The Mystery of the Stain

“I see that stain is still there.” Dave Peterson said to his father-in-law, Terome Lancaster, referring to the ominous dark stain on the wooden floor of the Lancaster’s library.

“It is, yes.” Terome said. “I’ve given up trying to remove it. It’s probably going to stay there forever.”

The stain had been there when the Lancaster’s first bought the moated Manor House near King’s Lynn. Terome had spend years trying to remove the stain, but eventually decided to give up and accept the fact that it was going to be there for as long as he and his wife stayed in the house.

“Did you ever find out what it is?” Dave said.

“No. Clearly whatever it is cannot be removed easily.” Terome said.

“Perhaps it is the blood of someone who was murdered?” Dave’s eight year old son Will said.

“Don’t be ridiculous, that only happens in Agatha Christie novels.” Will’s unusually intelligent ten-year-old sister Eleanor said.

“I suppose I did wonder whether it was blood, but I doubt it.” Terome said. “If a murder happened here, I would know about it.”

“Did you not whip out an Ouija Board and ask whoever lives here?” Dave said to Terome half facetiously.

Terome just stared at Dave. He knew Dave disapproved of his Spiritualism, but didn’t think he would tease him for it.

“As it happens, no I didn’t.” Terome said. “I prefer to contact people who I knew personally.”

“So you never even considered it?” Sarah, Dave’s wife asked.

“No.” Terome said. “I don’t even know if this house is haunted.”

“Yet you’ve contacted your parents?” Dave said.

“Yes. You can contact anyone. They don’t have to actually be present in the building the seance is being held.” Terome said.

“Hmm. Interesting.” Dave said.

There was an awkward silence, then Dave and Terome sat down in their respective armchairs.

“It seems where was a murder in this area, dear.” Terome’s wife Esmeralda said, reading an ancient text that had been on a shelf gathering dust since the Lancaster’s bought the house. “In the 15th Century.”

“See? I knew it!” Will said.

“That doesn’t mean anything.” Eleanor said. “Just because a murder happened in the area doesn’t mean it happened literally in this room.”

“Although it does seem the Lord of the manor was responsible.” Esmeralda said. “He murdered a teacher who was renting one of his properties who didn’t pay the rent on time.”

“He murdered him instead of simply evicting him?” Sarah said. “Bit extreme isn’t it?”

“It may have been a mercy killing. The streets are no place for a man.” Terome said.

“But anyway, even if that did happen, did it happen in this library, and is that stain the blood of the unlucky teacher?” Dave said.

“Unfortunately it does not say.” Esmeralda said. “It may be a coincidence.”

“The teacher may not have needed to be murdered here for that to be his blood.” Will said. “The body may have been dragged here.”

“What would the point of that be?” Eleanor said.

“Dunno. Convenient place to hide the body?” Will said.

Eleanor just sighed and rolled her eyes. She didn’t argue with her brother, mainly because she knew it would be a waste of time.

“If the body had been dragged, then there would be blood elsewhere.” Dave said. “There isn’t, so it seems more likely that the blood may have dripped from the Lord’s hands after returning home.”

“I think you’re all quite forgetting this this used to be a farm.” Terome said. “It may simply be blood from an animal that had been slaughtered.”

“In the library?” Dave asked.

Terome sighed. “No.”

“It may not be blood at all.” Sarah said. “It could be something else, like treacle.”

“I guess we may never know.” Esmeralda said, resuming reading the massive book in front of her.

The Peterson’s and the Lancaster’s sat in silence for a moment, before Will broke it.

“Are you sure we couldn’t have a seance and see what happens? It may be quite exciting?”

“Well, if you’re interested, perhaps we could.” Terome said.

“No, we are not.” Dave said. “I don’t want you getting any ideas.”

“Ok.” Will said, slightly disappointed.

“Just because you’re not interested in Spiritualism doesn’t mean your son should not get involved.” Terome said.

“My son, my rules.” Dave said.

“Fine. Be like that.” Terome said.

“Ok, then.” Dave responded.

And with that, the Peterson’s and the Lancaster’s sat in the library in silence, and the stain on the floor remained a mystery.

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