• A mansion… abandoned at the top of a hill. Isolated from urban civilisation, the mansion sits at the outskirts of Berrywood town. Many people bought it and lived in the place, but no one stayed longer than a week. All left after experiencing the unexplained and weird encounters in the house. Humans aren’t the only ones trying to inhabit the place, crows tried to make nests at the roof of the mansion, but something seemed to drive them away. Ivyrose’s Mansion was never considered haunted, but something still seems very strange.

    Chapter 2: Nightmares

    “It… it… it can’t be!” Ella gasped and fell on her knees. “I can’t be dead! I’m still in this world, I eat, I breathe, I sleep… I do everything a normal human do everyday!”
    “Yes, indeed you do Mistress Silvers. A ghost can do whatever it pleases, eat, sleep or become visible to humans.” George mumbled. “But, haven’t you noticed? You never had a shadow.”
    “What? How… How can that be?” Ella’s eyes widened at his words and scanned the grounds under her.
    It wasn’t there.
    She had no shadow.
    “The shadow, Mistress Silvers, is like our other selves in the other realm.” George explained. “Scientists can prove whatever they want, but still, only the dead knows the secrets of the different dimensions.”

    Ella stared at the soft grass beneath her as George continued explaining.
    Her mind went blank.
    ‘No, this is not true.’ She thought, ‘He’s lying. I can’t be dead! This must be a nightmare! Yes, definitely a nightmare! I must wake up!’

    “Mistress Silvers, please, follow me back to the mansion. You are shocked from the truth. Please return to the mansion and rest.” George tried his best to comfort his poor mistress in distress.

    “NO! Stay away from me!” Ella screamed, backing away from George. “Get away! You are just a bad dream!”
    Ella got up and ran.
    She ran back into a mansion.
    Reaching the front doors, she grabbed the handles and slammed the doors.

    “Mistress Silvers, doors are objects that humans use. Ghosts have no use for them.” George said calmly as he phased through the doors.
    “Stay away! Or… Or…” Ella’s eyes darted wildly around the hallway, searching for a tool of defence.
    Then, she spotted a rifle.
    Picking it up, she pointed it towards George. “Stay away! Or I’ll shoot!”
    “Mistress Silvers, you have to calm down. Put down that rifle.” George approached Ella slowly. “Think. I’m dead. Do you really think that bullets would hurt me?”

    Slowly, Ella lowered the rifle.
    “How can this be? I never remembered dying…” Ella said as a tear rolled down her cheek. “I don’t want to be dead.”
    “It is a gift to not remember the cause of one’s death, or one would be restless.” George comforted Ella while pulling out a chair. “Please, Mistress Silvers, take a seat and calm down.”
    Obediently, Ella sat down.
    George brought a cup of red tea to Ella and placed it down in front of her.
    She sobbed quietly as she sipped the tea.

    Moments of silence passed.
    George was washing the dishes.
    Then, Ella spoke again. “George… do you remember how you…you know… die?”
    “It is complicated Mistress Silvers, and I wish not to speak of it, if I may.” George answered.
    “Then, do you… know how to be alive… again?”
    “Really, Mistress Silvers, how would I know of such matters? It is a far more complex secret of death for someone like me, a simple butler, to know.”
    Ella frowned.
    “But, Mistress Silvers, I do know of one guy who did attain a physical body and lost his ethereal form.” George spoke again. “He is one whom the Grim Reaper of Death seeks, and coincidentally, also my friend.”
    Ella’s eyes lit up with hope and questioned further.

    “Can you take me to him?”

    “Oh no, no, Mistress Silvers, I’m afraid I can’t do that. I can only tell you where he resides. In a small alley in…”

    Later in that day, Ella strolled down the streets of Berrywood town.
    The nostalgic surroundings haven’t changed for the past two years.
    She walked down a small route, leading to her previous high school.
    Subconsciously, she stopped and stared at a lamppost outside a famous café, the place where her father died of an accident.
    Shaking her thoughts away, Ella continued down the route, until she reached a small rundown house.

    Giving the door a few knocks,
    Ella held her breath as she waited for someone to answer the door.
    There was no answer.
    She knocked again, still no answer.
    “Excuse me. Is anyone home?” Ella shouted, hoping for a reply.
    She tried the doorknob and was surprised to find it unlocked.

    Entering the house cautiously, she peered around, scanning the place.
    She was staring at the living room.
    The room was surprisingly clean and cosy, despite the outside appearance of the house.

    Ella wandered around the house, admiring the beauty and comfort of the place.
    She stood by the fireplace and looked through the photos on the top shelf.
    She was careful not to touch anything.

    Suddenly a net flew over her, ensnaring her down on the spot.
    “You… You… You are a ghost! What… What do you want from me? Who sent you…? Are… Are you here to collect… my soul…?” A voice trembled behind her.
    Looking back, Ella saw a thin, neat man, a man in his fifties aiming a small pistol at her.
    The scared look in his eyes told Ella that he would not hesitate to shoot.

    …To be continued