Pandora’s Box (a mystery in the making)

Okay everyone, this is what I’ve written so far. Keep in mind I have never written a book before, so there may be some inconsistencies with plot and character development. This is a work in progress and I welcome all comments, ideas, story lines, or anything else you’d like to share! Enjoy!


Sara drove up to the security pad in her rented Volkswagen Passat and shifted it into park. Placing her sunglasses on top of her head, she looked up through the windshield and smiled. The tall black wrought iron gates had with the initials “PW” engraved in script, which stood for Paul White, her uncle who had suddenly passed away. She learned after the reading of his will that she had inherited the entire furnished estate nestled in Lancashire, England. He had purchased the property in 1979, and for unknown reasons, had mysteriously kept it secret from the family.

She pulled a piece of paper from her purse with four digits written on it and entered the numbers into the keypad. She shifted the car into drive as the gates opened and entered the driveway, densely lined with trees, and felt as though she was inside a giant maze. It was a few minutes before she actually saw sunlight again. A small pathway led to a parking area on the north side of the Tudor-style manor. She parked and got out of the car.

The breeze felt good on that humid day in July. Moving her hair from her face, she noticed a huge flower garden behind her. She walked down the paved walkway that led her to a circular cobblestone patio decorated with white wrought iron furniture. Opening a gate just past the patio, she was overwhelmed by the fragrant mixture of roses, lilies, tulips, cornflowers, and carnations, among others. A flock of birds had congregated to a three-tier water fountain positioned in the center of the garden. She walked leisurely, admiring the mixture of various flowers and greenery. The garden had continued to be well maintained after her uncle’s death, knowing that she would inherit that as well.

Just past the flowers stood a beautiful white trellis lined with ivy. Just past the trellis stood over a dozen topiaries that lined the walkway back to the mansion.

She walked to the front of the manor and turned the key in the lock. The door creaked loudly as she opened it. She entered a small entranceway that led to a spacious main hall. On the ceiling hung an antique crystal chandelier and white decorative columns framed each corner of the room. A collection of floral tapestries hung on the walls. On the opposite side of the hall, The mantel atop the white marble fireplace held antique crystal lustres and a gold plated mirror. The tall, dome-shaped windows on either side of the room brought in sunlight and warmth. A curved, white staircase graced the opposite end of the room on the left.

Sara walked into the main hall, the heels of her black patent leather pumps letting out a loud echo. An eerie feeling came over her just then, as if she had been here before.

Born and raised in the affluent town of Greenwich, Connecticut, Sara had dreamed of becoming a fashion designer while in high school. A few days a week after school, she would help her mother at the women’s clothing boutique she owned in town, while also modeling part-time. Tall, slender and blonde with big blue eyes and a beautiful smile, Sara had modeled for various teen magazines in New York.

She was accepted into the Yale School of Art program, and during her sophomore year, she switched her major from fashion to interior design after interning for a local decorator in New Haven, Connecticut. After graduating with a MBA in Fine Art, she was hired as an assistant to a freelance interior designer in Manhattan and moved into an apartment in the East Village section of New York City.

“This is an amazing place”, Sara gasped as she walked over to the window on the right wall, looking out to admire the landscaped grounds once again. Over a small hill, she noticed a large weeping willow tree among the elms and a small pond. “It’s so peaceful here.”

Just to the left of the staircase off the main hall an arched doorway led to a sitting room. She walked in and noticed a large gold-framed painting of her uncle over a gray marble fireplace. Sara smiled with tears in her eyes.

“What a great painting of him, its so life like”, she thought to herself.

The walls on either side of the fireplace were lined with built-in bookshelves that held a vast amount of leather-bound books, along with a collection of Victorian-style tea cups and plates. A small sofa and two armchairs were placed around an oval-shaped mahogany coffee table in the center of the room. The large, burnt red tapestry rug almost completely covered the hard wood floor. A grandfather clock stood kitty corner on the far right of the opposite wall.

Sara walked over to look at the clock more closely. Just then, she heard what sounded like a muffled voice coming from the room directly above her. She didn’t remember seeing another vehicle parked outside, and shrugged it off until she heard it again.

Slowly walking out of the room, she shouted, “hello, is someone there?” towards the top of the staircase. There was no answer. She walked up the staircase which led to a long, narrow hallway. Each side of the walls was decorated with a collection of paintings, mostly landscapes with horses. Gold filigree gas lamps were hung above each painting for easier viewing. The floor was covered with a red floral tapestry rug.

Turning right at the top of the stairs, she noticed a faint light coming from the second door on the left and was slightly ajar. “Hello?” she asked again, with no answer. She walked towards the door and opened it slowly and looked inside. No one was in the room but she noticed a window was open across from where she was standing and a breeze was blowing through the curtains. She decided to call the police, certain that someone has broken in.

That thought disappeared when she saw her uncle running towards the garden as she was closing the window.

Sara awoke a little while later, rubbing the back of her head. She had passed out briefly from what she had seen. “Are you alright?” asked the elderly gentlemen with the accent hovering over her. Sara had no idea who he was.

“I’m okay, thank you”, looking at him puzzled.

“I apologize, I’m Ian Larsen, a friend of your late uncle’s and head butler. I meant to be here earlier when you arrived, but I had a bit of car trouble. Here, let me help you up”. Ian extended out his hand.

Ian was a tall, distinguished man in his mid sixties with wavy, white hair and brown eyes and a distinct Irish accent. He reminded her of a character in an Agatha Christie novel.

“Nice to meet you Ian, I’m Sara, Sara White”, she said as she grabbed his hand.

“Yes, I know. Your uncle told me all about you”, Ian said with a smile. “Sit down, my dear; it looks like you’ve had a nasty fall”. Ian pulled out a chair for her.

“I don’t remember seeing you at the funeral”, Sara said, as she sat down.

“I wasn’t able to attend unfortunately; I had to tend to business here”.

There was a short silence.

I’ll get you a cup of tea and an ice pack for your head”, Ian said quickly as he walked to the door. “

“Thank you Ian, I could definitely use the icepack”, she smiled.

“On second thought, I’ll make you some lunch you probably haven’t had a thing to eat”.

“I am a little hungry”, Sara smiled. She was so grateful that someone was in the house with her. She wasn’t sure if she would last here after what had happened. She was starting to think that the house was haunted. English homes were always haunted she had heard. Her head was starting to throb as Ian came into the room with the icepack.

“Thank you Ian”, Sara said, placing the icepack on the back of her head.

“When you are ready dear, your lunch is in the dining room”

Sara closed her eyes, let out a deep breath and smiled, “thank you so much Ian, for everything”. What a sweet man he is she said to herself as he left the room.

A few minutes later Ian came back to the room where Sara was sitting.

“Are you feeling better dear?” he asked.

“I’m feeling much better, thank you. I’m ready to eat now”. She handed the icepack back to Ian.

Sara got up and followed Ian to the spacious dining room. The magnificent dining room table, made of mahogany wood, was at least a foot long with a huge flower arrangement and candles in the center of the table. She sat at the foot of the table in front of a plate of roast beef, red potatoes and a side salad. A glass of red wine and water had already been poured for her. Ian had left the room and she ate in silence. As she was eating, she thought about her parents and her brother. “I wonder what they’re doing right now.”. Tears started to fill her eyes; she was starting to feel a little homesick. She ate her meal rather quickly, she was hungry and besides, everything tasted so good. As she finished her wine, Ian returned with a plate of peach pie for dessert. “Thank you Ian, but I don’t think I can eat another bite. Everything was delicious though.”. “Very well then”, Ian said as he put the plate on the table , “I’ll show you to your room”.

They walked out of the dining room and up the stairs. There was a loud echo from her shoes hitting the steps. Ian led her to the first room on the right, a huge master bedroom that was almost as big as her apartment in the city. She walked in and was immediately taken back by the size of the queen size canopy bed that had taken up almost the whole left side of the room. Two end tables with beautiful glass lamps flanked the bed. On the opposite side of the bed stood a huge armoire that held a TV screen, CD and DVD player. On the shelves underneath held a vast amount of DVDs and CDs. Her suitcases had already been put in the huge walk-in closet on the opposite wall. There was access to the bathroom from inside the closet or from the bedroom.
This is where the writer’s block comes in! How do you think the story should continue? I’m undecided about Uncle Paul being either a ghost or vampire…or is he still alive and faked his death for some reason?

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