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At Griffin Manor

I’ve heard the stories forever, even before my first night at Griffin Manor.

“They say the eyes follow you around the room,” some skittish maiden will claim, studying her companion for a reaction.

Sometimes, the friend dismisses the idea out of hand — “there’s no such thing as ghosts.”

On those rare happy occasions, the young people laugh uncomfortably and try to pretend the picture doesn’t still hang on the wall in the very room where they sit.

More often, one assertion leads to another, and to questions. “Do you think it’s haunted? That snaky little mouth of his is ghoulish, like a vampire’s.”

Why, even the Griffins themselves are given to wild speculation when properly lubricated.

“I hear tell he was once a wealthy baron, betrayed by his true love. He vowed to torment her forever,” Mr. Griffin has regaled many a guest.

And his wife inevitably chimes in: “The entire estate burned to the ground, killed his traitor wife.” Here, Mrs. Griffin raises her eyebrows and gauges her guests for the proper level of astonishment. “And yet…the painting survived.”

It’s all bollocks, of course.

The eyes of a painting cannot move, and there is no cause for them to do so, at any rate.

Particularly here at Griffin Manor, where the family believes enough in their own tales to keep the parlor properly locked at all times.

When a key jangles in the front hall, I know someone approaches.

And before you even enter the room, I see you.

And I do watch until you have left me, and even after that.

I’m not so much inside the painting, you see, as tethered to it. Its eyes are not mine, and they do not move.

And I’m no vampire. You really should be so lucky.

Published inFlash Fiction

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