The Strange Inheritance – Part Five – A Multiple Word Prompt Story

This is a continuation of a story I was writing some time ago. See here for the last instalment.

I had to take a break from writing it because I was having nightmares. It is a rather scary story and I have a vivid imagination.

This story was inspired by the following word prompts:

Today’s things are: chemistry, biology, glow


James and Jennifer came downstairs after searching Aunt Elizabeth’s room. Her suitcase containing her old-fashioned dresses was still there, as were her teeth in the glass next to the bed, but of Aunt Elizabeth there was no sign whatsoever.

After the night they’d had with all the whispering noises and then the screams it somehow made it all so much more real now that one of their number had disappeared.

James didn’t seem too put out by it. He was his usual taciturn self and he hadn’t liked Aunt Elizabeth at all. Jennifer couldn’t quite say she had liked Aunt Elizabeth, there was something far too creepy about her, but she was very upset at her having disappeared.

“Don’t worry, Jenn, she’ll turn up. I expect she rose early and went for a walk in the grounds.” James said reassuringly.

“What, with all that rain we had last night? And her teeth still in the glass? I don’t think so, James. I want to go, leave this place.”

“What? And forfeit Uncle Joshua’s money? It will all go to that weird organisation he was a member of, the Black Rose, do you really want that to happen? Come on Jenn, pull yourself together. It’s only for one more night.”

Just then they heard the front door open. They ran down the stairs expecting to see their Aunt, but it was Mrs Ponsomby come to make breakfast.

“Good Morning. I’ve brought some bacon and sausages. I bet you could do with a good fry up after a night in this place. Where’s your Aunt?” Mrs Ponsomby stood there carrying a quaint old wicker basket with various groceries in. She appeared reassuringly normal and untouched by the strangeness of the house.

Jennifer responded “We can’t seem to find Auntie, she may well be in the Kitchen, that’s the last place we haven’t checked yet. That and the Cellar of course.”

Mrs Ponsomby seemed to pale at the mention of the cellar. Jennifer thought it was odd. Aunt Elizabeth had that same reticence about going down to the cellar and of course, the warning “Don’t go down to the Cellar after Midnight” Still rang in her ears after she’d nearly done just that. James has stopped her, God only knows what may have happened to her, if not for her Brother.

They all went into the Kitchen. It was cold, damp and deserted.

Walking over to the oven, Mrs Ponsomby tried to turn it on, but nothing happened. It was an electric oven and it became apparent that in the storm, the electrics had blown.

“Where is the fuse board Mrs Ponsomby?” James asked.

“It’s down in the cellar, just at the foot of the stairs. There’s a hand torch just inside the door. You don’t mind going down there and turning the trip switch back on, do you? I just hate going down there unless I can’t avoid it.”

“No, I don’t mind. Jenn, you stay here and help Mrs Ponsomby, I’ll only be a jiffy.”

James opened the door to the cellar, it creaked in a most theatrical manner but that was understandable, as no one seemed to want to open it. He found the hand torch just inside the door and turned it on. It gave a very yellow beam of light, but it was sufficient to see by. The wooden steps descended quite steeply into the gloom. An unpleasant dank smell, dusty and cold, like a tomb assaulted his nostrils. James walked slowly down the steps. As well as the light from the torch, there was a faint glow coming from the deep recesses of the cellar. It made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end.

At the bottom of the stairs, he found the fuse box, which he opened. He quickly found the trip switch and flipped it up, restoring electricity to the house. He heard a high pitched whirr that was the only indication that it had worked. Next to the fuse box was a light switch and James quickly reached out and flicked that on. He wanted there to be more light, he wanted to dispel that horrible sensation at the back of his neck that someone was standing there staring at him.

The light came on, temporarily blinding him, but he blinked and his eyes adjusted, revealing nothing.

No-one was standing there, but James suddenly had his first proper glimpse of the Cellar.

It appeared to go the full length and breadth of the house, brick arches and pillars divided the space into chambers. The next chamber along from the stairs was the largest one. James was surprised to see it was fully furnished with bookshelves and two leather armchairs. There was an old-fashioned rug on the floor, a tiger skin that had its head on. The glass eyes seemed to be staring at him.

In the corner, there was a workbench on which were several glass objects of the find you would find in a chemistry lab. On the shelves were several jars containing chemicals, some of which emitted a kind of eerie glow. James took a step back when he noticed that some of the jars contained human organs, hearts, livers and even brains, like a macabre biology experiment.

James was strangely attracted and repelled by the strange objects in equal measure. He found himself fascinated, a fascination that threatened to become an obsession. He couldn’t just turn and leave, he had to explore further.

James walked over to one of the large armchairs. Next to the chair was a table on which a very ancient looking book rested. The leather was crumbly but it had words written on the cover. The title was ‘Malleus Maleficarum’. James didn’t know any Latin, but he had heard of this book, it was notorious and rather alarming.

Just then he heard a voice calling. It was Jennifer.

“James, James? Are you OK, you’ve been down there for a long time. The electric’s back on, you can come back now. Breakfast will be ready soon.” Jennifer sounded nervous as she shouted to him.

“I’m coming back now, Jenn. Don’t worry.”

James reluctantly left the cellar, but he meant to return to explore further later. Now he had seen it, he couldn’t stay away.

End of Part Five.


Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 24/September/2018

The Strange Inheritance Part Four – A multiple word prompt story.

This is a continuation of a previous story I wrote, See here for part one:

and here for part two:

and here is Part Three:


Part Four

Jennifer and James both went up the stairs after turning off the gas fire in the drawing room and switching off the lights downstairs.

They could hear another tempestuous thunderstorm coming in. The lightning was making the light on the landing flicker. On the right, at the end of the passageway, they could see a flickering light from underneath Aunt Elizabeth’s room. She had taken a candle to bed with her, along with her milky drink. Clearly, she was still awake.

Turning left they went along to their rooms. They were either side of a small bathroom and had connecting doors. Jennifer’s room was decorated with pale lavender wallpaper and a mauve bedspread. She closed, clocked the door and rammed a wooden chair under the handle. She let out a relieved sigh. Out of the window, she could see the storm clouds and lightning over the lake.

Jennifer walked towards the bed and sat down to remove her shoes. As she did a huge puff of dust filled the air and made her cough. James came in, through the bathroom, holding a pair of sleeping bags and a camping lamp.

“Gosh, you were prepared for every eventuality” She smiled at him.

“Like any good Boy Scout should” He responded, “I thought we should make ourselves comfortable on the bathroom floor, it seems less dusty in there. I see you’ve shoved a chair under your door. I’ve done the same.”

“Well, Aunt Elizabeth seemed to think something strange was going to happen. What do you think will happen?”

“I wouldn’t pay too much attention to what Aunt Elizabeth says. I don’t think stability is a particular family trait. I think either she’s totally mad or she’s incredibly cunning. Or maybe both.”

They hunkered down in their sleeping bags on the bathroom floor. At least the grey linoleum was clean. It smelt vaguely of pine disinfectant. James switched off their lamp and for a moment, all was silent, except for the sound of the wind, rain and occasional thunder from the storm outside.

Jennifer was just drifting off to sleep when the voices started. Whispering voices just on the edge of being heard.

“Jennifer, Jennifer. You don’t belong here. This is not your house. You are not one of us. You don’t have the blood. Why have you come here? You should leave. Leave now. Before it’s too late……”

The voices went on and on in her head. They didn’t appear to be coming from a specific place. They came from all around her.

She looked over at James but he appeared to be fast asleep. Suddenly she was afraid, what if he wasn’t sleeping. She rolled over to him and put her hand near his mouth and nose. She could feel his breath against her hand.

Then there was an almighty scream. It was high pitched and seemed to go on for ages. James opened his eyes and jumped up, all alert he switched on the lamp.

“What did you scream for?” He asked accusingly.

“It wasn’t me. Honestly, it wasn’t. It seemed to come from along the hall. Maybe it was Aunt Elizabeth.”

She unlocked the bathroom door and went out onto the landing. James followed her carrying the lamp.

There was no light on under Aunt Elizabeth’s door. The whole place was in darkness, the landing light, which they had left on was now off. It seemed that the storm had caused a power cut.

As they slowly made their way along the dusty landing, they heard another mad scream. It seemed to be coming from the locked master bedroom.

“Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhggggggghhhhhhhhhh! Help Meeeeeeee!”

Jennifer called out. “Is that you, Aunt Elizabeth?”

She heard the voice answer.

“Yes, yes it’s me. Must help me. Is that you Jennifer? You have to help me. I am tied up. He is going to come back for me. He is fetching a knife. You must help me. Please.”

“How can I help? The door is locked?”

“There is another way in. This house is full of passages. You can get into this room through the cellar. Quickly, you must help me. He is going to kill me.”

Jennifer started running down the stairs but James reached out and grabbed her arm and pulled her towards him.

“What do you think you are doing?” James demanded.

“I’m going to help Aunt Elizabeth, we can’t just leave her there.”

“That’s just what she deserves. Don’t you remember what she said? Don’t go down to the Cellar after midnight.” The grandfather clock in the hall started chiming twelve.

Another loud scream filled the air.

“But, Aunt Elizabeth? She could be in danger.”

“Let’s knock on her door and see first before we do anything else.”

They walked along the landing and knocked on her bedroom door.

In a moment they heard the lighting of a candle and saw the light from under the door.

The lock clicked and Aunt Elizabeth stood there in her white linen nightgown, her grey hair tied in a long plait over her shoulder. She looked the epitome of grace.

“What, what is it?” She was smiling at them, her eyes shining in the combined light of the candle and the lamp. It was a toothless grin, her dentures were floating in a glass next to her bed.

Jennifer exclaimed “I thought you were in danger. I could hear you screaming from the Master Bedroom.”

Aunt Elizabeth laughed, a crystal cascade of notes. “I told you to ignore the voices. They are tricksome, that’s for sure. If I were you, I would go back to your bedrooms, lock yourselves in and get some sleep. Good night.”

They followed her advice as best as they could, sleep came only in fits and starts. There had been no more screams, but they still heard barely audible whisperings.

When dawn came, and the sun shone through the windows, the whispering stopped.

Only Aunt Elizabeth wasn’t in her room. In fact, they couldn’t find her anywhere. She had disappeared entirely.

End of Part Four.

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 10/September/2018

FOWC with Fandango — Stability


The Strange Inheritance Part Three – A multiple word prompt story.

This is a continuation of a previous story I wrote, See here for part one:

and here for part two:

Part Three

The three of them sat at the large dining table and ate the Shepherds Pie that Mrs Ponsomby had made.

Jennifer realised that the peeling green wallpaper had been hiding the mould growing in several places, but it couldn’t mask the odour.

It wasn’t just the unpleasant smell that was spoiling the delicious meal, it was also James’ demeanour. He had always been a broody young man, but his mood seemed to be getting darker and darker with every passing minuted spent in this house.

He was practically glaring at Aunt Elizabeth who sat demurely at the other end of the table, with that strange contented expression on her face.

“Well, it seems that Mrs Ponsomby is a good cook. Although Shepherd’s pie is rather a commoners dish. When I was a girl here we used to have banquets with Suckling Pig and veal, only the very best meat. Father would butcher the animals himself. He didn’t have to, but he liked it. He said he wanted to know exactly where his meat came from and who killed it.”

“Oh, how awful!” Exclaimed Jennifer.

“Oh, do you think so? I suppose young people today have different attitudes to such things. Father was very much a traditional man. He loved hunting, shooting and fishing. He would have been your great-grandfather, wouldn’t he? I keep forgetting we’re related. I’m sorry, my dear, but you don’t quite look like you belong in this house.” Aunt Elizabeth’s voice held nothing but mild-mannered congeniality and her smile never left her face.

James spoke rather aggressively “Well, I’m glad of that. I don’t think either of us wants to belong in this house. Personally, I can’t wait for it to be sold and torn down. The sooner this weekend is over and Jennifer and I get out of here, the better.”

Aunt Elizabeth didn’t flinch at James harsh tone, she just smiled back at him “Well, that’s because you don’t have all the happy memories of growing up here that I have. All finished? Jennifer, can you give me a hand with the dishes? I don’t want to leave a lot of work for Mrs Ponsomby in the morning.”

James went into the Drawing room. The smell of damp wasn’t quite as bad here. He lit the gas fire, which helped to make the room feel cosier and sat down in the large leather armchair and nodded off.

In the kitchen, Aunt Elizabeth was drying the dishes and telling Jennifer about some of the fun times she’d had in the house growing up.

“Emily, your grandmother, and I used to put on revues in the Drawing room, We’d emerge from behind the large curtains in our ballet shoes and dance around to a gramophone record, Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty. Edgar would watch us. Joshua never did, he was an old sombersides, he used to sit in the Library and read.”

Just then they heard a dog bark outside. Jennifer looked out of the kitchen window, a large dog was on the driveway barking at the house. She heard it’s owner, who was standing on the roadside, calling his dog back.

“Come away from there Duke, don’t go near that house. Come away I said.” The dog whined and reluctantly obeyed its owner and quickly they were swallowed by the night.

“At least that horrible storm has passed over and the rain’s eased off. I didn’t fancy my chances of getting much sleep tonight with that storm about.” Jennifer said turning to Aunt Elizabeth as she was drying the last plate.

“Oh, you have to sleep. In this house, it’s the safest way, my dear. I’m going to make myself a glass of hot milk to take up to bed. Would you like one?” Her smile was warm, but her eyes remained always the same, somehow detached from reality.

“No Thank you, Aunt Elizabeth, I’m going to sit with James for a while before bed.” 

James was fast asleep, but she shook him awake. Realising what he’d done his eyes shot open and he jumped out of his chair. “What? how long have I been asleep?”

“Oh, barely twenty minutes. I’ve just done the dishes. Look, James. I don’t think Aunt Elizabeth is quite right in the head. One minute she’s telling me about how nice it was growing up, then she says something quite strange about this house. She said that you have to sleep because it’s the safest way. What do you think she meant?”

“Don’t worry about it. She must think we were born under a haystack or something if she thinks we’re going to fall for her tricks. She’s trying to scare us. If we leave this house, before the Sunday afternoon, we forfeit our share of the inheritance. She’ll get the lot. She’s a crafty old devil. Don’t trust her and don’t accept anything she gives you. She’s full of tricks.”

“She wanted to make me a milky drink to help me sleep. I said no.”

“That’s my girl. Don’t be taken in for a second. I’ve moved your things into that Mauve room next to me. I’ve taken the blue room next door. We’ll have a shared bathroom so I can keep an eye on you. Lock your door and wedge a chair under it.”

As James was giving instructions to Jennifer, he realised that Aunt Elizabeth was standing in the doorway carrying a saucer with a steaming glass of milk on it.

“I’m just off to bed. I wouldn’t stay up late if I were you. You would be much better off in your rooms. I just wanted to warn you about this house. You may hear strange noises in the night. You may hear a scream, but whatever you do, you mustn’t go down to the cellar at midnight. Ignore the voices, they’ll try to torment you. Goodnight.” She smiled at them and then climbed the creaky wooden stairs up to her bedroom.

End of Part Three.

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 06/September/2018

Today’s things are: hay stack, scream, ballet shoes

Multiple Word Prompt Story – The Strange Inheritance

I am reposting this Halloween story that I wrote back in 2018. Please let me know if you find it scary… 🙂

This Story is inspired by the following word prompts:

Today’s things are: poison, noose, inheritance 

The Strange Inheritance

It was an old cliché and they couldn’t quite believe their ears.

Aunt Elizabeth leaned forward and looked rather flustered as she asked the family solicitor to repeat himself.

“Yes, Madam. The terms of your Brother’s Will are quite clear. He has left each of you one hundred thousand pounds sterling if you spend the weekend in his old mansion by the lake” Said Mr McAllister in his emotionless voice, rather like a robot. Nothing seemed to surprise him, even the terms of one of his most eccentric clients. Old Joshua Van De Gaard was a miserly old skinflint but he had inherited a fortune and through wise investments and extreme parsimony had managed to double it before he died at the ripe old age of Ninety. He had left behind a spinster sister and a great-nephew and niece, James and Jennifer Coombes. The Inheritance was a large one, but the terms were clear. None of them will inherit a penny if they do not comply with Mr Van De Gaard’s terms.

Continue reading Multiple Word Prompt Story – The Strange Inheritance