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:
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