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mystery macabre mansion
This story starts on a blustery, cold, wet evening. Jemima Cornwallis was making her way to Parkinsons on Macabre Street. She had left her house ten minutes earlier and kissed her mother Mabel goodbye. The Parkinsons had asked her to babysit earlier in the week. She had reluctantly agreed due to the woman’s desperation. She had pleaded with Jemima, telling her she hadn’t left the house for a night out in years. She hadn’t mentioned why.
Now here Jemima was making her way up the pathway, knocking on the oaken door. Jemima gazed around in surprise. The house was magnificent. It was a mansion made of stone. There were shuttered windows and a black cracked, tiled roof. It was dilapidated and rundown but it was plain to see that it was still a very beautiful building.
The woman answered the door wearing a dowdy black dress. The woman appeared to be in a hurry. She gave some parting instructions and then dashed down the path to a lavish black saloon.
Jemima proceeded to walk inside the house. She felt as if there was an ominous presence but quickly brushed the thought off. She made her way to the sitting room where she found two children. They stared at her with glassy eyes. For some irrational reason she felt frightened of the pair. She proceeded to ask questions but the pair was unforthcoming. They simply responded with silent shakings of the head and blank expressions.
Jemima sat down on the chair in a corner beside a dusty grate. She peered at it curiously. It looked as if it hadn’t been used for years. Did they not find it cold in here? Jemima, feeling uneasy due to the silence suggested that the children show her around the house. The duo didn’t respond, they just stared at her unnervingly.
One of them started to say something but was quickly silenced by the other with a brutal slap. Jemima couldn’t speak as a result of her shock. Should she reprimand the child? She decided otherwise. The child seemed to note her decision with a knowing look in his eye. He appeared to be the dictator. He started to speak. The first time she had witnessed either of them do so. “We are off to bed, goodnight.” His voice surprised her. It was deep, gravelly, old. He gingerly left the futon where he had been sitting and pulled the young girl after him. The girl followed him wordlessly.
Jemima found herself alone in the cold and dark room. She decided to look around. She searched for a light switch but this proved to be in vain. She found a candle on a nearby mahogany table. She proceeded to light it. She started to walk slowly around the room, candle in hand. She found the room to be richly furnished. There were plump red couches, large mirrors and numerous paintings. She was in awe of the ubiquitous beauty. Then something caught her eye.
It was an oil painting of a man. He was sallow skinned with dark hair, bushy eyebrows and deep set eyes. The eyes frightened her. The expression in them was cold and merciless. These eyes were dangerous. They looked so like... but it couldn’t be. She pushed the notion out of her head. She failed to see the name plate which read “Thomas Cornwallis I”. Oh how she could have prevented the unfolding events if she had noticed.
Unnerved, Jemima decided to check on the children. They were propped upright in their beds reading copies of Dracula by Bram Stoker. What a strange choice for young children, she mused. The children stared at her. Something seemed to puzzle them as both wore quizzical expressions. Jemima was nervous, she laughed uneasily. The children continued to gaze at her with an intense scrutiny. The girl finally broke her stare and stole a quick glance at something on her bedside locker. The girl hastily tried to conceal the object from view. Jemima rushed her. She snatched the object from the child’s grasp and gazed at it intently. It was a photo of ...herself. “Where did you get this?” she squeaked in alarm. The child didn’t respond.
Jemima, by this time was infuriated and frightened. She involuntarily dashed down stairs. She tried to collect her thoughts. She poured herself some water, downed the contents and then pressed the glass to her temple. She was slowly calming down when she heard a bang from upstairs. She couldn’t take it anymore, she ran out the door banging it behind her, never giving a thought to the children... She reached her house and gladly got into her bed. She pulled the covers around her and fell into a fitful sleep.
Two weeks had passed since the babysitting incident and Jemima hadn’t heard anything from the Parkinson family. She got out of bed and headed downstairs. The local paper “The Rosette” was on the table. There were two articles torn out. Jemima felt inexplicably fearful. Where was her mother Mabel? She stared at the first article. The headline read “Young Girl Dies in Tragic Accident”. It was the girl she had babysat! The girl’s name wasn’t Parkinson after all, it was Serena Cornwallis. Was it mere coincidence that she had the same last name as Jemima? After a quick glance down through the article, she noticed the words “no foul play suspected” . Jemima was becoming agitated. The next article nearly stopped her heart. “Cornwallis Finishes Sentence”. She felt a sinking feeling in her gut. She read through the rest of the article. “Thomas Cornwallis was convicted of murder twelve years ago for the killing of close friend James Brucknell. Cornwallis claimed that Brucknell had slipped and fallen to sudden death. However, Mabel Cornwallis (the wife of the convicted) vehemently denied this and maintained that Brucknell was pushed. Mabel succeeded with her story and Cornwallis was jailed for murder. It has often been said that Mabel’s story was false but no one can be sure of the true events. Cornwallis is alleged to have said that he would make Mabel ‘pay some day’. Cornwallis has one daughter Jemima. ”. Jemima dropped the paper like it was red hot coals. She felt extremely queasy and then there was a knock on the door. She peeked through the peephole. There stood a man with bushy eyebrows, deep set eyes, sallow skin and dark hair.