“I inherited the Addams family’s creepy mansion.” Kara whispered as they stood by the impressive fountain holding center stage in the courtyard.
“Its not that bad.” Ella whispered back. Something in the old world feel of the house demanded they whisper, and if she was honest, Ella would admit Kara was kinda right.
While the mansion had Gothic accents, it hardly had the doom and gloom of the Addams family’s. It did however give them a strong sense of being watched.
“Not that bad?” The last of their trio, Shea, demanded. “Every hair on my body is trying to migrate back to the car.”
“We’re just going to take a quick look around, see if we can move in or if we should rent it out.” Kara stated their mission though she looked like she wanted nothing more than to run back to their beat up mobil.
“Ixne on the moving in idea.” Ella concluded and felt Shea nod her head vigorously.
And why were her friends clinging to her arms like she was Bruce Willis in Die Hard or something? She was just as freaked out as they were. Okay, maybe she was good at putting on a good game face but they knew her well enough to see that.
“Together.” Kara breathed out as she took a step forward, dragging Ella with her, Shea on the other hand stayed rooted, still clinging to her.
Which left her as the unwitting bone of contention. “Hey,” she complained, still in a whisper. “Living flesh here.”
“Sorry,” the fear in Shea’s voice gave both Ella and Kara pause. “Those statues are giving me the weirdest feeling I’ve ever had.”
“What?!” Kara squeaked.
“Weary, hopeless despair. Like they’ve endured endless agony, still are, and they’ve given up on ever being freed.”
Kara whined at the dark statement that somehow summed up what Ella had been feeling from the house in general but hadn’t been able to realize. Her own blood froze in her veins and a scream threatened to burst out of her throat.
“That’s too dark Shea” Ella admonished. She didn’t believe in anything supernatural. Stones didn’t have any feelings. Sure the statues had a sad air to them but that was just the evocation of a great artist.
She studied their perfect beauty, the proportional masculinity that was impossible to achieve except in paintings and sculptures. They had muscles upon muscles but didn’t have the gross look bodybuilders seemed to reach for.
Each was individual, as if the artist had modeled them from real people. Yet their ethereal perfection denied the idea. “I wouldn’t mind if they became real for a bit. They’re man candy.”
Ella shocked herself with that and the giggle that broke out of Kara shared the sentiment. Even Shea managed a wan smile knowing Ella didn’t usually find anyone attractive enough to bother noticing.
“Okay fine,” Shea straightened her back. “Let’s get this over with.”
“It’s just a house.” Ella agreed as she moved with them. “And they’re just statues.” She stated as they passed between the first two and her friends drew closer to her. “Why did we come here at night again?” She asked as her friends’ torches kept moving from one statue to another.
Seeing their tattered wings, Ella thought Shea might have been right about their being in pain, then mentally slapped herself for being an idiot. Statues did not feel, even though these four did a good job of giving that impression.
“Our work schedules didn’t give us a choice,” Kara replied. “And we couldn’t wait for Sunday to see the answer to all financial woes.” She added with irony.
Kara had inherited the house from some relative she’d never known. It came with a trust that ensured the bills would be paid for the next century or so. Which for a trio of millennials living day to day was a dream.
Only this house was straight from a Gothic film set and none of them wanted to live here even with how tight their budgets were. “We need to save money.” Kara stated, her voice near inaudible.
“Our lease is ending in a week.” Shea agreed in a trembling voice.
“It’s just an old house.” Ella soothed, repeating herself.
“Right,” Kara agreed. “And the Gothic style was all the rage in 18whatever when it was built.”
“So the statues are not going to come to life as much as Ella might want them to.” Shea joked and was rewarded with strained laughter.
Her friends, still holding on to her arms rushed her onto the front porch and to the door. Kara took out the silver key the lawyer had given her and inserted it into the gold edged keyhole.
The door was heavy and made of age stained oak with carvings of mythical beings edging it. Yet the key turned easily and the door swung open without even a squeak.
The three friends eyed each other as their two torches failed to penetrate the darkness before them. “The light is on your side Shea.” Kara whispered.
“Do we have to go in?” Shea trembled. “My Spidey senses are going haywire.”
“We should’ve come during the day.” Ella whispered as she tried to glare at Kara. “I told you we should come during the day.”
“Just switch on the light Shea,” Kara demanded. “Then we’ll at least have that to guide us back to the car.”
“Good idea.” Shea switched on the light.
All three stood stupefied at the room that presented before them. It was scrumptious. The foyer held minimum antique furnishing, restored and polished to a shine. Its marble floors were cream with gold accents and a grand staircase led to the upper floor. Beautiful, expensive paintings bracketed the arced entrances leading to the rest of the ground floor.
“That looks like a Rembrandt!” Ella exclaimed with awe then looked at its mate. “And that’s a Goya!”
“Those are expensive right?” Kara asked, unsure.
“Millions.” Was all Ella could say.
The paintings couldn’t be real, right? There was no way one of three ordinary girls like them could inherit something worth millions.
“You can tell if they’re real, right?” Kara asked, her voice trying to suppress her excitement.
“Up close? Yes.” They were still standing at the door, frozen by the turn of events. Once again Kara stepped forward, pulling Ella along and Shea stayed rooted. “Hey!” Ella complained, louder this time.
“Sorry,” Shea said. “This just makes my sense of danger louder. I mean, an unknown relative leaving a mansion full of expensive stuff! That doesn’t happen in real life, what’s the catch?”
“Shea!” Kara protested, stamping her foot like a two year old.
“Fine.” The girl said as she came in after them. As she closed the door she looked around fearfully as if she expected someone to jump out of some corner and grab them. Nothing happened.
Ella led them to the duo of paintings. Her eyes took in the canvas, the palette of colors used and their composition. She took in the brush strokes and the frames the paintings were in then turned to smile at her breathlessly waiting friends.
“They’re real!” She exclaimed.
Kara gave an ear piercing shout then started pounding the floor with her feet as her arms waved about her. She was like a manic woman trying to swart away a swarm of bees. Then she dragged her two friends to her, almost strangling them and ignoring their protests. “We’re rich!” She shouted.
“We need to have them authenticated first Kara.” Ella admonished.
“You’re never wrong about art.” Her friend dismissed. “Besides, look at this house! Can you imagine anything here being fake?”
“So now it’s no longer the Addams’ family house?” Shea asked, uncertainty still in her voice.
“Pssh.” Kara skipped to a side table that had a few envelopes on it. She picked up the top one. “Wow guys, come look at this!”
Ella was disconcerted to see a letter with all three of their names in her friend’s hand. The envelope looked old, as if the letter had been written years back. “What the heck?” Ella whispered.
“Open it.” Shea urged.
Kara turned the letter over and they saw it was sealed with wax, a crest pressed into it. Kara opened it and took out crisp white embossed paper with the same seal. For some reason, the three of them read the words aloud together.
Hikara, Sheasie, Aubriella
My apology that you had to go without all that was due.
In this house shall you find all that is due.
On this day shall you find,
A path to unlock the past since hidden.
For with their return,
The yellow child, red queen and brown girl,
Shall undo the the frozen furies,
Release the wilds of Elfheim,
And bring the fae regal.
So shall it be henceforth.
“What the heck?” Ella whispered.
Shea took up some of the papers under the letter, she rifled through them and looked up at the two with wide eyes. “These are deeds to various properties in our names and bonds worth like a lot.”
“What the heck?” Ella seemed to be stuck on repeat.
“Who leaves deeds and bonds put in the open like this?” Shea questioned with fear in her voice. “Guys this is seriously messed up! How did this person know our nicknames? And what did all that mean? Am I the only one who felt a shift when we finished reading that letter?”
“Screw this!” Ella stated as she gathered up the remaining papers on the side table. “Shea bring those, we’re leaving.”
“But we haven’t seen the rest of the house!” Kara protested.
“We’ve seen enough.” She declared. “I’m sure the rest of the house is as beautiful and expensive. I’ve just had enough creepy things to last me a lifetime.”
Shea hugged the papers she held to her and practically ran out the door. Ella looked at her other friend, willing her to come with them.
“Fine.” Kara followed after Shea with Ella besides her.
“What is it?” Ella asked as she saw Shea frozen on the porch whilst Kara locked up.
“The statues are gone!” Her friend whisper cried.
Ella looked up to where the porch light should’ve lit up the four statues and found nothing. “Run!” She commanded as she took off towards their car.
She got into the driver’s seat and her friends scrambled in after her. She quickly put the key into the ignition and raced out of the circular driveway as if the hounds of hell were after them.