Author’s Note: this is just a little reminder that the characters in this spin-off story do not age as they would normally in Noble Doubt. In The Inheritance, the characters are frozen in time, if you will. When Xalen or Marty appear in Noble Doubt, they are the ages they normally would be.
What is The Inheritance about?
The Inheritance is a secret society that fights evil in the world. They collect cursed relics and antiques under the guise of the philanthropic company, The Neptune Foundation.
This is an ages old society with bases all over the world and other companies as fronts.
Dr. Marty Larochette-Sprague
Dr. Xalen Sprague
*Some or all of these characters may be involved in the current case. Now, on with the story…
The Ridley mansion was a gothic hulk of a structure as close to the cliff’s edge as any man dared to build it. This was Marty’s first visit to the house, although, Xalen and part of the team had studied the paranormal here a few times before. It was said to be the most haunted house in the free world. From the stories she’d heard about creepy ghosts and eerie sounds, and looking at the house now, she tended to believe the rumors.
The foyer was well lit as they came inside but no less daunting than the outside had been. Marty couldn’t believe how large everything was… the statues seemed almost real and the spooky vibe was worse inside than it had been a moment ago outdoors.
“Ah, hello, Mr. Ridley,” Xalen said as an old man greeted them with handshakes. Xalen introduced the team even though Mr. Ridley probably wouldn’t remember all of their names anyway.
Marty smiled first at Mr. Ridley, then to the young lady standing by his side.
“Hello,” Marty said to the young woman.
“How do you do?” the woman said. “I’m Clara.”
Xalen watched his wife with a strange expression on his face before turning back to Mr. Ridley. “I understand you have called us back to investigate another incident?”
“Let’s move into a more comfortable room where we can discuss what has been happening,” Mr. Ridley suggested.
Xalen quickly gave instructions to his team. The first step would be to find any logical reason whatsoever that could cause the alleged paranormal experience. The team would check the electrical and plumbing throughout the house, including the heating unit and ductwork. They would also look for evidence of small animals.
This had been done on previous visits with nothing to explain the paranormal except, well, the paranormal.
After they were seated in the large parlor, Mr. Ridley began speaking. “I don’t know why spirits love this house so much. I’ve developed quite an aversion to the place because of recent events.”
“What is it that is happening now?” Xalen asked.
Mr. Ridley dabbed at his moistened eyes with a monogrammed handkerchief, then stared down into his lap for a moment. “I think my late wife is haunting me,” he finally said.
“What makes you feel this way?”
“This … ghost? No, presence… I often smell her perfume. It’s as if she wants me to know it’s her. When I go to the room she once occupied, I see the indentation of a body on top of her bed. It’s rather unnerving.”
Once again, he hesitated in order to find the right words. “Well, after she died, everything remained just as she left it. But recently, I began to rid myself of things to diminish the clutter. She died more than twenty years ago, so why shouldn’t I remove her things? I don’t miss her any less and frankly, all of this time, looking at her belongings, well, it’s made grieving for her that much harder.”
“Do you find objects that once belonged to her are not where you left them then?” Xalen asked.
“Yes, that is where I was leading. Many of her old things are packed away now but then, I will find little items my wife once treasured back where they were. Her silver hairbrush, for instance.”
“You don’t just pack things away, it’s rude,” Clara said.
Marty hid a smile behind the back of her hand. “She’s been gone for so long, why wouldn’t her things eventually be packed away?”
“Exactly,” Mr. Ridley said.
Clara let her breath out in a huff. “Because Mrs. Ridley likes her things where they belong, that’s why.”
“So, you believe the occurrences began when you started packing Mrs. Ridley’s things away?” Xalen asked.
“Hmmm… Not exactly. It wasn’t until I invited my attorney over and expressed an interest in selling this place.”
“Yes, yes, that’s when it began all right. Mrs. Ridley wants this house to stay in the family,” Clara said. “She doesn’t cotton to the idea of strangers living here.”
“This does seem like a lot of house for one person,” Xalen said.
The old man scoffed. “It’s a lot of house for anyone. I hope they tear it down and build condos or something.”
Xalen and Marty were quiet until they reached the safety of the room they would be staying in. Once there, it was Xalen who spoke first.
“I have not sensed Mrs. Ridley’s presence at all.”
Frowning, Marty nodded her head. “I haven’t either. I don’t understand it because he’s so sure she is haunting him and that it’s attached to this house and her belongings.”
“Shelly is going through some of the boxes so she can touch and feel Mrs. Ridley’s property. Hopefully, she will be able to tell us more before long.”
“Do you think having the entire team here is a good idea?” Marty asked.
“Whether it is a good idea or not, we need them. We cannot cover this entire house without them. It is just too large.”
“That’s what I thought. You know, it may make things worse with so many strangers traipsing around.”
“That’s a chance we will have to take. The team will save us a lot of time.”
“I suppose you’re right.”
As Marty began pulling their clothes out of their suitcases and putting them away, Xalen answered his cellphone.
“It looks as if we have ourselves a haunting,” Xalen said after hanging up. “Daniel and the rest of the team have determined there is no natural cause for the disturbances.”
“That’s not surprising,” Rosetta said after knocking on their door and entering.
“Perhaps you sensed Mrs. Ridley lurking about the house?” Xalen asked.
“Not Mrs. Ridley, no.”
“But you did sense something?” Marty asked.
“Yes. There is a woman present who loved Mrs. Ridley a great deal. She seems to be the unhappy party here.”
“Interesting,” Xalen said.
“Was she employed by the Ridleys?” Marty asked.
“I will have to figure that out, I suppose. I’m afraid I don’t know any more than what I’ve told you.”
Marty wasn’t sure, but she felt Rosetta was on to something. With any luck, they’d be able to put this spirit, or whatever it was, to rest without anyone getting hurt.
The Ridley Case will continue on June 27th. Thank you for reading and I’ll see you then!