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Sleepy Hollow: Isabelle Van Tassel

Chapter Text

The next day in the morning, Ichabod and Isabelle were standing outside a livery stable waiting for Killian to bring out a horse for Ichabod to barrow and Isabelle's horse to which she left in his care before leaving for New York. Killian came out a moment later leading a dappled grey and quarter horse.

"His name is Gunpowder," Killian said, "And here is Empress, Miss Van Tassel."

"Thank you for caring for her, "Isabelle said.

"Your welcome, Miss."

"He should do just fine," Ichabod said, slapping Gunpowder lightly on the rump. "Thank you."

"Now if you need any help, you just call my name."He said.

"Of course, thank you, sir," Ichabod said as Gunpowder bumped his head against Ichabod's.

In the house beside the barn, a pregnant woman left, and a red-haired woman followed, stopped in the doorway, and smiled. She spotted a young boy playing a few yards away.

"Thomas! Come inside!" She called. A little red-haired boy began to run in as Killian happily scooped him up and kissed his head.

"Go on and eat your breakfast. Kiss your mother once for you and twice for me, "He said setting the boy down.

As Ichabod took Gunpowder's reins, a loud gunshot at the tree line caught his attention. A man on horseback held a gun.

"Murder! The Horseman has killed again!"The man shouted before riding to spread the news to the rest of the town.

In a panic, Ichabod attempted to mount the horse as Killian ran inside the barn to get his horse. Isabelle managed to get on Empress with ease and waited for Ichabod.

"Come on Gunpowder, we're off!" Ichabod said. But he was unable to as Gunpowder moved away from him but he was eventually able to get on the saddle with both feet in the stirrups, he held his bag out to the side and gripped the reins in one hand. Isabelle couldn't help but smile at the struggle her fiance had with Gunpowder and managed not to laugh.

"Giddy-up… no, no… this way…" Ichabod said steering the horse in the right direction. Gunpowder began to walk forward. "Good horsey."

Isabelle steered Empress next to Gunpowder and said to Ichabod, "Do not worry, Gunpowder will follow Empress if you have trouble. Now, we must hurry, or else who knows what they might do?"

Isabelle nudged Empress to pick up speed to catch up with Killian. She looked behind her and saw Ichabod holding onto the reins as Gunpowder followed her horse.

They eventually were in the part of the woods where the body of Masbeth had been found. Killian got off his horse and stood by a tree with a gun in hand while Isabelle and Ichabod just arrived. The two saw a group of men gathered around the decapitated body; the men from the previous night in Isabelle's father's study, a few townsmen, and Brom. The body was on its back with its arms on its stomach. Doctor Lancaster was crouching by the body.

"It's alright. I'm here now," Ichabod said as he awkwardly dismounted the horse before helping Isabelle down. The two began to approach the body and began to pass Baltus.

"May I inquire why she is here?" Reverend Steenwyck asked once again, questioning if Isabelle should be here.

"I trust her very much and I know she can withstand such a gruesome sight. I believe she is completely capable of withstanding this," Icabod said gesturing to Masbeth's body with a nod. He walked forward with a nod and set his bag down close to the body. He looked down at it and resisted the urge to gag.

"The fourth victim. Jonathan Masbeth," Dr. Lancaster informed Ichabod.

"Ah. I-I see… A-and the head?" Ichabod asked with his back to the group.

"Taken," Philipse answered.

"Taken… Interesting. Very interesting…" Ichabod said, turning to the group again.

"What is?"Baltus asked.

"In headless corpse cases such as this, the head is removed to prevent identification of the body," Ichabod said approaching Baltus.

"But we know that this is Jonathan Masbeth!" Baltus said.

"Precisely, so why was the head removed?" Ichabod said.

"Why…" Baltus echoed.

"Right!" Ichabod said turning.

"The body has been moved," Isabelle informed Ichabod in a hushed tone. He then noticed the obvious situation that the body had been moved. Ichabod and Isabelle walk down the line of men to Dr. Lancaster. He turned to face him, hands behind his back.

"You have moved the body."He stated.

"I did," Dr. Lancaster admitted with a bit of confusion.

"You must never move the body!" Ichabod said, loudly.

"Why not?" Dr. Lancaster asked, confused.

"Because doing so would disrupt the scene of the murder and delay the investigation," Isabelle replied.

Ichabod noticed the hoof prints in the leaves around the body. He also noticed some boot prints as well. He took a few giant steps to recreate the Horseman's stride.

"The stride is gigantic! The attacker rode Masbeth down," Ichabod pretended to ride a horse at a gallop, past Masbeth's body, "turned his horse," he made a loop around, "and came back," he said as he arrived back at the body, "Came back to claim the head."

Ichabod swiftly ran to his bag and opened it, pulling out a small rack of bottles. Isabelle grabbed a small bottle and crouched by the body. She sprinkled powder by the severed neck of the body. She and Ichabod watch as the powder began to fizzle.

"Yes. There's a chemical reaction. It shows there was a powerful, singular thrust to the neck."Ichabod told the small group. Ichabod returned to his bag and bent his head as he pulled something on. He looked up and was wearing goggles with magnifying lenses, which made his eyes huge. Isabelle tries not to laugh not Ichabod as he grabbed a pair of tongs and turned. All the men looked at each other, confused.

"Now, "Ichabod began, crouching by the severed neck. Trying not to look too closely at the exposed bone and blood, using the tongs he had brought, he lifted the skin of the neck. A beetle scurried out and away from Ichabod and the body. He shuddered, gagged, and stood quickly, turning away from everyone.

"Interesting," Ichabod said with a strangled voice.

"What is it?"Baltus asked.

"The wound was cauterized in the very instant, as though the blade itself were…" He turned to the group. " Red-hot. And yet, no blistering, no scorched flesh." He concluded.

"The Devil's fire," Philipse said, his grip tightening on something around his neck.

Ichabod slowly removed his goggles and replaced all of his tools and the bottle into the bag. The group of townsmen all lifted Masbeth's body and began to take it back towards town. Ichabod closed his bag as everyone silently began to get on their horses to head back into town

Later that day, the people of the town gathered in the cemetery for the funeral of Jonathan Masbeth.

Steenwyck stands at the open grave, reads from the Bible, "Be sober, be vigilant..." as it sayeth in the book of Peter, chapter five, verse eight - "because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour..."

Ichabod stands with Isabelle bhind Baltus and Lady Van Tassel. Ichabod looks around, observing. Isabelle sees Young Masbeth stare at the grave of his father. Ichabod feels someone's eyes on him and sees Brom glaring toward him before looking away.

"God rest, Jonathan Masbeth." Reverend Steenwyck finished. Everyone began to silently make their way back to town. The atmosphere was sad and grim with the grey clouds and fog looming.

As Reverend Steenwyck passed Young Masbeth he clasped his shoulder in what was meant to be a reassuring manner. But to Young Masbeth, it meant nothing, as he stood silently by the mound of dirt and tombstone that was his father's final resting place. Ichabod watched as Isabelle walked forward towards Young Masbeth.

She placed a hand on the boy's shoulder and he hugged her tightly. She hugged back, stroking his hair comfortingly. After a second Young Masbeth pulled back, taking a deep breath. Ichabod turned and began to walk away. Young Masbeth saw him leave and suddenly took off into a short run to catch up to him, Isabelle following after.

"Mr. Constable, Sir," Young Masbeth said as he stopped just behind Ichabod. Ichabod turned and gave the young boy a sympathetic smile.

"Ah… you're Young Masbeth," He said. Isabelle stood behind the boy and kept a hand on his shoulder.

"I was Young Masbeth… but now the only one," Young Masbeth said, "Masbeth at your service. In honor, bound to avenge my father."

"Well, one-and-only Masbath, I thank you, but your mother will need you more than I."

Isabelle looked sadly at Young Masbath and he says, "My mother is in heaven, sir, and has my father now to care for her. But you have no one to serve you, and I am your man, sir."

"Yes, and a brave one, too. But I cannot be the one to look after you." Ichabod found it hard to look the young boy in the face. Ichabod put a hand on the shoulder Isabelle's hand wasn't on. " I'm sorry for your loss, young master Masbeth," Ichabod said.

Ichabod pats his shoulder a few times then met Isabelle's eyes. She gave him a look a sad look. Ichabod briefly met Young Masbeth's eyes. Isabelle hugged Young Masbeth again and released his shoulder. Ichabod and Isabelle turn to leave. Young Masbeth sadly looked at his father's grave and walked over to it, glancing at Ichabod and Isabelle walking away.

As Ichabod and Isabelle walk through the graveyard, Magistrate Philipse stopped them.

"Constable Crane. Miss Van Tassel" Philipse greeted.

"Mr. Philipse." Ichabod returned.

Philipse looks around anxiously to see if they're observed, "Something you should know. Jonathan Masbath was not the fourth victim but the fifth!"

"The fifth?" Ichabod asked.

"Aye. Five victims, in four graves." Philipse said facing Ichabod and Isabelle.

"But whatever do you mean?" Isabelle asked.

Philipse sees that Steenwyck has noticed the encounter. He breaks off and scuttles away. Ichabod and Isabelle turn their gaze toward the fresh grave of Jonathan Masbath, and three more graves almost as recent: The Van Garretts receiving their brand new headstones, and Widow Winship's grave is marked at the present by a simple wooden cross with her name on it.

"What was that about? There were only four graves," She asked. Ichabod said nothing and counted all the graves silently, " Ichabod?"

Ichabod suddenly turned.

"Young Masbeth!" He called. Young Masbeth turned to look at him, "Find a place in the Van Tassel's servant's quarters. Wake me before dawn. I hope you have a strong stomach."