The Grandfather clock

Published: Wednesday, 11 March 2009 Written by Danila Paul Form 2-2

Anastasia Philips was a young woman of 21. For the past week she had been looking for a job. She'd finally managed and had gotten a live in job for a sweet elderly woman named Mrs. Pine.

Anastasia Philips was a young woman of 21. For the past week she had been looking for a job. She'd finally managed and had gotten a live in job for a sweet elderly woman named Mrs. Pine.

When she arrived, Anastasia was escorted by a pale lady with thin, blonde hair. The woman said nothing to her as she led Anastasia into the living room. The first thing Anastasia noticed upon entering the living room was a large, mahogany grandfather clock. The clock stood out dramatically compared to the pale cream furniture and white washed walls surrounding it.

"Mrs. Pine will be with you in a moment." the woman said.
Although she'd been standing right next to Anastasia when she spoke, the woman’s voice sounded far away. She left and Anastasia had to wait only a few minutes before a wrinkly woman with white hair entered. The woman examined Anastasia for a moment before smiling, which made her wrinkles deepen.

"My, what a beautiful young lady you are." she said slowly. “Anastasia is it?” "You must have a very handsome husband."

"Oh, I'm not married, ma'am, and you may call me Ana." Anastasia hastily corrected.

"Well then, see that you don't, Ana." Mrs. Pine began to laugh at her remark.
Anastasia smiled. "Since you're going to be staying for a while, here are the house rules: first there are to be no men; so all male visitors are to be turned away. Secondly, you should be in bed by ten. And thirdly, I'd advise that you don't get too comfortable here.
Anastasia hesitantly nodded. The rules seemed strange to her but maybe the old lady had her reasons. After telling her about the house and the other servants Anastasia was shown to her room.

During her stay, Anastasia quickly noticed that all the servants were pale- some even ghostly white- and all women. She would have inquired about these strange facts, had it not been for the hostility the others seemed to direct towards her. When she'd tried to befriend a brunette, the woman had given her a scornful look and bluntly said, "it'd be best if you just left and never came back.”
The other servants seemed to ignore her and for the times they did notice her, she'd receive a scornful look and harsh remarks. Anastasia would have left had it not been for Mrs. Pine, the only one in the house to show her even an inkling of kindness.

"Mrs. Pine, I've never seen a grandfather clock such as yours." Trying to make small talk, Anastasia briefly stopped dusting the grandfather clock. "Where did you get it?"

"It...was my grandmother's. It was a gift from her husband." Mrs. Pine replied, an impassive look on her face. "And I have so much use for it." Anastasia wasn't sure if she'd seen a look of malice in Mrs. Pine's eyes. Disregarding the thought she went back to work.

Time quickly passed and things went by without a hitch. Anastasia did what she was supposed to do and Mrs. Pine was kind to her. She even got used to the servants' cold manner. One of the rules Anastasia had a problem with was the bedtime rule. One restless night, Anastasia decided to take a brief walk up the corridor and back. Of course, her walk didn't go as planned.

Anastasia was just about to head back to her room when she caught a glimpse of a pale figure. Before she had time to call out, the person turned to face her. It was, of course, a woman -pale like everyone else- with a look of terror on her face. Her eyes seemed to be warning Anastasia. Anastasia was about to walk over to the girl, when she suddenly got an eerie feeling that someone was behind her. Anastasia quickly whirled around.

"I thought I made it clear that you are to be asleep by ten." Mrs. Pine was standing in front her, arms folded with a displeased look on her face. She looked paler now, Anastasia noticed.

"I'm sorry." Anastasia replied. "I couldn't sleep so I was just taking a brief walk. Then I saw this girl..." The girl was no longer there when Anastasia turned back. "She was there a minute ago."

"Yes, yes. Now off to bed with you." Mrs. Pine pushed Anastasia to her room. She could feel the pressure of Mrs. Pine's hand getting lighter as they neared her room. By the time they reached the room Anastasia could no longer feel Mrs. Pine’s hands and when she turned around the old lady was already several inches away from her. Mrs. Pine looked almost translucent from that distance. Anastasia rubbed her eyes and when she reopened them, Mrs. Pine was gone. “I must be really tired.” With that thought she went to bed.

Everything continued smoothly after that. Anastasia tried her best to go to bed on time and never bothered to inquire about the mysterious girl or Mrs. Pine’s speedy departure after she'd brought Anastasia to her room. All was going well until the following night.

Anastasia had been awakened by the sound of arguing. At first it was so soft, she wasn't sure if she'd been imagining it. But then it got louder. Curious to know who was arguing, Anastasia sneaked out into the corridor. The sound was coming from downstairs but she could hear clearly and didn’t need to go any further.

"Get out!" a voice similar to Mrs. Pine's, only more refined, demanded.

"I will stop you Margaret." A male voice replied.

Strange, Anastasia thought since Mrs. Pine had said that men weren’t allowed here.

"Go to hell where you belong, Richard and leave me alone."

"I’ll go as soon as you go!" The man, Richard, countered. “You are a deranged woman and I won't let you harm another."

The voices suddenly stopped. After hearing nothing but silence for a few minutes, Anastasia decided to head back to her room.

No one seemed different the following morning. Mrs. Pine seemed her normal cheerful self and the servants were their same withdrawn selves. Anastasia would have disregarded the argument from the previous night as a dream had it not been for the following night, when she heard arguing again. It was the same argument from the previous night. Richard obviously didn’t want Margaret to harm someone and Margaret wanted him to leave her alone.

Feeling braver than before, Anastasia had ventured further out of her room to the balcony. She was at the top of the staircase when she caught a glimpse of a red haired woman, who had a striking resemblance to Mrs. Pine, and a blonde man. Anastasia also noticed that the living room looked different; somewhat brighter and yet Anastasia could feel a chill ascend from the living room.

"Go to hell, Richard!" The woman shouted as she pushed the grandfather clock on the man. Anastasia saw the clock fall but it made no sound when it hit the man.
The blonde's gaze suddenly strayed to her direction as she let out an involuntary gasp. Anastasia quickly made her way back to bed and dove under the covers. She heard footsteps ascend the stairs. Anastasia held her breath as the footsteps got louder and then suddenly they stopped.

"Get out of my way."

"Nope. Your jealousy has made you mad." A man’s voice replied.
But how was that possible, Anastasia had seen the clock land on him.

"It will end tomorrow."

Then all was silent.

Anastasia had had enough and decided the next morning to ask Mrs. Pine about the voices.

"Mrs. Pine, I wanted to ask you something." It was after supper at around nine o’ clock that she got the chance.

"In a while dear." An unreadable expression had come over Mrs. Pine's face.
They sat for a long time in silence. Finally Mrs. Pine got up and walked over to the grandfather clock beckoning to Anastasia to follow her. Anastasia walked cautiously towards her.

"I'm sure you heard those sounds last night." Mrs. Pine began, her voice impassive. "The man you heard last night was the one who gave this clock to his wife. They were young and in love." Anastasia could see anger in Mrs. Pine's eyes as she continued. "But then he started drifting away and it wasn't long till she realized that he was cheating. There was a big argument and in her rage she killed him." The clock began to ring as it struck ten.

"Killed him?" No reply. "How?"

"She pushed the clock on him."

An image of the young Mrs. Pine pushing the clock on the blonde Richard flashed through Anastasia's mind. Then it all clicked; the strange rules, the pale servants, the arguing voices, the young Mrs. Pine and even the servants cold manner towards her. Everything in this house wasn't real! The servants were ghosts and so was Mrs. Pine and Richard. But how did they die?

"I never forgave him or anyone else for that matter." Anastasia snapped out of her thoughts to see the younger red haired Mrs. Pine in front of her.

Of course, Mrs. Pine had killed them! All of them! Anastasia shuddered. The blonde woman who had come in silently suddenly disappeared and in her place one of her servants appeared. She also disappeared suddenly and another came in her place. This went on for a while and then the young Mrs. Pine walked slowly towards her. Anastasia stared at her intently as if waiting for her to speak. Mrs. Pine’s eyes suddenly widened as a shadow formed behind her. Anastasia turned to see the grandfather clock coming closer toward her. Frozen with fear she couldn't move, she couldn't even scream.

“They hadn't purposely been cold; they'd been trying to warn me.” Was the last thought that went through Anastasia's head before she was no more.

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