A Heartless Mother
A ghastly squeal arose from the silence of the burgeoning dawn. Suddenly a strange and frenzied bird flew across the rooftops of the small village of Gladstone. Scarcely anybody was up and about at this early morning hour. Up on the hill that shadowed the village like a dark promise, sat the foreboding glare of the deserted mansion that had once belonged to a man named Ezra Charlton. The life of its owner is a legend, a tragedy, and at times it was a miracle that he lived to tell his own story. It is simply known that the builder, Ezra Charlton, lived privately, had odd habits, and he was quite disposed to visit orphanages and would only leave when he had spent several hours regaling the children with tall tales and make believe stories of valor. Or were they make believe? Ezra and his mansion ignited in most people these seeming flights of fancy that few could account for. From it’s groundbreaking beginning to it’s current state of crumbling decay, Charlton Mansion had been shrouded in mystery, intrigue, suspicion, and sometimes even death.
It wasn’t that anybody intended to be generic in their description of the place, after all, many mansions can be described as spooky or haunted, but the shoe fit. Perhaps the mysterious and macabre early connections of its owner lent itself to these remote if not fantastical leaps of logic. His early life is as strange as it is fascinating. Within each spirit there is the chance to turn towards the light or the chance to turn to the darkness. Sadly for Ezra, he had a run in with two chasers of the latter variety pretty much as soon as he was born. You must be patient for the story to unfold in a manner that befits its peculiarity. The best place to start is at the beginning of life for the mansion’s original owner, Ezra Charlton.
Ezra was born in July of 1836. He was born as a twin. His twin brother, Edmund, died as soon as he took his first breath. Edmund was a perfectly formed baby, rosy cheeked and plump, seemingly healthier than his twin brother Ezra. Edmund was born 12 minutes after Ezra. Their mother, Cassandra, was attended by a Haitian midwife who had a strange influence over Cassandra’s perceptions. Indeed, some believed at the time that Acacia, the Haitian midwife, practiced a form of witchcraft or voodoo over Cassandra. No sooner had Edmund taken his first and last breath, when Acacia swooped in and grabbed the dead baby and began to chant a haunting repetition that no one in the room could understand. After about twenty minutes of this, Acacia seized the live baby from his mother’s arms, muttered a frantic warning to Cassandra, then turned and ran quickly for the door with little Ezra in tow. This was the odd and tragic early happenings of Ezra Charlton’s life. Acacia had somehow usurped a mother’s love and replaced it with fear and suspicion. How did she do such a thing? Well, it is generally accepted that we must be careful of what philosophies we allow to take strong hold within our hearts. Acacia planted in Cassandra’s mind the idea that the one baby, Edmund, had died because Ezra came into the world first, determined it was all his, and then, when Edmund took his first breath, Ezra quickly overcame his life by stealing his next, hence making his brother die! I know, it’s preposterous but you would never have convinced the superstitious Acacia and the mother that had fallen under her spell of this. Instead of taking the tiny babe to her bosom, the new mother quite adamantly rejected the living baby in honor of the dead one. Things like this never turn out well for the living. Both the mother and her living baby would suffer terrible consequences because of this superstition of Acacia’s. When Acacia died in 1847, Cassandra had become a woman chained to her choices, always ruining her peace with frightening skill as if some puppet master had strings attached to her soul. Cassandra laid a foundation that reverberated in the years that followed. Ezra Charlton would have had a very different life if his mother had ignored a flamboyant medicine woman who brought her witchery over from her homeland. One thing is not known, what kind of man would he have become if he had been raised by a pathologically narcissistic mother? Sad tales often have a bright spot so let’s see if we can find one.