Thorne Manor and other bizarre tales takes you on a journey through madness with haunted people and places. The reader enters a reality where the world only appears normal -- underlying is a dark world of occult influence, dangerous beliefs, and fearsome energies. These 7 page-turning tales appear in this collection:
- Thorne Manor: Meet Heather, a woman trying to separate herself from an emotionally abusive ex-husband. While pursuing her dream of opening a business, she finds herself in an old, abandoned mansion that houses a sinister secret.
- Guardian at the Gate: A demon with plans to take over the world is given a leadership makeover.
- The Black Sheep: A troubled, clairaudient girl rejects her psychotherapist when a new spirit begins to counsel her.
- The Quiet Neighbors: A housewife's first attempt at witchcraft backfires.
- By Invitation Only: A grieving pet owner is visited by an unusual creature.
- Dream State: A woman's dreams become deadly reality.
- Good Riddance: A man's hatred for cats creates an unexpected result.
"I love your stories! So good and engaging! I couldn't put Thorne Manor down. -- Misha H, Portland, OR "I loved Thorne Manor ... actually could not stop reading it. Was well written and kept my attention from the beginning. I liked the short stories as well." -- Sue W., Abington, PA "I loved [The Black Sheep]! You did a great job at creating scenes and amy's thought. Great story, creepy." -- Donnie M., Philadelphia, PA More from Diane Wing at www.DianeWing.com From Modern History Press
|Loving Healing Press
|6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)
About the Author
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My attempts at a better life have created this situation; to be shunned and denied all contact is the wickedest torture they have yet to devise. My requests for human interaction or for the chance to relate to another living creature of any kind have resulted in lessened visits by family members. The strange voices have become more talkative over the last few months, filling the silent hours of my solitude and enriching my inner world. Sometimes they admonish those who imprison me and suggest appropriate recompense for their actions. Other times they whisper to me, soothing my fear and sadness, and igniting my anger toward the situation. Treatment for the voices is a simple matter — to be able to speak with a person, or to have an animal, a pet with which to exchange emotion — would calm the incessant talking.
This journal has become my only release. My hopes and fears entered onto its pages with no response in return. Being imprisoned in these gracious accommodations with cruel jailors at the helm has pushed my mind toward thoughts of torment to retaliate against their emotional abuse.
To be able to roam the grounds and feel the sun was my dearest wish. Yet after years in these rooms, the sun now gives me headaches and a rash has developed on most of my torso. I have come to know every nook, every peel and flake of paint and wallpaper, every dimming of the colors on upholstery and carpet. Darkness quells the discomfort of these symptoms; eating exacerbates them. Refusing the food they bring only sets off a series of additional tortures they seem to enjoy administering.
Surviving puberty and its challenges, tolerating the oddities of my family and the isolation from friends, it seems that I have paid my dues. Is this the fate I am to endure for my entire adulthood as well? Whatever semblance of a god promised to me in The Bible was a lie.
The shadows are witness to my pain. Hope is replaced by loathing, tainting my disposition and my will. In the absence of guilt, in the absence of God, revenge and hatred will be my guides in this world and the next.
— From the diary of Erick Thorne, January 7th, 2002
"It's too risky, Heather," Joyce Wolfe warned. "As your realtor and friend, I have to remind you that financially this is too much to take on."
Heather stared at the Gothic mansion. It was as if Heather had been absorbed into its strange aura. Riding up the driveway, the overhanging trees hugged her from above and pointed the way toward the house. Standing amidst a dense forest of maple, sycamore, pine, and cedar the timeworn stone Gothic mansion welcomed her. The arched windows gazed down upon her with dark, tired eyes. The soaring center tower of the house enshrouded in aged brown stone gave the impression of an old woman wrapped in a tattered shawl.
"I dreamed of this place; of owning it and starting a business. I can live and work here," her voice trailed off as if talking to herself. With commercial zoning, she saw in its dark countenance the bright spark of a successful enterprise, not simply a fantastic place to live. The rumors of the home's dark history did not dissuade her from seeing its potential. All it needed was some loving attention, and the sadness that was said to permeate the structure would dissipate.
"No one who lives around here will come near the place. Too much has happened here — the murders, the torture — to allow a business to be successful."
"We can clear the energy. The psychics that rent from me will bring fresh energy to the house and the grounds."
Thorne Manor stood before them, patiently awaiting the final decision. A gentle pine-scented breeze blew Heather's long brown hair across her face. She moved the hair to the side and hooked it behind her ear.
"There are several other properties I can show you that will be perfect for what you want to do. Let's go take a look."
Heather's eyes were fixed on the mansion, mind whirring with ideas for the abandoned building. "The dark history of this house will add an air of mystery that will attract people to have social gatherings here. I can use it as part of my marketing strategy."
The enamored expression on Heather's face told Joyce she had made her decision, but wanted to give one last attempt to dissuade her.
"The house on Chestnut Street is a bright contemporary with an open floor plan on three acres. There is plenty of parking and we can get it for an incredible price."
Heather nodded, knowing Joyce had said something, but did not know what it was.
Joyce could see that Heather was enthralled with the property and completely oblivious to her opinion. Thorne Manor had been on the market for almost five years; the structure was sound, but the tragedies that took place here deterred most buyers. Joyce had researched the history of the property in depth with the hope of finding something positive in its past that she could share with her clients. What she found out she mostly kept to herself.
Heather was not only her client, but also her friend, so in this case, she would do her best to talk Heather out of buying this place. The dark past of the house would not be good for Heather's healing after such a difficult marriage. The professional relationship Joyce and Heather shared began when Heather was assigned as the accountant to Joyce's real estate office, Mather Properties. The friendship began when Heather left her possessive husband, Robert.
When Joyce took over her father's business when he retired in 1995, she kept his name on the sign rather than changing it to her married name of Wolfe. Residents of the area recognized Mather Properties as a brand, and Joyce wanted to honor the work her father had done in building the business. She often thought that she should have kept her maiden name to avoid hearing comments like "She's a Wolfe in sheep's clothing," and "Here comes the big, bad Wolfe!" It was tiresome to hear the same jokes repeated year after year, but she simply smiled and tolerated it. Real estate was about relationships, so she was careful to allow people to think they were clever and original, especially when it helped them to remember her name and establish rapport.
Heather had never joked about Joyce's married name; in fact, for a young woman in her mid-thirties, she seemed much older and somewhat tired. Highly professional, yet cold and aloof, Joyce could see that there was a restrictive quality to Heather's demeanor, coupled with an underlying sadness. Joyce appreciated the accuracy and focused attention Heather gave to her account, and a friendship grew from the working relationship. They talked of many things, but Heather's home life was not one of them. Joyce decided that when she was ready, Heather would open up.
One day, Heather came to Joyce's office, briefcase in hand, looking like the weight that had held her down for so long had been magically removed. She walked across the floor, each step light and carefree; a smile decorated her lovely face. It seemed as though ten years had been removed from her expression, her skin radiant, and her eyes sparkling. The "good morning" she called as she entered the office sang of hope and happiness.
"Hi, Heather. Did you win the lottery?" asked Joyce with a grin.
Heather's head tilted to the side like a dog trying to understand its master. A look of insight replaced puzzlement and she responded, "Something even better."
"Shall I keep guessing or would you be so kind as to tell me what's going on?" Joyce prodded her.
Heather's grin widened, white teeth gleaming, "I left my husband."
Joyce had never seen a woman so happy to end a relationship. There was giddiness in Heather's voice, like children bursting out of the double doors on the last day of school as summer began. Joyce had noticed that the wedding ring Heather always wore was no longer on her left ring finger. Neither was the thick gold collar necklace that seemed permanently fixed into place around her neck.
"It feels so good to be by myself and free of the constant criticism. We should go out to celebrate," suggested Heather.
Joyce was open to that. She like d Heather and wanted to encourage her in her new life. At dinner, they chatted about shopping, hair and nails, and celebrities. No mention of Heather's husband or what prompted her to leave him after five years of marriage. Heather gradually spilled the horrors of her life with Robert and the way he had treated her, and Joyce was glad that with each revelation she became more detached from the past.
Heather now had the same expression on her face Joyce had seen when she dropped the bomb that she was leaving her torturous five-year marriage. The happy expectation of a charmed life swam across her face. Her joyous resolve displayed the same determination about acquiring this place as to rid her life of her abusive husband.
Heather turned to look at the green of the tree line that bordered the lush lawn and opened her arms wide to receive the vibrations of the forest. She took a deep breath and a broad smile replaced the contemplative expression she wore as she made mental plans for the property.
Heather knew Joyce had her best interest at heart, but she did not want to succumb to doubt and fear. It was a test of her newfound courage to proceed. If she could tolerate the criticism, restriction, and emotional blackmail her husband had imposed, she could deal with anything. Nothing could be worse than the time she had spent with him.
Heather's eyes gleamed as she met and ignored Joyce's concerned gaze. "I want to see the inside."
Rumors of spirits roaming the hallways added to its charm. Clients would come for the promise of the supernatural and the occult. The front porch creaked under the weight of each step she took, bringing her closer to the peeling front door with its massive lion head brass knockers. She pounded the knocker against the door purposely to hear the sound echo in the immense hallways. Visitors would get an immediate sense of the enormity of the building when they heard that sound reverberate off the walls; they would know they had come to a special place.
The key had to be wriggled into the lock and the mechanism resisted releasing the deadbolt. The door sang with the rust of age as she slowly pushed it inward. Heather relished every sight and sound.
Joyce gave in. "Since it's been empty for so long, there's a good chance I can negotiate the price down and make it affordable for you. In its current state of disrepair the bank will agree to sell it as a fixer upper. They just want it off their hands."
Stepping over the threshold, they realized that the outside of the house had deceived them. Now that they were inside the large Gothic structure, Heather and Joyce were pleasantly surprised to see that its condition was much better than expected. For a house that was a century old, the walls showed only minor cracks, which were a testament to its solid construction. It had withstood the years of physical and emotional weathering quite well.
The two-story center hall was lined with windows above and on the main floor. Light struggled to stream in through the dirty windows, dimly illuminating the dust into white particles floating in mid-air. A colossal crystal chandelier was suspended in the middle, hanging down past the second floor railing. It reminded Heather of an old One Step Beyond episode where a girl had repetitious premonitions of a chandelier falling on her. When she finally decided she was being silly, she ignored her fear and was almost crushed by the falling weight. From that episode, Heather Grey learned not to ignore intuitive information. She wasn't sure if it was intuition or hope that flooded her psyche, but she had determined that the house would be her salvation, her work, and her home.
Heather flicked the switch to try the lights. Most of the bulbs lit as electricity coursed through them but could not shine through the dirty crystals. Both women were surprised they worked. "Power and water have been turned off for years," said Joyce. "I can't imagine how the lights could be working."
Heather made a mental note to have it cleaned to its original sparkling brilliance. With all of the sunlight in the space, it would send prisms shooting toward every wall.
The deep gold ceramic tile in the circular entry foyer surrounded a medallion in a compass design crafted from cream colored travertine and black and gold granite. The floor was dirty but solid, waiting to be restored to its former glory. From the grand entrance were rooms in every direction and a massive stairway that curved to the left guarded by a mahogany banister reached to the expansive upper levels. She smiled as she pictured the spectacular renovation completed. Drawn to the upper levels, she ascended the staircase to explore with Joyce close behind.
The restoration would be a labor of love that would pay off in the end. It was a place to live and work. She could move out of her apartment once her rooms were completed and live here while the rest of the work was being done.
She brushed her hand over the thick dust that coated the mahogany banister. It was amazing how much dirt could accumulate in the span of five years since the house was abandoned. Heather would need to stock up on spray wax and paper towels to clean this up. She rubbed her hands together then wiped them on her jeans to remove the dust.
Joyce offered some insight, "The thick spindles are said to be hand carved. By hand or machine, they are magnificent. The original owner was a surgeon. He could afford to hire artisans from all over the country to carve the woodwork and lay the tile."
Heather nodded in admiration, excited to be so close to owning such finery. Once the filth was removed, a gem would emerge from the rubble. The stairs creaked under her slight weight as she hugged the gentle curve of the staircase. Cracks of various lengths and formations decorated the plaster wall that lined the stairway. Nothing some Spackle and a bit of sanding couldn't fix.
"How wonderful that the man who had this house built was a reputable doctor who helped people," said Heather.
"Actually, he was a skilled surgeon who got greedy and did illegal abortions at night. Supposedly there was an operating suite and lab in the basement."
"Maybe he felt sorry for the pregnant women who had nowhere else to turn and didn't want to have a baby," justified Heather.
"Maybe," Joyce said, knowing that Heather's desire to own this house overrode her sense of propriety.
At the top on the second floor landing, a tall arched stained glass window colored the light straining to shine through the layers of dirt. Its design included round gems of deep red, cobalt blue, and emerald green. Drops of dew clung to a delicate spider web hanging from a magnificent tree in the countryside. The effect was stunning, the craftsmanship unparalleled.
"The doctor put a lot of special touches into it," commented Heather.
"He certainly did. I did a bit of reading about Dr. Benjamin Strand. In order to lure the woman he loved, Miriam Hart, into marrying him, he built this house and added decorative touches that she chose herself," offered Joyce.
"See, he did have a streak of goodness in him. Anyone who loves someone that much must be good deep down," Heather rationalized.
"Miriam left him when she found out about the abortions," Joyce said, watching Heather's reaction.
"Oh," Heather quietly responded.
"Anyway, Miriam had it copied from a Tiffany window commissioned by Mrs. Winchester for the famous Winchester House in California. Interestingly enough, that house is said to be haunted, too."
"What do you mean, too? I haven't seen or heard any ghosts since we came in, have you?"
"I'm just saying, the rumor is that this house is haunted. That's why it's been on the market for five years. That's why the locals won't come near here ... with the exception of the local kids looking to drink in the woods."
"So who do they think is haunting this place?"
"The people who owned the house most recently, the ones the house gets its name from: The Thornes. They're all dead."
"I like the name. Thorne Manor has a nice ring to it. Let's keep exploring," Heather said and turned away from Joyce, cutting off the negative conversation. She wanted to believe that this house could be healed and her hopes were replaced by doubt with each bit of information Joyce provided.
From the walkway on the second level, visitors could look over the balcony and have a bird's eye view of the foyer and crystal chandelier. Seven rooms, two with connecting bathrooms, and one bathroom in the hallway were on this level. Seven, such a cosmic number for this purpose, its mystical significance was legendary throughout history, and now it held special meaning in her mysterious dream house.
Practitioners would occupy the second floor, providing services to Thorne Manor patrons. Finding occult practitioners of varying talents, promoted as "psychic entertainment" to ensure staying within legal guidelines, would be ideal: a card reader, Reiki practitioner, trance medium, palm reader, psychometrist, a tea leaf reader, and a massage therapist would be available to her guests for an extra fee. Each would have their own room to conduct their craft.
Excerpted from "Thorne Manor ... And Other Bizarre Tales"
Copyright © 2012 Diane Wing.
Excerpted by permission of Loving Healing Press, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
By Invitation Only,
Guardian of the Gate,
The Black Sheep,
The Quiet Neighbors,
About the Author,