A howling storm was raging outside. A loose shutter was banging loudly causing the echoes of past days to reverberate once more. Only from the flashes of lightning were you able to see the ghosts that haunt the House on Flower Hill. It is an old Georgia mansion with white columns that mimic the White House in Washington D.C...
This was no ordinary storm. This storm was the precursor to a hurricane. This storm was about to test the resolve of a family of vacationers from California who thought it would be nice to visit a real civil war era southern mansion. This storm, surprisingly, was about to save a marriage.
"How could I let you talk me into this. I told you we should of left earlier to drive back to California before this storm hit."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yes dear, you are always right."
"I like it, mom."
"I don't know, Lisa. I'm with mom on this one. It is dark, the wind is blowing and the rain is really coming down now."
"Whether I miss calculated the arrival of the hurricane or not is irrelevant now. It will be more dangerous to try and drive through this. We are going to have to ride it out here." Just then there is a giant flash of lightning and from its radiance the mom thinks she sees somebody watching them from the depths of the mansion and she screams. The scream echoes like dying dreams. Piercing at first and then fade to no more than memory. "What?"
"I thought I saw somebody back there." She says pointing down the long dark hallway that is almost directly in front of you after you walk in.
"Let's not start freaking ourselves out yet." He puts the flashlight up to his face so they can see him smile and then he makes an eerie ghost moaning sound.
"Come on, dad, don't."
"Come on, Tommy, think of it as a grand adventure."
"Yeah, I think this house is marvelous."
"At least my beautiful daughter Lisa is on my side."
"Do you think this place is safe? It looks like it has been deserted for years."
"This place has survived around two hundred years of hurricanes, there is no reason to think that this giant mansion is going to choose this one to finally fall apart."
For some reason that doesn't seem to calm the mom.
The Turner family is an average middle-class family from Northern California.
They live in the small community of Sutter Creek and they thought that traveling the beautiful United States would be a good way to reconnect. Even though it is taking the last of their money reserves the cost of it not working is so much higher.
Dave, the father and husband, is a forty-year-old fit man with short brown hair and brown eyes that stands at six foot tall. He remodels houses for a living and because of the housing crises and economy things have been lean.
Kate, the mom and wife, is a thirty-eight-year old blonde haired and blue-eyed goddess who stands at barely over five foot and who works at the local pharmacy. While her husband's business has been sporadic at best she stepped up and has given her all to see her family through this challenge. Not just sacrificing her time and making most of the money, but putting her feelings secondary to that of the family unit.
Tommy is a ten-year-old blonde-haired and blue-eyed average boy who would rather be outside running around or inside playing video games. He is a bit of a momma's boy, but his friends consider themselves lucky because he is loyal to those who take the time to get to know the real him.
Lisa is an eight-year-old sweetheart who is absolutely one hundred percent daddy's little girl. She has long straight brown hair and her dad's brown eyes. She loves fashion and sweet girly stuff, but as long as her daddy is right beside her she is more than willing to explore the curiosities of an interesting world.
Even though they are on vacation Lisa is wearing a pretty red and white summer dress that comes down to her knees. When she looks pretty she feels pretty and it is a reflection of her beautiful aura. Everybody else is dressed in jeans and tee shirts. Dave remembers a time when his wife Kate used to dress pretty for him. Not a single one of them thought to bring winter clothes on their summer vacation. They are a good and kind family with respectable hopes and dreams.
"Actually if you look around this house looks recently lived in. In fact it kind of looks like they left in a hurry."
The place is entirely furnished, but has white sheets over the furniture, the grandfather clock that is at the base of the stairs, and a giant picture on the other side of the living room above the huge fireplace. The way the sheets flutter about are not making Kate and Tommy feel any better because they've seen more than one horror movie start this way.
It is a spectacular home. You come upon its grandeur by way of a circular gravel driveway. As you turn into the driveway the tires crunch like a dragon crushing bone.
Hedges and rose bushes line the outside of the circular drive. Inside of the circular drive is a ten-foot statue of an angel and yet the wings have been broken off and its luster has long since lost its gleam.
Lisa says, "Look momma, the poor angel is crying." They all assume it is an illusion because it is raining, but soon enough they will know the sorrowful truth.
As they get out of the car their feet crunch in the gravel and then they step onto a cement walkway lined on both sides by neatly trimmed hedges. The twenty feet of walkway seems like an eternity as they battle the elements. Like the cavalry coming to the rescue an artisan's dreams of a set of stairs lead up to a welcoming massive covered porch that stretches the whole width of the house. The eight Greek-like white marble pillars that support the second floor veranda are a marvel to behold. This home was definitely built in a more romantic time.
As you walk into the mansion through its two heavy highly adorned front doors with the lion head knockers with the rings in their mouths you come into a grand opening with gray marble floors and just forward and to your left is a grand set of stairs that wind their way up to the second floor. The left front part of the house is a huge living room that is adorned with gifts of older times.
Even though it is hard to pull your eyes away from the grandeur of the living room they turn and shine the flashlight to the right and they see that the front right side is the kitchen hidden behind a swinging door. To investigate further you would see that the right rear of the house is a stellar dining room that any dignitary would feel right at home at.
If you continue to walk straight in and down the hallway, yes the very same hallway that Kate thought she just saw someone watching them from, you find several doors on the left that are storage rooms. However, the very back of the left side of the home is a library where dark rich wood connects it to the world. From there several majestic doors that are highly adorned with colored glass lead out to a huge backyard that is such a spectacular garden that in California it would win many awards, but here in the South it is just another backyard.
Where the beautiful garden ends a wooded area begins. Within the garden many flowers, trimmed hedges, and miniature trees still survive there. In fact if you were to look close enough you would see that the plants and hedges are still relatively trimmed, which gives credence to what Dave said about this place being recently lived in and quickly vacated, either that or there is still a gardener that cares for the place.
Even though they have yet to explore the upstairs they will find it pristine. You wind your way up the carpeted stairs as it quickly takes a ninety-degree turn to the right and ends in a balcony type landing walkway that over sees the entryway from the right, back and from the front.
From the front is how you get to the veranda. From the rear walkway is how you get to the bedrooms and bathrooms and the rest of the left side of the upstairs house. The right side inner balcony leads to the back of the house giving access to the bedrooms in the middle and on the right side. There are outside balconies on the rear of the house, but they are for individual bedrooms not stretching all the way across like the front does.
Everything is white, except the polished gray stone that covers the entire downstairs. There you will find strategically placed rugs that probably cost more than the car they are driving. The only true color is the red and white carpet that goes up the stairs, down the hallways and even invades the bedrooms. Suspiciously the carpet looks very similar to Lisa's dress.
"I'm going to see if I can find some firewood to start a fire."
"I'm coming." Says Lisa.
"You are not leaving us here alone." States Kate leaving no room to argue.
Tommy nods his head emphatically in agreement with his mom.
To start with they walk over to the fireplace and see a little pile there. "That is a good sign." Another good sign is they can hear the wind whistling through the fireplace, which means no animals have made a home in the chimney yet. Unfortunately it is making an eerie howling noise as well.
Lisa takes her daddy's hand and Tommy takes his mom's hand. Even though things have been distant between her and Dave for the last year Kate so badly wants to hold his hand too.
.... There is more of this story ...