In the huge new cemetery, some two miles away, the old people buried their dead, and came back to the house which was now full of shadows and silence. It was all over so quickly that at first they could hardly realize it, and remained in a state of waiting for something else to happen – something else which was to lighten this load, too heavy for old hearts to bear.But the days passed, and they realized that they had to accept the situation – the hopeless acceptance of the old. Sometimes they hardly said a word to each other, for now they had nothing to talk about, and their days were long to tiredness. It was about a week after that the old man, waking suddenly in the night, stretched out his hand and found himself alone. The room was in darkness, and he could hear the sound of his wife crying quietly at the window. He raised himself in bed and listened. “Come back,” he said tenderly. “You will be cold.” “It is colder for my son,” said the old woman, who began crying again. The sounds of crying died away on his ears. The bed was warm, and his eyes heavy with sleep. He slept lightly at first, and then was fully asleep until a sudden wild cry from his wife woke him with a start. “THE PAW!” she cried wildly. “THE MONKEY’S PAW!” He started up in alarm. “Where? Where is it? What’s the matter?” She almost fell as she came hurried across the room toward him. “I want it,” she said quietly. “You’ve not destroyed it?” “It’s in the living room, on the shelf above the fireplace,” he replied. “Why?” She cried and laughed together, and bending over, kissed his cheek. “I only just thought of it,” she said. “Why didn’t I think of it before? Why didn’t you think of it?” “Think of what?” he questioned. “The other two wishes,” she replied quickly. “We’ve only had one.” “Was not that enough?” he demanded angrily. “No,” she cried excitedly; “We’ll have one more. Go down and get it quickly, and wish our boy alive again.” The man sat up in bed and threw the blankets from his shaking legs. “Good God, you are mad!” he cried, struck with horror. “Get it,” she said, breathing quickly; “get it quickly, and wish – Oh my boy, my boy!” Her husband struck a match and lit the candle. “Get back to bed he said,” his voice shaking. “You don’t know what you are saying.” “We had the first wish granted,” said the old woman, desperately; “why not the second?” “A c-c-coincidence,” said the old man. “Go get it and wish,” cried his wife, shaking with excitement.The old man turned and looked at her, and his voice shook. “He has been dead ten days, and besides he – I would not tell you before, but – I could only recognize him by his clothing. If he was too terrible for you to see then, how now?” “Bring him back,” cried the old woman, and pulled him towards the door. “Do you think I fear the child I have nursed?” He went down in the darkness, and felt his way to the living room, and then to the fireplace. The talisman was in its place on the shelf, and then a horrible fear came over him that the unspoken wish might bring the broken body of his son before him before he could escape from the room. He caught his breath as he found that he had lost the direction of the door. His forehead cold with sweat, he felt his way round the table and along the walls until he found himself at the bottom of the stairs with the evil thing in his hand. Even his wife’s face seemed changed as he entered the room. It was white and expectant, and to his fears seemed to have an unnatural look upon it. He was afraid of her. “WISH!” she cried in a strong voice. “It is foolish and wicked,” he said weakly. “WISH!” repeated his wife. He raised his hand. “I wish my son alive again.” The talisman fell to the floor, and he looked at it fearfully. Then he sank into a chair and the old woman, with burning eyes, walked to the window and opened the curtains. He sat until he could no longer bear the cold, looking up from time to time at the figure of his wife staring through the window. The candle, which had almost burned to the bottom, was throwing moving shadows around the room. When the candle finally went out, the old man, with an unspeakable sense of relief at the failure of the talisman, went slowly back back to his bed, and a minute afterward the old woman came silently and lay without movement beside him. Neither spoke, but lay silently listening to the ticking of the clock. They heard nothing else other than the normal night sounds. The darkness was depressing, and after lying for some time building up his courage, the husband took the box of matches, and lighting one, went downstairs for another candle. At the foot of the stairs the match went out, and he stopped to light another; and at the same moment a knock sounded on the front door. It was so quiet that it could only be heard downstairs, as if the one knocking wanted to keep their coming a secret. The matches fell from his hand. He stood motionless, not even breathing, until the knock was repeated. Then he turned and ran quickly back to his room, and closed the door behind him. A third knock sounded through the house. “WHAT’S THAT?” cried the old woman, sitting up quickly. “A rat,” said the old man shakily – “a rat. It passed me on the stairs.” His wife sat up in bed listening. A loud knock echoed through the house. “It’s Herbert!” she screamed. “It’s Herbert!” She ran to the door, but her husband was there before her, and catching her by the arm, held her tightly. “What are you going to do?” he asked in a low, scared voice. “It’s my boy; it’s Herbert!” she cried, struggling automatically. “I forgot it was two miles away. What are you holding me for? Let go. I must open the door.” “For God’s sake don’t let it in,” cried the old man, shaking with fear. “You’re afraid of your own son,” she cried struggling. “Let me go. I’m coming, Herbert; I’m coming.” There was another knock, and another. The old woman with a sudden pull broke free and ran from the room. Her husband followed to the top of the stairs, and called after her as she hurried down. He heard the chain pulled back and the bottom lock open. Then the old woman’s voice, desperate and breathing heavily. “The top lock,” she cried loudly. “Come down. I can’t reach it.” But her husband was on his hands and knees feeling around wildly on the floor in search of the paw. If only he could find it before the thing outside got in. The knocks came very quickly now echoing through the house, and he heard the noise of his wife moving a chair and putting it down against the door. He heard the movement of the lock as she began to open it, and at the same moment he found the monkeys’s paw, and frantically breathed his third and last wish. The knocking stopped suddenly, although the echoes of it were still in the house. He heard the chair pulled back, and the door opened. A cold wind blew up the staircase, and a long loud cry of disappointment and pain from his wife gave him the courage to run down to her side, and then to the gate. The streetlight opposite shone on a quiet and deserted road.