A woman and her brother inherit an estate when their father dies, but are given a stern order in
his will: Burn Rampling Gate to the ground; destroy it! Curious, the siblings travel to the estate
and instantly fall in love with it. They can't figure out why in the world no one has lived in the
400-year-old mansion except for the housekeeper. They begin to think their father was a bit nuts
when he went on about some unspeakable horror that lived in the house - that was why it needed
to be destroyed.
But neither of them find any horrors and thoroughly enjoy themselves in the mansion and on the
grounds. They can't bear to tear the building down. They even visited the nearby village to ask if
there were any ghost stories or legends associated with the estate and no one has heard of any and
say nothing but good things about the mansion - to the villagers, it's a part of their lives and they
love it as much as the siblings.
Then one night, the sister awakens in the middle of the night after an odd dream. She wanders
downstairs and sees the fire is still going in the drawing room. As she enters, she realizes there is
a man in the chair, and he's not her brother. When he notices her and stands, papers fall from his
hands - a story she was writing. She recognizes him as the horror her father spoke of, the
mysterious thing that haunts the mansion and she screams. He disappears and of course, her
brother think she's as nuts at their father supposedly was.
She is determined to prove this man is real and instead becomes spellbound, not by the house,
but by this mysterious man. And he's not alive. Nor is he dead.
(The Master of Rampling Gate was originally published in Redbook magazine in 1984.)