She watched as the flurry of activity swirled around her. Different people mopped floors, polished furniture, and cleaned old lead glass windows. A chimney sweep cleaned out the fireplace while yelling to others at the top of the chimney about bringing the brushes down. The female was tiny and covered in soot as black dust fell from the flue onto her. She coughed and yelled back up the chimney.
Mauve watched from the corner of the great room. She sneezed from the dust and soot. Everything stopped for a second as the people looked around the great room. Mauve chuckled; they couldn’t see her, but they felt her. It was the only time she felt alive. Then, the activity started back with a frenzy.
She walked over to the newly renovated bathroom and watched people scrub it to a shine. She moved into the kitchen with the large black stone and white tile accentuating the stone floor. She noticed a person stocking the pantry while another scrubbed the stove. A small wooden table sat in the middle of the kitchen. Wiped clean, a small vase of flowers sat in the middle. Out to the side of the kitchen, she looked at the long table in the formal dining room, polished to a shine. Oversized wooden chairs lined each side, and two more oversized wooden chairs at both ends of the table.
She couldn’t remember when the small manor was this clean. She couldn’t remember how long it had been since someone was in the estate. Ten years? 20? Time didn’t exist for her, so she swept that thought away. But, on the other hand, time didn’t affect her when she sat alone in the manor. Mauve guessed she was in her late twenties but was much older than that, perhaps over 60. 70?.
She went up the stone steps from the kitchen to the three bedrooms. More people were airing out rooms, pulling back sizeable red velvet curtains. The ornate beds stripped of dusty sheets and comforters, and the tall wooden posters shined. Someone smacked at the tall back chairs, dust flying from them as another polished the wooden floors.
She moved, sat on the chair, and looked out the open window, enjoying the cool breeze. Mauve looked at her blue dress, the square neck showing ample cleavage. The dress was velvet, with gold roping that went down the sleeves and stopped above her elbows. Not her style, but it was the only constant when her whole nightmare started. The only dress she’d worn for 50 years? Or was it longer? Small black leather shoes on her feet, her look was medieval, not what she usually wore. But after so long, what did she actually wear? She looked down, not this. Her dark black curly hair fell in long waves to the middle of her back. She looked around at the activity around the manor and sighed. She’d have a guest soon. She mused as she watched. Would that be something good or bad?
She heard the large oak door open with a bang. The shrill voice made her shudder, “Mauve!”
She blinked down to the foyer as someone polished a table in the middle and put more flowers out. The woman standing at the door looked around at the activity. Then, she stormed into the parlor, which was empty because it was clean. Mauve followed her into the room. The woman sensed her, but Mauve knew she couldn’t see her. No one could see her.
The woman whirled, “As you can see, the manor now has a new owner.” She talked in Mauve’s general direction.
Mauve couldn’t help but smile, “Good,” she thought.
“But that doesn’t take away the curse on you. You’ll have to deal with the new owner,” the woman said hotly, “And just like the other ones, he’ll bore with the house and move back to America.
“Remember your place, girl. I can make your life miserable. I’ve left you alone because there’s been no one here but you,” the woman said. “This new addition will be temporary. I will succeed in getting him to leave. But, like I said, behave, and we won’t punish you,” the woman whirled as a cleaner came to the door. Mauve looked over to the girl.
“Miss Doyle, we are almost finished with your list. Is there anything else you want us to do before we depart,” the girl asked.
The woman looked around the room, “No, that is enough. If he wants other work done, he can pay for it himself.”
Mauve looked at the woman who tormented her when she went out of line. She had no idea how Mary O’Doyle had such power over her, but the woman did, and she used it. Mauve didn’t say anything, just watched the anger roll off the woman as she looked around the room. Mary O’Doyle’s mother, Eleanor, cursed Mauve when she was 25, banished her to the manor, and left her to rot all over jealousy and power. Mary was born, and when Mary came of age, her mother told her about the faerie cursed to roam the manor next door to their home.
Mauve was excited at first at the young woman’s company as she came to the manor that now sat discarded. Mauve soon quickly learned that Mary had a dark side, just like her mother. Mauve left the younger woman alone as she tried and tried to communicate with the fairy. When Mary’s mother died, the curse’s power moved to Mary. In the beginning, she used it to test what power she had over the young faerie. Then she used it to hurt her. Mary had the Book, the only way to break the curse. The book held Mauve’s powers along with the story of the curse and how to break it. Holding the book, Mary had Mauve’s powers. She was a witch, and Mauve was a faerie, but with the Book she could use Mauve’s powers over her. Mauve just followed the rules and kept her head down. The curse confined Mauve and her powers to the manor and the estate grounds.
Mary looked around the room. Mauve knew she was searching for her, “Tell me you understand.”
Mauve felt the flames inside her body. She doubled over, her arms going around her stomach. She whispered, “I understand.” She watched triumph move across Mary’s face. She’d gone past hating the O’Doyle family, who cost her her family and her life and accepted their hold over her.
Mary nodded, then turned as a car pulled toward the stone manor. She waved her hand into the air, “You better believe it. Now, let’s meet the new owner.”