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Chapter 14

It was late afternoon by the time they finished their meal and headed upstairs. Two of the servants carried the coffin up all three flights, and placed it next to his grandmother’s bed. The two servants were exhausted and now terrified being on the forbidden third floor. The rooms were in complete disarray with broken furniture everywhere and cobwebs so thick that they jumped every time they walked into one.

Carefully Nicholas and Elizabeth lifted his grandmother’s bones off the bed and placed them gently in the coffin, and then Elizabeth laid what was left of Mary’s hands together across her chest so she could finally be at rest and closed the lid.

“Let’s get this moved downstairs, now” Nicholas said, looking over at the two scared men.

Their eyes were as large as saucers staring back at him. Standing there frozen in place, unable to move. They had always heard rumors of something happening up here and knew this floor had been locked many years ago and forbidden for anyone to ever enter. But here they were. The rumors didn’t even come close to what had to have happened up here. They never dreamed there could be a dead body, one that had been here for so long, it was nothing more than a skeleton.

Nicholas tried again to get the two men moving. “I said, let’s get this moved downstairs, at once. I don’t want to be up here any longer than you do, so the sooner we leave the better.”

The two servants responded to Nicholas. They came over with one on each side and helped Nicholas carry it to the top of the staircase.

Elizabeth felt a chill come over her. The temperature in the room began to drop.

“Stop, Nicholas. Wait! Don’t take her away yet!” She screamed at the three men. Instantly the two servants dropped the coffin, causing it to crash to the floor and then tried to run down the staircase. But it was already too late for them to escape. They felt something cold grab them and it threw them roughly down the stairs, screaming cries of pain as they hit each step along the way, until they landed in a heap at the bottom. Neither one of them were moving now.

Nicholas whirled around to face Elizabeth. “What the hell is happening now? I thought you said this house was … clean! That the evil spirit had crossed over. I don’t understand!”As soon as Nicholas got those words out of his mouth, he felt himself lifted up and thrown across the room landing next to his grandmother’s bed.

Now the angry spirit turned to Elizabeth. She could see his eyes glowing at her. The stench coming from it was almost unbearable. She reached down to grab the amulet but it wasn’t around her neck. Instantly she tried to remember what happened to it. Nicholas didn’t have it either. He had been wearing it the last time they were up here but … the beast had sent it flying across the room. She had to find it quickly but the spirit grabbed her and sent her flying in the direction of the staircase where she hit the coffin, causing it to fall down the stairs. It landed right on top of the two servants who had just started to regain consciousness. They let out a terrified screech as they both tried to get the coffin off of them. They knocked it upside down so they could get out from underneath it, but their actions caused Mary’s skeleton to fall out and land right on top of them. Screams of sheer terror now escaped from their mouths as they scrambled as fast as they could to get the bones off of them. Throwing them back into the coffin anyway they could.

“Nicholas, we have to get out of here … now! We have no protection!”

Nicholas tried to make his way to the staircase but the beast was blocking his escape. It turned to face him. Its eyes were glowing so bright, they lit up the room. Elizabeth scrambled to her feet and yelled down at the two servants. “Get the coffin out of here, now! Take it downstairs … to the parlor.”

The servants were terrified. They didn’t want to pick up this coffin again and move it. They just wanted to get the hell out of this house! Elizabeth ran down the stairs to where the two servants were. She yelled at them again to move the coffin.“Now!” She screamed, this time she was face to face with them. The two servants got up and dragged the coffin the best they could through the doorway of the second floor.

Elizabeth ran back upstairs to try and help Nicholas before it was too late. She started screaming at the beast who had Nicholas trapped on the other side of the room. It turned back to her, now realizing the coffin was gone. It charged at her, as it let out an ear piecing screech, giving Nicholas time to escape to the staircase. He grabbed Elizabeth’s hand as he ran down the stairs with her in tow. The beast let out another ear piecing roar, causing the upstairs door to go flying off its hinges. But Nicholas and Elizabeth were already at the second floor doorway as they ran through that, they slammed it shut. Locking it once again.

“Do you think this locked door will keep it out?” He asked, breathing hard from his encounter with this newest beast.

“I hope so, Nicholas. This one doesn’t seem as strong as the other one. Maybe … we trapped it upstairs?”

“I sure as hell hope so.” He replied. The noise upstairs suddenly stopped as quickly as it had started, giving both Nicholas and Elizabeth a sigh of relief.

“Why don’t you check on Sarah and I’ll go downstairs to make sure that the servants got my grandmother’s coffin down safely. With that he sped down the hall and disappeared.

Elizabeth tapped on Sarah’s door before entering. She could see her in the bed with the covers pulled up over her head, again. “Sarah? Are you okay?”

“Is it over yet, Elizabeth? … I’m so afraid.”

“Yes, I do believe it’s over … for now that is.”

Sarah pulled the covers off her head and looked wide eyed at Elizabeth. “I thought you said … it was … gone?” She stuttered.

“Yes I did too, but … this is another one. I don’t know … who or why it’s here. Please try not to be afraid. I will somehow get it to crossover. I’m sure I will.” She said, with as much confidence as she could muster. “Now I need to go downstairs to help your father. Try to rest if you can.” With that said, she turned and left the room, hoping Nicholas was already in the parlor with his grandmother’s coffin intact.

When she entered the foyer on the first floor, she saw that the coffin was in the middle of the floor. The lid was open, exposing his grandmother’s skeletal remains. The two servants that had dragged it downstairs had now fled out the front door, swearing they would never come back to this place … ever again. The rest of the servants at hearing the commotion in the foyer, came rushing in to see what was happening. When they saw the heap of bones that were piled in the coffin, they fled as well out the front door with the exception of Louise, who was standing next to Nicholas.

“There all gone … Elizabeth.” Nicholas said, as he saw her take the last step on the staircase. “The servants. All of them … are gone …with the exception of Louise. As soon as my grandmother’s coffin made it to the first floor. The lid opened … exposing her skeleton. It sent them all screaming instantly out the front door.

Elizabeth stepped over next to him. His face was distraught.“Well … why don’t the three of us move your grandmother into the parlor? It’s not that far to go. I think we can manage it.” She said, looking at him with concern.

He just nodded his head in agreement, closed the lid of the coffin as the three of them carried it the rest of the way to the parlor. Once there, Louise excused herself seeing that Nicholas and Elizabeth needed to be alone. They now had to try to put his grandmother’s skeleton back together again. It was a pain staking ordeal to accomplish. Her bones were so old and brittle that they had to be extremely careful not to break any more of them that hadn’t been already broken, when her coffin turned upside down. Finally after about an hour they had finished their task.

They both stood there now next to the coffin, in silence. Each lost in their own thoughts.

“Don’t you think this would be a good time to go get cleaned up, again?” She asked, looking over at Nicholas. He had cobwebs stuck in his hair. His clothes were filthy as well as hers.

“Yes. You’re probably right.” He said, looking over at Elizabeth now, seeing her disheveled appearance. He took her by the hand and escorted her out of the parlor. They made their way back upstairs and to their own bedrooms to quickly get their clothes changed and whatever else that needed to be done. After twenty minutes, Nicholas was becoming impatient waiting in the hallway for Elizabeth to come out of her bedroom. So he decided he would just have to hurry her up. He knocked on her door and entered when he heard her voice. “My god, woman. How long does it take to change your clothes?”

“I’m sorry Nicholas. I’m finished now.”

“It’s starting to get late, do you think we should leave for the Inn again? I sure would hate to meet that evil spirit in the dark. It’s hard enough to deal with in the daytime.”

“Maybe you’re right. It would be better to leave and then return again in the morning. “

“Well, why don’t you pack your overnight bag while we’re up here, then we can check in on Sarah. We have to let her know what we’re doing.”

Within a few minutes they were at Sarah’s door. They knocked first before entering. “Sarah, we have to leave again, tonight. But you’ll be safe here, like before. I really don’t think this evil spirit would do you any harm.” Elizabeth said, in the best way she could. She was trying to put Sarah’s mind at ease. The poor child was so frightened.

“I … understand … Elizabeth. Please keep my father, safe.”

“I will, honey. I will guard him with my life. I give you my word.”

“I know … you will.”

“What’s she saying, Elizabeth? Does she understand why we have to leave again?”

“Yes, she does, Nicholas. She’s more concerned about your safety than her own.”

That broke his heart, that his own daughter would put his safety over hers. “Sarah, I love you so much.”

“I love you too, father.”

Elizabeth took Nicholas by the hand and led him out of the room. They made their way downstairs to find Louise. They wanted to let her also know that they were leaving again for the Inn.

“Would you like a light supper before you go?”

Nicholas looked over at Elizabeth before he answered. “No thank you, Louise. We’ll eat something when we get to the Inn, and will return again in the morning.”

“Very good, your lordship,” she replied, nodding her head.

They went outside to find the stable boy but he had forgotten all the servants had fled the estate. Once they entered the stables, he turned to Elizabeth. “It will be impossible to take the carriage now, can you ride a horse, Elizabeth?”

“Of course, I can. My father gave me riding lessons as a child. But, it’s been quite a while since I’ve ridden.

“Excellent!” He said. He grabbed a bridle off the stall door and put it on the horse that was there. He led her out and then saddled her. Handing Elizabeth the reins. He moved to the next stall and did the same thing with his horse. Once he had him saddled, they led them out of the stables. He gave Elizabeth a leg up on her horse and then mounted his. They headed out of the estate and down the road that led to the Inn.

It had been several years since she had ridden and had forgotten how much she enjoyed riding. They nudged their horses into a canter so they could get the Inn, sooner. It wasn’t long when they pulled their horses to a stop. Nicholas jumped down and tied his horse to the hitching post then turned to Elizabeth to assist her off her horse. But she had already dismounted by herself which surprised Nicholas.

“Well, madam, I see you’re quite the horse woman,” he said, pleased with her riding abilities.

“Like I told you, my father taught me well.”

That caused Nicholas to throw back his head and burst out laughing. She just stared at him, thinking he was making fun of her. “I don’t see the humor in this,” she snapped at him.

“No, no Elizabeth. I wasn’t laughing at you. I thought it was wonderful that you are such a fine horsewoman.” Now she was embarrassed. No one had ever told her that before and she wasn’t sure how to take such a compliment.

“Shall we go in my dear? I’m starving.” He reached over and took her overnight bag and carried it in for her.

The innkeeper was smiling again when he saw them enter. “You’re here earlier tonight, your lordship.”

“Yes, please take our bags upstairs, we would like to have a light supper before we retire.”

The innkeeper did as he was told and sped upstairs quickly to do his bidding.

“Shall we go into the dining room, my dear?” He asked, as they walked in and found a table near the fireplace.

The serving wrench rushed over the moment they sat down. “What can I get for you this evening, your lordship?”

He looked over at Elizabeth and then back to the serving wrench. He ordered for the both of them. “A plate of meats, cheeses and some bread. A glass of sherry for the lady here and a brandy for me.”

With their order taken, she rushed to the kitchen to fetch it. When she returned, she placed the platter of meats and cheeses on the table, then a basket of various breads. The innkeeper himself came up behind her with a glass of sherry and a bottle of his best brandy.

“Thank you that will be all we require for this evening.” Nicholas said, nonchalantly, dismissing them both and then turned back to Elizabeth.

The innkeeper called for his stable boy to unsaddle their horses and put them in the barn for the night. Once they finished eating, they sat back in their chairs enjoying the warmth from the fireplace. A log would pop with a bright flame and then return to a small crackling sound. Nicholas poured himself another glass of brandy while Elizabeth was still sipping on her sherry. She had never had any kind of liquor before and it was making her feel light headed. “Whenever you’re ready, my dear we can retire to our rooms,” he said, taking another sip of brandy.

“I don’t think I can finish all of this sherry, Nicholas. I’m feeling a little woozy.”

Nicholas sat his glass down on the table and walked over to Elizabeth and helped her to her feet. “I guess I should have warned you about sherry, my dear. I didn’t know you never had drank it before.”

“No, I haven’t but it does make me feel all warm inside.”

“Here, take my arm and I will assist you upstairs to your room.”

“Thank you, Nicholas. You are so kind to me, she said, as they left the dining room and went upstairs. He opened her door for her and followed her into the room. She sat down on the bed as he took her shoes off and placed them on the floor. He looked into her overnight bag and found a night dress and pulled it out and handed it to her. She tried to unbutton her dress but her fingers didn’t want to work right. She tried over and over again but had the same result.

Nicholas pushed her hands away and unbuttoned it for her. He pulled it over her head and laid it over a chair that was nearby. Her hair had come loose when he pulled her dress off and it was now cascading over her shoulders. She was sitting there ever so innocently, in only her chemise. He could see her breasts were over-flowing the top and begging to be let out. His mind was reeling, every inch of his being wanted to make love to her. She was so beautiful sitting there, waiting for him to make her his own.

He couldn’t stand it another minute. He pushed her down gently on the bed, kissing her deeply. His hands were now on her breasts, massaging them until they came to peaks.

“I love you, Elizabeth more than any other woman I have ever known,” he whispered, hoarsely, his hands had finally freed her breasts from the chemise as he moved his lips down her neck. She let out a small gasp when his lips reached her breast. Nicholas was now in a frenzy to make her his own. He rolled atop her and mounted her, slowly at first. Her eyes had opened wide as soon as he entered her. He blocked the momentary pain she felt with a deep, passionate kiss. Then he began moving faster and faster as their passion rose until finally they reached their peak and he relaxed on top of her. He rose up on his arms to look at her face. He could still see the passion that was there.

“I’m sorry, Elizabeth, I really didn’t mean for this to happen. But … seeing you … I just couldn’t help myself.” He rolled off her now and stood up next to the bed. He covered her up and quietly left her room.

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