The Manor in Sussex

Submitted into Contest #64 in response to: Set your story in a Gothic manor house.... view prompt

12 comments

Horror Mystery Suspense

There was a manor in Sussex, England. A queen had once gone there for holidays, when she was very young, but something strange occurred at that particular residence when she turned 21. It was on a cloudy September afternoon on a Friday. September 13 to be exact. She was said to have died on the property. No one was certain either way, but the woman had never been seen again. The flowers stopped growing on that dreary day. Forever. The lake flooded the property, and, ever since then, anyone who wandered there noticed that the leaves never grew on the trees. 


There were people who were said to reside in that house, or were they ghosts? No one in the town was entirely certain. Bonnie MicIntosh, the housekeeper, was seen by some but not by others. She had ebony skin, and she was always wearing the same outfit, trapped in time, forever, it seemed. She could exit the house, cook, and clean, but she was never once seen anywhere except on the property. There was no car around, and anyone who saw the woman wondered how she actually went about getting groceries. 


One day, a little girl by the name of Lucy was exploring with her friends, even though her mother had warned her not to, and she got very frustrated with Samantha, who kept beating her when they were racing. The two of them, and Samuel, chanced upon the place. The clouds were overhead, the property went on for miles, and, finally, they saw the woman. They’d heard the rumors around town but were never quite sure whether or not they should believe them. 


The trouble was that Samuel saw nothing. The two girls, however, were talking to the same woman, the housekeeper, who the boy thought must be some sort of ghost. Who’s to tell who was right and who was wrong? Perhaps the woman was a distant memory to the two of them, perhaps the boy simply didn’t see her because he didn’t want to, didn’t believe she existed, and never would. Nonetheless, she made them tea and biscuits, set the table, and talked about many, many issues that were quite current. She knew about all of the goings on in England: the new café that had just opened up on third street, the hip new pub as well. It was rather odd. Finally, they decided it was time to leave the property. Samuel, the boy, simply strolled out, beckoning for the girls to follow him. 


The two of them could not leave. There was an invisible barrier that stopped them from doing so. Suddenly, they saw a banner on which was written, “The Forever House,” held by the housekeeper, which then rapidly disappeared. The boy told them to try climbing over the wall, thinking it was odd that they could enter but could not exit, and saying that he was going to call either the police or the mental hospital, because they were seeing what, to his eyes, was nothing but a ghost, an apparition of their subconscious.


Lucy tried to climb over the wall, as did Samantha, but they would always fall right before they were able to reach the other side. Samantha got to the very top, was about to jump, and, as she did, fell backwards. Samuel swiftly dialed a number on his phone. It was his uncle’s. He told him of the dilemma that he and his companions were in, and the man made his way to the manor. 


The problem was that, by the time he had arrived, the housekeeper had already made supper for the two girls that was apparently absolutely delicious. The boy was horrified to try it, thinking he would join this deceased woman in what must be one of her hauntings. She insisted that the house had been given to her by Elizabeth (no one could confirm or deny this), and that she had promised herself to tend to it as if it was her own for many, many years to come. 


The moon began to rise over the trees, the lake murmuring on the grounds with whispers that could perhaps be either human or animalistic: it was impossible to tell because the sounds were all muted. The only thing that anyone could hear clearly was the housekeeper’s voice. Finally, at last, the uncle arrived. Henry was his name. He wondered exactly what was going on. He thought that maybe he was alone because, at first, he didn’t see the house. He only saw Samuel, screaming for his friends at what looked like empty space. 


As he took a deep breath, the place emerged, seemingly out of thin air, and the children with it, but, he, too, did not see the housekeeper. 


“Uncle! I’m so glad that you are here! The girls are inside, and they can’t get out! Perhaps you can help! I’ve been inside the kitchen and been served tea by what appears to be a ghost, but the girls see and hear her. They tell me she’s absolutely splendid: quite a lovely woman.” 


“Odd!” the uncle exclaimed, before entering the home. 


He went inside and wondered what exactly he would do. He wondered what he would say and where he would go, if this woman really existed. He entered the kitchen and saw the two girls, laughing and knocking their knees with their hands, talking to the air as if it was a very engaging woman, eating biscuits and drinking tea. 


I have never seen anything so strange in my entire life…


He mused, then prodded them gently to leave the property. He took their hands in his and marched them to the gate. Samuel walked off of the property quite easily. 


“Hold onto my hands tightly,” He said. 


 The two girls did so and they were able to move through the barrier effortlessly. Samuel was waiting for them. 


“There you are, nephew! I don’t know what you were on about!” 


He paused, looked at the two girls, and pointed his finger at them, “What did I tell you about talking to strangers? Hmm?” 


He furrowed his brows. 


“I’m going to tell your mother!” 


Samuel smirked and Samantha sternly told him that it wasn’t funny. Mothers could get awfully furious about these sorts of things. 

October 16, 2020 17:30

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

12 comments

Rebecca Lee
01:35 Oct 20, 2020

That was an interesting take on the prompt. Good story. Editing wise - I would say just go back and read it thoroughly, look for punctuation and grammar, and repetitive wording.

Reply

03:02 Oct 20, 2020

Okay. Thanks.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Madhuleka Iyer
06:46 Oct 17, 2020

The story is so well written. I haven't ventured much into writing horror myself yet, but this kinda makes me want to. It would be lovely if you could read my story, Punch the Colour Card, and leave your views on it.

Reply

10:51 Oct 17, 2020

Thank you! I hope you do, and I will!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
04:51 Oct 25, 2020

I loved your pacing! Beyond the content (which I thoroughly enjoyed) I thought your transitions from internal though to dialogue were tight and clean as well. I’d love your feedback on the dialogue in my pieces “Honey and Lavender” and/or “Greenspace”...I’d love to pick up any insight you might have to share!

Reply

04:58 Oct 25, 2020

Thank you! I’ll definitely check out your stories!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Princemark Okibe
13:58 Oct 21, 2020

Very strange horror, you kept me wondering which way it would go. I had no choice but read on to the end. Now that is what we call suspense. I do have suggestions/edits and luckily the contest is still going on so you may enact them. So, here goes There is an issue I have with this phrase [she cooked them tea and biscuits,] You don't cook tea neither do you cook biscuits. The better phrase will replace 'cooked' with 'made'. [she made them tea and biscuits,] In this sentence, [He told him of the dilemma that him and his compan...

Reply

14:07 Oct 21, 2020

Thank you so much for reading! I'm glad that my story held your attention. :) I also really appreciate the very specific feedback and will implement it!

Reply

Princemark Okibe
14:26 Oct 21, 2020

You are welcome.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Raquel Rodriguez
23:17 Oct 16, 2020

Oh my gosh, how did you finish this already?! Teach me! I have to do research for my stories, lol. Wow, I like the way you write... it's like... I can't explain it, but it's really good. You describe the state of the weather, the date, and I love the part where you say, in the beginning, 'She was said to have died on the property. No one was certain either way, but the woman had never been seen again.' Those sentences give me thrills for some reason, I don't know why. I love the part where you ask a question, 'There were people w...

Reply

23:47 Oct 16, 2020

Thank you so much! I write a lot and read a lot about writing. 😉 It makes my day when I receive positive feedback! I’ll definitely check your story out.

Reply

Raquel Rodriguez
23:55 Oct 16, 2020

Thank you too! :D I love to give positive feedback because people are happy after! :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply