Roseroot Rectory (Short Story)

What follows is text copied from a newspaper clipping, the article dated, May 10th, 1891.

My accursed stay at Roseroot Rectory

THIS REPORTER WAS surprised to discover a peculiar postcard following Easter Sunday’s edition of the Sentinel. The postcard read: ‘Mr and Mrs Dovecot cordially invite Michael Banks, chief reporter of the Sentinel, to stay one night at Roseroot Rectory, the most haunted rectory in England.’

With ‘Roseroot Rectory’ a faintly familiar term, a trip to the archives was the next line of enquiry. Indeed, reported in these pages, June 6th, 1881, a murder (fatal blow to the head) committed on Roseroot Rectory’s grounds. The female victim in question was never identified, the killer never apprehended. My curiosity roused, I arranged a stay at the rectory one week later.

I was greeted at Roseroot by the charming Mrs Dovecot. Whilst showing me around the grounds, Mrs Dovecot explained that Roseroot hadn’t actually housed a clergyman for some fifteen years. Mrs Dovecot and her husband now run Roseroot as an inn, its proximity to the River Trent, fishing rights and notoriety as a place of supernatural wonder ensuring ample custom.

‘The victim still haunts the house and gardens,’ Mrs Dovecot explained, when talk turned to the murder, ‘waiting for her killer to return.’ A tall-tale designed to amuse Roseroot’s guests? I couldn’t help but wonder.

After a fine trout supper taken with the other patrons, I retired to my room. Sometime around twelve o’clock, an unidentified voice disturbed me:  ‘They took it from a servant of the Lord,’ the strained voice seemed whisper, ‘silenced the daughter who knew …’

I must admit, dear readers, that I fled in fear before I could deduce the source of the words. ‘Unless you saw the vengeful lady herself,’ Mr Dovecot said, upon my rousing him, ‘no telling whether or not what you heard was her doing.’

As I sit writing this days later, I am still uncertain of what to think.

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