Turning onto Gregg Road, Claymore hesitated before driving up to Gull Cottage in the gloom. Pulling to the side of the road he recalled, with a shiver running down his spine, the very first time he had entered the house.
He had left the army to care for his mother following her heart attack, and he had despaired of how they would manage. His father had never made much of his life, and there was little money remaining after he had passed when still a young man. Neither Claymore nor his mother had any real resources to call upon or other family members who were able to assist. He remembered how overjoyed they both had been when they received the notice from the county clerk that his father had been named heir to the house and property in Schooner Bay, as long as he could pay the small outstanding taxes that were due. As the only direct heir after his father, Claymore now owned it all – and even if his mother thought there had been a mistake, who were they to deny the windfall?
He sighed, remembering his mother. She had always been slight, even tiny, and following the attack, she seemed to shrink further. She died just a few weeks after they arrived in Schooner Bay, and after the townspeople had been so supportive, he had decided to settle down permanently in the tiny community. The legal paperwork had been surprisingly simple, there was just enough in the bank to make the required tax payment, and with a few signatures the various properties once belonging to a great uncle, Daniel Elias Gregg, now became his to own and control.
He quickly sold one small shop in town and some property along the coast, but left the rest to rent and hopefully build a comfortable income for him. It was on a particularly gloomy day that he finally found his way up the coast to look at the final property a lonely place called Gull Cottage. Various townspeople warned him that there were 'strange things afoot' there, but more interested in seeing its value, than fearing its potential ghostly inhabitants, he walked briskly up the walk, and old rusty key in hand, he worked the lock until the door opened with a reluctant groan.
Waving cobwebs aside, he turned his flashlight first into the kitchen and then into the parlor when he jumped as the light reflected a stern, almost frightening face. He gasped and then chortled a bit, "AW, it's just a painting!" "Are you sure?" said the rough voice directly behind him. Spinning, Claymore came face to face with what seemed to be the living version of the man in the painting. "Captain Daniel Gregg," he introduced himself, "and I'll thank you to leave my home – NOW!"
"Bu, bu, but . . ." Claymore stammered, "Great Uncle, aren't you dead?" "Are you an imbecile?" Captain Gregg roared, "I'm the only son of an only son and I'm no one's Uncle or even Great Uncle! Be gone!"
With nerves permamently frayed, Claymore dashed out, jumped down the steps and stood breathing hard in the middle of the yard. "Wait, you can't make me leave, I'm Claymore Gregg and I own this house now!" Stepping out onto the porch, and resting one ghostly hand on the lion there, the Captain gave him a thin smile, "Claymore is it?" Well then, Claymore," he sneered, stretching out the syllables, "who shall we believe, a piece of paper or ME?" Raising his fists, a torrent of rain, and booming thunder immediately sounded followed by bright flashes of lightning striking around the edges of the yard.
Scrambling to his feet, Claymore leapt over the wall and into his car. Turning fearfully back toward the house, he saw the Captain reappear on the widows walk, threatening far worse if Claymore didn't leave immediately.
Rubbing his hands across his eyes, Claymore came back to the present. It had been nearly 20 years since that first meeting, and going to Gull Cottage and facing the Captain had never gotten easier. "Boy, is he really going to hate this news!" he muttered aloud, not sure who he was more concerned for, himself or that poor widow who was already driving north with her family and housekeeper, all believing they were just moving into a quiet country cottage. Putting the car into gear, he turned onto Gregg Road, "I will be SO glad when this is over, so I can tell him the house is leased and I can get out of here," he whispered to himself as the house came into view.