September 5, 2011
Posted by in Stories | 5.02pm | 1,069 views
The Redgrave Inn Series – Book One/Story One
The winds are howling furiously tonight.
Even the leaves are rustling in distress.
I really do not like it when the weather is like this.
It’s a sign that something bad might happen.
I should not even be here.
I should be at home, locked up and safe.
We all do stupid things for money, don’t we?
Just as that thought flashed across Joseph’s mind, his friend appeared from the shadows.
“There you are! What took you so long?” Joseph was irritated.
“Had to make sure that I was not followed. Anyways, let’s get this over and done with.” Gareth replied.
“You got everything?” Joseph asked.
Gareth showed Joseph the bag that he was carrying. “It’s all here,” he said with glee.
Joseph’s wary mood is a dark contrast to Gareth’s cheery disposition.
The two men disappeared into the woods and came out on the other side. They walked very fast without saying a word to one another. Finally, they stopped at the doorstep of an old but regal inn.
The sign read, “REDGRAVE INN“
They opened the door and went straight to the reception desk. There was an elderly lady sitting behind the desk. She looked up as the men announced that they wanted to get a room for the night.
“We will be paying by cash.” Gareth said.
“I am sorry. We are full tonight.” The lady said.
The men looked at each other. They really needed a room tonight. The inn’s distance was perfect for their plans.
“We really need a room tonight. We will pay double.” Gareth said.
The lady frowned for a second and looked through the register book again. Finally, she said that there was an attic room on the third floor. She said that they could have it for the night, if they do not mind the room being small and sharing one bed. Seeing that they had no other choice, the men agreed.
Together, they went up to the third floor. The lady pointed to the door at the end of the hall and handed them the key. She walked back to the stairs.
“Wait…don’t you want us to put down a deposit first?” Gareth asked.
She didn’t turn around to look at them. She just replied that it was all right and continued walking down the stairs.
The men quickly opened the door to their attic room. There was a flight of steps leading up to the room.
Joseph found a switch at the side of the wall and flicked it on. They climbed up the stairs and reached a small room with a large window in the middle of the room. There was one lamp on the table and a painting that hung on the wall. The moon was unusually bright that night. The room was sufficiently lit.
Joseph walked up to the painting to have a closer look. It was a painting of a lady in a red gown.
“This is a depressing painting. She looks like she’s been crying her eyes out! No wonder they put it in the attic.” Joseph said while still looking at the painting.
“Forget the stupid painting! We got work to do!” Gareth barked.
Gareth opened the bag, and took out some clothes. Both of the men hurriedly changed out of their clothes and into what Gareth had brought out of the bag. They are now dressed all in black. Gareth took a gun put it into his coat, where as Joseph took a blade and placed it in his pocket.
They left the room and did not return until past midnight.
Gareth and Joseph had just robbed another house. It was their third robbery of the week. The inn was their ‘transit’ stop.
Both of them were celebrating another well-executed plan with bottles of beer that they had also stolen on their way back to the inn. After both of the men had showered, they counted their loot and divided them.
“This is my last job, Gareth. Tonight is the last.” Joseph said
Gareth was not happy to hear that. He insisted that there was no such thing as a last job, as bills do not stop adding up and they will keep coming.
“Well, I rather find a proper job and work. I have had enough of this, Gareth.” Joseph said firmly.
Both men began to raise their voices and argued. Finally, Joseph saw that there was no point in him saying any more or staying any longer. He packed up his things and left the inn. But before he left the room, he told Gareth never to contact him again.
Alone in the attic, Gareth began to drink even more. He opened another bottle of beer and went to the window. He waited to see Joseph walk out of the inn. Gareth was cursing Joseph under his breath until Joseph came out into view below.
Joseph turned to look up at the attic window. He could see Gareth’s angry face. Then Joseph looked again, harder this time. There was something or someone moving behind Gareth in the room. Joseph tried to tell Gareth.
Gareth thought Joseph was being pathetic for waving at him from below. He cursed at Joseph even more. Then suddenly, Gareth felt a cold air come up behind him.
By this time, Gareth could almost hear Joseph shouting from below, “Look out behind you! Gareth, look behind you!”
All the hair on Gareth’s back stood for no apparent reason. Gareth could feel the cold air getting stronger, as if it coming closer towards him. The temperature in the room began to drop.
Gareth turned around to see a female figure standing before him. She was wearing a red dress, all tattered and torn. Her hair was long and wild. It had covered most of her face. All Gareth could see was her left eye and her mouth. Her eye was glowing red. Her neck was twisted to the side in an odd way. There were some red marks at her throat.
Gareth stood rooted to the ground. He had not known fear until then. He could not move or speak. He could only stare at this ghastly figure. He shuddered to think what it was.
Then she stretched out her arms at Gareth, revealing her long black nails stained with red marks.
“I have been stuck here for long time and I feel very lonely. Stay and keep me company.” She said in a chilling voice.
Gareth dropped his beer bottle and it shattered on the ground. He opened his mouth but there was no sound.
The lady in red smiled and moved towards Gareth.
Minutes later, loud banging was heard on the door of the attic. Joseph had run back into the inn. He frantically got hold of the elderly lady at the reception and another male caretaker of the inn to accompany him up to Gareth’s room. They had trouble opening the door even though they had used the spare key.
Finally when the door relented, they could open and rushed in.
The lights in the room were out. There was only the light from the moon through the window. Gareth was nowhere to be found. They saw the splattered beer bottle on the floor by the window. They searched the room and the whole inn, but there was no sign of Gareth. It was as if he had disappeared into thin air.
Gareth’s share of the loot was still on the bed. It was untouched. When Joseph went back up to the attic to retrieve the bag, he saw a small piece of red fabric in the bag. Upon closer inspection, some of notes had faint red fingerprints on them. Joseph had an uneasy feeling and decided not to touch the money or the bag.
The following day, the police came and inspected the room. Reports were made and filed. The police had tagged Gareth as the sole robber for the past week’s break-ins of the houses not far from the inn. They assumed that Gareth had run off with half of the loot.
Months later, there was still no news or sight of Gareth. Joseph still could not make sense of what really happened. He wanted to know who or what was in the room with Gareth that night before his disappearance. It was all very confusing.
Then one evening at a local pub, Joseph bumped into the male caretaker who was at the inn on the night of Gareth’s disappearance. Joseph started asking him about the history of the inn.
The inn was previously a private residence owned by a family of the same name, Redgrave. Mr. Redgrave was very wealthy and wanted his only daughter to marry well. Unfortunately, Miss Redgrave had fallen in love with a young man who worked in the family’s stables. The young couple had planned to elope but Mr. Redgrave found out of their plans somehow. He was very furious and fired the young man instantly. Then Mr. Redgrave had his daughter locked up in the attic room. She was not to be let out until she came to her senses. One morning when Mr. Redgrave opened the attic to deliver breakfast with a maid, they found Ms. Redgrave hanging lifeless from the ceiling. She was dressed all in red and her neck was broken.
Mr. Redgrave and his wife were very distraught. They sold the house and moved elsewhere. No one had heard from them since.
“There are many stranger things that happen at Redgrave Inn. Your friend’s disappearance is just one.” The caretaker added
Three years later, Joseph went by “Redgrave Inn” by chance. He was now a respectable general store owner. He even got married and was blessed with twin boys. His family and him were passing by the area. They had stopped for lunch at Redgrave Inn.
The exterior looked exactly the same as how Joseph had remembered it. However, the new owner had done some slight refurbishments to the interior. Just before Joseph and his family left the inn, he noticed a painting that was hanging by the bar. It looked very familiar to him.
Joseph went into the bar for a closer look. He gasped in shock.
It was the same painting of the lady in a red dress that he saw in the attic three years ago. This time, however, the lady in the painting was smiling and standing behind her was a man who looked a lot like Gareth. He was not smiling.
THIS IS THE BEGINNING…NOT THE END.
The Redgrave Inn series – Some guests do not get to leave.
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