"No one has lived permanently there for more than 80 years, you know", grandpa said. "A few have tried over the years, but they've all ended up leaving it after very periods of time."
"Why? Is it haunted or something?", 10-year-old Delaney asked, looking up at the dark and gloomy, yet impressing building.
"It's said to be, yes", grandpa answered.
Delaney walked closer to the high gates. Just to the right of it, there was a metal sign which said Samkin Manor.
Right underneath the text, someone had engraved other letters, very carefully, forming the words: Spanking Manor.
Delaney frowned. "Grandpa, look at this," she said. "Someone has scribbled here."
Grandpa came closer.
"It's not really scribbled", he said. "Those letters have been there for many, many years as well."
"Why didn't anyone take them away?"
"Probably because that's the name the mansion is known under, at least here in the village", grandpa said.
"Spanking manor?", Delaney skeptically asked.
"And... why would anyone even call it something like that?"
"There is a story behind it" grandpa said and stood next to her. "It's said that the man who built the house, Count Samkin, had seven very mischievous children. Not one day would pass without the sound of loud spankings echoing out from the manor."
Delaney couldn't hold a giggle. "Wow, then they must have been very mischievous", she said.
"Well, one should remember that back in those days, spankings weren't just for major things. Even when I was a kid, many children got spanked even for the smallest things. Including myself, I must admit."
Delaney tried not to show how much this story fascinated her.
"Still these days, the sound of spanked children is said to be heard from the manor" grandpa said.
"So the ghosts spank each other?" Delaney giggled.
"Who knows", grandpa said. "Come on now, we better get going."
Living with grandma and grandpa in Holsworthy wasn't like living back in New York. The village was far from any bigger city, surrounded by forest and nature. Delaney liked nature, but not having anything to do except for hanging with her few new friends at their houses, there wasn't anything to do at all in the village.
And she missed mom and dad a lot, even though she knew that they couldn't have her with them on their six months mission to Africa. Speaking by skype wasn't even close to the same thing as speaking in reality. She had been crying quite a lot for the last month since they left. The hardest thing was to know it was five more months until they would see each other again.
But grandma and grandpa were very nice. And actually more relaxed than mom and dad. They weren't that strict about bedtime or anything like that, as long as she got her homework done and got up on time in the mornings, which hadn't been a problem so far.
Only one time had she seen grandma angry since she came, and that was when Delaney hadn't told that she was going to a friend, and her phone had been dead at the time.
If that had been back home with mom and dad, Delaney would have gotten grounded for at least a week. But Grandma let her off with a warning.
The day after Grandpa showed Delaney the manor, she asked her friends at school about it.
"No one in their full sense would go close to that place", Ronald said.
"Why not?", Delaney asked.
"It's haunted", Mary said. "Everyone knows that."
"Do you really believe in ghosts?", Delaney said.
She was surprised when both her friends nodded.
"Victoria, she's in grade 8 now, went inside once a few years ago. She came back scared to death, and still won't tell anyone what happened inside" Ronald said.
"And there are the noises heard from it... every night, you can here them", Mary said.
"Of crying... and of spankings", Mary said with a little blush on her face. "They say that the man who lived there spanked his children so much that they eventually ran away from there."
"Yup", Ronald agreed.
"But do you really think it's true?", Delaney asked.
"Of course. I've heard the sounds myself", Ronald said.
"And you don't think it's just imagination?"
Both of her friends shook their heads.
"There is something wicked in there for sure", Mary said. "Something you really don't want to be close to."
During the rest of the week, Delaney made it her mission to ask people about the manor. Even if she could hardly believe that the rumors were true, she was fascinated with the stories. And she was surprised that most people she asked really seemed to believe there was something inside the old building.
"I'm not sure about the whole spanking thing", an old lady said. "But there is something evil about the whole manor."
Several people told stories about kids going there, coming back horrified and refusing to say anything about what happened inside.
"Whatever you do, young lassie, keep yourself away from there unless you want trouble", a old man in the church said. "There's been trouble there for decades."
But the more Delaney spoke to people, the more she wanted to actually explore that mansion by herself. She didn't believe in ghosts. Perhaps, the manor would be scary and frightening because of it's history and the fact that it was abondoned. But ghosts? No way!