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The Roommate

 

The mansion had been quiet for too long and I could tell that Georgiana was growing lonelier with each passing day. It was clear that she needed female companionship, and I obviously couldn’t help her with that. My company alone wouldn’t suffice; we just couldn’t communicate any longer after all that had happened. Although I had gotten over the events of that terrible day, she hadn’t moved on from her guilt.

But a roommate? I liked the way things were, just my sister and me in the quiet confines of the home that I loved so much. I didn’t want a stranger at the mansion, but try as I might, I just could not get it through to Georgiana that I didn’t want anyone to move in with us. As usual, she only heard what she wanted to hear, and it wasn’t anything that would come from her me, her brother, Fitzwilliam George Darcy, VIII.

After three months of my continual arguments and its falling upon her deaf ears, I broke down my resolve. She was right; we needed another roommate to ease the tension. I stopped voicing my opposition to the idea.

That was when she came. Elizabeth Bennet was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen and I immediately fell hard for her. Call it what you will-love at first sight or destiny. They both meant the same thing: I wanted her as my girl, forever. She had me at hello, even if she ignored my presence upon her arrival. One might have thought her arrogant, but I knew better.

Elizabeth was a writer so she spent a lot of quiet time alone at the mansion while Georgiana finished her last semester at NYU, and I in turn spent every moment I could trying to distract her from her writing. A welcomed breath of fresh air, I felt renewed as a man, oftentimes, finding myself just staring at her in awe. I loved the way her smile lit the room when she was pleased with what she had written. Sometimes, I would sit in the chair opposite her, reading a magazine left spread open on the coffee table and then stop what I was doing to just stare at her. Lots of times, she would read aloud to me what she had written, which always brought out a fit of laughter from both of us. She really was a very clever writer.

Georgiana had been right all along, a roommate was just what we needed, and boy was I damn glad Lizzy had answered the advertisement in the newspaper. I had taken to calling her by that pet name, and she didn’t seem to mind. Having her there in the mansion was as if she had come home, as though she was always meant to be there―with us. She and I had a great time together. Once a week she’d bake bread, listening to salsa music in the kitchen, and I would join her in dancing. I never danced before her. To the rhythm, she’d shake that curvy bottom of hers and seemed to enjoy my hands upon her hips when we moved together. Sometimes we danced like savages to the wawonco beat. She was the damned sexiest woman I had ever known, and I was falling in love fast. Man, it sure seemed like dancing was the food of love.

Lizzy never knew how I watched her. Oftentimes, I leaned against the door jamb of the bathroom, watching the water beat upon her shapely body as she showered. Not only had I fallen for her personality and was amazed by her talents and the sound of her laughter, but her beauty also undid me, causing a physical reaction in me. Let me tell you, as a man of good regulation, it was extremely difficult to not take matters into my own hand―if you get my drift.

Some nights I would sit beside her on the slipper chair in her bedroom and watch her sleep. She would have nightmares on occasion and I would just stay beside her and talk to her gently, but her sleep was so deep that she never heard me. It was a good thing anyway as she might be freaked out to know how I watch her while she sleeps. I hadn’t always been a stalker, but Lizzy just brings that out in me I guess. Being in the mansion with her was like heaven and hell rolled into one. I wanted her, but she was my roommate, and it was clear that I could not have her under any circumstances―save one.

Then it happened in some strange twist of fate on a sunny Saturday morning when she had gone out for a latte across the street. I followed her, as I sometimes did. She crossed the street then suddenly stopped. My heart squeezed when she turned to me. Our eyes locking, her smile brilliant. Her hand waved to me. Her lips moved in “hello”. My heart then took flight because I knew in that moment that she saw me for the man that I truly was. I waved back and mouthed “I love you.”

As quickly as the wave had ended, and my heartfelt sentiments left my lips, a taxi slammed into my sweetheart’s body.

I stood shell shocked watching Lizzy fly through the air from impact, landing in a bloody heap at my feet. Onlookers, sirens, flashing lights, ambulances…everything was a blur to me. My heart broke, shattering into a million pieces. I sobbed when I jumped into the back of the ambulance with her. Sitting beside the gurney, I touched her hand and spoke loving words to her. The paramedic didn’t seem to notice my presence as he concentrated on his life-saving business. I silently prayed, but knew her fate.

Both Georgiana and I stayed at Lizzy’s bedside at New York Hospital for two days, keeping vigil. Occasionally, I noticed how my sister zoned out but I suppose that was her protective mode given the events of the year before when she had last visited this hospital.

 

~~**~~

 

It had been three months since that terrible accident and the mansion, once again, was filled with Lizzy’s laughter. Although, she doesn’t write anymore, we do read to each other and dance together. Her accident was the singular turning point in our relationship. Sure, I still watch her in the shower, but now I’m in there with her. At night, I hold her close to me. We spoon side-by-side with her backside pressed against me. Our days are spent kissing and caressing and having sex in every imaginable place in and outside of the mansion. At times, we make so much noise and when climaxing, scream out “I love you” with such passionate declaration that I wonder if Georgiana can hear us. She never says anything so we assume not.

However, our delightful little haven inside the mansion didn’t last forever. My lovely sister wanted another roommate. I can’t blame her really, Lizzy was now my girl, and I’m sure Georgiana was lonely. This time, I didn’t argue or try to get through that thick skull of hers. She always gets her way in the end anyway. It’s always been that way, even before that dreadful day last year.

So, here we are, one week after the new advertisement soliciting a new roommate went into the paper. Lizzy and I agree; we don’t like the interloper. Charlotte Lucas is nosy. I caught her going through my antique oak desk this morning, and I blew a gasket, but Lizzy tried to calm me with kisses before I did something rash like throw my favorite Baccarat statue against the wall.

With legs entwined, I’m snuggling Lizzy on the loveseat, but we’re watching the intrusive woman, examine every photograph in my photo album. What’s the point of objecting? She’ll just ignore me like I’m not even here.

“Georgiana?” She called out.

“Hmmm ... What’s up?”

“This guy in these photos ... he is incredible looking!” 

Lizzy smiled brightly and kissed my lips. She whispered in my ear, “I agree. You are certainly tolerable enough to tempt me.”

I was about to reply to both Lizzy and Charlotte, but Georgiana entered the living room. It broke my heart to witness her wring the dishtowel in her hands when the roommate asked, “Is he ... um...?”

“Yes. That’s my brother, Fitzwilliam … Will. He died in a car accident last year. I was driving.”

“Oh! I’m so sorry!  Man, you’ve got bad luck. Didn’t the roommate before me also die in a car accident? What was her name?”

“Elizabeth Bennet.”

 I smiled brightly then kissed the curve of Lizzy’s ear. “Forever, sweetheart.”

 

 

~~**~~


The Room

 

I’ve settled into life in the mansion and loving every minute of it. My days with Will are spent in sublime peace and joy and I never could have imagined such happiness. I am so totally consumed in love; it’s like heaven.

I never thought I would find my soul mate, particularly under the circumstances that I did. Together we do things that I had never ever considered doing before the day of the accident. Most days we make love in the garden, but I am not ashamed to say that we have experienced bliss in almost every room of the mansion, and it’s a pretty big place. I think it must be about forty rooms or so with three separate wings. We never discussed all the history of the place, but I’m assuming it must be at least two hundred years old. Will once told me that he and Georgiana were named after the very first siblings who once resided at the mansion at its original location in England. Derbyshire, I think he said, wherever that is.

It’s a quiet Tuesday and, as Will’s usual habit, he has gone out for a few hours. Always eager to learn something new, he likes to visit the cafe across the street to watch the barista, George, make the perfect cappuccino. That’s not my thing, so he goes without me. Besides, I gave him my word to keep an eye on Charlotte. What he doesn’t know is that I also keep an eye on his sister. It’s amazing the things people do when they believe themselves alone. Since I have nothing better to do other than to have mind-blowing sex with the love of my afterlife, people watching has become an interesting diversion. I’ve become quite accomplished in stealth examination.

Take for instance, Charlotte. She’s the nosiest woman we have ever met. Will and I both think it’s odd, although Georgiana clearly doesn’t, that Charlotte asks question upon question about Will, his accident, their parent’s deaths, their ancestral lineage. Gives me the willies―if you pardon the expression. Georgiana has become pretty adept at shrugging her shoulder to brush the woman off.

Then there was the day when Charlotte found her way to the room. Now, I personally have never gone into the mysterious room on the other side of the mansion. Heck, Will has never even gone into the room, and he’s lived here his whole life. He explained that it’s been locked and sealed since the 1920s or 30s. Oddly, it’s the one door in the mansion that we can’t walk through. One day, Charlotte was determined to get in, even going so far as to use a little lock picker toolkit. Will and I watched her and he laughed, stating, “Good luck with that. She’ll never get in. If I never had success, neither will she, and no pick with the name ACME on its case will breach that ancient lock. The door, like the rest of the mansion dates back to the 1800s.”

So suffice it to say, Charlotte’s not our favorite roommate―and, just like Will said, she wasn’t successful at breaching the room.

Let’s talk Georgiana for a minute.  Of course, I would never tell Will about my observations of his most beloved sister, but I am surprised I never noticed the quirky things she does before.

When I had first arrived at the mansion a year ago, I was so busy writing my murder mystery novel that I was oblivious to the actions of my new roommate. I suppose that now, existing on a supernatural plane must pull the veil off the earthly plane, ’cause I gotta tell ya’, I see now that she’s one strange chick. At night when she says her prayers, she says them aloud. Of course, I am sitting on her bed keenly listening because it’s nice to hear if someone says, “Please bless the soul of Elizabeth Bennet and William Darcy,” but she speaks in some strange mumbo jumbo that wouldn’t even be considered speaking in tongues―the song of the angels. I’d know that now that I’m in heaven. Her language sounds like some ancient guttural dead language.

Once, I asked Will how Georgiana got through the grief following their father’s death five years earlier and the knowledge that their mother died following childbirth. He said that his sister had always shown a measure of guilt but adjusted well enough. I admit, that seems normal, but then again, where are the photographs? Come to think of it there isn’t even a photograph of Will on the wall or mantle. For goodness sake, it’s not like he died years ago. They had been very close―or had they?

Will should be coming back soon. I hope so; the mansion feels unusually cold today and Georgiana has been occupied in the kitchen, cooking weird smelling stuff. For goodness sake, there has been a chicken running around the dinette table for half the day. That’s new and unusual. Oh wait … here she comes with the chicken under her arm and some sort of doll that looks like Charlotte. I think I’ll follow her.

What the heck?!  Holy smokes!  Oh dear, where is Will when I need him?

She’s at the door of the room, pulling a key out from inside her bra!  She’s going in!

Holy shit! Is that an altar?

 

~~**~~

 

The New Roommate

 

 

Journal Entry 265 – by Charlotte Lucas

I never wanted to live in this mansion, but I’m stuck here now, determined to make the best of it. But, I’ll be damned if I let myself be counted among the number of deaths, which may be as high as 32 by now. Truth be told, investigation is in my blood, and I do have these special “abilities” like great-grandmother used to say. So, I’m using my God-given talents to get to the bottom of what I believe may be a curse upon Pemberley mansion.

Needless to say, it came as quite a shock to me when the advertisement for a roommate appeared in the paper so soon after Elizabeth Bennet’s death because I had assumed that the cycle of deaths had ended permanently. Who knows, maybe I’ve missed something in my research. Of course, when Georgiana accepted my application to room with her, I played like I never knew anything about the mansion’s sordid past. Generations had made it their business to keep it quiet, but my Lucas ancestors have always known the truth. Murder, even if never proven.

Following Elizabeth Bennet’s death, my investigation brought me to her father. My interview with him revealed that he may know of the curse, too. He had been upset when Elizabeth moved into Pemberley, and I wondered why he had never told her of his suspicions. Perhaps he didn’t want her to be scared and, as he explained, she was an obstinate, headstrong girl. Rest her soul.

All in all, I have kept myself busy while here. Lord knows, there’s enough history and folklore attached to this old building, so much so that I have been immersed up to my neck in its two-hundred-year-old stuff for the last nine months. But, it’s hard to find records dating back beyond the mansion’s arrival in New York City. One would think that the Darcy family would have documented the stone-by-stone dismantling of a family estate in England then rebuilding it on the opposite side of the pond, but they hadn’t. I guess they hoped that the curse would be broken by doing so. Perhaps they thought that recording the move for all posterity would continue the deaths that have taken place over two centuries. I have no doubt that was at the heart of the relocation to America.

I can’t fault the mansion for its history, and it is quite a magnificent three story residence with expansive rear grounds. Coveted by developers, the front façade expands half a city block. There’s even an awesome coffee shop across the street, but unfortunately there is always a line of eager girls waiting for entrance. The owner, George, is one hot Brit, and I’m sure that is the reason for his gender-specific customers. He seems like a rake though. Gee, there’s a word you don’t say often, but for this guy it fits. He wears his hair in a little ponytail at his nape, like he’s just emerged from the militia in a Regency romance novel.

Anyway, I recall that as a little girl, my parents would drive by the mansion and say “Look Charlotte, there’s a Darcy ghost in the window.”  Of course I never saw anything, that’s not my gift, but Grandmother said that she once knew one of the Darcys intimately until the butler found him dead outside his sister’s room. That’s when Grandmother Lucas’s father, the city mayor, initiated a private investigation into his suspicions. Something was afoot at Pemberley mansion.

Just the other day, I discovered that there is a room in the south hall, locked so tight that even my ACME Detective Kit can’t open it, and that says a lot because that bad boy can open everything. After taking a small sample of the wood from the door, and upon microscopic inspection, it appears to be of some ancient wood not the pressboard or plastic material they use now. It may be genuine hardwood from England’s Peak District or maybe even that Meryton place in Hertfordshire I read about as a child. The village is known to have been the location of the Banshee Witch. I have sent the sample of wood to the lab because my gut feeling and my “gift” screams Ramsgate. It’s definitely not wood from the United States so I’m thinking it came with the original mansion generations ago.

I have written to my spiritual leader to let him know of my safety in the mansion. While I haven’t seen any ghosts, I know they exist. At times, I can hear them. Oh God, I can hear them in just about every room and outside in the gardens. They get it on day and night like rabbits. The man climaxes like his head is going to blow off and she screams like he’s twelve inches. Man, no one ever taught me about the dead having sex. Maybe I would be better off dead, I might finally get laid!  I digress … must stay on topic.

The ghosts I am assuming are EB and FD, but I have no way of knowing for sure. I could ask, of course, after all I know that I am constantly watched by them. But based on the history of the mansion, it very well could be any generation of ghosts or any FD or Will as his sister called him. Strange people those Darcys carrying forward the names of the dead from generation to generation, but that’s part of the folklore isn’t it? I mean, if you knew―or suspected―your mansion was cursed, why the hell would you keep naming your children by the same names? The wealthy seem to do that. The latest Fitzwilliam was like the 8th or something. And I’m still working on my Doctoral thesis to help explain the whole EB and FD “forever throughout time” theory and currently exploring the theory that evil personages remain immortal throughout time. Fascinating stuff that even my spiritual director concurs with.

Well, I suppose I should mention Georgiana. I’m sure she’s behind it all somehow, and maybe it has to do with that mysterious room in the south wing. I’m determined to find out so that an end can come to the deaths, with an exorcism or something. I have to be careful, though, she’s not oblivious to my snooping around and becomes quite tightlipped when I ask too many questions. There’s something malevolent about the girl with her sickening sweet smile and Goldie Locks hair. Ick!  Sappy goodness and puppy dog eyes always mean evil is lurking below and if that’s the case, then she has to be Satan himself or at least controlled by him.

She does absolutely nothing that actually gives me the heebie jeebies, per se, but something is not right. Questions pop into my mind like: Why does Georgiana sometimes speak with an English accent? Why are there no photographs of her family, yet keeps a snapshot of the owner of the coffee shop in her vanity drawer? Why the heck were there rooster feathers leading down the south wing hallway? Most times when I glance at her, she seems to have this glazed over look. What’s up with that? Does she do drugs?

I did overhear an interesting conversation between Georgiana and her hot stud muffin distant cousin, Richard Fitzwilliam. Clearly angry with her, he chastised that she hadn’t been acting normal since prior to William’s death. After encouraging her to see a psychiatrist, she told him to eff off, then called him a dandiprat. She told him to mind his own business for once, saying, and I quote, “For years, you damn Fitzwilliams have been butting in.”  See, that’s what I mean about the evil behind the sappy goodness.  Damn, I thought any minute her head would rotate around and she’d spew green vomit. And ... um...what the hell is a dandiprat? (Note to self: remember to Google British insults.)

As stud muffin exited the mansion he caught my eye, and I could swear the look on his face said “Get the hell out of here.”  I like him he’s got a nice tight ass and a commanding presence. I think he’s former military.

My spiritual advisor did ask of my health and I was quite embarrassed to report that for the last few days I have had the most severe case of diarrhea and flatulence that smells as if the sulfur of  hell!  Digestive disorders are so unlike me because I eat well and take probiotics. My advisor did seem concerned, so I will take extra care.

It’s all so perplexing and sometimes I wish I was a Darcy ghost just so I could get another perspective and hide without needing to hide. Not to mention, I might get laid by that gorgeous Fitzwilliam, but I think Elizabeth Bennet might fight me on that―even if she is a ghost.

Sorry… back to Georgiana. I am sure that she did it. She killed them all. I don’t know how or why she did, but I’m going to prove it because, by God, I have no intentions of disappointing Reverend Collins and the trust he placed in me to expose the curse on the Darcy family and its mansion.

Should this be my last entry, and you have found this, please notify the good Reverend at Hunsford Assembly Church in Amityville, Long Island of my death.

 

~~**~~

 

The Curse

 

Some days it’s like a cloud comes over me and before I know it it’s dusk. I’m losing days again. This has happened at pivotal moments in my life and I don’t know what to do about it.  Me, Georgiana Darcy the most conscientious and attentive person I know, and I’m utterly oblivious to the goings on in my own life.

Although the circumstances have now changed between my roommate Charlotte and me, I am still perplexed by her past behavior. She seemed preoccupied, and oftentimes I’d see her watching me like I’m a goldfish in a bowl. She’s a nice girl, but sometimes I felt as though she was trying to dissect my thoughts or inquire intrusively about Will and our family history. Maybe she’s just a curious kind of creature. After all, Will was very handsome and the house does have a rather unique history… even if it is eerie, but Pemberley has always been home to us Darcys for generations. I pay no mind to the supposed curse or the folklore that surrounds the accidental deaths in every generation. I don’t believe in that stuff and neither did Will. He called it mumbo jumbo superstition, and so do I.

Anyway, about Charlotte. I’m not sure when or if she’ll be back to the mansion. She’s been in the hospital with dysentery. I didn’t even know that people get that disease anymore, but she has it. She was so ill that I called my third-cousin, Rick to help take her to the hospital. I guess there is always a silver lining in every cloud because he informed me that when she’s well again he’s going to ask her out. He said that she doesn’t want to return to the mansion. He didn’t elaborate, but mentioned something about her hearing a malevolent female voice threatening her. I swore it wasn’t me. I’ve only been kind to her.

There have been other strange things going on that I can’t account for. There was once a lovely photograph of my parents, hanging above the fireplace and now it’s gone. I have looked high and low for it. I have no idea where it is. Even Will’s pictures keep disappearing or maybe I just think that I’m putting them on display. Like I said, things have been fuzzy. Then there was the whole rooster thing. I’m not really sure why I found feathers under the kitchen table. I am a vegetarian!

My fiancé, George at the coffee shop seems to think that maybe I just need a good night’s sleep. Perhaps he’s right. I’m not sure. I’d feel better―safer―if he would stay over in the spare room. I’ve tried to get him to come for dinner and some quiet time alone away from the shop, but he keeps putting me off. I have been dreaming about him a lot lately and anxious for our wedding night. Hard to believe, at twenty-one I’m still a virgin.

I wish Will was here so he could give me away on my wedding day. Sometimes I think I’d like to talk to him. Can the dead hear you when they are in heaven? If only he were here and if not him, then Elizabeth. I really liked her as though she were a big sister.

It makes me sad to say but I think Will would have fallen in love with her had he met her before that bitch Caroline Bingley sunk her claws into him. If you ask me, his death saved him from marrying that evil woman. I remember hearing once that there was another Fitzwilliam Darcy, who married an Elizabeth Bennet back in the 1800s. That would have been funny had my brother met Elizabeth met before their deaths. I’m not glad that Will isn’t here, but I am glad that he never married Caroline otherwise she would still be living in the mansion with me after his death and that would have been a nightmare worse than the memory loss I’m going through now.

I miss my brother and father so much that sometimes it hurts. I know I need to release the guilt of having been behind the wheel of my brother’s car and having accidentally given Dad those peanuts that caused his allergic reaction and subsequent heart attack. Honestly, I don’t know how the nuts ended up in the chicken marsala I made for him! I’m working through the pain, and I truly thought that having a roommate would help me.

I did have a visitor yesterday, a Reverend Bill Collins who had come by to pick up some of Charlotte’s things. He was so nice and helpful, even consoling me in my grief, that I invited him to co-celebrate at my wedding in four days. I’m marrying here at the mansion since this is where I feel the presence of my loved ones the most. Not that I’m a religious girl, but I am so excited that the Reverend said yes.

 

~~**~~

 

The Fiancé

 

I’m not excited about revealing the facts surrounding the curse on Pemberley mansion and the Darcy family, and truth be told, the consequences could be severe for my speaking of it but in four days it will all be over.

Let me just first state for the record that I hate coffee. Even though I’m a coffee barista, I, George Wickham, have always hated coffee and tea for that matter. We British have been drinking tea for a millennium, and I bloody hate it. Spirits have always been my bag. Perhaps a strong whiskey, maybe even a brandy. No, brandy reminds me of those annoying Fitzwilliams, nosey buggers.

I have been at this coffee shop since 1937 when it was a luncheonette. Prior to that, I owned the speakeasy run from the basement of the hardware shop next door since the beginning of that blasted Prohibition in 1920.

Pemberley mansion came to America in 1901 from Derbyshire and it took me five years to track it down to New York City. The Mistress, who is not only my master but the master of all evil-doers of noble birth, wasn’t going to help me track it down and neither was her daughter, the woman whom I have sworn to love for all eternity. I have loved her for over 223 years. You see, we’re bloody immortal and not because we wanted to be, but because I made a deal with the devil herself in order to get what I want: the hand of her daughter, my beloved and Pemberley mansion.

Oh, but the Mistress wasn’t just going to give either to me. She made damn sure that I had to work for it and wait until she enacted her revenge. Finally, the time has come and the waiting is over as the curse will soon be broken with the death of Georgiana Darcy. She is the last of the Darcys. The very last descendant to hold any right or claim to the mansion.

Of course, the girl’s accidental death will come immediately following my long-awaited marriage, and I will inherit it all and then my love and I will live in the estate of our dreams. You see, my beloved has also coveted Pemberley since being promised to the young future master Fitzwilliam Darcy in her infancy in the late 1700s.

And I have waited for over two hundred years to get my inheritance from old man George Darcy. Two centuries of servitude to the Mistress so that I may obtain what should have been given to me when he died. Fitzwilliam Darcy was a prat to think that I would settle for the payment of a living and not pursue other means to get what I want, the mansion and all its holdings.

I had tried another route in Ramsgate, but that proved futile due to Darcy’s interference. My love had waited in the wings for my pronouncement that I had wed Georgiana. A ceremony had been planned on the Mistress’s altar in Ramsgate for my beloved’s spirit to be put into the cold dead body of the first Georgiana, but our joy had been dashed with the arrival of her prick of a brother.

I then followed Darcy to Netherfield in Meryton, thinking Georgiana was with him, but instead I met another lovely, one who had captured the illustrious Master of Pemberley with her arts and allurements. When I reported to The Mistress that the shades of Pemberley were about to be polluted by a country chit of inferior birth, she had become incensed. It was not to be borne since he was to marry another. (Little did I know at the time that she meant my beloved!)  It seemed at every turn the Mistress’s― and my―plans were unraveling.

In her wrath, she cursed the mansion, condemning to death any who could make claim to ownership. They would die a tragic and accidental death until all branches of the Darcy family’s generations ceased when the seed of the family no longer walked the earth.

Given my strong libido, I’m proud to say that the Mistress used me to exact her revenge, and I in turn have used every Darcy woman to do my bidding. That’s how the altar sanctuary and the mystical door from Ramsgate became installed in the south wing. The current Georgiana’s great-grandmother was under my spell, and she installed it in the mansion in 1925.

It has taken two hundred years to get to the last descendant, the fifth Georgiana Darcy. She has been under my spell throughout her life, of course coming in and out of it so as not to give suspicion. She served my purpose well when her birth killed her mother and then she poisoned her father before he took another bride and then lastly crashed her brother’s Porsche into a wall before he married Caroline Bingley, thus ending the procreation and birth of more Darcy heirs. I, in turn, made sure that no potential suitor for her hand lived past the second date.

As for the Elizabeth roommate... she was not pretty enough to tempt me, and nor did I have anything to do with her death. It was purely coincidental, along with her name, I’m sure… yes, I’m sure because I don’t believe in reincarnation, only immortality. And I was there when the first Elizabeth Bennet Darcy died.

Georgiana’s sacrifices on the altar to the Mistress will make ready for the body transfer following her death. Surrounded by generations of Darcy photographs, portraits and ghosts, my revenge and The Mistress’s will be complete. As final reward for our devotion, my love’s poor health, which she has suffered her whole life, will be completely restored when her life force takes its final home within Georgiana’s body. Then finally I will get to deflower a “Darcy” woman. Maybe my dear girl will finally be a proficient lover, if nothing else.

 

~~**~~

The Wedding

 

The open door to the sanctuary room in Pemberley revealed the massive altar made from the same ancient wood as the door itself. Both had been procured from the mystical region of Ramsgate, a place where deceit and evil intentions has lurked for centuries.

On all four walls, hanging from top to bottom, were the paintings and photographs of every Darcy ancestor. Although long dead, their spirits have been held prisoner, trapped within the mansion waiting for their release from the curse the moment the last Darcy sadly met her final end.

Upon the altar, black and red roses, the color of death and blood, lay scattered. A vial of hemlock rested upon a black velvet cloth, awaiting its final destination: the mouth of Georgiana Darcy.

Today was her wedding day and, like most days, she was dazed and foggy in a trance of deep possession beside the groom, George Wickham, waiting for the ceremony of marriage to begin. Beside Georgiana stood a frail, homely woman, whom the girl had never met before. She acted as witness, and attempted to smile between hacking coughs and phlegm snorts. Before them was the Mistress.

“Anne! Stop that noise!” the evil woman boomed with an English accent. Short yet powerful in both magical arts and persuasion, she wore an elegant gown from the Regency era. Her coiffed hair towered high above her head and atop powdered cheeks a black beauty mark was eerily painted beside her mouth. She sneered at the would-be bride, pleased to be exacting her final revenge upon the Darcy family, elated to install her daughter as the mistress of Pemberley after these many years.

“What are we waiting for?” She demanded, her voice reverberating off the walls.

Meekly Georgiana stated, “My pastor is expected. He will also be marrying us.”

“I did not approve this!”

“What difference does it make; we’ll kill him when it’s over, too,” said the groom as he toyed with his beard.

Reverend Collins let himself in through the front door of the mansion, climbed the twisting staircase then followed Charlotte’s directions to the south wing.

He suddenly stopped at the sight of the open door and the Mistress standing within, her hands clutching her wide hips.

A chill shivered up his spine. He held tightly to a cross in his right hand and a miniature painting of the first Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy in his left. Inside his pocket, in case of an emergency, was tucked an abbreviated, annotated version of Fordyce’s sermons. 

The evil one saw him approach, shock registering upon her face. She stumbled backward then gripped the altar, causing some roses to fall to the floor.

“You!  How?…What?…  This is a joke… I will not be trifled with!”

He puffed his chest in confidence. “Yes it’s me, Lady Catherine. Like you, I am immortal! Why hello Wickham. Lovely to see you, too, Anne. I am delighted to have you all together so that we can get this over with in one shot. There is no need for intercourse.”

Collins stepped into the small sanctuary, raising the instruments of exorcism and in the tongue of angels called forth the spirit of every Darcy who had been the victim of the Lady Catherine deBourgh’s curse upon the Pemberley mansion, beginning with the first generation. Their spirits visibly stood surrounding him as he spoke.

“It’s over Lady Catherine. Tsk, tsk, tsk. To think all this evil just because Fitzwilliam Darcy and Georgiana Darcy didn’t marry whom you had intended so that Anne and her lover Wickham could get Pemberley. I demand that you release the Darcy family from the curse and restore their spirits to a place of rest.”

“Never!  You are nothing but an insignificant, smarmy parson who had been under my benevolent patronage. You should be doing my bidding! Pemberley has been promised to my Anne since birth!”

“You’re wrong Lady Catherine, I was never in your true employ. I was sent by the highest authority to the parsonage so as to ingratiate myself in your patronage in order to watch you. All those windows in Rosings only served to give me more visual access to your activities! Your evil has gone on too long. Killing off Louis de Bourgh’s father and then your husband, all to obtain Rosings was the beginning.”

“Mother is that true?” Anne coughed.

“Silence, Anne!”

Collins continued, “Poising your own sister so that she wouldn’t have any more children, then pushing the first George Darcy down Pemberley’s wine cellar stairs was your next - and then the curse―all because of the love between these two people.” He held the miniature before her face then pointed to the actual couple in question. The spirits of Fitzwilliam Darcy and his wife of only one month, prematurely killed in tragic carriage accident (or was it,) stood shocked, holding hands.

“Once again, I have been sent down from heaven. Only this time I will vanquish you!”

All of New York City heard the screams of the Mistress, Anne, and Wickham as their two-hundred-year-old lives were snuffed out by the power of familial strength and love. Their once immortal bodies burned to ash, the smell of Sulphur permeating the small room. Every Darcy spirit joined together in the exorcism and death of the three that had held the mansion and its occupants captive.

Georgiana was released from her possession just in time to see her parents, brother, and Elizabeth holding hands and smiling as they ascended to heaven. Her guilt had ended. She fell into the parson’s arms and sobbed violently in relief.

~~**~~


The Aftermath

 

The fog is gone, and the peace I have found is immeasurable. Sometimes, I have to pinch myself because I feel alive in the here and now, no more missing hours and moments. My grades have improved and I feel light of heart. Pemberley is filled with a radiance I’d never felt before and I have lived here my whole life. Thanks to my new friends, Charlotte and Reverend Collins – I am free, and according to them – so is every Darcy. They filled me in on the 200-year history and holy smokes! No one would believe me if I ever tried to tell the story of the curse on Pemberley mansion, so I won’t even try, but suffice it to say, I’m believer in good and evil, ghosts and angels. I don’t think people want to hear about stuff like that. It’s spooky.

In fact, my cousin Rick came for a visit with Charlotte (they’ve been dating a few months now) and both she and I decided we wouldn’t tell him what happened. He was happy to see the photographs and paintings back on the walls and just as happy that I hadn’t called him any names. We had a good laugh over some of those things I said to him over the last year. We both miss Will but I no longer feel guilty about his death.

Glancing over at Elizabeth’s old-fashioned typewriter, I can’t help pondering how the 1813 Darcy family and this Wickham and Catherine deBourgh would make an interesting story. Hmm … perhaps that’s something I might consider putting into novel form. I love the Regency era and, well, I could write how the first Fitzwilliam Darcy met the first Elizabeth Bennet and how they fell in love in spite of all the obstacles. Sounds like it could be a romance across the ages! Now that’s a story people would love to read!

The End