Authors: Sandra Callister
Tags: #Romance, #Fiction, #Paranormal
Moorcroft - The Possession
Moorcroft – The Possession
Amazon Kindle Edition
Copyright 2011 Sandra Callister
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George Worthington buried his head in his hands and groaned. What was he going to do with his unruly daughter? Charlotte had become unhinged after the news of her fiancé’s death and was behaving like a mad woman upsetting the household staff and the stable hands. No matter what he said or did Charlotte became more and more wild and uncontrollable. He sighed heavily remembering how once this had been a happy family home filled with laughter, that was until his wife’s death, taken with pneumonia after falling in the lake, then the house became as a morgue, dark and forbidding. George’s sorrow wrapped around him like a blanket and he became oblivious to his daughter’s needs and poor Charlotte, under the control of a governess, became more and more disobedient and wild. Some had rumoured that his wife was unstable and losing her mind, he would not believe it, but now he was seeing the same symptoms in his daughter. What was he to do? He took another drink of whisky and looked into the bottom of his glass, there were no answers here. He could hear a commotion coming from the hall, and pushed himself from the armchair, but before he had reached the door it swung open and before him stood the housekeeper, Mrs Fielding, her face red with rage.
“That’s it Mr Worthington, I can’t take anymore of this behaviour from your daughter, I’m giving in my notice and don’t you be surprised if I’m not the only one.”
George went pale and motioned Mrs Fielding to a chair. “What has she done now?”
They sat opposite each other, the woman dabbing her eyes with her apron, stuttering over her words.
“She said her breakfast wasn’t fit for pigs and threw it at poor Sally, the poor girl left the room in floods of tears, and then Charlotte started to break every plate, cup and dish she could lay her hands on. When Benson entered the room to see what all the commotion was about, she threw a knife at him. Oh, Mr Worthington you almost had a death on your hands, it was lucky for Benson Miss Charlotte missed.”
He gave a heavy sigh and patted the woman’s hand.
“Where is she now?”
“Well she pushed past me and Benson and ran upstairs cursing and screaming like a common labourer, said that we were all imbeciles not fit to wipe her boots. She’s upstairs now, I can hear her throwing things around her bedroom, God knows what damage she has done up there. This can’t carry on, Mr Worthington; she needs to see a doctor and quick.” Mrs Fielding waved a handkerchief in front of her face and took in some deep breaths.
George Worthington ran his hand across the back of his neck. “I’m sorry, Mrs Fielding, please give the others my apologies. I’ll go upstairs and try and calm her down.”
The Housekeeper dragged herself from the chair and nodded. “Do you want Benson to come with you Sir; I don’t know what you’ll find up there?”
“No, thank you, I must go alone, seeing another person may aggravate her more.”
He walked into the great hall and looked up the elegant stairs and remembered the fateful day when the news of Frederick’s death had been told to them. Charlotte had walked down these very stairs dressed in the most exquisite wedding dress; he had never seen her look more beautiful or so happy. The Reverend Peters was shaking as he broke the news of her fiancé’s accident and watched in horror as Charlotte went to pieces, screaming and yelling and tearing at her dress. Things had never been the same, from that day Charlotte hated everything and everyone. Once more he looked up the stairs towards the dark landing; he could hear objects being thrown against the walls, china being smashed. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, now he must face her and try to calm her down.
He slowly climbed the stairs; he could hear her shouting, screaming, the noise getting louder as he neared her room. He stopped in the corridor and took in a deep breath, dreading what he would find behind the door. What faced him made him gasp with shock, nothing remained intact, everything was smashed or ripped. Furniture had been overturned, the bed had been stripped and the mattress and sheets lay in shreds on the floor.
“Charlotte, what in God’s name has come over you, stop this at once.”
The young woman was in a frenzy, tossing her head from side to side, throwing anything within her grasp at the walls, cursing and screaming. When she turned to the door he stared into the eyes of a stranger, no longer the sweet child he once knew but a crazed woman determined on mass destruction. She faced the intruder, a glass dish in her hand and flung it in his direction. He tried to sway away from the oncoming missile but too late the object hit him on his temple, he felt the sharp pain as his knees buckled and he fell to the ground. Charlotte gasped and focused her attention on the man; she stood motionless looking down at her father, what had she done? She heard him groan and rushed to his side and fell to her knees trying to support him as he tried to sit up. He was in a daze a cut just above his eye slowly seeped blood; he felt it trickle down his face. She watched in horror as the blood collected in his collar. He raised his hand to his forehead and winced as he touched his throbbing head. He looked at the thick red liquid on his hands and stared at his daughter. “Charlotte what have you done, what are we to do with you? This cannot continue.”
“But it’s not my fault Father, its the others, they are all plotting against me, this morning they tried to poison me, but I was too clever for them, they all hate me I can see it in their eyes. We have to be careful, they got rid of mother by pushing her in the lake and then they fixed poor Frederick’s car and now they’re after me, you’ll be next, we must watch their every move.”
“Charlotte, no one is after you. Frederick’s death was an accident; the Reverend told you how he crashed into a wall trying to avoid a child.”
“No, that’s a lie, they plotted it between them so that we wouldn’t get married, so that we wouldn’t have children and carry on living in this house. Don’t you see once they get rid of us they will have the house all to themselves but don’t worry Father, I know what they’re up to and I’m going to put a stop to it right now.”
The injured man leant against the door and watched as his daughter rushed from the room, he had to stop her. He grabbed the door handle and scrambled to his feet and swayed, he put his hand to his throbbing head and held onto the door to steady himself. He could see Charlotte heading for the stairs.
“Charlotte stop.” He winced. His head felt like it would explode from the pressure of his voice.
At the top of the stairs Charlotte turned and looked back at her father, staggering towards her. “Don’t worry Father, I’ll sort them out.” She began to run down the stairs.
George raced towards her supporting himself on the wall, on the landing he gripped the banister and watched as his daughter careered towards the small group of servants, her long black hair flowing behind her. He shouted for Charlotte to stop, but she kept on running down, Mrs Fielding, Benson and the others watching from the bottom. He had to stop her, in the mood she was in; he feared she could be capable of murder. Still gripping the banister he made his way down, he felt dizzy and swayed, his vision blurred and his head throbbed, he felt himself waver, he reached for the handrail but he lost his footing and the stairs came up to meet him. The next moment he was hurtling to the bottom, a yell rang in his ears as he stretched out his arms and tried to break his fall. As his head crashed against the stairs and his legs crumpled beneath him, he heard Mrs Fielding’s screams before everything became darkness.
Charlotte crashed into the waiting servants as the housekeeper screamed. With her arms thrashing she turned to watch her father tumble from stair to stair. She blotted out the voices around her as she looked down at her father lying unconscious in a crumpled heap at her feet and swung round and looked at all the shocked faces. She swung her arms at them and screamed. “You may have got to my father but you won’t get me.” She pushed her way past them, pulled open the front door and ran out onto the gravel drive. She turned and saw Benson standing in the doorway, he was shouting her name. Charlotte turned and fled away from the voices and away from Moorcroft.
Benson stood by the door and watched as she ran down the drive. Mrs Fielding was kneeling by George Worthington’s motionless body and looked up as Benson approached her. “He’s still breathing, but only just. What are we to do, Mr Benson?”
He turned to Jack the young stable boy who had just run in from the yard.
“Don’t just stand there staring, go and get Jenkins, tell him to get the car out and drive as fast has he can for the doctor, tell him to say that the Master has fallen down the stairs and its not looking good and tell him to hurry. Now go lad, go.” He looked down at his employer and prayed the doctor would be in time. Together Benson and the footman carried their employer to his bedroom and lay him on his bed. Benson shook his head as he looked down on the pale face of this kind generous man. Mrs Fielding sat in a chair by the bedside constantly crying into her handkerchief. He placed his hand on her shoulder and they waited for the doctor.
George Worthington died that night, the doctor wrote the cause of death as accidental, but everyone had seen him fall down the stairs trying to prevent his daughter from causing mayhem and they believed that Charlotte was the cause of her father’s death. She had been found sitting by the side of the road crying and had been brought back to Moorcroft by a neighbouring farmer. She refused to let anyone go near her but the doctor, he gave her a strong sedative and with Mrs Fielding’s help, they put her to bed.
For days after the incident the staff feared Charlotte’s reaction to her father’s death, but an uncomfortable calm came over her, as though she was in a trance. The doctor was the only person she would talk to, even the Reverend Peters was refused access to her room and it was left to Benson to make arrangements for the burial. At her father’s funeral, the church was packed with loyal tenant farmers and villagers who held George Worthington in high regard. Charlotte sat alone in the front pew her head bowed low, staring at the vicars shoes. They carried the coffin from the church and she watched as her father was laid to rest beside her mother, Charlotte stood alone at the graveside away from the other mourners; she never shed a tear and refused help from everyone.
Over the next few weeks Charlotte dismissed the staff one by one until only cook and one young girl remained. Her father’s horses were sold and the rooms of Moorcroft were closed and shuttered leaving only essential rooms open to the sunlight. Charlotte withdrew into herself, she felt she had lost everyone she had ever loved and seldom left the drawing room, she just sat staring into the fire, eating her meals from a tray. The cook worried about the young woman and asked the doctor and the Reverend to visit the house and to talk to her. Charlotte received her visitors in her drawing room; she was polite but adamant that she was content to live alone, that she needed no ones help. The doctor left her some sleeping drafts and he went on his way. The Reverend Peters spoke words of comfort and understanding but he could see that the young woman no longer listened to the living her thoughts elsewhere, She remained in her own little world reliving the past. She remembered her mother when she was in better health, how they would take walks and sit together chatting by the light of the fire, she thought of the good times out riding across the meadows with her father and the affection she shared with her darling Frederick, the love of her life.
Charlotte wandered around her home and walked the grounds of Moorcroft and realised that the house was all she had left, it meant everything to her but she needed someone to share in her love of the old building. Over time she argued with the maid and the cook and they were quickly despatched and Charlotte was left alone to dream of what might have been. She dreamt of Frederick by her side living with her at Moorcroft, of having children and playing games with them, there would be no nasty governess for her children. She and Frederick would grow old together sitting peacefully by the fire. She had thought hard and long about her future, apart from her home she had nothing to live for and knew there was only one way that she would ever be reunited with her darling Frederick. She had grown weary and weak from lack of food and she carefully pushed herself up from her chair and slowly made her way to her bedroom. Once there she rid herself of her drab clothes and put on her most stylish dress. At her mirror she combed her long dark hair and dashed a little rouge across her cheeks and dabbed a little lavender water behind her ears. She wore the Worthington emeralds about her neck; she wanted to look her best when she met Frederick once more. Satisfied with her appearance, she emptied the contents of the sleeping drafts into the glass of water and drank the potion. She gently lay on top of her bedcovers and arranged her clothing just so, closed her eyes to dream once more of being in the arms of the man she loved.