Short Story Mystery – Part One
Welcome to part one of my short story mystery series of the Glorious Manor. My intent is to write the story in parts until I am happy with the end. I invite you to leave comments and ideas. I’ll also take some good ole fashioned encouragement. So sit back for the next 3 minutes, and enjoy.
The intent was to flip the house. The market had been hot for a solid two years. They successfully bought, renovated, and flipped three houses during that time, with the help of their team, of course. They also managed to buy a duplex that was fully rented. They are officially now landlords. Not too bad for a middle-aged couple who decided to ride the real estate wave, all while maintaining their full-time jobs. Has it been easy? Hell no. Why did they do it? Why not?
Marco is a real estate appraiser running his own business with a team of 11 other appraisers working for him. He treats them well and pays even better. Having a great team means he can free up some time to work on his other endeavors.
Marco is a 41-year-old man from the east coast with an Italian heritage. He’s a fast talker with a winning smile. He was born to be successful. He was the only one from his blue-collar family to not only go to college but to earn a Master’s degree as well. He was destined to form a legacy.
His current project was a pleasant surprise. He and Jewel had been on the constant search for their dream home, or rather, dream location. The house didn’t matter as much, as they could always fix it up. As it happened, one of Marco’s employees learned of a plot of land in the outskirts of town. It belonged to an acquaintance who had recently passed away. He was a recluse and had no family, but this employee, Nick, met him once when he was sent to appraise his property back when he worked for the IRS. At that time, the government was considering buying the area to expand on infrastructure. Luckily, the route was diverted and the project was discontinued. The owner, Lewis, was both relieved and disappointed.
As it turns out, Lewis and Nick held a few more conversations after their initial contact. Lewis, the recluse, took a liking to Nick. Nick felt bad for Lewis as he was an old man, living alone on a 5-acre plot of land in what was once a beautiful two-story red brick Victorian-style home. It turned out, Lewis willed his estate to Nick. Nick, being one of Marco’s closest friends, decided he would offer it all to Marco, for the right price, of course.
Thankfully, the house required very little work to be comfortably liveable. Lewis lived in it until the day he died. Being a loner by choice, he didn’t desire the current fads in palette and presentation. The house was only a 40-minute drive to Jewel’s place of work as a hospital social worker. She always wanted to live in an old Victorian-style home, and now her dream came true.
Jewel was the same age as Marco, a hearty midwesterner with shoulder-length wavy auburn hair, who wanted nothing more than to save the world, one person at a time. Hence, her profession. She was ready to move into the home and claim it as her own. They both knew at first glance that this house was not going to be flipped.
Jewel’s favorite part of the property was the long, winding tree-lined driveway that was at least a quarter of a mile long before it opened to the clearing before the house. The old, glorious house! So regal! So historic! Who knew this old Victorian-style creation could bring such joy to someone in the current day. The house was well over 200 years old, built around 1850, and so rich with history. Upon parking the car and walking towards the home, Jewel immediately thought “the Glorious Manor”. I’m naming this place “the Glorious Manor”.
The Glorious Manor exuded its gothic presence with dark trim around every window. The turret on the front left corner of the home grabbed her attention immediately as if it just called her name. The wrap-around porch was encased in stone. There was a little half-moon window just above the front door. Jewel couldn’t wait to learn what secrets were held behind the 3rd-floor windows. She has never been so drawn to a house before.
Upon entering the home, she fell in love with the surprisingly gothic-style winding staircase. The old spiral banister held the most exquisite attention to detail. The hardwood had been refinished at some point in the past 200 years, and it was perfect just the way it was. She took a moment and just stared, listened, and smelled the memories of the past. Lost in thought, she was startled when the door behind her closed suddenly. It was a windy November day in Ohio, which means the day started at 33 degrees and it was now near 60. The only constant this week was the wind. A cold front behind the warm front, then back to the cold front again. Jewel was so engrossed in the beauty of the home, she didn’t realize she left the front door wide open. It didn’t matter now, it was closed thanks to Mother Nature.
She decided to explore the second floor before venturing up to the 3rd. She wasn’t sold on which room was to become the master suite. She let her hand slowly grasp the thick, smooth handrail as she listened to the ever so soft but present creaks of the stairs under her feet. When she arrived at the top, she looked both ways and decided to visit the room down the hall to her right.
She walked towards the room at the end of the hall and entered through the curved door frames encased in dark brown trim. The room was large with a faint green and blue patterned decorative wallpaper, most likely part of the original decor. It was peeling in a few areas, but that added to its charm. The thick wooden baseboard complimented the rich crown molding that encased the wall to the 9-foot high ceiling. It had a lovely inlaid ceiling with another crown molding, increasing the texture and warmth of the room. Along the side of one wall was a fireplace, trimmed with an ornate mantel and wrapped in stone. A lovely yet not gaudy chandelier hung from the ceiling in the middle of the room. The room held a slight draft, most likely due to the fireplace, Jewel assumed. Without a doubt, this would be the master suite.
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The other two rooms on that level were similar in design, yet were sans fireplace. The other two rooms had been renovated to some extent. At some point, in the past 10 plus years, the wallpaper was stripped, the beautiful trim and walls were all painted the same soft cream palette. They were still beautiful, but they certainly held a different kind of story. The only room on that floor that still held the true heart of the house was the master suite. And it looked and felt like it hadn’t been touched since it was built in 1850. Why was this room left untouched? Jewel thought of the many possibilities. Perhaps the best thought of all, was the room was already perfect the way it was.
To Be Continued…
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