I felt the corners of my mouth drop a little bit. He wasn't the one I imagined at all.
"So you're Oscar Logan Ashford."I asked.
Only a side of Oscar's face was visible as he stared hard at his new surroundings. He couldn't believe that his bedroom was now covered in dust sheets. After a moment his dark blue eyes locked onto mine and I hesitated.
"Where you expecting someone tall, dark and handsome?" he replied in a husky voice, almost croaky as if he was ill.
"I imagined you to be a little taller."
Though he was roughly five foot ten inches it was the only thing that popped into my mind. He had a very slim figure, as if he hadn't eaten in days. His dry fingertips touched the side of his piano, a pain rushed to his face. His thin lips were stern, unmoving.
"So this would be the state of my room in the future."
He turned to me as I tried to stand up. He offered me his hand.
"I told you what happens to it." I stood, not accepting his hand. "It doesn't look pretty."
He scanned the room with his eyes before setting them on me.
"I never imagined it to look so bare."
"I guess it must be hard for you," I said, brushing the dust from my thighs. "You're room must look a lot livelier on your side."
Oscar then noticed my clothes and a puzzled expression formed onto his face.
"Were you expecting me in a ball gown?"
"I have never seen a woman wearing trousers."
I scoffed. "Well a lot can happen in over one hundred and fifty years."
There was an unreeling silence before he uttered a word to me.
"From the way you look at me, you seem disappointed."
I blinked. Was my body language obvious? I didn't want him to feel bad.
"Why would you say that?"
He walked over to his table, opening the draw.
"Believe me, I know and receive that look from many people. Truth be told, I have grown accustomed to it."
"That's not very nice." I said. "You look different from your portrait."
Oscar turned his head to the side, trying to remember.
"I'm only in one painting. I didn't get a chance to have a separate portrait."
"There's one in the basement. It's the one with your family. There's a girl sitting on a woman's lap."
"My mother Eliza and sister Helene."
"There's also a blond haired guy standing."
He scoffed. "My perpetually, scornful cousin Victor."
"He seems like a nice guy."
My words seemed to stab at Oscar. He flinched, shaking his head smiling at my judgement.
"Freya, looks can be deceiving. The devil was once an angel."
"Wow," I said, bewildered by his comparison. "You must hate your cousin Victor."
He folded his arms across his chest, glancing outside the window.
"There seems to be less snow in your world. Is that common?"
I shrugged my shoulder.
"Climate change I guess. Listen do you want to eat something. You look like you've been starving for ages."
He closed his eyes, laughing as if I complimented him. As he looked at me again his tried to speak, instead he went into his pocket and retrieved a small white player.
"I believe this belongs to your brother."
I took it out of his pale rough hands.
"Thanks, Ryder's been banging on about it. And if I see any of Helene's things I'll pass them on to you
He glanced around the room till his eyes fell onto an old radio player.
"What sort of contraption is this?"
"You mean this old thing?" The radio old, tattered and collected dust in its speakers. "I'd say it's probably 1950's. It's a radio. You listen to all sorts of things. Like music, the news." His brows fused into complete confusion. "But this is like way ahead of your time so you probably shouldn't –"
Suddenly the player fell out of my hands and landed onto the floor. A piercing static hissing sound erupted. Oscar cupped his hands over his fragile head yelling "it's the devil" and I didn't know whether I should have laughed at his shock or stop the sound.
I hammered the radio by stamping it with the back of my long boot heels. When the silence came back Oscar frenzied over.
"Like I said it's old."
I then heard the front door slam shut. Someone called my name.
"Oh no!" I exclaimed as I stared at my watch. "That can't be the time."
"What's the matter?" he asked.
"My dad and my brother are back and if they find a grown man in my room," I said as I grabbed his arm." They won't be too pleased.
"Correction," he interrupted. "You mean my room"
"Look," I said making him stand in front of the vault. "It's not just your room. We co-share this room." I yanked the vault open. I could hear the trudging of feet on the steps, closing in. "Sorry to cut this date short but you got to go."
Oscar seemed totally oblivious to the panic in my voice.
"When will I see you again?"
"Preferably when my family are not home." I pushed him in. "Go on, in you get."
His eyes turned down a little when he arched his body in. I glanced up to see Ryder's shadow by the doorway.
My heart clogged in my throat. I had a feeling he wasn't going to go unnoticed.
Ryder clamped his eyes onto Oscar's shiny shoes as I quickly slammed the vault shut. I was a second away from discovery.
"What the hell was that?"
Ryder eyes widen in horror.
"What are you on about?" I said quickly, my voice higher in pitch.
"You got a guy in your vault." He backed away from the doorway. "Now don't lie to me because I saw everything."
"Ryder wait –"
Dad rushed into my room, looking alarmed.
"What's going on?"
"There's someone in Freya's vault."
"Don't be ridiculous," I cried rolling my eyes.
Dad creased his forehead as he marched towards my vault. After glancing at us he pulled the vault door open. I held my breath; the vault was empty.
He glared at Ryder. "From all the excuses you could come up with, you come up with 'someone's in Freya's vault."
"But dad I really did see –"
"I think you two better come downstairs and help me with lunch."
Before Ryder could utter a word Dad walked away, not looking back.
I felt bad for lying to Ryder. How could I possibly tell him about Oscar?
I tossed his iPod towards him and he caught it with one hand.
"I was clearing the kitchen and I found it on the worktop."
Ryder scratched the back of his head but still continued to glare at the vault. I half expected him to lecture me about lying. With a final stare at me he shook his head he walked away.
YOU ARE READING
Aspiring writer Freya Telford has a lot on her plate: mum left, her house caught fire, Uncle Johnny died: plus she's inherited Ashford Estate in Kent that's apparently haunted like a horror show. With her father Steve and younger brother Ryder, they...