Beware the Dybbuk
By Robin Renee Ray
The mansion stood alone at the back of a long, dark driveway that passed through a maze of Willow trees that were so thick it was hard to decipher one from the other. Lady Bernstein had lived in the mansion from the time her family had migrated to the United States, escaping the holocaust that took all that they had left behind. It was her death that brought her brother’s children to her home, to begin the daunting task of packing. A task that would take the four, much longer than they ever had expected.
“You mean to tell me that someone lived out here?” Sam, the youngest asked.
“Dad said she was one of those people that was very reclusive, that’s why we never met her. I think she had like a butler or something,” Cindy, the second to the oldest replied.
“She was like that because her husband and kid got killed in a car accident back in the fifties. You guys really need to pay more attention when the folks are telling old stories.”
“Sure Mike, like you actually believe half of the stuff they say,” Gabby the oldest girl, laughed. “They’ve been telling us stories about their history since we were old enough to understand words.”
“I believe the stories,” Sam added, leaning up on the back seat. “I’ve read about it in school.”
“No silly, I believe those stories…it’s the ones they would tell us when we would do something wrong.”
“I’m not silly, you are.” Sam sit back then rolled down his window. “These trees are a trip, they’re hanging so low they’re touching the car.”
Mike drove the car through the open gate that allowed them to get their first view of the three story mansion. “We have to pack all the stuff in that?” Gabby spoke as she leaned forward. No one could stop looking out at the big home as Mike came to a stop in front of the columns that held up the large front porch. Seven steps led up to an arched shaped, immaculately carved, wooden door that had a single diamond shaped window in the top center. Faded brown shutters decorated every window that could be seen on the stone home and vines were working their way up to the second floor balcony.
“Dad sure didn’t say anything about this,” Cindy said as she rolled her window down. “I bet it’s haunted.”
“Shut up, Cindy. There isn’t no such thing.” Sam slapped her in the arm.
“Hey! Hit me again and I’ll start talking about the one thing you really hate little boy.”
“I’ll be eighteen in one month and I’m only a year younger than you. And if you say one word about…you know what, I’ll do more than hit you.”
“Oh sure, you’re so grown that you’ll run and tell daddy.” Cindy burst out laughing.
“You both need to grow up.” Mike killed the motor and got out.
“And don’t pick on him, Cindy. It wasn’t too long ago that you would freak out when you heard anyone talk about the…”
“Don’t say it, Gabby,” Sam interrupted. “Remember what dad said. Just even mentioning its name can bring it up from, you know where.”
“It’s called, hell, stupid. Seventeen, really Sam.” Cindy opened her door as she spoke and got out.
“Just ignore her, Sam. Will make her pack the basement and then make fun of her when she starts crying about it being too scary down there.” Gabby looked back and smiled.
She and Sam got out and walked up to their other siblings who were already standing at the foot of the steps. It was Mike who walked up and rang the doorbell then quickly walked back down the steps to join the others. They waited a few minutes, then Mike and Gabby started back up the steps, no sooner did they reach the door and the door swung open. Gabby screamed and would have bolted had Mike not grabbed her arm.
“You must be Lady Bernstein’s kin,” a man said with a gruff voice and with skin so wrinkled it looked like old leather.
“We are. I’m David Bernstein’s oldest son, Mike and these are my sisters and brother. We’re here to…”
“I know why you are here,” the old man interrupted.
“May I ask who you are?”
The old man nodded, “I am known as Mr. Gray. If you will get your things, I will show you to your rooms. Then after, I will be on my way.”
“You mean you won’t be staying?” Gabby asked, shock filling her voice.
“I am no longer needed,” Mr. Gray said then turned around and walked back into the dark foyer.
“Come on, let’s get our bags. The sooner he’s gone the better,” Mike whispered as he walked back down the steps with Gabby at his side.
“Who was that?” Sam asked.
“The boogie man,” Cindy laughed.
“I don’t think that was funny,” Gabby glared at her little sister. “And you won’t either when you get as close to him as we were.”
The four siblings got their bags out of the trunk of the car and with more doubt than they’d had since they drove out from their home in the city, they made their way up the steps and into the dark foyer.
To be continued…..