Welome to the Mystery of the Glorious Manor – Part 2! If you missed part one, you can find it here. I welcome you to read a work of fiction in progress. Feel free to leave comments of encouragement, ideas, and suggestions. Feel inspired to start your own works of fiction. It’s a little easier when you decide to write in short increments. If you are wondering what is the perfect length for a short story, check out this great site I found called BookFox. In short, what is the answer? On average, 5100 words.
The deal was done. They were the new owners of the Glorious Manor on 5 acres of land in rural Ohio. They moved into the 2300 square foot gothic Victorian-style home on a Thursday, November afternoon. It was 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. They had no idea how quickly their lives were about to forever change.
The movers were gone and the take-out pizza leftovers were getting cold in the box. Marco and Jewel had collapsed on the sofa, exhausted and overwhelmed with the unpacking before them that will take days. But right now, their bellies were full and they were mesmerized by the warm crackling of the fire. They leaned on each other with their arms interlocked as they watched the flames dance with the shadows cast on the walls around them. They both eventually closed their eyes and fell asleep. They were too exhausted to hear the whispers coming from the room above.
It was Jewel who woke with a startle. The fire was only a pile of glowing embers and there was a chill in the room. Her right arm was numb from laying on it awkwardly intertwined with Marco’s. She grabbed her cell phone and saw it was 3:03 AM. She debated on waking Marco to head to the bedroom. He looked too comfortable, so she decided to leave him alone. She got up and slowly walked across the room, using her cell phone light. She walked the narrow hallway to the foyer where the bottom of the staircase was waiting for her to ascend. When she arrived, she grabbed onto the railing, took a step, looked to the top of the stairs, and stopped. She listened. Did she hear something? The wind. It’s just the wind. This house is surrounded by trees. That soft whishing sound is just the wind blowing through the leaves.
She walked up the stairs and did the obligatory look to both the left and right. So many boxes to unpack, stacked along the hallway floor and into the bedrooms. Their bed in the master suite wasn’t made up yet, but she didn’t care. She walked into the room sat on the edge. Pillows and blankets were tossed onto the top, waiting to be used. The face of her cellphone was the only light. She didn’t want to use the flashlight feature, it would be too bright. She arranged the pillows, unfolded a blanket, and gently laid down. As she started to fall asleep once again, she felt a soft cool draft and the wind whishing through the trees. Wind. It was wind, right?
Jewel awoke to the warm feeling of the sun on her body shining through the window. To her pleasant surprise, Marco was lying next to her. She didn’t hear him come up once she fell asleep for the second time. He started to stir and opened his eyes.
“Good morning sunshine,” said Jewel to Marco. He smiled and replied, “Good morning, sweetie”. “We did it” Jewel continued. “Today, I’m going to start organizing this room first. I already know this is my favorite room”. To which Marco added, “what are your plans with the walls? I can borrow my brother’s wallpaper steamer to help strip it from the walls”. Before she had time to reply, the room felt suddenly cool and drafty again. The sun fell behind the clouds as the warmth disappeared. “I don’t know yet. I feel like this wallpaper is what gives this room its charm. But, I get what you’re saying. We could really make it beautiful with a facelift. I haven’t decided yet what I really want to do with it”.
Marco sat up, looked around at the light green and blue patterned wallpaper, and threw the blanket back. “I need to start organizing the office,” said Marco as he stood and started walking out the room.
The next few hours consisted of Marco organizing his home office space and Jewel was working on the master suite. The bed was finally made and all the clothes were hanging in the closet. And in the other 2 bedrooms’ closets as well. Old Victorian-style homes weren’t designed for lavish closets. So far, that was the only downfall to this house.
Jewel made sure to stock firewood beside the extravagant fireplace. She placed family pictures and a few trinkets on the fireplace mantel stepped back and was pleased with her decor thus far. In the corner of the room, between a window and the fireplace, she placed her blue rocker/recliner chair. She placed a small end table next to the chair so she has a place to set her drinks and books. She sat in the chair and looked around the room. She was rocking slowly as she stared into the wallpaper design. The soft pale greens swirled in various patterns then twisted into peculiar-looking faces. It’s funny how you can see faces in just about anything when you stare long enough.
She was startled with Marco standing in the doorway, calling her name loudly. “I’ve been calling your name the past 10 minutes! Didn’t you hear me?” Jewel was confused as she replied “No, I was just sitting here, I guess I got lost in thought. I was just staring at the wallpaper trying to figure out what to do with it. It’s so different. Staring at it is almost like watching tv, it just kind of pulls you in”. “Ok”, said Marco, “that’s a bit much. I think you need to eat. Come on, let’s have lunch”.
When Jewel stood up she felt a headrush of dizziness. It took her breath away but was able to regain her composure quickly. She agreed she must be hungry and joined Marco in the kitchen for some leftover pizza and a salad.
After lunch, Marco went back to work on his home office, and Jewel started unpacking and decorating the other two bedrooms. Those didn’t take near as long, since it really included just decorating the rooms and making the beds. She was just finishing up the 3rd bedroom when she heard the whispers. This time she was sure, it was whispering, not wind. She froze in her spot, mid-way through making the bed, the cover still in her hands. “Marco, is that you?” She waited for a response. Nothing. She listened harder. It sounded like the whispers of 50 people all at once. It’s like they were in an audience, trying to communicate feverishly but not wanting to be heard by outsiders. As hard as Jewel listened, she could not single out any words. She straightened up, dropped the cover, and turned her gaze to the doorway as the hair on her arms raised.
She walked towards the hallway and the whispers grew louder. She walked towards the master suite. When she got as far as the top of the staircase, she called for Marco again. There was no response. She was drawn to her bedroom despite the air around her feeling colder. She swore she finally heard a whisper say “she’s coming”.
Jewel reached her bedroom doorway and slowly glanced into the room. The whispers were so intense, the frequency of the breathy voices was almost hurting her ears. She stepped into the room and she froze with terror with what she saw. The faces on the walls were spinning as conversations flew from face to face. They spoke with the faces next to them, above, below, across, and above again. Jewel stood there as she watched, listened, and swooned in the chaos. She felt like she was being physically pulled towards the wallpaper, when she heard a small voice cry out “Stop! Don’t get close!” But that voice was silenced by the others as she couldn’t help but take a small step forward. Next thing she knew a hand was pulling on her arm. She jerked to a startle as she saw Marco holding onto her. “What are you doing? Didn’t you hear me calling you?”
With that, the room settled. The whispers stopped. The walls were stagnant, the faces were gone. Jewel and Marco were standing in the room with the sun once again shining in, displaying the light green and blue patterns of the wallpaper. “Did you hear all that?” she asked. “Hear what? I was just calling you and you never answered me” he replied. “I made my decision”, said Jewel. “The wallpaper goes”.
To Be Continued…
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Mystery of the Glorious Manor – What’s next?
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