A prompt response to Our Write Side ~ Coldly Calculating: DRESSED TO THE NINES
DRESSED TO THE NINES
By John Yeo
DRESSED TO THE NINES
By John Yeo
A murky sky threatened to burst out into a storm as we drew up at the gated entrance to our destination. We had to abandon the car at the main gates as they were inaccessible, due to a large padlock and chain.
A long winding overgrown path pointed the way to Crossways. In days of yore, this would have been a smart well kept drive for the legions of horse-drawn carriages that carried many carousing visitors.
Miranda and I were following my family tree, apparently, this was lately the residence of my Great Grandmother, Lucy Landers.
The house was large with at least six bedrooms. The conspicuously obvious anomaly was sticking out of the dilapidated roof. No less than ten crooked chimney pots strategical scattered over the many layers of sloping roof.
“The place looks empty John, although I thought I saw a wisp of smoke coming from one of those chimneys at the back,” Miranda whispered.
“Why are you whispering darling? There isn’t any possibility of smoke. The place has been empty for ages. The agents who are dealing with the estate say my Great Grandmother disappeared some years ago leaving instructions and funds for retaining the staff. Apparently, they left when the money ran out. I am the sole survivor of this branch of the family.”
At that moment with a loud angry growl, a large black cat streaked across the path directly in front of us and disappeared into the undergrowth at the side of the path. We both jumped in alarm and hurriedly continued on our way to the double doors that guarded the main entrance.
I inserted the ornate metal key provided by the agents, into the doors.
With a harsh teeth-jarring screech of metal, the doors swung open. The overpowering smell of decay and damp penetrated our very being as we entered. We openly gagged in unison at this repulsive odour.
“Hallo!” I shouted loudly: “Is anyone at home?”
Miranda jumped at this: “Why did you do that? There is no one here; stop it.”
“Sorry:” I replied: “You did say you saw smoke from one of those weird chimneys.”
The house was stuffed full of dusty old furnishings that had been hurriedly covered with an assortment of covers.
“Did you hear that?” Miranda suddenly said.
“What?” I asked.
“John! Stop playing games; surely you heard that awful creaking sound from the upper rooms. Sounds like something is scratching around up there.”
“Probably rats moving around; I imagine this place is full of rats and bats. That enormous black cat has its work cut out here.”
We explored the ground floor moving gingerly from room to room, slowly gaining in confidence as we finally reached the bottom of an ornate staircase. There were signs of damp and decay everywhere.
With a deafening crash of thunder the threatened storm broke. Jagged flashes of lightning lit up the inside of the house. I kept flashing our torch into the dark mysterious corners, nervously, as we began to climb the creaky stairs.
Many oil paintings decorated the walls of the stairway. ‘These are my ancestors’ I thought as we climbed the stairs.
Miranda grabbed my arm tightly as we reached the upper floor and began examining the bedrooms.
Crumbling ornate tapestries decorated the walls of the richly furnished rooms.
As we opened the door to the master bedroom Miranda jumped back and screamed and we both retreated fast; I loudly slammed the door shut. With my heart racing and in a state of shock.
I loudly shouted: “Who are you and what are you doing here?”
“Sorry, darling!” I shouted as I kicked the door open again: “I have to find out who that figure was just standing there in that room!”
I gingerly entered the room and approached the figure. There was no response as I quietly approached the well-dressed figure in front of a large wall mirror.
Then to my astonishment, I found I was confronted by an extraordinary lifelike mannequin, dressed to the nines in an outfit that would have done justice to royalty.
Miranda and I ran from that room down the staircase and braved the storm rather than stay in that property a moment longer. Perhaps the setting and the mysterious disappearance of my late ancestor added wings to our heels.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved