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Story a Day September: Day 25- “The Corridor Beyond”

Today’s Story a Day prompt has us focusing on POV. I’ve only written a handful of pieces in first-person. I do tend to default to third for most things, especially my novels. I do have first person(though sometimes I forget and start writing in third). So, I’m using where I’m at in that one for today’s story.

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I followed Nola through the almost hidden door at the back of the library, still marveling at how I could have spent thirteen summers in this house, a lot of that time in this very library, and not known this was here. The corridor beyond the door was dark and smelled musty.

Nola cursed, and I almost laughed. The words sounded so incongruous with her sweet mouth. I knew just how sweet that mouth could be now. “I forgot,” she said. “There aren’t any lights back here. Ms. Adriane kept saying she was just going to close it off. As you can tell, it hasn’t been used for quite a while.”

“Where does it go?”

“It ends at the old servants’ kitchen. Ms. Adriane did have that closed off. Said it was dangerous. But, it comes out other places. So the servants could get around to do their jobs without being seen.”

“Aunt Adriane was never worried about that.” I knew that for a fact. She’d treated most of her employees like they were more family members.

“No, but from what some of the older maids said when they were still here, even your great-grandfather kept up that attitude. Your grandfather probably would have to if they hadn’t been estranged and the house got left to her.”

I’d always wondered why someone I’d been taught had been a hard, almost cruel, old-fashioned man had left the house and all his holdings to his unmarried daughter instead of his older son.

I started to step into the corridor, but Nola pressed a hand to my shoulder. She jerked it back just as quick, almost as if I’d burned her. “Wait here,” she said quickly before I could work out her reaction. “I’ll grab a flashlight. There should be one in the desk.”

“No need,” I told her. I pulled my phone out of the pocket in my pants. Neither of us had shirts on anymore, which I guess could explain that almost burned reaction, but I’d kept my pants on.

I pulled down the menu screen on my phone and tapped the icon for the flashlight. It might not have been as bright as one she would have found, but it worked just as well. I held the light over her shoulder so she could still lead the way. When we reached the corner where it would have turned toward the old kitchen, she led me down a narrower hallway. There were no doors here as there had been in the main hallway. But, there was a set of stairs leading up to the next floor.

“Do these go all the way up?”

“Right up to the attic,” Nola said. “Or they used to. The door to the attic has been closed off for a long time. Ms. Adriane wasn’t even sure how long. We were always told to stay off the third floor, though.”

I’d been given the same warning, too. Not that I’d always heeded it. I’d never been able to get through the door to the attic, either, though. And there’d been a heavy feeling on that third floor. I’d never been able to explain it.

But, I felt it back here, too. Maybe it had just been the fact no one used these spaces anymore.

I took a couple more steps up the stairs and it was almost like whispers swirled around me. Words of desire, wishes, promises. I gripped the railing a little tighter even though it didn’t feel all that sturdy. “Nola,” I said quietly, my heart hammering faster.

She stopped and looked back at me. “What is it? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

I shook my head. “No, but I think I felt her. Something must have happened back here.”

She gave a soft laugh and turned back to go up the steps. “I’ve told you. Those are all stories. There aren’t actually any ghosts here.”

“Haven’t you ever felt her, seen her?”

She shook her head a little too fast. Maybe she just didn’t want to believe it. But, I knew there was something more here. And I was going to find out exactly what had happened to have her haunting this house.

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