winryweiss: (Default)
Fill for kinkmeme's Ghost Story prompt, as well as for much newer Halloween prompt.

Here is the long postponed next chapter of my ghost story. Hope the wait doesn't made your hair go grey.

Story so far : Professor Calculus was invited to England by his old colleague, younger brother of Lord of Moonshire, and he took Captain, Tintin and Snowy along. The Manor feels slightly strange (especially to Snowy and Captain), but nothing unusual happened at first. Yet, the second night of their visit was full of unpleasant hair-rising surprises. Which led into Captain spending the rest of night in Tintin's bed. In all chastity! Next day, when household was captured in Captain's storytelling, Tintin went to investigate for source of strange night noises and ended up trapped in hostile room. Meanwhile, Professor and Snowy encounter a strange translucent girl. Using his wits, Tintin was able to escape. But later that day, a gruesome murder was discovered. And Moonshire Manor is still full of mysteries.

Warnings : Tintin/Haddock established relationship. Spooky stuffs. Mild fluff.

part one part two part three part four part five [next parts pending]


The Mystery of Moonshire Manor (part 6)


Once again everyone gathered in Blue parlour to listen to story.
It was very strange setting. Tintin found himself in plights more often than could be considered healthy, but nothing he underwent so far was as queer as this.
Listening to a tall story about curse in the middle of the night while several rooms away lies mutilated body of (presumably) Roger Dawnson. No one else from manor is missing, so unless it is somebody completely foreign (but a stranger would hardly got into house unnoticed), doctor Ackerley just lost his cousin in very awful way. On top of everything, the telephone line was cut off by A – murderer, or B – the incredibly strong windstorm which broke out shortly before the body was discovered and only gains on intensity. The wind whirls and howls around the Moonshire manor and through the nearby forest, and it sounds like the whole land is wailing. They can’t call to police to report this brutal murder which took place here, nor they can’t connect with the Lord of Moonshire, who had to go unexpectedly to London due to his business issues just the day they arrived.
Servants insisted that they all would stay in same room and that absolutely nobody shall venture away on his own. Very understandable decision given the events of few last hours. Especially when the murderer still might be around, whoever he is. Whatever it is.
Tintin shudders. Not only because he is dressed in not very warm pajama and it is cold here. What cold, it is freezing. But … But he never believed into supernatural. Monsters and ghosts and curses and such nonsense, those are just downright ridiculous.
Aren’t they?
Thought, he must admit that he saw certain hardly explainable things during his world-wide travels. Hardly explainable, not completely unexplainable. Yet …
Yet his resolve crumbles apart whenever his thoughts wander to what he experienced in Captain’s room.
The ginger trembles once more and rubs his arms in attempt to gain some warm. He feels like his own feet changed into ice as he looks longingly to the tiny, barely burning fire in fireplace and to fluffy rug on which Snowy nestled. Captain and doctor Ackerley are helping butler and gardener to rearrange furniture, so they all would be relatively close to warmness of fire. Tintin would love to help them, to warm himself up with movement, but five men would be one too much to shift the settee. Professor is shoving tricks with his pendulum to the unfortunate maidservant who discovered corpse. That poor girl, visibly still in shock is held in motherly bosom of cook, who eyes Cuthbert with mild suspicious and slightly amused smile. The other maid is trying to bring the fire into more vigorous life.
Tintin closes his eyes and leans on wall, suppressing shudders.
From the little he saw through ajar door to main study, the assault on Roger was very brutal. But no one heard a thing! When could that happened? He clearly remembers seeing that man when Archie started with his stories. But he did not appear during lunch. So sometime between? Or even at the same time when Tintin was trapped in that hostile room? And what if … Tintin’s stomach clenches with dread.
What if he was killed by the same thing which Tintin encountered?
“Thundering Typhoons! Lad!”
Tintin looks guiltily up. Archibald is walking towards him, striping off his cardigan with alarmed expression. Before Tintin could ask what’s wrong, Captain wraps his freezing boy into his warm woolen cardigan, pulling him closer to rub his back.
“Just looking at yer makes me freeze.”
The ginger chuckles and leans into the embrace, inhaling deeply. Captain smells of tobacco and safety, his personal guardian. “Hmmm,” Tintin whispers. “I admit I’m rather cold.” He hugs himself underneath Captain’s cardigan, enjoying the proximity and warmness of his lover. No one would find this hug strange. After all, Captain is just trying to warm his friend up.

“So,” Ackerley rubbed his hands. He was seated in his heavy stuffed armchair, which ended up directly across the fireplace, in the middle of the semicircle from settees and armchairs on which other household members were sitting. “The Curse of Moonshire? Well, it’s an old family tale, as a kid I’ve heard it every once in a while. But I’m afraid that I’m not such as great storyteller as you, Captain.”
“Don’t worry, Ackley.” Cuthbert, sitting next to him, but on the same settee as Tintin and Archibald, patted his dear colleague on shoulder. “Captain will surely forgive that.”
“Yes.” Captain shifted Snowy, who stubbornly decided that he must lie down on his lap, so that the dog’s legs wouldn’t press uncomfortably onto his loins. “Yes, of course.”
“Please, doctor Ackerley, go ahead.” Tintin snuggled himself inside Archibald’s oversized cardigan, adopting his favourite yoga posture.
“Well, during 17th century, shortly after my ancestor obtained this manor, there was a severe epidemic of Variola, which affected his only daughter, Isobel. She barely survived and ended up terribly scarred. Upon seeing that, her fiancé forsake her and fled with her dowry and almost half of family fortune. She was heartbroken and cursed anybody who would try to harm her family. She stayed at this very house till her decease.”
“Nothing more gruesome than lovelorn woman, huh?” Captain remarked towards Tintin.
“Quite so, Captain.” Cuthbert nodded his head. “Women could be more dangerous than alternating current when they’re enraged.”
“How, blue blistering barnacles, did he heard me?”
“You haven’t been speaking exactly in a low voice.” Tintin sniggered slightly. “But more importantly, how does Professor know such a thing?”
“’Bout electricity? Well, he’s scientist after all.”
“No, I mean …”
“I’d rather never know.”
Ackerley chuckled. “Cuthbert used to be quite a womanizer during our youthful days.”
“Bloody Heavens ...” Archibald moaned.
Tintin gently prodded his elbow to Captain’s side, silent ‘be good boy’ admonition. “And did the curse ever prove itself?”
“Oh, it did. At first, it was like Lady Luck held protective hand above us. Everyone who tried to rip our family off was exposed, family business flourished and our wealth multiplied. But then, in 1875, two men tried to burgle this manor. One fell down from stairs and broke his neck, the other was found some days after, at the verge of insanity, hiding in the ruins and claiming that a monster chased him through the forest after it killed his pal.”
“Ruins?” Tintin and Captain asked almost in unison.
“Ah, yes. There are ruins of old monastery in the forest, scarcely three miles away northwards.”
“Wonderful place for picnic.” Professor nodded.
“Indeed. But, naturally, no one believed that man. Instead, my grandfather was charged with killing the burglar and the rumors spread like plague. He cannot stand it so he hanged himself in one of guest rooms. And ever since that, strange … incidents started to happen. Footsteps were heard from empty corridor leading to guest rooms. Servants sworn that they saw, only for a moment, somebody standing atop the staircase, when no one was supposed to be there. Whenever the furniture, including the correspondence, in late Lord’s study was rearranged, it immediately returned to its former position, within mere seconds when no one was paying attention. And from time to time harsh rap sounds resonated through entire manor.”
“Yer have a regular haunted house here.” Archibald was rubbing Snowy absentmindedly.
“Not at all, Captain. It barely happens anymore. Roughly year after her husband decease, my grandmother remarried. But yet another disaster fell upon her. Her youngest daughter, my aunt Eleanor, mysteriously disappeared and her stepfather was brutally murdered. In fact,” Ackerley closed his eyes and convulsively clenched armrests of his chair, “I daresay that poor Roger met the same fate.” His voice faltered. For a while he just sat there, staring blankly into flames. “Eleanor was 6 that time and no one ever found out what happened to her. It broke my grandmother’s heart. She locked herself in her room and refused to go out, refused to see anybody, even her other children. She withered away slowly for years. But later on, her physical condition went better, yet she claimed that she sees Eleanor and talks to her. Or rather, she talked to empty space.”
“She went insane?” Tintin tilted his head slightly and Captain just known that he was taking mental notes, a professional deformation of his.
“Nnn… not exactly, no. It was harmless and it made her happier, so everyone overlooked it. But, as time went by, it escalated into unbearable situation and in the end, grandmother was, on doctors advices, institutionalised.”
The uncomfortable silence which arose after was almost corporeal. But it was quickly disrupted by doctor Ackerley. “And due to all this, it is believed that our family and this house is cursed.”
“You will never get rid of calumny, defamation, denigration and stench of hydrogen sulphide.” Cuthbert concluded.
“Exactly.” Ackerley grinned at him.
Captain slung his hand over Tintin’s shoulder. “Don’t yer feel like on a camping trip?”
“With twelve years olds?”
“Yeah.” Captain confirmed.
“Yeah.” Tintin assured.
Professor just shot them reproving look.

author's notes
OK, somehow, this story keeps swelling up! This part does not end in the scene I originaly wanted, but ... I love it. :3
x Ackerley's armchair. Or something very similar.
x i can't sit in Sukhásana / Turkish sitting position for very long time. I consider it extremely uncomfortable.
x Good thing that Variola was eradicated.
x Do not, that's do not, ever just think about playing with Alternating current. Unless you are trained electrician. And even then, warn me with sufficient advance, so I can pack myself into safety.
x I wholeheartedly agree with the thesis that Professor not only was, but still is quite a womanizer.
x Lady Luck (also known as Fortune) surely holds protective hand above certain ginger-haired reporter.
x It simply cannot be a proper old-fashioned ghost story without some kind of ruins.

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