Author: G. Jefferies
She had known something was amiss on the day her husband, Albert, gave a tour of the newly acquired property. Things moved in her peripheral vision but always ceased to exist when she turned to look directly. Then there was the smell; very faint and not always there. A scent that reminded her of lavender and something else that she couldn’t quite put her finger on.
“Why here Albert?”
“Because, my dear, it is a most splendid residence and it will be an excellent place to raise our child.”
Elisabeth could see the delight radiating from his face. It was soul destroying to see but the truth would destroy him. She smiled back.
“In that case we shall make certain everything is ready for our new arrival.”
It was four weeks to the day she became aware that she was avoiding one room in particular. At first it was just that, being at the very top of the staircase, it was not the ideal place to set up the main bedroom and nursery. This was settled to be the left wing with the right side being for guests. The room in the middle was therefore undisturbed and might become a study at some later date. However, as time wore on she began to notice her path was actually swerving away from the door whenever passing in front of it and moving down the landing between the two side elevations.
As this thought distilled Elisabeth paused and put her ear to the door half expecting to find she was being rather silly. Unfortunately for her things took a turn for the worse.
Come in Elisabeth, we have been expecting you.
It was only a whisper in her head, but bore vitriol and carried a venom that fuelled irresistible despair. It was also hypnotic, encouraging her hand to turn a polished brass door handle despite her subconscious screaming no.
As she crossed the threshold time slowed. Elisabeth noticed the room looked much older than everywhere else and it was cold, very cold. She shivered. It reminded her of the cellar; dark, dank and dingy. This room was unloved and desperately in need of renovation.
“Is there anybody in here?”
She asked the question knowing the room was empty and that the voice had been in her mind. Idly she wandered toward the window tracing finger tips through the dust gathered on an old dressing table. The view from the window took in the Marshes. It was as if the apparent random planting of trees in the garden were not random at all when seen from this room. They provided a deciduous corridor taking the eye beyond the garden and across the wetlands to what looked like a folly. Distant and entombed in overgrowth but clearly visible from this room; almost as if it was the only place destined to be able to see it. From the grounds only an isolated copse existed far out in the Marshes.
Rumour had it that ghosts collected there. Unwary wanderers drowned in the bogs and pools whose souls crawled from the waters drawn to the tiny island of dry land. Elisabeth had considered this to be tattle designed to keep children from wandering into the Marshes. Staring at it, as she was now, made her rather more uncertain.
Not a folly Elisabeth, an unconsecrated chapel…a tomb.
The voice in her mind caught her by surprise.
“Who are you?”
Someone that can solve all your problems.
That made her smile. If only things were that simple she thought, turning away from the window and looking back into the room. The view turned from reflection into decay. On her right was a small bed covered in pink bedding that itself was overlaid in cobwebs and mould. The floor was wood and whilst solid there were signs that age and neglect were beginning to eat into it. The corner space left of the door was home to a mildewed rocking horse and on the floor next to it several clothes peg dolls. In places wallpaper had yielded to damp and unveiled the crumbling structure beneath. As her eyes adjusted to the gloom, Elisabeth found it impossible to believe that behind the door nobody opened no-one even knew this room existed.
It was lost in time and filled with something not in keeping with the rest of the house. Walls to either side of this room showed no sign of what existed just beyond. They were warm, clean smelling and fresh. This was an impossibility and yet here she was. Inside her heart was racing. The atmosphere was filled with something when she walked in. It was only now that she could touch it properly and the accent was fear. Clearly it was a child’s room but the residue was not of happiness but neglect and terror. Questions formed in her mind. Who was she, what happened to her, why was this room keeping itself hidden and why had it called out to her?
Elisabeth turned back to the window. With the sun at a different angle she noticed something new. The trees were arranged to view the folly, or tomb as the now absent voice had corrected her, but there was now also a trail leading through the Marshes. She blinked. It stood out so dramatically that it was astonishing she had not seen it before. Then so did the very room she was in, maybe it was connected.
The above is a short excerpt from a short story linked to the very first post on this blog an age ago. It’s set in the 1800’s and I have considered putting this piece up in its entirety, just for the hell of it. Sometimes it seems that excerpts might just not be enough for enquiring minds. Not sure though. This is an early piece from a while ago. It may not live up to current standards.
© G Jefferies and Fictionisfood, 2016. All rights reserved.