nights brought death; shipwrecks and bar fights brought death; the law brought death. But he had always shuttled himself quickly around it, head turned away. Death was a reality, but strictly a hypothetical one, mostly avoidable, except for the times when he would notice a conspicuously stiff body, still dressed in rags, in the shadow of an alleyway. Even then he was compelled to carry on without too much of a look or a thought. His relationship with death on a personal, physical level was a relatively new one. It had begun shortly after overhearing two desperate students whispering outside the anatomy wing, after he was struck with an enterprising idea.
It was the stillness that had first struck him when he began supplementing his income in this way. Looking down at those first corpses, as he now looked at the young man, there was an almost overwhelming feeling it was only a matter of time before the eyes would open again, that the cold, calm-looking man or woman would raise themselves back up onto their arms and confess that, despite the terminal illness or violence, despite the burial and the present state of things, it had all been a misunderstanding. The feeling was so strong that, at times, Abraham was convinced he saw a chest inflate and depress out of the corner of his eye. He would abruptly turn back to see if a finger had indeed tapped upon the stomach. His mind, so unused to human inactivity, made the body move anyway. It was only his brain playing tricks on him. He had overcome those tricks with time and familiarity, but the stillness was ever-present. The ghost of those suspicions lingered.
“No cause of death identified.” The words came shuddering over Abraham’s shoulders with the hint of a smile.
“Doctors know very little,” he said to the figure, and began to search the hands and neck and pockets of the body. A ring—the man had been married; a crucifix necklace, possibly gold; a silver money clip; a pocket watch; a handwritten letter. He stuffed these things into his own pockets.
“When they brought him down here,” the woman said, “the graveyard men, they were commenting on the newly vacant holes.” She paused.
Abraham grunted again.
“They know what people like you are doing,” she continued. “They discuss ways of stopping you. More intricate locks. Dogs. Police.”
“I see. And what did you tell them?” he asked, turning to the woman.
“You know,” she said, “I don’t mind it. I’d offer you myself if I were worth anything.” The smile on her face broadened, baring rotten teeth.
At that moment his own tooth flared up, a splitting throb through the jaw. His mind went white with pain, before eventually coming back to. He reset his facial expression as quickly as he could; it was unclear if the woman had seen it. After a few seconds of silence, she resumed: “But I understand there’s no value in a scattered pile of bones. I’ll just have to make do with the company of men such as yourself. And the other one. Your youthful companion.”
As if on cue, a loud clanking of metal on granite erupted outside the tomb entry. Abraham cringed as the clattering dissipated to a sonorous ringing and stopped. The woman continued to smile and, still looking at him, stepped back into the darkness.
“Hello?” came the muffled voice of someone beyond the iron door. “Are you in there?”
He sprinted as quickly as he could to the door and pulled it open. In the residual streetlamp light reflected in the air, he could see in the moat the gangly posture and smug expression of a young man, a medical student. Kit Coleridge.
“Damn you, boy,” Abraham growled, grabbing onto the shoulders of Kit’s jacket and throwing him into the crypt. He swung the door shut as fast and silently as he could.
“Abe? Is that you?” the student croaked, an undertone of fear barely disguised beneath a veneer of indignation. There was a sound of scrambling to one’s feet. “You scuffed my knee. My pants might be ruined.”
“Keep your voice down, you little rat. Are you trying to get us hanged?” Furious, Abraham strode past the warm silhouette back into the lantern’s glow.
“Rat? Is that what you’re calling me now?” The young man followed him into the light. With newfound surety of his bearings, Kit’s squeaky voice was losing its apprehension and picking up the familiar cockiness. “Maybe, if you want this little rat to keep your nighttime profession a secret, you’ll think up a more respectful nickname.”
In the flickering light, Kit looked less like a student from the local medical university and more like a prepubescent boy in his father’s coat and slacks. The clothes were oversized, the haircut comically juvenile. His face looked smooth as marble and attractive in a moneyed way. In his eyes, Abraham saw, was the rabid arrogance that made him truly, wildly dangerous.
“What the hell was that sound back there?” Abraham said, misdirecting his frustration as little as he could.
“I dropped my crowbar.” Kit shrugged. He looked around and spotted the rum on the floor. “Say, give me a tug of that,” he said, reaching for the bottle.
Abraham swatted his hand away, but caught his breath as the boy reared back. “How d—!” the student said, much louder than was safe. “And why not?”
“I told you,” Abraham said, dropping his voice, “this ain’t for drinking.”
“What kind of rum ain’t for drinking?”
“It’s to douse the body should anyone get curious about us carrying it to the school. To make it look like a liquored up pal we’re just trying to get home.”
Kit’s eyes betrayed a wave of understanding. “Alright then,” he said, still too loud, “where’s the body?”
Abraham sighed and stepped over to reveal the corpse. “Does this suit you?”
His words were laden with sarcasm, but if the boy heard it, he didn’t acknowledge. Instead, Kit pushed Abraham aside to examine the body in the light. Their faces were close, the student’s and the body’s, almost kissing. His breath, steaming in the cold of the tomb, blew over the pale skin. Kit examined the dead man’s face with ferocious interest. His eyes moved from the man’s own milky pupils to the sloped nose, the gray lips, the neck. He ran his fingers behind the ears, through the man’s hair. He gave it a gentle, almost sensual tug.
Kit’s fingers followed his attention down the throat, over the chest, and stopped about the waist. Abraham watched the examination with strong words on his tongue, but held them, not sure exactly what Kit was doing wrong, only knowing that the scene made him very uncomfortable.
“You know,” Kit said, looking again at the corpse’s face, “the first dead body I ever saw was a criminal’s, hanging from the Great Elm.”
He was, of course, referring to that tree standing alone near the center of Colchester Park, that two hundred year old behemoth with twisted branches thick as a wagon’s wheel and the one branch in particular, straight and perpendicular to the ground, with rope tied around its girth. For as long as anyone could remember, it had always been the city gallows. It was where anyone from murderers to witches to resurrection men were hanged for all to witness. The two men would have to pass underneath it tonight, with their contraband, on the way to the school.
“Fascinating,” Abraham said, and made to take a step toward the body. Kit’s focus, however, had not been broken, and he was compelled to stop himself, to wait.
“She was a convicted arsonist,” the student said. “Had burned down her home one evening with her two children and husband sleeping inside. Neighbors found her outside the blazing hovel, barefoot and stunned, looking into the glow as if she saw a ghost. There was a fresh bruise above her eye and the box of matches still in her hand. They said they could hear the little one still screaming inside when the roof came down.” He said this quietly, but there was no sadness in his words.
“I saw her after she’d been strung up for hours, after the crowd dispersed and the vendors had sold their last concessions. There were only the children left to come have a look. One threw a rock and it bounced off her like she was wood. Up there, pulled straight except for the strange bend in her neck, she looked so…”
Kit ran his finger once again over the dead man’s chest, tracing lines as if with a scalpel. Up it went, over the adam’s apple, along the jawline, brushing again the lips. He was by himself now; Abraham was only eavesdropping.
“You could still see that bruise on her face, even from where we stood. I felt something I’d never felt before but have never shaken since. Hanging there so peacefully. So perfectly, impossibly peaceful. I wanted to touch that. Hold it. Be within.” The last word hissed out between his teeth in a whisper, almost a breath. “For science, of course.”
As if remembering there was someone behind him, Kit straightened up and cleared his throat. “Well,” he said, and strode purposefully back to the lantern. Picking it up, he pivoted back to Abraham. “Let’s get on with it then.”
He looked expectantly at Abraham, who, finding a balance between gritting his teeth and not losing himself in the toothache, replied with a shudder. The spectacle was over, the spell was broken, and Abraham stepped over to the corpse. In one fluid motion he bent down and slid the body up onto his shoulders. “You take the rum,” he grunted from under an armpit.
As they made their way back to the entrance, the smell of rotting apples returned to him, and he noticed at the edge of the glow the woman from before, smiling.
“Say,” Abraham said, hesitating, “boy, can you see—”
Kit pulled the bottle from his mouth and squinted at him.
Out on the grass, after the labor of hoisting the body from the ditch, the men stood in the chilly night air and caught their breaths with the corpse at their feet. The stillness of the body exposed swirling currents of air in the fog and the gentle rocking of tree branches. The student shifted and twiddled like a child.
“Why are you here?” Abraham asked for the first time that day. After the silence of the tomb, the park seemed to hum louder than ever with ambient sounds. Another horse-car rocked along the street outside of view. The night enclosed everything in its own private bubbles. This, and Kit’s belligerence, had emboldened him. “I understand wanting to choose your own body for school purposes, I suppose. But why come back?”
Kit shrugged and said, “I want to.” His tone suggested there really was nothing more to it.
Once Abraham had resituated the body on his shoulder, he and Kit set out for the medical school to which both accomplices belonged. The path was a nearly two-mile journey north, moving from the burying grounds, through the park, down a maze of alleyways and lesser-traveled streets, and into the hallowed campus. The gloom was as thick as when he had arrived, maybe thicker, and the chill was beginning to feel strictly wintry. They had hardly exited the fenced confines of the graveyard when Abraham’s boots succumbed to the grass’s freezing dew. First his toes, then the rest of his feet were gripped by the numbing cold, so that by the time he and the student approached the Great Elm, he could no hardly feel below the ankle.
The presence of the tree pulled like gravity on Abraham’s mind as they passed beneath it. Through the mist, he tried to make out any unnatural shapes along the lower branch. Paper spheres hung from string throughout the thinned canopy. They must’ve been put up that afternoon, he thought. Soon the candles within would be lit for the coming holidays. These weren’t the shapes he’d been looking for, however, and nothing else hung within his field of vision. He sighed and turned his attention back to the pathway. There were, it seemed, no convictions that day.
The awkward weight of the body felt to Abraham to be increasing with each step. In the quiet adopted by the men, that same sort of tired trance overcame him. The eyes stopped trying to identify shapes in the dark. Was that a figure leaning against the far tree or a cancerous deformity of the trunk? Were those eyes in the grass reflecting electric light, or puddles of water in the leaves? It was becoming harder to care over the ache in his feet, the groans of his knees, the pain in his mouth. Footsteps became a rhythm and nothing else, beat in time with his heartbeat, his breathing. A sense of smell was replaced with the stinging sensation of cold air pulled through his nose. Somewhere a church’s bell tower tolled out the hour in leaden tones. They had an hour to get to the medical building’s basement to meet with tonight’s buyer. To Abraham, this rendezvous couldn’t come and go quickly enough. He allowed into his mind for the first time that night the thought of his small apartment stove, his warm bed.
“You lead a fascinating life, Abe,” Kit said, breaking the silence as they walked down one of the park’s gravel paths lined with trees and streetlamps. The lights floated as a receding row of orange orbs in the haze, signalling their way. Kit had spoken into the fog, but now turned to Abraham. “I think I’d like to be your partner.”
Abraham’s trance lifted. He barked out a laugh in spite of his better judgement, promptly rekindling the wildness in Kit’s eyes. Abraham, for the moment, was done caring. He was tired and cold and had work in the morning, his feet were numb, his tooth ached, he was seeing things that shouldn’t be there, and he wanted a goddamn drink. Now this twisted little rat, head filled with those sensational headlines from Whitechapel, no doubt, wanted to play body snatcher.
“Go to hell, boy. The answer is no.”
Even in the washed out evening, it was clear to see the red that flooded Kit’s face. He stopped walking, stepped in front of Abraham, and shoved a finger in his face.
“Now you listen here, you dirty old necrophiliac janitor. My conditions were clear.” He was shouting, and the relative privacy Abraham had felt was erased. Common sense kicked in. This kid was going to get them both caught; the fog stifled, but if the sound were loud enough, it also carried. For all the apparent calm that surrounded them, there was still the chance of someone floating outside of sight, within earshot.
“Shut your mouth,” Abraham hissed. “What are you thinking?”
But Kit was already swept up in his emotions. He continued: “If you bring me on your disgusting little escapades, I let you keep your job cleaning the lavatories. Those were the terms, and you agreed upon them. You don’t get to tell me no.”
“Kit,” Abraham was pleading now, “keep your voice down, for Christ’s sake.”
“I will do exactly what I damn well please, you filthy, bottom-feeding—”
Another man’s voice. Fear shot through Abraham’s body like a cold flash, and Kit’s eyes bulged even as his mouth was left open, mid-curse. The two looked at each other and held their breath.
“Hello? Who’s there?” the voice came, louder. It was hard to guess the kind of person it belonged to, but Abraham couldn’t help noticing the tone of a particular type of confidence.
“Quick,” he whispered to the student, “pour what’s left of the bottle on the body.”
Kit looked back at Abraham with shock, unmoving and unhearing. His lips bobbed like a puppet’s. Those wide eyes revealed a different wildness from the kind Abraham knew.
“Kit, damn it, pour the bottle on him.”
The bottle stayed by his side, and the look on his face was replaced, in quick alternations, with those of defiant obstinacy and dread. “I can’t— I’m not—” he began to stutter.
Abraham yanked the bottle from his hand and emptied its contents over the man on his shoulder, inadvertently covering himself, before tossing the bottle in the opposite direction of the voice.
“Hello?” said the voice a third time, no more than twenty yards away. “Police. Identify yourselves immediately.”
A short squeal escaped Kit’s mouth, but Abraham cleared his throat. “Officer,” he said with what he hoped was confidence, “we’re over here, by the fountain. Myself and my two companions. Please don’t be alarmed.”
Out of the night emerged a helmeted figure, walking with the unmistakable swagger of the law. The brass buttons sewn down the front of a blue-black uniform reflected the ambient light, as did his large belt buckle. Pinned to his chest gleamed his badge. As the officer stepped into their alcove of visibility, Abraham spoke again.
“Evening, officer. As you can see, you’ve caught our friend at the tail end of a long night. We were just getting him home safely. Isn’t that right, George. George?”
Kit was looking anywhere but at the officer, his eyes still wide, his head shaking back and forth. That clean-shaven jaw wagged silently, mouth agape.
The officer squinted at the student from under his helmet visor. In the murky half-light, the officer’s face looked like little more than eyebrows and mustache. He was no taller than Abraham and no bigger, slightly out of shape, a billy club hanging at his hip. He kept his small eyes trained on Kit.
“Last call was two hours ago.” He waited for a response.
“Yes, well,” Abraham began. He had never thought the plan out to this degree. How did people get drunk after last call? How had he? “To be honest, officer, I picked up my friend here from one of those shadier establishments on the south side. He’s learned his lesson, though, you can see. And if it would benefit all of us I could give you an address…”
A low whine had begun to well up in the background, and the officer was no longer paying attention to his words. The sound was Kit, now shaking as if possessed.
“George, what are you doing?” Abraham asked, his mind racing for an answer. “Officer, don’t pay him any—”
That’s when he saw her. Swaying slightly, behind the officer at the edge of what was visible, the woman from the tomb stood, grinning. It couldn’t be real. She was so small, so feeble—the silhouette of cloth hanging from a shovel. How long had she been there, following him? Her eyes, points of black in the hollows above her nose. Those bared velvety teeth. She looked through him, through every part of him. He knew, somewhere in the deepest part of his gut, where instinct was a pastor and faith was formed, where the rational was only a response, that this woman was here now to stay.
“No,” Kit exclaimed, all of his spastic motion concentrated suddenly and focusing into words. “This is ludicrous. This is madness. I am a student of anatomy, officer, at the medical school.”
Abraham turned back to his accomplice. “George—”
“ —and this is not a drunk person, it is a corpse—”
“ —and this man is a criminal, a janitor by day at my school. His name is Abrah—”
In one quick, devastating series of movements, Abraham dropped the body from his shoulder, pulled from his jacket the damp and rusty crowbar, and swung it through the back of Kit’s child-like haircut. The sound was sickening, a dull crack made duller by the dense atmosphere. Unnatural, he couldn’t help but think, even as the officer raised a whistle to his lips and blew a shrill note. The high-pitched breath was cut short by a second, equally unnatural crack.
Abraham took off into the cover of the dark where the woman had been, and where, somewhere beyond the park, in those familiar corners of the city, there might be something to trust, something like safety. The three bodies were left behind on the gravel without an afterthought, to be found, buried, resurrected, sold by whomever.
Connor Lucey is a salty New Englander living in the Pacific Northwest. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Portland State University, and is the former editor for The Absurdist Fiction Magazine. You can find his work in The Cabinet of Heed and Milvia Street Journal.