Detective John Montgomery walked up the grand steps of Le Chateau de Beau, which translated means "The House of Beauty." The house lives up to its name: twenty steps lead up to a wrap around path, directly beneath a balcony that also goes all around the house. The three story mansion has an endless amount of large windows; there are at least five in every bedroom. Outside, thousands of flowers and trees surround the property. In fact, most of the trees line the 2.5 mile driveway. Detective Montgomery observed all of this as he had entered the property. He has loved in Sandy Springs, Georgia his entire life, and in those 37 years he has never been to Le Chateau, as some people call it, the grand but mysterious mansion just outside of Sandy Springs. Now, as he starts at the top of the steps, looking through the front door to the horrific scene before him, he can see why not much is known about Le Chateau. There is a certain emotion the detective feels as he hesitates on the porch, and it is one that he does not feel often: fear. The fear had first crept into Montgomery when he got out of the car, but he ignored it. But now, Montgomery can ignore it no longer. He embraces the fear, and finally steps through the door and into Le Chateau.
The first thing Detective Montgomery observes is the staircase (there was no way he could miss it). The deep red steps go up, up, up all the way to the top floor. He wondered how one would get to the 2nd floor, then realized that most mansions have more than just one staircase. At the bottom of the stairs, there was a scene that didn't quite fit into the grandeur of the mansion: a team of investigators were huddled around a group of tape. More specifically, there was a group of tape that was arranged to show the outline of a body. As soon as Montgomery saw this, a faint but clear whisper said: Murder. One word, a small word that sent chills down his spine and made his hair stand on end. This is going to be interesting, Montgomery thought.
As the day went on, the detective was informed of the current evidence his team had gathered: a homeless man, age 45, died of a snapped neck. The investigators determined that John Doe was pushed down the flight of stairs. Fingerprint analysis told the team later that day that the deceased's name was Tom Moore.
At about 10:30 pm, Montgomery and his team decided to call it a night and started to pack up. But before Detective Montgomery exited the house, a cold and strong wind pushed him back into the mansion while also slamming the door shut. Montgomery tried to open the door, but it wouldn't budge. "Don't worry John" an investigator shouted, "We'll get you out!" But something told Montgomery that he needed to stay in the house, by the staircase, in order to discover the truth and solve the case. So the slightly frightened detective made his way to the stairs, sat on the bottom step, and stared at the body outline on the floor.
Suddenly, the fear he had felt earlier that day crept under his skin and froze him. Montgomery could not move, only observe with sight, sound, smell. First, he smelled the metallic scent of blood; then, he heard whispers that built and grew and got louder, louder, and louder until...silence. Nothing until four words rang out in the silence. "Did I scare you?" The phrase was followed by laughter, and a woman dressed like she was going to an old-fashioned diner emerged from the shadows. There was something odd about her, and it wasn't until Detective Montgomery's eyes fully focused that he realized why: she was a ghost. The woman was pale and transparent. "Don't you know that it's rude to stare?", the ghost said in a cold voice. "I-I'm sorry," John stammered, "but who are you?" The woman said, "My name is Hope, and this is my house. I would like you and your friends to leave immediately." Hope explained bluntly to the perplexed detective that Le Chateau has been in her family since the 1700s, and realtors have been trying to buy it for 7 years. "Anyone who enters my mansion is a threat," Hope states, "and they must be defeated." "So you killed that man?" John said. Hope nodded her head. She proudly lifted her chin, saying "The media and so called 'experts' have led people to believe that ghosts and spirits are weak, that they depend on the living for their strength. Well, it looks like I proved them wrong, didn't I?" Hope grinned, and with that terrible and terrifying grin, Montgomery knew he had to leave before he came to the same end as Tom. Almost like she read his mind, the ghost said, "Leave now. You got what you came for, the truth, and I want you and your entire team to leave, and never to return to Le Chateau de Bean." Montgomery, however, had doubts. "What will I tell them?", he asked. "Anything to convince them to leave and stay away." Hope said emotionally, "Tell them that poor Tom broke into my house, tripped, and fell to his death. I just hope you keep my secret, John."
Now John was able to stand, only because Hope let him up; he was certain of it. He walked swiftly but silently to the door. Just before Detective Montgomery left, Hope said to his back, "Doors are more than just doors, aren't they? Some are a portal, and some are a window. You can see something totally different from where you're standing." And with that, the woman vanished. John opened the door to see the shocked and frustrated faces of his team. They cheered at first, but that was before they saw his face. "John," his partner, Molly said, "why do you look like you have just seen a ghost?" John, however, did not answer. Instead, he was thinking of Hope's last words just before he left. Then it hit him: Hope was talking about Le Chateau and the property. On the outside, you see beauty: brightly colored flowers and healthy, green trees. But inside, you feel cold, afraid. There is no welcoming feeling. Doors really are more than just doors, and secrets are more than just secrets. In fact, the door of the Le Chateau de Beau is more like a window, with the secrets being the panels, keeping everything together. The secret of Le Chateau will be kept by Detective John Montgomery, for he was too afraid to tell a soul. Hope's precious mansion is safe...for now.
English 10 The Domiciles Project