When I posted it, almost a year ago now, I wasn't sure if I was going to write more. I liked the story a lot, but I didn't really know how I wanted to continue it. And since I liked it so much, I figured I'd share it with you guys. WELL...I wrote some more, and I'm going to post now! I figured I posted the beginning for you guys, I might as well continue on with it. I'm thinking I'm going to turn this into a short story, and post snippets here until it's finished. And I promise it won't take me a year this time to post another!
I hope you guys like it!
Maggie sat in the parlor staring at the painting of her likeness hanging above the fireplace. It was an odd thing, that painting, because every time she looked at it, it was different.
Sometimes it was a small change — her hands were in a different position, her hair was down instead of up, her dress was trimmed in burgundy instead of gold. Other times, like now, the change was drastic.
Today, in the painting, she was dead.
Her skin was leathery and ashen gray. Her usually blue eyes were cloudy and sunk so far in the sockets they looked like pearls in a clamshell.
Her dress was nothing but tattered dirty rags stitched together by roots and cobwebs, and her hair had turned silver and patchy.
Maggie tilted her head to the side, as if changing the angle of her observation would change the painting as well.
She wasn’t sure what this meant. She wasn’t sure what the house was trying to tell her. And it was surely trying to tell her something.
Though Maggie had only lived in Cromwell Mansion a total of forty-seven days, it was all the time she needed to know the house was not just a house. She thought perhaps it was just as alive as the people inhabiting it.
Of course, she’d heard the gossip in town. How could she not? Everywhere she went, people were talking about it. The curse, that is. And the house that now sat in the center of it.
People said the curse originated with a slaughtering in the hills a century ago, though no one told quite the same story about it. It was as if the legend changed in the same way Maggie’s painting did.
Some said the land was cursed after a battle between the American settlers and the Native Americans who had inhabited it.
Some said it was a plague.
Some said it was a dispute between lovers that took out an entire village.
Though the people in town disagreed on the legend itself, they were in consensus about one thing — whatever haunted the hills was pure evil.
Maggie wasn’t sure if she believed that part. She’d been living in the house long enough that she felt particularly well-informed on all matters of the walls surrounding her. And whatever was here in Cromwell Mansion, it was neither good, nor evil.
After all, every person in this godforsaken town had a little of both in them.
For instance, the woman who owned the dress shop considered herself a very religious woman. Devoted to god, to her church, and to anything else that had anything to do with religion, but she was also sleeping with the mayor, who was a married man. Married to a woman who was not the dress shop lady.
And the butcher sometimes offered scraps to beggar children, but when his shop closed for the night, he went to the pub and got so inebriated, he had to be carried home. And that was after he gambled away nearly most of his profits in a game of cards.
Maggie sometimes wondered if her goodness, and her badness, were weighed against each other on a scale, if her badness would hang a bit lower than her goodness.
She didn’t sleep with married men, and she didn’t drink herself stupid, but she did have a nasty secret she’d been carrying around for some time. And if anyone found out, well…her life would change irrevocably.
I suppose you’re wondering what this terrible secret is? At this point in the story, so was I. I’m a house, you see, not a mind reader. I knew there was something off about Maggie — I just wasn’t sure what.
So, did I kill her for justice? Or did I kill her to recruit someone as equally damned as me?
You’ll have to wait to find out.