Haverfall by-the-Sea: an Exposé Purposed for the London Herald
Wednesday, 16 July, 1930
I do not believe in ghosts. I must begin by assuring my loyal readers of this. The mind of a journalist cannot be clouded by any romantic fancies; I like to pride myself that nothing could be farther from my thoughts or pen than the uncanny and the sentimental.
There are no ghosts at Haverfall by-the-Sea. The only spooks in those parts are the white gulls that float above the knolls, crying out forlorn as phantoms. Even news of the tragedy which befell that household so recently cannot convince me otherwise.
I begin with all this so that you will not discredit my initial impressions of the place. For the truth of the matter is that despite all my professions of logic and caution, I'll swear that when I topped the hill to a view of the grounds that first warm night and the salt air rushed me, I felt the thrill of a thousand specters. Something in the way the moon was playing amid those abandoned turrets, the great void of sea gaping and shimmering behind it all; for that one moment all the dark tales of Haverfall, all the things the children whisper around fires, rang true in my head.
The home is a crumbling affair perched amid the barren slopes that crest the great white cliffs of that region. They say a fort used to stand there many centuries ago until some enterprising viscount built his summer home over it. Several of the original archways and parapets can still be seen entwined with the recent construction; ancient stonework bleached faceless by time and sand. In its day I imagine it must have been a pleasant enough little chateau. But now with its overgrown pathways and salt-rusted gate, and the sea wind so dreadfully melancholy as it billows up at you, a body cannot help but be filled with forebodings of drama and dread. How delightful it all is!
So then, the facts.
When the letter from the household begging for my assistance came by Monday's post, my curiosity was so great at its contents that I packed my things straight away and have arrived not two days since. There are a number of folks already present in the home, given that the reading of the will is tomorrow (though my arrival yesterday was late and I’ve not yet had a chance to meet many of them). By what I hear it’s the Baron's three younger siblings, a godson, a butler, a couple additional staff members downstairs. I shall do my best to consult them all.
I can’t tell you what an odd, restless quality the place fills me with; strong and strange and unshakable. I have determined to set before my readers all my impressions and discoveries concerning this lonely household, until its mysteries are laid clear. There's some secret to the place, I’ll stake all my years and adventures on that. Who hasn't heard the stories?
Of course a proper investigator pays no heed to that rot, but really one must wonder if there could be any truth behind the legends. Lord Rathod was not an elderly man by any means, and his death so sudden. To be taken ill in that manner, and in a house with so many rumors of shadows... only it makes one wonder.
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