The Vicarage contains several mysteries. The three most prominent are:
1. A chapel devoid of all religious emblems and symbols. All is constructed of polished dark wood. Ten rows of pews are divided by an aisle and behind them, elevated on a small balcony, is a moderately-sized pipe organ. The organist, if there ever was one, sits with his or her back to the congregation, facing away from the altar, pulpit, and lectern. Heavy, dark red curtains hide the walls behind the organ and if one pulls aside the curtain on the left, an entrance to a "priest's hole" can be found. This location is the only safe place where one can hide from the Presence.
2. On the second floor one of the bedrooms contains access to a crawlspace that can only be accessed by a small child. The crawlspace goes back some distance and toward the rear, the walls are painted black with what appear to be obscure and complicated mathematical formulae. Unfortunately, children cannot understand the import of what is inscribed on the walls and adults simply are too large to enter the crawlspace.
3. When people first dream of the Vicarage, they awaken in a furnished basement bedroom that is inhabited by the Presence, an invisible entity that is perceived as intelligent and malignantly evil. The victim spends the night cowering under the sheets, paralyzed with terror. There are people who have actually died from their exposure to the Presence, but Jenny (see below) is the only person whose soul has ever remained trapped within the walls of the Vicarage. If a person has future dreams of the mansion, she or he will appear in a random spot in the mansion and they have the freedom to explore the house, though they will always avoid the basement bedroom. Only 5% of people who dream of the Vicarage ever return in future dreams and those that do, only 3% of those can remember their experiences when they awaken in the real world. Occasionally, the Presence leaves the basement walking "primal and serene" throughout the mansion and those trapped in the house with it are consumed with an overwhelming terror of encountering it. People either flee before it in the circular hallways of the mansion or they eventually hide in the sanctuary of the chapel's hiding spot where the Presence cannot enter. There are never more than four people in the house at any given time and one of those is always Jenny.
Scott James Thomas, our narrator, was born Saturday, August 31st, 1957 in Bonneauville, Pennsylvania. The story takes place in the present day when Scott is in his 58th year. Scott dreams often of the Vicarage, usually about once a week and has been doing so for about 45 years, often enough that he can easily draw the floor plans from memory. Though aware of the Presence that walks the hallways of the Vicarage, he seldom has to deal with it leaving its room and the dreams center on his interactions with Jenny (see below) and his attempts to solve the various puzzles and mysteries of the mansion. Scott believes that Jenny is nothing more than a recurring aspect of his dreams and in the beginning of the story is unaware that Jenny was once actually alive. Married on Saturday, June 17th, 1978, Scott’s wife passed away rapidly from malignant cancer in 1980. The marriage was childless. On the Jung Typology, Scott would test as an ISTJ—Introvert(38%) Sensing(12%) Thinking(34%) Judging(25%). His major personality traits are:
- Keen sense of right and wrong
- Noted for devotion to duty
- Often gives the initial impression of being aloof and perhaps somewhat cold.
- "Just the facts, Ma'am."
- Usually keep his feelings to himself unless asked and when asked, doesn’t mince words. Truth wins out over tact.
|Genevieve Morgan Lee|
- Strong desire to serve others, has a strong "need to be needed."
- Very much bound by prevailing social conventions of the 1890s.
- Can be relied on for loyalty and unstinting, high-quality work.
- "If you want it done right, do it yourself."
- Methodical and accurate worker.
- Very good memory and analytic abilities.
- Good with people in small-group or one-on-one situations because of her patient and genuinely sympathetic approach to dealing with others.