A Story by Emma Keynes

Diane is left alone in her house and discovers a mystery long left unsolved.



                  The large white house stood tall and alone at the end of Rock Hill Road.  Inside the top bedroom, Kimberly Green and her sister Diane sat on the frayed red rug on the floor at the end of the large king-size bed, reading aloud to each other out of a big book in turns.  Every once in a while, Kimberly glanced at the clock above the door and sighed.  The hands seemed to be moving so slowly!  Her parents were out at a get-together party with their neighbors, and she was nervous about being shut up in such a mysterious and huge house alone with only Diane.

                  After a while, she and Diane abandoned their attempt to entertain themselves by reading, and Diane meandered out into the narrow hallway to look out the window to see if their parents had returned.  As soon as Diane left the room, Kimberly walked over to the portrait of a woman whose face was severe; not even a trace of a smile could be seen. 

                  Suddenly, the door slammed shut and the room glowed an eerie red.  Terrified, Kimberly flung herself against the door, but the knob would not turn.  Desperately, she rattled it and shouted for her sister, but Diane didn’t seem to hear her, even though she was right outside the door.  Kimberly pounded on the door, and when no one answered, she turned around.  A woman in a white evening-dress stood on the floor next to the bed; her skin as pale as her dress, her long dark hair billowing out behind her.

                  Kimberly’s breath left her, and she backed up against the wall, her heart thumping rapidly against her rib cage.  Without thinking, she glanced at the portrait�"the woman in it had disappeared!  When she turned around, the woman in the room had also vanished, along with the strange glow.  Kimberly began to calm down, but a moment later, heavy black dust started blasting out of the fireplace.  The thick dust cloud engulfed Kimberly in blackness, and she blindly stumbled in the direction of where the door should be.

                  Her eyes stung, and as she opened her mouth to call for help, a layer of dust coated her throat and she choked.  As she staggered, not seeing, a shelf on the wall caught her head, and she fell backwards into the swirling dust, her eyes fluttering closed.


                  She heard whispers nearby, and then someone spoke in a low voice.  It was her mother’s voice, she was sure.  Kimberly slowly opened her eyes and saw her mother and Diane’s faces above her, sliding in and out of focus.  When Diane opened her mouth to reply to what was said, ripples spread across her face, and Kimberly immediately closed her eyes.  Nobody had noticed that she was awake, and when her father’s quick footsteps were heard outside the room, her mother immediately went to meet him. 

                  “How is she?” her father asked in a low voice.

                  “Still asleep.  What did you find?”  Her mother sounded tired.

                  “Room’s a wreck.  The portrait of my great-great aunt Kimberly Morris is untouched, strangely enough.  My father always told me she was a lively, reckless girl, full of endless energy.  ‘Loved jokes,’ he said once.  She died in that room; did I ever tell you that?”

                  “I think you did once, before we moved here.  I wonder why no one’s stayed very long in this house; a month or two at most, I think I heard.”

                  “People say it’s haunted, but I don’t believe that.  It belonged to my family, and I spent some time here when I was young.  Never saw or heard anything unusual.”

                  Kimberly listened in silence, thinking over this new information.  She reopened her eyes, and this time, everything slowly adjusted itself to its normal position.  Diane moved away abruptly, and Kimberly’s vision blurred again.  She was suddenly overcome with sleepiness, her eyelids drooped shut, and she drifted off once more.

                  When she next woke, a familiar face was looking down on her.  Her mother was seated by her bed, holding a cup of water in her hand.  She gingerly reached up to feel her head, and found a bandage tightly wrapped around her forehead.   She felt her mother prop her up and hold the cool cup of water to her dry lips.  Kimberly drank then sank back down.  Her mother soon afterward rose to leave, promising she would be back after work, and once she was gone, Kimberly was left to sort through her thoughts. 


                  When the house was silent, as it was Monday, and everyone was out of the house, Kimberly climbed out of her bed and walked through the house until she reached the steps that led up to the room that had spooked her.  She lingered a moment at the bottom before she began to climb.

                  There was a thick layer of dust covering the floor, but no sign of the woman in the white gown.  Things aren’t always what they seem, she told herself, although she wasn’t entirely convinced.  She must be playing a joke on me like Dad said.  She entered the room and bolted the door, waiting for the red glow to appear, but it never did.  Instead, the portrait on the wall shone brightly, and as Kimberly approached it, her suspicions were confirmed.  She stood before it with her mouth open�"the woman was no longer looking so serious�"she was almost smiling.

© 2013 Emma Keynes

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Added on June 6, 2013
Last Updated on June 6, 2013
Tags: Diane, mystery, house, red, picture, portrait


Emma Keynes
Emma Keynes

Hi! Like most of you out there on Writer's Cafe, I love to write! I write poetry, spoken word, memoirs, fiction, non-fiction, scripts, short stories...and that's not even half of it. more..

Jamie Jamie

A Story by Emma Keynes