I have a love/hate relationship with the movie "The Haunted Mansion". I hate the modern-day part with the Evers family, but I LOVE all of the parts that have Master Gracey and the ghosts. My favorite scene in the whole movie is the opening credits with the scenes from the ballroom, and Elizabeth's and Edward's deaths. I think the story would have been much better if it had just stayed in the 1800s and told the tale of the doomed love. So, I decided to write this. It's also for Halloween (my FAVORITE holiday).
Anyway, just a warning here. This story will get darker as it goes on. It will include Edward's suicide at some point, and possibly the deaths of other characters. However, for now, it is pretty tame, so read on.
Disclaimer: I deeply lament the fact that I do not own the rights to the "mouldering sanctum of the spirit world" or the house "where hinges creek in doorless chambers and strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls..." If I did, I would live there. All I own is a copy of the movie and as much merchandise as they sell (which is not much).
The sun was shining through the large conservatory windows into Edward Gracey's library/study, illuminating the flecks of dust drifting through the room that were stirred as Emma dusted. It had been an unusually quiet morning, and the Master had been in the best mood he had been seen in since the night of the tragedy two weeks ago.
Has it really been only a mere two weeks? Emma silently asked herself. It seemed as though it had been an eternity. The poor girl... and poor Master! To have his love kill her-... die in his house in this very room...
Stop thinking about it Emma, you'll only make yourself upset again.
She continued to methodically dust off each progressive shelf while trying to sort out the events of the past two weeks in her mind.
It just doesn't make any sense... They seemed so in love, and she was such a sensible, sweet, kind... But obviously she wasn't happy... What could possibly make a person like her that unhappy?...
She continued with thoughts of this kind until she slipped on some sheets of loose paper that were lying on the floor. When she regained her balance and saw what she'd slipped on, Emma bent down to pick up the papers. I can't let Ramsley see that the Master was leaving things lying about again... So she turned to set them on his desk.
She hadn't really looked at the Master's desk before, but it was clear that something was wrong. True, the Master was not the tidiest person in Louisiana, but his desk never looked like this. Papers were strewn all over it, and many were falling to the floor. There was broken glass shattered on top of and surrounding it. What on Earth..?
Then she looked at the papers in her hand. They were written in the Master's hand, and they seemed to be papers from a log or journal of some sort. They were also torn. Emma looked closer at what they said and saw that one (written in someone else's handwriting) read simply: "To our beloved son, Edward, on his seventh birthday. My you find your hearts greatest content in the love of those around you. Eternal love, Lillian and George. - October 13, 1867; London, England"
Lillian had obviously been the one to write the note on this page, for it was a woman's handwriting. To Emma's knowledge, Lillian had died shortly after this, but details of Edward's early life were vague to her. She didn't dare ask the Master about matters of his personal history, and Ramsley would hardly be one to talk of it.
She began to read the next page.
"October 14, 1867
Mother gave me this journal for my birthday yesterday. She said I should try to write in it every day because it will help me to make my writing and handwriting better. She said it would make her very happy if I tried, and I want to make mother happy. So I'm writing, but I can't think of anything else to write right now. Maybe I will think of something tomorrow.
October 15, 1867
Still nothing to write about. Father left again for a work trip, and that is all.
October 17, 1867
Father came home today.
October 20, 1867
Mother asked to see my journal today, but she said that if I did not want to show it to her, I did not have to. I showed her, and she said she was a bit sad that I was not trying to write more. I asked her why it was important to write, and she said something about it helping you be human to write your thoughts down. Are we not all humans anyway? Why should writing have anything to do with that? But I don't like it when Mother is sad, so I will keep trying...
October 21, 1867
Father yelled at me today. He said I daydream too much, and it is making me stupid. I told Mother this later, and she said that I should write my dreams in here. She also said that I shouldn't let Father see this journal anymore. I do not know why...
October 23, 1867
I wrote a poem today, but I lost it. If I find it again, I will write it in here. I read it to Mother, and she said she really liked it. She looked kind of tired, but she told me she was feeling fine... I think she may have been lying a little. I hope she feels better tomorrow."
Here, Emma had to look around for the next page. She found it in one of the piles at the foot of the desk. True, it wasn't Shakespeare, but Emma couldn't help enjoying the innocence in the Master's writing. However, she was pitying him slightly for the fact that George did not seem to be the best of fathers. He seems a bit cold. Shame... Ah! Here's the other pages.
"October 26, 1867
Mother is sick. Father and the servants tell me that it is nothing too serious, but I don't believe them. She hasn't been out of bed in two days, and she looks so pale. They won't let me see her now. Ramsley is here now. I must put this away.
October 30, 1867
Mother seems better. They let me see her today. I showed her that I've continued to write in here, and I apologized for not having written more. I told her I have been too worried. She told me that I do not have to worry now. The doctor said she is getting better, and she will be alright. After that, I sat on the edge of her bed while she told me stories and read me a few poems. I've missed seeing her these past few days. I can't imagine what I'd do without her. Oh, I also drew a picture of her favorite flower in the garden for her. She said it was beautiful. After a while, Ramsley came in to take me to get ready for bed. I gave Mother the biggest embrace I could, and I told her I loved her.
I'm supposed to be in bed now, and I think I hear Ramsley in the hall...
October 31, 1867
It is All Hallows Eve! When I was allowed to see Mother earlier, I asked her what we should have the cook make for the ghosts. She said it didn't matter what it was, as long as it was the best cook could make it. I love Hallows Eve. It might even be my favorite day of the year besides Christmas! This year I plan to... Ramsley is calling for me, and it sounds urgent. I will finish this lat-"
(here the entry stops abruptly, and nothing more is written on the page)
Emma looked around for some more pages, but there were none to be found around the desk. As she turned to look again, she noticed that there was a page on the staircase that led to the balcony that surrounded the rest of the room. Once she retrieved that one, she noticed that there was another one at the top of the stairs on the balcony, and there were more pages then leading to a door on the other side of the room.
Emma then began to follow the pages, picking them up and reading them as she followed their trail.