Jeff started gathering up his notes for the day and stuffed them into the zippered notebook he carried. He was tired and hungry and wanted a shower bad. Unfortunately the shower wasn’t going to happen.
Jeff and his team were staying in a very old hotel that did have indoor plumbing. At the time the hotel was built however showers weren’t being included in the building. Fortunately they did add bathtubs.
That meant the only thing he was going to get was a bath and he would be damn lucky if it wasn’t a cold one. Of course the people who owned the old hotel had started the renovating the place and before they could get that problem figured out there had been two major archaeological findings not to mention several bodies. Renovation had been put on the side burn while people came in to figure out what it was they had here. Jeff was used to roughing it on a site but this one seemed to be a bigger pain than normal and didn’t show any signs of getting any better. You would think that surely they could come in and do something about the water heaters but even that right now was out of the question.
Jeff took a look around the room he now stood in. He was still having trouble getting used to the dull deep red walls of the room. He was standing in the dining room of the manor house that belonged to the man who had originally built the hotel. The house gave him the creeps no matter what room he was in.
The manor house and hotel were only a couple of the buildings that made up the entire site. The area had once been a popular resort in a secluded part of the Smoky Mountains with all the trimmings. There were also a couple of stores, servant’s quarters, a pavilion for outdoor entertaining, several small houses for the mid-level staff, and what appeared to be a doctor’s office. There was also several out buildings and a couple of barns for the coaches and horses that came first then later for the first automobiles. When it was first built it appeared to have been a well-organized operation.
For some reason in the very early nineteen hundreds the place suddenly closed down and had sat deserted until about a year ago. Some guy with more money than brains in Jeff’s opinion had bought it and decided to reopen it. Now things were on hold until some questions could be answered. That’s why Jeff and his team of students had been called in. To help find some answers to what they might really have here.
Jeff finished putting his papers away and started to leave the room and the house when he was suddenly stopped by a cold breeze that blew through the room. He didn’t know why he thought of Emma at that moment but for some reason it reminded him of that day at Emma’s when all hell broke loose there. Five ghosts went into a battle that injured everyone in the house and almost cost Emma her life. Jeff suddenly wanted out of that house quick.
As Jeff left the dining room he thought he heard someone in the old drawing room. Jeff wondered if one of his students had either never left or came back. He had been uncomfortable in the old house almost from the beginning and things hadn’t gotten worse. He had taken a page out of his friends play book and required all his archeology students be away from the manor house by six thirty. That really hadn’t posed a problem with the students because unlike the hotel the house had never been wired for electricity. He unlike Emma when she had put those rules in place for her site had been spared his students asking questions and him having to give some other lame excuse for his decision.
Jeff stepped into the drawing room and looked around and didn’t see anything out of place or anyone else there. He knew he could probably chalk the sound up to the old place settling but somewhere deep down he wasn’t buying that. He turned toward the door but was stopped by a change in his surroundings.
Before the room had been dark and dismal now it was lit by the warm glow of gas lights that hung from the ceiling and walls. The drab dingy cloak of age that had blanketed the room was gone and in its place were the vivid colors of the old wallpaper. The colors now reflected the bright hues of newness. The whole room shined with the care and polish of a recent and continuous cleaning.
Jeff was trying to rationalize what he was seeing when he found himself in the middle of a ghastly scene. Before him were an older man and a young female. The girl was spread out half way over a large sideboard dressed in a maid’s uniform. She was being held down by the savage force of the man. He watched as the man hit the poor girl several times until she lost consciousness. The man crabbed the girl as she started sliding to the ground and then he picked her up and threw her over his shoulder. The man walks over to an unlit wall sconce and twisting it to one side a passage opened up in the wall.
“Stop.” Jeff shouted as he ran toward the man and the girl. He was stopped from following the man as he carried the young woman into the dark passage beyond the opening when he ran into a solid wall.
Jeff had hit the wall so hard that it had knocked him backwards and he landed on his ass in the floor. The room was once again dark and dingy and there was no sign that the man or girl had ever been there.
Jeff got up and dusted the seat of his pants. The very idea of what he had just seen was something he couldn’t accept. It made no sense. It all looked and sounded like the setup for some really bad movie.
Jeff located the sconce that was still there and gave it a turn like the guy had before. It didn’t turn easily and when the entrance to the passageway revealed itself it only opened part way. Jeff took his two way radio and called one of his students and told him to get a few of the others together and get them up to the house and bring plenty of flashlights. He knew he was probably going to regret this but he was going to check out what was down that passageway tonight. He could only hope that there wouldn’t be anything to devastating in what they might find down that corridor. Was he ever wrong on that one.