It’s been about three years since I traveled to Montauk Peninsula, and spent time with my friend Charlotte Demerayes. I wonder what she has been up to since our last visit.
It looks like not too much has changed, as far as I can see. The grounds of the estate are just as pristine, the walls surrounding the estate are still standing, as majestic. But, there is a difference here, um. I can’t put my finger on it, but something’s strange.
There’s Charlotte now.
Augie: Hey Charlotte.Charlotte: Hi, Augie.
Augie: How are things?
Charlotte: I’m good.
Augie: The last time I was here, I allowed you to run the interview. Why don’t you introduce yourself and take it from there. I will pop in and out, when I think of a question or two.
Charlotte: That works for me.
Augie: The sea sounds ominous today.
Charlotte: Yes, Augie the sea does sound a little angry. If you pull the curtain back, you can actually see the harbor in the distance. Okay, I think I’m ready. Let me see. I suppose I should introduce myself and then go from there.
Augie: I think that would be a great place to start
Charlotte: Here goes. My name is Charlotte. I am the only living child of Theis Veit-Standforte and Chevalier Georges Aethelbert Demerayes. We live in this mansion that has been in the Demerayes’ family for generations. My mother is called Mistress and father is Master of Fanaman. He is a land baron. I had a younger brother, but he died when we were children. No one speaks of Matthew. Actually, no one is allowed to say his name, or mention anything about him according to Mistress. Let me see, I am nearly twenty. I have never married, nor have I ever been betroth. According to Mistress, I am a disaster, a failure to all women and a failure to the Veit-Standforte’s name. You see women in this era were considered spinsters if they were not married or betroth by the age of sixteen. I am a little late. Mistress reminds me all the time that I am an embarrassment, I accept this. I wanted to be unconventional, you know never marry. Enjoy life. That was not to be. Mistress had other plans for me. To be honest she hates me.
Augie: Isn’t that a little harsh.
Charlotte: Oh no, Mistress does not allow me to go anywhere. You know Fanaman is cursed?
Augie: No, I did not know this.
Charlotte: Yep. Let me see. My life is centered between these walls. All I have learned about life was taught by Mary. She’s my favorite person. She’s also our maid. My dear old Alexander, I love him the best (besides Father). I call him Alexy. He’s Father’s manservant and Father’s boyhood friend. Mother has no friends. I call her Mistress, just like everyone else. Actually, she prefers that. She spends her time conjuring up spells and doing evil things to people and me. She never spends time with me, unless it is to ridicule me about one thing or another. I heard at one time she had a friend. But, she disappeared, like the things in the mansion.
Charlotte: Mother tells me that I am crazy. That I steal things. Actually, I think Mother is the one who takes things and blames it on me. Or, I could be crazy. Let me see. Oh yes. Mother hates Father. She is really mean to him. I suppose she is that way, because she was forced to marry him—some old tradition. Mother hates father, sorry I just told you that. Well, she hates her life at Fanaman. She hates the servants. She hates just about everything. Did I tell you that she sees ghosts?
Augie: Your mother saw more than one ghost? Where—here, I mean here at Fanaman?
Charlotte: Oh of course, here. I don’t believe in them. But, strange things do happen here. Like when my favorite doll was taken. There was a deathly fire in the conservatory and something held me down and tried to kill me—I was a child then. The disappearance of my friend, I called her the Lady in White. Let me think, oh yes. Mary heard something really weird in the plant room one night. I think it was the wind, but who knows. Whatever it was called her by name. There was an incident in the nursery. Something caused the rocking horse to move, but that only happened when Mother was there, alone. She could not escape from the room. The poison. A whole lot of history stuff. Anyway, a lot of things happened. But, I’m still here at Fanaman. It says if one leaves, they always come back. I suppose that sound you heard coming from the sea was the ghost of Mistress.
Augie: The what?
Charlotte: Oh, that’s something new. I didn’t tell you that there was a murder here, well two murders that I know of. I was sent to Spain as an indentured worker, by Mistress. I fell in love on the ship while traveling there. Oh, yeah there was a murder on the ship too. Wow. I forgot.
Augie: Will I be able to leave? Trust me I won’t be back.
Charlotte: Of course you can leave. It’s pretty dark outside.
Augie: You don’t sound so sure. What was that, over there? You see it? In the dark corner—whose that pointing at me?
Charlotte: Oh that. I don’t know. Mother always sees things in this room.
Augie: Well okay. I need to get out of here. So, Charlotte, when will your story be released.
Charlotte:: Oh, sometime by October of this year...I suppose. I’m not that worried. You’ll be here to keep me company.
Augie: No Charlotte, I’m leaving soon. As soon as the driver returns.
Charlotte: Oh, did you tell him to return?
Augie: No, you did. Didn’t you—I’ll just call.
Charlotte: I think the phone lines might me down, but I can check.
Augie: No bother, I’ll just walk. I need the exercise. The weather is not too bad here in August. Walking in the dark is better than staying another moment here.
Charlotte: Oh, okay if that is what you want to do. One of the men can drive you back to your hotel, if you want. Or, you can stay here tonight. I’m sure Mistress will mind, but father won’t. I never had a real friend close to my age.
Augie: That’s nice, um can you call one of the men, now. I think the interview is over. I need to clean up some of the questions, before I can post them.
Charlotte: Can I call you my friend?
Augie: Sure. Charlotte Demerayes, it has been a pleasure speaking with you. I am looking forward to your new release.. By the way what is the title?
Charlotte: Oh it’s Fanaman Curse.
Augie: Well alright. Hopefully someday, maybe soon or not, we all shall be able to read Fanaman Curse, starring Ms Charlotte Demerayes. Is there an address where readers might be able to contact you? What was that? Something just touched my face—like a kiss.
Charlotte: I’m just here at Fanaman. You know I've been thinking, Mistress is Fanaman and Fanaman is Mistress.
Augie: Are you giving me a trade secret
Charlotte: No, just an epiphany.
Augie: Thanks again for such an interesting interview. How soon did you say the car will be ready? Good bye for now (I hope)