Hollowed Manor stood tall within the dead still of the night. The grounds were spick and span in preparation for a wedding. The groom was a young Mr. Louis McCallister and the bride was Ms.Genevive Haus. Their family and friends were gathered within Hollowed Manor's various sitting rooms, sipping on cocktails and visiting before the big day. An elderly caretaker stood to the side, watching the guests chatter away. He enjoyed the loud noise when most of the time, the facility lay empty and quiet with nobody but the staff around.
The bride turned towards him. "Sir?" She asked very polietly. The caretaker nodded. "What is your name?"
"Stark," he replied curtly.
"Care to join us for a drink?" He smiled a toothy grin. "Why Miss, I would love to have one with all of you." He strode over to the bar and was handed a glass of whiskey. Nodding his thanks, he returned back to his post by the window. The groom looked at him quizically. "You must have worked here for a while."
"Only my whole life. My parents worked within the kitchen of Hollowed Manor when I was a small child."
One of the groomsmen shuffled his chair a little closer to the caretaker. "Why don't you tell us a story about Hollowed Manor? This place is legendary with historical facts." Stark chuckled wryly “A story, eh?”
“I’m sure you’re full of them, old man.” A young woman teased gently.
The bride and groom joined hands. "And with you being here for as long as you have, I'm very certain you have got a few good ones for us."
Stark paused, deep in thought before he finished his drink. He cleared his throat. “Do you people know how Hollowed Manor got its name?” The small group shook their heads. The elderly caretaker paused a moment before continuing.”I suppose any good story starts with a ghost, this one has got a few in it. This is but just one of the many stories people speak of around these parts. But legend has it, years ago, in this very town, lived an extremely powerful family, their names forgotten in the times as this story has been told generation after generation. The lady of the manor was a wondrous, beautiful, kind soul. The kind of woman who just lived and breathed love. Some people even referred to her as a goddess in the past as she spent a great deal of time working with the High Church and helping to feed the lost ones. The Lord was a devilishly handsome but cruel man of great evil. A horrifically cruel, greedy bastard. He allegedly did a lot of work overseas but truth be told nobody really seemed to be sure of what that work entailed. He was described as appearing stone-like in his expressions. You never could truly read his cloudy, stoic face. Together they had two children, twins. A son and a daughter.”
The flames flickered viciously as the logs from the fire cracked, catching the crowds attention. Stark stood up abruptly and strode across the room to where the half-empty bottle of whiskey resided. He poured another glass straight to the rim of his used cocktail glass. Slinging the glass back, he took a long gulp of whiskey before sighing heavily. “Both children were exceptionally intelligent. Their son was desperately charming, and just as devilishly handsome as the Lord. Their daughter was just as beautiful and kind as the Lady was, if not even more beautiful. From descriptions of her, she was described to have the most beautiful soul. But their legacy, and er.. Well..” Stark coughed thickly. “Curse.. I suppose..” He paused. “One would say her curse still affects anyone who attempts to find her alleged lost treasure.”
The young man asked hesitantly “What is this said curse?”
Stark cleared his throat, eyes darting nervously to the roaring flames that sat before him. “Ye go mad my boy. Start experiencing horrific things, and I mean truly horrific visions. Things that your worst nightmares wouldn't even be made out of.” He sighed deeply and finished his glass of warm whiskey. “Anyone who allegedly came across that damn treasure has killed themselves… due to the madness.” His steel-grey eyes were back locked in on the dancing flames.
The young man chuckled. "Well is anyone down for a treasure hunt?"
The young bride to be laughed. "It's a little late don't you think." She gestured to the elderly caretaker. "Is there anymore to the story? Can you tell us where this treasure lay buried?"
Raising an eyebrow slowly he retorted. "Ye got a death wish or something? I believe that it lay somewhere within the pear trees on the western side of the property. But I wouldn't recommend looking for it. The treasure is protected by all four of those poor unfortunate souls. As legend has it, the Lord's evil curse affects his wife and two children, even within their afterlife. Strange as it sounds, I like to believe that is why the treasure forces people to go mad. Because of the agony that the other souls are in due to his evil."
Chloe Rose Violet