Fordwych House

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Intro: 'And the Master Bedroom has a magnificent view of The Heath', Michael said.
'I believe you but it’s not me you have to convince' Cathy replied.
He was determined to make this sale today, had been trying to offload this house for three months now, but every time he thought he had made a sale, the buyer would pull out at the last minute.
'Today is going to be my lucky day, Cathy', he added, buttering a slice of toast. 'I’ll take you on that week-end to Cornwall I have been promising you'.
'You won’t mind if I don’t hold my breath will you?' she replied, sarcastically.
'Aw, c’mon hon, give a guy a break. This is just what Mr & Mrs Robbins have been looking for.'
He’s certainly persistent - Cathy thought, - So maybe I will give him the benefit of the doubt, just for once, 'OK, I want to see this one with my own eyes' she said to a surprised Michael, not mentioning the real reason she had said yes was the promise of a pub lunch. Read on...............

Fordwych House

 

'And the Master Bedroom has a magnificent view of The Heath', Michael said.

'I believe you but it’s not me you have to convince' Cathy replied.

He was determined to make this sale today, had been trying to offload this house for three months now, but every time he thought he had made a sale, the buyer would pull out at the last minute.

'Today is going to be my lucky day, Cathy', he added, buttering a slice of toast. 'I’ll take you on that week-end to Cornwall I have been promising you'.

'You won’t mind if I don’t hold my breath will you?' she replied, sarcastically.

'Aw, c’mon hon, give a guy a break. This is just what Mr & Mrs Robbins have been looking for.'

He’s certainly persistent -  Cathy thought, - So maybe I will give him the benefit of the doubt, just for once, 'OK, I want to see this one with my own eyes' she said to a surprised Michael, not mentioning the real reason she had said yes was the promise of a pub lunch.

 

The house was indeed splendid. Mr & Mrs Robbins followed Michael in and out of each room chatting happily and nodding their heads in approval. 'Now, if you’d care to come this way, I’ll show you the newly refurbished kitchen', Michael said. Mr & Mrs Robbins followed obediently, but Cathy had other plans and decided to do some exploring of her own.

 

The passageway which led to the back of the house was dark, the walls painted a sickly shade of brown. 'Yuk, whoever the previous owner was sure didn’t have good taste in interior decoration' Cathy said to herself as she searched blindly for the light switch, at the same time wondering why the rest of the house had been modernised whilst seemingly leaving this part untouched. 'Yes!' she cheered as she found the light switch, but with a flicker and a pop, it went out again. 'Damn!', she muttered under her breath, 'Now I’ll have to grope my way in this gloom'.

As her eyes became accustomed to the half-light she could make out a mirror on the wall. A glimmer of sun shone in through the back door, outlining a coat rack with a man’s trilby hat on one of the pegs. Curious she took it down and wondered who it could belong to as the house had stood empty for some time. It was made of grey felt and perfectly clean with a black band around it. She returned it to the stand and walked towards the back door. She turned the handle and was surprised to find it unlocked, the door opened silently, not a creak or a groan as she had  expected from such an old house.

The sun had broken through the clouds and it was unusually warm for mid-November. She smiled gratefully and closed her eyes as the sun generously stroked her skin. She imagined she could hear music, it reminded her of her father whom she hadn’t thought of in a long while and tears pricked the back of her eyes. She opened them quickly squinting in the bright light and realised that she had not imagined it, there was definitely music coming from somewhere. She turned her head in its direction and was pleasantly surprised to find a well-kept lawn, with roses still in bloom and a familiar tune coming through some open French windows. It had reminded her of her father because it was his favourite ‘Little Brown Jug’ by Glen Miller. She recalled her father had told her how he met her mother at the Lyceum ballroom in London’s Strand and had jived with her for the first time to this very tune.  Cathy walked towards the French windows, a strong smell of coffee coming from inside.

'Hello' a man said as she approached. Startled, she stopped in her tracks.

'Oh, I am so sorry' Cathy said, 'I didn’t realise there was anyone living here' The man was tall with sleeked-back black hair and a small moustache. He wore the traditional blue uniform of the Royal Air Force.  He smiled, showing even white teeth.

'You must be new to the neighbourhood', he laughed, 'This house has been in my family for ever!'

'I’m Cathy Fenton' she said, regaining her composure and extending a hand.

'How charming' the man said as he took her hand and kissed it.

Cathy felt a blush rise up from her neck and creep into her cheeks.

'What an amazing shade of crimson', the man teased. 'Sorry, my name is Roger Fordwych and I am at your service ma’m' he gave a small salute and added 'won’t you join me for a cup of coffee or can I tempt you to a glass of sherry?'

'Coffee would be perfect' Cathy replied.

Roger disappeared through the French windows, returning a few minutes later with a cup of steaming coffee on a silver tray with cream, sugar and an assortment of biscuits.

'I thought it best to bring a variety' he said referring to the biscuits, 'As I’m not sure what your preference is'

'Thank you', Cathy said taking a cream wafer 'Will you join me?'

'Yes thanks, I will. This is indeed a rare treat drinking black-market coffee with a pretty girl on a sunny afternoon'

Cathy laughed at his strange choice of words. - What does he mean by black-market coffee? -  she wondered.  Perhaps the coffee had been brought into the country without paying the fair traders a decent wage?. Oh well, she wouldn’t dwell on it this time. Roger was so pleasant and she found herself enjoying his attention.

'Tell me about yourself' he urged.

'Nothing exciting' Cathy replied. 'I am a reporter for our local newspaper. But its mostly about local fetes and who’s won the cutest baby competition, I’m afraid'.

'I have never met a lady reporter before. What a sheltered life I must have led!' Roger joked.

'And what about you?' Cathy asked 'Flown any planes lately?'

A dark shadow crossed Roger’s face and his eyes wore a look of pain. 'Forgive me if I am being too nosey' Cathy threw at him.

'Not at all. Not at all. It’s just a sore topic' Roger replied, he continued, 'Some of my best friends are probably flying over Germany as we speak, but I am unable to join them as my lungs have suffered smoke inhalation. So now all I’m fit for is a desk job!' he said bitterly.  Cathy could sense his pain as she reached out to touch his sad face.

'Don’t listen to me' Roger said 'Just feeling sorry for myself. Would you care for some more coffee? And how about a plate of sandwiches also?'

'You are spoiling me!' Cathy said

'Well, a pretty gal deserves to be spoilt. Excuse me a moment' Roger said, winking at her. Cathy sat back in her chair, enjoying the sunshine and Roger’s company, she closed her eyes and soon drifted off to sleep.

 

She awoke some time later, the sun had disappeared, it was overcast and had begun to rain. Cathy looked about her, there was no sign of Roger, the once opened French windows were now closed and rosebuds lay dead upon the ground. She stood and pulled up the collar of her jacket as a chilly wind sprang up from nowhere. Cathy walked to the French windows and tried the rusted handle, but it was locked and a pane of glass was broken, she had not noticed this before. She knocked on the windows and called out 'Roger, are you there?' All was quiet save for the wind which whipped and stung at her face. Once more, 'Roger, will you please open the doors?' Still no response. Puzzled she decided to head back into the house to see if she could find Michael, but she could not drive Roger from her mind and the bizarre events of that afternoon.

'Cathy darling, there you are, I was beginning to worry about you'. Michael said upon seeing her. 'Where on earth have you been? Mr & Mrs Robbins have gone away to think things over, but it all seems very promising'

'I went for a stroll in the garden and dozed off in a chair', Cathy said smoothing down her skirt, now unsure if what happened earlier had been real. She recalled how as a child she would wake up from a nightmare convinced it had been real until her father came to her room to comfort her, assuring her that she was just dreaming. They had been so close before he died and suddenly she remembered it was coming up to the fifth anniversary of his passing. 'Now it all makes sense' she said aloud. Michael had not heard what she said and now he spoke to her.

'Look what Mrs Robbins found in an old chest in the attic. It’s a copy of the Hampstead & Highgate Press, dated  8th May 1945'.

An article caught Cathy’s attention, she snatched the newspaper and with trembling hands read,

‘Today when the World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich, and whilst the rest of the country celebrated, a small funeral was held for Lord and Lady Fordwych’s only son, Flight Lieutenant Roger Fordwych, who last week lost his long battle with lung cancer’

Cathy looked at the clear, black and white photo of the man, which accompanied the article. He was seated in a rose garden, smartly attired in RAF uniform, and grey trilby hat. An eerie feeling swept over her and goose-bumps appeared on her arms.

'Are you OK, Cath?. You’ve turned very pale!' Michael asked

She regained some composure and saw the look of concern on Michael’s face. ‘I haven’t eaten since breakfast and suddenly felt light-headed. That’s all silly!’ ‘Then I’d better take you to the pub like I promised before you keel over’, he teased.

 

 Word Count - 1,680


Submitted: April 25, 2012

© Copyright 2022 PeaceLily. All rights reserved.

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Comments

sanchez88

Brilliant, a wonderfully constructed story, and really well told. Very atmospheric. A clever little ghost story :)

Wed, April 25th, 2012 6:02pm

Author
Reply

Thank you very much for your kind words, much appreciated. Maybe I can reciprocate by reading your posting also......P.L.

Thu, April 26th, 2012 10:51am

PeaceLily

Thank you for your comment Janelle. Comments are always welcome. I will certainly take a look at your ghost story also and leave a comment

Thu, May 31st, 2012 6:24pm

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