The New Family

"Mom! Brandon's being a pain in the ass!", Izzy yelled, as she dragged her knapsack out of the mini-van.

"Izzy, don't call your brother an ass," Terri absent-mindedly commented as she tried to supervise the movers who were bringing her sculptures down the ramp of the moving truck.

"I didn't call him an ass, I said he was behaving like one," Izzy retorted in typical 16-year-old fashion.

"Brandon, stop being like a pain in the you-know-what," Terri yelled over her shoulder at her 10-year-old son, who was following his big sister, Izzy, and trying to trip her up with a broom he was carrying into their new home.

"I'm just giving her a broom to ride since she's such a witch," he yelled back, then yelped and jumped away as Izzy turned quickly to bat him with her heavy knapsack.

"Alright let's just get through this move, guys," rumbled Kevin, their father, who had just driven up in their second car to meet them and had heard the altercation. It was nothing new: Izzy and Brandon bickered as normal siblings do, but today was not the day for it. This move had been a stressful one, and Kevin and Terri just wanted it done and over.

"I put dibs on that room in the turret," Izzy said, as Kevin unlocked the front door for them.

"Sorry sweetheart," Terri said, "That's my new art studio. Strictly off-limits at all times!"

"It's not fair," Izzy grumbled. "Now i'll have to have a room near the troll."

"Oh yeah," Brandon said, "and I will be farting every time I pass your room!"

"Mom!"

"Brandon, stop saying fart," Terri said, carrying a wooden box of sculpture tools into the foyer.

"Oh my god! I hate this family! and I am pretty sure I'm going to hate this house!" Izzy stomped in behind her mother.

The whole family were standing in the foyer of the new home: a castle in the middle of a suburban subdivision.

Izzy was speechless, and even Brandon stopped fidgeting as they all gazed around them.

It truly was a castle through and through! The walls were hewn grey and black rock with pieces of amethyst crystal winking at them here and there. The floors were polished flagstone; the windows were stained glass depictions of idyllic scenery, homesteads, trees, shining golden fields of wheat; the vaulted ceiling was crisscrossed with aged wood beams, distressed and darkened with age. It was dusty, dank, and drab but utterly gorgeous. The family were in awe. Even Terri and Kevin, who had seen it and fallen in love months ago when they were house hunting, were taken aback by the ancient energy that seemed to pulse around them.

"Oh my god - it's as wonderful as I remember, if not more so," Terri breathed. "I will be sooooo inspired here! Kevin I am so glad you convinced me!" She flung her arms around her husband, who hugged her back enthusiastically.

"Wow mom," Izzy said, "This is awesome!"

"Coooool," Brandon said, running his hands over the rough rock.

"I just knew at the price that it was listed at, it was a steal," Kevin said. "We couldn't pass it up. Great neighbourhood, great schools for the kids, nice environment for you to work in, and no more city. Apart from it's unusual architecture, it was everything we wanted for the right price."

"I just can't figure out why it sat empty for so long," Terri said as she wandered around and peered at the windows.

"I dunno - I heard a few rumours, nothing serious, you know how people are when something is different," Kevin said.

"I bet it's haunted!" said Brandon, worry forming over his face as he peered up the darkened staircase.

"Yeah and it's probably a ghost that comes for rotten boys in the night," Izzy said.

"Mommm!! She's scaring me!"

"Izzy stop scaring Brandon. It's not haunted, Bran, it's just old and dark. We'll have it bright and ship shape in no time," Terri said. "Let's go upstairs and pick our rooms and get things started."

The End

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