Ghosts of Christmas Past: A Holiday Mystery

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Ghosts of Christmas Past: A Holiday Mystery

Post by PeachFreak » Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:54 pm

Coming Soon.
Last edited by PeachFreak on Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Niteshade007 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:57 pm

Marilyn Monroe, Vincent Price (? or the guy from the video in Singin' in the Rain), Jane Russell, James Dean, Tyrone Power (?), and then I think Lana Turner at the end? I can't tell. But they look good.

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Post by PeachFreak » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:03 am

The models I used for drawing the suspects are as follows:

Marilyn Monroe
C. Aubrey Smith
Jane Russell
James Dean
Ray Milland
Judith Anderson
Montgomery Clift
Joan Bennett

Of course, more liberties were taken with some than with others. But you did a pretty good job, Niteshade.
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Post by Black » Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:19 am

Will this be like the Santa's Slay mystery you did a few years back?

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Post by TheBilliardRoom » Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:58 am

Looking great :)

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Post by PeachFreak » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:10 pm

So, I'd like to finish the actual mystery before Christmas, but I have a busy few days coming up. So, I'm going for the simple route and nixing the cards because finishing the weapons and the rooms would take a bit of time. So, this mystery will be pretty much text-based. And I'm afraid you'll have to use your imaginations. On the plus side, though, I'll be able to go into much greater detail in the actual writing. But mechanics will pretty much be the same otherwise.
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Post by PeachFreak » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:04 pm

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Throughout the ages passed on this Earth there have existed a mere handful of homes so unfeasibly and so hideously wrong that they remained unfit for habitation even by the cruelest and most sadistic members of humanity. Nestled horribly atop a lonesome mountain in the middle of Pennsylvania, Hill House was one of those homes. Dark, sprawling, and with jagged roofs that pierced the sky like claws, the hideous building with its bizarre jutting angles and its arched eyelike windows stood rightfully alone, cut off from the world by an expanse of pines traversed only by a crooked mountain path leading to the manor’s wrought iron gate. No one should have lived in that godforsaken house, and yet, every night and every day, those who did went about their business as usual. However, on one particular evening, a frosty Christmas Eve still unrivaled in snowfall, that business became as dreadful as the building that housed it. That fateful night, many vehicles would travel up the lonely mountain path to the gaping doors of Hill House. And among them was a particular yellow piece of luxury housing a gentleman driver and his lady companion.

“Would you slow down a bit, Charles? You’ll drive us right off a damned cliff,” Maureen Peacock said firmly. Readjusting her coat, she made a real effort to conceal neither her irritation nor her anxiety as she stared into the black snow-covered woods surrounding her. Truthfully, in her youth, Mrs. Peacock herself may have been a light brilliant enough to penetrate that darkness; a haunting beauty with natural red curls and a lusty physique generally lost with age, she could still fool anyone into thinking her a spring chicken. But there was nevertheless a heaviness about her, something cheerless and tragic eternally brewing just behind those huge green eyes. And that alone revealed Maureen Peacock’s age. It manifested in her mannerisms, in her bitter tone, and as of late, in the wrinkles just now crawling across her cheeks.

“We’ll be late, Maureen. And a soldier’s never late,” the driver replied just as firmly. He readjusted his cap. An aged, dignified man, Colonel Charles Mustard had long ago done his proper duty to his country, and the horrors of war had made themselves known both in his crinkled visage and in the powdery patch of hair upon his head. Glancing over to the passenger seat, he offered a small smile at his companion. “It’s Christmas Eve. You should enjoy yourself.”

“Enjoy myself?” Mrs. Peacock asked, scornfully–as if he were an idiot. “Please, Charles. Do you realize it will be a year tomorrow? One full year since our sister plummeted off this very road to her death.”

“I think it’s time you moved on from that, Maureen,” Colonel Mustard sighed darkly. Outside, it was beginning to snow. “Let the past be. Or it’ll drive you mad.”

“The only thing driving me mad, Charles, is that John Boddy lived to tell the tale. Doesn’t it faze you at all? Doesn’t it faze you that that man married Elizabeth for her money, drank it all away, and then drove himself and our sister into a tree in a drunken fit last year? And to think he kept Hill House after it all. I’m surprised he hasn’t kicked Nanette out yet.”

“That niece of ours is a grown woman, Maureen, and perfectly capable of taking care of herself. It’s probably about time he kicked her out,” Colonel Mustard replied as if he had heard this whole speech already. Many times, in fact. “And you know John was a friend of mine long before he even met Elizabeth. A dear, dear friend. So promise me you’ll behave like a good civil in-law tonight. He wants to make amends. And I think carrying on Elizabeth’s Christmas traditions—including the party at Hill House—is…an admirable tribute.”

“I wish you hadn’t introduced either of us to him. He’s already driven one of your sisters to her death. And he may just drive me to mine,” Mrs. Peacock replied indignantly. She hadn’t paid much attention to anything her brother had said.

“The same way your incessant nagging drove your husband to an early grave, hm?” Colonel Mustard asked crudely. “Poor unprepared Matthew Peacock.” Turning to glare at him, Mrs. Peacock opened her mouth as if to retort. As if the eternal bachelor could say anything but marriage. However, they had arrived at the open gates, and the sight of Hill House had quieted the woman. It always had that effect. For there was nothing welcoming about Hill House.
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Post by PeachFreak » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:19 pm

“I can’t imagine what Elizabeth ever saw in this place. It’s diseased,” Maureen said suddenly as the trance was broken. “I once read that something as small as a chance meeting of sky and roof could make a place evil.”

“Where did you read that garbage? I suggest you keep your nose out of books like that,” Colonel Mustard responded flatly. It was a boorish retort. But, of course, no other manner of response would have been appropriate for such drivel. And pulling the car up the path, the man slid it into a comfortable nook between a red convertible and the house’s front wall. From the center of the stone courtyard, a frozen cherub stared out from his eternal fountain perch. But, of course, there was nothing at all angelic about Hill House.

“Whose car is that?” Mrs. Peacock asked, eying the scarlet vehicle through her window. “It’s not John’s, is it?”

“I don’t know, Maureen. Maybe it’s Nanette’s,” Colonel Mustard said with a shrug. And pushing open his door, he stepped out into the cold and inhaled the mountain air; it froze his lungs. So, with a small shiver, he walked around his own automobile and opened his sister’s door; the woman stepped onto the walk with a frown.

“Let’s just get inside and get it over with,” she said, practically running for the house’s entrance. And after slamming the car door, the Colonel ran up behind her and rapped three times with the door knocker; it too was oddly enough a misplaced cherub.

After a few moments, during which Mrs. Peacock kept looked up at a second story window as if she had seen something there, the door was pulled open by a tiny woman in a plain black dress and an apron.

“Mrs. White,” Colonel Mustard said with a familiar smile. The domestic returned the small grin as she bid the pair inside. Somehow, the inside of Hill House created the imitation of warmth; yet, no genuine love lay beyond this facade. Candles lit the great hall, already bright with the warm glow of a crystal chandelier. Garland twisted up the carved railings of the stairwell to the second story, and a record streamed twinkling Christmas songs from the open door to the study. From the upper landing, an immense portrait of a beautiful redheaded woman in a white gown and a broad white hat stared down and kept vigilant watch over the front door. That image was all that was left of Elizabeth Mustard. It was a painting of her standing atop the very stairs above which she now hung. An actress, she had filmed her most celebrated movie in those dark halls, and at some point, she had fallen in love with them.

“Mr. Boddy’s in the lounge with Nanette and a friend,” the elderly housekeeper said as she closed the front door to the cold. A diligent worker since her youth, Lydia White was not quite beautiful. Nor was she quite ugly. But she was indeed quite tired. An unimpressive mouse of a thing, she often blended into the walls unnoticed like a proper servant.

“A friend?” Mrs. Peacock asked, allowing the woman to remove her cloak and reveal the striking blue dress beneath it. Before answering, Mrs. White also took the Colonel’s hat and overcoat and stuffed them into a hall closet.

“Yes, a friend. But it’s not my place to comment upon her or upon her presence,” Mrs. White answered in her usual cryptic way.

“So it’s a woman,” Mrs. Peacock said bitterly—a year was hardly a respectable period to wait between romps. “Is that her car out there? That awful red one?”

“Well, I thought it was quite a nice red one. She must be a respectable lady,” Colonel Mustard cut in before the conversation got out of hand.

“Yes, it’s hers. Now, come along. I have to finish up dinner, so you’ll have to do with Mr. Boddy’s company for a while,” Mrs. White responded. And with that, she led the pair across the hall and threw open the lounge’s gleaming wooden door.

The room was small and cozy, but not quite right. It certainly should have been cozy, and were it in any other house, it would have been. A fire blazed in an ornate hearth, and a brass nativity scene sat atop the mantle. The statuette of the blessed virgin was peculiarly large beside her husband. Upon the intruders’ entrance, an aged man with dark eyes and a well-groomed mustache looked up from his spot on the sofa.

“Mrs. Peacock and Colonel Mustard, sir,” Mrs. White gave a halfhearted announcement before curtsying slightly and running off to her duties. After more or less shoving the visitors inside, she had slammed the lounge door behind her. Despite its thickness, it did not stifle the festive tunes still floating from the study.

“Maureen! Charles! It’s wonderful to see you both,” John Boddy cried, standing up. He moved in a forceful, clockwork way. Something was troubling him, but he was doing his best not to show it. It produced a bizarre effect. As if each movement required thought and effort.

“Oh, Aunt Maureen, Uncle Charles. It’s been so long,” added a young blonde woman, also scurrying to her feet. Without waiting for them to respond, she ran over and embraced the pair. But Nanette Peach was like that. With an eternal smile and glowing rosy cheeks, she scurried about her business and brought a cloud of floral perfume wherever she went.

The only person not to stand was the apparent friend, a busty brunette woman sitting on the sofa alone and sipping some alcohol or another from a wine glass. She was beautiful indeed, but not at all like Mrs. Peacock. Her beauty was filthy and manufactured; nothing natural lay beyond those expensive cosmetics and that carefully constructed bun of a glowing brown hair.

“Aren’t you going to introduce us to your friend?” Mrs. Peacock said firmly and with no real attempt to hide her displeasure at the whole situation.

“Oh, of course. This is Yvonne Scarlet. My new fiancée. Isn’t that wonderful?” Mr. Boddy smiled. At that point, Miss Scarlet finally took leave of the sofa; a ring did indeed shine brilliantly from her left hand. She flaunted it with each flick of her fingers.

“How do you do?” she said in a pleasing alto. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about you two. From John and Nanette both.”

“How do you do,” the Colonel replied politely if a bit gruffly. “I must say, though, that you look a bit familiar. Have we met before?”

“Well, I’m a stage actress. Perhaps you’ve seen me in New York?”

“Yes, that’s it. You were Lady Macbeth.”

“That’s right,” Miss Scarlet nodded. “I modeled my performance of that on your sister. She was such an inspiration to me, and I still admire her very much. Film is much more difficult than theater, you know. One must be subtle.”

“Yes, of course,” Colonel Mustard replied vaguely.

“Shall we all sit down?” Mr. Boddy said at last, and the company all lowered themselves obediently onto the seats throughout the room.

“So, how did you and John meet?” Mrs. Peacock asked; she was being outwardly hostile. As if some little floozy like Yvonne Scarlet could replace her sister. And so quickly.

“Yvonne’s a friend of mine. We go all the way back to those little girl dance classes. She really is an old soul, though. I just knew she and Daddy Boddy would get on fine,” Miss Peach added. Every one of her mother’s husbands had gotten the word ‘daddy’ thrown onto their names; it was part of that innocent charm that made Nanette Peach so delectable.

“And she’s quite an accomplished actress for someone of her age,” Mr. Boddy added. Miss Scarlet smiled at him from behind her wine glass. Mrs. Peacock readjusted herself in her chair.

“But that’s not all she does. She’s also an amateur clairvoyant,” Miss Peach said with a chuckle.

“Oh, stop with that,” Miss Scarlet said in that way that means that you really should continue. “It’s all nonsense, of course.”

“It’s certainly not nonsense! Just last week, Yvonne accompanied me to the lab of my friend Dr. Black. The anthropologist? And she correctly stated the images on eighteen of twenty cards held by an unseen assistant. And when they repeated the experiment, she got nineteen.”

“Is that the drivel Dr. Black occupies himself with these days?” Mrs. Peacock asked curtly.

“Well, he’s taken an interest in the paranormal, and I’d been meaning to speak with him about it.”

“That reminds me,” Miss Peach said suddenly, turning around to look at the clock. “It’s time for your medicine, Daddy Boddy. Come on. Why don’t you two get better acquainted with Yvonne while we go upstairs?” And with that, the little blonde thing was dragging her step-father from the room and bringing her cloud of perfume with her.

“Medicine? Is everything all right with him?” Colonel Mustard asked merely to break the sudden awkward silence that had fallen on the room. Dreamily, Miss Scarlet stared into the fire.

“It’s for stress. John has been troubled lately,” she said at last.

“Troubled? How so?” Miss Peacock asked with a patronizing lilt.

“In the past few weeks, he’s been seeing and hearing things. A glowing woman in white. Outside windows. Walking down corridors. Screaming in the night He thinks it’s…well, how do I put this? He thinks it’s your sister,” Miss Scarlet said with an almost apologetic smile. Her face was dark, and the fire cast flickering shadows over her glittering eyes.

“Well, in a house like this, one can hardly resist the urge to invent ghosts,” Mrs. Peacock said, unimpressed. The Colonel gave her a warning glance.

“Well, John’s absolutely convinced that she’ll make an appearance tonight. And…I do think that whatever force told me the pictures on those cards is telling me something else. I just have this awful feeling that I can’t describe.”

“Well, you needn’t worry, Miss Scarlet. My sister’s buried in a cemetery miles from here where she belongs,” Mrs. Peacock said, unamused. “I’m absolutely sure of it.”
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Post by PeachFreak » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:04 pm

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Mrs. White woefully peeked over the soup still simmering on the stove. It did not look at all appetizing. But the tiny, barely lit kitchen of Hill House had a way of making even the most delicious foods look revolting. It really was a rather cramped room stocked only with the necessities, most of which were left over from years past. However, before her death, Elizabeth had promised that she would renovate the whole thing, but with the funeral and all, Mr. Boddy couldn’t be bothered with the thought. And he hadn’t mentioned it since. So with a frown, the domestic gave the yellow concoction on the stove another stir before bringing the ladle to her lips for a taste.

“Salt. More salt,” she murmured, pulling open a cabinet. And without even measuring it, she dumped a heap of white powder right into the pot. That was one of the greatest and most private secrets of Lydia White’s cooking. She lived by the firm notion that if one simply added butter and salt to literally any dish, it could be saved and made twice as savory. Accordingly, it really was no wonder that her dear late husband Sam, God rest his soul, had died from a heart attack.

But that was years ago. So beginning to hum to the festive music still filtering in from the hall, the housekeeper continued to putz about the room. And every few seconds or so, she would glance up at the clock on the wall as if dreadfully eager about something. But she had time. So she fished a recipe book from a shelf and turned to a page on some soup or another.

“Salt to taste,” she read aloud. The disgusting pot of dish water could certainly use more salt. But before she could even reach for it, the doorbell resounded through the house, echoing off the ceilings and through every hall.

“Ah, but what else is new?” Mrs. White grumbled to herself. With one swift movement, she turned the burner to low before wiping her grimy hands on her apron. And with a crinkle of her nose, she recognized that the two prints that she had left behind were not at all proper for receiving guests. But if said guests wanted to be fed that evening, they would deal with them in silence.

And so, pushing her way through the swinging door to the hall, Mrs. White made her way toward the entrance. At the same time, Miss Peach descended the main stairwell with Mr. Boddy in tow.

“Did the doorbell ring, Mrs. White?” the man asked; he seemed a bit shaken. But he always looked like that right after taking his medication.

“It did. I’m about to answer it, sir,” Mrs. White nodded as she stepped into obedient attention.

“Oh, well, carry on then. Send whoever it is into the lounge. I’m still expecting the Reverend and a friend of Miss Scarlet’s.”

“Yes, sir. It’s sure to be an enchanting evening,” Mrs. White replied with a grim sort of sarcasm lying beneath each word.

“Indeed it is. But we mustn’t leave everyone else waiting. They’re probably gossiping about us right now,” Miss Peach added with a tiny laugh. And with that, she was dragging her step-father back into the lounge. The door slammed shut behind her.

With a sigh, Mrs. White walked over pulled open the front door just as the doorbell rang again; she was surprised by the sudden burst of cold. And standing out on the porch was a devilishly handsome young man with brown hair and a sort of rough edge about him. Yet, any seeming danger merely amplified his charm.

“Good evening. And Merry Christmas,” the gentleman said with a tiny smile. He spoke in this high and mighty way—as if his presence were some great gift to the world. And within his arms, Mrs. White noticed, was a glittering gold box with a red ribbon around it.

“So you’re the mysterious Richard Plum. It’s nice to finally meet you face to face. Come in. And keep your voice low. They’ll hear you,” the housekeeper said with a tiny smirk. And bidding the man inside, she slammed the front door shut and began to remove his coat.

“Ah, you must be the one and only Mrs. White. I’ve heard nothing but good things about you. And your wonderful knack for doing what it is you do,” the Professor remarked. “Is everything else settled for the evening?”

“Of course it is, sir. I do like things organized after all,” Mrs. White replied as she pulled open the hall closet; in went the Professor’s mantle with the others. “Just try to keep up some semblance of normalcy, hm? Everyone else is in the lounge. This way please.”

“So, Mrs. White, how many people are going to be here exactly?”

“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that, Professor. No one will get in the way,” Mrs. White said with a grim smile as she pulled open the door to the lounge. “Professor Richard Plum, sir.”

“Oh, Richard!” Miss Scarlet cried as she jumped to her feet. “It’s so wonderful you actually made it. I was beginning to worry with the snow and all. I mean, you simply had to meet everyone.”

“Hello, Yvonne,” the Professor smiled as he walked into the room. And with another mock curtsy, Mrs. White slammed the door and hurried off to finish salting her soup. “Merry Christmas, everyone,” Plum added as an afterthought.

“John, dear,” Miss Scarlet smiled, placing her wine glass on the coffee table. Walking over, she laid a tender hand on the Professor’s shoulder. “This is my longtime friend, Richard Plum. He’s a Professor of Chemistry at one of the most prestigious universities in New York, you know. It’s just wonderful you two should finally meet. After all, you’re the two most important men in my life.”

“Well, it’s a pleasure, Professor,” Mr. Boddy nodded. And Miss Peach beamed as Mrs. Peacock and the Colonel muttered how-de-dos.

“The pleasure’s all mine. But, please, everyone call me Richard. There’s no reason to be so formal over the holidays.”

“Well, Richard, I’m Maureen Peacock,” Mrs. Peacock said, her hostility seemingly eased by the warm glow that followed Professor Plum wherever he went. “This is my brother, Charles Mustard.”

“And, of course, you’ve already met Nanette,” Miss Scarlet grinned. “Look at us now. A perfect little family.”

“Oh, before I forget, Yvonne. This is for you. I saw it, and I simply had to get it for you,” Professor Plum said, handing over the golden box. Shifting her eyes, Miss Scarlet smiled before gushing.

“You shouldn’t have! I’ll go put this under the tree in the billiard room. Be right back,” Miss Scarlet said sweetly. “Sit down. Get acquainted with everyone. We were just discussing applications of modern chemistry. I’m sure you’d have something to say about that matter.”

“Of course,” the Professor smiled, and as Miss Scarlet rushed out the room and closed the door behind her, he sunk down into the chair beside Mrs. Peacock.

Her heels echoing across the floor of the empty hall, Miss Scarlet herself walked past the stairwell before making her way into the open billiard room. A charming, if somewhat dusty room filled with dark wood, it was dominated properly by an impressively carved billiard table. More misplaced cherubs decorated its legs. In the eastern corner, a mighty tree had been set up. However, nobody had actually gotten around to finishing its decorating. A pile of unlit Christmas lights, the wires twisted and wrapped into countless knots, sat forgotten beside a stack of perfectly wrapped presents.

And gently closing the billiard room door behind her, Miss Scarlet gingerly set about unwrapping the Professor’s package. She pulled out a sealed beaker filled with some white liquid or another. And holding it up to the light with her manicured fingers, she examined it before walking for the far wall and turning off the light-switch.
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Post by PeachFreak » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:21 pm

After dumping just a bit more salt into her pot, Mrs. White looked up as the timer that she had set for the oven filled the room with a tiny ding. She would have to hurry; if the turkey sat even a few seconds late in that crummy appliance, the whole thing would be burned and ruined.

So, slipping on a pair of threadbare oven mitts, she pulled open the appliance’s metal door, and after stumbling for a moment, she had the oversized bird on the counter. It was a handsome specimen, and it had cooked quite nicely. So at least if the soup were awful, the entrée would save the meal. So, tossing off the mitts and moving to the icebox, Mrs. White searched for the butter. However, resounding through the house, the doorbell interrupted her and made her yelp in surprise.

“That’ll be the Reverend,” she sighed, slamming the refrigerator door and once again wiping her hands down her apron. Well, at least he would be the last one to arrive; then, there would be no more interruptions. Because she really did have to get dinner on the table.

So, scurrying back out into the hall, the domestic made her way toward the door. Before she arrived, however, the doorbell rang again. Strange. It was rather unlike Reverend Green to be impatient. Thus the surprise was somewhat diminished when Mrs. White pulled open the front door to reveal not the Reverend but an unknown man in a snow-covered black overcoat. All in all, the stranger was a rather frightening figure; a rather short gentleman with broad red cheeks and gray hair slicked back with far too much grease, he gave the appearance of a ventriloquist’s dummy come to life.

The housekeeper was taken aback, but composing herself, she finally said “Yes?”

“Good evening. My name is Dennis Slate-Gray. I’m a writer for The Lancrest Enquirer.”

“And what can I do for you, Mr. Slate-Gray? We don’t want a subscription.”

“Oh, no, I’m not trying to sell you anything, ma’am. I came here to have a word with Mr. Boddy. I know it’s short notice, and I know it’s a holiday. But perhaps if I could just speak with him, he’ll accept my apologies,” Mr. Slate-Gray said with a toothy grin; his lips, like his cheeks, were unnaturally red.

“Well, come in then, I suppose, now that you’ve driven all the way here. We won’t throw you out in the snow at least,” Mrs. White sighed, beckoning the man inside. “I’ll see if Mr. Boddy can speak with you. But don’t get your hopes up, sir. He’s entertaining guests.”

“Thank you,” Mr. Slate-Gray replied as he stepped inside. Although Mrs. White hastened to slam the door behind him, she made no attempt to take his coat. It was more than likely than he would be gone in a few minutes or so. Back down into the dark of that treacherous mountain path. And away from Hill House.

“Perhaps you’d be good enough to wait here,” Mrs. White said. Giving a small nod, Mr. Slate-Gray watched her walk across the hall to the lounge door; pulling it open to reveal the chatter of the people within, she disappeared inside.

And sticking his hands into his pockets, Mr. Slate-Gray began to whistle as he scanned the room with two enormous blue eyes. It really was an ugly old house, and it certainly suited its tragic past. He smirked at that thought. Maybe buildings really could be evil, and maybe such buildings really could influence the grim events that occur within them.

However, after a minute or two, the uninvited journalist was jarred from such thoughts by the slamming of the lounge door. And standing in the hall was Mrs. White with Mr. Boddy by her side. The latter offered a polite smile as the former curtsied and returned to her precious turkey.

“Mr. Boddy, I presume? My name is Dennis Slate-Gray, and I write for The Lancrest Enquirer.”

“That tabloid?”

“Well, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a tabloid, Mr. Boddy. But I would like a word with you if I may. I really am sorry to come on such short notice and on a holiday. But I assure you that it is all relevant.”

“Oh, very well, Mr. Slate-Gray. Perhaps you’d like to stay for a meal as well? We’re about to have dinner, and I wouldn’t feel right sending you down that mountain in this storm. It won’t clear up for a few hours still. You’re likely to drive right off a cliff.”

“Well, as long as it’s no imposition.”

“Oh, none at all,” Mr. Boddy replied in a tone that revealed that it was indeed an imposition. But he was a host after all. “Just leave your coat in that closet there, and I’ll be right back.”

Smiling weakly, Mr. Slate-Gray did as he was told while Mr. Boddy hurried to the kitchen. After a few words with Mrs. White, he reappeared in the hall and approached his unwelcome guest.

“Perhaps you’ll join me in my study. This sounds like a matter of business, and business has its place, after all,” Mr. Boddy said with a smile as he hospitably extended his arm. And nodding, Mr. Slate-Gray walked across the hall. Entering the spacious well lit room with its record player and its enormous wooden desk, Mr. Boddy slammed the door behind them.

Meanwhile, bringing his hand to his chin, Mr. Slate-Gray looked around the space. It had floral red wallpaper of a rather bloody shade, and on the carpet, a lavish oriental rug stretched from wall to wall. But something was off. It was not simply the fact that a seemingly loaded shotgun hung on the back wall. But something about the colors of the room didn’t quite blend in the proper way. So the journalist shivered and looked around as if expecting something to jump out at him.

“So, what’s this all about, Mr. Slate-Gray?” Mr. Boddy jolted him back to reality; he sunk into the chair behind his desk. And extending his hand, he beckoned his guest to be seated across from him. The stranger did so.

“I’m sure you’re well aware of the tragic history of this house, Mr. Boddy. When it was being constructed, two builders are said to have been buried in its walls. And after that, the youngest daughter of the original owner succumbed to disease and died in an upstairs bedroom. And most recently, you and your wife were involved in an automobile accident right down the road.”

“You’ve done your research, Mr. Slate-Gray. But what does any of this have to do with anything?”

“Well, I heard from a very reliable source that you’ve been experiencing paranormal phenomena in this very house. If I may say so, it’s a perfect ghost story if I ever saw one. And with a ghost who is quite famous,” Mr. Slate-Gray remarked, motioning vaguely to the photograph of Elizabeth on the desk.

“So, of course, you’d like to write that perfect ghost story, hm? For that tabloid of yours?” Mr. Boddy asked, eying him. The host appeared as if he were stifling anger.

“Well, Mr. Boddy, last Christmas, one of America’s most beloved actresses lost her life because of an incident near this mansion. And letting the public know that she’s still here is too good a scoop for me to pass up. So I would very much like to come into Hill House with a team of investigators. To scope things out. And the whole thing’s sure to be a huge hit. Of course, you can call the magazine and check my credentials. If you recall, last year, I exposed a rather large political scandal in this state, so I’m really no amateur.”

“I thought your name sounded familiar, Mr. Slate-Gray, and I don’t doubt your skill. But I hardly think the public believes in ghosts.”

“Well, I, for one, believe in ghosts, Mr. Boddy.”

“As do I, Mr. Slate-Gray, but your offer, though interesting, is not exactly convincing,” Mr. Boddy sighed. He looked around the room as if expecting someone to materialize. “I’m a widower, sir. And I’m still coping with the loss of a woman whom I loved very much. So I’m afraid I can’t let you do this story. It would turn Elizabeth into some campfire tale. And this house into a tourist attraction.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way, sir, but perhaps if you just gave it some more thought, you would think differently. After all, it is the anniversary of your wife’s death; it’s an appropriate night for her specter to appear. So if you think about it, Elizabeth herself could prove the existence of an afterlife this very night.”

“Mr. Slate-Gray, I’m afraid the answer is no. You may of course stay for dinner, and perhaps I’ll somehow be enticed before the evening is over. But, right now, I need to make a telephone call. Because I have a feeling I know who your reliable source is, and he and I must chat. So if you make your way right across the hall, you’ll find yourself in the lounge. Introduce yourself as a friend and do not speak of Elizabeth in there. Certain people are likely to tear you to shreds if you do. But help yourself to a drink if you’d like. I’ll be in shortly.”

“Yes, of course, sir. But perhaps it’s better if I left. As to not waste any more of your time.”

“If you try to leave in this weather, Mr. Slate-Gray, you’ll very likely become a part of your own ghost story before the night is through. I do hope the Reverend makes it here in one piece.”
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Post by PeachFreak » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:17 am

“Oh, thank goodness.” Reverend Daniel Green let out a sigh of relief as his tiny jalopy mounted the winding path to Hill House. By that point, the road was beginning to disappear beneath the glistening snow still falling from the sky, and the clergyman could hardly contain his gratitude as the walls of the wretched mansion materialized before him. After all, he was beginning to wonder if he had repented enough should he be forced to face the pearly gates that very night.

However, the only gates that the Reverend would encounter that night would be the wrought iron guardians of Hill House, and pulling his car through them, he slid it beside the yellow vehicle already parked in the courtyard. Clearing his throat, the man glanced at his hair in the rearview mirror. Even if vanity were a sin, there was no denying that the middle-aged Daniel Green was still quite a handsome man. With jet-black hair and a chiseled chin, he was decidedly attractive in a decidedly All-American sort of way. And even with age and the wrinkles associated with it, his boyish good looks had not left him.

Readjusting his scarf, the Reverend stepped out the car. And after taking a quick breath he began running through the snow, passed the other automobiles and passed the misplaced fountain cherub, to the front door. And after taking a brief moment to compose himself, he turned to look warily out into the darkened woods before knocking twice with the knocker.

Much to the Reverend’s surprise, Mr. Boddy and not Mrs. White answered the door a few moments later.

“Oh, Reverend, I’m so glad you made it here in one piece. We were getting worried,” Mr. Boddy said, offering a small smile. “Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas to you, John. It really is coming down, isn’t it?"

“Worst I’ve seen in years. But I guess everyone loves a white Christmas. Still, come in, come in. Before you catch cold. I’m afraid Mrs. White’s too busy with dinner to be answering doors, but I hope I’m just as good.”

“Good enough, John,” Reverend Green chuckled as he removed his coat and scarf; meanwhile, Mr. Boddy closed the door gently behind him.

“Well, everyone else is in the lounge,” the host remarked, taking the man’s articles and storing them in the closet with the others. “But I have something I’d like to give you. Could you come with me to the study for a minute?”

“Of course, John,” Reverend Green nodded, and with long strides, the pair made its way across the hall. Still, the Reverend perked his eyebrow perplexedly; there was nothing he could think of that John Boddy could offer him.

“Well, I was clearing out some more of Elizabeth’s belongings this week, and I found this in the bottom of a drawer,” Mr. Boddy explained as he moved to his desk. Reverend Green gently closed the study door. And after digging through his belongings for a few moments, Mr. Boddy retrieved a golden crucifix with a shimmering chain

“It’s the one I’d given her for her birthday a few years ago,” Reverend Green replied. His face turned pale, and shakily, he lowered himself down into the empty chair across from Boddy.

“Yes, well, I figured you ought to have it. As a sort of memento. You and Elizabeth were such good friends. And it seems right for this cross to come full circle,” Mr. Boddy smiled weakly as he placed the pendant on the desk.

“Yes. We were very, very good friends,” Reverend Green nodded somberly. For a few moments, he stared off into space as if remembering something of the past. However, finally looking back down, his eyes shifted from the crucifix to the photo of Elizabeth beside it. And for what seemed an eternity, he stared at the smiling dimpled face so pure against Hill House’s horrible backdrop.

“She was so beautiful, wasn’t she?” Mr. Boddy noted suddenly as if caught in the same trance that had entrapped the Reverend.

“Yes, she was. Heaven must be missing an angel,” Reverend Green said with a small smile. However, his face abruptly fell into a bizarre half-scowl. “Well, I suppose that as of last year, she’s back where she belongs.”

“You know, Reverend. You were the only man to love her as much as I did,” Mr. Boddy said. "Even more than her brother I'd say."

“You really have no idea, John. I’ve never had a better friend than Elizabeth,” Reverend Green sighed weakly. “I mean, I knew her and her siblings long before she began making movies. Back when she was just Lizzie. She was such a sweet girl. With a heart like no other.”

“Well, her siblings are sitting in the lounge if you’d like to go say hello. And help yourself to a drink as well if you’d like.”

“Even on holidays, we humble men of the cloth don’t let quite so loose,” Reverend Green said, standing up with a forced smile. “And I thought you’d removed all liquor from this house, John.”

“Just because I’m choosing to remain sober doesn’t mean my guests should. Nor should my employees. Mrs. White needs a good stiff sip every now and then. You know her.”

“Well, I suppose it’s alright as long as everyone keeps their wits about them.”

“Indeed it is. Well, I’ll be done in a moment or two. Perhaps you could get Maureen to calm down a bit in my absence. She’s been glaring daggers at me all evening,” Mr. Boddy sighed.

“Well, John, you know it’s a bit more difficult for people to forgive than it is for the Lord. After all, we’re all only humans and subject to the weaknesses associated thereof. Even me.”
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Post by PeachFreak » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:41 am

Having gotten the basket of buttered break to the dining room table just two minutes before seven-thirty, Mrs. White ran a weary forearm across her sweaty brow. And with a sigh, she slumped into a chair and looked around the large dark room. It was a hideous mess of blue and gold, and the only lightning came from the number of candlesticks situated around it.

In the far corner, an impressive grandfather clock, carved with cherubs and other fantastical creatures, ticked away each second. And just as Mrs. White began to doze off in her tiny yet well-deserved two minute rest, it was seven-thirty on the dot, and the woman was once again on her feet.

Stepping out into the empty hall, she walked past the garland-decked stairwell and to the study door. And quietly, she slipped inside and removed the Christmas record from its place on the turntable.

With that done, she promptly made her way to the lounge. And straightening her apron, she pushed its door open gently and stepped into the room.

“And then when she rubbed away the thing’s eyes, they were looking in a different direction than they had been,” Miss Scarlet said as if she were just finishing some story or another. “I swear. It’s true.”

“Well, I don’t believe that,” Colonel Mustard said, gruffly clearing his throat. “Supernatural nonsense.”

“Well, I’m willing to believe it, love,” Mr. Boddy smiled, patting the woman’s knee lovingly; Reverend Green shifted his weight uncomfortably in his seat.

Interrupting the spectacle, Mrs. Whit suddenly cleared her throat. “It’s seven-thirty. Dinner is served.”

“Oh, splendid,” Mr. Boddy said, standing up. “Shall we all adjourn to the dining room?”

“Well, I’m so hungry that I could just about eat a horse,” Miss Peach smiled as she too hurried to her feet. With a brilliant toothy grin, she glanced at Professor Plum, who then glanced at Mrs. White.

“Your names are by your places,” Mrs. White remarked hastily, and curtsying, she returned to the kitchen and left the lounge door standing open.

“Well, come on everyone. Nothing like a good Christmas feast to brighten the holiday spirit,” Mr. Boddy grinned as he walked into the hall. He let out an unconvincing chuckle.

“And perhaps some other spirits will appear as well,” Miss Scarlet murmured coyly; Mrs. Peacock glared at her. And yet, Maureen Peacock had been the last to leave the room after Yvonne had gone. After waiting for everyone to enter the dining room, she slipped to the hall closet unnoticed and retrieved her purse. And scurrying back to the lounge, she hastily shoved the brass statuette of the Virgin Mary into the bag.

“Well, where has Mrs. Peacock gone off to?” Mr. Slate-Gray was oddly the first to notice the woman’s absence; he had been placed at a corner of the table like an afterthought, which, of course, he was.

“Perhaps she’s powdering her nose,” Miss Scarlet offered from across the table. At that moment, Mrs. White stepped into the room through the kitchen door; she was armed with a bowl of salted soup.

“Well, shouldn’t we wait for Maureen?” Professor Plum asked, looking around the room for approval. Mr. Boddy vaguely nodded.

“No need,” Mrs. Peacock said, appearing silhouetted in the hall doorway. “I ran off to the little girl’s room for a moment. Forgive me for holding everyone up.” And with no further explanation, she sunk into the only open chair. And with a satisfied nod, Mrs. White began serving the soup.

“My, my, Mrs. White. This is certainly delicious,” Colonel Mustard beamed, taking another greedy gulp of the sickly yellow broth. “Every year you seem to outdo yourself.”

“Yes, Mrs. White. It really is quite delicious,” Mrs. Peacock agreed. Peculiarly, however, she had yet to actually taste the concoction.

“They’re lying.” Miss Peach put a hand up to her mouth and mouthed those words discreetly to the Professor, who was sitting beside her. He brought his napkin to his lips to conceal his smirk.

“Bon appétit. I’ll be back to serve the next course when you’re all through,” Mrs. White said, surveying the room. She decided that she was right. It was the salt that saved the dish. And with that, she disappeared into the hall and closed the dining room doors behind her.

“So, Mr. Slate-Gray, how did you say you and John knew one another again?” Mrs. Peacock asked, stirring her soup with her spoon; her purse sat at her feet.

“Oh, just old friends from around town,” the uninvited guest replied, glancing over at Mr. Boddy as if seeking approval. John nodded.
“Yes. We’re quite good chums indeed.”

“Funny, he’s never mentioned you until now,” Mrs. Peacock said with a tiny smirk.

“Well, I don’t speak much of him either,” Mr. Slate-Gray grinned. There was a polite chuckle around the table, and everyone seemed satisfied with the retort. After that point, dinner continued in a rather humdrum matter.

However, quite the majority of the table seemed to have some fixation with the grandfather clock; Miss Scarlet and Miss Peach would keep glancing over at it. And the Professor was usually the one to reel their gazes back to the table and the company seated around it.

However, Mr. Boddy himself seemed just as fascinated by the wonderful piece of craftsmanship; each second it sent yet another uniform tick out into the dark halls of Hill House. And John Boddy seemed to be waiting in upmost anxiety for one in particular.

At some point, Mrs. White had reentered the room and served the salad; it was just as salty. But she disappeared just as quickly as she had arrived.

“You look sick, John, dear. Is everything alright?” Miss Scarlet asked suddenly, catching the man’s attention.

“She’s right, John. You look positively pale,” the Reverend noted. He looked to his left and to his right as if seeking approval from the Colonel and Mr. Slate-Gray. They more or less nodded in agreement.

“Oh, it’s nothing,” Mr. Boddy assured his guests, shoving a piece of lettuce into his mouth. Just as he bit down with a boisterous crunch, the grandfather clock began to strike eight o’ clock. The room fell silent, as if everyone expected something to happen on the last chime.

On the first, Miss Scarlet fidgeted in her chair. On the second, Miss Peach cleared her throat. On the third, the Professor sniffed the air as if to free his nose from mucus. On the fourth, the Reverend bit his lip. On the fifth, Mrs. Peacock kicked her purse. On the sixth, the Colonel looked down at his feet. On the seventh, Mr. Slate-Gray turned hastily to the dining room door as if he had heard someone enter. And on the eighth, Mr. Boddy’s eyes bulged.

They all had heard it. After the eighth chime echoed through the grim corridors of Hill House, a bloodcurdling female shriek did the same. No one could pinpoint its exact location, but it seemed to ring from every room and from every corner all at once. As it finally faded, Mrs. White emerged stark white from the kitchen.

“It’s Elizabeth! It’s her scream! Right at the time I drove her into that tree!” Mr. Boddy shrieked, jumping to his feet.

“Oh my God,” Miss Peach cried; fanning herself, she fell limply into the Professor’s arms.
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Post by PeachFreak » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:56 am

“There, there, calm down, now John. It’s all over,” Miss Scarlet said softly, trying to comfort her fiancé. Her efforts were nevertheless mostly in vain. After the incident in the dining room, dinner had ended rather abruptly, and Yvonne and Mrs. White had taken Mr. Boddy to the conservatory in an effort to calm him down. After all, it was the most well ventilated room in the house, and fresh air would certainly due the man some good. But it was doing absolutely nothing.

“No, Yvonne, I will not calm down. Mrs. White, I need something to drink right now,” Mr. Boddy snapped, wiping the sweat from his face with his handkerchief. “Did you hear me, Mrs. White? Right now!”

“I thought you were sober, dear,” Miss Scarlet said firmly, sitting down beside him on the black wrought iron bench. The rest of the room was just as dark as that iron. Grotesque plants grew up the windows, which only revealed the desolate snowy woods around the house. And the only light came from a few dim bolds hardly suitable for sustaining any form of life.

“Why don’t I get your medication, sir? I’m sure it will help,” Mrs. White said, looking to Miss Scarlet for approval.

“Yes, I think that’s a very good idea,” Miss Scarlet nodded in hasty agreement.

“I don’t want the damned medicine. Get me a drink,” Mr. Boddy demanded. “I’m going insane! Crazy! But you all heard it! Every one of you heard it too!”

“Yes, we did, John,” Miss Scarlet sighed before looking away. “Mrs. White, you’d better go get him a drink.”

“Right away, ma’am,” Miss White moaned grimly. And with that she disappeared into the hall.

“Would you like to be alone for a bit, John?” Miss Scarlet asked once she had gone. “I can go see how everyone else is doing. You needn’t finish playing host tonight. Let Yvonne take care of it.”

“Yes. Leave me be for a while please,” Mr. Boddy said abruptly. And nodding sympathetically, Miss Scarlet rose to her feet and waltzed out of the room.

Walking through the hall, she stopped suddenly at the closed billiard room door and listened; the Professor had taken the fallen Miss Peach in there to see if he could revive her. And after eavesdropping at the door for a moment, Miss Scarlet gave a small knock. Still, without waiting terribly long for a response, she continued on her way and disappeared across the hall into the dining room.

Finally emerging from the kitchen, Mrs. White had brought a whole bottle of wine with her; knowing Mr. Boddy’s alcoholic habits, he would want all of it in order to calm himself down. So just toting it along with her saved the housekeeper the trouble of running back and forth all night. Thus, quickly and without a word, she vanished into the conservatory and closed the door.

However, having been watching the scene unfold from the shadow of one of the ballroom doorways, Mr. Slate-Gray ran his hand along his hair. Not through it. Along it. And with his interest perked by Miss Scarlet’s bizarre segue to the billiard room, he hastily walked along the hall toward the particularly ornate wooden door. And like a proper snoop, he placed his ear to it as discreetly as possible. Mrs. Peacock and the Colonel were in the lounge with the Reverend, he believed. Either way, they wouldn’t see him having a little listen.

“Well, you’ll have to take it off,” Professor Plum muttered from within the room; something immediately toppled over. “See? I told you. It’ll get in the way. Just give it here.”

“It’ll fit. I do this all the time,” Miss Peach retorted sharply.

“If you’re sure, Nanette. You ready for the juice?”

“Can’t you hold on for one minute?” Miss Peach snapped again; something else toppled over within the room. And with a sly smile spreading onto his face, Mr. Slate-Grey leaned in further to the door. It swung open unexpectedly under his weight.

“Huh?” Professor Plum cried in surprise, turning as the intruder barged inside. Miss Peach shrieked from atop the billiard table, attempting to cover her exposed undergarments.

“Excuse me,” Mr. Slate-Gray stammered quickly, scanning the entirety of the room. “Really. Excuse me.”

“No, excuse us,” the Professor said grimly, more or less forcing the stranger back into the hall. He slammed the door behind him.

“Oh God. How much do you think he saw, Richard?” Miss Peach asked meekly, tossing her hair behind her head and running her fingers through it in panic. “What if he saw all of it?”

“He didn’t see enough to figure anything real from it, Nanette,” Professor Plum assured the woman. “Now come on. We’d better hurry. Find the box, would you?”

“Hold on a minute, Richard! What if he tells John? After all, they’re such good chums it seems. He could be running to my step-father right this moment.”

“He’s not going to tell John anything, Nanette. Come on. He didn’t see anything.”

“Well, how would you know, Richard?” Miss Peach snapped, crossing her arms over her bosom. “What if he just goes and ruins the whole thing? Just like that? Then what’ll become of us?”

“I suppose I wouldn’t know, Nanette,” Professor Plum sighed halfheartedly. “But, you know, I could always just get Yvonne in here if you don’t want to do this.”

“You’ll do no such thing,” Miss Peach remarked sharply. Jumping off the billiard table, she began collecting her clothing and putting it back on. “Here, help me latch my dress.”

“Where are you going now?”

“To find that Slate-Gray fellow and find out what he saw. I’m not taking any chances, Richard. We’ve wasted too much time and effort for that,” Miss Peach replied flatly. “I’ll be right back.”

“You’d better hurry, Nanette. We don’t have a lot of time left, and you seem particularly worried about it.”

“We have plenty,” Miss Peach cried, quite exasperated. And she pulled open the door and disappeared into the hall with a loud slam. So looking around, she spied the only open door in the expansive room; the large, dusty library of Hill House lay beyond it. And deciding it the most obvious place to begin any sort of search, Nanette hurried to the doorway with her heels clacking across the floor.

Pretending to read a pirate novel that he had found, Mr. Slate-Gray sat in an uncomfortable brown armchair. But in an effort to make himself at least somewhat comfortable, he had lit a cigarette at some point. As such, he hardly noticed Miss Peach enter the room and close the door behind her.

“Merry Christmas and good evening, Mr. Slate-Gray,” she said softly, leaning against a bookshelf and thrusting out a suggestive hip.

“Oh, good evening, Miss Peach. I didn’t hear you come in,” the man said, clearing his throat. He did a bizarre little flail with his hands and knocked over a heavy wooden nutcracker that had been sitting on the end-table.

“Well, you and I need to have a little talk,” Miss Peach said with a smirk forming across her pink little lips. And with that, she walked for the armchair. “I rather dislike snoops, Mr. Slate-Gray. I dislike them quite a bit.”
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Post by PeachFreak » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:28 am

“No, Maureen, I have absolutely no idea what to make of it,” Colonel Mustard said, clearing his throat. And with a frown, he turned to the lounge fireplace, where the fire had long ago died out.

“Well, I just want to leave,” Mrs. Peacock said firmly, looking around the room. “Right this instant.”

“I’m afraid no one’s likely to leave in this weather, Maureen,” Reverend Green said softly. “We may even have to spend the night.”

“I will not spend the night in this awful house,” Mrs. Peacock retorted sharply.

“Excuse me, everyone,” Miss Scarlet interrupted, opening the door from the hall and appearing in the doorway. By now, she had taken her hair down and allowed it to fall in brown waves to her shoulders. “Mrs. White and I are brewing some coffee. I think it’ll calm everyone down. Would you all like to join me in the dining room? Mr. Slate-Gray’s already there waiting. But I’m afraid Richard is still tending to Nanette. She fainted as soon as she woke up again.”

“Coffee sounds wonderful,” Reverend Green smiled. He gave an almost apologetic glance to Miss Scarlet, who seemed to be trying her very best to keep things in order.

“Well, come on, Maureen. We may as well have some too. It’ll be quite a long night,” Colonel Mustard said as he stood up. He offered his sister his hand, and reluctantly, she took it. And with that, the four of them were making their way into the dining room, and as silently as possible, Miss Scarlet closed the doors behind them.

Meanwhile, in the conservatory, Mr. Boddy clutched his head. He wasn’t quite drunk yet. Almost. But not quite. No, he was still quite lucid and still quite aware of the ghastly events surrounding him. What would he do? He didn’t know. More medicine. More wine. It would help. Where was the damned medicine again?

“John. I’m here, John,” said a tiny female voice. It interrupted Mr. Boddy’s thoughts and seemed to come from within the very walls themselves. But it faded off as suddenly as it had made itself known.

“Who’s there? Come out!” Mr. Boddy demanded, jumping up into a sitting position. “Yvonne? Nanette? Is that you?”

“It’s me, John. I’m here, John.”

“Where are you? Who’s there?” Mr. Boddy cried, a strange mixture of anger and terror appearing on his face. “Go away. I want to be alone!”

“But I’m already here, John,” the voice repeated, and with a knock on the conservatory door, the room plunged into darkness.

“Who’s there?” Mr. Boddy repeated, staring with wide eyes at the door to the hall. He stumbled backward in terror and found himself backed into a bush. “Please! Just go away whoever you are!”

“It’s me, John,” the voice repeated. And emerging as if in midair from the foliage, its owner appeared. There was Elizabeth, clad in the very white gown and broad white hat from her portrait above the stairs. And she glowed with a horrible otherworldly light like a lone flickering candle in the all-consuming darkness of Hill House.

“No, no! Go away!” Mr. Boddy cried. “Go away! You can’t be here! You can’t be!”

“I loved you, John. But you loved the drink more than you loved me,” Elizabeth cried, her ghastly whispers echoing off the conservatory ceiling. Her face was dark, hidden beneath her hat’s brim. “You killed me, John! You killed me! It’s your fault, John! Your fault!”

“No, Elizabeth! No!” Mr. Boddy closed his eyes as if he could make the vision disappear. And he did. For when he opened them, the lights were inexplicably back on, and his late wife, once standing there shimmering in the dark, was now nowhere to be seen.

“Elizabeth?” Mr. Boddy asked weakly, looking about the room. And with wide eyes and a face white with terror, he ran for the door without waiting for a response and disappeared.
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Post by PeachFreak » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:17 pm

“Well, I say we all have a toast for the finest ghost to ever walk the halls of Hill House,” Professor Plum said with a grin, raising his wine glass into the air. Around him, Mrs. White, Miss Scarlet, and Miss Peach did the same. The darkness of the home’s expansive ballroom surrounded them. Still, the fire blazing in the marble white hearth provided light enough.

“Oh stop it,” Miss Peach said, flicking her hand dismissively. “But I really was good, wasn’t I?”

“Well, the dialogue was a bit cheesy, but it got the job done,” the Professor said teasingly, taking a sip of his liquor. Miss Peach sighed weakly.

“But, you know, we couldn’t have done it without our beloved effects technician. How about some applause for Mrs. White?” Miss Peach said, raising her own glass.

“Yes, of course. The scream during dinner was impeccably timed. And I must say, you got through the passageway from the kitchen to the study in impressive time,” the Professor nodded.

“Oh, stop it,” Mrs. White smiled.

“Oh, but you do deserve the praise, Mrs. White. The blackout in the conservatory was simply perfect!” Miss Peach gushed.

“Ah, but none of it could have happened without Miss Scarlet and the Professor organizing the whole thing,” Mrs. White said, shaking her head.

“Oh, nonsense. The scream record’s just an old theater prop,” Miss Scarlet said dismissively.

“Yes, but you’ve been giving signals and corralling guests all night. And you really were the mastermind behind everything,” the Professor smiled.

“And you’ve been providing the silly glow-in-the-dark solution to give Elizabeth that ghostly touch.”

“Yes, Yvonne, dear, but it was your idea to hide it in the gift box,” Richard said, grinning from behind his glass.

“Oh, fine, I have done a lot, and I do deserve quite a bit of credit,” Miss Scarlet laughed to herself. “But kudos to Mrs. White for finding the secret passageways. Elizabeth wouldn’t be able to appear and disappear so quickly without them.”

“Well, I think everything will finally pay off tonight. Mr. Boddy’s either going to drink himself into a coma or medicate himself to death,” Mrs. White said darkly.

“And then everything that rightfully belongs to me will be mine,” Miss Peach sighed dreamily. She couldn’t hide the glee in her voice. “But of course you three will have your proper splits.”

“I do worry, though,” Miss Scarlet said softly. “What if he catches on? Perhaps it’s better we try to deal a finishing blow while we have the chance.”

“Whatever it comes down to, nothing will be in vain,” the Professor assured her. “But I’m running out of patience too.”

“Oh well. We’ll just see what happens I guess,” Miss Scarlet sighed, placing down her glass. Walking to the fire, she lifted a poker and began to play with the log roasting there. “Just remember to sound the ten o’ clock scream, Mrs. White. It might be what we need to drive him right over the edge.”

“As long as you keep everyone out of the study.”

“I’ll do my best. I’d better get back to the guests, though. They think I’m checking on you, Nanette,” Miss Scarlet sighed. However, a sudden thump at the door commanded everyone’s attention.

“Oh God, do you think someone was listening?” Mrs. White asked abruptly, her eyes widening.

“Probably that Slate-Gray. He’s been snooping around all night,” Miss Peach said scornfully. “He walked in on me changing into the costume.”

“Did you end up getting any information out of him?” the Professor asked.

“No, he just kept repeating he didn’t see anything. And asking me if I was drunk. And staring at my chest,” Miss Peach frowned, readjusting her dress.

“Well, I’ll take care of him,” Mrs. White offered. “I suppose I could hurry Mr. Boddy along as well if necessary.”

“Do what you have to do, Mrs. White,” Miss Scarlet remarked. And the group nodded in grim agreement.
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

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Post by PeachFreak » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:43 pm

Stepping into the kitchen, Mrs. White scanned the room as if to be certain that nobody was hiding there waiting for her. Once she was certain that the coast was clear, she made her way to a cupboard and began removing wine glasses.

“Take care of them, hm?” she murmured to herself, beginning to fill each one with whatever was left from the bottle from the ballroom.

And once she had finished, she moved to a drawer and pulled it open. And removing a small green vial of poison, she added a little to two of the glasses. Well, at least it wasn’t salt.

And with that, she placed them onto a tray and walked into the dining room to serve her special concoctions.
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Post by PeachFreak » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:33 pm

Pacing back and forth in the billiard room, Mr. Boddy seemed to be decidedly drunk by this point. A half-full glass of wine sat in his hand, and leaning against the wall beside the tree, the troubled man downed the rest of it. And in his stupor, he managed to trip over the discarded Christmas lights; he toppled to the ground just as the door from the hall opened.

“Who’s there?” Mr. Boddy demanded, trying to see through blurred vision.

“It’s me, John. You really do need to pay, do you understand?” the unseen intruder said firmly. “And I’ll get you, John. One way or another.”

“Elizabeth? Is that you? Oh, it is!”
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Post by PeachFreak » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:42 pm

With no fire, the lounge had gotten cold.

“I really do want to leave, Charles,” Mrs. Peacock said softly; she apparently had no fight left in her and looked ready to break down completely.

“He really said all that, did he?” Colonel Mustard sighed, clearing his throat.

“Yes, he did. But that’s not the only thing. Something awful is going on in this house. Things move around on their own. And that scream. Oh God, Charles, that scream,” Maureen sighed weakly.

“I know, Maureen. I heard it too. We all heard it.”

And as if on cue, another bloodcurdling female shriek pierced the silence of Hill House.

“Oh, Charles! It's ten o' clock. It's when Elizabeth died!"
Last edited by PeachFreak on Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

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Post by PeachFreak » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:49 pm

Perplexedly, Miss Scarlet descended the main stairwell in the hall. She looked quite shaken by something or other. But people tended to look that way after visiting the dark second story of Hill House.

“Is everything all right, Yvonne?” Miss Peach asked, emerging from the study. “You look positively pale.”

“Were you just upstairs, Nanette?”

“No, it wasn’t me,” Miss Peach said, shaking her head. “Why?”

“I saw something. Oh, never mind. Must be my mind playing tricks.”

“Well, have you seen John?” Nanette asked.

“No, I haven’t. Maybe the scream got to him.”

And suddenly, the front door flew open to reveal Mr. Slate-Gray clad in his black overcoat. Snow clung to his face and nose.

“I...I found...I....It’s Mr. Boddy. He’s dead.”
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

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Post by PeachFreak » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:56 pm

Mr. John Boddy has been murdered in his own home.

The killer is one of these eight suspects:

Miss Yvonne Scarlet
Col. Charles Mustard
Mrs. Maureen Peacock
Prof. Richard Plum
Mr. Dennis Slate-Gray
Mrs. Lydia White
Rev. Daniel Green
Miss Nanette Peach

The deed was done with one of these eight weapons:

Christmas Lights
Fire Poker

And one of these eight rooms housed the crime:

Billiard Room
Dining Room

Sleuths, it is your job to bring this murderer to justice. To do so, you may ask two and only two questions of the suspects between each suggestion. I will tell you how many aspects of each suggestion are correct until the proper solution is discovered.
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

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