Find Me

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Posted by bpsmrmurphy | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on October 2, 2023

Find Me

The boy rubbed the rusty key in his palm. Which door in this old, rambling manor house did it open? he wondered.

It had been three weeks now since his mother had taken on the job of housekeeper at Pensfort Manor and the Victorian mansion had become their home.  The owners were away travelling in Europe, leaving the housekeeper and her only son to explore the oak-floored corridors, grand staircases and expensively furnished rooms alone.

His mother was a hardworking and trustworthy woman who took on the role of housekeeper with commitment and dedication. After the death of her husband in the Great War, she had worried about supporting herself and her son financially.  The position at Pensfort Manor had come up at just the right time; she wasn’t going to lose it, if she could help it.  The boy, a dark-haired, energetic nine-year-old, had been delighted to find himself free to roam the many formal gardens, orchards and wildernesses surrounding the Manor and play to his heart’s content within the walls of the ambling house.

Still clutching the mysterious key – which he had found in a drawer in a mahogany sideboard – the boy wandered from room to room, pondering the impressive paintings with elaborate gilt frames. There were fewer pieces of furniture in these rooms, and those few pieces left were covered in sheets, or thick with dust.  Someone tapped him on the back – it was a delicate touch, more that of a child than an adult, but surely not his mother’s? There it was again, a gentle prod, undoubtedly real, for he felt fingernails pierce his shirt.

He spun around to face a portrait of a girl standing beside a piano – she had flowing golden locks, wide blue eyes, but a sad pale face full of loneliness. In the background of the painting was a decaying oak door with a rusting lock…

The girl moved! He could swear it. She seemed to be pointing at his hand – why? He spread out his palm: of course, the key! She smiled but her eyes were bulging with hunger as she beckoned him to come forward. The girl pointed eagerly to the lock in the door behind her. Hypnotically, the boy slid the key towards it and a huge wave of light flooded out of the painting, engulfing him.

“Son?” his mother called to him. No response.  “Son?” Frantically she searched every inch of the house before she remembered the deserted corridor of rooms the owners of the house had told her not to disturb. Her heart pounded as she retraced the boy’s boot prints on the dusty floorboards. On entering the room, her eyes followed the footprints leading curiously up to the gloomy picture of the girl. She recoiled in horror as her eyes took in the scene before her. The girl’s pale hand rested triumphantly on the shoulder of a new companion, one that was not meant to be there… her son.

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