Author Topic: The Castle (Part 3)  (Read 2882 times)

davidleejones13

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The Castle (Part 3)
« on: April 25, 2008, 02:54:30 AM »
Angela sat on the top step of the front balcony settling herself down. Her heart was racing and the fear still burned hot in the pit of her stomach. She wanted to run for her car and leave this place behind, but her rational side began dousing the flames of her fright.

"C'mon girl," she said to herself hugging her arms close to her body in the days dying light, "you have always had an overactive imagination. Your mind is grasping at the ghost stories you have heard about this place when you were young."

After a few minutes she had calmed herself back into her scientific mindset and had a firm grip on her earlier uneasiness. She went back into the house and retrieved her flashlight. The flashlight was the heavy long handled magnum types that policeman often carried. The light was bright and the torch could double as a weapon if she found herself in need of fending off someone, or something.

A feeling of dread permeated her soul as jingling could be faintly heard downstairs again. She slowly made her way down the steps with flashlight in hand pointing its bright beam at anything that moved. Angela now had the feeling that eyes were watching her every move as she reached the bottom of the stairs and stepped off onto the main floor. Her light flashed this way and that as she saw movement all around her within the darkness. But the glaring light revealed only an empty house.

The young newspaper employee felt herself drawn toward one of the windows in the back of the house. She peered out into the dark night towards the old oak tree that the watch had hung from. Angela saw a glowing greenish orb hovering underneath it's lower branches. A chill ran down the length of her spine as she reached inside her jacket pocket and her fingers closed around the metal pocket watch. To her surprise it was hot to the touch, yet she did not feel it through the fabric of her jacket.

Beyond the ancient oak Angela saw wisps of early evening fog reaching into the chill fall night in long slender tendrals above the lazy flowing water of the Beaufort river. A few of these seem to defy wind and current as they coalesced and made their way toward the rivers shore. Angela could swear the fog had taken on the shape of a woman as it reached the edge of the grassy yard.

She heard the rush of blood in her ears as her heart raced and she made her way towards the front of the house fearfully fleeing the backyard apparitions. The flames of her fear re-ignited as fragments of memories long forgotten flashed across her minds eye. The sound of a child's scream and the crashing of glass echoed from a far off past within her ears. She saw blood covering the walls and floor snaking in tiny rivulets before draining between the floorboards.

She heard footsteps coming up the front porch so she flipped off her light and slid behind one of the heavy oak doors with flash light ready to strike. There was a soft knock and Angela felt her heart jump as the door knob began to turn. The door creaked open slowly and, within the soft light of the rising moon that filtered through the trees outside, she spied the back of someone's head poke through the entrance. The frightened state she was in compelled her to act swiftly bringing the hard metal of the oversized flashlight down upon the unprotected head of the intruder. After a painful sounding thud the man fell onto the wood floor of the foyer dropping several bags he had been carrying in his arms.

"What did you do that for?" The man said sheepishly rolling over onto his back rubbing a growing lump upon his head.

Angela flipped her light back on and shone it into the surprised eyes of her boss, Richard Thorn.

For the  next twenty minutes, and several apologies from Angela, Mr. Thorn unloaded the bags onto the kitchen counter. Within the supplies he had provided were two gas powered lanterns that  burned, to Angela's relief, with an unfaltering cheery light. She did not even mind the eery dancing shadows the bright beacons threw upon the walls of the ancient house. She was also very thankful for the company.

"I am just here to bring some supplies," her boss said opening a bottled water and handing it to his unnerved subordinate, "the assignment is for you to spend the night alone."

"I know, I know," she said letting out a sigh and staring off into the darkness beyond the kitchen, "this house just gives me the creeps."

"Come on," Mr. Thorn said with a chuckle, "this does not sound like the fearless headstrong woman I saw back at the office just an hour and a half ago."

"Richard I-" she bit her lip and thought about her overconfident jeering before leaving the office. "You know what Mr. Thorn, you are right."

"I am?"

"Yes," she said gathering her resolve, "tell me about the man who built this house."

"I am going to dock this 'background' research out of your overtime," he said playfully. Upon seeing the serious look upon Angela's face, he cleared his throat and continued on dryly like a highschool history professor, "The house was commissioned by one Dr. Joseph Frickling Johnson in 1859. The construction of the house carried on haltingly because building supplies only made it sporadically through  the naval blockade the Union had imposed on South Carolina. Many of the mantle pieces and bookcases  within the house were borrowed from other wealthy Beaufort home owners of the time.

"When supplies were available the contractors pushed the workers, mostly made up of slaves, to a frantic pace. There was an urgency to finish the house as soon as possible due to the chaotic atmosphere within the South during this time. Five workers lost their lives building this place."

"What kind of man was this Dr. Johnson?"

"He was a very wealthy man," Mr. Thorn said after a long pause and collecting his thoughts, "if you read the literature of the time you'd find the man to be an honest, hard working citizen who's only vice was his love for the extravagant. But wealth could only buy the media of the day, not the people.

"After the death of his wife, shortly after the completion of the house, and the disappearance of his slave butler's son, stories began spreading throughout colonial Beaufort by word of mouth."

"How do you know all this?" Angela asked with a slight tremble in her voice, "and don't tell me it is because it is your business to know."

"I did a report on the house in my senior year of High School," he answered, his gaze scanning the kitchen ceiling as if looking through to the upper floors, "the librarian at the county library gave me boxes of old letters from the 1860's and 1870's written by members of High Society and Confederate soldiers. Mr. Daner, the librarian, had spend a lifetime accumulating these documents. In them I discovered gossip that the drowning of his wife in the river was anything but accidental."

"And what about the butler's son?" Angela asked barely above a whisper. "Did you find out what happened to him?"

"Dr. Johnson hung him from the old oak in the back yard," Mr. Thorn nodded, "after stealing his pocket watch."

A lump choked her throat and an uncomfortable tickle grew within her stomach as she reached into her pocket and pulled out the timepiece.

"You mean like this one?" She held it before the two of them and opened the watches lid. Within the inside of the lid door there was a worn black and white picture of Dr. Joseph Frickling Johnson's wife.

"Angela," Mr. Thorn said ominously, "that watch was never found."

"Until now," Angela swallowed the painful lump in her throat.

« Last Edit: April 26, 2008, 11:40:16 PM by davidleejones13 »

Offline ma100

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Re: The Castle (Part 3)
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2008, 03:19:31 AM »
Hi Lee
Okay you are giving me the heebie- jeebies.
Well done.
Mairi

davidleejones13

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Re: The Castle (Part 3)
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2008, 03:26:14 AM »
Ma,
Just revenge for killing me off those many months ago. I told you I would get you back! And your little dog too! He is going to get his when I continue the Captains Log story. ;D
Thank you so much for reading it Ma. AND, thank you so much for getting the HEEBIE JEEBIES! ;)

Lee

Offline SteveJ

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Re: The Castle (Part 3)
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2008, 06:07:29 AM »
Nice cliffhanger stuff, Mr Lee :)

I'm curious...how much of this is fact & how much is fiction?
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Offline Solitaire

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Re: The Castle (Part 3)
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2008, 06:34:15 AM »
Near faultless suspense, David Lee


Only one extremely minor thing struck a discordant chord:

"The young newspaper employee" in the fifth paragraph.  I sensed the paragraph might have been pulled in from a different location in the piece. 

Great reading for "a dark and stormy night".


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davidleejones13

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Re: The Castle (Part 3)
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2008, 09:41:35 AM »
Steve,
The House, Real, of course. So far, the person who built the house, though I may change the name to protect myself from being haunted and hacked to death by the vengeful ghost of J. Johnson, Real. Other than than that, the rest is all fiction. No one died building the house.

Grenauche is really the only ghost story attached to the house. There was a Union blockade and the town does get invaded by and taken over by Union soldiers within a couple years, but that will be covered in the story as well. And the house is used as a Union hospital throughout the Civil War. Other than that...nothing is real. I hope that clears it up Steve. I am glad you are reading the story. I have not had the chance to read the last bit of Salvatore, but as soon as I can I will get to it ;D

Sorry if this sounded like a HISTORY lesson.

Lee

davidleejones13

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Re: The Castle (Part 3)
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2008, 09:47:12 AM »
Soitaire,
Thanks. I will go back after work today and try to clean up that paragraph. I tend to write at three and four in the morning, which in the case of this story scared the Hell out of me. I tend to make croggy mistakes sometime. You guys keep me honest though, and point out what I need to change.
Thank you so much for reading. You keep up with my work and I want you to know I really do appreciate it. You are one of the reasons why I keep wanting to write. Thanks for your nice comments. ;)

Lee

Offline Ninny

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Re: The Castle (Part 3)
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2008, 10:07:19 AM »
Hi David, What can I say.  OH! I know! Brilliant again. I'm soo loving the chills here :o
One incy, wincy, tincy, irrelevant thing that I nearly missed on account of hiding behind the sofa!  I think you meant you'd as in 'you find the man..'.  Sorry to mention it really.  Very trivial really.  Anyways, get back to your desk and give us some more  :o :o :o

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davidleejones13

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Re: The Castle (Part 3)
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2008, 05:11:15 AM »
Rowena,
Never be sorry, all help is appreciated. I am just thrilled you are reading and keeping up with my work. There is much more of this tale to come so, I hope I am able to make you hide behind the couch again someday soon.

 ;D ;)
Lee