She knew the House was not sentient , not exactly, but it wasn’t just a building made of wood, mortar and nails either. Nellie was never quite sure how to explain the relationship she had with The House, but she knew it was a relationship, nonetheless. Over the decades she had become as much its keeper as it had become hers. They had become partners of a kind.
She sat beside the fire in the private library off of her bedroom suite and contemplated the leather-covered dossier and the slim wooden box, made of wood so dark it was almost black, inlaid with scrollwork that mimicked waves and ocean currents. Miniscule gems of green and aqua highlighted the curves in the wood, making the box seem alive and touchable in a way inanimate objects should not be, at least not here in this mundane world. Nellie ran her fingers across the design, not ready to open the box and see what was inside. She knew the what of its contents, just not what form it would take today.
The box was here beside her favorite chair on the little table with the pretty stained glass lamp she loved, where she sat every night to drink her glass of wine, write in her journal of the day’s events, read or on the rare occasion, entertain a guest. On even more rare occasions she found a box, an envelope or a gift for her. She always knew if it was for her or as was more often the case, meant to be given to the right person. She felt her fingers on the amber drop she wore on a chair around her neck, which was always warmer than her skin temperature could account for. It pulsed slightly when her attention was brought to it, like a hello or a soft caress of greeting. The necklace had been the first gift she had received from The House so long ago and she never removed it. It was as much a part of her as her skin or sense of touch. The necklace had many purposes in her life, but at its core it was her companion and a physical reminder of her duties, which she loved, which was perhaps why she ended up here in the first place, wasn’t it?
It was time again. She had felt the house growing, shifting and making new rooms. It hadn’t bothered her, she had grown used to it and knew that it was getting both itself and her ready for a new adventure. She had felt the energy changing in the air and was herself, strung taught ready for the next step, and here it was. A new box, which meant a new project and if she was any judge (and she was) a new girl. She realized just then, that she might be bit lonely. Beneath her fingers she felt the warm pulse again and knew The House had known and that they were both ready for some company and a little purpose beyond the quiet life she had lived for some time now. How long had it been since the last time they had taken in guests? Fifteen? Maybe twenty years? Oh well, she’s check her journals if she really needed a date, suffice to say it had been some time and she was as ready…for what? Well, for change of course, that’s what they were in the business of, wasn’t it?
With that thought she pulled the dossier out from under the beautiful box and began to read about the first of what she knew, would be a collection of souls in need of a little push in this world.