††††††††† Iíve never kept a journal before, or any kind of diary.† I donít know whatís prompted me to start Ö† That isnít strictly true.† I guess that, if Iím going to do this, I should be honest.† I mean, whoís going to read it?† No one except me so I may as well tell the truth.† The whole truth.
††††††††† The reason Iíve started to write this is because the people I work for all keep journals.† Iíve never read whatís inside Ė that would be unethical Ė but I have seen them writing in these books. †They all seem to look the same Ė a sort of brown, possibly leather, cover, and thereís the same device embossed on the front as is on the main door.† Itís almost like a schoolbook and, as they all perform this task religiously every day, I think it must be a requirement.
††††††††† Thatís strange because Dr Rayne Ė hereafter referred to as DR or Derek Ė isnít a strict man.† Yes, he has standards which must be met and adhered to but he is in no way a disciplinarian.† Iíve never worked for a more understanding man.† And this organization Ė the Luna Foundation Ė isnít, or doesnít appear to be, a strict, rule bound society.† But, if keeping a daily journal is a requirement, I guess there must be rules of which I am unaware and discipline is working hard behind the scenes.
††††††††† The other reason Iíve begun this Ė and I have no idea how long my discipline will last Ė is because, in a few days, Iím going on the annual trip.† It feels reasonable to me that the preparations prior to and the activity we undertake during the trip should be noted down for posterity .. even though no one is ever going to read this!
††††††††† All right then.† As this is the first day, or Day 1, of my journal, Iíll introduce myself.† This seems pretty dumb because I know who I am.† However, there are certain formalities to be addressed and, if I introduce myself, Iíll find it easier to record the actions of others and, more importantly, my opinions of them.
††††††††† My name is Andrew Christopher Todd.† I am 34 years of age.† I was born in northern California, near to Mendocino at a place called Littleriver.† Itís right on the coast, a very pretty area, but, like all kids in their middle teens, I could not wait to get away.† My present occupation is a butler.† My current position is butler in a large manor house on an island in San Francisco Bay.† Angel Island, to be precise.† I came into this position by a stroke of sheer good luck.† It was about a year ago Ė I was in the hospital recovering from a fall down an elevator shaft (I bounced), and DR and Peri Ė more about her later Ė were in the room opposite mine.† DRís butler had died in a bus wreck in England and he was looking to hire a replacement.† Talk about being in the right place at the right time.† He interviewed me Ė me in bed, him in his PJs and robe Ė and I got the job.† Iíve been here ever since.† I trained to be a butler in Los Angeles.† I began working there Ė serving at high profile catered parties for the rich and famous.† But overseeing hired in waiters and waitresses wasnít the job Iíd trained to do.† Being a butler is so much more than serving.† In fact .. thinking about it, Iím still not doing the job I was trained to do.† Iím doing more.† Here, Iím .. well, I guess Iím a domestic steward.† I have my own set of rooms Ė very spacious rooms too Ė if I canít get home (and you wouldnít believe the weather here sometimes).† I have total authority in the domestic affairs of this house.† If DR runs the Luna Foundation, I run his house for him.† Iím his steward.† I like the responsibility.
††††††††† Of the permanent residents, there are 2 plus 2.† Thereís DR, of course, as the owner of the house, and the other in the first group is a lady called Alex Moreau.† She is absolutely charming.† A native of Baton Rouge.† Sheís been here some time.† DR was born here, in the house, but he was sent to school elsewhere.† He picked up an accent (sounds European) and heís never lost it.
††††††††† I put it as 2 plus 2 for a reason.† The second group of 2 have properties in Tiburon and so, while they mostly live here, often they donít.† One of the properties is newly bought and they are fixing it up, or will do once they agree on what needs to be fixed.† These 2 are husband and wife Ė Nick and Peri Boyle.† Nick is about my age, I guess; Peri is a few years younger.† He works for the Luna Foundation, she doesnít, officially, but she helps out.† He is a former SEAL.† She Ö† I have no idea what she does apart from help out and smoke in my kitchen.† She thinks I donít know but I can smell it.†
††††††††† There are 2 others who are not residents but are frequent visitors Ė Dr Rachel Corrigan and her daughter Katherine, or Kat.† Rachel is a medical doctor and psychiatrist, her daughter is in school.
††††††††† For speed of writing, Iíll refer to all these people by their initials or first names.
††††††††† Okay, to todayís events (this is a diary): Drake rang this morning to check my availability for the annual trip.† I told him that, yes, I intended to go.† He told me I had to take my own bag and supply all the food.† It would be a full group of 4 going this year.† I agreed.† Iíve saved so I have the cash to make all the purchases.† Tomorrow, Iíll make up the list of what I need to get and fit it in with my usual trip to the grocery store for the house.
††††††††† I am very excited about the trip but Iím also feeling guilty that Iím leaving these people to fend for themselves for 10 whole days.† AM tells me I shouldnít give it a second thought, that theyíll be fine and, when I get back, the kitchen will be exactly as I left it.† I have my doubts on that.
††††††††† More tomorrow.
††††††††† All right, Iím doing this as an experiment and it is definitely short term.† When itís over, Iíll have to burn this notebook because itíll have sensitive information in it.† The other reason Iím doing this is because I get so tired of watching Nicky scribbling in his journal every night before he can come to bed.† I figure I may as well try scribbling in my journal as well.† If nothing else, itíll help pass the time while I wait for him.
††††††††† Today, we went to take our first good look at the new house.† Weíve been back from San Stefano a few days and time away like that always means a few days more in catching up.† Fortunately, nothing major blew up here while we were all there Ė not Legacy, nor Flamefall (thatís the first sensitive thing!).
††††††††† The new house is .. different.† Big.† Extremely big.† The people who lived there before had some very strange ideas on decoration.† Half the first floor is done out like a theater.† The foyer is mind boggling.† Itís all dark reds, burgundy flock wallpaper, and gilt, and there are 4 plaster curly haired, fat cheeked cherubs in the ceiling corners.† They have to go.† If the boss (sensitive thing #2) ever calls by and sees them, heíll go ballistic.† The lounge is set up like a movie house.† Rows and rows of red velvet chairs.† Huge screen TV on the end wall.† Nick wants to keep the TV.† The seats have to go as well.† Once theyíre out, he could turn that room into a basketball court.† Itís huge.† There are 12 (yes, 12) columns supporting the second floor.† Floor to ceiling windows give a great view west over the yard (think major piece of landscaping here).† The kitchenís a disaster area.† Itís like a cave.† Dark.† Big but it seems a lot smaller.† Thatíll all have to be stripped out and remodeled.† Nicky likes the southern end of the house best (and the huge TV) but Iím not convinced about the statues.† Thereís the 4 car garage, behind which is the gym Ė or will be.† One static bike and 2 hand weights (not that heavy) do not constitute a gym Ė so says the super fit former SEAL, and I agree.† Next to that is the pool room.† The interior pool.† Yes, there are 2 Ė 1 inside, 1 outside.† The inside 1 is the 1 with the enormous Greek god style statues in the corners.† Thereís a control panel which is used to retract the entire north wall of this room.† It slides round and opens the inside pool to the outside pool, making 1 big pool.† Thereís a huge deck, patio, barbecue area there, all sheltered from the elements (and, boy, do we get a lot of elements) by the second floor overhang.† Nick loves the pools and is especially enthusiastic about the wet bar.† I wonder why. J
††††††††† Upstairs, on the second floor, itís more theater style dťcor.† Even the restroom is cubicles like youíd find in a movie house.† It has to go.† The master bed is big, overlooks the rear yard.† I actually like the dťcor in there but weíll have to talk about the mirrors.† The previous owners were strange people Ö
††††††††† Upstairs again, third floor, rooms are smaller but with a lot of potential.† Nickyís already laid claim to 2 of them.† One for his pool table, the other for his den/office.† His private space.† He wants to see if he can convert some of the basement space for a shooting range.
††††††††† Itís going to take big bucks to turn it into the home we want.† That I can easily afford.† Itís also going to take time, a far more precious resource.† First, we have to decide what needs to go.† Letís get the messy work done first.
††††††††† Other events Ė Alex is still being a little bitchy about San Stefano and the way I just took off like that.† She feels Iím not a team player.† I didnít give them the opportunity to go ask all their questions.† It may be over, permanently, but Alex feels she canít close the file because there are no answers to how and why and who.† Derek, too, was, in my opinion, a little insensitive following our return.† He said I was cold blooded, even for me.† Well .. díuh!† If heíd been there and lived thru it like we all did, he wouldnít have questioned anything.† There again, he wasnít there, he doesnít know, and Iíve still to decide whether to tell them.† They donít remember the other version of that night because, to them, it didnít happen.† So do I tell them they died, or do I put up with the cool looks and soft remarks?† Itís a rerun of what didnít happen after Colorado Springs Ė and the only reason itís happening now is because Iím here.† Maybe I should take off for a while.† Let them get their balance back.† I wonít always be able to ease them into my abrupt bursts of action.† Theyíll have to get used to me just doing stuff.
††††††††† Okay, thatís enough for today.† Nickyís putting his book away and he has a gleam in his eye.† More tomorrow Ö
††††††††† Dear Diary Ė today Iíve managed to cross another 2 things off the master list.† You donít know how good that makes me feel.† I called Drake first thing this morning and woke him up Ė I feel pretty good about that too!† He is such a lazy pig.† He wants to enjoy himself and let everyone else do all the work.† Well, I wonít let him.† The annual tripís already been put back twice.† This year, we are definitely going and, if I have to kick his butt the entire time, I will.† I told him to call the others and get definite answers.† They have to come.† Haystone is too big an opportunity to miss.
††††††††† I canít believe that, in just a few days, weíll actually be there.† Note to self Ė call tomorrow and check on the permits.† Without them, we are truly screwed.
††††††††† I also told Drake to ask Andy to see about the supplies.† We all contribute in our ways.† Florence pays for incidental expenses like gas and batteries and spare flashlights.† Drake provides the film and cameras.† Andy sees to the food supplies.† And I do all the organizing.† There again, Haystone was Andyís idea.† He comes from around that area so he kind of knows Haystone.† Heís seen it from the outside but heís never been inside.† He says it is exactly like its photograph in the book.† An Addams family gothic mansion with the added romantic benefit of being on the edge of the cliff.† It sounds fabulous!
††††††††† Drake reluctantly Ė even resentfully Ė agreed to call. †It isnít as if he has a job, not like me.† I donít have the time to spend calling the others.† I suppose I couldíve called them before I left for work but I donít see why I should make myself late for the office when Drake has all day.
††††††††† Note to self Ė first aid box!† Call Florence.
††††††††† Tomorrow, I have to start thinking about what to pack for the trip.† Laundry needs to be done.† And I have to see about replacing my bag.† The old 1 has moth holes in it Ė eeuuww!† Iíll see if I can fit it in during my lunch break.† I reminded them today Ė the people at work Ė that Iím on vacation from Tuesday.† Bill Mertz had forgotten.† Stupid fool.† How he ever rose to the position of Executive VP is quite beyond me.† He has a head like a sieve.† No wonder Marnie looks so harassed all the time.
††††††††† I hope everyone can make it this year.† We were supposed to go in late spring but it was put off.† Drake had some commission and Andy had a difficult situation where he works.† We were supposed to go in August but Florence couldnít take the time and Andy had another difficult situation Ė what on earth do those people do over there?† So now itís mid October.† It means we could be there on Halloween.† Maybe.† We may have solved the mystery of Haystone before then.
††††††††† Iíll call Drake again tomorrow to get the results.† I think Iíll phone at 7:00, see if I can wake him up again.† Itís a great way to start the day!
††††††††† The Annual Trip Nazi rang me this morning at some godforsaken hour.† Woke me up.† Bitch!† I donít know what her problem is.† Carrie couldíve called from the office when she arrived.† But no.† She thinks itís fun to call at 7:15 in the morning.† That girl needs to get a life!
††††††††† Carrie gave me my orders.† Miracle I could remember them Ė I was more than half asleep still.† Call round the others, pass on the instructions (more like demands), get a firm answer on whether they were on or not.† I think that was everything.† Oh well, if it isnít, sheíll tell me tomorrow.† Thatís something to look forward to Ė NOT!!
††††††††† Andyís on.† Thatís great.† And heíll sort the supplies Ė least weíll eat well.† It is amazing what he can fix on a tiny camping stove with packets of dried stuff and tins of whatever.† The guy is a certified genius.† Florence is on as well.† I like Florence.† Nothing ever fazes her.† She told me she has the time booked and her bag is already packed to go.† Only 1 problem with her Ė her carís in the shop so she has to travel with me.† No problem, Flo!† Timeíll fly by.
††††††††† Wouldnít it be a real shame if, having devoted so much time and effort into organizing this trip (that is, delegating everything to me!), Carrie couldnít make it and had to pull out?† Gee.† Iíd be devastated.† Yeah, thatís sarcasm.† I honestly think weíd do a lot better if she didnít give so many orders (read: make so many demands).
††††††††† But I am prepared to put up with just about anything this year because itís Haystone.† We have surely hit the jackpot this time round.† And I think, honestly, that itís even better because weíve had to wait.† First the spring trip was put off, then the August one.† Andy was guilty both times.† A difficult situation, he said.† I am going to have to interrogate that guy on what exactly goes on in that big house.† I mean, come on!† I have difficult situations but I get thru them and then I donít have another for a very long time.† 2 in just a few months?† Thatís stretching credibility.† Maybe they were just excuses.† Maybe, because we couldnít get Haystone, he just didnít want to make the effort.† Or maybe, of course, it was simply the Trip Nazi.† Even so, on those long, lonely nights, sitting in those cold, dark rooms at Haystone .. Iíll ask him what goes on and how come he never has as much free time as he used to.
††††††††† I remember the first time I met Andy (yeah, Iíve written about it before in my journal but why not repeat myself?).† I was shooting pictures at some rich and famous party, had a magazine commission, and he was there making sure no one got a canapť tipped down the front of an expensive gown or a glass of champagne in the face.† He looked so young!† Way too young to be choked into a tux and looking so solemn.† At the end (man, that was a very late night) when all the high and mighty had driven away in their stretch limos and we were clearing up, Andy and I got to talking.† We had so much in common!† Both northern California natives, both in LA to make our names if not our fortunes, both interested in ghosts.† Start of a great friendship.
††††††††† I canít remember who brought Carrie into the group.† Florence contacted me by email Ė I still have that note.† She asked so nicely if she could help somehow.† Sheíd heard from a local group Ė not ours Ė that we were into ghost hunting and she wanted very much to join us.† The Trip Nazi just muscled in.† Wasnít me whoís guilty.† Canít believe itís Flo.† And Andy ..?† Maybe it was him.† Something else Iím going to have to ask him about.
††††††††† Okay, todayís other item of note Ė I have bought all the film for the trip.† This year, I am going very well prepared.† I have Polaroid film, and camera, my 35mm Nikon and dozens of rolls of film for that, another very sweet 35mm with a time release shutter and tripod, and a couple of video cameras.† I am determined to get something this year beyond a great collection of vacation snaps.
††††††††† Thatís it for todayís journal entry.† Roll on tomorrow!
††††††††† I am totally convinced something is wrong in the house.† Thereís an atmosphere.† I said as much to Kat when I finally got home tonight.† As far as I know, Derek and Nick havenít argued.† They seem to be fine, getting on with business (such as there is) and, in between, chatting about the problems of owning enormous houses.† Nick seems incredibly upbeat about the project.† I think I would be too, if I were in his shoes.† His first proper home of his very own.† I thought Derek might have raised an objection Ė after all, Nick has been on the island, Derekís trusted right hand and second in command, for a very long time Ė and now .. well, when all the workís finished, Nick will be living elsewhere.† But he seems to have accepted it.† In honesty, Derek canít refuse.† Nick is no more a prisoner in that house than I am.† I donít live there.† I suppose I set some kind of precedent.† Good for me!
††††††††† Alex seemed okay as well although, when I asked if sheíd closed the file on the San Stefano phenomenon, she did give me a strange look.† She said she couldnít Ė there were still unanswered questions, unresolved issues.† I think I know Alex well enough to say that she wonít let this rest until there are answers and the issues are resolved.† How exactly sheíll do that, I donít know.† The phenomenon has collapsed.† It isnít as if she can go back inside.
††††††††† Peri Ö† She seems normal too, as normal as she can be anyway.† She was in a great mood when she and Nick got back from their new place.† I wouldnít have been half so patient.† I couldnít have waited a few days before going to check it out.† But Peri has patience worked into every fiber of her body.† Sheís .. I donít know quite how to describe her.† A volcano isnít right, although itís close.† Nick is more like a volcano.† Quiet but, when he blows, people for miles around run away screaming, and the aftereffect goes on for a while until the eruptionís healed over.† Peri isnít like that.† Sheís not quiet.† Watchful and alert, yes, but sheís talkative.† I suppose the watchful part is the one inside who never goes off duty.† Peri doesnít erupt but she is capable of sudden bursts of activity, often with no warning.† Once itís done, itís done.† Sheís back to normal.† Snap of the fingers Ė that quick.
††††††††† Thinking about it, maybe itís Alex and Peri who have the .. situation.† Iíll watch them, see if I can spot any distinctive behavior.† It would be nice, just once, for me to write in this journal that it was an uneventful day in the San Francisco Legacy house and everyone got on well .. but I think thatís hoping for too much.† We work well together but we have too many diverse personalities for perfection every time.
††††††††† Soon Ė in a few days Ė weíll be making do on our own because itís Andrewís vacation.† I donít know what it is about Andrew (or Joseph, before that) which takes the edge off.† Blunts us.† Not in a professional sense, itís more a personal one.† The words we often ache to say stay unsaid when Andrewís in the house Ė even though he couldnít ever hear us say them.† But, when he leaves, the brakes will be off.† Mark my words Ė those unsaid words will have out.
††††††††† Itís late.† Iím tired.† Hereís to tomorrow.
††††††††† Drake told me something really strange today.† Iíve known him a while now but I never knew he kept a journal.† I never really thought he was the kind of guy to do that.† Drake McGavan is not what anyone could call a heavyweight in the intellectual department.† Heís a wonderful guy, I like him a whole lot, but he comes across as .. all words and little action, and the words he uses arenít profound.† Iím not saying heís shallow, not at all.† I just think he lives life too fast to find any real depth.† And then he tells me he keeps a journal.† I wonder what he writes in there.† Who he writes about.
††††††††† Of course, it got me thinking because I am even less words and hardly any action, but I do like to think, and I thought maybe Iíd give it a go as well.† See what itís like, writing down my innermost thoughts and feelings.† I wonder if the act of writing them will change them in any way.† Or even change me.
††††††††† Okay, well, as this is Day 1 of my journal, Iíll write that my name is Florence Anne (with an e) Goode (also with an e) and I have suffered a lot because of that name!† Iím 31, never married, not had a lot of serious interest from men and I feel destined to be 1 of those sad women who die childless and alone.† I work in a hospital where I do admin rather than nursing.† I live a quiet life because I donít get the chance to live it any other way and, even if I did, I donít think I would.
††††††††† But, once a year, I get to go on a special vacation.† Itís special because I am one of those people who is really fascinated by the idea of ghosts and haunted houses.† A few years back, I was surfing on the net looking for some local groups who had a similar interest.† No, I was not looking for romance.† I found quite a few groups in Oakland and Alameda but they were all very big Ė lots of members.† The size put me off.† One of the contacts though suggested I email Drake McGavan as he was known to be an amateur hunter and his group was small.† I did, and I joined.† Thereís only 4 of us.† 2 guys, 2 women.† We maybe meet up once a quarter for a beer and a pizza Ė it isnít as though weíre physically close Ė but Andy, Drake and I exchange emails regularly and we are really good friends.† Drake is very funny.† Andy is the more practical, studious one Ė he has a lot of heavy duty hobbies but he hardly ever has the time to indulge himself.† Carolyn Hess is the newcomer to our group.† She joined a year after me and sheíd like to run it but Drake wonít let her.† He and Andy founded the group.† Carrie is a member but not the leader.† Sheís red hot at organizing though, so she puts the annual vacation together.
††††††††† And, in a few days, we leave for Haystone.
††††††††† I am the official ĎKeeper of the Booksí Ė a rather grand title for someone who collects books on haunted houses and locations.† In ĎThe Haunted Houses of Northern Californiaí, Haystone Manor has an entry from page 175 to 205.† Itís the most haunted house in this area.† And we have permission to spend over a week there.† I canít believe it.† This is going to be the best trip ever.
††††††††† I have an early start tomorrow so Iím turning in.† I donít know if Iíll be able to sleep though.
††††††††† I really donít understand her attitude.† I want to and, at times, I really feel Iím getting close but then sheíll do something or say something and it puts me right back at the start.† Relationships are meant to develop, not slide backward.† But .. I will make the effort because Nick is my friend and she is his wife.
††††††††† The San Stefano investigation which recently concluded canít be closed as a Legacy case because, as I told Rachel today, there are unanswered questions and unresolved issues remaining.† Until thatís all tied up, the file has to stay open.† Derek seems to feel that a successful conclusion means the case is closed.† For once, I have to disagree with him.† Maybe I am being officious and pedantic, but I want answers.† It irritates me that I may never get them.† We had the chance until Peri destroyed it.
††††††††† I think thatís why itís sitting in my mind and refusing to go away.† I donít resent the fact we saved all those people.† I donít regret watching her get rid of the Reverend Hicks.† I donít really mind that the phenomenonís gone.† But we had a plan of action Ė to go up to the house Ė and, the next thing I knew, we were evacuating.† Peri decided and she acted, she told no one.† I didnít expect her to ask our permission but she might have had the decency to tell us what she intended.† She isnít a Legacy Precept, she is an ally.† Sheís here because sheís married to Nick.† Sheís useful, and we do make use of her in our work, but the truth is, if she wasnít married to Nick, she wouldnít live here and she wouldnít be involved as often as she is.
††††††††† It sounds mean spirited of me but I think Iím actually looking forward to her moving into the new house.† Maybe then she wonít be here so much to .. lend a hand.
††††††††† I will miss Nick though.† Often, in the past, heís been the only thing stopping me going crazy those long, winter nights when the weather means no one leaves.† But I donít grudge him the life heís chosen.† For all that Peri and I donít see eye to eye all the time, she is perfect for him and I wish them every happiness.
††††††††† On to other things Ė Andrew confirmed today that he will be taking his vacation in a few days but will be gone less than 2 weeks.† I know heís going on a ghost hunt but heís being very secretive about it and it makes me wonder why.† Maybe, if I can catch him in the right mood, I can wheedle the information out of him.† Heís a very good butler but, in so many ways, heís just like Nick Ė he keeps his private life private.
††††††††† Iíll sleep on the Peri matter.† Maybe sleep will suggest the best way to deal with it .. once and for all.
††††††††† I cannot believe I am finally going to leave this house.† It isnít that Iíve been unhappy here.† I havenít.† Iíve made friends and Iíve lost them too.† But this house has been constant Ė even when it was destroyed.† I thought Iíd feel guilty about leaving, moving out, but I donít.† Iím not going under a cloud, as they say.† Iím not leaving the Legacy.† Iím just changing address.† And there will be times, I know, when I wonít be able to get away Ė the weather in winter turns this island into a prison.† They had the right idea putting Alcatraz where it was.† Thatís why my room will always be here.† I know Iíll always be welcome.
††††††††† But .. I am moving out.† Wonít be for a while.† The new house is a fantastic opportunity for Merli and I to make it exactly how we want.† It has so much space, itís unbelievable.† Unfortunately, a lot of it will have to be torn out before we can really make a start.† When itís done though Ö† I never saw myself as a guy whoíd ever be interested in interior design and dťcor but guess what?† Iím sitting at my workstation, catching up on stuff, and, suddenly, color schemes and ideas take over.
††††††††† I like the whole place but especially the pool (it has a wet bar!), the gym (once it has some equipment Ė Merli says I have full control over getting it and setting it all up), the huge TV screen ( I donít watch shows but I do love sports), and the master bed.† The garage is a decent size.† We have 3 vehicles between us already so thereís space for 1 more.† Thereís even room out back for me (I suppose I should say Ďusí) to land the chopper.
††††††††† Once thatís all finished Ė and, conservatively, that could be Christmas providing neither of us has to go away for more than a few days Ė we have to decide what to do with the place next door.† Merli says sheís thinking of totally reworking the interior but she may change her mind.† Thereís time yet.
††††††††† I think Alex is still chewing over the San Stefano thing.† Merli obviously had her reasons for doing what she did and thereís no rule which states she has to keep us informed prior to any assault.† There are times when I just want to lock Merli and Alex together in a room and let them fight it out.† I wish it wasnít necessary.† I think Alex would learn a whole lot if she could go on training week (as an observer) but Merli wonít allow that.† Hell, I had enough trouble getting to go and Iím legit.
††††††††† Okay, what else Ö† Tomorrow, weíll have to have 1 of those house meetings which always go so well to decide whoíll do what in Andrewís absence.† Ever since that business with the sword of Amaterasu, I have seen him in a different light.† That guy may run this house efficiently but he has depths we can only guess at.† The meeting will, most likely, only stir up more trouble between a certain 2 women of my acquaintance.† For once, I get to play mediator instead of being a combatant Ė if I can, anyway.† One thingís for sure Ė life here never stays the same for long.
††††††††† In 4 days, Andrew Ė our butler Ė leaves for Haystone Manor.† Before I went to San Stefano, he and I talked about it and, since that evening, Iíve done some more, quiet, research of my own.† I believe he and his friends are in for an interesting time.
††††††††† Haystone has a reputation which could be well deserved.† I said nothing to him because he is an amateur Ė that sounds rather disparaging, as if I disapprove.† Nothing could be further from the truth.† As a Ďprofessionalí, I and my team know, more or less, what to expect, what to take in the way of equipment, and what to do.† We are experienced.† To a degree, that knowledge and experience take away some of the wonder, and some of the pleasure in seeing those trapped souls freed from their torment.† An amateur can still enjoy that.† The fear is greater, in some respects, but the wonder, the awe, is greater too.† Thus, I said nothing to him.† I did not want to spoil the experience he is going to have.
††††††††† We did discuss in general terms as he is interested in how I might approach the preparation for such a trip.† I advised him as best I could, bearing in mind he does not have our finances.
††††††††† Upon his return, I intend to ask him how he got on.† Haystone Manor is sufficiently active to warrant us going there.† I would not dream of intruding upon Andrewís investigation.† However, I have given him instruction on the types of research which should be done prior to leaving and the kinds of experiments he might like to attempt while he is there.† After that, itís up to him and his friends.† I think it would be wise, in the circumstances, to mention to him before he leaves that, should he require more, shall we say, structured assistance, we would be most willing to help and he should not hesitate to call us in.† It will still be a ghost hunt after all, and we would be very careful not to exclude Andrew or his group.† In fact, within reason, we will do what they want but in our way.† They can learn for their subsequent expeditions into this fascinating area of study.
††††††††† Andrewís absence, of course, means we must all muck in on the domestic front to keep the place ticking over.† I know Alex and Rachel can be relied upon.† That makes it sound as if Nick and Peri canít be, which is not true.† But they have other concerns right now which soak up every minute of the little spare time they have.† Nick has always been generous in his contribution here, often working through the night to the detriment of any social life he might have.† I feel reluctant to press him now to make a further contribution.† Andrew will only be gone for 10 days.† Surely, we can cope without having to ask Nick and Peri to join in.
††††††††† There again, of course, it may not be necessary for any of us to cope.† Andrew may well call upon the Luna Foundation for its help.