The Mansion and I is a short story written by Reiu Somao-I and shared with The Ugly Writers under the theme Entropy: Overcoming Destruction for the month of July.
THE MANSION AND I
I’ve probably experienced every job you could think of. I am an Architect but I’ve been into many jobs ever since I was in my teenage years. From delivery service to construction site, being part of the maintenance team in hospitals, hotels, offices and other places. I’ve even tried doing random jobs just to earn money for a living before becoming an architect. Strange enough, no job loves me.
I was standing in front of a very grand mansion not too far from the capital city. They said it was a haunted mansion. It has an outstanding design and is really sophisticated but has an elegant vibe. Sadly, it was poorly maintained.
I turned the knob of the front door with the key I was given by the realtor. I was commissioned to look at this mansion if there is a chance to renovate it to be put on sale. The pay is very high because of its catch, again, as I have mentioned, it is a haunted mansion.
The door creaks creepily like in those horror films. The wind inside it was quite cold, maybe because it was made of concrete and stone materials. I turned on the light even though it was still bright outside. The light beautifully showed me the entirety of the main hall. It was actually superb but then something caught my attention as I saw a shadow in the corner of my eye.
I heaved a sigh. I felt the temperature of the main hall drop and the lights started to flicker.
“Come on, show me your faces. Do not try to scare me or else I’ll hurt you in the most painful way.” I said like I’m talking to someone.
Then, I heard footsteps coming down from the grand staircase. I turned my head but no one was there. A smirk landed on my lips.
“Are you the owner of this mansion, sir?”
Chills run through my whole body. I was caught off guard but it didn’t bother me.
The footsteps stopped then, as the curtain covered the sunlight that was hitting the grand staircase, an old man wearing an elegant black suit and black derby hat with a cane was standing there. He was glaring at me.
I bent my body a little and bowed a little to give my respect. “I mean no harm sir. I’m just here visiting and admiring this wonderful mansion.”
The glare didn’t change.
“Let me introduce myself. I’m Architect Vale Raygan. I was paid to visit this mansion because they wanted to renovate this place to sell.”
Suddenly the door shut and several vases floated in the air.
“I guess you didn’t hear the first time I said so. I mean no harm, sir. But if you try to harm me, I’ll hurt all of you here.”
The lights stopped flickering and it stayed lit but only a few of them,only enough for me to see the main hall. Then, I saw a bunch of maids who were wearing their uniforms and a group of people standing behind the old man. A man and woman in their forties or fifties. Another man in his late twenties or early thirties, a young man in his teens and a young lady who looks about ten years old.
“We won’t let you do anything in our home.” Finally, I heard the chilling deep voice of the old man.
“Why? You’re dead anyway. Why do you still linger in this mansion? Unfinished business?”
I could feel their killing intent towards me.
“I am not an ordinary architect. You see, I’ve been living this shitty life of seeing all kinds of paranormal things so you can’t scare me anymore. Let me repeat my words again. I do not mean harm to all of you but if you tried to do something to me, I cannot guarantee that you’ll be able to stay here. How about hearing me out first?”
The people who looked like the owner of the mansion, a family, exchanged glances at each other.
One of the maids, a ghost maid, led me to a room, probably the receiving room.
Strangely, it’s actually clean and well maintained, different from the main hall.
I am sitting across from the family and it feels like I’m a subject of their interrogation. It was bright outside but the room looked gloomy and dark.
“Tos start this, did you know that your mansion was called haunted? Of course it is. Just by looking at the number of spirits here, no one could deny it. Why are you still here? Don’t you want to live peacefully and cross over?”
They didn’t respond at all. I heave a sigh.
“If you don’t want to leave, okay. But…let me stay here.”
They finally showed a reaction. They were shocked to hear my proposition.
“In exchange for staying here, I will do my best for this mansion not to be sold and I’ll even manage it. Maybe the reason why you don’t want or can’t leave is because you worry that this mansion would disappear like you all did? Let me own this mansion and I’ll help you ascend, how’s that sound?”
“Why are you coveting this mansion?” The young adult in his late twenties spoke. He looks really handsome and his voice was also stunningly sexy.
“I’m not really trying to make a fortune. Who would want this haunted mansion anyway? They would probably tear it down when they couldn’t even sell it even after renovation because you are interfering in the human world.” My words have poison in it.
They become silent.
“Who are you, young lady?” The old man asked.
“I’m just someone who’s already tired living in between because the likes of you keep on bothering me.” My lips arched upwards.
One of the maids suddenly came in and whispered something to the old man. His reaction after hearing whatever the maid has said is quite intriguing. He looked back at me with hostile eyes.
“Young lady, I’ll ask you again, who are you? Warden of the Void?”
I laughed hysterically. “Hahahaha!!! Who told you my nickname? I’m sorry for not introducing myself that way but I guess you have networks. Did someone rat me out?” I couldn’t hide my sinister smile anymore. This is getting more interesting.
The temperature inside the room dropped again and the entire family was now glaring at me.
“Aishh..I told you already. I’m not going to hurt you unless you hurt me first. Why don’t we just have an agreement? I help you cross over, you let me take care of the mansion. Win-win, right?”
“Grandpa, what is the meaning of the Warden of the Void?” The young lady asked.
I chuckled and looked at her. “Sweetie, it means I’m powerful enough to imprison all of you here in a place where you could feel the cruelest punishment as a wandering spirit if I wanted. The void can refer to nothingness. Your spirit can forever suffer or be trapped in the dark for eternity without having the chance to be reborn again.”
The young lady gasped and hugged his older brother.
“What if we don’t want to agree with your terms?” The man in his forties or maybe fifties asked.
“Eh? Why not? Can’t you tolerate living with a human? Why? When you are already living together with them.”
All of them furrowed their eyebrows, except for one.
“What? Is it a secret? Hahaha.”
“What do you mean?” This time, the madam spoke.
I could feel a glare directed at me. I smiled then I snapped my fingers three times while chanting some words.
The room suddenly became vibrant and I was staring at only one person now.
“Are you the reason why they couldn’t ascend? You ungrateful one. You’re worse than me by imprisoning them here!”
My voice raised for a moment. I’m quite upset.
“I don’t know how to help them.”
“What is your name? Who are you?” I’m itching to slap that face who was pretending to be a victim.
“I’m Yohan Deckard, the sole survivor of the Deckard family who was assassinated 13 years ago.”
“You are that fugitive. I see. Can I kill you now?”
I pulled out my dagger from my waist and pointed it in his throat.
He just looked straight into my eyes.
“Are you not scared?”
“Why not? Then I could finally be with my family.” He smiled bitterly with that sinful handsome face and cold dead eyes. I could feel the loneliness in it, he was drowning.
I heaved a sigh and pulled back my dagger. I smiled at him and went back to my seat.
“So, would you agree to my condition? I could send them all over. I just need a little bit of your help though.”
“Just…why are you doing this? I’ve been staying here and to be honest, I still feel scared sometimes even though I know all of them.”
“I told you. I’m already tired of such feelings. I’ve been there and done that. I’m just living the life I was given to even if I didn’t ask for it.”
“What do you mean?”
I only smiled at him. “So…deal?”
The next day, I returned to the haunted mansion with several of my belongings. I was welcomed by Yohan and he let me use one of the rooms.
“So what is your plan?”
“Tell me about your family. Let’s start with that.”
“How can I trust you?” His eyes looked at me with suspicion.
“Are we still not done with this conversation yesterday? What if I tell you that you’re also dying?”
“What?! No. That can’t be!”
“You’ve been living with the ghosts for many years. How could you expect that there’s no payment for that?”
His face was grim.
I shook my head while pitying this fine man. “We need to send them off as soon as possible before you become entirely one of them and vanish in this world.”
And that’s how I started living with the ghost of the Deckard family, entangled with Yohan’s past, and became the sender of wandering spirits of the haunted mansion.
Read previous entries from Ms. Reiu Somao-I at The Ugly Writers: