Under Lock and Key | Teen Ink

Under Lock and Key

May 28, 2011
By foreverinlight, leominster, Massachusetts
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foreverinlight, Leominster, Massachusetts
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Melody Elenor Griffin seemed to have everything a young woman in 1990s could ever want, her life was the envy many. Melody was beautiful, talented, artistic, and most of all, she came from an upper class family who absolutely adored her. And yet, in melody's eyes, her life was secretly far from perfect, past secrets that lurked around would soon bring about this family's dreadful fate.

Melody Griffin still questions the mysterious dissapearance of her parents that happened a year ago on her 21st birthday. Uneasy and with more questions than answers she becomes desperate for some truth. She has been investigating for over a year now, and yet her only discovery has been, both frightening and inconclusive, no records are found that tie her to the Griffin name. This leaves her confused, and with that Melody opts for her own private investigation, she searches her home for clues, and what she finds is a torn letter dating back to her last birthday, the day that began this turmoil, but it's been months since her findings. Melody is simply too afraid to re-read what now seems ancient, yet there's no need, for she can still remember every last word.

Dear Melody,

"First and foremost Happy Birthday my sweet child, although today you become indeed a woman, let this also be the day you learn the truth. Your father and I have been.."
Yes those words, her mother's handwriting, all bring back memories of the family she once had. And yet it's not so much what the letter said, it's what it may have said. Secrets are buried with secrets, and Melody knew that someday these would surface, and it seems that her parents were finally ready to tell her the truth, yet never quite got there. But that's not what has Melody now shaking, it was what she recieved 3 months afterwards. A letter with a strange address inside, from a stranger, signed with the initials H.H.

After months of self-convincing Melody disregards her fears and arrives at her destination at noon, on a chilly winter day. She'd somehow never heard of Coldcreek, Virginia before, and now she can see why. It's a ghost town, deserted, only one address still remains, Harpshire mansion. It's beautiful, grand, it's 18th century architecture is one the finest Melody has ever seen. It's stone walls and big windows make it seem like a home fit for royalty, if only it didn't look so...dead. There's vines crawling up to the roof, the windows are filthy and there's a light, strange and eerie emanating from what seems to be an upstairs bedroom. Also the whole place is sourrounded by odd looking statues that almost seem to be weeping..?. As Melody stands before the large entryway and begins to knock on the old lion knocker, she feels a chill, but no answer. She knocks again and this time, she hears a creak on the door which suddently bursts open.

Melody steps in and is greeted by a tall, lanky man in a butler uniform. He calls himself Randolph, and though he seems polite, his pale skin and saggy appearance makes him seem quite cryptic. Randolph mentions that his master has been awaiting Melody's arrival which is quite puzzling, considering the fact that Melody didn't inform H.H when she would arrive, or if she would arrive. She is seated by a fireplace in a large parlor and is given instructions to remain there until the master is ready to see her. Melody takes in the room, it's large in size, cozy even, with a huge collection of books. She fantasizes what it would be like to live in such a place, well as they say, "Be careful what you wish for"...

Suddently a dark figure appears by the doorway, a distant voice calls her. Melody quickly walks over and is greeted, this time by a large, white haired man with a mustache. He introduces himself as Harold Harpshire, the son of Brutus Harpshire who built this magnificent mansion. Harold is the one who sent Melody the letter after hearing the news of the dissapearance of her parents. It appears Harold was an old, distant family friend, although Melody had never heard of him. He takes Melody to his study where he further expresses his sorow for the absence of her parents and offers her to stay at Harpshire Mansion for a while as his duty to his old friends. Melody is taken by surprise at the offer but despite the ache in her stomach, she accepts.

Melody wakes up feeling refreshed in an unfamiliar bedroom, then she remembers where she is. She was offered one of Harpshire Mansion's best rooms last night upon her arrival. The bedroom itself is pretty, a victorian era canopy bed, a matching dresser, two large, paneled windows with lace curtians all embellish the room. There's also a small, one drawer side table with a lamp. Melody catches a small scent of rose coming from the single drawer and quickly opens it. There she finds a key and a dust covered half-torn photo of a small child wearing a long pink dress. She doesnt think much of it but still quietly slips the key into her jean side pocket, which she then realizes she is still wearing from last night. After a quick bath she decides to go downstairs and and explore the rest of the mansion, to become more familiar with what she will now call home.
The house is quiet, she hears the faint squeaking of what is probably mice in the darkened hallway. She sees a door to what she discovers is the library and once inside she hears the muffled cough of someone but when she turns around, there is nobody there. Her heart skips a beat and frightened, she quickly speeds off to what she remembers is the kitchen. Somehow, unintentionally she makes out what seems like a small doorway hidden behind a kitchen shelving unit. She pushes the shelves out of the way and tries to jiggle the knob. No luck, the door is firmly locked, then Melody remembers the key she found, which is still in her pocket. She digs for it and takes it out but before she can use it she is startled by the voice of Randolph, the butler.

In a toneless voice Randolph asks her what she is doing but before Melody can answer he pushes the shelving unit back in place and says " Miss Griffin,..you know, you shouldn't be here, the kitchen is no place for a young lady like you. Who knows.. what things.. may lie in the crevices of this old place." Best not keep the master waiting, he is outside in the garden, you should go now". Before he exits he gives her an out of place stare but in a second, it's gone and he exits the kitchen leaving Melody's heart racing. She clutches the key which is still in her hand and drops it back in her pocket before heading out to meet Harold. She tries to shake off the feeling of suspicion given by Randolph's action and somehow she knows there must be something important behind the door, that is kept after all under lock and key. After meeting Harold in the garden, complete with intricate maze and dazzling fountains, she heads back inside and notices what must be the conservatory.

Inside the conservatory she brushes through what seems like hundreds of thousands of plants before sitting down on a glass, mosaic table where she finds a newspaper with some scribbles and notes on a page, intrigued she reads the article. She is taken aback by it, it's an article about the dissapearance of her parents, the scribbles are numbers, and Melody's name is circled in red letters. Melody rushes out of the conservatory and into her bedroom where she shuts the door and locks herself in. She begins to think about what all this could mean, and suddently remembers the photo that is still inside the drawer by her bedside table. She rumages through the dust and retrieves it. Melody looks closely at the child in the picture then remembers the dress in the photo. It's an old dress she once found while searching her family's attic. Her mother said it belonged to Melody when she was younger but she thought it was ugly and boxed it up.

Suddently Melody's mind began to race, why would there be a picture of her in a place she'd never been? And what is hidden behind the doorway in the kitchen? Why did old Harold Harpshire invite Melody into his home if he was only a distant family friend? Quickly, Melody hears voices coming from down the hall. She unlocks her door and heads fast downstairs to the kitchen. There she maneuveres the key in her shaking hands and hears a click. She swings the door open and finds a bone-chilling discovery...

The Scent of the room is foul and stomach churning. Her stomach drops as she makes out what seem to be 2 skeletons hand in hand alongside a torn piece of paper - documentations for adoption! Melody's whole body begins to shake and at the same time old Harold Harpshire stands by the doorway! This time his face changed, terror and anger crossed his face. His usual serene complexion now mimicks years of age, wrinkles, and frown lines, as he savagely takes Melody by the arm! Melody covers her mouth trying not to scream and tries to get away from him! She runs to the front door but Randolph blocks the way. He and Harold forcefully take her back to the kitchen and lock her up in the hidden room. Melody cannot hold back her screams this time, she tries over and over to open the door! She screams and pleads desperately for help, no answer..

Melody tried hard to imagine she was elsewhere, but she feared what she knew was the truth. Those skeletons must have been Dorothy and Mark Griffin, her lost parents. They had been there all along, beside them layed another piece of torn paper. The 2nd half of the letter she had found at her old house, the one that read "let this be the day you learn the truth"... She read what it said, choking back tears...
"your father and I have been..... trying to talk our way out of what we are about to tell you, but despite what he thinks, we feel you should learn the truth, a truth you should have learned about a long time ago. Melody Griffin is not your actual name. We adopted you from a terrible, despicable man named Harold S. Harpshire when you were a baby. We took you in after he could no longer bear to keep sane, that is an understatement of course. Harold Harpshire is an evil man, he had an affair with a servant and when his wife, Mrs. Harpshire found out, he..murdered her. The police said it was an accident, that she hung herself, but we all know nothing is what it seems. After that, he agreed he couldnt take you, but that he would only give you to us if we swore never to give you this letter. I hope this clarifies what you had been questioning all these years. Im sorry, we should have told you, but I must have you read this letter, for he tries to contact you on your birthday every year and we fear he suspects we are up to something . Once again, never forget that we are your parents, we love you, and we hope this letter doesnt change that. Please forgive us, we felt it was best, but now we know we were wrong to keep the truth from you. We hope if you are reading this that it is not too late, but who knows, fate has it's ways.. Happy Birthday my sweet, we adore you and wish you well despite our fear of losing you, we hope you always keep us in your heart.
- Love you always, Mom and Dad"
At last Melody knew this was it, no escape, nobody to hear her screams, after all, Coldcreek Virginia was a ghost town. There were no neighboring houses, nothing but vast, empty land, and only one place still stood, Harpshire Mansion. And yes, she at last knew the truth as well as her sad fate. She too would be part of the Harpshire tragedy, little would she have ever thought that her life depended on secrets. That's when she realized, some secrets are best kept under lock and key.

~TGThe Scent of the room is foul and stomach churning. Her stomach drops as she makes out what seem to be 2 skeletons hand in hand alongside a torn piece of paper - documentations for adoption! Melody's whole body begins to shake and at the same time old Harold Harpshire stands by the doorway! This time his face changed, terror and anger crossed his face. His usual serene complexion now mimicks years of age, wrinkles, and frown lines, as he savagely takes Melody by the arm! Melody covers her mouth trying not to scream and tries to get away from him! She runs to the front door but Randolph blocks the way. He and Harold forcefully take her back to the kitchen and lock her up in the hidden room. Melody cannot hold back her screams this time, she tries over and over to open the door! She screams and pleads desperately for help, no answer..

Melody tried hard to imagine she was elsewhere, but she feared what she knew was the truth. Those skeletons must have been Dorothy and Mark Griffin, her lost parents. They had been there all along, beside them layed another piece of torn paper. The 2nd half of the letter she had found at her old house, the one that read "let this be the day you learn the truth"... She read what it said, choking back tears...
"your father and I have been..... trying to talk our way out of what we are about to tell you, but despite what he thinks, we feel you should learn the truth, a truth you should have learned about a long time ago. Melody Griffin is not your actual name. We adopted you from a terrible, despicable man named Harold S. Harpshire when you were a baby. We took you in after he could no longer bear to keep sane, that is an understatement of course. Harold Harpshire is an evil man, he had an affair with a servant and when his wife, Mrs. Harpshire found out, he..murdered her. The police said it was an accident, that she hung herself, but we all know nothing is what it seems. After that, he agreed he couldnt take you, but that he would only give you to us if we swore never to give you this letter. I hope this clarifies what you had been questioning all these years. Im sorry, we should have told you, but I must have you read this letter, for he tries to contact you on your birthday every year and we fear he suspects we are up to something . Once again, never forget that we are your parents, we love you, and we hope this letter doesnt change that. Please forgive us, we felt it was best, but now we know we were wrong to keep the truth from you. We hope if you are reading this that it is not too late, but who knows, fate has it's ways.. Happy Birthday my sweet, we adore you and wish you well despite our fear of losing you, we hope you always keep us in your heart.
- Love you always, Mom and Dad"
At last Melody knew this was it, no escape, nobody to hear her screams, after all, Coldcreek Virginia was a ghost town. There were no neighboring houses, nothing but vast, empty land, and only one place still stood, Harpshire Mansion. And yes, she at last knew the truth as well as her sad fate. She too would be part of the Harpshire tragedy, little would she have ever thought that her life depended on secrets. That's when she realized, some secrets are best kept under lock and key.

~THE END~



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