Friday, October 16, 2009

Eyes of the Beloved Part 1 of 3

My latest story, Eyes of the Beloved, is an urban romance that whisks us away to a dark,stormy October night in 1889 with Lillian Gates on her death bed. Her parents, desperate to save her life, summon an old witch in hopes that their daughter may be saved. What happens behind those closed doors is unknown as we flash forward to the present day when Architect Tom Dylan is commissioned by his sister and her husband to restore their recently purchased and run down, nineteenth century Victorian mansion in Black Creek, Virginia. He is immediately inundated with the unexplainable: a sealed attic door, strange noises in the middle of the night, and acts of violence directed at him, making the rumors of the house being haunted seem true. Amid all this he comes across a portrait of the beautiful Lillian Gates, the woman believed to have died in the house over a century ago, and he sets out to discover the deep rooted mystery surrounding Camden House, Lillian’s death, and the mysterious presence behind the attic door

This was a fun story story to write and a great read for October. So enjoy my first installment of "Eyes of the Beloved" PART I
Until next time,happy reading! Becky

October 13th marked the beginning of the end for Lillian Gates.

From the commencement of the red- skied morning to the distant thunder grumbling across the blackening sky, one servant projected to another that both were bad omens for the Gates family. The head servant, a Mrs. Croft, shuddered while whispering that last she checked, Miss Gates was still and white as a ghost in her bed.

Lillian indeed lay in her darkened bedroom, her breathing shallow, her pulse weak. She had laid there unconscious for three days, and today the despair hovered like a murky fog over the house.

When Doc Barrett exited the bedroom, Lillian’s younger sister Esther watched him from behind the banister, his grave shadow hunched and bloated upon the wall. Drawing his spectacles with one hand and rubbing his blood shot eyes with his other; he whispered in a low, hoarse breath that “Sweet Lillian was in God’s hands now.”

Lillian had been her father’s pride and joy—his angel; the daughter every father wished for and like prisms held up to the sunlight, she radiated like a colorful rainbow—flowing auburn hair and eyes that shined like emeralds. When Lillian walked down the street with a sun umbrella in one hand and yellow dress in the other, every eligible young man paused, lifted his hat and nodded in admiration. Little girls wanted to be like her, old women envied her, and her little sister Esther worshiped her.

After the Doctor disappear down the lane in his black top carriage; mud flipping erratically from his large wooden tires, a strange grief settled over the great house and Michael and Caroline Gates stared absently into the black night. All servants, excluding Mrs. Croft were dismissed and Esther shushed herself into a silent corner. It felt cold and damp—as if nothing could warm the soggy air. Not even the undersized and lifeless fires smoldering in the Library and parlor could tepid their bones.

“What is to be done Michael?” Caroline had whispered as she buried her face in her hands. The house was still, the air dead. Michael sat his chin on his fist and stared into until something resembling a surge of hope brought him back to life. He nudged Caroline’s arm. They spoke not a word, but communicated as only two who have been together for what might seem like a lifetime can— reading every microscopic facial gesture, every hesitation or raised eyebrow. The way Caroline always knew when Michael was upset, or irritated—his lips a thin line, his eyebrows burrowed ever so faintly; an easy read.

She followed him to the library. He promptly closed the door behind them, leaving Esther in the hall slumped against the wall, her knees hugging tightly into her chest. There they whispered urgent words. Words that fell short of Esther’s childlike ears, who— too stunned to cry— stared at the closed door until the swinging of the pendulum arm and the late hour lured her into a light sleep.

When the clock chimed midnight Esther was startled awake. At that very moment her father stepped into the hall and in a pressing manner, called out to her. Obedient, she tiptoed across the hall, the parquet wood floors cold against her bare feet and slipped silently into the room. As if on cue distant thunder grumbled across the sky. A streak of lightening flashed across her father’s cold white face. A shiver ran down Esther’s spine. And then her father began to speak.

Dressed in a black wool overcoat and bonnet, Esther now slipped across the dank open fields like a ghost in the shadows, all lost to the darkness except a telltale swirling moisture that rhythmically rose as she breathed. At thirteen, Lillian’s younger sister of six years was athletic, with liquid blue eyes, freckles that dotted her unremarkable face and blond, nearly white hair in long braids. Her agility had never served her well until now when her parents had no other choice, but to send their youngest daughter out into the darkness. Esther summoned courage from within and set out immediately on a journey that would take her nearly three miles on foot.

She cut across an open field; her breathing strong, her legs fast and sure. Damp sheaths of underbrush thrashed against her skirt causing the wet hem to cling to her stockinged legs. The moon was beginning to peak through the dark clouds, shining its light on an inky black spot just ahead of her. With no time to think she attempted to jump the puddle. Her boot caught an edge, splattering muck across her legs and skirt, but Esther kept running — ignoring the dripping cold mud that was now oozing down her leg and seeping into her boot. With only the moonlight to guide her, and the howling winds to carry her on she inched closer to saving her sister.

Eventually shadowy beginnings of an ominous forest—much like a towering fortress against a blackened sky, came into view. The path wound around a dry creek and then veered left. Each additional step stretched her: lungs and throat burned, blood pulsed, as her legs brought her closer to saving her sister. It was here she must go right, as her father had instructed. There would be no path, only tall grasses that disappeared beneath the soaring trees. Dark tales of witches and ghosts swirled threateningly in the wind. Esther remembered Lillian and pulled her chin up, her wet eyes shining in the cold and then stepped into the darkness.

The moonlight was snuffed out. Her knees threatened to buckle, and she contemplated turning back all together. Only once had she been this close to the forbidden hut; it was when she was but eight years old. She had given in to a dare all because of that frog-faced Herbert Lixson who couldn't stop his relentless teasing about her being too afraid to enter the woods on her own. She had held her head up high and had done it. But this night, this midnight hour, surrounded only by the whistling trees and the darkish veil of night, the realization that she was completely alone terrified her.

Just as she was about to turn back a small dilapidated shack rose out of the mist. The hut was nearly enveloped in shadow excepting a single waft of smoke that plumed tellingly out of an iron stack chimney. The roof was rotting and sparsely shingled. There was something sinister in its position, as if it were alive, watching out its two filthy windows and breathing thin, sickly breaths through the chimney. She became frozen in place as fear coursed down her legs and out through her toes.

“As God is my witness, I am going to die this night.” She chattered through her teeth.

At that very moment the door creaked open, echoing through the empty night, its sound cutting into her spine. Just a sliver of light shown through, but Esther felt the old Lady watching. All bravery gone, her already shaky legs turning to soft butter, she could neither speak nor move...

Visit next week when I post part two of Eyes of the Beloved.


  1. I'm so excited to read this. Are you planning on putting the whole book eventually on your blog or are you going try to publish it?

  2. I'm at least posting the first chapter. We'll see about the rest. And publishing? That is always a dream...