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So, for ages now I've wanted to try my hand at a little fanfic for this series. When choosing a story to elaborate on, one always came to mind. The story of the Trevors, consumed by the evil within the beautiful Spencer mansion. Lisa's story always haunted me when I was younger, reading through files, imaginging what hell she must have endured at the hands of those cold, faceless men who experimented on her...
This is not a one part story. Assuming it is not utter trash and one or two people even like it, I want to tell it over various parts, from the perspectives of different members of the Trevor family. So here's part one. I welcome feedback, critical feedback especially. So here you go, Crimson Head forum.
No comfort came for George Trevor as the winter sun began to bow and twilight set the sky aflame. No comfort came as he sunk into the embrace of the Pierre Cardin armchair that he had long ago positioned so that, once seated, he could enjoy an almost cinematic view of a New York bathed in sundown. No comfort came even as he lit another smoke – his third in the hour – and inhaled deeply. The apartment around him was for the most part wreathed in shadow. Only that which was closest to the crescent pane of glass by which George sat was caught in the glow of the setting sun. Rays of amber that stretched out from the sky revealed on George the face of a man who had not slept well in weeks: his skin was dry and worryingly pale, his emerald eyes bloodshot and gaunt.
Rising to his feet and stubbing out what remained of his Marlboro in a nearby ashtray, George turned his attention to the mahogany cabinet that stood proud against his lounge’s west wall. It was a fine piece, Parisian, hand carved. His wife Jessica had spotted it in a showroom during a romantic getaway to Paris, shortly before the birth of their daughter, Lisa. Sensing a prime opportunity to surprise his beloved, George had paid a respectable sum to have it quietly imported into The States. He thought of the look on Jessica’s face when she had come home from work to find that cabinet displayed in their living room… her cheeks had flushed as she clasped her hands over her mouth and embraced her darling husband with a squeal of utter glee.
That surprise gift had come fifteen years ago.
How times have changed, George thought to himself bitterly.
Had you asked their closest friends, they would have told you that George and Jessica were going through something of a rough patch. How it had begun was still a mystery to George. There was no defining moment, no clear catalyst that sent their relationship crashing down. It had become apparent in the little things, those everyday details that George had always pushed to the back of his mind: the indifferent hug goodbye before work, the absent kiss when returning home, the lukewarm bed at night. The distance between them had crept into their home and refused to depart, and from there it became an unspoken presence, known but never openly acknowledged, a ghost in the apartment, a spectre there to stay. George had always been too engrossed in his work to pay the phantom much attention. As for Jessica, her life revolved around Lisa and little else. George often wondered if his daughter had ever noticed the ghost in their home. He prayed to God that she had not.
Stepping up to the cabinet, eyes adjusting to the dark, George regarded the various objects displayed behind its glass doors: bottles of scotch, old bottles, rare bottles, lined up neatly across two rows. A bottle of Glenlivet, whose golden tone mirrored the palette of the sunset, caught his eye. Lisa had been only two years old when George promised his wife that he would refrain from chasing drink as a sure-fire way to put himself to sleep. It had been his method of choice all throughout his twenties – to say that it got out of hand would have been something of an understatement. He had kept his promise, for a time a least. How long ago he broke it, George could not recall.
Opening the cabinet and withdrawing the Glenlivet, George hovered for a moment before fixing his eyes squarely on a single book hidden between several others on the bottom shelf.
The copy of Fouquier that he had stolen in his teens had been lost to fire many years ago. It had been a cigarette, still alight, dropped carelessly to the floor as a drunken George had collapsed into a pitiful slumber. How he had gotten out of that tiny apartment alive… he did not remember. He could thank whisky for that one. The unburned copy of Les Grand Chateaux that was hidden between several other antiquated works was however obtained through an entirely different source. It had been gifted to him not several months prior by one of his clients, a token of appreciation after the official completion of what George considered his pièce de résistance. Placing the Glenlivet down by his feet, George pried the clothbound book from its place and turned its cover. Written in a beautiful, bygone-era script, a handwritten note on the first page glared back at him. George walked over to the crescent window of his apartment so that what little sun remained casted light upon the page, and took in the inscription:
To my dear friend, George Trevor,
Only through your brilliance could this mansion be constructed.
Here through gilded windows I greet the arrival of the dawn;
alongside the howls of wolves, I greet the fall of night.
You told me that this book once sparked your passion,
but that you had lost it in your more careless days...
Think of this as but a small expression of my thanks.
But George, my gratitude cannot simply be expressed
through this book alone – I simply won’t allow it!
Won’t you come to my home, to this magnificent place?
Won’t you be my guest of honour?
Bring your wife and daughter, for I shall see to it that
you are all treated to a banquet fit for royalty!
Oswell E. Spencer
The mansion hidden away in the heart of the Arklay Mountains, that grand, awe-inspiring place… How much of his life George had poured into that splendid house. How much of a strain it had taken on his marriage. Perhaps that was why George had accepted Spencer’s invitation. Perhaps that was why he had convinced Jessica to go on ahead of him. She could enjoy some time with Lisa, bask in the generosity of their nobleman host. She could see the brilliance of the mansion, its life, its soul, and then maybe, just maybe, Jessica would understand. Then George would come, and she would greet him with open arms, just as she did that night he had gifted her with the cabinet and… would the space between them would somehow shrink? Would the spectre lift its curse on their home?
A long shot, George had thought at the time.
But one that he was willing to take.
Settling back down into the armchair, bottle of scotch still standing just a foot from the cabinet, George’s weary eyes met the inferno of the sunset. Jessica had, thankfully, been quite open to the idea. Truth be told, it had caught him by surprise. But she had gone on ahead with Lisa, phoned from the hotel. He figured that they should be arriving in Raccoon city right about now, and from there, Spencer had arranged a chauffeur to drive them into the forest, towards the grand estate. In a phone-call made to Spencer to arrange his family’s getaway, he had told George that Arklay County was expecting a formidable rush of snow that season. November had come and true to Spencer’s word, Arklay had indeed been hit by a ferocious roar of snowfall.
George thought of his family approaching the mansion for the first time. Would they be amazed? Astounded? Impressed by his work? He hoped that they would suffer some combination of all three. Watching the burning sky, whose amber tones cooled as night began to make its move, George hoped that Spencer’s offer would bring his family a chance to reconnect. And yet, no comfort came as he gazed at the close of day. There was a feeling, small and subtle, searing deep within his chest. An anxiousness, a sense unease that much like the phantom that had come and claimed his marriage could not be pinned down by mere perception alone.
George figured that he was just exhausted – and he was.
Sometimes we all ignore that little voice in the backs of our heads.
Sometimes it works out for us.
This would not one of those times.
" S e a s h e l l i s e v i l . . . " - A n o n y m o u s , 2 0 0 8
That was a very good read. I liked how you carved George's personality through his thoughts and habits. I loved the troubled relashionship between him and Jessica, too.
Out of curiosity, I've searched for "Les Grands Chateaux de France" by M. Fouquier...this book is pretty rare nowadays. Unfortunately, i haven't found many pictures of it on the internet.
I'd like to read more from you. Please, keep posting!
It's too dark outside and I can't see anything out of the window.
- Because we are nothing but pawns, in all this?
- In a manner of speaking, you are.