Wednesday 13 October 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 221

This week's picture prompt was taken by Florence Caplain, a French photographer. It is of a piano in Chateau de Pont Remy Somme also known as the Chateau Pianiste due to all the pianos  found in the house. A less elegant name given by the many explorers and photographers who have visited, id Chateau ‘Clochard’, meaning chateau of the ‘homeless man‘, because of the state of the chateau. 

This photo was taken on the 8th of August 2021, but on the night of the 13th of August, arsonists set the Chateau alight and now all that remains is a shell. Such a shame, although a few of the furnishings were saved by firefighters. But this photo is all that remains of this piano. 

It's taken me a couple of days get this tale together. I always want to write ghost stories but they never seemed to come out as well as I hope. Here's my effort.

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.

An old disused dusty close up shot of a piano keys, with a photo of someone on the music sheet stand


‘Is that the piano I can hear?’

‘It can’t be; there’s no one else here.’

‘I’m sure it is. Listen!’

The sound of Greensleeves filled the old cavernous house from top to bottom. They got out of bed and put their dressing gowns on, rushing downstairs. They went to the piano in the drawing room and watched the keys moving up and down, while opaque pages of sheet music on the stand turned one after the other.

They reached out to the papers but their hands passed right through them.

‘Oh Jeffrey, what is it?!’

‘Who is it more like!’ he replied.

‘The hairs on my body are all on end!’

‘Calm yourself, Marjory, we’ll be fine. They’re harmless.’

‘You don’t know that, they might do something to us in our sleep!’

‘They aren’t even able to touch us! Don’t be so silly!’

‘But who are they? And why are they here? Can we find out?’

‘This is an old property dating back to the 1800s. I should imagine quite a few people have passed in this house. How can we identify just one?’

‘Were any pianists?’

‘Possibly, but Marjory it’s not like I have a book on the shelf I can reference to tell me about all the previous occupants and whether they played the piano or not.’

‘True. Maybe the tune has some significance?’

‘To whoever is playing it, probably. But it’s a very well known tune, it’s been around for centuries.’

The music stopped.

‘What shall we do now?’

‘There isn’t much we can do, short of a séance.’

‘We could try that.’

‘Tricky with just two people, but possible I suppose.’

They went over to the little coffee table that had a glass chess set on it.

‘Jeffrey, could we use this as a sort of Ouija board?’

‘We could Marjory, that’s a good idea.’

They moved all the figures to one side of the board and Jeffrey wrote the letters of the alphabet on the empty squares on the other side. He used one of Marjory’s eyeliner pencils as it would write on glass and they could wipe it off later.

‘Is there anybody there?’ Jeffrey said, and they waited.

Then a pawn started to rattle on the board and move to the Y for yes.

‘Who are you?’ Marjory asked.

They spelled out Mark and Janice Freeman. Who are you?

‘We’re Jeffrey and Marjory Blackson. Why are you here?’

The reply came: We live here.

Jeffrey frowned at Marjory. ‘What do they mean by that? We live here.’ He called out, ‘I think you might need to accept it’s time to pass over. Is there anything stopping you? Something we can do to release you?’

For a long time nothing on the chess board moved. Then the piano started up again. The papers in the stand began rustling vigorously to catch their attention. Jeffrey went over to look at them. He bent closer, a frown spreading across his face.

‘What is it Jeffrey?’

‘It’s a newspaper article. I’ll read it to you, Marjory:

On the night of the 15th of September, the North Ridge Fire Brigade were called out to Blackson House on Hawthorne Crescent. Only the left wing of the large mansion was ablaze and the fireman had hoped to find the homeowners alive and well, but they were found dead. It was initially unclear if it was smoke inhalation, but later it revealed they had been strangled. A man has been taken into custody believed to be their estranged son. It is unclear whether he is a suspect or helping the police with their enquiries.’

Jeffrey stopped speaking and looked at Marjory, who had joined him by the piano. He took both her hands in his.

‘Oh Jeffrey.’

‘I’m so sorry Marjory, I should have known getting in touch with him again was a bad idea.’

She looked round the room. ‘So the house isn’t ours anymore.’

‘No sweetheart, it’s not.’

‘We’d better go then.’

‘Yes, we should.’

‘Is that light coming from the front door?’

‘Yes, I think so.’

They walked out into the hallway, and sure enough the door was open and a brilliant yellow light shone through. They stepped into it hand in hand.


  1. Then, my brain cells said, "Go with it." And...


    1. Love this story, so atmospheric. I want to go there. Thanks for joining.