The old mansion stood in Century City like a shadowy sentinel amidst the desolate landscape. It had an eerie presence. The decaying mansion was known as the Blackthorn Manor. It was a testament to an era gone by. Its architect was once grand and opulent but now had succumbed to neglect. All of the residents had long passed away and the mansion just sat there with its crumbling walls which were choked with ivy and moss. Gargoyles sat on top of the roof with their grotesque faces frozen in scary expressions. They looked as if they had witnessed the mansion's slow descent into darkness and decay.
The windows were boarded up and broken except for one. That one window on the North side of the mansion was known to hold many secrets of Mr. Blackthorn, the last resident of the mansion. He lived to be 99 years old and was murdered by his grandson. Rumor had it that late at night Mr. Blackthorn would stand in the window of the room he was killed in and moan. The locals called him the moaning man.
A group of friends, Hunter, Wila, and Jack known as the young ghost hunters in the city. They were all under the age of 25 and just getting started in the world of ghost hunting. This was only their second time going out. The first time they went to a haunted church and they actually picked up the spirit of the pastor who preached there until the earthquake of 1910 demolished the church. The pastor was killed when the church crumbled onto him. He saved over 30 people and was considered a hero. The locals thought that his spirit never left the church where he reached for over twenty years. The friends knew that would be a good place to investigate. Now, they were going to the Blackthorn Manor. They hoped for the same results.
The air outside was thick with the scent of decay and ivy. The mansion walls were full of untold stories and memories of the past and the group of friends were hoping that they would learn some of those secrets tonight. The group of ghost hunters were armed with an array of paranormal equipment including cameras. They were determined to find and capture any evidence of Mr. Blackthorn or any other spirit who may be trapped in the mansion with him.
The cool and misty feel of the air filled the friends with anticipation. Wila, Hunter and Jack entered the building whispering in hush tones.
“Is everyone ready?” Hunter asked.
Jack answered in a whisper, “Yes, I am as ready as I'll ever be.”
They huddled in the front hallway of the mansion and set up their equipment. The hallway was dimly lit and the wallpaper was peeling revealing the pink walls underneath. They set up all of their EVP recorders and cameras as Hunter waked up the long winding staircase to the room where Mr. Blackthorn died. The room was in the far North corner of the house. It was damp and cold and the furniture left in the room, the dusty old bed frame, an old mirror on the wall above the bed, and two dressers were all covered with an old worn white sheet covered in dust and spiderwebs. Hunter felt goose bumps form on his arms and legs and he went back downstairs to join his friends.
“What did the room look like?” Jack asked in a voice slightly above a whisper.
“It was cold and creepy. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.” Hunter said.
“Did you see or feel anything? Any spirits?” Wila asked Hunter.
“Not really. I just got really cold. But, you know that could be something. When the ghost hunters on TV get really cold they usually say that they feel the spirit or something.” Hunter responded.
“Yeah, but we are not on TV this is real. Real life.” Wila said.
“How long do you think this will take?” Jack asked.
“I don’t know. But, hopefully we will get something so we can get out of here and go home. This place creeps me out.” Hunter said.
“We should ask if there are any spirits. You know, talk to them and maybe they will give us a sign.” Jack suggested.
“If there is anyone here can you please send us a sign.” Jack said.
They listened quietly and sat perfectly still on the floor in the hallway. Jack sat next to Wila with their backs against the wall and Hunter sat across from them. They were all holding their collective breaths as they waited. The clock ticked away and minutes turned into hours. They had been waiting for several hours and they all grew restless and tired. Hunter went back upstairs and checked the equipment for any sign of Mr. Blackthorn’s spirit. There was nothing. The equipment was just as he left it. The air had gotten colder and Hunter sprinted back down the stairs and rejoined his friends.
Three more hours ticked off of the clock and the ghost hunters' excitement started to wane. Their mission to catch any sightings or Mr. Blackthorn or anyone else had been a fruitless endeavor. It was time to go.
“Guess this was a bust.” Wila said to the group.
“Yeah, we got nothing.” Hunter agreed.
There were no ghostly encounters, no mysterious moans and no evidence of anything. With a sense of disappointment the friends left the mansion and they left behind the myths and the gossip that had brought them there.
“Do you guys want to stop at the cafe for breakfast before we go home?” Wila asked her friends.
“Sounds good.” Hunter agreed.
They drove the four miles to Marcy’s cafe. As they entered the cafe they were greeted by the sounds of muted conversations and the occasional clicking of keyboards and cell phones ringing. The friends sat down at a wooden table next to the window on the far side of the cafe. Hunter walked to the counter taking in the aroma of freshly ground coffee beans and freshly baked muffins, breads and donuts. He glanced up at the handwritten chalkboard behind the counter and placed his order with the short barista behind the counter whose name tag said,”Welcome my name is Melba.” He paid for the two large black coffee’s for him and Wila and the green tea with lemon for Jack. He also ordered five blueberry muffins for the group. A few minutes later Miss Amy, the owner of the cafe, walked to their table and placed their order on the table in front of them.
“You all have been ghost hunting again?” Miss Amy asked.
“Yes, but we didn’t find anything.” Wila said.
“Were you up at Blackthorn?” Miss Amy asked.
Miss Amy distributed the cups filled with coffee and tea to each of the friends and placed the pastry in the middle of the table.
“Yes, how did you know?” Jack asked.
“You aren’t the first people who have come in here after a long night up there looking for ghosts and finding nothing. I recognized the look of disappointment in all of your eyes and that look of no sleep.” Miss Amy said.
“Really? Nobody had found anything up there?” Wila asked.
“ Well, let's just put it this way. I have owned this cafe for over twenty years and in all those years I have seen many people come in here who had been up there looking for ghosts or spirits and nobody has ever seen or heard anything. Personally I think that the story of Mr. Blackthorn is a product of someone’s overactive imagination. I believe it is all rumors.” Miss Amy said as she placed the check on the table, winked and walked away.
“Maybe she is right.” Jack said.
“Maybe she is or maybe Mr. Blackthorn has chosen to remain hidden, leaving the truth of what really happened in that mansion all those years ago. Maybe he wants the secrets of the mansion to stay a secret.” Wila said.
“Maybe you are right too. I think that it is all a myth and nobody will ever see anything and nothing ever will happen at the Blackthorn Manor.” Jack raised his cup and they all toasted the memory of Blackthorn Manor and Mr. Blackthorn.