Gone

Lord Moorehouse saw his Lady into her charriot, kissing her gently on her soft round cheek before she stepped inside. "Give my best wishes to your sister," he smiled mildly, shutting the elegant door behind her. The horses lurched forward, the charriot weaving it's way down the hills and out of sight.

 Sighing, he returned into his house, gazing at all the newly purchased furniture arranged in a tasteful fashion of which he was unused to. Upon her arrival, the new Lady Moorehouse ordered pillows and vases from India, and chairs and longues from Paris, curtains from London's finest store, and new silken wallpaper for the second floor bedrooms. The furnishings had a delicate, feminine air about them to which he found differing from his first Lady's style. Lord Moorehouse recalled how she decorated the abbey so elegantly and finely; but perhaps the change in style was good. It would keep him from lingering on the past and lighten the mood of the shadowy castle.

With those thoughts, his mind ran across his daughter, of which he had not visited in the past days. For a brief moment, his instinct rebelled against the thought of venturing up the stairs to the nursery of the unusual child, fearing to risk losing the confidence and comfort he had gained earlier in the visit. Was not that one enough? The child had the young Elizabeth to care for her; would she even be aware of his presence in the room? Why would it matter to the young baby?

A pang of guilt surged through him. Why would his foolish fears keep him from helping to raise his own child? She's possesed! a thought screamed in his mind, making him shudder at the rememberence of seeing her for the first time. She is the reason that Matilda is dead! She herself is the living dead! Lord Moorehouse closed his eyes tightly in attempt to block out the frightening voices.

"Lord Moorehouse," came the familiar voice of Mrs. Davis. He jumped, withholding a shriek of fright as he turned to face her. She jumped at his suprise, her hand flying to her chest. 

 "What is it, Davis?" her master inquired somewhat impatiently.

  "I am sorry for disturbing you, Master, but your requested supper is ready." she murmured, somewhat drawn back by his snappiness.

  "I am hungry no longer," grumbled Lord Moorhouse with a wave of his hand, stepping toward the grand, winding staircase.

~~~~~

  He had taken his time climbing the stair steps, but as darkness began to fall, light draining from the world, he quickened his pace. Still he was unnerved by the shadows of the night, it would make visiting Lilith all the more frightening.

  Quietly he turned before the nursery, looking to the door. Just before it, plates of cold, untouched food sat. Curious, why did not Elizabeth dine tonight? Lord Moorehouse wondered to himself, a shiver creeping up his spine. No, it is not frightening or suspcious; even I did not eat tonight. Perhaps she was not hungry as I was; that is quite likely. With his uneasy reassurances, he politely knocked on the door, as perhaps the girl was already in bed.

  There came no answer, and Lord Moorehouse knocked slightly harder several more times. When no response came, he cleared his throat and called in a commanding voice, "Miss. Elizabeth, this is Lord Moorehouse. Would you come to open the door?"

  No noise. Strange, he thought, thinking of the inclination to turn back. No, he urged himself. There is nothing strange about this, you are being ridiculous.....He made a choice, taking the cold handle and gently opening the door. In the silence, the soft groan of the door was unusually loud. His hair stood up on end as a chilled whisper of breeze slithered over his cheeks, only a slight silver murk of moonlight falling through the windows, seemingly tossed open.

  Lord Moorehouse cautiously stepped forward, pausing as something crunched beneath his feet.  As he gazed down, the faint moonlight seemed to strengthen, thousands of pieces of glass shrewn across the floor glistening like a million tear drops.

  His heart was drumming wildly in his head as he looked to the windows once more. They were not open; in fact they were broken, the remains of the delicate panes tossed across the floor. The curtains rippled ominously in the night, another gust drifting in through the tall, gothic windows.

 "Elizabeth!" Lord Moorehouse called, his voice wavering and small. Silence. A torn piece of parchment drifted across the floor, catching his attention. His fingers trembling, he bent over, lifting the item to examine it.

  In a spidery hand somewhat blotted out, it read it large, elegant letters:

  GONE

  Lord Moorehouse cried out, tossing the paper away from him. Lazily it drifted to lay idly on the ground. He crept in a wide circle around it, the glass crunching under his feet with every step as he was drawn to Lilith's cradle.

  Her large, dark eyes gazed up at him, hinted with knowing and playfulness, mixed with what he swore as malice. "Where is the girl? What have you done to Elizabeth?" Lord Moorehouse whispered, his voice escaping him. 

 "I have sent her away," came a smooth, cold female's voice behind him. He screamed, whipping around. No one. 

 "Who was that!" he yelled. "Who's there!" He swallowed, his throat dry and his mouth lacking moisture. His entire body was quivering, sweat dampening his forehead and wetting his hair.

  A shadow shifted in the corner. Lord Moorehouse contemplated making a run for it, but he was frozen, his legs heavy as lead. "I sent her to a better place," the voice repeated again as if just over his shoulder.

 Slowly, he turned around, looking into the cradle behind him. Lilith was completely still, not breathing, her dark eyes glazed over with the look of death. "She was a sad girl; a felt pity for her." It seemed to come from everywhere, though the baby's lips moved ever so slightly, as if to match those haunted words.

   

The End

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