The thing about haunted houses is that they’re never quiet. It’s the most disturbing, or most interesting, thing about them, depending on your point of view. A good friend of mine recently offered her summer house as a place for me to recoup after my somewhat disastrous winter. The house is a furnished, 3,700 square foot manor in the mountains, set right on the edge of a vast, rolling meadow. Beautiful. Perfect. What could go wrong?
The Four. These portraits are together, placed on the same wall. I’ve named the matriarch “Maude”.
Obviously the one with the common sense. This guy is an excellent listener, always advising me to take the safe path, not become drawn into those heated situations where I’m apt to say or do the wrong thing. Also, he’s a big believer in careful spending and budgetary responsibility.
The wild one. Dorian is all for the heat of the moment and the pursuit of artistic passion. Dorian detests all things conventional. His advice, usually delivered in taverns and whorehouses, is to celebrate what it means to be free and to be human, come wealth or ruin, as those are the experiences that allow men to truly live.
Secluded in a separate room, Donald is most obviously a vampire. No other paintings will dare to share a wall with him. He is, perhaps, the patriarch of this group, as his portrait was most definitely completed by the same artist, and yet . . . One wonders about Donald. Too old for Maude? His portrait is the smallest of the three. His clothes, also, are undefined, just shading, more or less. And his expression? A man with a secret. But then, we all have secrets, don’t we?
So there it is, the grand tour of Krzyia. Now, a few odd facts:
- The upper balcony has a railing that bears the emblem of the Freemasons. It is the only railing that bears that design.
- Doors open and close without help at night.
- One (very old) neighbor told me that Krzyia was built as a bed and breakfast before the war and that there are secret rooms in the attic.
- There are, indeed, secret rooms in the attic, and I’ve yet to find the door.