Notes on the Madigan Estate

GUESTROOM I

5/19/2020

 

And there it is. Presumably Hazel’s last written words before her death. There is no salutation or name of address on this letter. Presumably it’s written to Castile Madigan, but that’s only speculation on my part.

 

I feel … watched. Or maybe I feel seen. Strange to have my own feelings put into words by someone who died more than a hundred years ago. I don’t think I like it.

 

That was the last document in the box. There were a few items tucked inside as well (in addition to the, uh, hair). I’m going to go up and search the bedroom again, see if there’s anything I missed or see if I can figure out whose bedroom it was.

 

I know it’s only psychological, but I could swear I smell the sea.

 

Regarding the second-floor bedroom down the slanted hallway, third door on the left and two turns right from the grand staircase.

 

Whose room was this? Everything about Hazel Lawley was gathered and shut in a box I found under the bed in this room. The bedroom isn’t elaborate enough to have belonged to one of the Madigans, but I don’t think it would have been a servant’s room either, because as far as I know they all slept beneath the ground floor, in the manor’s expansive basement.

 

A guest room, then? Or maybe it belonged to a very high-ranking servant. Or maybe it doesn’t matter whose room it was, and someone just picked a totally random place to hide this damning box of documents.

 

It doesn’t help that this room is close to a site of structural collapse on the western side of the house. I’m actually a little nervous putting my weight on the floor here. Every step I take makes the timbers creak like -

 

No way.

 

This is where I heard it. The footsteps the other day were coming from upstairs and if I picture the floorplan in my head, I think I’m right over the winter garden.

 

Was this box even here before then? Did he - did they - did whatever it was put it here for me to find? The other day I would have said I’m being paranoid and stupid. Now I feel like I should at least consider the possibility.

 

Something is going on here, something really really strange, and it has something to do with Hazel Lawley.

 

God, this house is a wreck. The air is choked with dust and mold and damp. The woods have half-reclaimed the house. There are roots running under the tiles of the winter garden and branches protruding through most of the windows I’ve passed up to the third floor. I put off coming upstairs because every step I take makes me feel like I’m going to fall straight through the floor.

 

I’m sitting on a carpet so worn and faded with age that it’s almost become part of the floorboards. It’s sunny today. Gentle. Too warm for a sweater (not that I’m ever wearing that sweater again - sorry, Bri).

 

As ever, the woods outside are quiet.

 

I wish there was more here. There are little bits here and there, scattered documents and little items and pieces of overturned, rotting furniture, but it’s all so covered in dust and plaster and dead leaves that it feels

 

Like it’s sleeping.

 

That’s how it feels. Like I’m wandering around inside something huge and alive and slumbering, and if I make too much noise, if I dig too deep it will wake up and swallow me.

 

Or maybe it already has swallowed me, and by keeping quiet I’m only making myself easier to digest.

 

I need to get back to the motel. Email Quinn. I need every scrap of info that ever existed about Hazel Lawley and her family.