The Ghosts of Temple Bruer part 14

Sarah returned misgiving thoughts about returning to Temple Bruer and wondered if it was a mistake, but she had promised Philip she would return after visiting her sister. Philip wasn’t able to pick her from the hour long drive back to the castle, instead Sheriff Crosby was kind enough to pick her up.

The drive was long and quiet. Sarah, saw many of the valleys and hills that surrounded the estate. A beautiful sight she once took pleasure in seeing when she first arrived, not it was discouraging. From afar, the mountains rose, and disappeared up into the misty sky. A variety of green vegetation covered the rolling lands, some being farmed while others unattended. It was a gloomy day, the sun didn’t seem eager to step out from behind the grey clouds. It always looked like it might rain, but sometimes it never did.

“Philip, must be a busy man,” Sheriff Crosby broke the silence.

“He’s always doing something,” Sarah acknowledge.

“I don’t see him much these days,” Sheriff Crosby admitted. “I’ve been meaning to visit him, to see how things are. I normally do, with folks that live so far away from town, just to make sure everything is all right. He use to come to town every so often, lately he hasn’t been seen.”

“I barely see him myself,” Sarah said.

“There use to be folks that lived nearby,” Sheriff said. “As I recall, a family had a home a few miles away. Nobody has seem them for a while. It’s not unusual, some folk move away. They were very reclusive people… Maybe, you have seen them?”

“I didn’t know we lived by anybody,” Sarah said.

“No unusual to not see them, strange people they were,” Sheriff Crosby continued. “The father was rather unpleasant. Didn’t seem too friendly with strangers. I always saw him with a hand sickle. I believe he farmed those lands. I can’t say, it was hard to talk with him. I didn’t want trouble so I left them alone. Do you know if Philip might know of them. I kept meaning to ask about them, but I seem to forget.”

“He has never spoken of a family,” Sarah said. Then again, Philip didn’t tell her much of anything. “Did you ever know about Philip’s other wives?”

Sheriff Crosby cleared his throat.

“I met only the last two,” he said. “Doesn’t Philip mention them?”

“No,” Sarah grimly said. “What were they like?”

“I can’t say about the first one, and the other two I didn’t know them well,” Sheriff Crosby said. “I only met them a few times. His first wife drowned in the pond, I believe. It was Sheriff Bronson who oversaw that. His second, and third wife simply packed away and left one day.”

“Are you certain they left?”

“Well, that’s what Philip told me,” Sheriff Crosby said. “I wouldn’t believe the rumors. It’s just hearsay.”

“What rumors?”

“The rumors that Philip buried them somewhere in the estate,” he said. “I can assure you, I’ve walked through the estate, and I saw nothing unusual. Is there something I should be concerned about?”

Sarah hesitated to tell him further.

“He gets angry if I ask him,” Sarah said.

“Some people don’t like talking about the past,” he said.

The rest of the drive was solemn. When they arrived at the castle, the skies had turned black, as thunder could be herd crackling up ahead. The winds had picked up speed, blowing harshly around. Sarah dreaded being home.

 

The Ghosts of Temple Bruer part 12

Sarah spent more time with Haruki, like herself, she sensed he was lonely for company. They talked as often as they could until his mother called him for supper. Before he would leave he would ask her the same question every time.

“Will you be here tomorrow?” Haruki asked, as if he was unsure she would stay.

“Of course,” Sarah promised.

He would smile, and said his goodbyes. He was a bright boy, and had an exceptional memory of his infancy. Sarah could barely remember when she was three, but he could tell you everything, even from the day he was born. Sarah loved hearing his stories it made her try to recall her own, but her mind did very little retrospecting. Every time she tried she thought of her sister, and missed her more. By now, she hadn’t received any letters from her, which wasn’t like her to do. Perhaps when Philip came back home she would try to convince him to let her visit her.

As the sun began to set, Sarah begrudgingly dragged her feet back inside. She dreaded being inside the castle’s cold chambers, but when night fell over the state, it gave her a sense of dread. The estate became spooky at night. Haruki, had told her stories about Temple Bruer.

“The cemetery is a place you never want to go,” Haruki forewarned her. “Even during the day it’s not safe. It’s where they bury all the family. I went there once and never will I go again. I still have nightmares about it. I don’t think they want me or mama here.”

“Why do you say that?”

“I can hear them, especially at night,” Haruki said, “They tell me to get out. I know mama can hear them too, but she tells me to ignore them. Sometimes, they come in as shadows, and dance on my walls. I don’t like them… Mr. Kent was married to another woman.”

Sarah had never heard Philip talk about a previous wife, and it came to her surprise when Haruki mentioned it.

“I was only one year old,” Haruki beamed at his recollection. “They probably don’t think I remember, but I do.”

“What was she like?”

“She was pretty,” Haruki said. “She had blond hair, and I think her name was Lunette.”

“What happened to her?”

“She drowned in the pond,” Haruki sadly said. “Nobody knew how. Mr. Kent was sad about it. He left for months, and didn’t return for a while. She’s buried in the cemetery… Then there was Sophie. I don’t know what happened to her, all I know is she left, and never came back. Then there was Hannah.”

“What happened to her?”

“I don’t know,” Haruki tried to recollect. “I asked mama before, but she gets upset if I ask… Hannah didn’t like mam. I know that because mama would cry a lot. Hannah was not a nice to mama. She would scream at mama, and throw things at her. I saw her hit mama too.”

“Did Mr. Kent know about it?”

“I don’t think so,” Haruki said. “He was barely home when he was married to her. He has a painted portrait of her in one of the rooms.”

“Which room?”

“I don’t know,” said Haruki. “He moves it. After Hannah was gone, Mr. Kent, left and didn’t come back until you came. He likes to paint. I saw him painting one of you. Mama got mad at me for snooping.”

“Does Mr. Kent ever speak to you?”

“No,” Haruki said. “He talks to mama. I don’t he likes me.”

“I’m sure he does,” Sarah doubted, “in his own way.”

“I know he likes you,” Haruki said.

“Oh, how do you know?”

“He doesn’t stay away too long,” Haruki said. “He staid away longer when he was married to Sophie and Hannah.”

“What about the first wife?”

“Lunette?” Haruki thought about it for a moment. “I don’t know. I was just a baby. But, Sophie cried a lot. I could hear her from my room.”

Haruki did have a fine memory. Sarah learned about Philip’s unusual insomnia, the rooms in the castle, and sometimes about Aki’s family in Japan. The only person he refused to speak about was John Hawthorn, the groundskeeper. Haruki, himself admitted he didn’t know much about him, but he was bad.