Here’s an excerpt from my paranormal suspense novel set in the long-ago days of 1968.
Mitch, the narrative character, has just been hired as a companion and dog-walker by an eccentric old woman, who insists he be put in The Honduras Room next to her. Her nephew, Dr. Walton, shows Mitch the way so he won’t get lost in the mansion.
Mitch’s Surprising Room
excerpt from A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE
by Marian Allen
He took another step and threw open a door. “This is your room. Ava brought your things up.”
I don’t know what I pictured, but it wasn’t this: deep-pile gold carpeting from wall to wall, heavy red and gold drapes pulled back from an oversized window, a four-poster bed, and three — no, four — wing chairs; two of the chairs stood, angled companionably toward each other, between the bed and the door. The furniture was all carved out of heavy, reddish-brown wood that Dr. Andrew said was Honduras mahogany — thus, the Honduras Room.
This was for me?
“Is it all right?” Dr. Andrew asked.
“It’s too much,” I said, in a hushed voice. “I mean, ‘too much’ as in ‘far out.’ Like, ‘wow’.”
“It’s a museum piece.” His face screwed into an expression of distaste. “I don’t think the guest rooms have been redecorated since the Civil War.”
“It isn’t–” I laughed uncertainly, “–haunted, or anything like that?” And then I wished I hadn’t put that particular notion into my own head. I mean, especially after Corrie’s spooky act. What Dr. Andrew said next didn’t help:
“Only by the memory of the last occupant. The ‘Albert’ we were talking about downstairs. But you’ll take care of that, won’t you?”
That is not in my job description. “I will?”
“Of course! Your being here will . . . will exorcise the spirit.” Dr. Andrew glared around the room, as if daring “the spirit” to show itself. It was enough to make me wish I was Catholic, and had quart-jar of holy water in my bag. “Nobody’s been put in here since he died,” Dr. Andrew went on. “I was beginning to think we’d have to place a gold rope across the door and declare it a shrine. But now she’s brought you home and installed you in the ‘sacred precincts’.” he sneered. “It’ll be good for — It’ll be good for everybody.”
He rubbed his hands together, as if satisfied that here was one thing taken care of.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character is expected to do something not in their job description.