A brief story about the Brownstone
|Five brownstones were constructed simultaneously, two single-family homes and three apartment houses, each had families move into them in 1899. Four held four floors, each with one apartment per floor, the fifth a single-family home. The Van Slyk family, their money coming from Schoharie Valley dairy farming and New York City candy manufacturing, owned all five, but moved into the center house, the only single-family home.
Immediately, residents in all five buildings began to complain of foul orders, ranging from animal feces to the sickly-sweet aroma of death. In building five, the northern most, children could not sleep through the night, each awoken by the cries of a baby, one the adults could not hear. The southernmost had its own share of supernatural events, mostly objects disappearing or being moved.
The Van Slyks themselves were not immune to any ghostly activity. The youngest daughter, Emma, had returned to the brownstone after her wedding to change out of her 40-pound wedding gown, when a former suitor, Joshua Vrooman, rushed into the home, up the three floors of stairs, and busted into her room. He shot her new husband, Nathaniel Vrooman, in the chest before turning the gun on her. She screamed and wailed before he placed two bullets into her before turning the gun on himself.
A month had passed, the grief within all five houses was palpable. The children on the third floor of house five were plagued with the sounds of a wailing woman. Some of the adults in the other three apartment houses heard faint echoes of gunshots or the smell of spent gunpowder. The Van Slyk family, grieved beyond comprehension, sold the property a year later at a great loss and moved to New York City.
The new owners, attorneys from Albany, made no effort to find the sources of the paranormal activities, rather they ignored it. The property passed on to their heirs when they passed during the 1940s. A little improvement was made, including a total rewiring of all five places and improvements in the heating systems. It was in the basement of the single-family unit where workers found the bodies of two men, and from the clothing, they were assumed to be bootleggers who disappeared in the 1920s.
Longfellow Dark knew of this, even more stories, before he moved into the recently remodeled Van Slyk Manor, as the tallest of the brownstones was now called. A media room with a large television and a new video cassette player were in front of a love seat and couch. One the same floor, three pinball machines and two arcade games were mere feet away, distractions for a college student for sure.
He knew about the crying baby, about the ghost of a bride looking for her groom, and he had witnessed the bootleggers, mostly in the basement, while he was visiting his great-aunt.
He loved the place, loved the peace and quiet it gave him while he wrote or studied. He loved how the kitchen would smell hours after when he baked a pie or bread. He loved that he could see the river from the third-floor library when he needed to cleanse his mind.
Hardwood floors, making footfalls sound like the sound of noir films, made him smile, even if the feet, so to speak, were from the ghosts. He loved the feel of it on his bare feet. He loved that he could entertain his college friends and soccer teammates. He lived a college students’ dream.
But now, a few years after her death, he was lonely. All those ghosts and not one was that of his beloved, his wife Vane