I haven’t posted one of these in a while so it feels like an update is needed. I don’t recall where the idea for this story came from. It was written in 2014 and I don’t remember much about writing it other than I knew I wanted to write something dark about a grieving woman and a group of strangers who arrive in this town in the middle of nowhere and cause all sorts of havoc.
To help visualise the story, my notes mention the following actors as characters:
1 played by Anson Mount
2 played by Ben Barnes
3 played by Boyd Holbrook
4 played by Tyler Blackburn
Mary Gregorian played by Eva Green
CHAPTER ONE: MARY GREGORIAN
Mary woke to the sound of rain. She couldn’t remember a morning without the sound of rain waking her from yet another night where she had barely slept. Nightmares riddled her sleep. After the death of her last child only weeks before, Mary’s grief seemed to be a constant companion, taking the place of an increasingly absent husband.
Mary often wondered how the sanctity of marriage could mean so very little. She often spent days gazing at the ring on her finger, the teardrops staining her dress.
So many tears…
Mary knew that marrying a man she barely knew was a foolish idea, but she had no choice in the matter. After moving to Blight’s Edge, the “middle of nowhere on the edge of hell” as she often thought of it, Mary’s life was about to “begin anew”. That’s what Mary’s mother had told her. But her mother was a liar, among other things.
Mary had buried four children in a row. And her husband had barely registered the loss. When visiting the doctor for diagnosis, each and every time she went alone. Her husband was always conveniently “away on business”. She was never told where he would go nor when he would return. Only that she was “lucky to be with a man who was such a pillar of the community.”
Her mother’s words would remind her of how much she wished she was the one that had died instead.
Mary moved through the vast, empty rooms of the mansion on the hill where she lived like a ghost, always alone, for days on end with only her grief and loneliness to keep her company.
That was until the day the stranger arrived.
CHAPTER TWO: A STRANGER ARRIVES AT GREGORIAN ESTATE
Mary did not hear the knock at the door, not at first. She was outside, as she usually was, sitting in the rain by the graves of her children, her tears mingling with the raindrops, making an unusual pattern on the stone.
But then the knock seemed to ring in her ears – as if a crack of lightning had broken in the sky above. It gave her such a fright, she stood upright, holding her hand to her chest as if the shock of it made it hard for her to breathe.
‘Who could it possibly be?’ she thought.
It couldn’t be her husband because he didn’t need to knock.
Mary suddenly felt uncomfortable. She grabbed onto the bottom of her dress, lifting it up above her ankles and ran to the back of the house.
Mary peered around to the front of the house, but she couldn’t see anyone standing in the doorway. She would have to go inside and address whomever it was at the door. Mary had not had a visitor to the mansion since she had moved to Blight’s Edge. Mary became flustered with indecision.
Mary opened the back door and went inside. She looked down the end of the long foyer that leads towards the front door. She could see a tall, dark figure standing there, motionless.
Mary closed her eyes and wished whoever it was away, but when she opened her eyes again, the figure was still there. Mary paced up and down, wiping away the excess raindrops from her face. The knocking persisted. They knew she was there and they would not leave until she answered.
She slowly began to walk towards the door, stopping a few paces away. She cleared her throat and began to speak. She almost didn’t recognise the sound of her own voice.
“W… who is it?” she asked, watching the dark figure behind the door
“Is this the Gregorian Estate?” the voice replied
Mary pondered the sound of the voice for a moment. A voice she did not recognise with a strange accent she couldn’t place. Whoever it was, they were not from around these parts. Mary’s fear returned.
As if reading her very thoughts, the voice behind the door spoke again.
“I’m here to see Mr Gregorian on important business, and I’m from out of town,” the man said
“Mr. Gregorian is not in. He is… out of town on business of his own,” Mary replied
“I see. When is Mr Gregorian likely to return? It is imperative that I see him and I have travelled a great distance to do so,” the man said
Mary instantly felt guilt overcome her. How could she ignore a visitor to her house and explain to her husband that she had turned him away, especially one that had travelled so far? Mary had faced her husband’s lousy temper many times before. She lifted her hand to her face as if absently remembering how her husband dealt with such matters.
“For… give me Sir,” she said, slowly unlocking the door.
A rogue gust of wind pushed against the door, forcing the handle out of Mary’s feeble grasp. The cold air surrounded her, the rain whipping against her face as she glanced towards the figure standing in her doorway.
The man was tall and lean but dressed in a manner that was strange to Mary. He wore a long, black overcoat that hung loosely to the ground and held a walking stick in his other hand which he then moved to conceal from her as he lifted his hat to greet her.
“Mrs Gregorian,” he said, tipping his hat and placing it back upon his head. His eyes flickered to the side of his face as if acknowledging her presence. Mary did her best not to stare, but his face was unusually pale, and his eyes were dark. He had the collar of his coat pulled up over his neck, covering the rest of his face.
“Ple… please, come in,” she said, ushering the man inside and pushing the door closed behind them.
The man walked into the foyer, his movements swift and graceful. Mary noticed he didn’t use the walking stick for anything other than ornamental purposes. She also took note of the elaborate design on the handle of the walking stick. Whoever this man was, he must be someone of importance.
“Would you like… some tea, could I… take your coat and hat?” Mary asked. The man lifted his head and walked through to the dining room.
“No… thank-you” he said to her, continuing to examine the room.
“I… I am not quite sure when my husband will return…”
“I would need to impose on you then Mrs Gregorian and forgive my forward manner in such circumstances, but I do not have the time to go into detail other than to say that my visit here is to meet directly with your husband. So I will wait for him until he arrives which I am sure will be advisable and agreeable, given the odd situation”
The man stood facing outward through the large windows overlooking the small cemetery where the Gregorian children were buried. He didn’t look at Mary when he addressed her.
Mary did not quite know how to respond. It did not seem prudent to disagree with the man under such a request. He seemed to know his mind and did not appear to be here to harm her. His only claim was to meet with her husband, and she did not see any reason to disagree with him on the matter.
“Yes, of course … as you wish, Sir,” she said