Welcome again to Storytime Wednesday, where we fire your imagination with the words from writers who share their stories or book excerpts.
The Mirror: Part One
The old house creaked and groaned as I slowly moved about. It had been empty for as long as I could remember. I was always curious about this decaying old Victorian home. It sat apart from many of the homes in the nearby community. It was reminiscent of a bygone era. One could smell history in the air, or was it just the musty smell, of being closed up for so many years?
What little I knew of this house was from a couple of elderly locals who still lived in the area. It had belonged to a wealthy family named O'Sullivan, who attained their wealth, in the hotel industry. As with most affluent families, they had a cook, housekeeper, groundskeeper, and a nanny for their only child, a son, named Henry. Unlike most Irish families, the O’Sullivans only had one child. Due to a medical condition, Mrs O'Sullivan could not bear anymore children. The O'Sullivans came to the United States, as Irish immigrants, in the early 1900's with hopes, dreams, and determination. And to make this country their new home.
They worked hard, and rose in the social ladder. Soon they became successful, and life was good. It was time to move from the ghetto like neighborhood, that most immigrants were bound too, and live as most of their social status did. But unlike many of their counterparts, they were still humble and never forgot their roots. A mansion in all its glory would not be reflective of their humbleness; however a large home would still be in fitting with their status. This old home was then built.
As a youth, I was always intrigued with the house, but my parents warned me to stay away. I was never really told why, except that it had a bad history. Of course as a youngster that only made me more curious, and one day, I rode my bike near the long driveway that lead to the house. My mother happened to be driving by, coming back from a store, and caught me. I got a tongue lashing soon afterwards. "Kara if I catch you trying to sneak over there one more time, you will be grounded for a week!" I never tried that again.
Some years later, now as an adult, I had the opportunity to find out a few things when speaking with one of the elderly residents of our community. I asked her what my parents, now deceased, might have meant. She relayed bits and pieces. Some of which I knew, and others I didn't. "Apparently even riches, could not shelter anyone from the pain that life can sometimes bring," she began. And sometimes those riches can change a humble person. She then started to recite from her memory as a young woman. She didn't recall all the details, but remembered the trial of the nanny, who was accused, of killing their son. The nanny was found guilty, and went to prison where sometime later, she committed suicide. She proclaimed her innocence up to that day. And never said more. Mrs O'Sullivan took the child's death the hardest it seemed. Mr O'Sullivan spent most of his time either submerged in his work, or in his office behind locked doors, rarely talking to anyone. Because Mrs O'Sullivan never got over losing her son, she soon became depressed, and despondent. Household staff and grounds keepers were let go. Everything began to deteriorate. And with it so did the lives of its occupants. Mrs O'Sullivan as the story goes, jumped out a second story window. Her neck was broken, as her sprits. Sometime afterwards the house was boarded up. Mr O'Sullivan left and was never heard from again. Some say he ended up in a mental ward, others say he went off to kill himself out of guilt. There are some who even say that her ghost still haunts the grounds. I thought about what the elderly woman had said and still couldn't understand my parents reasoning. Then I surmised maybe it wasn't really the history of the house, but the thought of my getting hurt in it. Either way I was still intrigued, with the old place. In some way even drawn to it.
I continued to walk around the house, with a flashlight by my side and what light streamed in from some of the now missing and cracked boards. Through the cobwebs, I could see where pictures must have hung. Carved moldings all around the living room. What were properly beautiful wooden floors were now laden with dust and rotting in places. On the far side I could see a huge brick fireplace, with ashes still strewn about in its pit, from the last fire. As I walked about, I could imagine the house stood in some glory at one time. I peered into other rooms in the lower half of the house, and could see that for the time period, it was good living. I then carefully climbed the stairs to the upper half of the house, brushing cobwebs, along the way. Some stairs didn't look as though they would hold me, even though I was of small stature. So I held on to the banister that too seemed wobbly, and carefully skipped steps, till I had made it to the top.
At the top of the stairs I could see a long hallway that stretched in both directions. I made a right turn, and was led to what I believed was a bedroom. Another room nearby, much larger than the last appeared as though it too may have been a bedroom. I surmised the smaller one might have been their son's. On down the other end, there was a room with two large doors that swung in opposite directions. The lever handles on the door, appeared to be made of gold, long since tarnished. It was a very large room, with big windows. This most likely was Mr O'Sullivan's office. Further down the hall, led me to another room, small, with flowered wallpaper, that was now faded and hanging. I know Nannies lived with their charges back then, and figured that this might had been her room. Off to the corner, my eye caught, what looked like something covered, in a sheet, now gray with dust.
So far this was the only thing I had found in the house, and with curiosity, I stepped over and slowly pulled the sheet off. After choking from the dust, I looked up to see what removing the sheet had revealed. Before me was a standing wooden framed mirror. It cast no reflection, as the glass was as gray as the dust that clung to the sheet that covered it. I stared at it for a few moments, and then proceeded to walk away, when something started to change in the mirror...
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEDNESDAY...
Dee Brown is a Jersey native, who now resides in the South Western part of Kentucky. This mother of two, has always had the passion for writing stories and poetry, and only up to recently has learned to share that love of writing.