The Haunting - Chapter 1
He knew something was different the moment he stepped into the brownstone. It had come at a steal, and the broker had seem eager to get it off his hands when Richard E. Castle, Esq. approached him about purchasing the property. Of course, he had just lost his law practice, so he supposed the nominal suffix could be dropped. So it was just Castle, Richard Castle. With the drastic shift in his income, Castle had been forced to move out of his upscale Manhattan loft and move into a run down brownstone on the other side of New York City. The house had stood vacant for a number of years. He had been told that the previous owners had been lawyers, but the broker had been vague in answering what had occurred to them and why the house had been up for sale.
Intriguing as it was, Castle had other things on his mind. It was something he would leave to ponder on another occasion. The first order of business was to settle into his new home, and hope that fate would grant him a reprieve from his current struggles.
The brownstone had come fully furnished. Castle supposed that most of it was from the previous owners. A slight chill had permeated the house, so he had thrown open some of the windows to bring in the warm summer air.
The day was still young, so he decided to explore his new home. He really liked the parlor, the mahogany desk in the corner would be great for his writing, a talent he hoped to make an income from. The dinner room was small, but comfortable, and the lounge was more of library with shelves holding an array of books lining along the walls. The washroom was located upstairs, where he found a lovely cast iron lion claw tub.
There were two bedrooms upstairs—a master and a single. The smaller one had clearly belonged to a young woman. The flat surface of the vanity was still covered in a spread of fine combs and hairpins. There was a jewelry box, covered in a thin layer of dust. It caught his eye. Castle gently picked it up, and blew at the dust, before cracking it open to have a peek inside. He found several earrings and three necklaces.
As he examined a pair of emerald earrings, he noticed that the room began to grow cold. He shivered, feeling gooseflesh materialize along his arms and the hair on the back of his neck stood up.
There was a sudden gust of wind, most likely from one of the opened windows, swept into the room, swirling around him as if it were a predator assessing its prey. The howl of the wind startled him to such a degree that he slammed the lid of the jewelry box shut, the snap resounding throughout the room. Shaking his head, and knitting his eyebrows together, he placed the jewelry box back onto its spot on the vanity before departing the room.
In the master bedroom, he found a portrait of the family that had once lived in the brownstone. The husband looked serious, but the purse of his lips belied the joy he found in the elegant woman beside him. She radiated class and sophistication. Sitting in an armchair before her parents was their daughter. Castle reached out and picked up the silver frame, holding the photograph out in front of him to look upon her features more closely.
The young woman was breathtakingly beautiful, with gorgeous eyes and a serene smile. Her high cheekbones gave her a classical beauty that was timeless, and Castle could not help but admire and marvel at the natural splendor that she had been blessed with.
A frown worked its way onto his features as he pondered the question of their sudden departure and why the brownstone had been sold at an extremely low rate with all their furniture and possessions. Sighing, Castle placed the frame back on the bureau, and went back downstairs to finish unpacking his own meager possessions. But as he passed the daughter's bedroom, he felt an odd tingle run down his spine. He paused, for just a moment, glancing over his shoulder at the open door, before shaking it off and walking back down the stairs.