Manfred found it to be truly a beautiful morning with the sun high in the sky and nearly solid sea of green trees surrounding either side of the light brown dirt road that curved up the hill to Swanson Peak manor, an old three story Victorian mansion. Bergin, the grounds keeper and owner, was cheerful but overly anxious fellow. With a pudgy face having round cheeks and squat nose. The grounds keeper was waiting outside gripping his coat tightly and fiddling with a smoking pipe. Between cold shivers, he couldn’t get it to light with winter’s breeze. Eventually the pipe was put away when Manfred approaches whistling cheerfully. It was clear from his bright smile that he was happy.
The groundskeeper out stretches his hand, “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, the famous Wall Street banker: Manfred von Ostrander. All of the paper work is taken care of, if you’re satisfied by the current grounds.”
He gave a warm smile, “Oh, I’m more than satisfied. It’s everything you promised. The place is beautiful and there is no one for miles.”
“I have to warn you.” He met many greedy or corrupt politicians in his day seemingly nervous about letting information go. So he knew when somebody was reluctant. The grounds keeper continues, “There was tragedy in the 40’s. A lot of people are superstitious. There was famous murder, cabin fever they called it.”
“I’m definitely not a superstitious man. It’s fine.”
“Can I ask why you want the house? There are a lot of nicer houses that require a lot less work to fix up.” The hesitation and questions, he was hiding something. But he probably thought he was crazy for having interest in a house that someone was murdered in. He never investigated it, but it would explain it being vacant for sixty years.
“I’m not feeling well, my family has a history of mental illness, so I’m looking for a quiet seclude.”
The grounds keeper seems to be concern but shakes off the feeling. “I’m not sure I would agree, but it’s your choice.” The grounds keeper reaches under his coat and pulls out the deed and hands it to him.
“Thanks you,” he says accepting it. There was old car from at least fifties parked behind him; he guesses that it was his. The man sets off and he was about to ask for the keys. It was strange how fast the man was trying to leave.
The double wrought iron wooden doors made the house seem straight out of medieval days. The inside was beautiful; did the grounds keeper really think this was run down? Most of the furniture was clearly antique made of what appears to be real oak, but there was no cobwebs or dust; place was immaculately clean. He brought up some of his bags from the car and drops them down. He already had no idea which direction to take, this place was massive. He decides to stay put in the foyer connecting to the living room, one of several. After staring at the daunting task, he got up and forces himself to explore. Taking the west wing first, moving under two curving polished white wood staircases fit for a king or ballroom straight out of a fairy tale, following the maze of hallways leading past endless empty room, bars, another living room, store rooms. Near the end of the west wing was a stocked library big as several rooms put together. Something drew him into the library instead passing it by and making him scan the many titles for what caught his attention. The many books were found to be in an obscure dialect. He had seen German, Dutch, Russian, Spanish, even Asian language. This just seems like random drawings. He suddenly had a shiver and feeling of encroaching doom. He let the book drop to the floor and promptly left the room along with thoughts of it behind. He would call the grounds keeper though; find something out about this bizarre library.
He finally found the study and drags the suit case he had been carrying onto the old oak desk. He shifted through the drawer before turning his attention to his suit case. The drawer had nothing of interest and was nearly emptied. He opens his suit case pulling out his antique typewriter and set it down. Then put paper inside it and aligned it. Then writing on the typewriter: ‘He walks up the winding path through the sea of green to meet the grounds keeper.’
He wasn’t sure why this was so familiar. He kept writing, ‘the mansion was cavernous with an eerie presence.’ The floor creaks from behind causing him to spin around. The room is empty. Man I need a break. The typewriter had written at least four lines of I need a break. He had no recollection of writing it, so he scrapped the paper and continued.