Novelette “The Portrait – Part 3”

This is the third and final part of a three part Novelette on my blog. To see the first and second part visit . if you enjoy the story please share it on social media though the link below. Do not forget to tag me into them! If you haven’t read Part 1 or Part 2 of this Novelette, follow the links before reading the ending!
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It took somewhere between 15 and 25 minutes for the pair to arrive at Gladys’ house. It was small. Much smaller that Lucinda had remembered but still it had a feeling of familiarity. On a few occasions, when Gladys declared that Lucinda’s mother needed some space, Lucinda would have lessons at Gladys’ house for the day. She would love it every time she visited. She loved that she was able to make it from one side of the house to the other in a matter of moments. She loved that there was only one floor, it meant that there were no creaking floorboards above her head and no mysterious attic either. She loved that there was a small garden with a few apple tree’s meaning when Lucinda was hungry she could venture outside and instantly be eating fresh fruit.

The house also felt similar to Sam. It reminded him of his own house. Small and cosy with a little porch out of the front. With either wall connected to another house. He remembered the way that he and all his siblings were cramped into one bedroom and the way that he could hear them breathing every night.

The front door of the house swung open revealing a little old lady stood in the doorway. She was sickly pale and seemed only to be the shadow of the woman she had been when Lucinda last saw her. Lucinda flew out of the car wrapping her arms around Gladys’ shoulders. Gladys’ was cold, reluctant to hug Lucinda back yet she was obviously pleased to see her. She didn’t struggle free from the embrace, and she allowed a slight smile to creep across her face.

“What brings you here?” The Scottish woman sounded.

“I need your help.” Lucinda replied. Gladys looked at her shocked and offended.

“I thought I taught you etiquette. You should have told me that you wanted to see me. You should have had some tea and then you should have asked for my help. You never were the polite type.” Gladys rambled before marching back into her home. Lucinda followed sheepishly, gesturing for Sam to walk with her. She looped her arm through Sam’s. Instantly seeming more like a lady Sam noted the impact Gladys had on Lucinda.

“You look well.” Lucinda said in an attempt to break the awkwardness.

“No I don’t, I look horrendous. I am ill Lucinda and you have not visited.” She snapped. Lucinda nodded before trying to apologise but falling flat on her face. She stood quietly in the corner of the kitchen while Gladys made the tea. Gladys set the table with saucers and matching cups before placing the tea pot in the middle of the table and gesturing for the pair to sit down. “And you are?” Gladys asked Sam.

Sam looked at Lucinda who nodded for him to answer honestly. However, the truth was that Sam did not know what to say. ‘Hello, I am a man who Lucinda met earlier today and decided to go ghost hunting with her’ didn’t seem to sit right with him. He hesitated a moment, but it seemed to be a moment to long for Lucinda stepped in on his behalf.

“A friend.” She replied. Gladys raised a suspicious eyebrow. She had never trusted anyone, let alone the suspicious man who had walked into her home with the woman who used to be a child in her charge. Gladys shot Lucinda a look. Lucinda felt the daggers and remembered how hostile Gladys tended to be with strangers. Although she did not know what to say to calm the situation. For a moment the trio sat in silence. Lucinda glanced around the familiar room. Same kettle, she thought, same cupboards and the same back door. Lucinda’s eyes continued to graze past the door before she realised what she had seen. Either side of the door she saw two wooden crosses hammered into the wall.

Lucinda stood up shocked and angered. She walked to the door, tapping the wooden crosses. She felt an urge of betrayal wave over her even though she didn’t quite understand. Emotion waved over her with such power Lucinda found herself light headed and before she knew it she was regaining consciousness in Sam’s arms.

“I feel I must explain.” Gladys said as Sam sat Lucinda onto the sofa. “Sam filled me in on why you were here. Much a politer boy than you ever were a girl.” Gladys jabbed before softening up again. “Your mother was an unwell woman there is nothing debatable about that, however I may have lied to you over the details of why. Your father moved into Fawkes house looking for a story. He was a writer looking for a house with a tale to tell and Fawkes Mansion seemed the right place to start. Your father had done immense research into the house before purchasing it and knew the legend behind the painting. However like a typical man he had told his wife very little. She did not even know the real reason why the family had moved into this creepy house.” Gladys looked at Lucinda ensuring she was strong enough to go on. “Your mother had wanted to redecorate. She wanted to make the house friendlier for you and your siblings. If I had any idea of the houses history myself I never would have encouraged it.” Gladys went on to reassure, “I suggested she started with little changes, ensuring that your father could be gently eased into the idea of redecoration but she was unsure. I thought that I could help her. I thought that I could do what she couldn’t and start redecorating for her. I found myself in the hallway. I was looking around and saw the portrait. It was odd, creepy in fact. The eyes felt as if they were staring right into my soul, so I moved a few things aside and went to move the painting. I only managed to tilt it when your mother came storming into the hall way telling me that I had no right to interfere. She was right of course. I left the portrait be, as did she. When your father returned home he came flying into the kitchen where I was preparing your dinner. He asked me who had moved the painting. I told him it was me and he then asked who else had been in the house. He seemed panicked and angered. I replied with haste explaining that everyone other than him had been in the house at the time. He got more angered and began to smash the dishes I had laid out on the table. I was petrified for my safety however I was even more worried about him. I had never seen your father so frantic. He was always such a placid lovely man and so this display of anger was uncharacteristic. Eventually he calmed down and found himself confiding in me. He told me that he had moved to the house in an attempt to find a ghost. He wanted to have a story that no one else had. He wanted it to be original. He explained the story of the painting to me and told me that when I moved it I released the spirit. He then told me that the cross around my neck had protected me from becoming the target of the ghosts haunting. He said when it was rejected by me it must have found its way and attached to someone else. He was worried and so I decided to help in any way I could. I rushed home and found some wooden crosses I had been gifted when I was younger and took them back to the house, hammering them into the wall around the doors and hiding them in different places in the house. The next few days were frantic. He was desperately trying to get your mother to leave the house before anything could happen to her but she didn’t understand and assumed her husband had gone insane. He had put a cross around your neck in order to protect you but he hadn’t managed to convince your mother into wearing a cross. One night you were sleeping in your cot when you began to cry. She went to check that you were alright and when she did she let off an almighty scream. I came rushing in followed by your father. Your mother said that there was a man stood over your crib, she was sure she had seen him standing there. Your father looked at me and I looked to him. We both knew that the man was not a man at all and was instead a spirit of Guy Fawkes. That night your father came to see me. He told me that he had to get the children out of the house and he would have to do it that night. He told me that I was to stay and to look after your mother. He had every intention to take you with him. The next morning your mother went on her usual walk and your father readied everyone to leave. However you mother still seemed spooked from the night before and so had taken you with her on the walk. You must understand your father was worried. Guy Fawkes was so close to attaching to you when your mother walked in and disturbed him, offering him an alternative person to attach to. He was worried. He couldn’t risk any of your siblings and so he left. He told me he would come back for you but he never did. It was my fault that your mother was the way she was. Lucinda I am so sorry.” Gladys concluded.

Lucinda looked at Gladys alarmed. “It can’t be true. If I was only a babe then why do I have memories of my father, of my mother’s early stages of insanity?” Lucinda asked.

“The brain is a funny thing. It plays tricks on even the best of us.” Gladys said. Her voice was soothing, in a way it never had sounded before. She seemed oddly calm and this worried Lucinda.

“My mother wasn’t mad then? She couldn’t have been if the spirit was really there.” Lucinda stated in disbelief.

“His presence made her do odd things and after so long of everyone telling her she was insane your mother began to believe it.”

Lucinda took a moment before composing herself. She knew not what to say, she was worried to insult Gladys yet wished to be rude oh so much.

“Wait…” Sam chimed in. Lucinda looked up. She had forgotten that Sam was sat beside her. She had stopped realising much since Lucinda’s story had begun. “If the painting is moved then the spirit is released?” Sam reiterated. Gladys nodded.

“He cannot be freed from the house. The crosses keep him inside.” Gladys explained.

“The removers were taking down the crosses all around the house. Then they were removing the paintings, keeping the ones of any value.” Sam stated.

“Someone else is about to be put through the same torture as your mother!” Gladys screamed. “You must stop them. Please!” She continued. Sam looked at Lucinda and Lucinda back at Sam. The pair quickly said goodbye to Gladys, Lucinda grateful that she needn’t say a deep farewell to the woman who had lied to her all these years.

The pair ran into Lucinda’s car and sped their way to the property.

“Stop!” Lucinda ordered as she ran towards the house. She could see the boss eyeing up the painting through the doorway and could see his hand twitching to touch it.

“Be careful!” Sam shouted as Lucinda raced towards the house. She could see his fingers inches away and threw herself into the air. So long as she could stop the boss from touching the painting she was sure that she could find a way to destroy it and the curse too. But Lucinda was too late. As she fell to the ground she saw the painting being lifted from the wall. She could almost feel the spirit becoming freed from the painting she could see the evil omen searching for someone, anyone to occupy. She saw his eyes, dark as the night sky, connect to her. She felt his presence moving towards her and she scattered to her feet. “Lucinda!” Sam shouted as he watched what no one else could see. Lucinda stood tall. She watched as the spirit rushed towards her, looking intrigued. There was something about the spirit of which made Lucinda feel as if he had always been there. His presence was familiar and made some moments in her childhood make all the more sense. Lucinda raised her hand to her neck, ready to touch the cross on her necklace to ward off the spirit. However as her hand reached her neck she felt nothing but skin. Looking down she saw that the necklace had fallen from her neck as she had launched herself through the air. Before Lucinda so much as had a chance to prevent it the spirit had attached itself to her.

“Lucinda are you alright?” Sam said as the spirit disappeared from his sight.

“No.” He has attached to me. I am going to go as insane as my mother before me!” Lucinda panicked. “Or do I?” She suddenly realised that she had a plan and she needed Sam’s help. “Sam I need you to go to the kitchen, find a match and set alight the painting. I will do the rest.” Lucinda ordered. Sam nodded complacently as Lucinda heard Guy’s voice for the first time.

“It won’t work!” His voice said. “I am connected to you now, not the painting.”

“I know” Lucinda said. With that she began to make her way up the stair case and to the top floor. She took a breath and opened the window. She waited a moment until she could hear the worried shouts of gold digging worker men coming from down stairs. She could smell the fire and knew what she had to do. “You have no painting to return to and if I jump then you will no longer be attached to me!” She shouted as she leapt from the window. As she fell a laugh sounded deeply beside her. It was him. He was outside of the house. The crosses had been removed and nothing trapped him anymore. The spirit was not connected to his painting anymore and now he was not attached to a person either. He was finally free to roam the world as he pleased.

Until this day his spirit still wanders the earth, seeking someone to connect to but until he find them he spends his time setting those who reject him alight. He lights their bed on fire as they sleep through the night and when their family awake the house is ablaze and they are nowhere to be seen.

I hope you enjoyed the end of this novelette. I had so much fun writing it for you! For those of you unaware, the day this goes up is Holocaust rememberence day and so I ask of you to take a moment to remember all of those who lost their lives as a consequence of the horrific events and to take a moment to think of those people, some of which may have turned out to be writers one day and so I dedicate this story to all the people whose bright futures were taken from them. 

The next post will be: Novelette – “A Murder Mystery: Dean’s Story” If you cannot wait another week to see what this will be about read the teaser below! 

After a heavy night at a party, Dean awakes in his truck with no recollection of the night before. At first he thinks nothing of it, that is, until he finds out that his best friend has been found murdered. It is then a race against time as Dean battles to find out what had happened before the person behind the threatening texts reveals all for him. 

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