Scarlett couldn’t believe it. She sit in the dark, listening to the storm and staring at the blank TV screen. She picked up the control and pressed the on/off button a few times. Nothing happened. She placed the control down and went to the light switch, trying that she found the lights didn’t come. Frowning, she tried to recall where the fuse box was, but only remembered it was somewhere in the basement.
Slowly, feeling her away along the hallway in the pitch blackness, she made it the kitchen. Scarlett felt her way around and finally opened the bottom draw. She pulled out a torch and turned it on. The light beam cut through the darkness and she was able to pick things out. Grabbing some batteries, she went to move, but heard someone using the heavy rings at the front door to knock three times.
Pausing, she listened to the knocking echo before the thunder covered it up. Walking into the corridor, she wondered, had someone been out walking and got caught in the storm? Unlocking the apartment door, Scarlett walked out and spent a few moments wrestling with the manor’s front door lock. The ring knocked again, three times just like before.
‘Hang on!’ Scarlett yelled.
She yanked open the door and the wind whacked her in the face and drenched her with rain. Scarlett stumbled backwards, regained her balance and shone the torch out on to the porch. The light barely cut through the darkness. She stepped into the doorway and searched, but couldn’t see anyone.
‘Hello?’ she shouted.
The wind howled back at her and the thunder added it’s voice too. Lightening stroke and for a brief few seconds, Scarlett saw there was really no one there. Closing the door and locking it again, she went to put on the alarm, but then remember the lack of electrical. Worrying and glancing back at the door, Scarlett went back into her apartment and bedroom.
Using the torch to guide her into the bathroom, Scarlett grabbed some candles and matches. Carefully placing them and lighting them around the room, she felt the press of darkness lessen. She checked the clock and saw it was almost four in the afternoon. Sitting on the bed, she pulled her book into her lap and with a shrug opened the pages.
Settling down, she read a few pages and then heard the knocking again. Three loud booms from the metal ring echoed and vibrated through the manor. Looking at her closed bedroom door, she wondered about getting up. The thought that it could be an actual person lost in the storm, drove her to going to the front door again.
Once again, she struggled with the lock and door, before the wind stole it out of her hands threw the door against the wall. Scarlett shone the torch out and saw the wind had wiped the chairs and tables off the porch. Tucking back her hair, she called out a few times, but when nothing happened, she tried to shut the door again. Fighting against the wind, she finally pushed the door back into place and locked it again.
Turning, she saw a shadow moving on the staircase. Scarlett stopped and stared. She tried to believe her eyes and mind were playing tricks, but then the shadow moved and the form of a tall man stood halfway up the stairs. Scarlett gasped. Remembering the torch, she lifted it up and shone the light on the man. He was gone. She rushed to the stairs and flashed the light wildly about.
‘Hello?’ she called, ‘I saw you!’
A child screamed.
The torch slipped from her hands and Scarlett scrambled to grab it. The torch hit the floor and the light spun before dying. Crying out, she knelt on the floor and felt the torch. Her hand knocked it and she heard it spinning away. Going after it, she picked it up and fumbled for the switch. The torch wouldn’t turn on. Getting up again, a tiny white glow appeared before her.
Scarlett stopped and watched the white ball take the form of a small girl.
‘Charlotte?’ Scarlett whispered.
‘Hello,’ the ghost girl answered.
‘What are you doing here? it’s day time.’
‘I came to see you,’ Charlotte spoke, holding her head high.
‘Did you see that man on the stairs?’ Scarlett asked.
‘Yes. That’s the headmaster. He is not nice. We should stay away from him.’
Scarlett nodded and glanced up the dark staircase again. The thunder, rain and wind filled the silence, making everything seem more scarier. Scarlett looked down at the ghost girl, who seemed to be watching the door.
‘Do you know who was knocking?’ Scarlett asked.
Charlotte shook her head.
Soft crying, that somehow they heard, come from above. Scarlett looked up then tried to get her torch working again. The soft glowing light coming off Charlotte was enough for Scarlett to see the that the torch was broken.
‘A school boy died tragically during a storm like this,’ Charlotte spoke.
Scarlett looked at her.
‘He fell from the headmaster’s window. But people say the headmaster pushed him as punishment for sneaking around.’
‘Is that what happened?’ Scarlett asked.
‘I don’t know.’
The sound of breaking glass and a window banging in the wind filled the air. Scarlett made to move up the stairs then stopped. A scream echoed then faded, sending chills up her back. She shivered and turned to the ghost girl.
‘Is it over?’
‘Yes,’ Charlotte answered.
Scarlett breathed deeply and clutched her shaking hands together. She shut her eyes for a few moments then opened them to see that Charlotte had vanished. She turned and made to head back into the apartment. The door knocker sounded.
Growling, she went to the door and half debated not opening. Still, she unlocked and opened the door. The rain and wind drove in once more, but this time there was someone standing there.
‘Scarlett?’ Greyson’s voice called out.
A dim light from a phone flickered on.
‘Greyson?’ Scarlett gasped
‘Yes. Are you okay?’
‘I am now!’ Scarlett cried and through her arms around him.
They hugged and kissed as the rain pleated down and the wind whipped around them. Greyson laughed and pulled her inside. Struggling they closed the door together.
‘The lights have gone out,’ she explained.
‘Ah, that’s why you’re in the dark. I thought you’d planned a party or something,’ Greyson said, ‘damn, my phone is out of charge.’
Scarlett grabbed his hand and led him into the apartment bedroom. There candles chased away the shadows and they were able to see each other. They laughed at the state of each other and Scarlett got some towels from the bathroom. They both changed then lay on the bed, holding each other.
‘There’s something I’ve to tell you,’ Scarlett said.
‘Oh?’ Greyson replied, rubbing the top of hair with his chin.
‘The hotel’s haunted. I’ve see and spoke to a ghost. Her name is Charlotte. She’s one of the original owner’s daughters. She has this nursery in the attic with a doll’s house that looks like the manor did and there’s a rocking horse too!’
‘It’s true!’ Scarlett cried.
Greyson held her tighter and kissed her.
‘You don’t believe me, do you?’
‘I…maybe you should rest? I’ll go and find the fuse box,’ Greyson said.
‘No!’ Scarlett grabbed him. ‘Say you believe me!’
‘I do,’ he murmured and squeezed her.
Scarlett snuggled into him, knowing he was lying, but she would soon change his mind.