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Doom of the Diva

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"Doom of the Diva" is the first story in Haunted Mansion #6. It was written by Andy and Alice Price and illustrated by Andy Price.

Synopsis Edit

Uncle Theodore tells the tale Baronessa Elda, a renowned opera singer from Europe known for her larger-than-life stage presence as much as her soprano vocals. She is likewise noted for her massive ego, and when she learns that the management of her theater has fired her due to her dying career, she launches into a tirade about how they lack culture and vision. However, right on the heels of this comes and invitation to perform at Gracey Manor, which the diva readily accepts.

Arriving at the mansion in a hired carriage, the Baronessa is met by Master Gracey at the gate, who apologizes for not being able to send his own coach - the coachman has passed away just recently, and is not yet comfortable leaving the grounds. Thinking this ominous statement is just a misspoken phrase, the Baronessa follows Gracey on a quick tour of the house, beginning with the Stretching Room. She asks him if any of the portraits above are of his wife, and he replies to the contrary, though he mentions he was betrothed once and that the relationship ended badly, also commenting that this has become his favorite room in the mansion.

They continue while the Baronessa asks about her payment. Gracey assures her that she'll soon see how valued her talents will be in the mansion after tonight's performance; she is shocked, thinking she'll have no time to rightly prepare. Gracey takes her to a lavishly-appointed chamber and leaves her to prepare.

When the Baronessa later takes a makeshift stage in the ballroom, she sees that all the assembled chairs are empty and again badgers Gracey with annoyed questions. Gracey says the audience will arrive once she starts singing. Though she finds this absurd, she begins to sing and soon falls into a grand aria. Eventually she opens her eyes, hoping to see her audience, and instead sees the chairs filled with ghosts, ghouls and other hideous spirits. Panicking, she turns to flee and sees that Master Gracey has changed into a decaying skeleton with a noose around his neck, reaching out a hand and asking her to calm down.

The Baronessa runs away in terror while the ghosts trail her, begging her to stay and keep singing. She escapes through the Seance Circle, disturbing Madame Leota in the midst of an incantation, and runs onto a balcony. The ghosts fly out and surround her, while Master Gracey entreats her to stay with them, offering her an undying audience that will always love her work. He asks her to join them, so that her beautiful voice will never fade. She is stunned for a moment at this praise, while unbeknownst to her, a ghost has tied one of her long hair braids to the wrought-iron railing. Another ghost pops up in front of the Baronessa, making her jump; she accidentally falls over the balcony railing, and her tied braid causes her neck to snap, killing her.

Uncle Theodore wraps up by saying that her perspective changed when she became a ghost, and is happy her voice will forever haunt the air of the graveyard. She sings eternally now to an audience of grateful ghosts, and she could not be happier about it... especially when the occasional foolish mortal passes through and hears her.

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