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  • Writer's pictureCheryl

Marjorie Cromley

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

The Misfortunate Chronicles of Havisham Hollow; Chapter 2

Marjorie was the first one outside The Odd Fellows to understand the curse of Havisham Hollow. After she married Freddy Cromley, (grand-nephew of Edgar Cromley), they moved to Havisham to begin their lives together. Shortly after their wedding, Freddy was deployed to the Navy, so Marjorie spent the years designing and constructing a beautiful Victorian home. It was detailed with a pitched, candy-apple red roofing, robin’s egg teal brick walls, hand-crafted iron railings, and a spiral staircase that led to the study— an octagonal tower with a magnificent window next to the trees, like a stain-glass window made of bright orange, golden and crimson leaves. This was by far her favorite room in the house. She would spend her mornings drinking tea by the typewriter and send love letters to her husband. As the years passed, she occasionally thought it peculiar that the seasons never came and went, but it didn’t bother her. She consumed her days and nights by writing letters. She would write for months, not stopping to eat or drink. Perhaps she hoped that her love letters would erase the telegram she received, notifying her that Freddy’s ship had been struck and capsized.

Still, Marjorie wrote him letters. She never stopped to mend the roof when a branch fell through it or tended to the garden when weeds overtook it, or re-paint the walls when they faded and chipped. She never minded the dust and cobwebs, or the stray cats that often wandered by and nibbled at her ankles—it had been a decade since she felt them anyway.

At around eleven in the morning, she saw a little boy walking down her moss-covered, cobblestone street. Normally children like him would be in school, but money was tight these days, and the orphanage simply couldn’t afford his education. The boy’s name was Nathaniel, and despite not having many friends in life—not any actually—he was a very sweet child. He loved to take long walks, exploring under every pebble, inside every leaf pile, around each scraggly tree. Nathaniel was bewitched by the large black spider that made such intricate dew-laced homes outside by his bedroom window. He listened intently to the raven as sang proud and forbearing. There was not a nook or cranny in Havisham Hollow that didn’t fascinate him. Perhaps that is what drew Nathaniel to her house. He had a way of finding beauty in the decay of the world, and so he grew fond of Marjorie’s. In time, she became fond of him too and invited him in for tea. Nathaniel loved her letters, and in-turn told her stories of all the wondrous things he saw in her garden. To this day, they can be seen from her attic window, pleasantly enjoying each other’s company. Some remarked that theirs was a peculiar friendship. Somewhere else, beyond the Hollow, it might be. But not here.

Eventually, the orphanage stopped inquiring about his whereabouts. Little Nathaniel was quite content to spend his days with Marjorie in that decrepit old house. If only the poor child had seen the large crack in the top step of her staircase. What a dismal fall that was. His diminutive frame was simply too fragile to sustain the injuries.

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