Returning from their vacation, the Brothers Carmichael waste no time revisiting the sinister MarshBank House. A Victorian manse with secrets inside that are starting to wake up and the home of Elisabeth Beechworth.
Last time the paranormal brothers retired for a break in Wales after an encounter with spectral Knights Templar in a ruined chapel outside the boundary of Compton Cemetery. Alas, that was but the first skirmish and, while exploring a castle, they stepped into a second time drift that once again had another Master addressing them directly.
They have now returned home, to revisit the house where their strange observations began, with the disappearance of a pregnant woman in a house, or room, that swallowed her into the past.
The links to the rest of the series are below, in order, and may contribute to a better plot understanding…or not, as the case may be!
If you want to see more then please refer to the blurb at the end, and please feel free to share any of my posts. It will be hugely appreciated!
“I am not what you think I am.”
The paranormal brothers Allan and Joseph Carmichael looked at each other, and then back to the apparition in front of them. A rather attractive lady, wearing a late Victorian two layered bustle skirt, with matching ruched blouse. Being of spectral extraction, the colour was indeterminate and limited to transparent white, on the basis the woman herself was not as solid as the corporeal investigators.
It was Allan that spoke up first, “What is it that you think, that we think, you are?”
Owing to dryness of throat, this came out as more of a weak rasp, despite efforts to whip up saliva and lubricate the vocal chords. Joseph, the taller of the two, by some two inches at just under six foot, shook his head in disgust.
“Way to show confidence Al,” he whispered from the corner of his mouth in a poor attempt at ventriloquy. It was not unnoticed by the shade who smiled demurely and floated towards them.
“I think, you think that I am a ghost.”
Despite the ethereal aspect, her words were solid enough. Softly spoken with an element of authority.
Allan dropped the hammer he’d used to pry off the boards covering the front door of the old Hamilton place, across the street from where they had kept vigil since hearing about the potential for psychic phenomena. It struck the floor with a resounding dead thump, that caused the revenant to shy away. A hammer had been used here before, except then Allan had been a Jonathan. Joseph watched his temperature gauge plummet to just about that of his fridge, and noticed his breath beginning to fog in the air at each exhalation.
Why do we always do this in the middle of the damn night?
Nerves were beginning to jangle internal warning bells. The moon, being almost full, was not helping matters by poking eerie fingers of light through gaps in the shreds of old drapes illuminating the inside enough to reveal the cringing shadows probably held secrets. Through the shimmering lady he could see the outline of, what was once, a grand staircase leading upwards.
“But you are a ghost surely. This place has been derelict for years and is a prime site for our research into, well, ghosts.”
The woman drew closer gesticulating towards the entrance door behind them. “I rather think that depends upon your perspective. To me you are the apparitions that have just walked through my front door.”
Allan looked back, following the line of her pointing, trying not to shiver. His insides suddenly felt quite nauseous. A none subtle elbow caught Joseph in the ribs, causing him to slowly follow the direction his brother’s open mouth was gaping at.
“Oh crap,” was all he could manage.
The boards, Allan had hacked through with the hammer, were back up on the inside and covering the front door. More to the point, there was a pool of dark liquid surrounding the head of the very same implement that had been cast to the floor. Despite the poor lighting, neither brother considered it to be anything other than blood.
Allan pulled his sibling to one side. The shade remained near staircase.
“Time to beat a hasty retreat Jo. I’ve got a real bad feeling about this.”
Joseph eyed his brother followed by a quick look back at the woman.
His voice, barely audible, whispered, “Give it five more minutes and make sure you’re recording this too.”
Both were equipped with a couple of hidden cameras. One infrared and one visible. Unbeknown to either of them they were busy storing video footage of an empty house.
“Your call Jo, but I now hold you entirely responsible for our untimely demise.” There was a resigned feel to Allan’s voice.
Joseph turned back to the woman and took a step forwards feigning confidence. “So who are you then?”
The lady gave him an eerie smile.
“Elisabeth Beechworth some might say.”
Some might say, he thought, what’s that supposed to mean?
Allan carried it on, “What year is it?”
“1875 clearly,” was the surprised reply, “why what year is it by your calculations?”
Joseph cocked his head, “2000, or at least it was when we came in here.” He paused for a moment before continuing, “What do you mean by some might say?”
Elisabeth’s aura sharpened revealing facial features that caused Allan to stare. “I am many things in many times. In this place I am Elisabeth.”
The brothers looked at each other. Elisabeth was a name they knew.
“Roll with it?” mouthed Allan.
Joseph nodded consent before carrying on talking to the spectre. “And you are not a ghost you say?”
Elisabeth exuded confidence, “Absolutely not.”
Allan chipped in, “And you are saying that we, in fact, are?”
She produced the captivating smile again. “Consider, if it is 1875 and I am right, it would infer you have yet to be conceived. By my reckoning you are therefore from the future and have made a grievous mistake by coming into my home.”
Joseph was now feeling seriously unsettled. Five minutes must be up, time to leave. He shuffled backwards, leaving Allan in discourse with the ghost that wasn’t. He turned to try and remove the boarding that had somehow self assembled back into the doorframe when they first encountered Elisabeth. His stomach fell towards the floor as he watched his own hands encounter an unseen wall, that prevented him actually reaching the wood. Wafer thin. He could slide up and down the outer edges of the planks but not get any purchase. In controlled, but rising panic, he ran to the window and found these were similarly barred. Time appeared to slow down as he turned back toward the staircase. There was no doubt his physician would have much to say about both current heart rate and blood pressure.
Allan meantime was deep in conversation and things were going from slightly wrong into fingers in ears not listening, blah blah blah.
“By similar argument, if it is 1875, then you are long dead; being the victim of a house fire in that very year.”
Elisabeth remained unperturbed.
“That may be so, but given you cannot pass out of this house,” she nodded towards Joseph scrabbling unsuccessfully at the window, “I will wager it is more likely you, not I, that has passed on.”
There was a shrill shout in his direction from the adjoining room.
“Al, I can’t find a way to get out!”
Elisabeth smiled once more; except it looked smug and unwholesome.
“Tell me, have you ever been to the room upstairs?”
Joseph was back, out of breath with impact bruises on his knuckles caused by angry pounding on wall that simply should not be there.
“Which one?” he managed to ask between gasps. The cold air was really biting now.
She turned to face him directly. Somehow her eyes were now filled with both fire and ice. “Top of the stairs, directly in front of you.”
Allan turned to his brother. Despite the cold he was suddenly rather clammy. Two days previous they had done a daytime exploration. Testing the way in and wandering up the dusty stairs taking a peak into a room and noting how out of time it looked.
“Errr, maybe,” he said.
If you made it here, then thank you for taking the time to read. Like I’ve said before, these add back story to other books; and yes, I know they need tweaking, but if they become a manuscript then that is where the transformation from short story anthology will turn into the real deal.
Shares or comments are welcome!
And now the bad news…or good news if you hate the genre, or writing…this is as far as this tale is spun. Almost two years have passed since I engaged with the brothers. Time was spent with my novel, The Assent of Rose Marie Gray. This is now complete and proofed awaiting some fortune with finding a publisher. Another, entitled The Bequest, is part written and this finds the third paranormal brother, Conrad Carmichael, on a path that Joe Stringer has forecast as leading to his untimely end. There is an extract on this deeper in my blog under the category;
Three excerpts in fact where you may find a character that I’ve quite warmed to; Rowena the Goth. There is also another book written, and awaiting my revisions, that blends the publican, Derrick, from here into a darker world. One that ties in the Blue Lady and disappearance of the barlords best friend.
All these stories intertwine and characters collect in each. Travelling in different directions along a web of intrigue that all began with the tale here, on my blog, called
That was the very first thing of fiction that found a blank page filling with words. From it all things have grown. This piece is very sad in the ending. Just know, in advance, that not all is as it seems. The cast list; Dave, Rose, Emily and Chloe appear in many places. Often out of time and in different worlds filled with…well, that would be spoilers.
The question for you, dear reader, is do I advance the brothers here?
Do you want to know if they escape Elisabeth and the house, or rather that ill fated room? What is the connection with the Knights Templar?Who killed Jake? What is it that dwells in the center of The Marshes? And, what lies on the arms of the untold segments of the pentagram?
I, alas, have no idea…
© G Jefferies and Fictionisfood, 2016. All rights reserved.
I love how you write. It’s so easy to read (and that’s a compliment) and you do so well in keeping us gripped. This excerpt is very chilling. Brrrrtrr’
Ooh, that is a compliment indeed! I’m reading one now that is annoying me a bit because its just not fluid. I just see loads of words that don’t need to be there!!! Exactly the sort of thing I try not to do! I’m also a fan of twists and turns too. Leading a reader down a path where they think they may know what to expect and then doing something totally different. That was my problem with The God Strain; I got to the point in the second part where I stopped thinking how do you prevent this impending apocalypse?????
You’re doing an excellent job, my friend.
Most kind Hayley! Might try varying the samples and see if everyone thinks the same in different writing genres!
Such a cruel cliffhanger Gary! You do a great job of maintaining tension without sacrificing the level of detail I needed to join the brothers.
Thanks Gabe; I try hard to end each part or chapter with something that makes a reader want to start the next bit. I don’t know if you saw any of the previous ones in this series yet. I did put then on the FB group ages ago, but since then the membership has grown and most may not have had chance to visit them. There are about 7 parts to this one; where I stopped writing it. The reason for that was the brothers gave me an idea for NaNoWriMo last November. That had a three brothers in, but knowing there are only two here got me thinking what happened and when I go back to this I need to expand it into a book rather than a short story series taking the loss of the other brother into account!
yeessh Gary! I can see the productive wheels of your imagination turning. I’m incredibly envious.
No need to be envious Gabe, just takes time to get the imagination tuned in. It’s hard to explain in comments how I go about it. Hmm, might be something to write a post on? Back at the start I wrote one piece called Half a Twin and that woke things up. From it came my first manuscript and ideas for a series, that got interrupted with a cathartic novel that again is cross linked, but independant of, that first book. Then I started writing this series and again that opened up the NaNo project. I have several things now that all wait for the writing to begin too. Time will see you getting there my friend!
and practice… lots and lots of practice;)
Ah yes, terrible chore that part is lol 🙂 Actually, the best thing you can actually get when beginning to gather momentum is honest feedback. That writing buddy thing. Bad good feedback is worse than good bad feedback. By that I mean it needs explanation; That’s brilliant BECAUSE… or I don’t like that BECAUSE… Just saying excellent or naff is no use at all !! 🙂
Yes Yes Yes Gary1 #GaTu!
So many projects, so many ideas. #overwhelm, procrastinate… #GaTu I’ve even got a wizard wandering round a lake now too !!!
I like a good ghost story Gary so why not hammer away at this one? LOL… It’s got the makings of a very interesting read, it kind of made me think of a scary Dr. Who episode somehow, and in my opinion we need more of them… 🙂
Well, in truth this series provided some interest in the paranormal brothers so I have almost finished a book set before this particular series chronologically. About four chapters left there. Once that’s done I aim to come back to this series and build a big revision into another one 🙂 As for Dr Who… big fan here lol. Although currently its not quite grabbing me; something missing in my opinion. Might be needs more scary writing !! Thank you so much for the encouragement 🙂
Welcome, Gary, good luck with your writing sounds like me you have many things on the go…!! And yes scarier Dr Who should be on the menu most definitely. Like you I find it isn’t quite grabbing me either… Perhaps it needs a new writer! Lol.. 🙂
Alas I do and that means I tend to overwhelm and go into distraction! Need to finish one thing at a time lol. Agreed re Dr Who too. Maybe I should draft an episode 😜
Me too, so easily distracted. Yes, a Dr Who episode that would be fantastic Gary. 🙂
Bit problematic that when you’ve got loads of ideas !!! I wonder if I could do one…as a wheeze maybe. Although with me it would have to be quite dark methinks 🙂
Eek! That is all lol
Oooh; where did you stumble upon this post?? We likes Elisabeth too 🙂
Top of your twitter feed when I was stalk…..checking you out lol
Ah; only pinned that one today! You were quick 🙂 I don’t think I’ve shared this in the group yet???
No that I’m aware of, no 🙂
Might have to do that on Thursday then! Sneak preview you 🙂
I had read bits before, but made it a mission to complete reading the tales, and I must say, they were great, atmosphere, character direction and building blocks all felt fantastically placed. A great read across the board.
Good grief you have been busy! Thank you so much for catching up. They started with the first one being just a short story challenge. I ended up doing eight in total and then dipped off into a novel. That’s completed and proofed now. I’ve every intention of turning this series into a book too. It ends unfinished here and bloggers have convinced me to carry it on. Although the Carmichael brothers feature in my NaNo project…but set in time before these. Dragon Stone here is a separate work and is a full chapter. Half a Twin was the starting point of another novel that needs editing too. In fact that was the first piece I wrote properly! Thank you Matt, really appreciate your feedback adding to the weight of response saying finish it lol
I know, from personal experience, that somethings get left behind, not because you don’t want to finish then, not because you don’t have the ideas. But, because too many things fly around ones head like hornets, and you need to remove the ones that are the biggest threat first, especially when your sanity is involved. I look forward to seeing you post up links to your novels when they’re available , and I’ll wander over, pick a couple up, then I have with your blog, enjoy reading them 👍
I hear you on that one. My idea pile keeps growing at a rate that far exceeds being able to chase them up. I ought to write all of them down for leaner times!! Oddly enough I look forward to posting links up to my novels too. It would mean I’ve figured out what to do with them 🤔
Haha, I’m there with you on that one 👍
You are a prolific and consistently-gifted writer….this excerpt is riveting! I am waiting with baited breath…what will happen next? Time will tell, and I will be sure to follow 🙂 Thanks for sharing 🙂
Me too! I’ve not written that yet lol. How far back have you gone. They have done a few things since you moved. The links are in this post if you have time or are interested 😁
No pressure…I read that that is as far as you’ve gotten 🙂 Also, I will definitely follow the links and cover what I’ve missed… 🙂
I think they are listed in chronological order if that helps. Keeps the sequence successive rather than here and there. Although I’m told most could be stand alone short stories, which they were originally. The new intention is to compile them into a manuscript by extending them and creating full chapters with greater depth. I’m actually amazed people like it. I never really thought it was anything but a spin off to something else!
See…..there is a plan that’s meant to unfold that is unfettered by your humility….you are such a brilliant writer and I love that this is shaping up to be a novel….keep going…you are doing incredibly well…the writing continues to be strikingly-wonderful! 🙂
Ok, see how it compares to the next post, that’s something I quite like and is progressing into something larger. This series was written a while before the piece I’m talking about. I’m interested to see if you think the style is better or worse than this sequence.
Oh and thank you….you are too generous 😊
From the number of comments and likes, your story is a hit! I’m looking for the “subscribe” box. It says I am following. Clicking “notify me of new posts via Email.” That should do it.
Hi Janice, it seems to have been well received for something that was a sideline to another book. I’m about ready to get active blogwise again now too. Hopefully you will get the posts now. And, FYI…I now get your blog emails, but not comment reply ones. All very strange, but a step forwards at least !
Oh, this is so like the TV series, The Living and The Dead!! Very exciting indeed!!
You are most generous and I not only thank you for that, but also the time you invested in both reading and commenting. If I ever finish this series then maybe I should try and script it too !! I’ve not actually seen that programme, which is odd considering my genre, but maybe I should look it up !
Wow. I love the idea of the brothers seeing Elisabeth as a ghost and she seeing them as ghosts. That concept is really intriguing to me. I have to go back and re-read Elisabeth’s story because I don’t remember her as being particularly sinister…until “the room” got her, but as a ghost, she seems so.
So if something sinister takes hold of you, do you automatically become a sinister ghost? Or is it really the sinister being, seen as the ghost? My knowledge of all things ghostly is obviously limited.
Is it the same evil lurking in the marshes as the swallowing room? Did the Knights Templar start the whole ball rolling?
Eagerly awaiting answers…
Thanks for another great read!
Me too….answears that is!! Not written beyond this one so no idea what happens next !! Quick recap though….Elisabeth had the incident with the bricked up child in her cellar…her story hops through time a bit, so the chronology is warped there….just to add to the confusion. I don’t recall her being sinister mind…just questioning the brothers point of view…although now I’m not so sure.
You raise some excellent questions though…and part of my writing method is to try and get readers questioning things. When reading myself I hate arriving at a point when the answer was obvious pages before. The curious thing here is this series was only ever written for practice about a year ago. I am now torn as to what to do. Compile it and turn it into a proper book, leave it as a series of short stories, write the rest as short stories, do nothing more and stick to my current projects….I am in awe of everyone’s support and feedback. Such encouragement now feels like it may be letting you all down by not finishing it!!
THANK YOU SO MUCH 😊
Ohhh You are so mean! I am on the edge of my seat! So many possibilities here. She keeps referring to them as the ghosts. Why did the other ghosts know them by name or that they were even there? There is much more here that is to be learned. Love it Gary! Please keep it coming. I cannot wait till your first book is in print.
The ghosts thing was a perspective trial. From hers they might be ghosts whereas from theirs the reverse is true. If you step into a time pocket where past and future coexist then are any truly ghosts? Does my head in that does 🙃 Mind you, it can’t be a good thing if ghosts know who you are can it? Unless, of course, it’s a friendly one…nah, not seeing that here !! Thanks Julie 😊
Interestingly chilling !!
My thanks for the comment and kind words. Very much appreciated. I’m pleased you found it both interesting and chilling. I’m trying to avoid total gore and allow a reader’s mind to create that aspect by inference. Hopefully the words allow minds to fill in gaps and feel the suspense.
For sure!! Looking 4ward for more of ur works!!!
Most kind my new blogging friend. I will try and keep up to expectations!!!
OH NO!! OH YES!!
Surely they will welcome you back and you can fall into their world again..
Spine-tingling..Elisabeth is deliciously vampiric, detailed, eerie..great read!
(One that I would obviously like to read more of..) 🙂
Redoing theses as a series has helped refresh the world they inhabit. Easier to pick it up again now methinks. Interesting you feel she is vampiric. Was that tied in with the bricked up child in the cellar and your thoughts on what might lie inside the folly deep at the centre of the marshes?
I hope you caught the back reference to Jonathan and the hammer too !! Thank you again for the speed of read and reply too 😊