Topaz Lycena Canterburry, a writer from New York City who’s had one best seller struggling for her next best story. Dozens of manuscripts; a whole file drawer full, of every genre not one publisher would take on. She moved to a less distractive area busy yet fairly quiet in upper New York called Ravensdale, in hopes of finding a new muse and more inspiring scenery. So with a little money left from her last book, Deadly Din she self published it on one of those self publishing websites like LuLu or Exlibris. Topaz was fairly making back the money on that while working in a cemetery with multiple responsibilities; caretaker, office work etc which the pay was decent enough. Trying to get the story officially published Topaz sends the manuscript and the information on how many books have been sold over the last two months of it being published on that site.
Even though the book has a popular following on the site, the publisher still won’t accept it.
Topaz takes care of the old section of the Ravenswood cemetery where it was first started in the 1800’s; it’s the south east quadrant of the cemetery and also on a small section of the north east and south west part. Someone else takes care of the new sections, and the main office is in the center. The job is pretty cool, and kind of cushy, do rounds checking out for any vandalism, and getting everyone out around lock-up time, some office work when needed, own private quarters, a house near (but set a little back from) the entrance gate.
While doing their rounds, Topaz usually is not bothered by anyone visiting graves, other than the occasional students after school doing photography or some form of drawing, charcoal smudging, or paintings projects, for an hour or two. Often they would ask some question, or other so she went so far as to type up a brochure on the history of the cemetery, any famous people that are buried there and some facts (how many graves there are, who was the first ever interred and things like that,) and would tell them if that didn’t answer their questions to give a call and left her cell phone number on the pamphlet. Sometimes there’d be a late night party but would just go and check things out just to be sure things weren’t getting out of hand, that no one was doing harm to the gravestones, or robbing the graves for that matter; otherwise she’d just leave the kids alone. The last week of October leading up to Halloween the cemetery hired some extra hands and even more so for Halloween night.
One day with a few hours to kill, Topaz or ‘Taz’ as she was called as a kid, starts to clean up the living space & start unpacking things. The downstairs having a living room, with a beautiful quite large Cherry wood fireplace, bookcase, and shelving & The kitchen, bathroom and one upstairs as well, along with 2 bedrooms. There was a small attic and the basement that was partially used for a tool shed (only the part leading from the outside cellar doors, otherwise there was a heavy solid door to get into the basement and unless one of the workers needed something, the cellar doors remained locked. There was an outside shed as well that held some of the power tools for Topaz to use around the house if needed, as well as grease, oil and so forth. Deciding to dust off the moldings, fireplace book cases and that type of stuff first as the tables, chairs etc were already taken care of before she arrived. Dusting off that beautiful cherry fireplace last with its detailed carvings, it was a work of great craftsmanship that you just can and probably will not find anymore. Topaz leaning near the fireplace, having a sip of water hears something click in the corner, near the inglenook; like a latch being let go, but can’t seem to find where it came from. She goes on dusting and coming back to the area a corner on the left side near the fireplace finds the corner edge looking like there’s a cracked open door. Topaz thinks, well at least it’s not the cliched bookcase doorway leading to something or the fireplace, doing a Scooby & going 180. The doorway does look somewhat like a lazy Suzan , and going to open to inspect it, find it does indeed open like one tall lazy Suzan pantry.
Going into the secret room, Topaz finds a huge web spread across the inside of the doorway, thanking that she was cleaning and had the broom with her. Removing the web, out of nowhere sees a black mass; a spider and a big nasty one headed at her face. Freaking out at the size of it, (looking more like a Halloween decoration than the size of the real life thing.) “What the,! Is this thing from the Jurassic age?!” and bats it away, preferring the bats. Seeing where it landed, near an old ornate desk in the middle of the room with what may very well be the first typewriter ever made.(or at least one of the first which on checking, was not but, was one from the mid -late 1800s ) Next to the typewriter is an oil lamp, and on the other side a set of reference books, dictionary, thesaurus, and a small encyclopedia set. Either the room is very dark, or it’s very large as the only thing that can be seen in the room is the desk, intimidating and alluring. Getting excited at the find, Topaz runs out and checks the time; 2pm, runs outside and looks to see if anyone is around….clear; the security screens in the home security office (there’s a little area in the living room near the door with a couple of security monitors) if there’s anyone around the rest of her section…clear. Perfect! ‘Taz’ grabs the rest of the cleaning supplies and the walkie-talkie. First dusting off the desk and realizing that it’s colder in here than the rest of the house; lights a fire then gets to polishing the desk. Lighting the oil lamp, which brings the room to life, sees the floor to ceiling book cases behind and matching the Oak wood desk. A large chest on one side of the room, and a Provincial Louis XIV arm chair she guessed for reading to one corner of the door with an ottoman. Once she was done dusting, polishing, & sweeping Topaz decided to look and see what was in the desk. Top drawer was Quills, fountain pens, a bottle of ink and pencils, & other assorted supplies and some typing and carbon paper. (Why are there Quills and fountain pens though. Will have to make note to research when one gave way to the other) The draw on the right… an (hopefully) endless supply of typing ribbon, the bottom drawer on the left, more paper and the draw above it finds a manuscript, no title, date or author noted, not even inside.