Sarah ran, far from the eerie and forgotten feelings that she tried to leave behind. The farther she got from the Scarlett room, the more they began to fade. But no matter how fast she ran, Sarah couldn't shake the terrible fear from what she had seen, that still crept as an icy breath against the back of her neck.
Around this corner and that, Sarah searched desperately for something that looked familiar, but in her haste she took a wrong turn and now found herself hopelessly lost in the labyrinth of the large estate. Stopping for a second, she paused to catch her breath. Sarah looked anxiously down the halls that stretched out around her, each seemed to twist and distort themselves into never ending passages that played with her mind. For a second Sarah felt another wave of dizziness come over her, and she reached out for a nearby banister, cradling the firm wood post as she closed her eyes and tried to clear her head.
Gradually, the chaos began to settle, her fearful thoughts and confusions pitter pattering back to the recesses of her mind as her clear thought cautiously returned. Sarah let out a long breath and slowly opened her eyes. It's ok, she told herself, Just take a moment to get your bearings, and it will come to you. Sarah looked around again, and sure enough, through the dark and unfamiliar surroundings, something did reach out to her. The subtle sound of music was wafting gently up the stairs where she stood. Sarah leaned over the railing and peered down the spiral staircase. That must be Mr. Gracey...thank goodness. Sarah slung the strap of her purse over her shoulder and quickly took the dark winding decent.
Back on the first floor, she was surprised how dark everything was. Where up above by her accommodations, every hallway had been lit, many doors to lavish, spacious rooms had been left open and waiting. But here, as she noticed hesitantly from the foot of the staircase, all was cast in shadow. The only light peeked out from around the corner at the end of the very long hallway that yawned before her. Swallowing her fear, she stepped out of the warm glow from above and walked toward the light, and the soft music that whispered there.
Her heels sounding a muffled tap on the heavily worn carpet, sent a low echo down the corridor as she went. Sarah didn't like it, the following thud sounding as if someone was following her, a suspicion, though silly, that she was too afraid to turn back into the darkness to confirm.
Pulling her baby pink jacket closer around her, she eyed the doors as she passed, each one shut and bound to their frames by a network of spider webs that only proved how long their rooms had been kept out of site from the world. Surely this couldn't have been Mr. Gracie's part of the house, it was too miserable, too lonely. Someone would go crazy passing these rooms every day, having to wonder what forgotten secrets lay decaying behind their doors. The idea alone made Sarah shiver and she was glad as passed the last of them, turning the corner and leaving the sealed up place alone in its darkness.
Stepping into the new, and much welcomed light, Sarah looked for the sound of the music. She was standing in a corridor that was slightly familiar, framed all around by impressive paintings, portraits, and busts, many of which that were framed in beautiful red draping's. Sarah remembered seeing this hall off of the main corridor on their way to the dining room. And sure enough at the other end she could spot one of the many suits of armor that had lead the way down that tunnel passage to the great ballroom where Ramsley had first taken her. Letting out a sweet sigh she hurried back to the familiar surroundings, happy to be out of the unknown maze of the rest of the house.
The armor clad passage was dark as Sarah stepped into it. Now she knew where she was, facing the large entry hall at one end, the beautiful ballroom waiting behind her. But to her disappointment, knowing where she was brought no additional amount of comfort to her nerves. In fact the long hall was quite drafty, taking the distant music and stretching it unnervingly down the scape of the passage to whistle and whine as it reached her ears. Again, Sarah couldn't shake the feeling that she wasn't alone, and folding her arms protectively around her, she slowly made her way out, calling to see if someone was there.
"...hello? Mr. Gracey, is that you?" there was no reply, and as Sarah stepped once more into the massive entry hall of the great manor she felt the icy chill of someone suddenly at her side. Turning around she nearly fell backward in fright, as Ramsley's ancient stone cold expression stared inches away from her face. He simply watched as she stumbled, picked herself up and trying to hide her embarrassment as she pretended to brush something off of her sleeve.
Sarah cleared her throat and glanced up at the butler, meeting his dark eyes for a second before averting her gaze again.
"Ramsley, I'm sorry I didn't see you there." For some reason she couldn't look at him, she was still too shaken up, and this man's empty stare only sent more shivers to run over her body.
"Quite alright, Madam. Why are you out of your room? And redressed I see. Is there something you need?" Sarah eyed him them, not all too sound on his drone, yet questioning tone.
"Yes, well... I was just on my way here to meet my husband. See, he called and..."
"Of course, Madam, he's been waiting for you." Ramsley interrupted. Sarah stopped suddenly, swallowing her words in confusion and blinking as she registered what he just said.
"Wait, he's here? Already? I, I don't see how that could be." But before Sarah could question it further, Ramsley moved up beside her and ushering her forward began to lead her up the staircase, explaining in his ancient voice as they went.
"Yes, he's waiting in the library, I just finished seeing to him, and was on my way to fetch you." Turning his head slightly he looked at her then, "why did you say you left your room, Miss Evers? You look... disheveled." Sarah just stared hazily ahead, her mind warily accepting the idea that Jim would have arrived so quickly. He had never said how close he was, but still, it had only been a few minutes since he called... hadn't it?
Sarah then thought about Ramsley's question, and the unsetting vision that had bombarded her from before. Her uncertainty to what that had been still rattling her nerves, the odd familiarity pushing insistently at the back of her mind. No, she thought, once again shaking it from her head, trying to force herself to forget it. But the memory held on to her heart with a firm chilling grasp, and she knew she couldn't let it go.
Lost in her thoughts, Sarah had never answered the butler's question. But he looked at her from the corner of his eye, seeing the distraught turmoil that raged behind her gaze as the young woman tried to deter her fears from reality, and the smallest crack of a smile broke from the corner of his mouth, fading in an instant as they reached the library.
Blinking, Sarah looked up. Before them were a pair of dark oak doors that were as impressively tall as they were wide. The thick wood was carved so delicately, a detail that was set daintily against the sheer mass of the blockade that led to the room beyond. Once again Sarah Evers was taken aback by the power and artistry that the manor possessed, with such strength and detail put into its architecture, she couldn't help but feel swept away in the fantasy of it all. This place was a treasure, like a work of art that enveloped her in every corridor and inspired her at every doorway, giving off an awakening warmth, as if the more she stayed there, the more it came alive.
Sarah slowly reached out her hand to the door, her fingers tingling with an odd desire to touch something so beautiful, to feel it beneath her hand as if it could be her own. But the sound of Ramsley's voice stopped her.
"Please, madam, allow me." He said and stepping forward turned the large handle to reveal the room within. With his gesture Sarah stepped inside, taking in the two story library that reached up around her. At one end a large desk stood before remarkable fireplace, surrounded on all sides by precarious stacks of books and papers, the desk too was littered in charts and documents as if their owner had been deep at work to uncovering something monumental before leaving them there to wait expectantly for his return. Sarah's eyes followed an iron spiral staircase up to the second landing, curved up and down among the endless shelves of leather bindings, and ending on the opposite end where a large greenhouse style window crowned the room, a waterfall streaming down the glass from the still constant downpour that raged outside. Was there nothing in this home that couldn't amaze her? She didn't think so, and it almost made her sad to think that she would have to take part in selling the manor, instead of somehow keeping it for herself. But Sarah simply sighed, and reminded herself to be thankful for what she had already seen.
Turning back to Ramsley she smiled calmly, "Thank you Ramsley, I think we'll be fine." The man bowed his head and without a word closed the library doors and left.
Looking around for her husband, Sarah spotted him, his crossed legs sticking out from behind a shroud of books as he sat waiting, his back to her on a couch by the window. A real smile broke across her lips then, her heart warming against the dark hallways, the unsettling help, the fearful delusions. Jim was here, he had come for her and just to be in the safety of his arms again was enough to chase away her fears from before.
With a light step, she walked toward him, calling out lovingly as she neared.
"Darling, you're here. I'm so glad you were able to find me." her heart beating as he stood up and turned to face her. But the soft coo in her voice was pulled away, a sudden jolt knocking into her as she was struck not by the large grin of her husband, but the dark captivating eyes of Mr. Gracey. Surprised, she stepped backward, but her mistake hung around her for a second longer as the love for her husband reached out to this man who, though mistaken, still smiled back at her with as much passion and love as if to address his lover standing before him, not his startled guest. There was such an earnest kindness there in his eyes, a telling and pure light of compassion that, though Sarah was only caught under for a moment, she couldn't help but become totally enveloped in it.
In this whisper of a moment, caught under the warmth of a stranger's gaze, Sarah again felt her head begin to spin, the faint familiar figures from before flashing into her mind, twirling in their music box waltz as her consciousness was hazily drawn away. Sarah gasped as Mr. Gracey's face before her suddenly changed, framed in a gold light that pulled him from the present and momentarily smiled at her from some shinning past. Not a hallucination, nor a vision, this was a memory and with it came the remembrance of emotion. She felt something unlocking inside her, thin wispy hands reaching out from the chambers of her heart to yearn frailly for him, feelings that weren't her own but that consumed her body and filled with such intensity that it made her lightheaded. All this in a matter of seconds, the awakening in Sarah Evers was too much and before the woman could react or even comprehend, everything, the memories, the feelings, his smiling face, all faded as consciousness escaped her and she fell into darkness.