Chapter 8

Written by: Hemali Ajmera


Bright sunlight warmed the backseat of the car and its cramped occupant. Damon opened his eyes, the dazzling rays blinding him temporarily. He sat up, struggling to take stock of his surroundings. Realising he was parked in the driveway of Shadbrook Hall, Damon spontaneously looked up at the attic. Its window was closed, like all the others. He tried to remember how he had ended up in the car but the last thing he recalled was talking to Dawes and Vanessa in the former’s tiny stone hut.         


The trio sat around the warm fire. Dawes offered his guests a small glass of stiff country-made whisky from a half-filled bottle. Damon downed it in one gulp. God knows he needed it!  

Vanessa looked unusually tranquil.   

“Where is Angus?” Damon asked, suddenly alarmed. 

“He is gone; back to the other world,” Dawes replied nonchalantly. 

What the hell was Dawes talking about? The intoxicant seemed to have affected him rather quickly.  

“You saw the spirits of Archie, Bella and Elizabeth MacGonagh all together?”

Dawes probed, searching Damon’s tired face in the dull firelight. 

Damon realised how foolish he may have sounded, claiming to see spirits that the caretaker and Vanessa had never seen even though they lived on the property.     

A plethora of questions had crowded Damon’s confused mind after witnessing the weird drama in the attic. If Vanessa claimed to be Elizabeth’s great granddaughter, then why did the dead lady’s spirit want to kill her? And why did Bella keep referring to Vanessa as her granddaughter? 

 “Yes, I did see all three of them. And Elizabeth wanted to kill Vanessa. I don’t know why but I am certainly curious to know.” 

Hoping to clear his head, Damon reached for the whisky bottle. Dawes pulled it away. 

“You better leave now. This place ain’t for you anymore,” Dawes declared and Vanessa silently nodded.


Damon got out of his car. The majestic Shadbrook Hall towered before him, still resplendent in its lost glory. He walked around, hoping to find Dawes’s stone hut. But the grounds were bereft of any dwelling. The air was warm and the trees swayed in the light breeze. It didn’t look like it had snowed anytime in the near past. 

Damon was confounded. Had he been dreaming or had he actually met all those abnormal characters the previous night? 

The ringing of his cellphone broke the trance. It was Dr. Stephen. 

“Aren’t you attending the conference? I thought you would be in Parsonsdale by now.”  

The veterinarian was unnerved. Was his mind playing tricks on him? 


Damon sat on a plush leather couch in the waiting room of Dr. Cavendish’s office. A born skeptic, he never imagined he would ever visit a parapsychologist. But he needed to see one after his eerie experiences at Shadbrook Hall. 

A waft of sage filled his nostrils.

“Hi! The doctor will see you now.”

A pretty young girl wearing a coat over a bright yellow dress greeted him. 

“Bella?” Damon blurted.  



This is a very clever chapter. It is not easy to move between scenes and to move the story on without it appearing clunky and artificial but Hemali has done it smoothly. She has also inserted some interesting threads for the next two writers to play with. A great job Hemali.
Interesting and informative enough to gather a few threads together. Sometimes when there are a few characters in one chapter the reader can easily get confused unless the work clearly defines each character and what they are about. Hemali has clearly done this, leaving enough information for the last two writers. Nice chapter, Hemali.
Oh, I just have to comment. Brilliant chapter Hemali. You tied everything together and made it sound so believable that although the last reveal was a surprise it seemed feasible. Very clever.