In the Mansion on the Hill

Thomas McCord's house "The Grange," built in 1819 and situated opposite Black's Bridge, at the first lock of the Lachine Canal, Nazareth Fief, Montreal, QC, 1872
He stood on the hill, gazing up to the house that was illuminated with each flash of brilliant lightning. It had been storming throughout his daylong journey, and he breathed in the sweet petrichor before burying the tip of his cane into the the soft, muddy ground and climbing the length of the drive to the door. 

The man pulled the end of a frayed rope hanging to his right, and heard the chimes of thick bells gong out in what he assumed was the barren unfurnished rooms of the old manse. 

A short time later the door opened before him and the man stepped through the threshold, handing his cane and umbrella to the troll standing before him. The man removed his long black cape with a flourish and shook it out, spattering the troll below with a deluge of raindrops before he dropped the cape into the troll’s outstretched arms.

“Where is he?”

“In the parlor, Master Hargrave,” the troll said, gesturing and moving toward another room.

“No,” Hargrave snapped at the troll. “I will go to him myself. Leave us be.”

“Yes, Master,” the troll grumbled, and hurried through the entry hall and out of sight.

Hargrave waited until the troll was out of earshot and strode into the dark parlor. If Marbury cared to use electricity in his new home, he had yet to turn on the service. There was a small fire in the hearth and a single candle sitting on the table between two chairs, one of which was already occupied by Marbury. Hargrave walked the length of the room and stood before the man in the chair.

“You could have picked a less conspicuous location, Marbury. This damn house can be seen for miles around.”

“I’ve had my witch perform a number of protection and repulsion spells. We will not be bothered here. Sit, let us talk.”

Hargrave sighed and collapsed into the chair next to Marbury and stared into the fire while he listened to Marbury begin to speak.

“I’ve been in contact with the Eldest -“

“Of course you have,” Hargrave whispered, but Marbury ignored the comment and moved on.

“It seems that we have found one of them -“

“A chalice? Is that why I have been summoned?”

“If you would refrain from interrupting me Hargrave, I would be more than happy to -“

“Well get on with it then, where is it?”

“America,” Marbury said with a smile. “It seems as though the chalice is already in the care of one of us, and it is your job to go get it.”

“In whose care?”

“Corbin Le Bane has become… rather attached to it,” Marbury snickered. 

Hargrave narrowed his eyes at Marbury before standing from his chair to glare down on his rival.

“I will get the chalice and bring it to the Eldest, then,” Hargrave said as he strode to the door. “It matters nought to me who I must take it from.”


This was written for Write at the Merge, Week 21, using the image above and the word petrichor - which is the word for that amazing smell that comes with the first rain after a long dry spell.

Wow. Okay.

I have really sucked at writing lately, I mean I've failed brilliantly at producing anything I've thought worth keeping or showing in the last month, but nonetheless I have been thinking constantly about a story that needs writing and when I was sitting down just now to do this challenge, this just came to me - out of nowhere.

Not for nothing, but these writing challenges that I do (and don't do often enough) really help things along for me sometimes.

Today, all it took was the photo of the house above and suddenly I knew exactly what kind of characters would be inside of it, doing their dirty business.

It feels really good. Thanks, Write on Edge!


  1. You're welcome, Cheney! I love love love the opening paragraph, and the kind of timelessness of the narrative voice. So glad to see you here!

  2. Well done! I loved the atmosphere of this piece too!

  3. Very well done. You definitely need to continue with these guys.

    *Stopping by from Write on Edge

  4. Nice - I enjoyed it. I agree with Valerie, great atmosphere.


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