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The Master

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The Master

 

Elizabeth Aldridge could hardly keep her composure as her husband, Kasper, turned the key to the attic of the farmhouse Kasper lived in his entire life. He's never seen what's in there but not because he never tried. Grandfather smacked him pretty good on several occasions for getting too close to the attic door. Once he even knocked him halfway down the hall just for looking at it. Now that the old son of a bitch was dead, he was going to do what he damn well chooses. The door creaked open. A mouse scuttled.

 

Elizabeth fluttered around from one thing to the next, as tickled as she gets whenever she encounters cute, old, and curious trinkets. Kasper tried to ignore her. He was looking for clues as to why Grandfather hasn't spoken or left this farmhouse in over 40 years. In the corner beside an antique mannequin was a chest with a little less dust than the other things in the attic. He opened it. There were letters and three pictures. The letters were addressed to Claire Girard. They appeared to be love letters. Perhaps Claire was a love affair. One of the photos must've been of Klaus Aldridge, Kasper's great grandfather. Kasper guessed as much because some people said he bore a striking resemblance to Klaus. The second photo was of Klaus, Edda Eldridge, his great grandmother, and another woman in the back. He had the feeling that was Claire. The last photo was of the old house Klaus and Edda owned in Farmville, Virginia. The home was a wood-sided, two-story home with no windows and a wrap around porch with a tool shed and a waterwheel behind it. At the bottom of the chest was a silver pendant with a large, blue sapphire in the center. He placed it in his pocket.

 

Kasper never was the mystery solving type but this was different. All those times Grandfather assaulted him and nobody ever said or did anything about it, they just made excuses for him. For all he knew, he might've just been cantankerous all these years. But, everybody always said it's deeper than that though they never elaborated. After coming to the conclusion that all the answers are not here but at the old house, he decided he should go there. The family still owned it anyway but nobody wanted to go there after seeing the condition Grandfather was in.

 

"Elizabeth, what would you say if I told you I wanted to take a trip?"

 

"What kind of trip? Ooh! This looks like it's going to be good." she said as he wiped the dust off an old record and coughed.

 

"I need to go alone though."

 

"Are you sure?"

 

"Yeah. You can stay here and go through this stuff and figure out what you want to keep and what we can sell and I'll be back tomorrow."

 

Elizabeth gave him a fake pouty face, "Tomorrow? But what am I going to do without my sexy, macho man around? What if I get surrounded by mice that want to kill me?" She walked over to Kasper and kissed him and felt his biceps as he put his arms around her.

 

"You can decide what to do with this room while I'm gone. Maybe you might want to put up some shackles and swings for our sexcapades." he says with a sly smile.

 

"You, sir, are a naughty boy. Hurry back. she said. She bit her lip and kissed him again. She decided to wait to give him the good news. She was finally pregnant after trying almost non-stop for 5 years. She took the home pregnancy test the morning of the Grandfather's funeral. It was difficult for her to not show her excitement while everyone else except for her and Kasper wept.

 

"I will." said Kasper. He exited the attic to the sound of Elizabeth gasping at yet another treasure she discovered, grabbed his coat and keys, and set out for the 5-hour journey ahead from Harrisonburg to Farmville.

 

On the road, he remembered back to a time when he was ten-years-old and Grandfather freaked out and grabbed him by the wrist and slammed his hand down on the kitchen table, raised a butcher knife high into the air and glared into his eyes for a moment before Kasper's mother and father wrestled the blade from the aging man.

 

As he got closer to his destination, a headache began to take root so he reached for some aspirin from the glove box. While his eyes were not on the road, he caught a glimpse of a large dark figure in the path of his car. He hit the breaks hard and swerved just in time to miss it. The front passenger side tire slid in the gravel on the side of the road then the car screeched to a halt. He took a moment to regain his composure and noticed that the pills had spilled on the floor. He unbuckled and leaned over to clean up the mess, all the while cursing. He sat up, looked in the mirrors, and saw nothing alarming. Whatever it was, it must've run off. He took two of the aspirin, threw the bottle in the passenger seat, calmed his nerves for a moment, and then continued his trip.

 

The closer he got, the more he got an eerie feeling as if something was beckoning to him. At the same time, his gut feeling was to turn back. But, he had to know. What could've made Grandfather so strange, living his whole life in fear and silence. He couldn't turn back, not after all these years of feeling hated by Grandfather for no apparent reason. He tried to concentrate on the winding country road lined with swamp trees that let in very little sunlight.

 

The driveway was just past the bridge that went over the stale, algae-ridden water. He doubted any good could be derived from the water wheel he saw in the picture of the house. The water was putrid and still. He slowed to turn into the driveway.

 

As he pulled in front of the house, the weeds tall but thin with bugs jumping and fluttering about, he could see that the house had been abandoned every since Grandfather left. In fact, all of the furnishings should be just as he left it, considering the man ran from the house all those years ago only to be found cold and naked in a ditch about 2 miles away by a random traveler. Grandfather was only seventeen when that happened. Nobody knows what happened to Klaus and Edda, nor Claire for that matter.

 

The house was creepy. Nothing was painted. It was all dark brown with no windows. He slowly approached the front door, cautious not to fall through any weak boards. By now his headache had gotten worse. He raised his hand nervously for the doorknob. A gust of wind rustled the trees. The bugs hushed for a moment. He turned the knob and gently pushed the door open. This was a little too creepy for his liking. The heavy wooden door suddenly swung open all the way and slammed into the wall behind it. Kasper nearly had a heart attack, took a moment to regain his composure, stepped inside. Aside, from the cobwebs and the stench the place didn't seem so bad. For a moment, he thought it would be a great place to open for tourists to get a glimpse of untouched history or maybe he could even make it a bed and breakfast.

 

Kasper took a few confident steps forward. Suddenly, the door slammed shut behind him. The white light that shown through the cracks in the walls and doorframe turned red. The walls and floors began to shake.

 

"What t

JamesWebb Uploaded 10/24/2009
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