Tiki

african-ancient-anonymous-267858

It was almost Halloween and typical autumn night, the rain pelting down and the wind at gale force. The clock ticked to 3 AM. In the haze of sleep, a voice was calling me and something was touching my arm. I woke, confused and fuzzy.

‘Mummy? The ghosts have been talking to me again,’ a voice whispered.

I clicked on the lamp and looked down at my five year old son, Bailey. He was clutching an action figure of Iron Man and looking as tired as I was feeling.

‘You said I had to tell,’ Bailey spoke louder.

I yawed and mumbled something that was meant to be I know. I rubbed my face and got up.

‘What did they say?’ I asked.

‘The ghosts say we have to get rid of the tiki head.’

‘Again?’ I moaned, ‘are you sure that’s not just you, Bailey?’

He shook his head, soft blonde hair floating about.

‘What’s matter?’ my husband, Tom asked from the other side of the bed.

‘It’s nothing,’ I replied.

Getting out of the bed, I took Bailey’s hand and lead him back to his bedroom. The night light was on, casting an calming orange glow and also creating more shadows. I thought I saw shapes moving by the wardrobe but it was just my tired eyes and lack of light.

‘Where did you see the ghosts, Bailey?’ I questioned.

He let go of my hand and said, ‘all round.’

‘And they look like…?’

‘Like they normally do!’ he snapped, ‘see-through, floating and like people.’

‘Okay,’ I muttered.

I put him back to bed, not impressed. Ever since Bailey had started talking, he had spoke of the ghosts most nights. Which was weird because my husband and I had never told him anything about ghosts or the supernatural. I tried to keep him away from that stuff, believing that it could effect him somehow.

I tucked him back in and sat on the edge of the bed, ‘tell me what they said, again,’ I asked.

‘The tiki head is evil. We have to get rid of it,’ Bailey replied.

I knew of course what he was talking about, he had been going on about it for weeks. Tom and I had a wooden tiki head which we had gotten from Easter Island where we had gone on our honeymoon. I wasn’t that keen on the ugly face and had half hidden it on the corner bookcase in the living room. I don’t remember telling Bailey about it but maybe Tom had done?

‘Why is it evil?’ I questioned.

‘A bad spirit,’ he said.

I rubbed my face again, not sure what to do.

‘Okay. Go back to sleep.’

I kissed him, patted the duvet down and went back to my own bed. Tom was snoring again and everything looked normal. I wondered as I got back into bed and turned out the light what was going on with Bailey.

Waiting to fall asleep again, I listen to the heavy rain and decided in the morning, without saying anything, I would take the tiki head and hide it somewhere. Then Bailey would stop talking about it and the ghosts.

In the morning, before Tom and Bailey were awake, I went downstairs and took the tiki head from the shelf. It felt rough and cold in my hand, the features of the bold face leering at me in a shocking grimace. I remembered Tom picking it, making a joke that it remind him of my mother, whom he didn’t get on with.

In the hallway, I opened the under stairs cupboard which we used to store unwanted things. I tucked the tiki head in between a horrible brown glazed vase and a stack of old books. Closing the door, I dusted my hands in a there that’s dealt with motion and went to have a shower.

I shouldn’t have believed that a simple act like that would solve the problems. That night I put Bailey to bed and told him, ‘I got rid of the tiki head. You should sleep better now.’

‘Thanks, Mummy,’ he said sleepy.

I tugged him in, kissed him goodnight and left his room.

In the morning though when I woke him up and took him into the bathroom, Bailey announced, ‘the ghosts say you didn’t get rid of the tiki head.’

‘What? Here, brush your teeth,’ I said.

‘Mummy, you said you was getting rid of it but you didn’t.’

‘I did,’ I countered back.

Bailey shook his head, ‘you hid it.’

I put my hands on my hips and told him firmly to brush his teeth. I got him dressed and wished, as I imagined other parents often did, that I was taking him to school. It was half term though and so today, I would have to entertain my son.

We went downstairs and at the cupboard underneath, Bailey stopped and went to the door.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked.

He opened the door and went in before I could stop him. He picked up the tiki head and handed it to me. There was a such a serious adult look on his face, that for a few seconds I didn’t recognise my little boy.

‘You lied,’ he said.

‘How did you know?’ I whispered.

‘The ghosts told me.’

‘Fine,’ I snapped.

I took the tiki head into the kitchen and placed it into the bin.

‘It’s gone now,’ I declared and Bailey seemed satisfied again.

The tiki head wasn’t though.

Two days later was the eve of Halloween and we were watching a movie on the sofa. There was a knocking at the door. Confused, I stepped into the hallway to answer it and heard that the knocking was coming from the back door and not the front. Kids playing jokes? A neighbor wanting to point something out?

I turned on the kitchen light, the knocking stopped and so did I.

Sitting on the sink draining board was the tiki head.

‘Tom?’ I called.

‘Yeah?’

I backed out of the kitchen and hurried into the living room.

‘The tiki head. Did you take it out of the bin?’ I asked.

‘What? I didn’t move anything,’ he replied.

‘Bailey?’

He shook his head and turned back to the movie again.

‘Right.’

I walked back into the kitchen and turned on the light again. The tiki head was gone.

I walked in, over to the sink and ran my hand across the slight wet surface. Nothing. I went to the bin and looked inside, I could just make out the tiki head from underneath other rubbish. I grabbed the bag and took it outside.

The air smelt like burning wood and leaves, damp earth and fireworks. The sky was a dull black and the half moon stark. Rain began to fall and I heard the wind playing. I dropped the bag into the waster bin and went back in.

Back in the living room, on the sofa, the soft glow of the TV and Bailey laughing, I didn’t say anything to them. I told myself I had imagined things.

That night, I lay in bed unable to sleep. I could hear this plastic rattling and something tapping. The wind and rain had died down now and I couldn’t tell what was making the noise or where it was coming from. I must have fallen asleep at some point because I had a weird dream that the tiki head kept appearing all around the house and I was chasing after it.

In the morning, I got up and searched the whole house but there wasn’t anything. I went to the outside bin and looked in, the bag with the tiki head was on top and the knot I had tied was still there.

I felt uneasy all day. Bailey was happily doing some Halloween craft activities and later we decorated the house. He didn’t say anything about ghosts or the tiki head. When Tom came home, we carved pumpkins together and get ready for the trick or treaters to call.

The first knock came at the door and I hurried to answer it.

There was no one there, just the grinning pumpkins flickering with light and the fake cobwebs pulling in the breeze. I looked further out, there was no way I could have missed anybody. In the distance, came the faint voices, knocking and doorbells. Something on the path moved. A leaf?

I walked out and towards it. My feet hit something and I looked down. The leering face of the tiki head stared up at me. I picked it up, the wood was icy cold and wet.

‘This has to be a joke!’ I snapped.

I looked round and saw no movement. I went back inside with the tiki head and placed it on the hallway table. I grabbed my coat and car keys.

‘Tom?’ I called.

‘Yes, Katie?’ he shouted back.

‘I’ve to go out. I forgot something.’

‘Now?’

‘I won’t be long!’

Snatching the Tiki head up, I went to my car. Not sure where to go, I drove around until I reached the park. There was a pond there and if I dropped the tiki head in it would be gone forever.

I got out of the car and smelt the deep autumn air. There were some people dressed up and wondering about. The park was light with some street lamps and the glow of the houses around. I hurried along the pathways to the pond.

The black water rippled against the stone wall, looking dangerous. A firework crackled into the sky, startling me. I saw the bobbing of a cyclist’s headlight and heard laughter.

Looking down at the tiki head, I tossed it in the water. The splash was loud and small waves rushed towards me.

‘So long,’ I said.

I went back home and enjoyed Halloween with my family. I felt like a weight had been lifted. However, as I went to bed that night I heard a dripping sound. Thinking someone had left a tap on I went first to the bathroom then the kitchen.

Turning on the light, I saw the back door open and the tiki head laying in a pool of water.

I screamed.

Advertisements

Tree House

treehouse-255518_1280

As kids we said the tree house was haunted but it wasn’t till we were adults that we found out the truth.

(Inspired by https://katmyrman.com/2017/10/10/twittering-tale-53-10-october-2017/ with thanks).

Objects (Part 2)

old-237123_1920

Getting my phone out again, I searched and found the light switch to the room and flicked it on. Just sticking my head around the door, I looked in. Perhaps, this room had once been designed to be a space for guests to wait or a living room or a dinning room, but now it was full to floor to ceiling with furniture. There were bookcases, shelves, glass cabinets, chests of drawers and in the middle a large red velvet armchair. Some of theses things looked antique and maybe a few had been original to the house.

However, it was more what the furniture held that drew me. The shelves, bookcases and cabinets were filled with all manner of objects. There were watches and clocks of all kinds, but none of them working. There were old weapons; pistols, knifes, daggers, a sword and to go with them; bullets, sheathes and holders. Figurines made out of all kinds of things, in different styles and scenes. There were framed photos in color and black and white of people and places. Old stuff toys, dolls and children’s play things were dotted around too. There was a few books, but they looked so old and broken that they’d fall apart in my hands.

A creeping feeling crossed over me and my hair stood up. A coldness that was totally different from the weather outside touched me and I felt the urge to close the door and walk away. However, I carried on standing there in wonder. Had Uncle Eli run an antique business? Had he been a hoarder? Perhaps it had been his parents’ collection or business? The solicitor had said it was their house….But he’d said it had been rented for a time too and surely this all hadn’t been here? Maybe, the tenants had been to blame?

I stepped into the room and tried to see if I could figure anything out. If there were price tags or description cards then that would suggest a business. There was nothing on any object though and the more I looked the more I saw. Feeling a sense of suffocation, I walked out and closed the door behind me. Maybe the next room would have the answers?

Crossing the hallway, I opened the door that had been on my right and went in. Once again I had a challenge finding the light switch, but when the bulb overhead came on, I saw this room was totally different from it’s neighbor. There was a huge oak desk under the curtained window and on it was a colored glass lamp, a stack of papers to one side, an A4 black leather notebook in the middle and there was a fountain pen next to it. A large padded chair was resting under the desk too.

Floor to ceiling bookcases took up the wall in front of me and to the right. They were filled with books, files, diaries, scrapbooks, notebooks and box files. The last wall was covered in picture frames which held certificates, photographs and newspaper clippings.

I walked in, feeling like I would find answers in here. I went to the desk and opened the notebook there. Turning the pages, I read the clear fancy handwriting and discovered it was a list of items. There was the object’s name, it’s location in the house, the date it was got, where it came from, who it had been it’s last owner and strangely a danger level.

What did that mean? My mind puzzled over. I turned the page and ran my finger down another long list and for no reason at all I began to speak these things aloud;

‘Mantle clock, nineteen-twenties, fruit wood, white face, classic style numbers. Downstairs front room, back wall, shelf number two. Nineteen-nineteen-seven. Blackpool. Mrs. Pennyworth. Low danger.’

‘Dagger, plain sliver handle, tip broken off, no sheath. Late eighteen hundreds. Downstairs front room, cabinet B, shelf three. Nineteen-nineteen-seven. Liverpool. Mr. Gardener. High danger.’

I read a few more enters, but couldn’t make any further sense of it. Closing the book, I looked through the stack of papers and found they were all letters. Most of them were asking my Uncle Eli for help or thanking him. I hardly glanced at them really. There was also a few Christmas cards that must have come from neighbors and these people in the letters. There was too much to read and I wanted to stay in here longer, but the urge to go upstairs was too strong.

Leaving the room, I went up the creaking and rickety stairs. There was no light on this hallway, but I could see three doors. The first was in front of me and led into a very dirty bathroom. The light above me was dim, on it’s way out but I was actually glad I couldn’t further make out how filthy this room was. I used the toilet and when I flushed it the noise was as loud as the sea waves crashing into the cliffs outside. I tried to use the sink and even though water was dripping out of one of the taps, I couldn’t turn either one. I avoided looking into the large and deep bathtub and hurried back into the hallway.

Going first to the door on my right, which was above the study, I opened it and found it to be just like the first room downstairs. It was fuller though and packed more tightly with furniture and the objects were just everywhere! I could hardly squeeze through the door. The only spot that seemed to be clearer was the window sill. There was a table next to it and as I got closer I saw why. There were four large brown pot jars against the curtained window that were also balanced on the table.

I read the carved in words on the front of them; souls of demons, souls of lost ghosts, souls of children, souls of evildoers.

What the…?

Shaking my head, I caught sight of a thin bookcase that was crammed full of glass jars. Each had a paper label and though some of the words were faded, I could still see things like; the ghost of Mr. M. Barlow. Spirit of a large dog. Ghoul number 23. Curse of a hag and protection spell, once use only! 

I couldn’t look at anything else. I left the room and without stopping went into the final one. I hoped it would be different, but knew as soon as my fingers wrapped around the door knob it wasn’t going to be. Opening and going through the door, I spent a few moments finding the light switch. My hand knocked into a thing on the wall which rattled then I turned on the light and quickly wished I hadn’t.

The room was full of tribal items and bones. Most of the walls were covered in masks, pipes, tribal weapons, instruments and on the shelves and chest of drawers tops were bowls, pots and other such things. They seemed to belong to a vast number of tribes that had once been throughout the world. Also, there were human leg, arm, rib bones and two skulls dotted around as well as bones and skulls that looked to belong to animals. Some of these had been made into ceremonially pieces, decorations or jewelry.

I turned the light off and left. I went downstairs, but every time I blinked all I could see were the empty eye sockets of those two skulls and the countless masks. Going straight into the kitchen, I turned on the cold water tap which thankfully worked and I washed my hands and face. With my mind clearing, I went into the study and stood for a few minutes looking around. The diaries drew my attention and I went over had a look at them. On the spines they were all dated and shocking I found they went back over two hundred years!

I took the first one which was dated 1811 off the shelf. It was a heavy book, made from brown leather and the pages were yellow, but still intact. Going back to the last few diaries which were all in the 2000’s, I looked for this year’s; 2016, but didn’t spot it. I pulled 2015 out instead and went back to the desk with them. Placing them on top of the object list book, I collected the stack of papers and piled them on too.

Then I searched the desk. Surprising there were many drawers and they contained a mix of items, most of which I ignored. I found this year’s diary in the top right drawer and taking it out put it with the other books and papers. In the last drawer; the bottom one on the right, I found a few family photos. The first was the most recent and it had been taken at Christmas last year. I spotted myself, next to my adopted parents and brothers. The rest of the family was gathered around and there was a huge Christmas tree in the background along with the traditional fire place scene.

Adding this to my pile, I picked it all up and staggered to the front door under the weight. Placing everything down, I had to unlock the door before I could open it. As soon as I had opened it the wind snatched the door from me and flung it back against the wall. Large snowflakes tumbled in and stuck to the hallway floor. Struggling against the wind and snow, I stepped outside and found myself in a snowstorm.

To Be Continued…

 

Ghost House

moon-1404506_1280

The house stood alone at the end of the street and I stood before it, just taking it in. It was a small home, a two up two down as those types of houses were known. Once and I’d have not have noticed this if I hadn’t looked it up, the house had been an end terrace place and built for the local cotton mill workers. Now, it was standing alone, surrounded by a wire fence hung with signs that said danger, keep out.

The front garden was overgrown and looked like a meadow. Totally, strange in the middle of this town were even a large patch of grass was sacred. This estate was almost through being done up and most of the houses had been demolished and rebuilt. but this one, stood alone, looking highly unwelcoming and yet begging someone to go in and discovery why it had been left out.

I looked closer and saw the front door was slightly a jar as if someone had just nipped back in. The door number, letter box, bell and knocker had been taken off as if the resident was desperate to be left alone. The four windows – two close by the door and two above them were not board up, though at one time they had been. The glass was broken in one of the downstairs’ windows and half broken in the top one opposite. The rest of the house was in shadows and as it was quickly becoming night, the house looked even more dark.

I unzipped my large fleece coat and withdrew my camera. Carefully, looking around, I saw no one about and heard nothing other then the wind and a dog barking. I turned the camera on and saw a ghostly like reflection of my face before pointing it towards the house. I took some photos, one after the other, not really bothering to be artistic. This wasn’t that kind of photo shoot.

With another quick glance around, I walked off the street and down the side. My shoulder and rucksack brushed against the wire and made a zinging sound. I side stepped a little, but didn’t want to loose my footing in the other grown grass. Halfway past, I stopped and took some more photos then carried on.

The back of the house was in worse state then the front. The garden was too overgrown and was pushing hard against the fence. I looked for a way in and found nothing. Letting my camera rest against my neck, I dug out my small torch and wire cutters. Timing the clips with the dog barking, I chopped my way into the fence.

Squeezing through, I felt myself sinking into wet earth. Moving fast, I came to stand in the back garden on more solid ground. Looking up in the dim light, I could see that the back looked the same as the front; a door and four windows. These windows though were board up and so was the back door.

Pulling a face, I put my things away and took a few photos. I looked at the small screen, but saw nothing of interested yet. Of course, I was torn between hoping to see the ghost and hoping not. I believed in all that un-dead stuff, but this place and it’s story was something I couldn’t get my head around. That’s why I had to see it for myself and experience it too.

Slowly, I walked down the other side and towards the front door. Once there, I give the door a shove and slipped in. I stepped away from the crack of streetlight bleeding in and turned on my torch. The hallway was bare, but covered with rubbish. Teenagers had been using this house to hang out in. There were tins of food, cans of drink, cig ends and was that a needle?

Shuddering, I shook it off and tried not to think about what could have happened recently in this house. I took some photos, finding comfort in the weight of my camera. I shuffled down the hall and into the first room. My torch picked out a broken sofa before a fireplace. There was a collection of ashes and rubbish spilling from the grate. I circled the room, taking only a few photos.

Then I left and crossed into the next. My torch picked out the corpses of books and newspapers. There were beer tins and food wrappers. Two chairs sat facing each other on either side of a low table, which was covered with burn marks and wax. I took photos of it all. More then just teenagers skipping school and hiding from their parents had been hanging out here.

I stepped back into the hallway and froze. Something was moving above me. I looked then shone my torch on the buckling staircase. The noise was shuffling; bare feet on wooden boards trying to go unnoticed. I felt a lump in my throat and a twisting knot in my stomach. Was someone alive in the house beside from me?

Unable to bring myself to call out, I walked upstairs. Gently, I went through the two bedrooms and the bathroom. The rooms had all but been ripped out. I found some fitted shelves still in place in the front bedroom and a broken book in the middle of the room. The second bedroom was in worse state with graffiti on the walls and burn marks on the floor. And the bathroom….everything had been taken out, even the wall tiles.

There was no one up here.

I checked for an attic hatch, thinking that maybe someone could’ve gone up there, but I didn’t spot one. I went back to the second bedroom and found a good spot to sit on the floor. It was in one of the corners, so at least I had my back to something. It was pitch black though and I switched out my torch for the camping lantern I had brought with me.

The crying came as a little soft, hushed sound. It was childlike and almost trying to go undetected. In the silence of the house I heard it too loudly. The hairs stood up on my arms and back of my neck. I rose my camera and began taking photos. The crying grow and changed into a wail. Now it sounded like a old woman in pain and distress.

I stayed still, watching and waiting, sometimes taking photos. A few times I suddenly remembered to breath and dragged in freezing lungfuls of air. I felt a pain in my chest and legs, then the wailing switched to crying and screaming. The noise echoed all around me and I couldn’t pin it down. The floor and wall vibrated, causing the urge to flee to kick in.

I held out and took more photos, not caring how they looked, just desperate to capture the thing making all the noise. Finally, I found my voice and yelled out, ‘I know what they did to you Dorothea! I want to help you, come to me!’

My words faded, mingling with the screams. I licked my lips and spoke again, ‘your family disowned you and left you here to rot. You cursed them! But the curse also trapped you!’

Something flickered at the doorway. A shadow? A shape of light? Frantically, I snapped photos one handed whilst the fingers of my other hand scrapped across the floor. My whole body was shaking, I just wanted to get out and run far away.

‘Dorothea! Show yourself to me!’ I screamed.

There! A figure in the doorway for sure! I clicked the camera button hard so many times I thought my finger might break. For all I know it could have done because my body had now frozen solid to the floor. I felt myself losing conciseness. I wrestled against it and tried to move. I couldn’t though, my limbs felt too heavy and brain was going into overdrive. You won’t run from the danger, so you’ll black out from it!

I screamed, trying to get myself out and awake my body up, but it was too late. I felt my eyes closing and my back slumming. Right before I lost it though, I saw her; Dorothea, the gypsy witch, standing over me.

When I came too the house was silent. My body ached all over. I got up, un-sticking myself from my camera and the wall. Pins and needles ran down my arms and legs, my feet felt so cramped I didn’t think I could ever walk on them again. Somehow, though I found I was able to stand and begin moving like a crippled dog.

I made it out of the house and back on to the street. There in the growing dawn light, I used the last of my camera battery to view the photos. It was the last handful I become interested in. Was that the corner of a dress in the doorway? The outline of fingers? A face appearing out of the gloom?

It was too hard to tell, but perhaps….perhaps there was something there…..

Ghostly Secrets (Part 5)

pexels-photo-68389-large

Annabelle almost tore through the letter itself as she disregarded the envelope. Her eyes flicked across the neat handwriting that she recognised as being her father’s from the countless letters he had sent her. The letter was brief and written to his lawyer about amendments to his will.

My wife has died, he wrote, And I wish to leave the care of my daughter to my sister, Lucy Yeats and provide her a sum of money monthly to look after the child’s needs and education. My country house, should go to my brother, Edward and his wife. If anything should happen to my sister and her family which means they can no longer care of my child, she is to go to my brother. 

Annabelle felt she already knew about that, perhaps her aunt Lucy had once told her. Luckily, none of that had come to pass and she was only staying with her uncle to get some fresh air and recover from illness. She knew she’s soon be back in London shopping with her cousins and discussing possible husbands.

She read on, noticing how her father’s last letter for that was which she guessed it to be, was so different from her mother’s. Her father continued to list money and items to people, namely her and other family members. Then he had signed it at the bottom. Annabelle set the letter down and picked up the envelope to put it back in. As she did so though light from the candle light caught it and she saw that something had actually been written on the inside of the envelope.

Carefully, Annabelle opened the thin paper and read the secret message her father had placed there. The ink was fading and the words so small it was hard to read without holding it up to the light. She felt a chill go through her as she read;

My wife is not actually dead, but she is as good as. Her madness has become too much to cope with. She no longer knows me or her child or anyone else. I have had to leave her in Edward’s care and remove our child to a safer place. My wife can not be cured nor do the doctors know how long she will live for. Often, she raves in French about seeing the ghostly form of her mother and we are finding it hard to keep servants in the place.

I need a death certificate but so far I have been unable to find a doctor who will sign one. They think perhaps, I mean to cheat my daughter out of inheritance. My will must be prove enough that I do not wish that to happen. We must arrange a meeting between us and a doctor who will assist us. It should be at the church were my sons are buried and everything done in secret for the time being.

The letter ended and Annabelle fell into a deep reflections. She had once had brothers and all the things she had heard about her mother’s passing had been wrong. Everyone had made her believe it had been in child birth, but all along it had been some other illness. And the ghost! Was the hunchbacked old woman actually her grandmother? Perhaps that explained why she could not rest for she wanted Annabelle to understand what had happened and for things to be settled.

Putting the envelope down, Annabelle picked up her mother’s letter and read it in a new light. The words made better sense now and Annabelle felt her heart breaking further.

I have not much time left, her mother had written, I can feel it. Some days I know my husband by his face and voice, but other days he is a stranger to me! I can not remember much other then my baby is gone to join the others in the grave and my young daughter has been sent to London. I hope that she is spared my illness.

The north tower has become my home and often I think of the poor child of my husband’s brother. That child lived here too, hidden from the world because of his deformity and the family’s shame. I think sometimes I can hear screaming and scratching at the door. My mother visits often in her ghost form. I have for years tried hard not to talk of her, but I can no longer hold it back. Still she does not speak and it is always past the midnight hour when she appears.

What will become of my child? I always think of her when I come back to my senses. I wish to she her, but my husband says she is gone and will only come back when I am better. I have heard the doctor’s whispering and I know I never will survive this. I want to leave. I want to get out of this house, it seems to have some supernatural powers, maybe it is cursed or evil lives here. My husband does not believe me, but I think I could get better if I only left!

My child needs to be kept away from this place. I fear for her if she ever comes here.

Clara. 

  Annabelle dropped the letter and burst into tears. How had they kept this all from her? She put her head down on the desk, resting on her arms and cried for sometime. Exhausted she then fell asleep and had fitful dreams.

The room was darker when she awoke because some of the candles had burnt themselves out. Annabelle got up and went to the door. It was still locked. She bang her fists against the wood and began shouting loudly. Someone must come!

However, when she paused to drag in deep breaths, she heard nothing but the slow creaking of the house. Annabelle looked at her hands and saw they were bruised. Wondering what to do she swept about the floor and decided to see if there was another way out the room.

She searched for a long time, testing all parts of every wall and even the floor, but the rooms give up no more secrets. Hungry and tried she give in and lay down on the bed. Holding on to the fact that someone would soon start looking for her, she fell asleep.

She dreamed of her parents in the manor house. They were running down the corridors and in out of the rooms, they were chasing each other and laughing. She watched them from the point of view of a baby until they vanished into the folds of the house.  She cried loudly, begging they come back to her, but they did not reappear and she was left alone.

Annabelle woke with a start, her ears still ringing with the crying of a baby. She sat up, pushed her hair behind her and listened. The crying was still going on. Getting up, she walked around, but could find no source of the noise. She returned to the bedchamber and the desk just as the crying stopped. Annabelle saw the hunchbacked old woman waiting by the foot of the bed.

‘I know now!’ Annabelle cried, ‘I know what happened, but I’m trapped in here. How can I tell my uncle and aunt?’

The ghost looked at her and turned towards the door. Slowly, she floated over and went through the door. Annabelle dropped her shoulders and felt all the energy leaving her. She rose a hand to her head as she felt pain growing and then it was gone. She heard the door click open and slowly move inwards.

Annabelle hurried to the door and opened it fully. The ghost was standing in the hallway lighting the way as the last candle in the room went out. The old woman began moving and Annabelle followed to her chambers.

At the door, she thanked the ghost and promised to make things right, then she went into the room which was warm and blazing with light.

Ghostly Secrets (Part 4)

pexels-photo-68389-large

Annabelle stopped then pulled the curling envelope out of the jewelry box. She turned it over and looked for anything written on it or a seal, but there was nothing. She placed the rest of the jewelry back in and opened the envelope, her heart fluttered as she did so, but before she could stop her moving hands, the piece of paper was out and before her eyes.

She read it slowly and the words began to weigh heavy in her mind. It was strange, but even before she saw the name at the end, she knew her mother had written it. She re-read the letter and though it was not addressed to anyone, perhaps her mother had wrote it for her.

A noise and voices outside in the corridor drew her attention and Annabelle folded the letter back up, tucked it in the envelope then placed it up her long sleeve. She blew out all the candles but the one she had brought with her then slipped through the hidden door and blew out the candles in the library. Going into the bedchamber, she paused because the door into the hallway was half open.

She backed up, shielding the light of her candle away.

‘What were you doing in there, girl?’ a sharp man’s voice that Annabelle recognised as the butler’s asked.

‘Nothing, sir,’ Annabelle’s maid squeaked back, ‘There was a cat, you see and I was chasing it away and then I saw the door was open and thought it had gone in, but it had not. I am sorry, sir.’

‘The door was open?’ the butler mutter before raising his voice again, ‘that’ll be all. Get yourself back in the kitchen, girl! And I never want to see you in this part of the house again or I’ll have you removed. Do you understand?’

‘Yes, sir, right away, sir.’

Annabelle heard the running of feet then the door banging too and the clicking of a lock. She held her breath and kept pressed against the door frame. Her body was shaking and heart was beating so loud she was sure someone would hear it. After a few moments, she heard heavier footsteps walking away and she let her breath out. Still though she did not move and she counted a minute before entering carefully into the bedchamber.

She had removed all the candles before, so only the one in her hands offered any light. Annabelle found her way to the door and tried the handle. She pulled the door, but it would not moved. Panicking, she tugged the handle harder, but the door was clearly locked and not moving.

She opened her mouth and cried out then shouted for help. Annabelle listened but heard nothing. She paced before the door, her skirts swishing around her and she tried stay calm. Finally, she decided to relight the other candles and place them around her.

With more light, she could see the bedchamber better. The bed clothes and hangings were musty and she avoided touching them so there was no further rising of dust. She went back to the desk and sat down at the chair. She took the envelope from her sleeve and rubbed it against her fingers.

Opening it again, she took out the letter and re-read it. Annabelle let out a little gasp as the words on the paper sunk in. Her hand rested on her heart and she read like that till the end. Trembling, she put the letter down and looked at it. The words blurred before her and she realised she was crying.

Wiping her eyes, Annabelle tried to figure things out. She had always known her mother was half French, that was were she had gotten her name, but she had not known her mother had lived here. Her mother had died when Annabelle was young and her father had given Annabelle over to the care of her other aunt and she had been brought up with her three cousins.

Annabelle had never given any real thought to the mother she did not know, but now so many questions were coming into her mind. Sliding the letter away, she picked up the sealed envelope that she had avoid opening before and tore into it.

To Be Continued…

Ghostly Secrets (Part 3)

pexels-photo-68389-large

Annabelle hurried back to her chambers forgetting all her manners. The skirt of her nightdress whipped around her legs and she almost tripped over many times. The flame of the oil lamp flickered madly and made the shadows along the walls more darker. Her bare feet pounded the floor almost as loudly as her heart.

She almost missed her door in her flight. Annabelle stopped and looked desperately around, she barely recognised the corridor but then saw where her bedchamber door was and hurried in. The room was just as she had left with it; with the fire now out and the bed cold. Annabelle placed the lamp on her bedside table and scrambled into bed. She shivered violently and clutched the sheets tightly.

Annabelle calmed herself. She rested against the pillows and took in deep breaths. Despite everything, she heard the grandfather clock in the front hallway below chime three am. She tried to settle, but sleep would not come and her mind was too drawn back to the room. Why had the ghost taken her there? Who’s room had it been? She knew parts of the manor house had been shut away because they were no longer needed. Perhaps, she could ask her uncle and aunt, maybe even the maids and house keeper? Somehow though, Annabelle did not want to tell anyone about the room.

She shut her eyes, feeling tried but at the same time unable to sleep. She wondered when she could try and go back during the daytime. Maybe in the middle of the afternoon? her aunt always took a nap and her uncle went out for a walk. The servants would be busy preparing the evening meal and finishing their tasks for the day. Annabelle decided that would be the best time and promptly fell asleep.

When she woke it was late morning. Annabelle rubbed her eyes and face as she came too. She knew the maid had been in because her clothes were laid out and there was fresh water in the jug. Annabelle got up and washed herself before ringing the bell for the maid. Whilst she waited, she looked outside and out over the moors. It was a grey dull day and there was not much to see.

The maid appeared and helped her get dressed into a plain blue day dress. Somehow, Annabelle held her questions about the ghost and room in. She went down to eat and found her uncle and aunt had already eaten and where in other parts of the house. Annabelle ate her eggs and toast in silence then went back to her room. Stepping through the door, she saw the maid was cleaning out the fireplace.

‘I’ll be done soon, Miss. Is there anything I can do for you?’ the maid asked.

Annabelle looked at her, recalling that the maid was younger then herself, so the girl might not know anything about the room. The girl had chestnut brown hair, so different from Annabelle’s blonde curls and she was wearing clothes that ill fitted her, as if the maid had been given another woman’s clothes. Annabelle pressed her lips together and decided to ask, ‘do you anything about ghosts?’

The girl, paused and looked at her, ‘no, Miss.’

Annabelle  went and sat at her dressing table where she played with a silver hairbrush and mirror. She watched the maid in the mirror and thought carefully.

‘You must know some stories though…’Annabelle muttered.

‘Sorry, Miss?’

‘Have you ever since a ghost?’ Annabelle asked.

‘No, Miss,’ the maid said quickly, ‘I must go and get some more coal.’

Annabelle turned to stop her but the girl hurried off before she could call her back. Sighing, she looked around then noticed the match box on the floor. Getting up, she collected that and a candle from the mantel and left her room. Though she had meant to find the secret room later, the urge to go back and see it again was too strong.

She hurried along the corridor and around into the next one. She remembered the way perfectly and arrived at the door, which was still slightly ajar. Annabelle opened it and stepped in. Closing it behind her, she found herself in darkness and had to go out again so she could light the candle. With that done, she walked through the bedchamber and light the few candles that were dotted about.

It was just a man’s bedchamber and beside from the envelope on the desk, Annabelle found no other names. She paused over the letter and then picked it up. The envelope had been sealed and never opened. It had never been posted. She almost opened it then she could not bring herself to break the seal. Placing it back, she walked into the other room and lit the single candle there.

The small flame hardly cast any light, so she went and picked up another candle from the next room. Then she could see that it was a personal library. A few molding books rested on a few bookshelves, but someone had taken away the others a long time ago. Annabelle went to the tapestry and inspected it more closely. She could not see anything else within it though. Moving it aside, she opened the door to the secret room and stepped in once more.

Straight away she saw the long curtains and went over to open them. Weak light drifted into the room from the dirty windows, but Annabelle could now see a lot more. She brought candles from the first room and placed them around. Then she saw that the room had once been heavily decorated and wonderful, but now time was decaying everything. It appeared to a be a lady’s private room, but Annabelle did not know how that was possible since it was clearly connect to a man’s room.

She walked about, looking at the pretty objects that decorated the room. There was a large chair and sofa, books on the shelves, dried flowers in vases, makeup and hair items on the large dresser. Small paintings hung on the walls of countryside scenes and the actual manor house. Two porcelain dolls sat together in a baby crib, their dust covered glass eyes staring up at Annabelle. Soft rugs covered the floor, muffling her footsteps as she moved around to looked for another hidden doorway. Perhaps she thought this room did connect to another somehow.

After much searching and looking at the placement of the items and furniture, Annabelle decided she had been wrong. There was only one way out of this room and someone had moved everything in here to make it look like it did. She went back to the desk and looked at the items there. There was a ink stand complete with pots and what had once been quills, yellow writing papers, an old book and the jewelry box.

Annabelle touched it, feeling dust under her fingers. She opened the large wooden box and saw the glitter of jewels in the candle light. No music came from the box, but as she inspect it and the contents more, she found a key and was able to wind it up. A soft lullaby rose up and she thought she knew it, but could not place it. She picked up necklaces, bracelets, earrings and loose gem stones, all very expensive and just left hidden in this dark room.

She started putting everything back and that was when she spotted the letter.

To Be Continued…

Ghostly Secrets (Part 2)

pexels-photo-68389-large

The ghost of the old woman went through the door and Annabelle let out a little gasp. She went over thinking it might have been a trick, but she saw the door as solid as it had been before. Realizing that being a ghost might granted you such powers, Annabelle opened the door and walked into the hallway.

The countryside manor house was as quiet the graveyard close by and just as dark. Feeling a little less nervous with her glowing oil lamp, Annabelle peered around the corridor. The carpet runner felt worn, but far less cold under her bare feet. Shadows lingered anywhere, making the normal objects more monstrous. Annabelle raised the light to a landscape painting that hung just outside her door.

She knew the rolling hills, sheep and grey sky so well now, but in the lamp light the painting looked a mix of greens and greys as if the artist had destroyed the work in a rage. Annabelle’s hand clutched her fluttering heart and she took a few moments to calm herself.

‘It’s only because it’s dark,’ Annabelle muttered.

She turned away and saw that the ghost had drifted off. Annabelle let out a little cry and gathering her sweeping night dress up, quickly walked down the corridor. She caught up just before the old woman turned the corner and Annabelle could see that the ghost was letting off as much light as the oil lamp was, which really was not enough to see by.

‘Could we not do this during the day? It is frightfully late,’ Annabelle spoke out.

The ghastly old woman ignored her and carried on drifting down the next corridor. Annabelle let out a small sigh and wondered if she should just go back to her bedchamber. Somehow it felt too late now and did she not want to know why the ghost kept visiting her?

The corridor stretched before them, but the ghost did not go all the way to the end. She choice a door on the left side and went through. Annabelle frowned and shone the oil lamp on the door. There was nothing unremarkable about the dark oak frame and door. Annabelle held her breath and reached for the brass knob. The door opened silently and she walked into in the well furnished bedchamber.

Looking around, Annabelle guessed it had once been a long term resident’s room as there were still personal affects dotted about. She spotted a small stack of thin books on the bedside table, an ink pot and paper still on the desk under the window, a picture of a married couple in a silver frame on the mantel. She walked further about and noticed the thick layer of dust covering everything. Going to the desk, she looked at an envelope placed to one side, it was addressed to a Mr Cromby in London.

She thought about picking it up and looking at it, but her senses got the better of her and she turned away. Annabelle saw the ghost was disappearing through a small door in the corner and went over to open it. The door was stiff and it took a few moments for her to open it. She shone the light into a small room that might have been a personal library at one time. Empty bookcases lined two of the walls and there was a comfy looking armchair in the far corner.

The hunchbacked ghost was going to the wall behind the chair, where an ancient tapestry was. Annabelle brought the lamp closer to view the scene and saw it was a knight riding a white horse with a red dragon breathing fire at them on the other side. It was really faded and threadbare. If there had been anything else on the tapestry she could not see it. The old woman went through, taking her white ghost light with her.

Annabelle dropped the edges of her nightdress and felt the tapestry. The wall felt solid. With no where to place oil lamp, she carried on pressing the wall hanging until she felt the edge of what might have been a doorway. Annabelle lifted the tapestry and saw there was a small door. She tried the handle and it opened on rusty hinges.

The ghost was waiting for her and silently led Annabelle into a long forgotten room. With a see-through finger, the old female specter pointed at a musical jewellery box on the table. Annabelle went up to the desk and looked down.

‘What is it?’ Annabelle asked.

She looked over at the ghost, but the old woman had disappeared.

To Be Continued…

 

Ghostly Secrets (Part 1)

Brown Wooden Coffee Table Below an Uplight Chandelier

The ghost had been visiting Annabelle for the past four nights. The specter took the form of an old hunchback woman dressed in long flowing rags. She was almost see-through and surrounded by a white glowing light. She appeared at the bottom of Annabelle’s bed as the grandfather clock stroke two am. Annabelle would awaken, not sure what had disturbed her slumber, but knowing she was no longer alone in the bedroom.

Annabelle would roll over and watch the ghost standing there and staring at her for an hour or so, until she fell asleep again. She didn’t feel afraid, nor anything at all really, but was puzzled about why the ghostly old woman was watching her. Twice Annabelle had thought about drawing the heavy curtains around the four poster bed, but the idea made her feel panicky. That was part of the reason she had come to her uncle and aunt’s country house to begin with.

Tonight though, Annabelle was feeling restlessly. She had settled into the bed, warmed by a bedpan made by the maid, who had also lit the small fire in the fireplace and Annabelle had started reading her current novel. The wind and rain were lashing against the small windows as the storm reached it’s peak. She heard a rumble of thunder and looked up from her reading.

In the dimly lit room, she could not see very much. The fire and her oil lamp cast pools of orange glows, but nothing more. Annabelle thought about getting up and going to the window. But she knew there would be nothing to see but the darkness pressing against the glass and the drops of rain running down. She did not feel tried though and so turned back to her book.

She never heard the grandfather clock chiming two and only realized the time when the ghost appeared. The old woman began to take shape at the foot of the bed and the light created made Annabelle finally look up from her novel. She had never seen the ghost form before it was a strange sight to see. First, it just seemed like a flicker of candle light which grew until it took a shimmering shape that could be called a head and body. Secondly, silver hair and clothes seemed to form then finally everything came into focus and the hunchback old woman was there.

Annabelle, with a quick glance at her page and shove in of the red ribbon she was using as a bookmark closed the book and sat up.

‘What is it? What do you want?’ Annabelle asked.

The ghost looked at her with large white eyes and Annabelle saw for the first time the lack of detail within the old woman’s face. There was a smoothness to the long drawn out face when Annabelle expected it to be covered in wrinkles. The hair was clumped together and draped on either side of her small shoulders. The ghost was wearing what at first seemed to be a white ragged sheet, but the more Annabelle looked she realized it was an old fashioned night dress.

‘Who are you?’ Annabelle asked.

The ghastly old woman opened her mouth and tried to form words but nothing came. She rose her hand and with a finger pointed at the closed and locked door of the bedchamber.

Annabelle looked over then back at the ghost. She got the meaning straight away, but was not sure she wanted to follow the old hag. With a shake of her head, Annabelle curled herself more into the bed and drew the sheets up tighter.

‘Why can’t you speak?’ Annabelle asked.

The old woman stared at her silently then once more rose her hand to the door. She moved slowly as she might have done when she was alive. Shuffling towards the door, bent over and as if leaning on a walking stick.  Annabelle watched her and saw that her bare feet were not touching the ground but were raised just off it.

Annabelle released the bed clothes and making up her mind, she slipped from the bed. The floor was freezing, as if she was walking on snow. The darkness weighed heavy around her and Annabelle glanced at her bedside table and the oil lamp. She padded back and collected the lamp. Even though the flame only cast a small pool of yellow light, she felt better.

The ghost was waiting for her by the door. Annabelle stopped a good distance away.

‘I am ready,’ Annabelle breathed.

To Be Continued….

 

The Spiral Staircase

All the time she had been living in the house she had wondered where the spiral staircase led to. She stood at the bottom, looking upwards with one hand on the wood banister and the other clutching the edge of her skirts. She had long guessed that the staircase must lead to another floor. However, from studying the outside structure of the house, she had never been able to see this other floor.

During the summer months when the wild moor weather finally give itself over to the lazy warm days, she would spend as much time outside as possible. She would walk through the gardens or out on the moor, ride to and through the villages, enjoying the sunshine and the fresh air. In the gardens, she would walk around the great house and count all the windows on the floors. There were three floors and hundreds of windows, none of which seemed to belong to the place the spiral staircase must led to.

Glancing down at the lantern she brought with her and placed on the bottom step, she wondered if she should have brought some candles. Was tonight actually going to be the moment she walked up the stairs? She recalled everything her grandfather and his servants had told her.

There’s nothing up there, it’s a folly, you know a fake structure? Your great great uncle had it put in to play games with his city guests. Don’t go near it. That side the house is no long stable nor is it suitable for nice young ladies to roam about in. Stick to the main building and don’t put your nose where it doesn’t belong.  

It leads to the old attic rooms, but when they put in the new roof they closed them all up.

Who knows? It’s probably just old rooms that no one uses any more, like a great many in this place.

Up there? It’s just a storage room. With lots of unwanted junk that no one could bear to part with and has been long forgotten. No, I’ve never been up there but my father was the head butler before me and told me that himself.

They say that’s where they hide her…the monster child of Lord Humbleton. She was born with only half a face, one arm and twisted legs. The Lord locked her away in those rooms, which were the four floor of the east wing. He had the windows bricked over because he didn’t want anyone to see her. They say she died up there before she reached her fourteen birthday. And you can hear her crying and screaming still, late in the night when the house is silent.

She shivered at the thought of that last part and tried to convince herself that story couldn’t have been true. There were no family records of Lord Humbleton having a daughter. He and his wife had had three health boys, but it had always been rumoured by servants and the villagers that there had been a four child.

Picking up the lantern, she decided that tonight was going to be the night. Quickly glancing around, she placed a foot on the spiral staircase and become to climb upwards. She let her hand slide across the banister, which after years of polishing still felt smooth against her skin. Her other hand held her skirts slightly higher and knocked against her leg. She held her breath and followed the twisting steps upwards.

At the top was a small wooden door.

Dropping her skirts, she reached out and touched the doorknob. She twisted it to the right and pressed against the door. It didn’t open. She turned the brass knob to the left and tried again. She pushed hard, but the door didn’t move. Sighing deeply, she let her hand drop to her side. I should have known it would be locked, she thought.

Stepping back, she studied the door in the light of the lantern. There was nothing unusual about it, beside from being the plainest door she had seen in the whole house. The wood looked like it had never been in vanished or painted. The brass doorknob was scratched badly and next to it was a small keyhole. She pressed her fingers to the keyhole, as if to take a measurement. Pulling a face, she was about to turn away and declare this adventure a lost cause, when an idea came to her.

Placing the lantern at her feet, she stood on her tip toes and stretched out her arms to the top of the door frame. Slowly, she ran her fingers along the lipped edge, feeling years of dust brush against her fingers. Speeding up in her desperation, her fingers swept the across the end of the frame and hit something. A loud clattering sounded on the floor. Dropping to her knees and she fumbled in the dim darkness. Her fingers closed around something and she pulled it into the lantern light.

A dull brass key, the size of the door’s keyhole lay across her dirty palm.

Smiling, she stood up and placed the key inside the door. She turned it and the doorknob at the same time and was reward with a clicking sound. Pushing the door open, she stared into the darkness. Collecting the key and lantern, she walked in and pulled the door to. Walking forward, she saw a small side table. Placing the lantern and key upon it, she looked around. Old egg shell blue paint covered the walls and the floor boards were bare. The room was large, but she couldn’t see it all with the lantern’s light.

Picking up the lantern and key again, she walked forward and out of the darkness the room and its contents began to take shape around her. She saw a bookcase half filled with books, small tables and chairs on which were vases, dolls and candle holders. A very old fashioned rocking horse, who’s expression looked frenzied and nightmarish. There was a door in the far right corner.

‘It’s a nursery,’ she whispered.

The air and dust stirred at the first voice in years to speak in the room. She licked her lips and went to the other door. Turning the handle and pushing against it, the door opened. She shoved it harder to create a large enough gap for herself and then stepped through. Straight away she saw the child’s bed opposite her. Four posters held up a drooping canopy and the bedding was made up as if in readiness for the sleepy girl.

A wooden bedding box lay across the foot of the bed and there was a small table with a candle in its holder and a book beside it. She walked in further and saw a wardrobe and desk further to her right. Turning to the left, she notices that a heavy curtain lay across some of the wall. Going to it, she touched the curtain with her finger tips then used the lantern to find the end. Wrapping her fingers around, she pulled the curtain back quickly. A brick wall met her eyes and on closer inspection, she saw that a window had once stood in its place.

Letting the curtain fall back, she left the room, closing the door behind her. She walked across the nursery and towards the door. Her thoughts swirled and she couldn’t help but think that the story of Lord Humbleton’s deformed daughter was true. Opening the door, she walked out and turned around. She had a last look at the nursery then closed and locked the door.

As she replaced the key on the door frame lip, she heard a soft crying. Frowning, she pressed her ear to the door and listened as the crying continued. The bare floor boards creaked under the weight of feet and she heard the rocking horse began to rock. She scrambled for the key and hurried to fit into the keyhole with shaking hands. Twisting the brass knob, she flung open the door and shone the lantern light inside.

Her eyes darted around and she watched the shadows fleeing the light.

There was nothing moving and the sounds had stopped.

Breathing deeply and blaming herself, she closed the door again and locked it. Returning the key once more, she turned and hurried down the stairs. At the bottom, she fled down the corridor and ran straight back to her rooms. Opening her door, she spun inside her bedroom, turned back, closed and locked the door behind her. Breathing deeply, she placed the lantern on her dressing table and lit a number of candles.

Sinking on to her bed, she tried to catch her breath, but the knowledge that she had disturbed something made it harder for her to calm down. She pulled off the dressing gown, which was slightly dust covered and tossed it on the floor. She slipped out of her slippers too and let them fall on top of the dressing gown. She wrapped a blanket around herself and listened.

The house was silent and she couldn’t even hear the wind and rain knocking against the window. Scolding herself for being silly and letting the noises of an old room get to her, she settled down on the bed. Laying her head on the pillow, she watched the candle flame flickering against the wall. Her eye lids felt heavy and she could feel the waves of tiredness. Her eyes began to close, but just before they did she saw a dark shadow taking form next to the door.

Her eyes flashed open and she jumped up from the bed. It was just a trick of the light! She told herself, but the shadow was taking form and before her eyes the image of a girl appeared. A girl with only half a face, one arm and twisted legs.

‘Why did you leave me?’ the girl’s wispy voice asked.

She opened her mouth and screamed.