A/N: I don't own any of these characters or locations. They belong to Daphne du Maurier and Downton Abbey's producers. Basically, this story is what would have happened if Lavinia's story arc would have developed along the lines of the book "Rebecca". WARNING: I did have to change some things for the story to be more personal, like "Rebecca". Hope you enjoy!
I dreamt I went back to Downton last night. I walked down the same gravely road, under the roof formed by the trees. Dots of moonlight pierced the leaves and danced on my pale white skin. The forest was silent. I advanced further, only to arrive in a clearing. There. There it was. The transition was so sudden, I was shocked. The grass, long and thick, had not been cut since a long time, and the road leading to the main door was grooved by dark roots and plants I had never seen before. The house, bathed in the blue clarity of the moon, seemed so surreal. I couldn't recognize it.
My footsteps echoed throughout the prairie until I stopped at the front door, shivering. The door knockers were still there, staring at me with their devilish eyes. I pushed the door and it creaked open. A cold wind gushed outside and my bones trembled. I peaked inside, terrified, only to witness a horrifying sight. The main hall, in all its grandeur, was perfectly intact. The chandeliers were lit, the flowers were disposed in their vases and the foyer was kindled with a cozy flame. At any moment, I would see the servants rushing out to prepare dinner or to wind back the clock. I took a step inside. Everything was exactly the same as when we left it. My handkerchief was probably still in the kitchen, Mathew's journal lying nonchalantly on the couch of the living room. The house breathed, as it did before. There was no trace of...of what had happened.
I came into the hall. It felt like it was yesterday that I entered Downton for the first time, my eyes filled with wonder. The amazement had tarnished, sadly, and the only feeling that gripped my heart in this instant was horror. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I stepped onto the axminster carpet, garnished with designs of flowers, miraculously intact, and progressed towards the stairs. Everything was where I remembered. The white and green armchairs were disposed near a small, wooden table where one of my books was resting. The Valley of Fear, by Arthur Conan Doyle. How fitting.
As I placed my foot on the first step of the staircase, I looked up. It took me a moment to adjust to the contrast. Up on the gallery, a cloud of darkness shrouded the place in mystery. I gasped. How...how was it possible? A figure emerged from the obscurity. Rising back from the past, rising from the ashes of this wretched romance, she stood there, her hands on the ramp leading down. The dear and beloved Mary Grantham. She was wearing a long, silk white dress with a veil to cover her angelic visage. Wedding bells were ringing in the distance. She stared in my direction but, instead of having the defined features she was known to have, her face was plain, a wall that I hurt myself on. I wanted to scream, but nothing came out. She descended the red carpet and, with every movement of her legs, my heart cowered in fear. "Stop, make it stop!" I shouted and the sound of my words traveled throughout the house. The walls trembled, the vases fell off their surfaces and the lights extinguished themselves.
Mary reached the bottom. She was so close that I could feel her cold, demonic breath on my shoulders. Like a cape of darkness, the impenetrable fog of gloom followed her everywhere she went. Then, she spoke, but without a mouth. It was like her spirit, her soul itself, murmured in my ear. The whispering was so weak and intrusive that I felt as if she had possessed me. "You should never have come to Downton." And she then walked back, slowly, as I was left alone in my torment. And her words, her words, grew bigger and bigger every inch that separated us.
"You should never have come to Downton."