Early August. Although unbelievable, I am writing my story in order to make known information regarding events that have taken place in Ravensgate, Michigan.
It had been about six months since I last saw Sandra Breyer. She seemed to have disappeared from right inside the house. Things like that don’t happen, yet that’s how it appeared.
Authorities gained access to the house, inspected it and found nothing. No evidence of struggle, breaking and entering, or foul play. Not a thing was stolen; all her clothes, money, jewelry, and valuables were still inside. Her car was still in the garage with a full tank, the TV and lights were still on, a half-eaten plate of spoiled food sat on the kitchen table. All the doors and windows were locked from the inside.
The police investigated but had no leads. They concluded she left on her own accord and didn’t was to be found.
I’ve known her since I was four. Sandy was a friend of the family who lived next door. She was my second mom. I always went to her house for Thanksgiving and Christmas because she was always alone.
Sandy struggled all her life. She managed to survive an abusive marriage which consumed much of her adult years. I remember walking into the hospital room after a severe beating by her husband. She laid there in the bed, her light brown hair hanging down, covering her swollen and bruised face.
“This has to stop, Sandy. Press charges. Or I can take care of things for you. Just say the word.” I said.
“No. No more violence.” she said frailly. Sandy sighed and paused before she spoke, “I’ll press charges.”
Finally fed up with black eyes and bruises for years, she left Pete and he finally went to jail for assault. Sandy started brand new, using her maiden name: Breyer.
In March, a couple of months after the divorce, she moved into another house, the kind her husband would never think of living in.
“It’s a Victorian!” Sandy said over the cell. “I’ve moved to Ravensgate.”
“Ravensgate? Never heard of it. Where is it?” I asked.
“About a six-hour drive north of Detroit. It sits along a river.”
“I didn’t know you were looking to move.”
“There are too many memories in that old house. I need to move on. I got a good land contract deal. I feel I need to be here in some way.”
It was the first time in her life she made a big, spontaneous decision, one of the rare times I saw her happy. After getting settled in Ravensgate, Sandy invited me over for a tour of the new house. I was eager to check the thing out.
I took the six-hour drive north. Ravensgate’s population is around three thousand. I drove through the small downtown area; its atmosphere somber with its small old-fashioned shops.
Barns, large areas of land and roadkill were abundant along its winding, dirt roads outside of town on the way to her house. I spider-webbed through the grassy rural area and found the huge, red, Victorian on Arkham Road, situated far back from the road itself. A wide driveway came off from Arkham leading to the side of the house and into the back yard up to the garage in back.
The house was surrounded by woods, the nearest neighbor blocks away. A tall, green spruce stood on the lawn to the left, casting a pleasant shade on the grass. Oddly, jagged rocks jettisoned up from the ground surrounding the edge of the lawn.
The porch was centered high which led directly to a dark oak front door. Rows of windows permeated the face of the home. The porch wood and banister were old and needed to be replaced. The house needed work.
Sandy opened the door with a smile, waiting enthusiastically as I pulled into the driveway. With her soft features aglow and blonde hair touching her shoulders, she greeted me as I walked up the porch.
“Cole! Good to see you! It’s been so long!” Sandy said with a hug.
“Thanks for inviting me. Blonde, huh? Nice. I like it.”
“You know, making changes and all.”
I hung my jacket on a hook on the wall in the foyer and Sandy led me into the large main hall. Bulky, gold frames surrounded paintings that adorned the light velvet colored walls.
“Don’t you just love it?” Sandy asked.
“It’s great,” I replied. Surprisingly, I was telling the truth. Somehow it was appealing.
In the main hall against the left wall is a long staircase with a landing at the top, steps then continue to the right leading up to the second floor. To the immediate right from the hall, I was escorted into a large living room with plum colored walls on which hung more paintings.
A large, mahogany fireplace with gold trim lay against the wall directly ahead with two gold candle holders on the mantle, each containing a long, unburned white candle. The room was long, stretching almost to the back end of the house. The old Victorian style furniture matched the room.
“This isn’t your old furniture,” I said touching the couch.
“I sold mine,” she replied with a smile. “All of the major furniture came with the house, even the paintings, Chris would have loved it,” Sandy said.
“He had your taste, like mom like son,” I said.
Chris was Sandy’s only kid. He was nineteen when a drunk driver took his life. I didn’t want to talk too much about Chris, might have damped the mood.
I walked up to a painting that hung above the fireplace. It was an oil on canvas of the same red Victorian in which we stood. The sky was gray and the mood of the piece, gloomy, not unlike as Ravensgate itself.
We stepped back into the main hall, making a sharp right, we walked down the hall passing more paintings on the walls.
We entered a room at the very back end of the house decorated with large green plants. It reminded me of a small jungle, foliage sprouting around the edge of the room. In the center of the room was a white wicker chair, a small table next to it and a footrest in front. A huge grandfather clock stood against the only wall not surrounded by plants.
“This is my sanctuary,” Sandy said. “My place to unwind and have tea. I’m going to buy an aquarium and put it in there.” She pointed to the only bare table next to the grandfather clock.
“A good place to de-stress,” I added then gazed out the back window of her sanctuary into the backyard. The garage sat at the back at the edge of forest, about ten yards behind it.
We exited the sanctuary back into the main hall, making another right. All the rooms in the house were large, even the bathroom which was next to the Sanctuary. It contained the largest sink I’d ever seen. Paintings hung on the walls in there too.
Next to the bathroom, we entered a grand kitchen. Large white cabinets with glass doors aligned the walls all the way up to the ceiling, the counter-top looked an expensive marble and the back door led to an enclosed back porch.
To the immediate left was another doorway which we went through and ended up in the dining room. A glass dining table was placed in the center and a crystal chandelier above it. Again, more paintings.
A final left took us back into the main hall in front of the staircase where we started which separated the living and dining room. We just traveled in the shape of a square.
“Let’s have a look at the upstairs,” Sandy suggested.
Expectedly, the steps creaked as she led me up to the landing then made a right up the smaller flight of stairs. The main hall upstairs was in the shape of a square, the empty space of the stairwell in the center. There were five closed doors which were aligned along the square of the hall.
Sandy revealed the master bedroom which contained a king-sized bed with a dark oak frame, the guest bedroom with a twin bed, another large bathroom and a cozy study. The walls of the study were aligned with shelves full of books and an oak desk rested against a wall accompanied by a black leather chair.
What’s behind last door on the end?” I asked.
“That’s just the attic. It needs to be cleaned out. Not much to see up there but junk and clutter,” Sandy said.
After the upstairs tour we headed back downstairs. I set a foot on the first step down and a heavy creak came from the ceiling above. We paused and both looked up at the ceiling. Within seconds came another, heavier creak, then one more. Someone was walking in the attic.