This is a Gothic Romance with a paranormal twist. It is entitled Taigh O'Sullivan; A Gothic Romance, about a girl named Siobhan who is forced to travel to a castle to complete the job of her recently past uncle who was archiving Lord O'Sullivan's impressive collection of books. If she does not, her aunt and herself will be out of a home, without money or anything to call their own. She was raised in willing seclusion, and once out of the comfort and safety of home, away from her protective aunt, Siobhan learns that she is not only an empath, but she can see ghosts.
I thought the Lord would go to them, but instead he veered off for the library.
When I moved to follow him, he whirled towards me with a snarl playing on his full lips. He looked irrational, wild even. I couldn’t understand the mood swings that were affecting my thought process, my ability to react with any common sense.
What had I done to inspire such vivid differences in him?
“Tomorrow you will work,” he said coldly. Even with the distance between us, I stepped back from him. I was stunned by it. “I work at night, alone. Always.”
There was weight to those words, a meaning behind them that would take me time to really decipher. If I hadn’t been so caught up with what was happening, perhaps I would have better assessed what was really going on, and not just how it appeared.
He wanted, no needed to get away from me, and I knew he would flee to his library. The villagers had mentioned the Lord’s obsession with books several times, closeting himself away from the world with them alone. He’d been very rarely seen anywhere for a long time, and even though I had asked the locals, they hadn’t told me the reason for it. Only that he did. Then I’d thought they hadn’t known, but now I had to wonder.
When I had asked about the semi-infamous brother, Cullen O’Sullivan, I was met with several mixed opinions. While he was seen in the surrounding villages far more often, they didn’t know what to think of him. Some thought he was nice, others, as arrogant as the Lord. The younger women were soaked with obvious infatuation and longing, and the older were caught between wariness and his charm. Men both of youth and age flatly refused to comment, though I didn’t miss the leery emotion hidden behind gruff, short words.
When prodded further, they told me there was a time when this castle was filled with life, people running around going about their daily lives. There was peace and happiness, but not any longer.
Something had changed for all concerned, and the details were sketchy at best, but I felt there was something vital they didn’t divulge to me. A part that was lost between the words. It didn’t matter how I phrased my polite questions, they were no more forthcoming, other than to warn me off.
They’d mentioned the mischief and mayhem happening around the castle at the last leg of their employment, though not what had caused it. Unexplainable things that had come to pass with growing frequency, and it wasn’t long before they’d been spooked enough to leave in all haste, and seek other employment. Not that I could blame them this.
Lord O'Sullivan growled under his breath. I assumed at my silence as we regarded each other.
“Your room is up there.”
“You will not show me where it is then?” I asked softly, panic trying to set in at the thought of going up there alone. It damned near closed my throat.
It wasn’t that I was warm yet per-say, but it had been a definite improvement from the storm. It enabled me to notice the difference when the temperature dropped dramatically, with no reasonable source to explain it.
My breath floated on the air in tiny puffs, much like it would outside in the dead of winter. “Are you incapable of choosing a room?” He muttered more to himself, walking towards the library. “They are all…available.”
Didn’t he sleep up there? And what of his brother? My mouth opened to respond, but nothing came out other than a soft squeak.
He continued on unheeded, without so much as another glance, disappearing into what I was sure is an impressive space devoted solely to books. The one thing in this world I loved above all others, the only thing in my world that was consistently reliable.
I was tempted to find a place to sleep down here, where I knew someone else would be close. But the call of dry clothing was too much for my somnolent body. My belongings had arrived before me, or so I’d been promised. It remained to be seen whether they were or not, and if so, their location was beyond me. I wanted to follow him, to ask, but I shortly lost my nerve.
I would look first, just in case I found them on my own. It was better than risking another confrontation with him for nothing. There was something happening with the Lord, and my arrival had somehow triggered it. I couldn’t afford to take the risk such a simple question presented. Not when the previous ones had been taken so badly.
Taking a deep breath, I began walking forward, and it unease rose. It became harder and harder for me to get closer to the steps, like I were wading through waist deep water. No, that wasn’t right. It was more like quicksand. The more I tried, the less I moved.
There was pressure on my shoulder-blades, and I knew something was keeping me back. I refused to feel panic, permitting my mind to work through this rationally. Something the other never would’ve allowed me.
A breeze trailed across my cheek, but there wasn’t anywhere for it to have come from. Did a door open again, and I had not heard it? There was nothing out of the ordinary as I examined every crevice of the sprawling space.
When I attempted to move again, the breeze shrieked in protest. There wasn’t doubt any longer from where it came, when it swept down the curving staircase with a terrifying velocity.
The sound of a woman shrieking came along with the blast that pushed me backwards. It took everything for me to stay on my feet, and not fall. The noise was deafening, but it didn’t bring the Lord out to see what was going on.
Surely I wasn’t imagining this too?
“You do not understand. I must stay here, or my aunt dies!” I called back. I felt it hesitate just as I hit the back wall by the front entrance, unable to be pushed any further. Or I was sure the force would have tried.
It receded around me as if in shock, but the presence didn’t leave. The tapestries stopped whipping around, falling back to the walls, though now quite wrinkled. Proof I was not as mad as I needed to believe I was.
A vase on a nearby table violently rocked in the aftermath, and I launched forward the moment it tipped to one side, but missed by a long shot. But it never hit the ground, stopping mere inches from the stone floor. As I watched, it righted itself midair and set back down on the table without a sound.
When the murmuring continued, I struggled to understand even a word of it. There was so much desperation to it. And I had a feeling that whoever spoke, was actually screaming at me from wherever they were. For it definitely wasn’t here.
“What do you want from me?” I asked finally, hoped to jar loose something, to make this thing be straight with me.
The mumbling slowly turned to soft words, growing stronger with the presence solidifying around me. Much like it had before when I was outside.
The impression was that the words hadn’t been for me, but for someone or something else. Was there more than one voice? Yes, on closer inspection there was, not that I could understand any of them. But I knew they were talking about me.
Then the words surged with confidence, one strong united front. The final statement came through loud and clear, vibrating through me;
Since you decided to stay; absolution and retribution.