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SilverCeltic Moon

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New England Gothic
By SilverCeltic Moon
Saturday, March 08, 2003

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Recent stories by SilverCeltic Moon
· Defending Our Domain
· In Dreams - Part Three
· In Dreams - Part Two
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           >> View all 12

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An excerpt from a story project I am working on. Let me know what you think.

New England Gothic



New England Gothic


Page 1

It was a Dark and
Stormy Night. I hate to begin my story like this...mainly because I had
read so many jokes about this sort of beginning (mainly from Snoopy comics). 
Unfortunately, it was true .

The road to the Gothic
Revival Mansion that had belonged to my family for over two hundred years
wound, curving and snake-like, up. The drive would have been pleasurable
if I had not encountered the proverbial 

"Dark and Stormy
Night" conditions as I got closer to the northern part of Massachusetts.

Not that the drive
wasn't pleasurable. Not by any means. The rocky beaches and gorgeous ocean
waves that glinted like diamonds as sunlight hit them were incredible.
I would have enjoyed it more if the clouds that had come crowding and looming
over the ocean had not filled me with a sense of increasing forboding.

My first sight of
the mansion almost made me turn back. Sitting high upon a hill with lightening
behind projected an image of belonging to Count Dracula. I had
to laugh as visions of the castle of Frankenstein from the movie "Young
Frankenstein" came to mind. My laughing didn't dispell the fear that sprang
into my heart nor did it prepare me for the events to come.


Page 2

I arrived at the front
gate of the mansion shaking, literally.

The intensity of
the storm seemed to be right overhead. My car was vibrating from the force
of the thunder and the rain was almost inpenetrable. I couldn't see but
a few feet ahead of the front bumper.

I followed the one
lane road that was, thankfully paved, until I felt sure I would never reach
the old house.

Perhaps I would keep
driving and driving in some sort of penance for something I did in my 'former
life' as a school teacher in South Carolina.

I had not been particularly
happy in that profession. Oh, I had started out happy. Full of sunny visions
of bringing a sense of wonder and delight to high school students had lasted
maybe a week. Faced with yawns and rolling eyes at my almost puppyish glee
of teaching, my students had ripped those notions out from under my feet. 
Then both of us, students and I, had settled down to just getting it done.
Forget all illusions of grandeur and changing the world with my gifted
teaching methods.  I had gotten used to it and plodded along in my
day to day fashion until I got the letter from my grandfather's lawyer.
To be honest, I knew I 'had' a grandfather. My mother had spoken of him
frequently. Mostly in remembrances of past things in her life.  She
had spoken of him as loving, yet stern. When she had left the family home
to go and live her own life, he had, admittedly in anger, told her to never
come back. She took him to heart and never did.

But, love him she
did until the day she died. That had happened seven years ago. 

According to my grandfather's
lawyer, Mr. Alfred B. Brimsell, I had inherited the family mansion, the
land it sat upon plus a hundred acres around it and all the things that
went along with an inheritance of this sort. For I was the only child of
my mother, who was my grandfather's only child as well.  

Mr. Brinsell had tried
to get me to wait until the morning before coming all the way from New
York to see it, but I was too eager to see the house my mother had spoken
of often and had left his office, key and papers in hand, to come up to
this desolated spot. 

This, more than anything,
explained why I was at the moment...driving and driving and driving.

Suddenly, the road
curved and there it was.

Page 3


The mansion loomed
as I stopped my car and stared at the immense structure in front of me.
No warnings from Mr. Brimsell had prepared me for the sheer size of the
house. Three stories, not counting the cellars, the huge attic and a wide
portico on the side, it was bigger than anything my imagination could have
made up. 

With its sharp angles,
high pitched roofs and an immense tower with battlements,  it was
a fanciful and haunting sight.  I wondered, in my shock, how the ghosts
could possibly stand to live in such a structure! Shaking myself mentally,
I mumbled under my breath, with a sense of silly humor, the famous lines
uttered by the Cowardly Lion on the "Wizard of Oz" to keep himself free
of harm from spirits occuping the Haunted Woods,  " I do believe in
spooks, I do believe in spooks, I do! I do! I do!"

The house was fashioned
of a deep dark gray stone of some sort. Horrendous gargoyles with wide
stretched open mouths formed the downspouts and other forms of the same
sort decorated the roof. Sheer fantasy revelled in this house. Creatures
of all types and descriptions frolicked on the roof and on the sides of
the mansion. It was shocking, it was almost funny. I had to laugh at the
fairy tale image. This house was NOT what I had been expecting!

Still, it was different
from anything I had ever seen. More importantly, it was a place to get
out of the storm. The arched windows shone with a welcoming light. Perhaps,
if I had known what waited for me behind those warm lighted windows, I
would have braved the weather and the long winding road and driven right
back to South Carolina. But, alas, I did not. I put my car into motion
and pulled up under the wide portico and the tall dark figure that waited
for me there.



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Reviewed by Janet Caldwell 1/6/2004
You are a fine story teller and on a good path with this one. I look forward to more.

JC xoxoxo
Reviewed by ***** ********* 8/26/2003
Silver, this was immediately gripping and interesting! You've got the beginnings of a truly original, complex New England Gothic tale or psychological thriller! Don't give up on this and don't let it lie too long untended -- work on this and draw the rest of it out from your imagination! This is good work!
Reviewed by Irwin Lengel 7/22/2003
I think you are off to a great start and are a good story teller. It will be interesting to see what else you write about this story. I must admit though I am confused about the sentence on Page 3 that read: Perhaps if I had known what waited for me behind those warm lighted windows, I would have braved the weather and the long winding road and driven right back to South Carolina. Page 2, had a statement that read: Mr. Brinsell had tried to get me to wait until the morning before coming all the way from New York to see it, but.....

Was this intended or did you want to go back to the comments made about when you were in South Carolina. Just an observation - hope you didn't mind.

Keep up the great work.

Irwin Lengel
Reviewed by Nickolaus Pacione 3/12/2003
You got yourself a good start, brings upon the thoughs that are within the New England influence on the gothic. Killer work.
Reviewed by SilverCeltic Moon 3/10/2003
I appreciate any comments as this is a rough draft of a story I am in the process of writing. ;) I haven't even gone back to check for spelling or sentence structure, so the comments I have received are well taken and more than likely will be used. LOL...a good writer needs a good critic. Thanks to Clayton for pointing out things he thinks should be revised and to Peggy for liking the story. :)
Reviewed by Clayton Umbach 3/9/2003
I'd drop the first paragraph. It's amateurish to say "I hate to begin my story this way"..etc etc, as this has nothing to do with the story. Same applies for the later capitalized "Dark and Stormy Night" reference and the direct Young Frankenstein and Wizard of Oz references. Starting to sound like a critique of movies and Peanuts cartoons. The Lion reference, if you want to use it, should be more subtle. "The sight of the place made me recall the sage words of the Cowardly Lion--'I do believe in spooks, I do I do.' How foolish I later thought I was for remembering them." Or something like that...

Congrats on the two poems.

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