Black Aggie by Edward Moncayo

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SUMMARY: Romance, Fear, Terror and Location. These are the things that I loved when I first fell in love with literature. This, an old story of mine, received some revisions, this one is special to me.

Life is a strange and funny journey. Something always seems to happen when you least suspect it, both good and bad. There are some days that change the course of your existence forever, let me tell you about the day that changed mine. I remember it well.

A fierce wind blew through the trees that covered the verdant countryside. The shaking leaves made their discomfort known as they rustled about in the chilled morning air. The clear unblemished sky radiated with a mysterious cerulean fever and I was, as best as I could describe, nervously calm.

I had reached the outskirts of Lockwood, a small quiet town neatly tucked away in one of the more anonymous regions along the mid-Atlantic coast. I made my way down a lonely winding road that ended at a long gravelly driveway. I stopped my car at a tall, black iron gate that contained the estate, and from my vantage point I could see a large, red-bricked house that was partially hidden by overgrown brush and ill kept trees.

With a hearty push, the old rusty gate opened quite easily. I returned to my car, and continued down the driveway until I reached a pair of dark stone lions that sat guarding the entrance to the home.

I marveled at the magnificent and massive home. Aside from the one picture I had been shown, I had never actually seen the house in person before purchasing it. It was a strange sensation, being near the home that is. I've never had anything make me feel so compelled before. It was a powerful feeling. I instantly fell madly in love with the place.

I recalled the story of the home as recounted by the agent. Hildreth Manor was named after its original owner, Reginald Hildreth, son of an affluent English nobleman that had come stateside after the Revolutionary War. Built as a federal style home in the latter part of the 18th century, it stands as a bastion reflective of the spirit of a time long past. The last recorded Hildreth to actually own the home was Janssen Hildreth, until his demise in 1933. I had been told that it had been over two decades since the home had last been occupied, but even so, the passage of time did not tarnish its magnificence.

On the outside, a large Palladian played perfectly against the dentil moldings and elliptical windows that rest elegantly on the symmetrical edifice. Once within, one could tell that its previous tenants formed an eclectic blend of design that heavily favored a rich Victorian influence.

Passing through the grand entryway, I was immediately greeted by a large spiral staircase that ascends upwards to the second floor.

Away from the staircase on either side, sparsely illuminated hallways bearing large oil paintings and tapestries directed me to grander oval rooms with chairs and sofas covered in rich fabrics with patterns of roses and dahlias.

To further compliment the decor, heavy mahogany and maple furnishings adorned most rooms, and the entire home was a wonder, replete with rich cherry oak floors, extravagant baseboards and a bevy of sparkling crystal chandeliers.

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