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Devastation of Paradise Manor | 2

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The house was -- delightfully strange. When Xie Lian purchased he was given a list of things that were included and it was -- extensive. After the fire, no one really touched the house. So much of the furniture had been just left, most covered to keep preserved but most barely moved or touched after the house was locked up.

In the entryway there was a coat rack and a small sitting bench -- Xie Lian gleefully ventured closer. It was solid wood, with original dark red velvet upholstery. It was darling and Xie Lian noted he’d need to see if he could find a manufacturer's mark later. The dark spiraling tile of the entryway led to the dark wood grand staircase leading upstairs.

Lovingly, Xie Lian extended his hand to brush the polished banisters. “It would have been such a shame if the fire had harmed this.” He murmured to himself. The banister was a winding intricate wood with cast iron mingling in swirling intricate ornamentation.

“Definitely Art Nouveau.” Xie Lian mused as he looked closer. It was strange though -- Art Nouveau and yet -- far east influences dotted the house.

It was so unique.

Looking through the doorway to his left, Xie Lian could see a large black velvet divan seated in front of a deep green jade fireplace.

He wanted to walk forward, but as well --

There was somewhere else Xie Lian wanted to see first.

Walking past the stairs, through a grand dinning room (a table and set of eight charis had all been stacked covered and pushed off to a corner) Xie Lian found the kitchen.

It was -- as Ted had mentioned -- unfortunately quite new.

But Xie Lian bent as he entered the room, with a smile.

The jade tiles continued here -- and these one shone in varying shades of polished mauve and russett. Running his pale fingers over a few, Xie Lian marveled at their craftsmanship.

“You survived…” Xie Lian marveled.

Straightening, Xie Lian declared. “You’re absolutely beautiful, and I’m delighted to be staying here Paradise Manor.” He even gave a light laugh at himself before turning to retrieve histhings.


There was someone in his house.

Hua Cheng stirred from where he wandered at the edge of the grounds. Eming was vibrating at his hip again, sounding the alarm of the front door.

It was probably the workers all down stairs -- but then again. After they had finished with the kitchen cabinetry, most hadn’t been around for the past couple of days. Thankfully. Their insesant chatter and knocking around annoyed Hua Cheng enough to contemplate hanging them all from the ceiling.

He gave a snort as he shifted to look back to the house. There was a white sedan now parked outfront and the shitty little pick up truck of Head Moron was gone.

No matter. As long as they left before the sun went down, Hua Cheng didn’t see any reason to bother with it.


Turns out, if Google can’t find your address, neither can DoorDash -- or Uber Eats or GrubHub. Xie Lian didn’t even like pizza and he still tried Dominoes - to no avail. Seems no where was willing to drive food out to him, so Xie Lian sighed, glad he at least had a few groceries he’d picked up for the road. He’d need to make an actual run to get food tomorrow though.

XieLian wasn’t exactly known to be the sort to cook… he really felt like he could learn though! Like a couple of recipe books and some youtube videos and Xie Lian could definitely do this!

Settling in with a premade meal in a black microwavable carryout bin, Xie Lian pulled out what little he had on the manor in a slim Manila folder.

The house was built in 1892 by a wealthy businessman from China. It had passed through several generations of that family throughout the years, by the time the fire occurred in 1983 the family could barely eke by in the large mansion. It was probably that slow decline that had resulted in the fire. Though Xie Lian could barely find anything about the fire.

Xie Lian scrunched his nose. “For something that happened in the eighties, there's not a lot about it.”

And there wasn’t really.

That summer seemed to be an outstanding plague on the house. All four of the house’s family members had perished that autumn, two of which during the before mentioned fire.

With a sigh, Xie Lian set down his chop sticks while he tried looking over the documents he had. There was no sign of a floor plan but still -- the missing tower rooms nagged at him. There had to be floor plans somewhere! Xie Lian made a note on his phone, when he ran to town for food tomorrow, bhed’ stop in at the town's local archives. An estate like this had to be well documented. This was by no means the sort of place with several gated estates, so just by nature of it benign different should mean records were ketp.

He’d see what he could dig up about that fire as well.

Xie Lian scrolled through the information he was given in an email and out of curiosity dropped ‘Paradise Manor’ into a search bar.

First thing to pop up on google was a play list of videos. Well maybe the house wasn’t as mysterious as Xie Lian thought!

Turning his phone on it’s side, Xie Lian tapped the first video --

“Sup Skeptic Fam! Today we’re here at the crazy haunted Paradise Manor! That’s right! I am going to stay the entire night -- HERE -- in one of America’s most haunted --”

Xie Lian was still smiling as he tapped frantically to get that stupid shit to stop immidiately.

Tipping his head, Xie Lian spoke to the house. “Pardon their ignorance.”

It wasn’t that Xie Lian actually thought there’d be an answer. For all the old and supposedly, ‘haunted’ things Xie Lian had restored, he had little to show for any sort of things having evil intent. But as a creature of habit, Xie Lian tended to work long lonely hours on what ever his next project was, and well -- okay he talked to things. It wasn’t that weird when no one else was a round!

Finished with his meal, Xie Lian rinsed his carton and only fork. He’d pick up somethings along with food later but right now, that was all he had.

Back in the grand entryway, Xie Lian found his suitcase back by the stairs and gingerly started up the stairs.

He didn't make it far before being mesmerized by the long hallway at the top of the landing.

For one there was a massive painting hanging over the wall, looking down through the open space of the foyer and through the front door. It was abstract and yet — not. It was of a red umbrella, Laing in a rain of blood, set against a deep blue forest.

It was absolutley exceptional! And furthermore, Xie Lian had never seen anything like it! There were Far East influences for sure but also Impressionism was quite a strong influence as well. Xie Lian was unfortunately too short and the painting too far up for him to get a proper examination for artist mark.

He’d have Ted and his employees get it down once they were back. In the mean time Xie Lian still fidgeted and oogggled and scrambled from side to side to see if he could get a better look.

The strokes were utter chaos, the reds as vivid as blood. The thick smears of paint one way then another were beautiful!

Xie Lian took out his phone to snap a photo before continuing down the hallway.

More dark wood lines the floors here but a rich red linen wallpaper, in astoundingly good condition, ran to waist height up the walls.

Finding the first bedroom, opened the door to find —- blue. The room was all blacks swirling into moody blues and here the furniture hadn’t been covered.

The only thing with a white sheet cover was the bed, for which Xie Lian stepped forward to pull the sheet away. It revealed a richly adorned bed, still in dark blues blacks.