The old floor creaked loudly, the ancient wood protesting loudly as it settled. Bitter wind blew through broken windows and stirred up layers of dust and danced with thick cobwebs. Tattered curtains that used to be a deep shade of amethyst fluttered in the wind, their moth-eaten appearance adding to their age.
Outside, the manor had an eerie appearance with dark stones covered in thick ivy and other hanging plants and vines that clung stubbornly to the walls, slowly eating away the outside of the manor.
"Is this Rose Manor?" asked a girl as she looked up at the decrepit house in front of her. The bitter wind whipped around her and she pulled her jacket tighter around her thin frame.
Her companion, a teenage boy with dark red-black hair and grey-green eyes nodded. "This is the place."
"Why'd we have to come here, Andrew?" she asked again as she looked dubiously toward the old building again.
"Because it's in my family and it'll be a place for us to live in a couple years. Come on, Selena," he added as he saw the doubtful look on her face. "This place won't look so bad after it's been fixed up a bit."
Selena shook her head, her medium length black hair dancing around her face. "I don't think it's such a good idea, this place looks kind of creepy."
"Come on, Selena. It'll be fun," Andrew said as he grabbed her hand and pulled her to the door.
The door was once a proud and thick oak beam, with inlays of steel, but was now a rotted plank of its former glory. Andrew stepped through the gaping hole in the door, pulling Selena behind him.
She coughed as dust raised and settled around them. "Could use a new door, some light, and some cleaning," she said with another cough.
Andrew smiled. "Now you're starting to get it."
"Whatever." Selena shrugged and took a few steps away from her boyfriend toward an old wooden table coated in inches of dust. Thick, white cobwebs hung down from rusted candleholders like old lace and rested on the table. Selena leaned closer and wiped away the dust and cobwebs from a large book in the center of the table. The book was thick, with a dark purple cover and something written in French in thick, charcoal lettering.
"What's this?" she asked as she half turned to Andrew.
Andrew turned from the giant staircase and ran across the room, his footsteps echoing in the empty space. "What's what?" he asked as he stood behind her, one arm around her waist, the other on the table.
"This book," she answered. "What does it say on the front?"
Andrew leaned down. "I can't tell, it's too dark in here to see."
"Need a little light?" Selena asked as she reached into her front pocket and pulled out a lighter. She flicked it open. The small flame wavered slightly in the musty air, creating giant shadows that danced wildly around the table before settling down.
"Journal of Shadoe Rose," Andrew translated, the name echoing back softly.
"Who's Shadoe Rose?"
"I think she was a great-great-great grandma or something like that. But not very many people in the family are willing to talk about her, and some act like she didn't exist at all."
"Do you know why?" Selena asked as she fingered the edge of the book cover, slightly lifting the cover before letting it fall again, causing a small cloud of dust to rise and fall again.
"We could take the journal and find out," Andrew offered, reaching around her to grab the book. As his and Selena's hands wrapped around the book, a small rush of icy wind blew through the manor, creating a sound that seemed to be calling Shadoe Rose over and over.
The floor creaked above their heads loudly and Selena looked up, worried. "Let's go ahead and leave before the roof caves in."
"I guess we can go now," Andrew said as he looked at the book in his hands. "Come on."
He tucked the book under his arm and followed Selena out the same way they came in. Neither of them noticed the small cloud of dust that hovered near the staircase, never moving, with long, thin cloud reaching toward the stairwell. As Andrew and Selena stepped back outside, soft and eerie laughter rang through the air, mixing with the wind in a keening yet slightly triumphant cry.