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Hello Goodbye
You Aren't Really There
She sat at the computer in the hallway, her eyes facing the bright screen. The sounds of her fingers punching the keyboard resounded off the walls. It had been awhile since she had sat down to work on her fiction novel and the heroine was close to dying, as she was in all of her other unfinished, thirty page novels. Listening to the music being piped into her headphones from the computer application, she continued to pursue the final end of yet another possible novel that could someday, if ever finished, be published. Not likely, she thought.
Reaching over to the mouse, she opened the itunes browser and put on her favorite minute and a half guitar riff. She put it on repeat, as it was custom for most of her songs. She had a routine; listen to a set of songs for whatever mood she was in, and slowly rotate through each song, each being set on repeat for a certain amount of time until she was too burnt out on that song. As her fingers wove magic over the keyboard, she moved back and forth in the seat like a master piano player. The clacking keeping beat to the melancholy song she was listening to.
To her right, fifteen feet down the narrow hall in which she was stationed, was a tall narrow window shaded by the multi-seasonal curtain she had hung there. Behind her, two doors sat closed and locked. She never opened them, for she didn’t have the key. Besides she admired the wood-work and elegant door frame too much to break the secret doors open. Although, when she first moved into the reclusive Victorian home, she had unsuccessfully tried to break open the stubborn, off-white doors. It was then that she realized that much like every other thing in the old house, the doors still stood sturdy even in old age.
She turned to look at the thin window down the hall, and saw that the light had faded a little bit; it was nearing eight o’ clock. But the setting sun still managed to bring pale, luminescent light through the old drapes- it being early summer and all. The house had a way of playing tricks on the eyes. Its narrow stairways and hallways, the sharp corners, the empty rooms scattered throughout the large home all had ways of making you think someone else was there. And sitting still in a hallway facing the wall, out of the corner of your eye, you can see a black silhouette of someone turning the bend of the hallway entrance. You quickly swivel your head only to see that it was a trick of the poor lighted windows, off-white walls, and narrow space. Yet still, at times, when she sat stagnant, she felt a shadow pass over her; saw it on the walls, on the long forgotten discolored paintings. At night, when she lay in bed, she could almost hear laughter bounce off the walls. And at times, she can almost feel the sadness and agony when she laid her hands on the studio wall.
The old house had a story of its own, and every time she went into town, she heard the local villagers say to one another, “Oh look, that’s the girl who moved into the house. She’s got guts. If it were me, I wouldn‘t go anywhere near that god-forsaken house.” It wasn’t that she had guts, she just wanted privacy. And if that meant staying in the fabled haunted house, then so be it. She hadn’t had any encounters that the local outdated newspapers claimed others had had. And she most definitely didn’t want any. She was only grateful for the quiet, old demeanor of the Victorian house - and took to it immediately. And whenever she heard people say this of her, she just smiled to herself, and upon entering the house, patted the outdoor frame.
Only living in the house for a couple of months had given her little time to unpack and juggle the start of a new novel. Her publisher wanted to have the first ten chapters written in four months after she moved in. And that was a gratifying deadline- her publisher had been known to make most deadlines, for more chapters, shorter. Now looking at the computer, she felt defeated. There’s no way I can finish ten stupid chapters with the stuff I have right now, she thought. She sat back with a sigh and absent-mindedly moved the mouse around the screen. Reaching over to the volume, she cranked it a little louder and immersed herself in the blue music.
In her peripheral vision, she thought she saw the lighting in the hallway change as someone brushed past. She quickly twisted then realized that it was just another trick. I am really going to have to get better lighting. It was strange how this house had its own conduct, like its own heartbeat, and the light shifting was just a way of life. It never got any less creepy, if anything, she thought, it was happening more frequently. She exited the Word Processor not bothering to save. She would start another manuscript over tomorrow. She stood and stretched long and hard, making small noises as she felt her body loosen up. Man, how long have I been sitting there? Geez, six hours. My back is killing me. She turned off her computer, and then softly padded down the tight hallway. Reaching the Grande hall, she looked up at the high slanted roof and dusty chandelier. This place must have been amazing back in its day, she thought. The Grande Hall shared a room with the formal entrance, and two large stairways ran upstairs on opposite side walls to a Parlor, fourteen bedrooms, eleven bathrooms, and the master suite and bathroom. To her left on the first floor was the double-doored library filled with marble casings and statues, old - among new - books, the boxes she moved in with, a large fireplace, and fine upholstered furniture. To her right were the formal dining room - where a large oak table with twenty seats rested, and the main Parlor room - which also had elegant furniture, antique oddities, and paintings. The skinny hallway connected the Parlor Room with the secretly locked rooms and unlocked rooms, along with bathrooms and a large laundry room and unused kitchen. Directly in front of her and underneath the stairway, were the large kitchen and maid quarters.
Heavy Persian rugs sat atop the scuffed and worn maple flooring, and wood paneling covered most walls in the house. All in all, even in its old state, the house was still as magnificent and sinister as it must have been back when it was first built. She had inherited it through her deranged grandmother’s passing. The woman had left all her belongings to her granddaughter - except a few choice keys that unlocked some rooms around the house. Those keys would be inherited once her granddaughter turned 24.
She startled when she heard a brief knock on the door. “Geez you’d think people wouldn’t visit at such a time.” she grumbled aloud. Pulling her cardigan closed, she shuffled quickly over to the door. She didn’t know who to expect since no one ever visited, but was still surprised all the same. Who she saw was tall, trim waste leading up to broad shoulders, his dark hair was thrown in his face, ice-blue eyes stared back coldly, and one corner of his attractive mouth curved up in a smirk.
“Brandt!” She gasped in shock.
“Hello Kryslin Dolingen. Care to invite me in?” Brandt Delano asked, leaning on the door frame.

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