Coffins in the dark…
The loud knocking on glass was deafening and it brought Marlyne abruptly awake from deep sleep.
At first, she thought it was coming from the glass window but then, she realized it was coming from the mirror at the wide dressing table directly across from the big bed in which she lay.
A strange gold key on a gold chain was now hanging over the wide mirror, swinging romantically to and fro like the pendulum of a clock. The knocking had stopped now like it was all a dream, but Marlyne knew it was no dream. She was really awake and she knew too that the gold chain had not been there at the dressing table last night; she’d sat down right there at the dressing table to comb her long hair like sh did each night before going to bed.
The hairs stood up on the back of Marlyne neck as she stared across at the mirror and the swinging gold chain. Cold shivers of fear ran through her body.
The bright lights in the big bedroom were all on now and Marlyne could clearly remember putting them out before going to bed. She preferred the dim lights on when she slept and those were on too.
Marlyne lay perfectly still in the big bed, her eyes darting around the large bedroom that used to be her mother’s, the fear raising goosebumps all over her skin, her heart beating fast. The sleep was completely gone now, it was just the fear.
There was no one in the room, no one else was in the big house. Marlyne was all alone in the family’s large country mansion where she had been for the last three days since returning home for mother’s funeral.
The funeral had taken place earlier that day and her Marlyne’s only sibling, her older sister had flown back to New York where she worked and lived. Marlyne had decided to stay over for a few more days to see to the sale of the house. and it’s the estate.
The doors of the house were all locked and the nearest neighbors were on the next estate up the road.
Marlyne was very much alone in the big mansion and as she listened carefully, the knocking never came again. All was dead quiet as it should be, but the gold key was still there and it did not stop swinging to and fro on its hook.
Who in God’s name had put the key-chain there and how had the person gotten in? thought Marlyne.
Heart pounding in her throat, she got out of bed and went over to the dressing table. Her blood ran completely cold as she recognized the gold key-chain her mother always wore around her neck for as long as she could remember. The chain had gone missing when her mother died at the hospital and no traces of it had been found anywhere.
Marlyne thought carefully about sitting down at the dressing table the night before. No, the key hadn’t been there last night. She had been using this room and the dressing table constantly for three days now and not even the nail from which the chain hung now had been there. The white wall had been smooth and spotless above the wide mirror like it was around the room and the rest of the mansion which had been freshly painted only a month ago.
Marlyne looked quickly around the empty room again then she crossed slowly, cautiously, over to the door and tried the handle.
The door was locked and so were the windows which kept out the cold winds of late July.
Feeling completely confused now, Marlyne went back to the dressing table and lifted the gold chain from the hook with trembling hands. She stared at the gold key in her palm.
She couldn’t identify the key positively, of course, but she knew the very door it opened, had known since she was a child. Ever since her father went missing when she was nine years old, Marlyne had been seeing her mother going down into the callers through the iron door under the stairs. She always went alone and only at night when she thought no one was watching. No one else ever went down there with her, no one was even allowed near the door, not the servants, never Marlyne or her sister.
Once, about six years ago when she turned eighteen, Marlyne had asked her mother directly about the door but had been bluntly told never to go near it or ask again.
Marlyne never did either until she moved out of the house for good. Now she was back, her mother was dead and the key was in her hand. But from where had it come?
MarlYne glanced at the clock high on one wall. It was fifteen minutes past twelve midnight.
She couldn’t sleep anymore and her curiosity to know what was down in the callers was overwhelming now as it had always been before when she was a child.
Marlyne went over to the bedroom door, got it unlocked, opened it and went out into the wide hallway. She stood there listening intensely for several moments but heard nothing.
Marlyne walked the short distance down the wide hallway to the stairs and went down. The door to the cellars was on the ground floor, directly underneath the stairs.
There was not a sound to be heard anywhere in the big house, it was completely empty and as quiet as a graveyard. This hadn’t bothered Marlyne before, the vast emptiness, she had grown up here, but it bothered her now, scared her.
Marlyne soon reached the door. She inserted the key into the lock with trembling hands, turned it.
The lock turned over easily, twice, but the door stayed closed. Marlyne turned the handle and pushed inward. The door swung smoothly open on well-oiled hinges but beyond it was darkness.
From the light behind her, Marlyne found a switch on the wall and flipped it. A bulb came on overhead, lighting up narrow stairs leading straight downwards below ground level.
Marlyne went down the stairs slowly, cautiously. At the bottom of the stairs, was another door. It was secured with two big bolt. She undid the bolts easily, pushed the door open and walked in but abruptly stopped at the sight she beheld in within the room.
An overhead light had come on automatically and the big room was well lit.
Marlyne stared in horror a room full of coffins!
The room was big and long and there were about twelve coffins in all, each lying flat on a table. six coffins to the left, six to the right, all with glass surfaces.
Marlyne’s legs carried her forward and she was shocked to see that each coffin contained a well preserved life-like body. Marlyne stared in horror at the body in the first coffin. It was the well-preserved body of a man who looked a lot like her father! His large framed photograph was all over the living room in the house and so she recognized him well even though he went missing when she was only nine. It was over fifteen years now and the man she was looking at looked like he was only asleep whereas he was definitely dead, had been for nearly two decades. The light blue color of his skin was not right for a living person.
Marlyne’s legs carried her on down the row of coffins as she looked into each one, staring at the well-preserved bodies through the glass lids. They all had well-preserved bodies in them but she didn’t recognize anyone. She walked on until she came to the last coffin and the sight of the body in it nearly made her scream.
In the last coffin, exactly the way she had been buried in the cemetery yesterday, was her mother!
As Marlyne stared in horror at the fresh corpse of her mother in the coffin, the loud knocking on the glass which had awakened her in the bedroom came again and she whirled around in fear to see the glass lid of one of the other coffins opening…..
Note…This story is just a teaser in preparation for what will be one of my best stories ever. The novel will be out soon enough.
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