Tales From The Park-Side is a series of horrific short stories inspired by places and artifacts that can be found inside a certain little theme park in central Florida. These stories are written by members of the Orlando area entertainment and theme park industry and were curated by Audrey Brown-Willaims.
"Not the Organ"
by Tony Schaab
“Right this way, sir.” The banker gestured down the long hallway, inviting his guest to follow. “You must have considerable pull at the estate office,” he continued, “since the house won’t officially be up for sale until next month, and the furniture contents won’t be publicly auctioned for another few weeks.”
“What can I say,” the man in the business suit replied. “I must have a little magic in me. Tell me again, if you would be so kind: why is this fabulous estate on the market?”
The banker nervously looked over his shoulder at the man as they made a turn into another long hallway. “Well, sir,” he started with a slight stutter, “it’s a rather tragic story, really. A wealthy gentleman lived here his entire life, and in his elderly years, he was attended to by a live-in assistant. For… reasons unknown,” the banker coughed slightly as he continued, “the assistant apparently went mad and murdered the man.”
“Murdered, you say?” The businessman cocked an eyebrow. “How positively haunting.”
“Indeed, sir,” the banker replied. “The police found the body chopped up and hidden under the floorboards of the bedroom. It’s quite a chilling tale. Rather heartless, if you ask me. Ah,” the man said as the hallway came to an end, “here we are.”
The hallway opened up into a grand two-story parlor, with magnificent columns along the outskirts of the room that supported a large balcony walkway on either side of the long atrium. At the far end of the room sat the item the businessman had come to see: an ornate pipe organ, 20 feet tall at its apex, with an array of multi-sized golden pipes stretching towards the ceiling.
“Magnificent,” the businessman whispered.
“I’m glad you think so, sir,” the banker replied, gazing up at the top of the pipes. “I’m told that, before the deceased gentleman of the house came into its possession, it was previously owned by a mariner - a rather unique naval captain of East Indian descent. I actually inquired at the office about more details regarding this person’s identity, but I was told he was ‘no one,’ which strikes me as odd…”
The banker continued talking, but the businessman was not listening; instead, his gaze has been drawn to a shadowy corner of the room, where he spied, in the parlor full of exquisite furniture, something that no other recent visitor had seen. The businessman’s gaze was locked, as if he was in a trance. “I’ll take it,” he mumbled, interrupting the still-speaking banker.
“Very good, sir,” the banker replied with an air of relief, as he sensed his time spent in this eerie place was mercifully coming to an end. “I’m confident that, once a price is agreed upon, we can assist you in setting up a safe and secure way to disassemble the organ and take it--”
“Not the organ,” the businessman said, turning his gaze to the banker. “I’ll take the entire manor, and all its contents.”
“Uhm,” the banker faltered for an adequate reply. “I’m not sure how that will sit with the estate manager at the bank, sir…”
The businessman pulled a small notebook and pen out of his waistcoat pocket and scribbled a few words down before ripping off the top piece of paper and handing it to the banker. “Give this to your estate manager,” he said, “as quickly as you can.”
“Yes sir, right away,” the banker replied tautly. As he moved to exit the room, he snuck a glance at the paper’s contents:
As the banker left the large room, the businessman turned his attention back to the darkened corner of the room. There, a spectral figure in a dusty suit, cape, and top hat stared back with a blank expression on his face. The ghostly form looked down at the gaping hole in his chest where his heart should be, and covered the wound by pulling his long coat shut around his chest. The figure stepped forward and took a seat on the organ’s bench.
“Prepare yourself, my grim friend,” the businessman whispered. “This deathly Mansion will soon host many more organs for you to master.”
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