|The Secrets of Rose Hall
Author: UniqueAnimeFreak PM
Kitty Hawthorne was just your average detective. On a vacation to a close friend's, she stumbles upon a murder. Will she find out who is responsible? And more importantly, will she make it out alive?Rated: Fiction T - English - Mystery/Crime - Words: 2,256 - Published: 05-02-12 - id: 3018998
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A tall, brunette woman strides into a detective office in Whitstone, Cornwall, England. She sets down a stack of papers onto a cluttered desk and straightens up a wooden frame that contains a picture of herself and an older looking blonde couple. The three were smiling and laughing, a memory frozen in time. She stands up and sighs, wiping the light sheen of sweat from her forehead. She thought she had talked her boss into buying a fan for the office, but he never listened.
The woman walks down a dimly lit hallway, a bare light bulb swinging on a thin wire coming out of the ceiling. Newspaper clippings hang in frames on the hallway, and her name stands out on most of them.
Kitty Hawthorne solves mystery
Kitty Hawthorne saves the day again
Kitty Hawthorne catches the world famous masked murderer
Kitty smiles at the papers and finally reaches the end of the hallway. She gently eases open the glass door and steps into the large room.
"Mr. Hamilton, I thought I had tried to encourage you to stop spending so much money on this office and use it for better causes, like fixing up the rest of the building?" Kitty asks as she leans on the wall by a large mahogany shelf. She crosses her arms and looks at the rough but friendly older face of her boss.
It was true- Mr. Roger Hamilton spent a lot of money on his exquisite office; it was his pride and joy. He was a single man with no family (they all died in very peculiar accidents), so all he could do with the money he has was to spoil himself and splurge for his office. It's not like the detectives who worked in this building went without a very generous paycheck or anything, so Kitty shouldn't worry, but she liked to tease Mister Roger about it.
"Oh, Miss Katherine, I apologize," Mr. Hamilton says as he stands up out of his black, leather swivel chair and sighs. He places his hands on his wooden desk top and shakes his head as he looks around the room. "I just can't help myself sometimes."
"It's alright, I suppose," Kitty says in response, a smile playing at her lips. She straightens out her grey fleece business jacket and looks at her. "Oh, Mr. Hamilton, I was wondering if I could possibly use some of my vacation time-"
"Oh, finally!" Mr. Hamilton says in delight.
"Trying to get rid of me, are you?" Kitty asks with an amused expression, an eyebrow raised.
"Oh, no! Of course not, Miss Katherine!" Mr. Hamilton rushes to explain. "I just meant that you've worked here for three years, and you haven't used any vacation time, so I'm just excited that you're finally taking a small break. Where are you going, if you mind my asking?"
"Well," Kitty says and smiles, "my mother has a friend that lives down near London. She invited me over because I haven't seen her since I was in elementary school. She has the most beautiful home- grand ballrooms, beautiful artwork, a giant flower garden in the back- it's a once in a lifetime chance! Plus, she is one of the nicest people you could ever meet. I've been looking forward to it for quite some time now."
"That sounds amazing," Mr. Hamilton smiles, sitting back in his chair. His expression sobers up and he looks at Kitty with his aged brown eyes. "But you do know about the recent accidents that have occurred in London, correct?"
"No, sir, I don't," Kitty answers, puzzled.
"Well, apparently there's been murders about London. Three innocent people- Nathaniel Harrison, Daniel McArthur, and Jennifer Dutcher- were killed out of the random. Mr. Daniel was found in an alley garbage can, Mr. Nathaniel was found in a river on the outskirts of London, and Mrs. Jennifer was found dead in her home."
"That's awful," Kitty says, a frown prominent on her face.
"You should still go," Mr. Hamilton says, reassuring her. "But I just want you to be careful, you understand?"
Kitty nods and sighs, still feeling uneasy. She turns to leave and quietly exits the room. She walks back to her desk and looks at the picture frame one more time. She smiles slightly, the uneasiness drifting away slightly. She turns to look at the mess on her desk and groans. She flips off the light switch to her office, grabs her scarf and large coat, and places them on. Outside, she could hear raindrops pitter-patting against the windowsill and grabs her umbrella. She steps out and opens up her umbrella. She pulls the scarf tighter against her neck and starts walking down the sidewalk, people rushing past her to get inside their homes. She watches raindrops splatter against the sidewalk under her feet as she scurries home.
When she gets there, she sighs at the empty home. She hangs up her jacket, umbrella, and scarf, then heads towards her room. She changes into her nightclothes and lays in bed, ready for the warmth and comfort of the fleece sheets. She smiles and snuggles in, ready for a decent night's rest. Her packed bags wait in the corner of her room, along with her airline ticket.
The next morning, Kitty finds herself nervously flipping through a magazine on the plane. No, this wasn't the first time she'd been on a plane, but she couldn't help thinking about what Mr. Hamilton told her the day before. Soon enough, the plane lands and Kitty steps out. She wipes her sweaty palms on her pants and gets her bags. She looks around and finally spots the tall, lanky woman. Dark curls frame her face and her smile widens as she recognizes Kitty.
"Oh, Katherine!" the fifty year old says happily, walking towards her. "I'm so glad to see you, dear."
"You as well, Ms. Wintercrest," Kitty says with a smile, looking down at the older woman.
"Please, call me Annabelle," Ms. Wintercrest says, patting Kitty's hand. "Oh! Let me have Matthew help you with your bags."
"Matthew?" Kitty asks, confused. Who was this man?
"My son, dear," Ms. Wintercrest says and chuckles.
A tall, green eyed, dark haired man walks up, a bright smile on his face. He looks at Kitty and she realizes that she's as tall as him. A memory flicks up for a moment, but fades just as quickly.
"I remember it like it was only yesterday," Ms. Wintercrest says and sighs. "You two, playing together in the garden. All of a sudden, you two rush in, announcing your engagement. You were only seven, so you didn't really realize what it meant, but it was just so adorable."
Heat rushes to Kitty's cheeks as she remembers.
Circa- Twenty years ago.
"You're my best friend, Kitty," a younger Matthew says with a smile, holding her hand.
"And you're mine," Kitty says in response, playing with a ladybug.
Matthew removes his hand from hers and looks at her. He holds up his pinky and smiles.
"I promise you. Whenever we're older, we can get married, okay?" he says to her.
"O-Okay?" Kitty says with a smile, taking his pinky and wrapping hers around.
The memory is prominent in Kitty's mind, and whenever she looks at Matthew, he looked embarrassed.
"Mother, please," he says quietly.
"Oh, do excuse me," Ms. Wintercrest says and chuckles. "Well, let's get the move on, you two."
"Yeah," the two say quietly.
Kitty hands off her bags to Matthew and sighs. She looks at him and feels the tops of her ears burn. She turns and quickly trots off, catching up to Ms. Wintercrest, who was already walking in the direction of the car. Matthew sighs and carries her bags with ease.
On the car ride towards Ms. Wintercrest's house, Kitty says something about the murders.
"Oh dear, that's terrible," Ms. Wintercrest says in surprise, covering her mouth with her hand.
"So you didn't know about them?" Kitty asks.
"No, I haven't. That's strange," Ms. Wintercrest says.
Matthew stares out the window in silence, not daring to say anything. Kitty's eyes flicker to him and studies him. He's.. odder than she remembered. He was never usually this silent.. What could possibly be wrong? Ah, she hasn't seen him in a long time, so it could be anything. Her gaze drops and she turns away.
They finally reach the house and Kitty gasps at the amazing beauty.
"Katherine, dear, welcome to Rose Hall," Ms. Wintercrest smiles, patting Kitty's leg.
"It's so.. Beautiful," Kitty says, smiling. Her eyes light up as they gaze upon the garden, the elegant stained glass windows, and the balcony on the side.
"Thank you," Ms. Wintercrest says with a smile.
The three step out and a butler walks over. His grey hair was thinning, and his tux was a bit crumpled at the ends, but he looked quite respectable none the less. He holds out a hand to Ms. Wintercrest, then to Kitty. He helps the two out, one after the other, than turns to Matthew.
"Mister Wintercrest, may I take the miss' bag?" the butler says and holds out his hand.
"Thank you Henry," Matthew nods and hands him the luggage, then makes his way up to the house.
As he enters through the large white front door, he sees Kitty walking and looking around in excitement.
"May I show you to your room?" Matthew says and Kitty turns towards him.
"Very well," Kitty nods and follows him up a wooden spiral staircase and down a hallway.
Kitty looks at the walls to see beautiful paintings. She could feel the expensive carpet squishing under her feet and smiles. She felt like a princess.
They finally stop in front of a large door. The mahogany was beautiful, and Matthew opens the door to an even more beautiful room. White lace curtains cover over the window in the far corner over the bed, which had a rich royal blue bedspread on it. On the opposite side of the room, there was two glass doors that open onto the stone balcony. Twin wooden retractable doors open to the closet, which was empty except a few shirts. The floor was polished oak, and a white fluffy carpet lies before the bed.
"It's beautiful," Kitty says in awe.
"I agree," Matthew says, looking at her. He clears his throat and Kitty looks at him. "Well, tea is at five, but you may skip it for today to roam around."
"Okay, thank you," Kitty says and nods, then smiles.
"Then I will leave you alone to unpack," Matthew says and smiles, then ducks out of the room.
Kitty turns to her luggage and drags it over to her bed, then sets it on top. She unpacks, then quickly exits the room and walks outside, straight to the garden. When she reaches it, bright colors of the flowers and a mix of fragrances greet her. She sees an apple tree in the back of the garden, the shiny red apples reflecting the sunlight. Kitty turns her head to see the bright sunflowers standing out amongst the pinks and reds of the roses around it. She follows the narrow cobblestone path through the garden and sees a cherry blossom tree. The beautiful pink flowers sway along with the breeze and their faint but sweet scent closes in around Kitty. What an unusual garden! The only time Kitty's ever seen one of those was in a textbook back in Senior High.
Under the tree there was a stone bench. Kitty smiles and sits down on it. The cool, hard surface cools the redness that stayed on Kitty's cheeks from earlier. Alone in her thoughts, Kitty allows her mind to wander. She leans against the back and closes her eyes, letting the sun warm her face. How peaceful.
Soon, she sees the sun setting.
"How pretty," Kitty says to herself.
"I agree," a low voice says from behind her.
Kitty jumps and turns around. "Matthew."
"Hello," the dark haired male says as he sits beside her gently. "Mother told me to come fetch you for dinner."
"Oh, alright. Thank you," Kitty says and smiles.
The two stand up and Kitty follows him inside. She walks upstairs to change into her formal clothing for the night. She looks in the closet to see the only dress she owned, a floor length black dress. She slips it on, then steps into her flats. She stares at her black gloves and sighs, pulling them on. If there was one thing she could change, it would be the glove wearing. Honestly, she didn't see the point in it. It was hard to grip things, and they were all scratchy and uncomfortable. Oh well, she'd live.
The first dinner goes along smoothly, a bit of polite conversation and tons of delicious food. As Kitty drops onto her bed in her nightclothes, she pats her full belly. Usually she got home late from work, so she got to eat a small meal before she went to bed. She could get used to this. Soon enough, the sound of peaceful snoring fills her room as she tosses and turns in her bed, entangling herself in the soft and warm covers.