“Monika, I told you. I entered the contest last week and I just heard back.” I wrapped the hair band around my ponytail extra tight so we could finish our run through Old Mead’s Park. The wind suddenly seemed more volatile as it produced a low humming moan that whispered through the dying fall leaves.
but it seems odd, don’t you think? No one has ever heard of Sarah’s Victorian
before. This town is small. You think someone would have heard of
an old mansion just minutes from town. And being one hundred years old?”
that is precisely why I entered the contest. One night every decade they open
it to the public and a costume contest? Count me in.”
sounds sketchy. How come I have never heard of this contest? No one else
is talking about it.”
winked, “I’m just more diligent. It’s not my fault I keep track of the goings
on of this town. And how convenient that it’s on my birthday! Now you have to
come.” We started to cooldown, stretching our legs against an old park bench,
wood splintering from its corners. “So, will you be my guest?”
say no to a terrifying experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
that’s the spirit!” I said.
of spirits, do you think it’s haunted?”
is on Halloween night, if any spirits were going to be haunting around…but I
doubt it. If it was, we definitely would have heard of it.”
everyone that goes there doesn’t make it back.” Monika said wide eyed.
bring your mace, then.” I smiled.
rest of the week flew by until suddenly, it was Thursday morning. Halloween day
brought with it a crisp chill and stark cloud cover leaving the day feeling
grey and frigid.
hope they’ve upgraded this mansion to have heat and running water.” Monika
stated as she loaded her weekender into my truck.
replied, “this isn’t the 1800’s.”
dropping a pin and sending it to Mike when I get there.”
is kind of weird that Google maps doesn’t have it listed…” I said.
not helping.” We both jumped into the front cab and took off toward Mainstreet,
my gears creaking as we drove through a wall of thick fog. “The directions say
to head east.”
exclaimed, “now!” I slammed on my breaks and I turned the wheel left as we
skidded unto a small gravel road.
asked, “are you sure this is right?”
road…” she checked the email on her phone again. “It says to continue four more
road goes on for four more miles? I thought this was protected forest.”
protected from haunted mansions, apparently.”
road continued to meander through thick forest until suddenly a large stone
gate was before us, carefully guarded by two men flanking each side.
man approached our car. “What is your business ma’am?”
are here for the Victorian contest. My name is April.”
man walked back to his small stone shelter to check his computer then nodded.
The gate began to open slowly as they waved us through. The road began to feel
more manicured with expertly cut shrubbery and a hefty gate to protect the
acreage. The beautiful scenery followed us up to the main entrance.
crap April are you seeing this?” Enormous columns were holding up a large tan
mansion that looked well maintained despite its rustic age.
said, “who knew this was sitting here, all this time?”
me. Who owns it anyways?” Monika asked with her mouth agape.
really didn’t say, just some older couple. Apparently, it’s one of the oldest
in the state.”
You sure don’t know a lot about this for trudging both of us up here.”
can I say, I like adventure.”
we pulled up to the front entrance a man took our keys and valeted our old
truck. The sight of the blue Toyota against the Victorian looked rather
misplaced. After the valet drove off, we were perched in front of the behemoth,
taking in the sight.
do we go now?” I asked as we both looked around. “There are other cars here,
where are all of the people?”
stop. You know you’re excited.”
did bring some spirits of my own I’m ready to get into.”
laughed as we approached the building, holding our belongings for the night. As
we entered the front foyer we were met with a dazzling chandelier and large
mirrors lining the sides of the entrance. The interior was mostly decorated in
an older dark wood, and just twenty paces to our front stood a large spiral
said, “this looks like the scene from Titanic when Jack’s ghost meets Rose.”
be worse, yeah? It’s not like they haunted anyone.”
do you know? The movie straight up ended after that.” I rolled my eyes as we
began to walk towards the staircase, hesitant since no one had approached.
Suddenly, a man popped out of a room to the right, startling us.
So glad you arrived safe. Let me be the first to welcome you to Sarah’s
Victorian.” He was wearing a tuxedo and looked like something out of an old black
and white film. He held out his hand to shake ours. “Follow me and I will lead
you to your room. The other guests have already arrived and are getting
both followed, wide-eyed, as the mansion seemed to continue for in
indeterminate amount of time. The man gestured to the different rooms as he led
us forward. “It has 70 total rooms, two tennis courts and a swimming pool,
which of course has been closed for the approaching snowstorm tonight.”
gave me a look and whispered, “are you serious?”
it’s been upgraded, there’s heat!” I whispered back and smirked.
continued to give us a small tour. “And on your right is the kitchen.
Downstairs is where the servant’s quarters were, now they are mostly used as
storage.” As we walked past the main kitchen entrance, a cool breeze brushed
across our legs bringing goose bumps to the surface.
here, on the second floor, is room 217. Dinner and costumes will be at 8pm,
enjoy.” He shut the door and backed out slowly.
that seem overly dramatic?” I said as I turned around, taking in the room.
popped her head out from inside the restroom. “This bathroom is huge! I love
clawed tubs-” before she could finish her sentence a piercing scream was heard
was that!?” I said as Monika ran over.
like someone screaming bloody murder to me. Not bloody-good-time, bloody murder.”
suspicions are starting to grow on me…that sounded loud.”
a time as any to break out the martinis. I even brought plastic glasses for
your birthday. Because we’re classy ladies.”
they tried to ignore the scream, they finished their martini olives with a
fervor. Then suddenly, a loud knock erupted from the front door of their sweet.
said, “good gosh everything is so sensational here.”
the peep hole first.” Said Monika.
I’ll be answering it-” I glared in her direction. As I peered outside through
the peep hole, I said, “no one is there.”
we starting to hear things?”
knock sounded loudly again making both of us jump. I ran over to check again,
“I don’t see anything. I’m opening it.” As I slowly opened the door and Monika
backed towards the rear window, I exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, Monika…”
nothing here but some liquid on the ground. Like drops of something.”
serious, come look…”
both women leaned down towards the ground, Monika said, “it looks like blood.”
can’t be serious…” It was me who backed away this time. “ It looks like it
drips away from our door…and doesn’t it seem eerily quiet in here for having a
house full of people?”
has to be theatrics, it’s Halloween, ya know?” Monika said with fake smile as
we shut the door. “Let’s finish those martini’s before getting dressed.”
call.” As we painted our faces white and sickly, a ring came from inside our
Monika said tediously as she picked up the old black rotary phone. “Hello?” She
said again, then hung up with a strange look on her face.
on earth was that?”
one was there but I think I could hear breathing?”
place just keeps getting weirder and weirder.” As we started to get dressed as
the Shining sisters, another knock came to the door.
got to be kidding me.” We said in unison.
time, it was the man in a tuxedo that stood on the other side.
I regret to inform you that someone has gone missing. Have you seen a woman
with long black hair come this way?”
haven’t. You Monika?”
sorry. What happened? We thought we heard a scream.”
man smiled a twisted smile, one that took longer than it should have to fold its
way across his face. “That is nothing of your concern. I almost forgot; this
box was left for you up front.” He laid the box at his feet and disappeared
quickly down the hall.
could have handed it to me.”
weird about the woman, right? After that scream?” Monika said as she picked up
the box for me. “Let’s see what’s inside.”
opening the small package, a note fell to the floor reading:
“Dear Monika and April. This serves as
your warning- if you are not present in the ballroom in ten minutes, action
will be taken.”
minutes??? What kind of action are they on about? We’re not even completely
replied, “is there anything else in the package?”
unfurled a picture, “it’s an image of a woman, she looks like she’s in our
hallway.” I handed it over. “Is that a bloody handprint on the outside of the
she has long black hair.” We both stared at each other with our mouths agape.
asked, “should we go? To the ballroom? Or are we safer staying here?”
already burned at least three minutes.”
another word we grabbed our purses and phones and ran out into the hallway.
never showed us the ballroom, Mon. Where do we go?”
said, “I’m guessing it’s downstairs?”
we turned left to the stairway, we both stopped in our tracks as a man in all
black, face covered, stood just at the top of the stairwell. His long dark hair
was matted and greasy and fell just over his dark eyes. Screaming, we turned on
our heals to the emergency side stairway that ran the opposite direction.
behind as we ran, I thought I could see dark movement just seconds away. We
kicked it in high gear as hotel doors blurred by in a fog. No one else seemed
to be present. As we pushed open the metal door and ran down the stairwell, we appeared
in another, darker and with a musty aged feel to it.
on the wall there was a gold paneled sign that directed us towards the
ballroom. Following its direction, we ran headfirst into a large room.
I looked around the room, confused, then noted Monika laughing hysterically
on earth?” I said as my mother approached me in a hug.
you surprised? Happy birthday honey!”
turned to Monika, “I’m about to murder you! You knew all along!”
almost lost it when I saw your brother at the top of the stairs” she turned to
Steve, “nice touch!”
couldn’t believe my eyes as an entire ballroom was filled with family and
friends, balloons and streamers. I said, “I can’t believe it! What is this
place? What about the contest I entered?”
had that inserted into your morning paper, good thing you bit! And I can’t
believe you’ve never been here before.”
had no idea!”
said, “I realized you didn’t know what this place was a few months ago when
someone mentioned having a party here. My wheels started to turn…”
should’ve known better; you love scary things! You wouldn’t have been so scared
to come along.”
smiled. “Well, since we’re here, time for a Martini?”