Elizabeth sat down at her favorite table and chairs out on the terrace and sipped on a cup of tea as she remembered all the horrible events that had happened over the last few months in this house. If she hadn't lived through it she would not have ever believed it. How a place as beautiful as Hillcrest Manor could possibly be haunted? But it was, twofold. The evilness that resided here was almost over-powering. If she hadn't had the aid of the old gypsy woman... she thought to herself, it made her shutter just thinking about it. But it's over now, thank god. This house is finally clean. There hasn't been any more strange disturbances since she sent that evil beast... straight to hell where he belonged!
The housekeeper came over with a fresh brewed pot of Earl Grey tea. She knew how much Elizabeth loved to sit on the terrace every morning drinking her morning tea. It seemed so relaxing for her and after everything that she had been through it was so nice for her to finally be able to sit and relax now and not be afraid. "I'm so glad that you came here to stay with us," Louise said.
Elizabeth looked back at the faithful old servant. "Yes, I am so happy that Nicholas brought me here as well."
"It had to be fate for him to have hired you as a companion for his daughter Sarah."
Just hearing her name again brought tears to her eyes. She took a deep breath and then let out a heavy sigh. "Sarah, I do miss her so. It's just so hard to believe she's really gone now even though I know that it was the best for her to crossover. A day doesn't go by that I don't think about her and miss her."
"You did what was needed to be done, Elizabeth. I miss her as well. That is when she was really here before that dreadful accident with her mother that day."
"How awful that had to have been for her to be trapped on this earthbound plane. And to make matters worse for her, the evil spirits that had taken over this house would terrify her daily. Louise, I give you a lot of credit for keeping up the delusion that Sarah really was upstairs in her room. To actually prepare and then take up three different trays of food for her breakfast, lunch and dinner every day."
"I had to. Nicholas truly believed she was there so how could I not take up food for her every day. But you actually saw her and could talk with her. I still don't quite understand how you could do that."
"I could do that Louise, because I am a clairvoyant. I can see spirits that other people cannot see."
"I've heard of people like that but you're the first one I have ever met. To see you carrying on a conversation with Sarah, I first thought you were doing that to keep up the allusion that Sarah was really still there. That's what the other governess's would do but only when her father was here. After he would leave, they would never again go back into Sarah's room. But none of them ever stayed for very long. You were so different from any of them. You would go talk with her all the time. And you would have a conversation with her but I could only hear what you were saying. It was very obvious to me that you were seeing her spirit for real and that's who you were communicating with."
"Yes, I did see her and could hear her as well. She's the only reason I had accepted the position of governess here. I did not need the income. My father is very well off financially so I would never have to ever work for a living."
"How did you know about her?" Louis asked. "I never knew why you would actually come all the way out to this desolate place after living in London. With all of its parties and entertainment every day during the season and right now the season had just begun. And then given your young age, it just didn't make any sense to me that you would choose to come here instead of attending all the wonderful festivities that was going on in London."
"To be quite honest with you, I never had any desire to attend any of the balls or festivities because I was so different then all of the other girls and I had been made fun of all the time I had attended school. So I just declined any and all invitations that did come to my home to the disappointment of my father who really didn't understand why I didn't want to attend."
Louise just looked at her feeling so sorry for her. Every young girl in London couldn't wait until the season came. Or that was what she had been told because she herself has lived out here in the country and besides that going to the parties were way above her station in life. "So you have told me why you didn't mind leaving London but you still haven't told me why you would travel this far away from home with a man you had just met."
"Well it all started when I was being visited by a young spirit every night. She was beckoning me to come here. At the time I didn't know where she wanted me to come to or where here was. I just knew she desperately needed my help."
"That is so incredible. A little spooky though. I don't know how you can handle all this stuff like that. If it was me, I think I would have just hid under my covers wishing it to go away. But I am really glad you didn't do that. If you hadn't come here, I don't know what would have happened to all of us. We couldn't keep living under these circumstances for much longer."
"Well I am here now and I plan to stay here, forever." She said, as she smiled up at the housekeeper. She looked out at the flower garden that had sprung up by itself once she had cleared all of the evil entities that had been haunting this house for so many years. "Tell Nicholas when he comes downstairs that if he is looking for me I'm going to go pick a nice bouquet of flowers and take them out to the cemetery and place them on Sarah's grave."
After Elizabeth had gotten up from the table she went out to the flower garden. She had brought a pair of cutting shears with her. There was such a beautiful assortment of flowers she had ever seen and the aroma from them was just heavenly. It was going to be hard for her to decide on which ones would look the best in the bouquet. It had to be very special because it was for Sarah and she didn't want to use the same flowers that she had used the other day for her. She wanted them to be different each time she picked them for her.
Louise just stood at the edge of the terrace watching Elizabeth go through the garden picking a variety of different types of flowers. She really did have an eye for making the most beautiful arrangements. It was like she was born to be a gardener.
Once she was satisfied with the flowers she had selected for the bouquet she had just made she headed up to the cemetery where Sarah was laid to rest. The family cemetery was just a short distance from the manor house and she really enjoyed the walk. This was the most beautiful estate she had ever seen. She loved the forest that was at the edge of the estate and now she was able to take her daily walk out in the woods. She thought back when she first arrived here, no one was ever allowed to go near the woods let alone go into them. She was the only one that had ever gone into the woods and came back alive. Everyone else would just disappear. No one ever knew what happened to them. But now since she cleared this house from all of the horrible entities she or anyone else now could go out into the woods without worrying about any problems happening there anymore. It was really scary that night she got trapped in the woods several months ago when the pathway leading back to the manor house was completely covered in fog. She couldn't see a foot ahead of her and then a severe thunderstorm complete with bright crackling bolts of lightning and of course the terrifying roar of thunder. It made it impossible for her to find her way out of the woods so all she could do was to find a good size tree with a lot of branches which were covered in leaves to use for shelter from the torrential downpour. She knew it was really dangerous to stand under a tree during a thunderstorm but at that point she didn't care if she got struck by lightning or not. She just had to get under so kind of cover from the continuous downpour of rain. Fortunately she didn't get struck or she wouldn't be here now. It was like the forest had come alive and it didn't want her to find her way out. She had never been as scared as she was that night. That's where she met another spirit. This one was Sarah's mother. She also had been trapped on this earthbound plane and had been terrorized constantly like Sarah by one of the evil entities. She needed her help as well. While this new spirit was explaining to her about what had happened in this house she could hear a horrible growling sound that was getting louder and louder as it approached her. This made Sarah's mother quickly disappear out of fear of this horrible beast.
With thinking back about that night made Elizabeth get a chill that ran all the way down her spine. She shook her head back and forth, she needed to come back to the present and quit thinking about this terrible event that happened in her life. It was all over now she kept telling herself. She had sent that evil beast to hell where he could no longer terrorize this family anymore. She finally got that night out of her mind as she continued on the small path that led out to the family cemetery. Once she got there she found Sarah's grave and knelt down beside it. She removed the last bouquet of flowers that were starting to die and replaced them with the fresh bouquet she had just picked from the garden.
"Sarah, I do miss you so," she said aloud. "I know you are happy now that you and your mother are together again in heaven where you both belong. I can't even fathom what it was like for you and your mother being trapped here on this earthbound plane. Not really being here but you were being prevented from going to heaven. Your father also misses you terribly and wishes you were still here but he now has accepted the truth. That you had died from your injuries you received in that horrible carriage accident where your mother was killed instantly. He still can't believe that all of this time he had been visiting with you, that it really wasn't you at all but it was your ghost. I will be back in a few days with fresh flowers for you," and then she finally got up and headed back to the manor house where she knew Nicholas would be waiting for her there. And sure enough she was right for there he was sitting at the table on the terrace waiting patiently for her to return from the cemetery.
When he saw her he waved so she knew he had seen her. This had become her ritual several times a week and it made him love her even more. Sarah was his child with his wife who had died in that fatal accident that dreadful day. But Elizabeth has become so loyal to Sarah it was as if she was mourning her own child not someone else's. She would put fresh flowers on her grave several times a week, faithfully. Even if it was storming out, she wouldn't let that stop her. She would just take an umbrella with her as she would go out to the garden, pick the bouquet and then take it up to the family cemetery. On those days she would be drenched from head to toe and would have to go change her clothes immediately.
Elizabeth saw Nicholas sitting on the terrace and waved back to him. She knew he was waiting patiently for her to return. Once she made it up the steps to the terrace, Nicholas stood up and pulled a chair out for her to sit. Then he sat back down again.
"Oh Elizabeth, I can't believe how faithful and dedicated you are to my little Sarah. It just warms my heart that you feel so much love for her even though you really never met her in the flesh if you know what I mean."
"Yes I do feel a lot of love for her. She's just a child who's been through so much in her young life it's just heart breaking to me for someone so young and innocent to have to experience something like that. And for me to be able to help her and her mother crossover so they both could be together in heaven for all of eternity. I now know why I was born with these special gifts I possess. It had to have been predetermined before I was even born that this would be my purpose in life."
Now they both just sat there quietly sipping on their tea for quite a while not really knowing what to say after that. They both were now thinking about the past events that brought them together. Nicholas wanted to bring her back to the present and wanted to talk with her about their future plans together.
"Have you made any plans yet for our wedding? He asked, taking her by the hand.
Elizabeth just looked back at him, now feeling very embarrassed because she actually hadn't done any kind of planning yet what so ever. "No, I'm really sorry Nicholas but I haven't done anything at all about it. Please forgive me, it's not that I don't want to get married because I really do and I love you with all my heart. It's just we have been through so much these past few months I haven't felt like planning any kind of festivities."
"I totally understand Elizabeth, I just thought every young girl had nothing more on their minds then planning out their wedding day. I didn't mean to upset you sweetheart and especially given the circumstances and trauma we've had to deal with I don't think I feel up to any kind of festivities myself."
"But even so, I should have been making our future plans. I love you so much Nicholas and I really want to be your wife."
"Well even if we hadn't lived through all of these horrible things, I know you are most definitely not the normal young girl with nothing better to do with her time but to dream and plan out every detail of her wedding day." He said and then started laughing, softly. He wanted to only think about good things now and not be reminded of all the tragic events that went on in his home for so long.
With all of that said she leaned over and gave him a slight kiss on his lips. This innocent action on her part caused Nicholas to wrap his arms around her and kissed her deeply, not wanting to ever let her go. How close he had come to losing her. How they ever survived the horrors that happened in this house, he'll never know. Now he started thinking back on how strange it was the way he first met Elizabeth. He had started having re-occurring dreams about her. Yet he had never met her before. How could that even be possible? The sheer shock that went through his body when he first saw her was almost too much for him to handle. He was not the kind of man who was accustomed to dreaming about young ladies and where they lived and then to actually go to the exact address he dreamed about still freaked him out. Well, he thought to himself. Anything was possible where Elizabeth was concerned. He had never met anyone like her before and probably never will. He had never believed in supernatural powers, that everyone he knew made fun of the gypsies because they supposedly had such abilities but Elizabeth wasn't a gypsy. Far from it. She was a young lady of quality. It wasn't until his dreams about her started but he still didn't believe in such nonsense. It wasn't until he hired Elizabeth, to be a governess for his invalid daughter Sarah, when these special qualities about her came to light. The best thing that ever happened to him was when she came into his life. If it wasn't for her he would probably be dead by now. No.... He would be dead. And he never would have known the truth about Sarah or any of the strange happenings that were so frightening going on in his own home. How ignorant people are. To laugh or make fun of things they don't understand.
"Are you okay, Nicholas?" She asked hesitantly, seeing him so lost in thought.
"Yes, I'm fine," he answered her. "I was just thinking about how we first met and then all of the horrible things that happened here. If you hadn't come with me that day."
"Nicholas, it was our destiny to meet the way we did. Neither one of us knew anything about the power of the dark side that can come into this world from below. The evilness that exists there is so frightening."
"Well, all I can say is that I was blessed the day I met you."
Elizabeth looked down for a moment feeling a little embarrassed at him saying that. She still wasn't use to anyone really caring for her but she felt the same way about him. He was her true love and always will be no matter what.
"You know it was the old gypsy woman who planted those dreams about me into your head don't you?"
"No! I didn't know that. Really? How could she do that? It doesn't make any sense to me." Then he thought about it again, "never mind, don't answer that. I already know the answer."
"You're learning now, Nicholas." She replied back to him with a twinkle in her eye. Remembering how shocked he was every time she did anything... usual.
"I guess I am." He chuckled.
"I don't think our lives will ever be the same, Nicholas. I feel like I have just scratched the surface where my 'special abilities' are concerned.
"What do you mean by that? I know you're a clairvoyant. You can see and communicate with spirits. Are you saying that you have other abilities as well?" He asked, now getting very concerned about her.
"Yes. There's more I haven't told you about yet. But I guess you really need to know about them since we are getting married after all."
"You're damn straight I need to know," he yelled, a little louder than he intended. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound so nasty but you just surprised me, that's all. So you better just tell me now. I will eventually find out anyways."
Elizabeth thought about it not sure exactly how to explain it to him. "I was just afraid to tell you. I thought your friends would make fun of me, like they did with the gypsies. And I would be an embarrassment to you." She ended her sentence with tears running down her face.
He took both Elizabeth's hands in his. "I love you Elizabeth, with all my heart. My so called friends can go jump in a lake somewhere for all I care. Their arrogance is only topped by their stupidity. Everything to them is a joke. I don't care if I ever see any of them ever again. There's nothing you could tell me that could ever lessen my love for you. If anything, I love you more."
"Really? You... really feel like that?" She asked, wiping the tears from her cheeks.
"Yes. I've never felt so strongly about anything else in my entire life. I have never loved anyone like I love you." He took her in his arms again wanting to kiss all her fears away. "Now why don't you tell me about your other abilities? I'm actually very interested, I've never known anyone who can do the things you can." He said, trying to put her more at ease.
"I'm not sure exactly where to start."
"Well, if that's your problem then, start at the beginning when you first realized you were different from other people."
"Okay, I was very young when I started seeing dead people. Ghosts to be more exact. And I could talk with them. I knew what they were saying. No one around me could see or hear them. The other children at school would make fun of me. Calling me names and such. So I became kind of an outcast and that lasted throughout all the years I attended school. Since I had no friends I became an adamant reader and would sit in my room reading my books for hours. But I really wasn't always alone. Spirits would come visit me and sometimes I even read to them."
Nicholas just stared at her in amazement. Trying to visualize her reading to ghosts. He shook his head but stayed quiet listening to her tell him about her childhood. "My grandmother had the same gift but never told me much about it. I just saw her talking to spirits and thought for a long time that everyone could see them. She did tell me that when I got older she would explain everything to me but for now it was our little secret. That it was best to just try and ignore the spirits whenever other people were around. That other people just wouldn't understand and think there was something wrong with me."
"It sounds like you had a very lonely childhood, Elizabeth," he said, sympathically.
"Yes. But I really wasn't lonely. Like I said, the spirits came to me often. The hardest part was that when they did come, my room would get very cold. I could see my breath in the air so I just dressed warmer so I didn't really have a problem with it after that. It was just the way it was."
"You said that you had other 'gifts' besides seeing and talking with ghosts?"
"Yes. But I didn't know about them until just before I came here. My other 'gifts’ had just started and I didn't know exactly how to deal with them or what they were."
"Can you tell me about them now? I really am very curious about them."
"I see things... that haven't happened yet. Sometimes it's really scary. But once I get the vision it stays with me until I do something about it. Hopefully I am able to stop bad things from happening. I have also found that I can communicate with other people telepathically, even at far distances but if it's too far away I can't keep the link open for very long. My abilities are getting stronger and new ones are constantly appearing. It kind of takes me by surprise sometimes."
"You think?" He said.
She looked down at the empty tea cup on the table and closed her eyes. The cup started shaking and then it flew off the table by itself, crashing to the floor. "Oh Nicholas, I didn't mean to break it. I just wanted to show you what I could do."
This made Nicholas jump up from his chair. He couldn't believe what he just witnessed. "How the hell did you do that?"
"With my mind."
"I don't think you should show me anymore right now. I think I've seen enough for today. You are a very remarkable woman, Elizabeth. Life with you will be definitely anything but boring," he chuckled when he saw the expression on her face.
Later that night, Elizabeth retired early to her room. She dressed for bed and sat at her dressing table brushing out her long dark hair. When she had finished, she laid her brush down and glanced one more time in the mirror. But it wasn't her reflection she saw looking back at her. It was a creature that was shaped like a bat but it had ram horns protruding from its head. She could see flames coming out around the lower side of its bat wings and it had a dragon-like tail and snout, with large fangs and bright red, glowing eyes. As soon as she made eye contact with this ugly creature, it shot fire out its mouth at her. She could feel the intense heat on her face causing her to let out a terrifying scream.
Instantly, Nicholas came rushing in and scooped her up into his arms. She was crying hysterically, burying her face in his chest.
"Oh my god, Elizabeth. What's wrong? Did you see something or did something happen? What is it? Please tell me!"
She cried even more into his chest until she didn't have any more tears left to shed.
He walked with her over to the bed and sat down and pulled her into his lap. "Can you tell me what's caused you so much fear?"
"Oh, Nicholas... it was awful. I had just finished brushing out my hair and looked at the mirror... but it wasn't my own reflection I saw. This horrible, ugly creature was staring back at me, it shot fire from its mouth and I felt the heat on my cheeks!" She put her hands on both sides of her face as she described how her face felt.
"It's gone now. You have nothing more to fear from it." He said, saying this only to try and calm her fears. But he didn't feel that way at all. He could feel every hair on his body standing up on end. "Maybe you should sleep in my room tonight. You'll be safe there. I promise you."
They stood up and walked together with his arm around her, to his room which was right next door to hers. As they entered she walked slowly over to the bed and climbed in. He pulled the covers up over her. He looked around and decided he would sleep on the sofa that was on the other side of the room.
"Nicholas, I'm afraid... to be alone. Will you sleep next to me tonight?" She asked, just above a whisper.
"Of course, my dear. If it will make you feel safer."
"Thank you..." she said innocently, not realizing the effect it had on him.
He walked around to the other side of the bed and removed his shirt and breeches and then climbed into the bed next to her. He cradled her in his arms until his passion became too great for him to control as his lips came down on hers roughly at first. Then passionately as his hands moved over her entire body. He removed her night dress quickly as she took in her breath on the speed he had done that. His lips now were on her breasts, moving from one to the other as she felt sensations rip through her body like she had never felt before when Nicholas buried his head into her supple breasts. His tongue was tantalizing her nipples, moving from one to the other, completely losing himself in her. She arched her back as he continued stroking her body until she became completely mesmerized with her own passion. "Oh Nicholas, I love you," she sighed and wrapped her arms around him holding him tightly against her own body. Her breath caught in her throat when his hand probed between her thighs. "I love you Elizabeth, more than anyone else in the world. Then she felt his hardness between her legs when he slid his full-length inside her. Slowly he began to move inside her as Elizabeth's passion mounted. With an urgent need to quench this fire that was burning inside her, her hips began moving naturally to meet his, thrust for thrust, until they both were taken to the full heights of their own passion.
As they both laid exhausted now in the aftermath of their lovemaking, Nicholas laid next to her gazing at her lovely face. He pushed back a strand of hair with his hand while she glanced back at him shyly from beneath her long, sultry lashes. He could still see a small spark of passion still smothering there in her half closed eyes. Gently, he placed a soft kiss upon her slightly swollen and bruised lips. Now they both finally fell sound asleep in each other’s arms, totally satisfied with each other.
Morning came as the sun was just starting to shine into the bedroom. She looked down at herself and realized she didn't have anything on. Feeling embarrassed, she quickly pulled the covers up under her chin.
Nicholas was lying on his side, smiling in amusement at her embarrassed expression. "There's nothing to be shy or ashamed about, Elizabeth. I love you more than life itself. We will be married as soon as we reach London, so you have nothing to fret about." With that said, he threw the covers off himself and climbed out of the bed. He put his pants and shirt on before walking over to the door. There he turned and faced her. "I'll see you downstairs for breakfast, try not to take too long. I'm starving!" He said, chuckling before disappearing through the door.
It didn't take Elizabeth long to return to her own room, got changed and was flying down the stairs, heading for the dining room. She was as hungry as he was.
When he saw her enter he got up and pulled out a chair for her to sit, then sat back down in his own chair. Louise was the only servant that had remained at Hillcrest Manor after all the horrible events that had happened here. They were all too afraid to come back even though the beasts were all gone now. He had brought Elizabeth's breakfast plate out of the kitchen when he got his so it would be ready for her when she came downstairs. He poured her a cup of Earl Grey tea and refilled his own. A wry look crossed his face. "You're not going to make this cup fly across the room, are you?" He laughed.
She almost choked on her piece of biscuit she had just put in her mouth. Quickly she raised her napkin to her mouth and then started laughing, seeing the humor in what he had just said. "You could have waited for me to at least swallow what I had in my mouth first." She was so glad that he was able to joke about her abilities. They continued laughing for a few more minutes and then concentrated on their breakfast.
After she finished eating everything on her plate she sat back wiping her mouth off with her napkin. "I can't believe I ate all of that," she said somewhat embarrassed. "A proper young lady never eats everything on her plate."
"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. If you're hungry, you should eat! Who makes up these silly rules, anyways?" He asked.
"I don't know but that's just how it is."
"Well, not in my house, that's for sure."
She just smiled at him, thinking now how blessed she was to have met him. Someone who didn't stand on the 'rules' of polite society and saw them as ridiculous as she did. "Nicholas, I need to find the amulet," she said in a more serious voice.
He looked at her not believing what he had just heard. "And why in god's name do you need to do that for? You said this house is clean. And we haven't had any more disturbances in months so? Does this have anything to do with what you saw in your mirror last night?" He was watching her every expression on her face and was wondering in his own mind why would she all of a sudden start talking about the amulet again?
"Yes. I've been getting very uneasy feelings of late. I can't really explain them. At first I thought I was just re-living the encounters with those horrible beasts that were here. But after last night, seeing that ugly creature in my mirror, I think it would be wise for us to look for my amulet. If my instincts are correct, than we must find it. We'll need all the protection we can get."
A look of shear horror came over Nicholas's face. Just remembering any part of what happened in this house made his skin crawl.
"If it's anywhere, it would have to be in the study," she said as she pushed her chair back and stood up. "We haven't been in there since I sent that beast straight to hell! Maybe when the black cloud took him away, the amulet may not have gone with him."
"Oh my god, Elizabeth! You don't think it's come back, do you?"
"I hope not but we better by ready if it does." With that being said, she headed off in the direction of the study.
"Well, you're not going in there by yourself! I'm coming with you," he said as he pushed his own chair back and followed right behind her.
They stopped in front of the study doors. They hadn't been in there for months. Not since that final day. Together they pushed the doors open. Inside they could see all of the broken furniture still cluttering up the room. There wasn't a piece not broken. Memories came flooding back for both of them as they entered. There was a large burnt area on the floor in the middle of the room. That's where hell opened up its gates and its minions came up and took the evil beast back with them. To hell, where he belonged and then the gates closed back up behind them.
In the middle of the burnt area, Elizabeth spotted her amulet necklace. Relief flooded through her. She instantly walked over and picked it up and slid it over her head. She closed her eyes and held the amulet itself in her hand for a few minutes. It didn't take long before she was connected once again with the old gypsy woman.
"Elizabeth. I am glad you have finally found your protection amulet. You are going to be in great need of it."
"I do not understand what's happening. I did exactly as you had instructed." She said, with her mind.
"I have made a grave error when we sent the beast straight to hell. It has only made him more powerful now. You must come see me in London, immediately. I have so much to tell you that has happened since we have been out of contact these last few months."
Elizabeth opened her eyes again and stared at Nicholas. "We must leave at once for London, Nicholas," she said, before quickly running out of the room and up the staircase to the second floor. "Come on, Nicholas! We must hurry!"
He shook his head for a moment and then hastily ran up the stairs after her.