RayBradbury52SS52W Week 3 Jinx of Jade Drive

I have re-edited due to clarity issues in the first parts of the story. It has now been corrected.

September 1954

Gold, orange, reds, and green leaves blanket the trees as they change from summer to autumn in the blink of an eye. My big bag sways against my oversized teal sweatshirt and black capris. I take the morning paper off a stack of newspapers as I head to a diner for breakfast. I grab a seat near a windowsill full of orange mums. When I started flipping through the newspaper, my back went straight as a board, at attention. The Jenks manor, that’s what I heard everyone call it for years, the Jenks estate is up for sale, by chance, with no listing price, and it says first come first serve. I canceled my order and bolted out, heading back to my parent’s old house to call the number in the ad. I can convert it to a bed-and-breakfast if the place is in good shape, on the inside, at the very least. No one’s lived in it for so long, the outside looked as though bulldozers went for it. I head to the library afterwards, deciding to research every bit of information that I can find on the old place. I’ve heard so many family stories, which seem too outlandish and far-fetched to be believable. I’d been sitting in one position for too long, when I realized it’s four o’clock, and decided I’ve got enough research on the place and headed home on a leisurely stroll where I spent the rest of the night after dinner reading the notes thinking about all the old stories. I’m up before sunrise, preparing to see Jenks house. Admittingly I’m a little nervous after everything I’ve heard about the old Jinks Estate. The wrought-iron gate and all windows are un-boarded as I pull up to the mansion. But, the landscape is unkept with vegetation growing up the outside walls where it faded the dark maple door in the light of day. I knocked looking over the bronze lusterless alligator head as it bangs against the door. 

I’m met by a tall, slightly plump, short-haired brunette as it opens who ushers me in as I’m expecting the old manor to be filled with people who want the manor just the same. I’m surprised by the fact I’m the only visitor at all since they placed the ad. 

The agent hands me the key to let myself out as she goes and the door slams shut behind me. I start to wander around the place with a flier noting all the known rumors about the place. I wander around the livingroom imagining all of the parties that have taken place from the roaring twenties on. I looked over the flier again and noticed things that my family said happened here, actually did. I go and find the agent, letting her know how much I really wanted to buy the old place. But I didn’t have enough money yet to do it, needing to sell my parent’s old house and restaurant to get the money before I could move. Just my luck, she offers to help list both of them and that I should make enough to buy the old Jenks place. If, I can at least come out with half of it when selling them both. I excitedly took her to the house first to show her around. This lasted for at least two hours and then took her over to Brimstone Grove Bar ‘N’ Grill for another two-hour tour. They always said, if it ever got to be too much, I can sell it. Both of them knew how hard it is to keep up with a place like that, and now I do. I keep some trinkets from the old eatery the buyers aren’t interested in as I spend the next month packing. Both places sell in a little less than two weeks after I move into Jenks Manor. Luckily the furniture came in the deal since I kept so little of my parents’ things, after splitting up what my family did and didn’t want, I sold off the rest of it. October 29th, 1954. It’s a chilly, dreary day as I move in. I placed boxes in the right areas of the house exploring more thoroughly after the movers left.

 The furnishings appear like something out of the twenties, as I rip off the protective rusty yellow sheet off each piece. I head to another room that looks like the library out of the turn of the century. I’m working on placing books up on the shelves. When I hear what sounds like backfire or gunfire. Though I can’t see anything, it’s close enough that I can hear it loud and clear. I dropped all the books into a nearby chair, as I decided to go outside to investigate in the direction I thought the sound and smoke came from. I spotted something on fire off in the distance, but I can’t tell what it is, only that there’s a lot of smoke. 

However, by the time I reached the scene the smoke still billows in places. I didn’t see any other signs of the accident or what I thought was a crash site and searched to see if anybody was hurt. The smoke dissipates, as I take a deep breath and try to regain my bearings roaming around the enormous tree and beautiful wild tall flora. I figured it’s just a figment of my imagination. I decided to head back to the house to finish unpacking and explore the house as I try to forget what’s happened. I open the door and with one foot over the threshold, I feel a sense of uneasiness now, as if there’s something in the hallway with me. I step forward into the living room to discover there’s people who I don’t recognize sitting on the couch. They’re there, yet they aren’t, almost like a projection, who are in costume masks and dinner attire appearing to be from the early twenties with drinks in hand and banners on the fireplace mantle which reads…Happy Halloween. All but one person seems to be enjoying themselves who stands out like a sore thumb while trying to hide by fading behind into the hunter-green curtains. 

I see the gentleman notice where I stand and run off as he and the others fades away. Can he see me? I thought as shivers head down my spine. I close my eyes a moment repeating the mantra this isn’t real! This isn’t real, over and over again for several minutes until the tense shivers stop as my jaw and fists relax and the blood flow returns to my veiny pale hands after being tightly clenched. I turned around and headed to the downstairs powder room splashing cold, cold water on my face and neck and just as my eyes met the mirror image I glanced behind me noticing a bright flash in front of an old oil painting of Mr. Jenks. I jump back towards the door as everything on me tightens, frightened and in disbelief burst out of the powder room. I frantically look around as my pulse and heart’s pounding. I manage to regain my level head after a minute and go on with my day which remains quiet. By evening dinner I have only a few boxes left to unpack so I stop for the day. The sun rises through the dark wood panel windows. I must get curtains for this room, I thought to myself. I thought everything was just a figment of my imagination. I decided to forget about what happened. I make a plan for the day and head out to do a little shopping before the weather turns. I’m pulling up to the mansion a half an hour later, when I start noticing in the distance something odd coming from near the abandoned greenhouse. Instead of getting out of the car, I drove down to it over the grass. I see strange lights coming from not only the greenhouse, but as I’m approaching another place nearest to it there isn’t any building, only the collapsed remains of what once was a house. The odd scent of a strong phantom smell of gas where there is no building here anymore, so how can there be any smell? Before I finished, I thought it disappeared as fast as it appeared with another person, a phantom image came out of nowhere again.

 I walked around the area for several minutes as I tried to make sense of what I’ve seen. As I turned to leave a flash of light came from behind me like a fire’s broken out inside the old greenhouse. What on earth is going on? I shrieked as if someone was there with me. I stayed inside the rest of the day. Making every attempt to ignore anything strange that goes on from that point forward. October 30th, 1954. The morning begins calmly with anything odd and remains this way for most of the day. Until, early evening when I hear a woman’s scream coming from one of the upstairs rooms. I turn the crystal knob and peek through, afraid of what I may find. When I discover two apparitions on the bed. On one side a woman giving birth to a son and passing away afterward. An old man lying on the other side eating until he slumps over almost off the bed. Someone walks around from behind a divider screen to discover him. Then as quick as they appear vanish as a bolt of lightning flashes outside the window. Running to the window I witness someone being struck, collapsing to the ground. Then more strange imagery a second after this. Something falling from above, almost as if someone is on the roof. A voice now echoes in the gentle air from outside a blocked garage on the property nearby the house. 

I can’t see anything other than the imagery, apparitions whatever you want to call it. They’re frantic to get inside, and like the others have, it disappears as fast as it appears. Only the old butler returns a few minutes later, he stares at me with a solemn yet loving expression. His hazel eyes tear up as he sits down on the bed. Strangely enough, the man speaks, his voice sounds mechanical, echoed almost in nature. I collapse in an instant beside him onto the bed as he tells me his name. Cornelius Cartwright is⏤ my grandfather! They are all trapped inside the house from what I gather. 

One of the many incidents has trapped them between worlds. Grandpa thinks he knows which one and asks me to find his old diary and a photo album with a camera. When he notices the last two incidents haven’t played through.  He warns me I have until midnight on October 31st to find everything. As I look through them, and free everyone from the house. But he appears happy about it as it gives us time to get to know each other. You see grandpa Cornelius passed on before my birth. So I never got the chance to meet him. One of the many deaths happened by his hand. Cornelius wouldn’t tell me who, only that he grew tired of the humiliation and taunts by the nickname corny. Which may have triggered what Grandpa calls an endless loop in time. Only he thinks it’ll break if I find the diary and photos. How this will help I’m not sure. But regardless, agree to help start an immediate search for a way into the attic where an old chest is supposed to be. Grandpa Cornelius directs me to the door above in the hallway nearest Bertha’s room. It’s dark and full of dust flowing through the air and cobwebs galore jump every time I run into one. Grandpa Cornelius appears extending his pale bluish white hand. As he points to a golden pine chest with silver lock shines through the loop. Once he verifies this is the chest Grandpa guides me back down into the hallway, towards one of the beautiful redwood columns near the corner of the archway. There’s a strange-looking piece that seems out of place and doesn’t appear to fit correctly. I pull on it to check if it’s loose. It falls off onto the floor exposing a little box with coded paper. It’s the unlock code to the box my grandfather says. I place it on a nearby table as I glance at the code memorizing it. I Bent down to the eye level of the lock as I rotated each part as fast as I could, when I heard a click. It unlocked! Take a deep breath glancing over to Cornelius, I slowly open it to reveal a key. The box protected it from the looks of the sheen on the gold. Grandpa instructs me to wait until I come upon the photo albums, and directs me to where they think it is; but he’s forgotten most things by now. He floats back and forth through this life and the afterlife as I search every single room when I finally stumble upon them behind a panel in the in-wall bookcase. I browse through and don’t recognize most of the people in each of the photos, with only two or three having any semblance of familiarity. Grandpa helps me with that and asks me to open the diary. I do hope that it’s the key that opens it. I place it in the keyhole, close my eyes while praying and with a sound of clicking, the latch opens easily and I begin reading through, though some of the old entries seem pretty ambiguous at first. The normal rants a man working for anyone would say.

June 16th, 1895,

A child graces the home, a son they name Marion. Where there is joy there’s an unfortunate sorrow today. The mother, my beloved Phyllis I mean to say Mrs. Jenks has passed on after giving birth. How can she have stayed with such a wretch of a man? Could’ve made her happier even with my salary, I could have made her so much. I curse a man who cannot love! My heart is no more.The next diary entry another accident, this time involving Mr. Jenks parents. Though the entry doesn’t say how they died. Only that an accident happened.

October 31st 1920.

The most terrible thing happened today. Mr. Jenks’ parents perished. His parents were gone in an instant. Unfortunately, but at least it was an instant death when they crashed into that old giant tree. 

Grandpa indicates they died by…car accident. They had a car accident on the property. That is the image I viewed yesterday, now I’m starting to understand. 

Then a young woman appears, she’s in the water in the imagery before me. At first, I thought she’s swimming and maybe got caught in something in the water as she struggled to free herself. Then I see someone coming out of the water. I cannot see who they are. Least at first, and I’m shocked by what I know now. It is Bertha! The next picture appears to be Uncle Leonard; he’s in the greenhouse. So, Leonard’s the one who dies in the greenhouse. That is who I saw in the apparition fire. This image alarms me even more. Uncle Phil is on the roof of the old mansion. It is twenty minutes until midnight now on October 31st. The last of the family is being set free as the last images and diary entries read. the last incident and a confession. Grandpa’s confession to it all. It seems grandpa’s known since the Jinx of Jade Drive ever since the first deed. Nobody ever caught on that he had done something to them all except of course the woman he loved. Their son lived on after Cornelius passed. They left the house as is while mom and him live just a few miles from here. Where it sits all empty except for all the past that haunted this old place. Until I arrived and helped grandpa set himself free from the guilty anguish. As we free the family members from the eternal repetition and literal hell of his crimes. Grandpa is the last to leave, fading back to where he should be now. Peace washes over the house just after midnight. Grandpa and the others were never seen again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s