The Manor Houseprompt by @zeldacroft
“I can’t believe we’re here!” Clara gushed, gazing at the manor house. Its front steps were preceded by carefully-laid stone, centered around a magnificent fountain. Tourists bustled around eagerly with their cameras and visitor pamphlets as the two sisters joined them.
“It says here that tours start every hour in the Grand Gallery,” said Kelly, holding up the guidebook. Clara was too busy admiring the variety of flowers that adorned the area, from the climbing vines near the elegant windows to the lush bushes around the stone path. So Kelly went back to her reading, but with a smile. It was nice to see that the manor was already living up to Clara’s expectations.
After a brief distraction by a duck swimming in the fountain, the sisters quickly made their way inside. As they mounted the marble stairs, Clara’s excitement became tangible, an emanation of joy that merged with the curiosity of the other tourists.
... And my ending starts from here.
The Great Gallery had recently been restored. It was very well lit despite the little light that entered through the windows, thanks to discreet lamps arranged at the edges of the wall, these luminaires had been placed in such a way that it seemed as if they had always been there and were part of the place.
There was the main hall, with the most emblematic works of the manor house and around it, they had arranged the minor works forming a kind of corridors. Landscapes, Portraits, Angels; Beautiful and varied paintings adorned the walls of the Great Gallery.
Clara was excited, she ran from one side to the other looking here and there, she looked like a hummingbird that went from flower to flower trying to decide which one to collect the nectar from. Kelly, on the other hand, carefully contemplated each of the paintings trying not to lose any detail, constantly looking for the reference in the guide to complement his observation.
The two girls met again in one of the corridors, their glances coincided in the portrait of a young man with emerald green eyes and long black hair, he was dressed elegantly and his face sketched a smile full of complicity.
"It's beautiful, don't you think?" asked Clara, her cheeks blushed, she was a little embarrassed after telling Kelly that, but it was too late.
"Yes, I can't deny that he's very handsome," Kelly openly confessed. "But who is he?" asked the girl who needed to know everything.
"Why don't you look in the book," Clara asked, showing interest in the guide for the first time along the way.
A faint breeze caressing her neck made Clara look down the hall, her beautiful blue eyes, completely astonished, couldn't believe what they were seeing. It was the guy in the portrait! He was there smiling, at the end of the hallway, he had his index finger in front of his lips as if signaling her to be silent, he gestured with his hand for her to follow him. Clara approached him with a strange naturalness, driven by a dreamlike confidence emanating from that young man, took her by the hand and carried her with him through the corridors of the Great Gallery.
"I found it!" said Kelly in the middle of the lonely hallway, who, being absorbed in the guide, had not noticed Clara's absence. "Thomas Arterbury, son of Lord Bertrand Arterbury" she continued to read excitedly "He died at the age of 22 in an accident during a riding practice... It's a shame he died so young, don't you think so Clara?"
Kelly looked to one side and the other, but she didn't see Clara anywhere.
Thank you for reading and do not hesitate to comment.