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Oct 22, 2021 10:11 PM
ellie investigates a haunted house
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Ellie has been calling herself a witch for a while now, if only in private. That seems the appropriate word for one who practices the sort of rituals and hexes she found in that dusty old grimoire. Lots of blood and bone and moonlit incantations. The first spell she tried just because she was bored- but it worked. Then she started experimenting, reanimating mice and creating ravens of shadow and giving bad luck to people who annoy her. She's looking to expand her practices, though, and for that, she needs a private place to work.

A divination ritual (purportedly) triangulates for her an old house on a wooded lot outside of town. It's definitely abandoned, and the story is that it's also haunted. It'll serve her purposes. And if any ghosts show up... she bets she can deal with them.

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It's definitely from the era when Victorian architecture was coming fully into vogue, at least. Seems the classic haunted aesthetic. Not a newer take on an old fashion - this house has weight. It's stood here a long time.

The grounds are protected by a still intact iron fence, hedges grown over and through it, brambles with wicked thorns warning off all but the most stubborn teenagers on dares. Ellie can get through it, though. Killing plants is pretty basic. Past that - overgrown, again, roses tumbling across the yard like spilled beads from a greenhouse off to the house's right, the glass in it shattered. Other flowers have taken root and grown wild, but the roses - they're the showiest. Dark, moody reds predominate, with a few splashes of large white roses with a bright red on their edges trying to push through. The pathway under Ellie's feet - totally absent outside the gates - is intact, black and white stones forming complicated swirling patterns. Trees grow tall and scraggly throughout, forming a dark canopy that only reluctantly lets the moonlight through.

The house itself... Large and rambling, though the front facade is a bit deceptive about how large and rambling. The paint is faded entirely, chipped off and greyed, but - it might've been dark, once. The windows are intact, mostly, only a single broken one up in the attic, and the form of the house is -

Shockingly straight. Like someone smudged the house after it was newly built. There's no sagging. No missing roof tiles. No apparent rot, not in the grand front porch nor in the sideboards. Birds have nested in every plausible nook or cranny, but - there's no signs of damage from animals, either.

The wind moans around Ellie, low and cold.

The doors to the house are enormous and hard to miss, stained glass windows flanking them. They're said to be unlocked.

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They make an obvious entrance point, then.

It is... a little strange, the condition of the house. Though convenient for her, if it's not a moldy old ruin.

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The entryway is - in much more terrible condition. Still looks structurally sound, but the interior's trashed and coated in a thick layer of dust. It's impossible to tell how it used to be decorated. There's an enormous staircase curling around the room, starting on her left, a small door to her right, and an entrance into another room straight ahead. There's picture frames, the glass smudged and cracked.

The light in the room is - incongruous with how bright and where the moon was. Warmer. Angled like a beam from above, even though there's no light hanging, no hole in the ceiling.

There's a shiver in the floorboards. A deep, angry moan.

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Old furnace or something, maybe.

First she needs to see if there's a decent place to set up. Straight ahead?

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It takes her to an empty-ish room, except some dust and debris. There's a grand fireplace, bricks faded, on the wall opposite the entry, but not much else. Looks like there's a kitchen to the right, maybe, and another closed door to the left. It's pretty big.

There's a wind kicking up some of the dust into little swirls, even though the door to the outside is closed.

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Old sitting room, maybe. Strange that there's no furniture.

Ellie coughs.

She needs to do something about this dust, though. Maybe the kitchen has a window she can open.

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That'd be a no! It's a very closed in, dark kitchen - there maybe used to be a window, but it looks like it's been boarded up. The kitchen does at least have furniture, though.

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Maybe she can drag out a chair and a table to the big room. Prop open the door and the front.

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The side door reveals a cluttered room, full of junk and cobwebs and more dust...

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And a massive gust of wind pours in the front door, kicking the dust up into a storm inside the house - and slamming the front door shut again on the back draft.

The house moans.

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Ack!

"Dust," she chokes, "needs to go out."

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The house - shivers?

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Yeah that's great but she needs some fresh air now.

She goes to open the front door.

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The door's very, very heavy, more so than it was.

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"Ah, dammit..."

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There's a soft whistle of wind inside the room, an almost questioning sound if Ellie was inclined to personify a house, and the dust starts to settle.

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She's starting to think there really is a ghost in here.

"Look, if you want me to stay, you need to not stir up the dust so I can breathe."

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A soft moan -

And the dust settles, very rapidly.

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Another small shiver, a sound almost like the house is settling on its foundations, even though it seems very, very stable.

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"Though it'd be better still if you just got the dust all the way out. Or all piled up in a small room somewhere."

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Mmmmrn.

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"Well, whatever. Just keep it on the floor. I'll bring a blanket or something next time."

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The air feels a bit heavy, then -

Some of the dust rearranges. Not very neatly, with little gusts of wind, but none of it's going into Ellie's eyes or throat. Just her shoes.

WHY

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"Because I don't want my things to get dirty and the texture of a dusty surface is unpleasant."

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