Chapter Two: The False Belief
As Bella was drawn to his side, he reached behind her and pulled the large heavy doors closed by a latch. Then a click reverberated from wall to wall in the enormous place.
The sound to Bella, seemed to worsen her fear of the estate and a foreboding sensation of being trapped permeated all around and loomed over her like a shadow.
Mr. Arosandro pulled her along, going through the grand foyer without delay. Bella found it strange he was so silent but moved with such dignity; she felt it was just his way.
He seemed to wish nothing more but to get his job over with and get her to her destination right way.
The sound of Bella's sneakers squeaking on the marble polished floor resounded over and over as she was led on.
Just over the vast staircase was the biggest candle chandelier Bella had ever seen.
She trailed behind her forlorn guide and tilted her head up to look at the candle flames dance to and fro on their wicks.
When they came to the landing, he took a three-candle candelabra from the table and led Bella down a dark hall.
Her guide was eerily silent as he gracefully walked ahead, not making a sound by movement or speech.
Bella seemed noisy and a bit out of place in this ancient house. She made a racket with every movement and tripped over a table leg as she turned a corner too sharply. Mr.
Arosandro turned halfway around and gazed at her over his shoulder waiting for her to recover and catch up.
Bella had a daunting feeling invisible eyes watched her every move and it was obvious she was truly out of her element. She stuck out like a sore thumb here.
This place was meant for royalty and she was seriously lacking in grace and style to be considered a part of such surroundings. Her guide however seemed to blend right in, unsurprisingly.
The next hall was the gallery. As Bella observed the paintings, she had another sensation of being watched and it intensified with every step.
The paintings reacted differently in the candlelight and they seemed to come alive in the dancing dim glowing light.
It appeared to her their eyes followed her as they looked down on her with their grave expressionless and empty stares.
She came to an interesting painting in particular and stared until she felt a presence next to her.
"Ah, you come to the painting of my ancestors. They were great men of means and built this place when the new world was colonized in this area around the mid-eighteen hundred.
They came from Italy and brought many servants and then their wives once this place was built and ready for them," he explained.
"That tall one looks like you, it's uncanny."
"Yes, we have a strong blood line I think," Mr. Arosandro said with a hint of a chuckle.
Bella gulped and looked around. "Um we?" She asked as if she half expected for someone to step out of the shadows to join them.
Mr. Arosandro nodded, and said, "Yes my brothers and I. But you will not see them now, they have other business."
Bella turned to look at the painting to see the other brothers. The raven-haired man in the middle smiled in an almost adoring way. The blonde on the right, smirked rather than smiled.
He did it in an almost challenging manner. She had to force herself to look away. This painting too, drew her in and seemed to capture her attention most unwillingly.
Mr Arosandro cleared his throat as she inched to the side to move on, then finally caught up with him as her carried the light down father away.
Bella half jogged and half dashed to catch up and slowed down skidding to a more normal pace at his side.
She was clearly flustered as he moved on without her and she realized she had never been this jittery before.
He was her only anchor now in this unearthly place to keep her from giving into her imaginations and his presence almost calmed her completely.
She knew one thing; she had no wish to be left alone in here.
Along the way he showed her the study, nothing remarkable just a lot of desks and an old fireplace. The parlor, music room and library they passed quickly.
He turned down another lengthy hallway as he spoke. "I wish to show you now to the room where you will be staying," he mumbled to her.
Bella of course felt she could not back down even if she felt the place was more than intimidating. "Let us hurry then. I wish to get there and settle in for the night.
" Bella said as her eyes darted about nervously to every shadow and noise in the vast hallway.
The clock ticked with succession as she glanced at a sudden shadow that blocked out the light of the eastern window and it made her reach for her guide's arm and she found him understanding
as he placed a reassuring hand over hers then continued on.
They went deeper still as he gracefully; almost glided at her side. She moved fast to keep up with his stride. Mr.
Arosandro suddenly stopped at the double doors and Bella was not ready for it and moved passed him. Not seeing him pause, he grabbed her arm as she moved ahead then brought her back to his side.
"Oh, sorry," She said as he searched for something.
Mr. Arosandro produced a ring full of keys from his pocket and turned it in the lock. It clicked and he opened the door and led her in.
He waited for her patiently as she walked over to her rather large bed and laid her things on it, then returned to him.
Mr. Arosandro motioned her to join him by the fireplace and sat on the chair opposite of hers. Bella faced him and felt it was time she spoke of the things that brought her here.
"I can assure you it will take a real ghost to frighten me." Bella stood up again and looked at him and she put her hand on the mantle.
"It's of your own choosing, my dear. I think though, you are more afraid of more than just ghost in the halls, am I right?" He stated simply.
"I'm seventeen years old and I never seen a ghost in all my life and no, I don't believe I am frightened." Bella said with confidence rising.
The tall man sat staring hard into the fire; his eyes wide open.
"Yes, my dear, in those short-lived seventeen years, you never seen the likes of this house, I'd bet," he paused and looked up at her.
"So young you are and still have so much to see for your age," he said seriously.
Bella stared at him intensely as he spoke and watched him sigh.
"Yes, and many things to experience and sorrow for as well."
Bella half suspected Mr Arosandro was trying to enhance the spiritual terrors of the house by his droning sad voice and superior wisdom.
"Well, if I see anything supernatural tonight, then I will soon be at least half as wise as you. Besides, I have come here with an open mind and a free heart," she said smiling at him.
"Yes, we shall see," he said locking eyes with her for a time causing her to drop her smiles as she stared into his expressionless face.
Bella tore her gaze from the caretaker's and looked around the room. The fire light appeared to fail to pierce the darkness that lay around its short reach.
The vastness of the room was shrouded in deep mystery to what lay beyond her small circle of light and she did not like it.
Bella walked over to the table by the caretaker and took the candle stick. She was resolved to check the room systematically and started to look at every inch at once.
She was determined to debunk any overly dramatic ideas.
Bella briskly walked to the doors and made sure they were locked. After satisfied that it was just the caretaker and her in the room, she began walking around the room investigating everything.
She peered around each piece of furniture, tucking up the skits of her bed finding nothing out of the ordinary.
Bella stood up and opened the curtains wide, nothing hiding in there. She went over near the windows and made sure, after she looked out into the dark night, the shutters were shut and secure.
She made her way to dispel anymore doubt that her room was occupied by something not seen by her yet.
The two large mirrors in the room had sconces that held candles and, on the mantle, more held by candle sticks.
All these Bella went to and lit one by one with her own.
She joined the caretaker again by the fire and sat in the armchair again,
satisfied with her surroundings and illumination but still found the shadows and darkness of the place and its perfect stillness too stimulating for her imagination.
The echoing: crackling of the fire consuming the logs was no real comfort to her as they would have been anywhere else. Mr.
Arosandro just sat still and watchful as she did her investigating earlier.
He looked up now and settled his sad; disturbing eyes on hers as she fidgeted in her seat and played with the fabric hem of her shirt with her fingers.
Mr. Arosandro? Are you staying in the house tonight as well?" Bella asked to get the task of the conversation out of the way before she is left on her own.
"You are mistaken, young woman. I am not Mr. Arosandro." He said as a matter of factually.
"What?! Well who are you then?" Bella asked with growing alarm. When he did not answer right away Bella continued. "You really are not Mr.
Arosandro, the man I arranged with to come here this afternoon," no answer, "then who are you?" She demanded.
Bella watched in growing horror as he stared silently, boring those strange terrible eyes into hers.