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Mansion In The Woods

by  aj Lombardi 

Copyright © 2023 All rights reserved

The beginning of a thrilling mystery investigation taken from the files of special agent J. Alan Velbrin.


Mystery surrounds the abandoned mansion and the dark family secrets that will unfold in this ongoing investigation of 

“The Side Door”


No One Lives Here

 I opened the creaking, rusted iron gate that led into the backyard. The statue-lined backyard and pool were in a sad state of disrepair. Apart from some general debris lying in the waterless pool, there appeared to be what looked like an old-style broken wooden wheelchair. Weed-infested gardens and wild ivory grew up the mansion’s walls, encroaching on the roof. Like a classic book with yellow pages and missing pages or an abandoned puppy without love, this property sadly said, "No one lives here anymore." 

 Needless to say, this once grand property must have been a gem in the heydays of the roaring twenties and beyond. I noticed that the side door of the abandoned mansion looked slightly ajar. I approached with caution. Releasing the safety on my Baretta handgun, it was time to enter and perform my duties. The only sound I heard was the eerie movement of the wind flapping a curtain within one of the darkened rooms. A sudden crash of what sounded like glass or a lamp hitting the floor sent shivers throughout my body! To my relief, the sound of a flapping bird veering from room to room was the cause. I entered the main foyer with Baretta raised. My pace was slow and sure, not wishing to make my presence known to anyone who may be hiding within the premises. Aside from the sound of curtains flapping against broken windows, the only other sound I heard was the creaking of the wooden stairway as I ascended to the second floor.

 I continued to ascend the grand stairway with my Baretta raised above my right shoulder. Each time my shoes touched a step, I could hear the movement of someone else walking as if in unison with me. Upon reaching the top of the stairway, I moved in the direction of a room to my left. As I lightly kicked open the door with my foot, I felt a bang on my head and fell to the floor. My hand hit the floor, causing my gun to become loose from my grip and slide away. I went into semi-consciousness. Before falling into total unconsciousness, I could hear what sounded like someone walking about the room. The slow, rhythmic walk sounded as if someone was shuffling with a limp. I continued to drift in and out of unconsciousness for the rest of the evening.

 Every now and then, the faint sounds of rain dripping through leaks in the roof grew louder and louder. I found myself lying on my back and unable to move. Small drips of water began dripping on my forehead. The methodical drips came from a leak in the ceiling next to a large chandelier. “At that point, I fell into a state of total unconsciousness!” Upon waking in the morning, I could feel the presence of someone staring at me. Much to my surprise, it was a stray cat sitting and motionlessly staring at me from about one foot away. I felt a bit of relief that my handgun was still lying on the floor about five feet from my position on the floor. A burst of sunlight broke through a large window, and after a silent prayer, I was able to get up and leave the premises. "What did I get myself involved with?" My investigative instincts sent a red flag that there was much more involved in this case than I expected!   


Personal Insight

 Before going forward with this ongoing investigation, I feel that it is fair and proper to provide those who are continuing with this story with the following…

​ ​ My name is J. Alan Velbrin, and I am a seasoned private investigator specializing in unsolved cases. About a week before I decided to take this case, a package was delivered to my office by a Canadian postmark. It contained the following: "Twelve one-hundred-dollar bills and a handwritten letter. The bills were in perfect condition as if they had never been used, but they predated 1948.

​ Mr. Velbrin, 

 I have followed your career and am very impressed with your success rate in solving some very difficult cases that most seasoned investigators would shy away from. Whether you decide to take this case or not, the money within the envelope will remain yours. I hope that you will understand that I am a serious person who will not waste your time.  Your job is simply to go to the property address I have provided you and check in on it every week. The property has been in my family for generations. I want to be assured that it does not become occupied by vagrants or those who wish to take illegal residence there. I realize that the property may be in a certain state of disrepair, but please do not let this sway you from taking the case.

 I would ask that you provide me with a weekly report. A family graveyard can be found deep in the backyard wooded area. Please place your report under the fallen gravestone marked "Devons." Please do not concern yourself with trying to locate me to speak to me directly. For the present time, I wish to remain anonymous. If you make any attempt to search me out, it will lead to the end of our agreement. Perhaps when the time is right, we will meet face-to-face.

 P.S. Please note that this job does come with danger attached, and I will have complete understanding if you decide to pass on my offer.

 After reading the letter, I pondered the handwritten words very carefully. “Without question, it was an odd case!” For the most part, paying clients prefer to speak face-to-face. Aside from that, they usually don’t hand out envelopes with over a thousand dollars to someone they have never met. “Furthermore, what could the connection be between someone from  Canadian and an abandoned mansion in Georgia?” Before I made my decision as to whether to go forward with the case or not, I had several factors to consider.  Being hit over the head on my first day on the job was not a good sign. However, on the bright side, I did have twelve one-hundred-dollar bills in my hand and a promise that they would keep coming as long as I was on the case. Without further thought, I decided to take the case. That evening, I typed up my report as to what transpired, as written in Chapter I. The next morning, I arrived at the property and proceeded to the family graveyard in the wooded area. I eventually found the headstone marked "Devons" lying flat next to a very large upright grave marker. Before leaving, I decided to have a look around the family plots and take down some names of the deceased, as well as their dates of birth and passing. This is indeed a strange case and one that now has my full attention!



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