Once Upon A Weekend 16
     When Sam came downstairs, he found Bill asleep in the chair.  It'd been a long day for all of them.  He didn't even want to think what the press would do with the story.  Ricky's picture would be all over the news and he'd be a laughing stock, all because of the stupid weekend at the lodge.
     Angry at himself for getting them into this mess, Sam left a note for Bill saying he would be back, then grabbed his car keys.  His search through Glen's house had netted an address that he'd driven to before Bill's frantic call. He'd had just enough time to see Glen's car in the driveway, so he knew Glen was there. 
     He returned to that address.  The car was still in the driveway so he parked behind it to block any means of escape.  If Glen wanted to get away, it'd have to be on foot.  If he tried to run, Sam would make certain he didn't get far.
     He reached the front door of the house and banged on it.  After a moment, a small wizened old woman opened it and looked at him with wide eyes.  She was a tiny woman, with gray wiry hair that hung straight down her back.  Her eyes were a faded blue that squinted at him through wire-rimmed glasses.  In her faded housedress and house slippers, she looked frail, but she brandished the broom she held with invisible strength as she glared out at him.
     "Who are you?" she cackled, jabbing the end of the broom in his direction.
     Sam smiled in as friendly a fashion as he could and tried to sound unintimidating.  He wasn't sure what she might do if he came across as aggressive as he felt.
     "May I speak with Glen?" he asked.
     The old woman scrutinized him from head to foot before stepping to one side and allowing him in.  She led him to the main room where he found Glen, and older man, and a young woman seated in conversations which ceased as soon as he appeared.
     "Glen," the old woman said, "you got a visitor."
     With that, she turned and shuffled back the way she'd come.  Glen, seeing who his visitor was, sprang to his feet, his eyes searching for some way to escape.  He held up his hands as if to ward off a blow.
     "Now, Sam," he whined, "don't do anything rash."
     "Rash?" Sam said.  "Now why would I do something rash?"
     He advanced and Glen backed up against the wall, clearly afraid of what he might do.
     The old man, who'd been sitting in a faded brown recliner, came to his feet and got between them.
     "What's this all about?" he demanded.  "How dare you come into my house and threaten my son."
     "Sorry," Sam said, his eyes never leaving Glen's face.  "But your son and I have something important to discuss.  He has information I need, and I need it now."
     The girl was also on her feet, watching the confrontation with alarm.
     "About the lodge?" she asked.
     Sam turned to face her, surprised.
     "Is this the guy you told us about?" she asked Glen.
     He nodded.  
     "My name is Maggie," she said to Sam.  "I'm Glen's sister, and this is our father.  Glen was just telling us about renting you the lodge, and about what's been happening.  We warned him not to let anyone rent the lodge."
     She gave her brother an accusatory glance.
    "But he didn't listen.  I know you have a lot of questions."
    "Yes," Sam said.
    "Delaney," she said.
     "What?" Sam asked.
     "Please sit down," Maggie said. 
     She smoothed her long red curls from her freckled face.  Her eyes were a piercing blue that were accentuated by the blue blouse she was wearing.  Sam did as invited, wondering how Glen had managed to have such a pretty sister.
    "To know the truth about the lodge," she said, "You have to first know about our family.  A long time ago, in Ireland, one of our ancestors had a daughter named Delaney.  She was pretty, from all accounts, and a terrible practical joker.  Several times her jokes nearly killed someone, and once, one of those was her older brother.  She'd sent him into a labyrinth and he was found just in the nick of time, before he starved to death."
     "She was a troublesome and foolish child," Maggie's father said.
     Maggie nodded.  "Because of what happened to her brother, her father locked her in her room for punishment and told her she would stay locked up until she swore never to play anymore practical jokes.  But she was stubborn and refused.  She was locked in her room with only an old housekeeper to watch over her.  Her brothers and sisters married and moved to their own homes.  Her mother died, leaving only her father and the housekeeper in the house.  Everyone forgot about her.  Then the housekeeper died.  When her father died there was no one left to take care of her.  She was locked in the room and eventually starved to death.  She left a letter, which has been handed down through the family, cursing her family for what they did to her and since that time, she has attached herself to the oldest male member of each generation."
     "For years," Glen said, "she drove dad to distraction, since he was the oldest, and nearly drove him insane with her pranks.  Then she attached herself to me.  I bought the lodge, hoping to start a business and to get away from her, but she followed me.  I couldn't get anyone to stay at the lodge because of all the weird things that kept happening.  So I closed it and came back to the city.  She stayed there for some reason and I thought I was rid of her.  Believe me, I didn't know she would start a reign of terror over total strangers.  And I didn't know she would follow you back here."
     Sam took a deep calming breath.
     "Not only," he said, "has she followed, but she's driven two of my friends to the brink of madness.  You have to do something."
     "What can I do?" Glen asked.  "I thought she was going to stay at the lodge. She's never gone after strangers."
     "You just said that's why you couldn't make the lodge go," Sam said, "because of all the goings on."
     Glen looked helplessly to his father who only shook his head.
     "I mean, she's never followed after strangers," he said.  "She teases them, but this is all different."
     "I don't care," Sam said.  "She's followed us and you have to do something to make her leave us alone."
     "There's nothing anyone can do," Maggie said angrily.  "Glen and I have sworn that neither of us would get married or have kids.  That way, Delaney won't have anyone to haunt."
     "Well, it looks like she has other ideas," Sam said.  "She must know about that promise.  She knows you're planning on killing out the family line forever, so she attached herself to us to haunt as long as she likes."
    He thought it over.  
     "Or maybe," he said, "she followed us to find you since you didn't come back to the lodge."
     He grabbed Glen by the front of his shirt.  Glen yelped as he was jerked into Sam's strong grip.
     "You're coming with me," Sam said.  "If it's you she wants, then you'll have to be the one who gets rid of her.  I don't care how you manage, but she's going."
     Pulling a protesting Glen along with him, and ignoring the fists blows to his arm by Maggie, he headed out to the car.  Maggie screamed at him to let Glen go and threatened to call the police.  Sam ignored her as he tossed Glen into the car, keeping a firm grip on his arm to prevent him from sliding out before the car was in motion.
     Maggie pounded on the window until Sam shoved the gear into reverse and nearly knocked her down as he slung the car backwards into the street and peeled rubber as he sped away.

kt6550   kt6550 wrote
on 5/15/2009 8:36:43 PM
A good chapter. But I feel a chapter between this one and the previous one would be in order. It would help the drama a bit if you prolonged the investigation into the cause of the madness. Just my opinion. :)

Novel / Novella
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