Shit, where do I start today? So much has happened … The one place I felt truly safe isn’t safe anymore.
Okay, Drake, start at the beginning. We left the Manor at 6:00 and came back to the lodge. We were all still occupied with our own thoughts but I did notice Rachel and Carrie talking like 2 regular people. I’ve never seen Carrie be so human before. She looks different, not so starched. Her voice is softer too. I think I could like this Carrie. Anyway, we had breakfast, didn’t talk much. Wasn’t much to say in any case, then we hit the bags. It was such a traumatic night that we all slept real quick – sleep’s a natural healer, isn’t that what they say? Well, around 11:45, there was this piercing scream. At first, I thought I’d dreamed it but Andy was white faced with shock and I realized it was real. The others, downstairs, came pounding up and we all jammed into Flo’s room. It was Carrie. She’d screamed. Flo was shaking like a leaf. Carrie was rigid. She couldn’t move or speak. Rachel took over. Eventually, we got the story – from Rachel. Carrie’s still in shock.
She woke and saw a face right by hers. Just a face. A tear stained, gaunt looking face. Hovering about 6 inches away. Then it vanished. Hell, I would’ve screamed too. It means a lot of things and the biggie is that whatever’s in the Manor is now in the lodge with us.
Well, naturally, after that none of us could even think of sleeping again so we got lunch at a regular time and sat down to thrash out what to do next. Alex told us what they’d found in the library and Flo added she was still trying to track down Gladys Campbell. She hadn’t begun on Dr Carver yet but maybe she’d get time today. Rachel explained who Dr Carver was. Then we talked about the crying woman of last night and it was, I felt, a normal thing to do to speculate whether the tear stained face belonged to the crying woman. It set Carrie off again and Rachel had to take her outside. Andy said I was insensitive. I thought I was being logical. Peri backed me up. She said it was a natural speculation too. She also agreed with Rachel when she said Carrie should take a night out from the watch, adding she (Rachel) would stay with her. Strange thing – Flo was going to say something then changed her mind. Nick and Peri went to check the grounds again – what are they looking for? Anyway, Andy dragged me into the kitchen and demanded to know what I had on film. I couldn’t tell him. I showed him, but I couldn’t say it. It’s evidence, sure, but there’s no way I’m talking like a crazy person. He looked at it .. and he didn’t believe it. What chance do I have with the rest of the world when my best friend thinks I’ve faked it?
Okay, quiet afternoon, no floating faces glimpsed even at the edge of vision. Rachel did manage to get Carrie to describe the face in a little more detail so, if any of us see it, I guess we’ll be able to recognize it. Great. We ate supper then hauled ass up to the Manor. Rachel and Carrie stayed at the lodge.
No sooner had the door shut behind us when Flo says what she was going to say earlier. What’s in the locked rooms? I’m no fool. I know why she waited. We’re here without Carrie. If you’re going to break the rules, do it when the thought police aren’t around. Fantastic idea. Nick, of course, is some kind of safecracker/lock picker so he got to work upstairs. Rest of us camped out in the library. Alex and Flo got a laptop each and they’re working as I write. Oh, 1 other thing from this afternoon – they analyzed the recording from last night – no other voices. Not sure what to make of th
All right, everyone’s gotten their hearts shoved back in their chests. My hand’s shaking though. This even made Derek jump (I happened to be watching at the time). There was this scream – sounded a little like Carrie. In fact .. it was 12 hours exactly(ish) after Carrie screamed. Whoa, spooky! This wasn’t one scream though, it was 30 minutes of screaming. High pitched, low pitched, long, short, every kind of scream you can imagine. Then it stopped. Like that. Nick went to investigate with Peri. He said it was in one of the locked rooms. Guess what. It ain’t locked no more.
Day 7 of the watch and things are looking up. It was a quiet morning after the emotional trauma of the night and we were all glad to get back to the lodge. Even me. I was reaching saturation point. I am, after all, a creature of action. I talk about Aquila as if she’s separate but, in truth, she’s pure me. I’m me with civilization. And we’re both getting a little tired of Haystone. I wanted something to happen. At 11:44 a.m., it did. Carrie saw something. I got the story in full from Rachel after she’d worked on Carrie. She said that Carrie told her she’d been asleep and she felt a breath of icy cold air on her face. It was sudden enough and cold enough to wake her. There was a face there, about 6 inches from her own. Pale and thin, streaked with tears. Huge dark eyes, absolutely tragic and hopeless. Surrounded by lank, greasy strands of brown hair. Carrie stared at it, it stared back, then it vanished. She screamed.
It woke us all because it sounded totally panic stricken. We raced upstairs, met Drake and Andy, and we all squeezed into the 1 room. Florence was sitting upright, shaking in shock, and Carrie was rigid. Rachel threw us out then shut the door. Right then, of course, none of us knew what had happened. It was a tense ½ hour. Aquila wasn’t prepared to wait so she went in to check the room and reported that there had definitely been some kind of manifestation in there. When Rachel came to give us the basics, no one felt like going back to bed. This information kick started us and horrified Drake, and, to a degree, Andy and Florence as well. The lodge is their little home from home. Suddenly, it’s an extension of the Manor. It doesn’t feel safe anymore.
Nicky and I discussed it this afternoon as we went for a run around the grounds. It could have been Carrie in that she’s the only one of them who’s smelled the stink in the library. If she’s sensitive, tuned in to whatever’s going on in the house, it’s possible something has attached to her and followed her back (if it had attached to me, I would have sent it packing). If that’s the case, we have to bring this to an end or it’ll follow her when she leaves. She’ll be seeing that face the rest of her life. Or, the other possibility is that the face, the woman, had a reason for being in the lodge. Alex had updated us all earlier on the results of her trip into town. There was a gatekeeper living in the lodge. A male. We’ve assumed the two voices we’ve heard are the McFarlane brothers but one of them could be the gatekeeper. If he were having an affair with one of the McFarlane daughters .. no different from one of the brothers seducing a housemaid. Shameful, not appropriate, etc, etc. Nicky said he’d mention it to Derek for further investigation.
After supper, we went back for the night watch. Carrie and Rachel didn’t come with us. She needs a break from this. We’re used to it, we deal with it every day. Carrie does this for fun, never expecting to get a result. This will either make her or shatter her mind. She needs Rachel’s brand of help if she’s going to come thru this.
Soon as we got inside the Manor, Florence said about the locked doors. I was impressed. She chose her moment carefully. There’s nothing behind the locked doors but I couldn’t tell her that. At least, there’s nothing obvious, to be seen, behind them. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing there. Derek agreed, so did Andy. Nicky got straight to work. He has a lot of unusual skills to offer the team. He started with the doors on the top landing.
It’s almost midnight now and
I have to say that screaming is more energizing than crying. There’s something about the raw power in a scream that grabs the brain and shakes it. Drake looked terrified. Florence and Andy coped but they were uneasy. The rest of us jumped but then Nicky and I went to investigate. Derek and Alex stayed downstairs to keep order.
It lasted 30 minutes and stopped. I have some observations on that – I don’t think the original screaming just stopped. I think we were not permitted to hear any more of it. Like a door had been opened for us and then it closed, and we were outside again. I think it wasn’t terrified screaming or angry screaming, it was pain. And it was a woman’s voice.
A day of shocks and surprises on top of a night of despair. God, that sounds so melodramatic but it’s the gospel truth, I swear. After listening to that anguished sobbing, the rest of the night was an exercise in patient waiting for the day and earnest prayer that we wouldn’t hear anything else. My prayers were answered. We went back to the lodge and quickly went to sleep. Strange, but the daily conference on my employers’ performance has not taken place recently. I was way under when I was woken so abruptly by a scream that made my blood run ice cold. For a second, I couldn’t move. I sat up but then I was just paralyzed. Drake woke too, just as stunned. Then we shot out of our bags and into the hall just as the others came upstairs and we burst into the other room. Florence looked like Drake and I had felt moments before. Carrie .. well. RC ordered us all out. If I had any reason to doubt bringing the Foundation in, that moment told me I’d been right to do it. Just going back to sleep wasn’t an option so we went downstairs and I made coffee. I need to be busy when my mind’s in overdrive. I feared Carrie’s sanity was at stake. What we heard from RC later made me want to start camping outside. A disembodied face has followed us from the Manor into the lodge. I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep here again.
We had an early lunch then started work. Drake was totally insensitive to Carrie and asked if the face was that of the crying woman of last night. RC had to take Carrie out. P backed Drake’s idea and she thought RC’s idea of Carrie sitting tonight out was a good one. RC said she’d sit it out too. No way should Carrie be left on her own in the lodge.
Before we got started on the recording (I wasn’t looking forward to hearing that crying again), I managed to corner Drake and demand to know what he had on film. He refused to say but he showed me. I looked at the negatives, I looked at the prints. I don’t know how he faked it but it’s good. Cleverly done. I laughed at him and he looked hurt. He swore they weren’t fakes but they have to be.
It was a quiet afternoon. DR and I worked on the recording. P and N went out somewhere in the grounds. RC came in to give us more detail on Carrie’s experience .. and it would have terrified me as well. A face, 6 inches away from your own and just vanishing? I would’ve done more than scream. I’d have a damp sleeping bag. We found no other voices or sounds on the recording. The woman was crying alone. Thinking about it, it does seem reasonable that the face Carrie saw belongs to the crying woman but Drake shouldn’t have said it so nonchalantly in front of her.
After supper, we went back to the Manor. Carrie stayed behind with RC. I really hope nothing happens there but, if it does, RC is one of the most capable people I’ve ever met. Soon as we’d closed the door, Florence said about the locked rooms. She said it in a rush, as if she’d been holding it in. Of course, that began a discussion about the locked rooms. DR had assumed all the rooms were open. I said about the permit, and then I understood why Florence had waited. Carrie – even in a withdrawn, stressed out state – would have argued against opening the doors. The permit states specifically we’re not to open them. That started another discussion about exactly what is in the permit and when DR said the Luna Foundation isn’t mentioned so, therefore, if we were to interpret the permit in its strictest sense, NB could open the locks without any comeback, I had to agree. DR also suggested I forget I said that. NB was grinning as he went upstairs. Later, Florence told me that she’d forgotten to mention it yesterday. The rooms have to be locked for a reason. Maybe now they’re open, we’ll find out why.
The evening’s turning into a typical night. Nothing’s happe
A very typical night. If the crying made us depressed, tonight’s event has scared the crap out of us. DR, AM, NB, P – they jumped but then they shrugged it off. Florence is keeping very close to AM. Drake and I are huddled in a corner. Screaming, that’s what we had tonight. A half hour of it. N and P went to check. When they came back, they said it had been in one of the locked rooms. I think we have to move the investigation into that room. It’s the room next to the one the crying woman was in.
It’s turning into a quiet evening so, while Florence continues to research on the laptop, I’ll take 10 minutes or so to write up my journal. I feel tired tonight. It hasn’t been a problem before because we’ve been getting 6 or 7 hours’ sleep each day. Today, though, it was cut dramatically short. I woke abruptly and, for a second, I didn’t know why but Rachel was already scrambling for her robe. That told me I hadn’t dreamed it – I’d heard a scream. A terrified scream. We met Derek, Nick and Peri at the base of the stairs and then Andrew and Drake on the landing. It was total confusion and we burst into Florence’s room. I suspect our wild eyed appearance didn’t promote feelings of calmness in the tension inside. Florence was sitting up and shaking. Carrie though was just rigid. She didn’t even seem to be breathing. Rachel took one look and ordered us all out, even Florence. At that point, it looked bad, more than the reaction to a nightmare. We went downstairs and sat around, not talking much – there didn’t seem to be much to say. Then Rachel came to tell us what had happened. It looks like one of the inhabitants of the Manor has joined us in the lodge.
I don’t know how this spirit has attached itself to Carrie. She hasn’t been in physical contact with anything for it to have chosen her. Anyway, no matter how it happened, we now have a description of a woman, probably the woman we all heard crying last night. Again, I don’t know how this can help us. The information though scared Andrew, Florence and Drake. The lodge is their sanctuary, their haven, a place they can set aside the events of the Manor and assess them rationally. They feel their space has now been violated. I find it interesting that, in the Manor, we hear but can’t see, yet, in the lodge, we see – or one of us sees – but the spirit didn’t attempt to communicate.
Naturally, they were too wound up to think of going back to sleep so we had lunch and began work. Carrie joined us – she looked fragile and didn’t say much during the briefing Florence, Rachel and I gave on what we’d learned in town but I could see she was paying attention. It’s possible Carrie needs to resolve this more than any of us. Then Drake asked if the face Carrie had seen belonged to the crying woman and Carrie got upset again. It was a reasonable question but he could have asked in a more sensitive way. Rachel had to take her out. We agreed that it probably was the same woman. When Rachel returned, alone, she said that Carrie would be sitting tonight out and that she’d stay with her. I thought Florence was going to argue about it but she didn’t say anything.
Then we began the daily grind of researching. Florence is starting with Gladys Campbell. She’s becoming more proficient every day so I’m free to use the other computer and assist elsewhere. Derek and Andrew listened to the recording made of the crying woman and determined there are no background voices or sounds. She cried alone. That’s almost as tragic as hearing her.
After supper, we returned to the Manor and that’s when Florence spoke up. That’s when I understood why she hadn’t spoken up before. She hadn’t been about to argue Carrie’s sitting tonight out; she had been about to ask if we could open the locked doors. At first, no, I didn’t understand. I knew about the locked doors but Andrew explained there were some doors locked and that the permit states they aren’t to be opened. Carrie is the holder of the permit. Carrie, even traumatized, would have refused permission to have the doors unlocked. She might even have grasped that as a lifeline. It’s normal, routine, something she can understand. A brief legal technicality discussion ensued which ended with Nick going to unlock the doors. We’re not listed on the permit so it doesn’t apply to us. I do wonder though why it was stipulated and by whom? The Jessop family never lived here. Were the same doors locked during all the tenancies? Could it have been a condition of the sale of Haystone, made by Jack McFarlane? That’s something I’ll have to look int
It’s a lot later now. I had to stop for an hour at least. There’s been a ½ hour of screaming from upstairs. Derek and I wanted to go but there was no way we could leave Andrew and the others. I don’t say we prevented a riot but we had to be there to prevent an exodus. Tomorrow is going to be interesting. Analyzing this recording might answer a lot of questions.
Haystone Manor has to be one of the most intriguing puzzles I’ve ever had to unravel. I find it incredibly restful in that I’m not rushing from one place to another and incredibly energizing in that I am having to think hard and reason my way thru all the events, their effects and their peripheral consequences. Today, we had our 1st ever incident in the lodge. I am not surprised by that. The Manor is the focus but it is not all the estate. The lodge is very much a part of that, and the McFarlanes, while apparently living as recluses, behind the estate walls and gate, did not seclude themselves in the Manor. Within the estate walls, life continued as normal, therefore they would have had reason to visit the lodge. What I do find surprising is that it’s taken so long to manifest itself. I am not surprised that it has chosen Carrie either, although the extent of her reaction concerns me. Still, if this is the first time she has experienced something like this, perhaps it is understandable. I’m grateful that Rachel is here to take charge of the immediate aftermath.
The incident this morning stole what remained of our rest period so we decided to make an earlier than usual start to the day. After lunch, Alex, Florence and Rachel detailed their findings from their trip into town. I am intrigued by the knowledge that, some 15 months before the sale of the estate, life changed so dramatically for Jack McFarlane. It falls within the 4 year period we are examining. It appears the family was never outgoing although they were seen out and about, yet, rather abruptly, it all ended. The gates were closed and they were not seen again until the day they left. That must surely be the one incident upon which the rest hinges. Is that the time when one brother learned of the other’s scandalous behavior? Is it the time the shot was fired and, possibly, someone was killed?
Florence is looking into Gladys Campbell’s history to see if she has a part to play here. She is also going to see if she can find any of Dr Carver’s medical records for the family. I believe those will be illuminating if we can gain access to them.
Carrie was with us during these discussions and she appeared to have regained her composure. Unfortunately, Drake asked a question which reminded her of her ordeal and she had to leave. It does seem logical that the face Carrie saw is that of the woman heard crying. Andrew and I analyzed the recording of that during the afternoon. As Florence has become more proficient with the laptop, so Andrew is more capable of working alone. I’m hopeful that, within a day or so, Alex and I will be free to conduct a different type of investigation in the Manor. The recording revealed nothing new which surprised me. Nick had mentioned that one of the reasons she might have been crying so wretchedly was because her mother had died. If so, we could reasonably have expected to hear other sounds of crying, other voices attempting to comfort. We didn’t, therefore we must assume that she was alone with her torment. I rather doubt we are listening to Gladys Campbell. She would have cried like that only in her own house, not in the Manor surrounded by the ruins of 2 love affairs gone wrong.
After we had supper, Rachel and Carrie remained in the lodge while the rest of us returned to the house. Florence remarked about the locked doors. Andrew explained that the permit giving them access to the estate specifies the locked doors must remain locked. A small discussion ensued about the legal implications. If a thorough investigation is to be made in this house, all parts of it must be accessible to us. As we are not specifically listed on the permit, I saw no reason for it to apply to us and ordered Nick to unlock the doors. If a chance presents itself later, I will inspect the rooms. So far tonight, it has been without inciden
I should have been a little slower in my writing. There has, in fact, been another incident. It took place about an hour ago. Without warning, there was screaming coming from upstairs. It made us all jump quite badly. Nick and Peri went to investigate the location and remained there for the entire 30 minutes of the performance. He has since related that it happened within one of the previously locked rooms but, as we have come to expect, there was nothing to see. He also mentioned that the voice we have heard on the recording could belong to the gatekeeper. An illicit romance between him and a McFarlane daughter. It’s worth checking out so I’ll pass it on to Alex. As for tonight, we have more aftermath to deal with. Drake, Florence and Andrew are not very happy at the moment. I hope it has been quieter in the lodge.
Oh, today I have been a very bad person. But for all the best reasons. And, really, my very small confession can’t begin to overshadow what Carrie’s been thru. Or me, for that. I was in the same room, after all, but I didn’t see it. I was asleep. Suddenly, there was this sound which just ripped thru me. One second, I was fast asleep, the next I’m bolt upright in my bag, shaking like a leaf, and wondering what the hell is going on. Almost the next thing I knew, the door comes flying open and everyone else is in our room. That really wasn’t so bad because maybe I’d start to find out what was happening. But, no. I was ordered out of my room. I was going to argue about it but Rachel had sounded so in control that my mind switched off and my brain took over. I was thinking fuddled thoughts about ‘so much for asking us and advising us’, and then I looked back at Carrie, and I understood. She looked like she was having a seizure. I felt mean. Rachel had done what was right.
We went downstairs. For all I knew it was an earthquake but, when they started talking about a scream, I remembered, kind of. Something had woken me, something close and loud. It had reached into my head and struck fear into my soul. It wasn’t till later that Rachel came down to tell us that Carrie had seen a face floating in the air. I am so envious! She’s the newbie in the group and the one who treats it all as a joke, and she gets to see a face. And that’s mean too because she’s the one person least able to cope. If it had been me, I’m not saying I wouldn’t have screamed (I probably would have) but I would have coped with it better. I like to think I’d have coped with it better anyway.
None of us wanted to sleep after that so we had lunch and Carrie joined us for the debate on yesterday. Alex, Rachel and I told what we’d found in town. Derek asked some searching questions which we couldn’t answer but Alex said I was on it and I would be doing more research today. I’ve started with Gladys Campbell and Dr Carver is next on the list. If we have a quiet night, I should get a lot done. Nick and Peri went outside for a few hours. I don’t know what they do out there but they’re always so calm I’m glad they’re around. Drake and Andy had a conversation in the kitchen and I could hear Andy laughing about something. When Drake came back, he looked hurt. Oh, and I should say that Drake upset Carrie which wasn’t strictly his fault because the question was fine, but she’s so fragile at the moment that maybe he could’ve picked a better time to speak.
That was when I remembered about the locked doors. I went to say about them but Rachel said she thought it’d be best if Carrie sat tonight out. I shut my mouth so fast. If Carrie isn’t there, she can’t hold the permit up and say no. I felt bad then. That was deliberately withholding information. No one argued with Rachel so we all got down to work. Derek and Andy analyzed the crying tape (not a job I envied) and discovered nothing else on it. Alex looked so sad when they announced the results. And I guess it is sad. To be alone with such terrible grief …
We were back at the Manor by a quarter after 6, and set up in the library again. I mentioned the locked doors. Andy explained about the permit. We discussed it and, as I’d hoped, Derek told Nick to go unlock them. He is a man of many talents.
I’m feeling pretty tired now – I lost out on a couple hours’ sleep today and we haven’t been getting 8 hours a night since we got here. For a vacation, it’s not much, but I wouldn’t change a thing. All these years we’ve done the ghost club, we’ve never had a result like Haystone. We all hoped we would be lucky this time but this is like winning the State Lottery. We’ve got so much, we don’t know where to start. It’s why I’m glad Alex and the others are here. They
Okay, maybe the Lottery isn’t a good example. Tonight’s incident was scary. So far, we’ve had voices, crying, a gunshot. Regular stuff. Not that scary. Startling, yes, but not terrifying. Tonight, we had screaming for a half hour. Nick said later that it came from one of the previously locked rooms but there was nothing in there. The weird thing I noticed was that it seemed to start in mid scream and it ended the same way. Thinking about it (hard not to), I’d have to say it was a woman. What the hell is going on here?
Rachel tells me writing my journal will help. God, I hope she’s right. She says usual routine will help me remember that life isn’t terrifying. It’s a routine thing. We tend to fix on the abnormal because it stands out yet, really, it’s very rare. So I’m writing this as part of my therapy. She also says that writing down in detail what happened will be like erasing it or reducing it to a more manageable size. So .. we got back to the lodge at the usual time and had breakfast. We went to sleep. We were all not in the mood to talk. The crying really took it out of us. I don’t know how long I’d been asleep when it happened. I can’t even say what did happen. I felt a blast of ice cold air on my face. It was enough to wake me but not completely. I’d been way under. I opened my eyes but really I was still asleep, and I saw a face. I thought I was dreaming. It was a woman’s face – tear stained, gaunt, thin and long. Pale but with feverish spots on the cheeks. Lank, greasy hair. Huge dark eyes red from crying. And I didn’t particularly feel anything until I noticed there wasn’t a body. It was just a face and it was about 6 inches away from my own. She didn’t say anything. She didn’t do anything. She was just there. I didn’t recognize her. She’s no one I know or can remember ever meeting.
For a second, I thought why me? Why am I seeing this? And then .. I don’t know. My brain caught up or something. I blinked. The face vanished. I realized only then that I’d seen a ghost and I lost it. I screamed so hard it hurt my throat. It ripped out of me with no warning. It was a total knee jerk reaction. I sat up, I remember that, and then I don’t remember anything until I felt arms around me, holding me close, and a gentle voice cut thru the fog, telling me I was okay, that I could relax now. I blinked again and I seemed to start breathing. I sucked in a long, shuddery breath. And then I cried. I cried for so long. I didn’t even know who was holding me. Then, yes, I did feel calmer. I felt actually like someone had lanced a wound and let out a lot of poison. I pulled back a little and saw Rachel was with me. She held my hand and got me talking. At first, I couldn’t think but, eventually, I managed to tell her what I’d seen. I thought she’d laugh but she was great. She stayed with me until I felt ready to get dressed and go downstairs. She told me to take my stuff into Andy’s room and get ready in there while she went down to tell the others because they were all very worried about me.
I was in a kind of misty daze. She says that’s natural. It’s the mind cushioning me from trauma. I went downstairs and listened to the update Alex gave. Florence is doing some really good work. It’s all so interesting. Then Drake asked a question which lifted the mist and I could feel my heart pick up and my breath started to choke me. Rachel took me into the kitchen, had me concentrate on my breathing. She says it was a panic attack. She left me there while she went to tell the others there was no way I was going to the Manor tonight. She would stay with me in the lodge.
I didn’t have much part in the work this afternoon. Obviously what I’ve seen is related to the Manor and Rachel had me talk about it. The more I talked, the better I would feel. At first, it was awkward and I didn’t mention my own thoughts. I kept to the facts. But then it got easier. I went over the story so many times that it put distance between me and it.
The others left at 6:00 after supper. Rachel and I are in the lodge alone. I’m writing my journal, she’s reading a book. Everything’s quiet. Normal. I feel so much better now. Rachel’s been really great today. She
Why me? Why is this happening to me? The face has come back. I saw it outside the window, peering in at us. What’s more, Rachel saw it too. She tried talking to it but it wouldn’t answer. Then it faded away. She says I’m doing well but I’m really scared. What if we can’t solve this and I see that face for the rest of my life? I think I’d go crazy …
I had just sat down to write this entry when I had to stop and go investigate some screaming. Not the yells of surprise in the library – those came from Drake, Andrew and Florence – but the screaming upstairs which comes from your guess is as good as mine. It’s over now and things are quiet if not calm. Crying takes it out of you but screaming taps straight into the panic button of the brain. There is a whole lot of tension in the library right now but they’re hanging in there. No one’s voted to pack up and go home.
Okay, to start where I had intended to start – after the crying last night, nothing more happened and it fell into the old pattern of 1 incident per night. We went back to the lodge and no one was in the mood to talk. Like I just wrote, crying takes it out of you, whether you’re the one crying or the one listening to it. I think we were all more than just tired. I know Merli’s been quiet lately. She can’t figure Haystone out and the frustration’s getting to her. We slept pretty quickly, losing the tension in unconsciousness. It didn’t last as long as usual. At just before midday, there was a scream which hit the panic button. It came from upstairs and it could’ve been caused by anything. All we knew was it was either Florence or Carrie. Turned out to be Carrie. Rachel took over and threw us out. Andrew made coffee and we waited for Rachel’s report. That came around 12:25. Seems we’re not working fast enough to solve the mystery here because we now have a visual apparition in the lodge. It’s attached to Carrie, maybe, or this is a natural occurrence. It hasn’t been previously reported because no one’s stayed any length of time in the lodge. Truth is .. we don’t know.
No one felt like sleeping again after that so Andrew fixed lunch and we got down to the day’s business. Alex, Florence and Rachel gave us an update on their research plus what they’d learned since. It’s an ongoing thing but it seems we can rule out an affair between a McFarlane male and a housemaid. We talked over the incident last night and Drake theorized that the face Carrie had seen (just the face, no body) could be that of the woman crying. As the face had been red eyed and tear stained, I felt it was a reasonable theory but it was too soon for Carrie and she had to leave. When Rachel came back, she was firm in her decision that Carrie needed to sit tonight out. No one in their right mind would argue that one but, for a second, it looked like Florence was going to.
Merli and I went for a run this afternoon to help work out some of the physical tension she’s feeling. Drake’s been okay today. Quiet but hasn’t been avoiding either of us. Merli said Aquila would check out the cellar sometime, just to be on the safe side. Then we talked about the face. Merli had her own spin on it, something I’d not considered. What if a McFarlane daughter was having an affair with the gatekeeper? It would have been just as scandalous, probably more so than a son with a housemaid. In a way, that behavior is almost expected whereas an unmarried daughter of the Manor with the hired male help was a definite no no. I said I’d mention it to Derek for further investigation.
We also checked out the grounds more thoroughly. We’ve concentrated on the outbuildings but never examined the grounds. There’s some woods behind the Manor, past the garden. Rachel said one of the residents had broken an arm while riding so there has to be trails thru the woods. We’ll look tomorrow.
We had supper and went back to the Manor. Then Florence said what she’d been going to say before she changed her mind. There are locked doors which the permit says mustn’t be opened. Carrie holds the permit. Florence had kept quiet so Carrie wouldn’t know. Derek and Andrew held a brief discussion and it ended with me being told to go pop the locks. No one had to be sworn to secrecy, we’ll just not tell Carrie. Interestingly, one of the locked doors upstairs is the room next to where the crying manifested last night. It’s empty now but, from the decor (which doesn’t look like it’s been changed in 100 years), it looks like a bedroom.
Then it was quiet again till the screaming started. Merli and I went to check it out. Guess what – it was in the previously locked room. Derek was itching to get up there too but he and Alex had to stay behind to prevent a stampede for the door. I’ve heard a lot of screaming in my life and there’s different kinds – terror, shock, rage. This wasn’t any of those. This was pain. It just keeps on getting more mysterious.
I have often wondered why I need to go on fieldtrips. I can easily see a reason for me to be a member of the Legacy and, yes, at times fieldtrips are a necessity. But not every time. Often, I have very little to do. With this one, it started that way, especially as Carrie was so overtly hostile to me. But now I’m so glad I came.
The process of reconciliation started last night. The sound of crying triggered a deep response in me and in Carrie as well. She changed after she heard it. The hostility vanished. We weren’t doctor and patient, only two women who recognized something in that sobbing which touched an old, painful memory in each of us. We drew closer for comfort. We talked. I told her about Patrick and Connor, and she told me about her ex-fiancé who’d canceled the wedding only a few weeks before they should have married. By the time we’d arrived back at the lodge, we were easy in each other’s company. To be honest, I don’t think – or I didn’t think – Carrie needed professional therapy. She was well on the way to healing herself. That was this morning before we all went to sleep. Several hours later, we were woken by a gut wrenching scream. It tore into me and I was awake and moving before I truly understood what I’d heard. We raced upstairs, met Andrew and Drake outside the door to Carrie’s room. Inside, it seemed normal, except that Florence was shaking and Carrie looked catatonic. She was sitting up but she wasn’t breathing, her eyes were wide and fixed. I ordered everyone out. It could have been caused by a nightmare she’d had – memories and painful emotions had been very close to the surface when she’d gone to sleep. My first priority was to gently snap her out of it. I put my arms around her – she was rigid, like trying to hold a stone – and I talked to her, quietly, rocking her slightly. Then she shuddered and sucked in a breath. Then she began to cry. She clung to me and cried so hard for such a long time. Eventually, she pulled back a little and finally recognized me. I got her to talk when she was ready and she told me she’d felt a blast of icy cold air on her face, enough to rouse her but not really waken her. She saw a face close to hers. Tear stained, gaunt, pale, surrounded by lank, greasy hair. A woman’s face. She’d thought she was dreaming but then it vanished and she’d screamed.
After that, we were definitely doctor and patient. Carrie had an armored shell which had broken down. She was emotionally frail and this incident had truly shaken her. She was almost acting like a scared child, needing to be told or reminded what to do. I sent her into Andrew’s room to get dressed – I didn’t want her to be alone in her bedroom – while I went downstairs to reassure the others. The revelation that Carrie had seen a ghost here unsettled Andrew, Drake and Florence, and no one was thinking of going back to sleep so we had lunch and began work. Carrie joined us because she has to see life goes on, no matter our personal traumas. Routine, regular events are essential to shift the mind back on track and away from fixating on the unusual. It was going well until Drake spoke incautiously and put us back almost to square 1. I took Carrie into the kitchen and set her on some breathing exercises. While she did that, I told the others there was no way she was going to the Manor tonight. I did nothing on the research and I kept Carrie away from the crying tape analysis. We went for a walk outside and I got her to talk it over again and again.
After supper, the others left to go up to the house. Carrie and I stayed in the lodge. I got her to write her journal entry – again, it’s a kind of therapy. Putting it down on paper, in detail, means the mind doesn’t have to keep going over it, embedding the fine detail into the memory. Writing it is like drawing a line under it – it’s happened, now let’s move on. I read for a while and then, while Carrie was writing, the face returned. My reaction was one of shock but I couldn’t let Carrie see that. It would’ve undone all the work. So I was calm, collected. I studied the face and she’d given a very accurate description of it. It was outside the lounge window. I went up to the window, tried speaking with it, but it turned away and faded into the night.
I sat down with Carrie and reassured her but I can see she’s scared. I think she believes this is going to be with her for the rest of her life. It means we have to solve this mystery because, if we don’t, Carrie Hess might well be right.