When Madeline honors her mother's dying wish and returns to The
Chalet, she discovers the true secret of the old mansion; a
seductive spirit whose undying love has waited decades to claim her
for its own.
The Chalet was not just a walk
down the street. It was located in Minnesota near a large forest,
surrounded on three sides by state land. How many hunters and
campers got seduced to go behind those great twin oak doors Iíll
never guess. But I know that at least a few did; the ones who got
reported to my family over the years. What they saw, Iím not sure.
Perhaps it was Madeline herself, or the force that remained of her,
since she had died in that house 40 years earlier.
The Chalet had been a gift from an admirer who hoped to woo
Madeline. Joseph Martelli was not the kind of person you said no
to, even if you were a big star like Madeline. He controlled a big
section of the Chicago mob. He also loved to trophy hunt, and he
took to the Minnesota woods every winter to do just that. The
Chalet had been Martelliís place before he had given it to Madeline
lock, stock, and barrel. Just why a pure blood Italian of seven
generations had gone overboard for a black singer wasnít
understandable, not with a wife and a mistress already. Maybe it
had been her music. Madelineís voice was pure magic. Or maybe
Martelli had done enough evil here over the years that the place was
haunted already and he wanted to dump it.
What happened behind the closed doors before the murder isnít known,
not conclusively. Whatever disturbed Madelineís packing also is not
known. But Madeline ran from it, whatever it was.
Rumors began to circulate among the locals that the ancient house
they called The Chalet was now haunted. Lights would shine in the
third story windows at night, or laughter would be heard. Sometimes
there were screams, or gunshots, always two together, no more, no
less. The town paper did a few pieces on The Chalet that year,
complete with pictures, for Halloween. Annie put the article
clippings aside when she received them anonymously, thinking it was
just superstition. Then came the first missing persons report.
wanted to sell at that point. The house was a big tax
liability, and a regular hassle. But there were no buyers who
offered enough to pay the back taxes that had accumulated each year
since the house had been inherited from Madeline. Then, right at
the point when the bank threatened to foreclose and hand The Chalet
to some developers, a mysterious anonymous benefactor showed up and
all the taxes were paid, just like that.