Samantha Grey's Haven

Samantha resides in a small, dilapidated single-story house facing north on the edge of town. The house was rumored to be haunted, one thing that drew Samantha to it, but her investigation so far has not demonstrated the presence of any spirit entity within or in the vicinity.

The grounds cover approximately one-half acre and are heavily overgrown with grass and weeds between the many ancient oak and willow trees, surrounded by a crumbling brick wall about five feet high. A long winding gravel driveway connects the small parking lot in front of the house with the road, with a side branch leading back to the garage. A hidden infrared sensor at the beginning of the driveway warns Samantha of any arriving visitors by flickering a light in her rooms; the flickering is barely noticeable except to people with heightened senses (like Samantha).

The house stands about two feet above the ground on concrete supports, with stairs leading up to the doors in front and in back. In the front is a narrow screened porch, closed with a screen door. The front and back doors are heavy oak, locked with both a regular and a deadbolt lock in a reinforced doorframe. All windows in the house are heavily curtained inside so that no light can escape (or enter).

The front room, where Samantha does most of her readings and consultations, contains a round oaken table about six feet across covered by a leather-bound green felt pad. It is surrounded by several chairs, most plain but one very ornate chair which Samantha uses herself. Several posters of astrological symbols and conjunctions and Tarot cards hang on the walls over the dark red wallpaper with gold accents. A heavy black pile rug covers the entire floor. The only light in the room is a stained glass hanging lamp centered low over the table; it is adjustable from the wall switch by the rear door or by a switch under the table where Samantha sits. An incense burner in the southwest corner scents the air with a subtle suggestion of the Orient. An oaken door in the center of the south wall leads to a hallway and the rest of the house; the door is hidden by a heavy bead string curtain. The room has a number of hidden cabinets and Spiritualism tricks that Samantha can covertly use from outside the room or from her chair: floating trumpets, mysterious sounds, floating apparitions, waves of cold air, etc.

To the east off of the hallway is her private consultation room, with a wooden desk and work table, two small wooden filing cabinets, a large, comfortable leather-covered couch, and an overstuffed leather desk chair. A computer with a large color monitor and an attached laser printer is set up on the desk. On a shelf above the desk rests a number of odds and ends, including many different shapes, sizes, and types of crystals. Opening the closet to the left at the south end of the room reveals a combined VCR, color TV (fed from a satellite dish on the roof) and stereo system, and a small collection of video tapes of programs on the occult. Opening the other closet will reveal several bookshelves containing references on astrology, volumes on the lore of the spirit world, and books on the history of Spiritualism. The walls are paneled with dark wood; there are no posters or pictures on the walls. A deep brown pile carpet covers the floor.

To the west is the bathroom, with a large cast-iron tub that has been converted into a shower, and a sink and toilet. All of the fittings are of shining brass. A small medicine chest with a mirror hangs above the sink, with an extra light on the wall above it. A vanity stand sits next to the toilet: a vase with flowers rests on its surface. A wooden towel rack beside the door holds a number of large, fluffy white towels in various sizes. A full length mirror is attached to the back of the door. Overhead is a large, bright florescent light and an infrared heat lamp. The walls are papered with a bright, cheery yellow patterned wallpaper. A small off-white wool carpet covers the center of the floor, which is otherwise wood.

To the south, through another bead curtain, is the kitchen; besides the normal sink, stove, cupboards and refrigerator it holds a combined washer and dryer unit of recent manufacture. The walls are painted white and the floor is covered in pale yellow linoleum. A locked door on the west side of the kitchen opens on to the steep stairway that leads down to a locked steel door that guards the entrance to the basement.

The basement covers the area below the office and bathroom. It is walled and floored with thick concrete; the walls are painted white and floor is carpeted in white and gold. In the center is a large four-poster bed, with white satin sheets and woolen blankets. Several wooden wardrobes and a makeup table are pushed against the walls. Underneath the bathroom another sink was installed, this one in ornate marble with brass fittings. Her Haven is a specially-constructed vault under the bed: it swings aside at the touch of a hidden switch. Hidden behind a wardrobe on the south wall is another cubbyhole, about 3' x 3' and five feet high, lined again with concrete. There is a small crawlspace below the front room and kitchen that is accessible only from the basement. There are no windows in the basement.

A modern heating and air conditioning system was recently installed in the attic, with the exterior elements installed in the crawlspace underneath the kitchen. There is also is an up-to-date fire detection and burglar alarm system installed in the attic. All windows and doors are connected to the alarm system. An alarm is installed in every room of the house, including a very loud one in the basement.

Behind the house is a converted shed which is now the garage for her prized antique British roadster.

Every few weeks Samantha has a mute neighbor woman come to clean and dust the house in the early evening.

Samantha normally only accepts appointments in the early and late evening during the week; she reserves the weekends for herself unless there is a major need for her aid. There are no signs indicating her business outside, only a house number, and Samantha advertises only by word of mouth. Many people in the neighborhood know about her business, however, and will sometimes consult her, but will not reveal her location to strangers. The neighborhood is run-down and home to transients, particularly Gypsies. For her part Samantha has tried to stay on good relations with the Gypsies and they have left her alone.

Copyright © 1998 Terry O'Brien {dragonmage@sprynet}