Master Gracey's Unwanted Guest
By Master Thomas R. Gracey
Master George Gracey was hunched over his desk in his study, wine glass in hand. He cocked his head up slightly to look out the window in front of his desk, but all he was meet with was dreary landscape: Dead trees, dead grass, tombstones, and crypts. He sighed. Lots of tombstones and crypts.
After a few minutes of sipping wine and boredom, he began to ponder whether it was this dreary manse that was causing his depressions. He heard the clattering of the front door knocker. "Ah, Lillian must be home," he said to himself. As he walked through the long corridors of the mansion, he glanced into a mirror. He stopped abruptly. As he doubled back, he saw what he looked like for the first time in days.
His black hair was dirty and disheveled, his face unshaven, and his blood-shot eyes had large bags underneath them. "George, what's happened to you?," he muttered under his breath. Slightly disconcerted, he continued on his way to the foyer. He sighed as he entered the foyer with it's paisley wallpapering, and the portrait of himself, made a few months ago. It seems as if he had aged a good 2 years scince the portrait was made. He opened the door and his wife practically fell into his arms.
"Georgie! I missed you so much!," cried Mistress Lillian O'Malley Gracey in her Georgian tang as she embraced the master.
"I missed you too. You would not believe the horrid week I've had," responded the tired young Master.
The Mistress motioned for her party to come in. Master Gracey smiled. He looked as some of the Mistress' servants and friends entered the foyer. He could not disguise the look of intrigue that played across his face as another, unfamiliar face entered. Being the gentleman is was, he let him pass and saved his questions for later.
"Uh, Lillian," he stammered as the servants and friends had left, "Who was the rather stout man, mustache, dressed in the long brown overcoat, carrying the hatbox and cane?"
"Let me think, Oh, yes! He is Phineas Pock. He's a historian, and he said he heard about the manor and said he wanted to examine it. I picked him up at the mueseum at the edge of town."
"Ugh. I need sleep," he suddenly blurted out, and he paced to his chambers.
Master Gracey did not sleep well that night. His dreams were plagued with horrible dreams about who this Pock fellow was. His various dreams centered around one center theme with different variations: Pock murdering everyone in Gracey Manor.
In the middle of the night, Master Gracey woke up, sweating horribly. His whole body was shaking uncontrollably. He rose from bed, trying not to wake Lillian. He was so worried he was going to go and see the last person he wanted to talk too: Madame Leota.
As he walked through the corridor to the Madame's séance circle, he stopped and listened to the hallway clock. It was striking thirteen. As he strode of very quickly he thought he also saw the shadow of some claw-like hand reach across the clock's face.
Heh, it's only a trick of the light. he half-heartedly tried to convince himself. He knew full well that it was not a trick of the light. He knew Gracey Manor was haunted.
He entered the séance room, to find Leota consulting her crystal ball, as she did loyally everyday and night. The séance room was quite the oddity. The walls and arched windows were draped with ancient and beautiful tapestries. The wall behind Leota was covered in shelving, each shelf filled to the point of breaking in half with books about the occult, items for use in seances, and items of strange or questionable origin.
As he walked further, without making a sound, Leota looked up and surveyed him with her cold, seemingly empty eyes.
"Madame, you've got to help me," said Gracey in hushed, quick tones. "There is a stranger in the house that Mistress Lillian brought home. I don't know why, but I have had the most uneasy feeling about him. I've been having horrid dreams of him murdering all of the residents of the Mansion.
Leota nodded curtly. "So, can you tell me more about these dreams?" She inquired Master Gracey.
"Well," he said, "They mostly revolve around him murdering all of the mansion's residents, as you know. But each is different." He quickly explained all of the dreams to her, and she gazed into her crystal ball intently. George had never liked the seances, and he saw nothing in the ball. He impatiently as Leota gazed further. Suddenly a scream pierced his ears.
He rose, and looked in the direction the shriek had come from.He thought. He ran from the room despite Leota's protest, and yanked open the bed room door.
"Lillian!" He cried, she was sitting up in bed, the sheets drawn up.
She meet her eyes, and glanced to where they were next: The window. The window looked to be thrust open violently, curtains billowing violently in the night's breeze.
He quickly closed the windows, and locked them securely.
"Lillian," he quickly inquired, "what happened?"
Lillian attempted to speak feebly, each time failing for words.
She finally got the words right and explained.
"Georgie, I woke up as you were getting up to leave, but I feigned that I was still asleep. After you were gone for about half an hour, I saw the outline of a stout man in a top-hat bleeding across the floor from the window. He started to slowly unlatch the window from the outside. I screamed, and he just threw the window panes in and ran," she finished lamely.
George had turned white. This is getting strange, he thought to himself, first, some man named "Phineas Pock" shows up, and now a man who's shadow matches his body's build tries to break in. He looked up from his thoughts.
"Where is that Pock man sleeping? I don't trust him, and this just made it worse."
Lillian refused to tell him. "Fine then," said Master Gracey, "RAMSLEY!"
Ramsley the butler arrived at the room, as if he had been waiting outside, expecting the call.
"Yes, master?" He said, standing upright and stiff-lipped.
"Yes Ramsley, could you find where a man named Phineas P. Pock is staying, and make sure he can't escape from his room?"
"I most certainly shall, Master." With that, Ramsley suddenly turned face and exited the room.
"Now, Lillian, I need to return to Madame Leota, you can stay here if you feel safe, or you can stay with me."
As he returned to the séance room, alone. Leota was lazily lounging in her chair as she looked up to see Master Gracey. He hastily sat down, and apologized for the interruption.
Madame Leota ignored this, and preceded to explain what she saw: "I have seen that this vision will not come to pass, but you should watch Mr. Pock, he is unstable and my be a danger to others and himself."
"Thank you so much, Madame," Said Master Gracey as he kissed the back of her hand. He returned to his bedroom, and retired for good that night.
As the sun rose that morning, Master Gracey awoke feeling distinctly un-rested.
As he shaved of the weeks worth of stubble and cleaned his hair, he noticed that the bags under his eyes had disappeared. Thank God, he thought.
As he and Lillian changed into their day clothes, George into a black suit, grey waist coat, and blue bow-tie, Lillian into a beautiful pink summer dress, they avoided each other's eyes.
Master Gracey was planning to go into the town of Liberty Square, which sat the foot of the manse's terrace and front gates. As he and Dustin T. Dust, the coachman, drove from the gates to the town, Master Gracey, who wanted confirmation on Pock's identity, asked Dustin to stop at the museum at the edge of town where Mistress Lillian had picked up Pock.
As he strode in, he noticed the curator leaning over a portrait of a ghostly sea captain standing before his wrecked ship. George liked it, and wanted to purchase it for the mansion's gallery, but it would have to wait.
"Excuse me, sir," He walked up behind the Curator The curator didn't seem to notice him."SIR!" He practically shouted it. "Yes?" answered the curator, peering inquisitively from behind his spectacles.
Finally, Master Gracey thought. "Um, yes, could you tell me if there is a historian specializing in houses in this area, by the name of Phineas P. Pock?"
"There is a historian in the community I am aware of," said the old man, watery eyes behind his half-moon spectacles eyeing Master Gracey.
Master Gracey, suspecting foul play asked "Could you describe him?"
"Oh yes, he is rather tall and gangly, his is usually clean shaven. Haven't seen him in months. Heard he was ill."
"Thank you very much, you have helped me a lot. By the way, would you be willing to sell that painting behind you? I'll pay handsomely."
The deal was done, and George called Dustin to help carry the portrait to the buggy. As they next headed to the shoe shop, Gracey pondered about the curious information he had just received.
He quickly put the thought out of mind.
A few hours later when he and Dustin were returning from their errands, Master Gracey sent other servants to help Dustin put the painting above the Library entrance, in the art corridor.
As he entered the sitting room with it's large windows, he saw Lillian having a conversation with Phineas Queeg and Ezra Dobbins, who had just returned from having some fun with Gus Gracey in the depths of the mansion.
"Lillian, I'm back," Master Gracey said to his wife, "and I learned something that might interest you about our newest guest."
She rose, and giving Phineas and Ezra a polite wave, she followed George to his study.
Master Gracey began talking immediately. "I visited that museum where you picked up 'Phineas P. Pock,' and chatted with the curator about our friend. The one staying in the mansion is an imposter."
You see, I learned that Phineas Pock has been ill for a few months. He is supposedly tall, thin, and clean shaven. Do you think you realize what I'm getting at?"
Mistress Lillian realized that what her husband was saying was true, and gasped in surprise. "He murdered the real Phineas Pock?" "Yes," Master Gracey said grimly.
"We must get him out of this house!" Lillian said. "Don't worry, he shall be gotten rid of."
"Ramsley!" Master Gracey shouted. As always, Ramsley was there immediately.
"Yes, sir?" "I want you to retrieve that 'Pock' from his room, and take him to the authorities." "Yes, Master," said Ramsley lamely. As usual, he turned around, and marched away.
They heard sounds of a scuffle, two yelps of pain, and two "THUNK!"s.
They preceded cautiously, incase the murderer had attacked Ramsley.
They found Ramsley and the imposter sprawled on the floor, both unconscious, and Gus, standing there grinning, ball and chain in hand.
Epilogue: The imposter was convicted of murder, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. He died in prison, and is buried in the Mansion's Graveyard under the name of the man he pretended to be for months. His inscription reads:
Here Lies Phineas Pock
Laid to Rest Beneath this Rock