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The Secrets of Valo Hall - Part One

Part One - A strange book mysteriously appears. But just who - or what - is trying to get Catherine's attention?

By Rebecca SmithPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
The Secrets of Valo Hall - Part One
Photo by Eleanor Brooke on Unsplash

Catherine loved books. She’d spend hours in the library, reading through everything she would come across. It didn’t matter what genre it was; she’d read it all.

Early one morning, about 02:30, she couldn’t sleep, so decided to walk across the road to her University Library. She felt almost compelled to go straight to the fourth floor. No book caught her eye as she made her way to the back of the building to get the lift. This was unusual – she usually couldn’t walk more than a few steps without being side-tracked by a books’ cover.

As she got out of the lift on the fourth floor, she turned to her left. Laying there, in the middle of the floor, was a single book. Catherine looked around to see if anyone was about who may have dropped it, but there was no one. Not a sound could be heard. Of course, that isn’t unusual in a library, but there was usually the sound of someone typing on a keyboard that could be heard in the background. This was a university library after all. Catherine picked the book up.

“The Secrets of Valo Hall,” she whispered. “How strange.”

The book looked almost Victorian – hardback, ornate gold decoration on the spine, thin pages. It even had that old book smell. But despite the look, it was also incredibly well looked after. No pages were torn, there was no discolouration. The spine was perfect and unbroken. Catherine took it over to the table, as she placed it down, the book flipped open. Landing on page 62. Catherine looked around. There were no windows open. No draft. Nothing to suggest the turning of a book like that.

Ordinarily, anyone else would leave the book and run home. But Catherine had always been too inquisitive for her own good. This was the girl who outed her uncle’s affair when she was just six years old. She wanted to know what was in the book, so she took to reading it.

Ages went by. She was completely consumed by the book. Reading page after page without taking a break. She was almost at the end, when the sound of someone opening an energy drink made her jump. She looked round - a young boy, in the middle of yawning, looked back at her sheepishly.

“Sorry!” he mouthed.

She smiled at him, before noticing that the library was now full of people, and it was bright outside. She looked at her phone, it was 9am. She had somehow been reading this book for nearly six hours. It didn’t feel that long, but she had made good progress. She knew this book was going to become her new obsession. The last one, The Goldfinch, had consumed her for a few weeks, but The Secrets of Valo Hall had quickly surpassed that. ‘I wonder if it’s based on a real place?’ She thought to herself.

Catherine logged into a computer. The first search that came up, was a picture of the very place. ‘It’s real!’ She smiled to herself. A quick search for directions, and she found out that it was only about two hours away. Just outside of a small village – Hermanni.

Hermanni was a quiet village, hidden behind a dense forest. It housed a population of only twenty-five; the servants of Valo Hall. An old Manor so dilapidated, that you’d hardly believe anyone actually lived there. Valo Hall had long been forgotten in time. The legend of the spirit that haunted its rooms, hadn’t past anyone’s lips in centuries.

When Catherine arrived at Hermanni, she felt a strange presence. Like someone was standing next to her, but there was no one there. The village was still. It was almost like a ghost town. Catherine wandered down the cobbled path, taking in her surroundings. Dotted around were small bungalows. Only big enough for one bedroom. But they all looked the same, and there was nothing lavish about them. They were old and falling apart. Catherine almost thought she’d stumbled across a film set. But just as she drifted off into thoughts of cameramen and actors with scripts, someone tapped her on the shoulder. She gasped and turned around. A woman stood before her.


About the Creator

Rebecca Smith


Just be f*cking nice 🙌

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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