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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a story about a girl and her encounters with the Cromptons, the local ghosts.

Submitted: June 12, 2011

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Submitted: June 12, 2011



Everyone said that the mansion on Maple Avenue was haunted. They tell stories of supposedly "visiting" the large house and having their own paranormal encounters. The rumors are known by everyone in this small town. Some people will go completely out of their way just so they don't have to look at the place. Personally, I go completely out of my way just to see it.
The house is laid out on a long stretch of land surrounded by dying trees and large bushes. The concrete steps leading up to the house are cracked and blackened with age. The property is circled by a tall wrought iron fence, with a prestige gate to match. The visible outside of the house is made of stone, with vines creeping up the side.
The rumors suggest that the home was once owned by a happy couple. It is said that many honorable parties were held in a grand ballroom. The couple was popular and rich. They treated their servants kindly. It’s even said that they fed the poor.
 The frightening part begins with fire. During one of the larger parties that celebrated the beginning of summer, there was a horrible accident. The candles that lit up the dance floor were knocked down by an intoxicated man. Such a naive accident caused disaster.
The mansion was not made with fire in mind. Only a few near the door escaped. Everyone else was taken by the flames, including the couple. It's said that the men and women who danced in the ballroom now haunt the mansion. Their spirits roam the halls in distress.
It is believed that the ballroom is the only thing that burned, and other parts of the house are just decrepit. I wish that the people of this town would swallow their fears and reserve the house. Although, I can't say much. I've never tried to break into the house. This is simply because I have a respect for the old home, and what happened there.
One night I was walking home in the dark, after studying at the library. It's nothing big to walk this town alone. My town is small, so there isn't much crime. I was walking past the old mansion when I heard something. It was a woman weeping. The sound stopped me in my tracks. It broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes. Each choking sob stretched my heart. The cries entered my soul and begged for help. The sound seemed to be coming from around the gate.
I walked over to the gate to see if I could find anyone. I didn't see a soul, but I still heard the weeping. I was certain it was close-by. Confused, I began to retreat. But then I saw something. It was something materializing right before my eyes. It began as a blurry haze that I couldn't understand. Then the haze became a beautiful woman. Her shiny brown hair cascaded down her back in loose rings. Her eyes were large and sad. Her ruby red lipstick was slightly smeared. Her dress was a very dark red, almost purple. The sleeves reached her elbows and ended with a frilly lace. The bodice of the dress fit her waist tightly. The skirt was layered high with flowing ruffles. Interlaced with the dark red, was a deep black that gave the dress an elegant touch of darkness.
The woman looked to me and said, "Where is my love?"
She then disappeared without another word.
The sighting of a real ghost left me feeling very shaky. Most people in this town are strong believers but have never seen one. After seeing the beautiful woman and hearing her sobs, I felt an obligation to find her. My gut told me that this was a once in a lifetime experience. I knew I needed to know this woman and the truth. I also needed to get past the gate to help her.
I exhaled my remaining shock with a deep breath. Not thinking of the consequences, I began looking for a way in. The gate was locked. Climbing over would surely result in a concussion. I started to circle the fence. If the pea-brains of this town could get in, I could too. Of course, they could have been lying, and never got past the fence. This didn't stop me from trying.
It wasn't until I walked half of a mile around, or a quarter of the length of the fence, until I spotted a possibility. There was a tall tree on my side of the fence that had a few branches stretching to the other side. They were about ten feet from the ground, but I decided I could land that with minor injuries, despite my lack of grace. I climbed up the tree and over to a strong looking branch. I was on the other side.
I decided not to think about the falling part and leaped from the branch. I suppressed a scream while falling, but I could help the "oomph" I made when I hit the ground on my butt. I did a full body examination and decided I was going to be fine. I got up and began walking toward the house.
From this side of the house, everything was generally the same. There were windows on this side and I could see that one was open. There was a royal blue curtain that was being blown out from the wind. Was this a sign that someone was here?
I walked around to the front of the house and stopped at the large steps leading up to the front door. This was my chance to turn back and forget the woman. I could just ignore what I saw, and get on with life. I could go home the same person and do the same things I always do. I mean, I don't have to know what this place looks like.
My curiosity got the best of me. I began walking up the steps. When I reached the top, I looked at everything. I looked at the intricate design that the vines made on the house. I looked at the dark wood that made up the door. I looked at the lion shaped door knock that showed the wealth of the dead couple. Everything was perfect. I could imagine the beauty behind the door.
I knocked on the door. There was no response. I expected the door to mysteriously open on its own like I'd seen in movies. I stood there for a few minutes, and nothing happened. I wasn't giving up. I knocked again. There was nothing. Frustrated, I reached for the door handle and shoved it forward. It opened, and sent me flying in. I'd expected the door to be hard to open.
The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the grand staircase. It was made of a pure white stone. The banisters were carved professionally in a complicated design. The steps were about fifteen feet in length. On each side of the staircase there were dark hallways. Above me was a huge chandelier made with glass and gold. On it, were burning candles that lit the large room. The walls were made of a rich mahogany wood. Upon the walls were large paintings of important looking men and women. The women wore clothes that were much like the weeping woman's, and the men wore black suits.
The floor was made of stone, arranged in tiles with elaborate design. The tiles were obviously clean and well-kept. Everything was totally silent. The house didn't creak. I heard no cries. I began to walk toward the hallway on the left. As I walked through it, the candles lit on their own. A shiver crept down my spine. I began to walk faster. The hallway led to a big, heavy door. Behind the door was a large, very open room. The sight shocked me. Almost everything was a charcoal black. The only things that remained were the three chandeliers that hung from the ceiling. I realized that this was the ballroom.
I closed my eyes and imagined the exquisite parties held here. I thought of beautiful people dancing. I saw them laughing and smiling. I pictured this room as being grand and striking. I could see the delicate wallpaper, and the magnificent paintings. I saw a wood tiled floor that glistened in the candle light. In my head, I could hear the delightful music that was enjoyed by everyone. I could hear the chatting men and women, as they took a break from dancing. I could feel the happiness in the atmosphere.
When I opened my eyes, it was all real. There were people everywhere. The picture in my head matched perfectly. I blinked a few times, but it didn't go away. I was taken aback. I was sure this room was burnt and stripped of its beauty. The sight of all the people scared me and I turned around to run.
In my way, was the weeping woman, except she wasn't weeping when I looked at her. In fact, her face was very fresh. Her lipstick was no longer smeared and her eyes weren't puffy.
She smiled at me and said, "Oh hello! I would like to apologize for the scene I made earlier! I am so terribly sorry!"
Shaking my head and rubbing my forehead I said, "The scene? Is this even real?"
"Why of course it is," she exclaimed, "Are you enjoying the party?"
"Well I just got here. Miss? I have a few questions."
"Please! Call me Elizabeth! Let us go to Alexander's study."
"My husband. This is my home."
"I see," I replied unsurely.
"Well, come then!"
I began to follow her. When I looked back at the ballroom, my stomach sank. I saw the skeletons of the people dancing. Everything was burnt again, and only one chandelier lit the room. Terrified, I stayed close behind Elizabeth.
We walked through the hallway, and I noticed that the walls were cracked and the paintings were faded and covered in spider webs. When we reached the foyer, everything was different. The steps were browned with dust, the banister sagged, and the paintings hung crooked and faded. The stone floor was cracked. Everything looked old and worn out.
Elizabeth led me to the other hallway that looked similar to the other one, but with multiple doors. She opened one of them and walked in. I followed her, and she shut it behind me. There was a dark wood desk with old, yellowed paper stacked neatly on it. Behind the desk was an old, cracked leather chair with a high back. Elizabeth sat there. I took a seat on the padded wooden chair on the other side of the desk. On the walls, were paintings of places like Paris, London, and Rome. They took on the same old qualities of the paintings in the foyer.
"So Sarah," she said, although I did not tell her my name, "what brings you to the Crompton Estate?"
"I came because I saw you. You asked, 'Where is my love?'"
"Yes, you see, I was very upset. I mourn the man I fell in love with each day."
"I don't understand, Elizabeth."
"Since the fire, Mr. Crompton hasn't been the same. He is angry and volatile. I know he loves me, but I worry for the well-being of this town."
"The town is in trouble?" I asked incredulously.
"I'm afraid so. Mr. Crompton haunts the people. He sets fire to random things, like sheds and barns. I'm terrified that he'll begin to burn houses,” she said worriedly.
"This is all happening because of an accident?"
"I'm not sure. He comes home each night at 7:30, fuming mad. I can't comfort him anymore. He comes into this study, and ignores all of our guests."
Elizabeth began to tear up. My heart sank for her. She admires Alexander, and only wants to be there for him, but he refuses. She just wants to please her guests and make everyone happy. She does this all while she mourns her husband.
"Elizabeth, why does this place change every time I see it? It goes from this gorgeous home, to a decrepit and burnt building."
"Sarah, my home is what you make it. Everything is what you believe it to be." she said without missing a beat.
"So how do I know what is real and what isn't?"
"It's all real. The burnt ballroom is real. The ballroom before the fire is real. The only difference is they exist in different times."
Elizabeth explained this to me in a tone that told me she was much more worried about her unstable husband.
"So I saw the beautiful ballroom because I believed in what it used to be?"
"Yes. Most people only see what they want it to be, what they expect it to be."
"It takes focus to see the beauty, doesn't it? I had to visualize everything before I really saw it."
"You are correct, Sarah. The human mind naturally sees this place as what they expect. It's of your nature."
I began to ask Elizabeth why the ghosts remain here, but just then Mr. Crompton stormed into the study. He was red-faced, and his fists were clenched. At the sight of him, Elizabeth and I shot up from our seats.
"Alex-," Elizabeth began, but was cut-off.
"Who," he spat at me, "are you?! Why are you in my home?"
Speechless and afraid, I looked to Elizabeth.
"She came to comfort me, Alexander. She saw me at the gate crying," Elizabeth explained strongly.
"Why on earth were you by the gate, Elizabeth? I told you it is unwise to go near the gate."
"I was lonely. You weren't here," Elizabeth told him with tears building up. Although she was upset, she still stood up for herself.  
"Lonely? We have a house full of guests, and you were lonely? My dear, I do not understand."
"All they care about is dancing eternity away."
"Elizabeth, we should not discuss such things in front of this girl."
"This girl's name is Sarah, and she is my friend!"
"No, Ellie, she is not your friend. She is a human."
"Alex-," Elizabeth tried to begin, but was once again cut-off.
Alexander looked to me. I cringed away.
"Get out of here! You do not belong here! This place is no place for a human!" he bellowed at me.
I looked to Elizabeth who had tears streaming down her face. She nodded to me, as if to say it was time for me to go. I ran past Alexander and down the hall. It was still decrepit like the last time I saw it. I carefully opened the door, and thought about where to go. There was no way for me to get back using the tree, so I ran for the gate. Unsurprisingly, it was no longer locked. I mustered up all my strength, and pulled open the gate. I shut it behind me.
When I looked again, the gate was locked. At this point, I was expecting that. I began walking home, feeling incredibly sad. Elizabeth's story was heart-breaking. She lost her life in a fire, and is now stuck in her home with a bunch of drunks. Her husband is always gone. She called me her friend. I get the feeling I'm the only one. I also get the feeling today will not be the last of my visits.

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