Ghost Story - Part One
David's firm, deep voice cut through the crisp tang of fresh autumn air.  The contrast grated on Emma's ears and set her teeth on edge.
"Why?  Why does he spoil everything?" Emma thought as a large male hand slapped her behind and impatiently whined in too loud a voice:
"Cambridge City are playing in half an hour.  If you don't want to come, just say love.  I'm going now, or I'll be late for kick off.  It's only a house."
Emma opened her mouth, beginning to respond, then stopped herself.  The spires of Mulberry Tree Manor House towered in to the clear sky above her.  Sheltered by layers of half turned oak tree leaves, not quite brown enough to fall, she could feel the magic of the place almost tangibly in the air.
"Emma,"  David continued "it'll be a museum on local history or something.  You'll only find it boring."
The magic only crackled slightly at David's voice.
"You go on.  I want to see the house."  Emma quietly said, careful not to spoil the feeling.
"But who"
"You can take the car."  Emma interupted.
"But what happens if I"
"I'll walk to the pub after.  You drink, I'll drive you home."
"Great!  Bye Em."  David walked quickly in the direction of the car park, his trainers crushing gravel underfoot.  Emma sighed, enjoying the cool air rushing in to her lungs.  Her long chestnut brown hair blew in the wind, as Emma's intensely golden eyes took in the house from top to bottom a moment longer.  Percy watched as Emma licked her full lips nervously and walked around the fence to the front of the house.  Their anticipation was almost unbearable.


The path to the front of the house, like nearly all the paths in the grounds, was covered with deep gravel.  Holly bush walls separated the path from the garden, which was neatly mowed in to lines.  Roses blooming late and slightly past their best clung to their stalks in silky puffs of white and red of either side.  A flowering vine travelled from dirt to sky on an arched trellis at the end of the path.  And beyond this lay the visitors door to Mulberry Tree Manor House.  Emma, taking in the garden walked in silence, her mind wandering to poetry she'd read in school.  As she ducked under the arch, her body adjusted to the cooler air.  The young woman, barely out of her teens barely registered the cold as her mind drifted.
"One pound fifty?"  The voice dragged Emma it to the real world.
"It is one pound fifty to see the Manor from the inside.  Two pounds if you want a guide book too.  Of course, it is free to walk around the gardens."  The voice was that of an old man.  He sat behind a table with a large float of money in an ice cream tub.  On the table were several tea lights that sent shadows dancing up the walls.  Emma clicked a two pound coin on to the table and took what seemed more like a guide leaflet than a guide book in to her hands.  Mulberry Tree Manor House was pictured on the front, with the caption 'A Local Treasure For Everyone'.  Emma looked in to the gloom beyond the desk.  For a Saturday afternoon, the place wasn't heaving with people.  Folding the leaflet in to her pocket, she entered a massive first room.  She could see only one couple mooching the left hand edge.
It annoyed her slightly that David had been right.  The room did seem like a local history museum.  Brightly coloured drawings from local schools were hung on boards.  Further back there was sheets of creative writing from older children and teens, who presumably had visited on school trips.  There were two cabinets of silverware, and a glass presentation of several old bits of pot.  Emma walked to the nearest board and began to read about how the manor might have looked in the 1920s.  Inwardly, she was disappointed.
"Well, what did you expect, a ghost train?"  The thought was so loud it almost smashed the fragile silence.  The couple, slightly closer, continued to read the displays in their heads.  Emma left the board, feeling guilty as she moved on to the next.  She had read the first few lines and given up.  The next board was similarly dry history.  Emma kept walking until she was the other side of the room.  A doorway and a final board stood next to each other.
'Ghost stories' the title read.  Emma kept reading.
'It has long been thought that the manor is haunted by several ghosts.  Old man Terrence, dressed in rags, walks the corridors at night, moving things in the museum, and dropping things to the floor.  There have also been sighting of Beth, a girl said to have died here in childbirth in 1872.  Legend has it that Beth is still looking for the baby that the doctors took away.  Strange noises in the upper rooms, unexplained lights in the dark and of course items being mislaid or lost are all common.'
Emma paused and thought of the doddery old man at the door.  She could well believe he would mislay items and them blame it on a spook.  The idea made her smile.
'So, if you dare, please climb the stairs to the most haunted area of the manor, the grand corridor.  We hope you will find it interesting.  No flash photography, no food or drink and please keep noise to a minimum'
Emma began to climb.

Jan   Jan wrote
on 8/21/2009 10:08:12 AM
interesting start..with good sequence..but I need more descriptions..more on Emma and the Manor House..but your other descriptions, the air, the ground, etc. worked well..and what did you mean by "Percy watched..." and "Their anticipation..." (why is it plural?)..just sort of got lost there..but all in all you have posted a good beginning..i enjoyed the read :)

Short Story
writing AmberSkye
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The beginnings of a Ghost Story. I'm writing this in a note book (I find it easier to write that way than spending hours in front of a computer). I was feeling inspired on a blustery night last week and just had to write something spooky.
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If you're kind enough to read all the way to the end, please rate and review. Many many thanks.