“I hate it when we have visitors.”
Elodie and Simon stood under the branches of a giant oak watching tourists traipsing through the grounds toward the creek. “It was father’s dream,” said Simon.
“Yes, well, in this case I feel he was misguided.” Elodie sunk to the ground and arranged the layers of her skirt around her. Simon sat as well and stretched out his long legs.
“You know as well as I do,” said Elodie, “that people couldn’t care less about the house. They all want to see where it happened. How many years have to pass before the story fades away?”
“It will never die,” said Simon tugging at the grass. “It’s become urban legend now. Whether the story was true or not.”
“Sometimes if you tell a story often enough it becomes true,” said Elodie. She turned her head toward Simon.
“Where would you live if you didn’t have to live here”? Simon lifted his chin and closed his eyes giving the question consideration. “I think I’d go to Canada,” he said.
“Why on earth for?” asked Elodie. “It’s freezing there.”
“I don’t know,” said Simon, shrugging his shoulders, “adventure? Where would you go?”
“I’d go to France,” sighed Elodie. “Not Paris. Maybe Provence.
I’d live in a stone house near a vineyard and take long romantic walks with my lover Pierre while we sipped wine made from our own grapes.” Simon laughed. “I envy you your vivid imagination.”
“It does help sometimes. Do you want to go closer?” Elodie asked. “Sure, why not,” replied Simon. They rose and went silently through the trees until they were within earshot of the tour group.
A small gathering stood around the guide in rapt attention. “He must be getting to the good part,” whispered Simon. Elodie smirked. They’d both heard the story hundreds of times.
“In the year 1912 the Patterson family inherited the main house from Joseph Patterson who was instrumental in bringing the Patterson Publishing Company to the area.
Joseph began the business as a small printing company that was housed in one of the outbuildings you see to the left of the main house. We’ll be touring those momentarily.
But before we do, I’d like to draw your attention to the creek that runs alongside the property.
Legend has it that Patterson’s eldest daughter fell in and was accidentally drowned and that if you were to lean over the edge and look into the water you may still see the dress she
was wearing float to the surface.” The guide paused for effect. “Does anyone wish to try?” he asked.
A couple of brave souls stepped forward to peer into the stream and looked up, relieved, when they saw nothing but the greenish water drifting along.
“It’s been said,” continued the guide that she walks the halls of the Patterson house and grounds looking for her family. Many people claimed to have seen her."
The crowd mumbled and shivered and looked over their shoulders in spite of themselves. The guide led the group up the incline toward the printing house.
Elodie and Simon stayed where they were and moved to the water’s edge. The little stream drifted along peacefully. “It doesn’t seem very dangerous, does it?” mused Elodie.
“No, not really,” agreed Simon. “But I hate it when they forget to tell the other part. How her brother tried to save her and drowned too.”
“They’ll remember next time,” said Elodie smiling gently. “Would it make you feel better to make an appearance?”
Simon nodded, grinning. “Attic stairs or cellar?” she asked.
“Cellar, I think. Might as well give the people their money’s worth.”