Kay, finally got something up :p It's technically a chunk outta one of the book I'm writing, but who knows if this'll actually be what's written...I don't XD Anywho, everything about this belongs to me, so please, no stealing! And please give me some great critique, since I really want to improve my writing!
Evangeline stood on the wooden steps of the large roundabout porch of the rust-red house, marveling at how her father's craftsmanship had kept the place perfectly sturdy, though the wood turned grey from age. It was almost impossible to believe that one man had created a work of art such as the grand ranch house, but there was no doubt as she took closer looks. There was the curved, smooth, pale doorway she had helped her father sand until it shone almost like stone. It was still mostly smooth, though age had seemed to melt the soft color of light wood to a soft grey of the same shade, as if someone had taken a black and white picture of it. She'd seen her father on that roof, towering like a sort of gargoyle with nails in its mouth, hammering away at places her mother had complained about leaking. She was childishly wondering if there were still boot prints up there, like ghosts from the past.
"Eva! What're you staring at? Aren't we going inside?" Her newlywed, Myles Ferdinand Angeson, jogged up the four grey-white steps to pause beside her. His sky blue polo shirt with thin, black, horizontal stripes and caramel-colored shorts went wonderfully with his light blond hair and glasses, and also seemed to befriend the house as well.
"Yes. I was just admiring the carpenter's work."
Myles Ferdinand Angeson glanced up at the general house for about two seconds, give or take a millisecond. "Yeah, it's a nice house alright. Come on, let's see what's inside." He gently touched the small of her back and led her inside. "Oh wow, it's sure spacious."
"Mm." She'd seen it all before, only furnished.
"Look, there's a great place to put your piano! You can look out into the garden and let the sun illuminate your face like an angel." The content male curved his arm to wrap around her waist a bit and tilted his head up to kiss her cheek.
"I'd rather put it over in that corner and put curtains up to keep the sunlight out."
"Come now, no need to be so gothic."
"I'm sure this is news to you, but I am gothic." She smiled, though, since she liked him. A thin, pale, sweeping arm downwards accented her long, black, lacey dress that was only appropriate for summer because of how thin it was. It was Myles Ferdinand Angeson's favorite dress on her because he could see a faint outline of her thin yet perfectly curved body. He couldn't help but smile back.
"Yes, and I wouldn't change a thing about you. Alright, curtains it is, but could we please pick a lighter color? Dark would clash with the house."
Evangeline glanced around. "It'll work fine. Our furniture's medium enough to balance it out."
"Well, alright," said her man, not completely convinced but figuring that whatever the housewife wanted in the house, the housewife would get. "Wait, how about some brown lace curtains? That'd go well with the coloring of the house and still keep you happy."
"Sure, alright." It was clear that Eva wasn't listening, so he left her to her thoughts and wandered around a bit by himself.
Evangeline couldn't believe she was back in that house. She hadn't been in that house since a month or so before her brother had died. A chill went through her spine, making her decide that place was definitely haunted, at least to her. She forced her legs to unfreeze and step boldly from the doorway, no matter how heavy they felt.
The entrance room/living room was indeed quite spacious. The area to the left of the doorway was a large rectangle, in which there used to be a television, a couch set, some games, a large music player, and a few other electronics that mother wouldn't let be anywhere else. There was nothing to the right of the doorway, since it was right against the wall, but in front of it and just barely to the side, so the hallway to the back of the front floor could be reached, was a staircase. Like just about everything else that wasn't wall, it was made of pale wood. Evangeline walked to the side of it, feeling the carved swirls her father had painstakingly copied from various references in books and artwork. Evangeline and her brother had been very young, so could only help by handing him tools and digging for certain pictures. Though it was only one, albeit large, part of the house, it was Evangeline's favorite because of the extra effort her dear father had put into it. It was so long ago, but she strained to remember the look of tireless concentration on his face, the smell of his sweat as it glistened on his forehead to cause his beard to sparkle like moist grass in moonlight, the way his meaty hands would ever so gently strive to create perfect lines and curves in the wood before them. Her father was marvelous.
Evangeline's heart soared and then sank as her father's memory filled her heart before the cold, hard fact that he was dead and she would never see, hear, smell, or feel him ever again pierced it and let the happiness drain out and go back to the past where it belonged. She reached the end of the staircase and found herself seeing the almost-secret space to the right of its end, at the end of which there was a set of double-doors leading to the side of the house. The old swimming pond was gone and a hot tub now stood on a wood platform, around which wrapped a matching fence to keep out prying eyes. The area seemed to reach to her, asking in complete and total silence where the music went. Mother and father used to play the piano and the whole family would sing sometimes when they were children, even up to their young teenage years, until her brother withdrew from the family and everyone.
Opposite that room was the kitchen, which was made of light stone. It had been updated in the technology, but the counters, floor, walls, and cupboards were still the originals. There was a new refrigerator and oven, both state-of-the-arts. Mother would have been very excited to have them…
More emotion plagued Evangeline, causing her to turn away from the kitchen and poke her head into the little bathroom. Everything in there was new and gleaming as well: toilet, shower, and sink. The only fixtures that were left was the sink's counter, which had just been fixed with a new sink bowl and probably better plumbing as well. Having been successfully distracted from emotional build-up about her mother, Evangeline had the courage to turn and head back down the little hallway, past the empty yet unimportant little bedroom (which had belonged to her uncles) adjacent to the bathroom and next to the kitchen, and up the stairs, which, to her delight, didn't squeak one little bit, even after all those years.
To the right, the wall continued with a door right in the middle of it. To the left was another hallway with one door on the left and two on the right. She stayed far away from the single door next to the stairs and instead went into the second door on the right in the hallway. She was greeted by the most familiar room of all: a bedroom that was smaller than the master one, but still fairly spacious. It was also bare, but there was an odd pink hue in the walls which suggested it had once housed a girl.
Evangeline closed the door behind her and went to squat right in the center of the room. Every few seconds, she would pivot to see another part of it. They replaced the carpet, she thought angrily to herself. She wasn't surprised, since so much had occurred on that carpet. Evangeline had grown up on that carpet. As a baby, she'd play down there with finger paints and clay without a care of getting it stuck to the floor. As a small child, she'd steal mother's makeup to play dress-up, hiding down next to her bed with her prize, a mirror, and, when she could convince him, her brother. As she grew older, she got her own makeup and nail polish and other pretty things and would spend hours having friends over and lying on their stomachs or simply sitting while chatting about boys and teen idols and the latest whatever. When she left it, the dear carpeting had been speckled with all kinds of bright colors, like a personal signature saying, "This room had belonged to Evangeline Woods (later Pyrose, later Angeson), daughter of Zeth and Aiya Woods (later Pyrose), born 1996 and died 2015 along with her brother. May they all rest in the memory of this house."
She stood and left the room, deciding there was nothing to see, since there was nothing left.
Myles Ferdinand Angeson was in the master bedroom, within which a master bathroom was, within which a master bath was. He was in neither of the second and third things. Evangeline glanced around, finding no emotions except indifferent enter her because she had not been welcome in that slightly-secret place of her parents too often.
"Yes sir, I can't wait to sleep in this room!" said Myles, greatly impressed by it. His new wife merely shrugged and went to join him. "Don't you think our new bed'll look fantastic just under this window?" He sat down against the wall and just under the window.
"It'll be just fine anywhere." She shifted her skirts to sit next to him and he wrapped his arm around her, obliging her to lean against him comfortably.
"What a wonderful house this is…. Did you know that it originally didn't have any windows?"
"No windows?" she commented, careful not to lie.
"Not a one. The contractors had some installed so this house'd sell, as if it wouldn't anyways. It's gorgeous. And there aren't any records of this house ever having been built by any building company. It's not even in the town record. Of course, this area used to be smack dab in the middle of a forest and the town was tiny and rested that a' way." He pointed forward, towards the back of the house. "So the town didn't even know it was here until they found oil about a mile that way and expanded." He pointed south (the house pointed west). "It was completely abandoned. So, they poked around, didn't find any indication of who could've owned it, did research, again found nothing, fixed the place up, put it on market, and now here we are. Fascinating, truly amazing, isn't it?"
"You sure did your research," said Evangeline. Myles didn't notice the nervousness in her voice.
"Actually, I was talking with some locals and learned all my information that way. The people around here are quite nice."
Fate could have gone two ways: Myles Ferdinand Angeson could have looked down at the face of his dear and seen her frown and raise some questions, or there could have been a knock on the door to keep him from doing that and save Evangeline from coming up with an obvious lie. Fate had it the second way.
"Ah, that could be a number of people," said Myles Ferdinand Angeson as he disentangled himself and stood to hurry down to answer it.
Evangeline took a moment for relief and another moment to wonder at his foolishness. Of course it could be a number of people. For all they know, the King himself could have come to call.
She quickly shook her head and stood, brushing herself off unnecessarily (there was no dust on the floor, since it had been thoroughly cleaned before their arrival) and wandering down at a more languid pace than her new husband.
The "could be a number of people" turned out to be an impressively numerous and strong group of movers with a more impressive couple of large trucks containing, supposedly and hopefully, all their new furniture and belongings. It took them from eleven o'clock to three o'clock to get everything in and set up in their respective places before leaving with a hearty tip from Evangeline: Get mud on my stairs again and you'll regret it. Myles made up for it by giving them a monetary tip and sheepish smile. After they left, the two got to work unpacking boxes and setting everything up further.
Evangeline found the box containing musically-based treasures and holed up in the area behind the stairs, specifically just around her old grand piano. She lovingly put the music books on the little shelf above the keys, taking time to let her fingers feel the slightly-aging books; how soft the yellowing pages had gotten. She wasn't surprised to find a slight bend in the top corner where her mother had always turned the pages, without fail, in the exact same spot every time.
This was where Evangeline slept, curled up among dusty paper and polished wood, not caring about how dusty her dress became.
The next day, in a clean dress, Evangeline answered the door because Myles Ferdinand Angeson was in town for food. She was annoyed to find friendly, pie-bringing neighbors with bright sundresses, conventional hairstyles, and fake white smiles. The temptation to slam the door in their doll-resembling faces was great, but she didn't, determining it'd be a good idea to find out for herself just how much the town knew about the house.
"Hello," she said in an even voice.
Just minutes later, the four housewives were sitting primly around the coffee table, legs daintily tucked together and maidenly hands holding teacups or folded delicately in laps. Evangeline was the only one who did it while being comfortable and natural while the others looked like they were competing for a pageant. It was so annoying, but she managed to hang on.
"My, what amazing work you've done with this house!" said one with red hair that reminded Evangeline of nature pictures of nests. "And in so little time, too!"
"We had good movers."
"Oh, I see. It's lucky, you know? That you came here? Maybe some good homemaking will chase those old ghosts out."
Evangeline feigned interest. "Ghosts?"
The redhead once again piped up with her infinite wisdom of the town composition. "Oh sure. Didn't anyone ever tell you? They say this place is haunted. But I wouldn't worry about that. I hear there's only two and they're safe enough. One moves things, but instead of throwing things across the room like you hear ghosts do, this one puts things neatly in their places! It's quite nice, really, like a maid."
"And the other one?" Evangeline said before things got out of hand.
"Oh, that one's a tad annoying sometimes. If there's any instruments around, you'll hear'em play by themselves at odd times, day and night alike. It's so weird! But, like I said, perfectly safe."
"I'm not afraid."
"Aren't you?" piped up the mousey blonde with wide eyes. "Ghosts are scary!"
"Oh, I've dealt with them before. It's not a big deal to me." She was careful not to specify exactly what she'd dealt with before, since she didn't like to lie.
The three looked at her like she was glowing or something. "Woooow…" they said collectively.
Evangeline couldn't help but frown. "Like I said, it's not a big deal…"
"Yes, but how brave!" said the third of the women, a darker-redhead with a large nose. "None of us'd ever be able to face down ghosts like you do!"
"It doesn't make me a hero or anything. It's not like I can defeat demons or anything…"
And yet they wouldn't stop staring at her like that or pelting her with questions. Just as she was feeling obligated to ask them to leave, something else did it for her.
The women found themselves staring UP at their teacups, which were floating just above their heads. Also, the piano began to play a complicated song which Evangeline remembered was the page she'd had open and visible on the little shelf of music books on the piano. With a collective shriek, the women ducked under their teacups, had hot-but-not-scalding tea dumped on their heads, and ran for their lives out the door, vowing to herself to never visit again.
Evangeline, who hadn't moved, shook her head. "I'm not surprised. You two were always connected here like skin to flesh. Of course you'd come back after death. Thank you, mother, for getting tea all over my furniture and floor."
The teacups floated in a straight line into the kitchen and put themselves in the sink.
Evangeline went over to the piano, on which a couple keys were idly being played, an old habit she recognized as her father's when he was wondering what to play next. "Hi, daddy." She turned a few pages of the music books. "How about a nice melody?" The song she'd chosen began to play. "Both of you please don't make yourselves known by my husband. He's easily spooked." She went into the kitchen to tend to the teacups. "Oh, and no one seems to know you were the original ones in this house, so I think I'm safe unless something turns up." The gentle song went on and a couple things about the first floor shifted a bit to be more neatly settled in their places. Evangeline couldn't tell if they were listening or heard or not, so just calmly went back to work, unpacking more things in the kitchen.
Just a little later, the music and shifting stopped, leaving the house completely silent. Half a second later, the front door opened, revealing Myles Ferdinand Angeson and an armful of grocery bags. "Love, I'm home!"
"Hello. Some neighbors came to call a while ago."
"Oh, how nice," he said. He went into the kitchen, put the two full brown paper bags on a clear space of the counter, and kissed her cheek. "Did you make friends?"
"Not really. We didn't have anything in common."
"That's too bad." He left to get more bags and continued when he returned to put them down. "I'm sure you'll make at least some friends around here."
"I will when Moira gets that promotion and she and Bill move here."
"That might be a while…"
"Yes, but it's certain."
"Alrighty then. So besides the visitors, how else did your day go?"
"Well. I got that room set up." She pointed to the piano area with a spoon. Myles Ferdinand Angeson glanced.
Later, they had finished the first floor.
"Whew, what work. And the second floor'll probably be worse," said Myles Ferdinand Angeson as he stripped to his underwear for bed.
"Yes, but hard work is always worth the result," said Evangeline, who was already in her black silk nightgown, in bed, and reading an old, thick book.
"How wise you are," he said lovingly, tossing the last sock into the hamper. Crawling in next to her, he asked, "And what are you reading now?"
"The Tale of the Black Rose*," she said without taking her eyes from the page.
"Are you enjoying it?"
"I don't know. There's an interfering factor involved."
She turned her head to grin at him teasingly. "How can I know if I enjoy the book if you're butting in by talking to me?"
He laughed. "Alright, alright, I get it…Goodnight." He kissed her and turned over to sleep.
Evangeline watched Myles Ferdinand Angeson sleep after a while, wondering subconsciously for the millionth time what he was doing there. Myles Ferdinand Angeson…She felt like she hadn't seen him since those happy times of childhood, when they bathed with each other without caring that both were naked, when the three of them could run around the back yard of Pyrose Mansion and not care about anyone seeing them…Those times were so long ago, as was Myles, so how strange it was for him to be there as a man, after such an incredibly long time. He hadn't changed save for maturity, which only heightened the shock of it all. Strange.
Evangeline sighed lightly and put her book down before attempting to fall sleep herself, somehow managing to not touch him in any way though they were in the same bed. It was awkward enough pretending while he was awake that she had any attachment to the present.
Downstairs, the ghost of Zeth Pyrose/Woods played his daughter a lullaby on the piano.
* The Tale of the Black Rose may or may not be the title of a real book. It's just my trying to remember an old book in a collection of old books I saw and my memory's not all that reliable, so here's my guess. It definitely had "Tale" and "Rose" in there, though. Either way, I disclaim this title or attempt at title.