Death of a Medium

Each week, I send out a story via my email newsletter. Each story is around 1000 words, sometimes less, sometimes more. The stories are in a variety of genres: supernatural, thriller, sci-fi, horror, and sometimes romance, and all of my stories typically feature a gay protagonist.

I would love it if you would subscribe to my weekly newsletter! You can do so HERE.

This is story number 7 of the series. Enjoy!

Death of a Medium

On a foggy night in 1932, in the shadowed heart of Chicago, Detective Charles Avery, known for his sharp wit and sharper eye, strode through the mist towards the Winstead Manor. The mansion loomed like a specter from a gothic tale, windows aglow with uncertain light and the air was heavy with the scent of rain.

Charles, a well-dressed man in his mid-thirties with a keen sense of justice and an even keener sense of loneliness, had been summoned urgently. Mrs. Eleanor Winstead, the grand dame of the estate, had hosted a séance that had ended in tragedy: the medium, Madam Lavoie, was dead. The circumstances were as murky as the night itself.

Upon his arrival, Charles was greeted by the butler, a wiry man with eyes that had seen too much yet revealed too little. “Detective Avery, thank you for coming at such a late hour,” the butler said, his voice a low murmur.

“Of course. Lead the way, please. The sooner we unravel this, the better,” Charles replied, adjusting the brim of his fedora as he stepped into the foyer, the air thick with tension and the faint aroma of incense.

Charles, still haunted by the unsolved mystery of the death of the man he loved under similar circumstances, felt an eerie sense of déjà vu. The past seemed to echo through the halls, touching his senses with cold fingers.

The drawing room was a scene right out of a play, with distraught guests scattered around, their faces etched with shock and confusion. At the center, lying unnaturally still on a Persian rug, was Madam Lavoie, her life extinguished amidst flickering candles and overturned chairs.

Eleanor Winstead, elegant even in distress, approached Charles with a hurried pace. “Detective, I can’t express how dreadful this is. We were merely seeking a connection with the beyond, and now poor Madam Lavoie…”

“Mrs. Winstead, can you tell me exactly what happened?” Charles asked, pulling out a small notebook.

“It was all very normal at first,” Eleanor began, wringing her hands. “Madam Lavoie was leading us, calling out to the spirits. But then the lights flickered, and she started convulsing, speaking in a voice that was not her own. She screamed about a vengeful spirit and then… then she just collapsed.”

As they talked, Charles noticed the other guests: Mr. Harrow, a skeptical academic; Miss Greenway, a young woman with a deep belief in the supernatural; and Thomas, Eleanor’s nephew, who looked particularly disturbed.

“And who was present at this time?” Charles inquired, scanning the room.

“Just the usual circle—myself, Mr. Harrow, Miss Greenway, and… Thomas,” she replied, hesitating slightly at the last name.

Thomas, who had been sitting quietly in a corner, stood up as Charles approached. He was a handsome man, younger than Charles, with a troubled look in his eyes. “Detective, I… I might have been the cause,” he confessed, his voice barely a whisper.

“How so?” Charles asked, intrigued.

“I… I’ve been feeling a presence lately, following me. Tonight I felt it stronger than ever. When Madam Lavoie began her trance, it felt like it went through me. I think I might have somehow… invited it in.”

Charles raised an eyebrow. This was turning into a more peculiar case than he’d anticipated. “We’ll need to explore every angle. For now, I’ll need to speak to each of you separately.”

As the night deepened, Charles conducted his interviews, piecing together the fragmented stories. Mr. Harrow suggested stress might have caused Madam Lavoie’s death. Miss Greenway, however, believed in the supernatural explanation, her eyes wide with fear as she recounted the eerie cold that had swept through the room.

“Detective, it was as if an icy hand gripped my heart,” Miss Greenway whispered, her voice trembling. “There was groaning and crying coming from everywhere seemed and the room filled with a strange mist. And then, Madam Lavoie… she started speaking in that horrible voice.”

“It could have been a medical condition,” Harrow interjected. “People have died from fright before.”

“True, but there’s something more here,” Charles mused. “Thank you both. Please stay available for further questions.”

“Wait,” Miss Greenway said. “You may need to know that Madam Lavoie wasn’t the first mysterious death in the manor. Eleanor’s grandfather and mother also died seances.”

Charles thanked Miss Greenway for the information and excused himself. It was only when Charles returned to the foyer to gather his thoughts that he noticed a small, nearly hidden door under the staircase. Curiosity piqued, he opened it, revealing a narrow set of stairs leading down to a dark basement.

With only his flashlight, Charles descended. The basement was cluttered with old Winstead family belongings, but what caught his attention was a set of dusty journals labeled ‘Séances’. Flicking through them, Charles discovered occult secrets hidden in the pages, describing séances led by Eleanor’s grandfather to contact a malevolent spirit named Morgana who promised power but threatened vengeance. The last entry sent chills down his spine – it mentioned a sacrifice was needed to summon Morgana.

A blood sacrifice.

As Charles ventured deeper into the bowels of the mansion, he discovered a hidden chamber beneath the stairs, a secret room that seemed to pulse with an otherworldly energy. The walls were adorned with Morgana’s arcane symbol (as drawn in the journals). Charles felt a chill run down his spine as he noticed the dark, rust-colored stain that marred the stone floor.

It was in that moment that the true extent of the Winsteads’ dark legacy began to dawn on him, a twisted history of occult practices and blood-soaked rituals that stretched back generations. But as he searched the chamber, his keen detective’s eye caught sight of something that didn’t quite fit – a scattering of photographs, wires snaking out from behind the altar and leading to the dining room above. A strange, mechanical contraption sat in the corner, and with a start, Charles realized it was a fog machine, the kind used in theatrical productions.

His heart pounding, Charles moved to the phonograph that sat on a table nearby. With trembling fingers, he set the needle on the record, and the room was suddenly filled with an eerie cacophony of groans, screams, and otherworldly wails. It was all the evidence he needed – someone had staged an elaborate haunting, using the props and special effects to bring the legend of Morgana to terrifying life. But who, and for what purpose?

Armed with this new information, Charles confronted Eleanor. “Eleanor, what is the meaning of this?” he asked, holding up a journal. “Your family has been involved in occult practices for generations? Why didn’t you tell me about your family’s history with séances and this spirit Morgana?”

Eleanor’s facade cracked, her composure slipping. “Oh, that? I didn’t think it mattered. My grandfather was obsessed, but it’s all superstition, isn’t it? I just thought he was crazy. I’ve read those journals and just considered them the rantings of a madman.”

“Maybe, maybe not. But I do believe someone used this family legend to their advantage to frighten everyone, causing chaos. Madam Lavoie’s death, while tragic, might have been natural, exacerbated by fear. The question is, who stood to gain from reigniting the Morgana legend?”

The room fell silent until Thomas spoke up. “Okay, fine, it was me,” he admitted, standing up. “I confess. I wanted to scare my aunt Eleanor into giving up these séances. I thought she was getting too involved, too… obsessed like her grandfather. His obsession consumed him and ultimately destroyed him, and I didn’t want the same thing to happen to Aunt Eleanor. So I used projections and eerie sound effects to stage the hauntings. But I swear, I certainly never meant for anyone to get hurt, let alone die. And I wasn’t lying when I said I’d felt an ominous presence as of late. I figured it was my imagination playing tricks.”

Charles nodded, understanding the twisted roots of family and fear. “Thank you for your honesty, Thomas. We’ll need to sort this out properly, but I appreciate you coming forward.”

Miss Greenway spoke up, her voice trembling. “But the presence I felt, Detective… it was real. It wanted something from us, something dark and terrible.”

The butler stepped forward, holding a letter. “Detective Avery, I found this among Madam Lavoie’s belongings. I think you should read it.”

Charles took the letter, his eyes widening as he read its contents. “Madam Lavoie claimed to have visions of an entity called Morgana before her death. The spirit was demanding another sacrifice to complete a ritual.”

“Dear God,” Eleanor gasped, her hand flying to her mouth. “Could it be true? Could Morgana have killed Madam Lavoie?”

Charles sighed, running a hand through his hair. “I don’t know, Mrs. Winstead. In my line of work, I’ve learned that the truth is often far more complicated than we’d like it to be. But one thing is certain – your family’s past involvement with the occult has led to nothing but darkness and tragedy. I’d advise all of you not to continue down that path.”

As Charles stepped out into the foggy morning, he couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that there was more to Madam Lavoie’s death than met the eye. Despite the evidence of Thomas’s staged haunting, the detective found himself questioning whether the medium’s demise was truly the result of natural causes, or if something far more sinister was at play.

The eerie presence that Miss Greenway had described, the oppressive sense of malevolence that had permeated the séance – could it have been more than just the power of suggestion and theatrics? Charles shuddered at the thought of an ancient, vengeful spirit like Morgana truly existing, her dark influence reaching out from beyond the grave to claim the lives of the unsuspecting.

As he walked away from Winstead Manor, the detective knew that the case would continue to haunt him, the unanswered questions lingering like restless specters in the shadowed corners of his mind. He would have to carry the burden, the weight of the mysteries left unsolved, as he returned to the harsh realities of his own life.

“Until we meet again, Winstead Manor,” Charles murmured, his words carried away by the misty breeze. “And may God have mercy on us all.”

The End

Scroll to Top