It’s crazy to think that people used to dance in this area. This empty hall of ghostly memories is a haunting poloroid of the events that once took place. It makes me truly sick, If I’m being honest.

I breathe in the stale atmosphere and grimace. Not getting any younger, I thinkt to myself. I look around and start sweeping. If I had known that I’d be inheriting a ghastly reminder of luxury and banquets, I may not have accepted this “gift.” Maybe that’s why grandpa didn’t want anything to do with this place. It reminds him of a time in his life of unbridled vanity and selfish greed. Then again, I don’t think I would feel guilty if I truly were rich like he was.

As I’m sweeping, my broom touches something that rattles as it scuttles to the other end of the room. Interesting, I thought to myself. I go in the direction that the noise ceased and find a little hair clip, a tooth clip with a bow on it. It is dainty, elegant. ”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””’

I can’t believe how much I find myself wanting to keep it, something about it sticks out to me, and I’m unsure what.

“Minnie?” I hear Gretta call from the hallway.

“In here, Gretta.” I respond.

I quickly shove the clip in my pocket. I don’t know what’s special about this clip yet, but I don’t think Gretta would approve of me taking a hair clip of someone that’s more than likely dead already.

“I found this strange pearl necklace in Master Lexindale’s room,” She says, showing me the necklace. I don’t know why, but this makes me step back. I feel sick to my stomach.

“Put that down,” I say,” now!”

She raises an eyebrow and sets it on a desk in the hallway just outside the door. “Minnie are you alright?”

I don’t really know how to answer her question. The answer is no. Something is intrinsically wrong about this place. Though it is empty, I feel like there’s this presence and it wants something from me, depending on me. But I don’t know why I feel this way or what I’m supposed to be doing. I don’t know how to explain it, and I don’t think Gretta will understand. I love her, but she’s not in tune with the world like I am, and may chalk it up to anxiety, nerves, or my ‘silly imagination’. I don’t think she’ll understand.

“I’m alright, Gretta. Just don’t touch any jewelry, you never know who was last wearing it or where it’s been.”

She cringes and shakes her hand like it’s covered in water. I smile.

“So you remember how I wanted to go on that date with Dustin to see Rivals? Well..” her voice trails off as I tune her out. Typically I’m a pretty good listener, but I’m feeling suffering in the room around me, as though there is someone crying in the corner, but when I turn to look, there’s no one here except for haunting paintings of dead people. Ironically, the haunting paintings almost provide some sort of comfort. Not so much comfort as familiarity. Like one of the paintings is of Edgar Allen Poe. I loved Poe growing up. Not necessarily because I was a huge fan of reading or even those types of entertainment- horror, that is. No, I liked that I got to see inside the head of someone like that. I cannot imagine how terrifying it would be to discover the darkest parts of humanity alone in your room. Murder, torture, suffering, these things he wrote about must have terrified him. Yet he wrote anyway. I wonder what Master Lexindale saw in Poe.

“And that’s why you need to get ready, ASAP. C’mon, I’ll fix you up, doll.” Gretta says, grabbing my arm, and pulling me out of my own head and back into this haunting room.

I look around at the dusty surfaces, shrug, and follow along. I have no idea what I’ve just signed up for.

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