Friday, October 24, 2014

WEP - Haunted Memories, A Ghost Story


I didn't hear that noise. It's my imagination. . .



Hosted by Denise Covey


A moonless night with a storm approaching, and I'm all alone in this house.  I checked all the doors and windows on the lower level when I arrived, except one, but that one is hardly ever opened and always locked. I don't have the TV on since the radio weather advisory warned of nearby tornadoes. The howling winds of the storms are something I'll never get used to. It always sounds like the roof will blow away. Maybe I've watched the Wizard of Oz too many times.

The house was as silent as death before the sounds started. Great. First, I heard what sounded like a footstep. Then another. Quiet footsteps. A door creaked, but old doors do that when they settle. A house like this, which has seen many people come and go, must sigh every now and then. Can a house sigh? It seems like it. 

So much misery has been bottled up here. Why did I say I would watch the place while my family went for a short visit? I remember the stories about this house. We kids used to relate them to each other when we had sleepovers. There it is again, almost like a door closing gently.

Perhaps the ghosts in this house aren't angry ghosts, just sad ones. I'll get the flashlight in case the storm blows the fuses and the lights go out. I can hear the rain starting to fall harder now. If any of the large windows are open on the second level, I have to shut them.

As I ascend the stairs, I try not to look at the landing after the 13th stair where the staircase turns right to go to the second level.  My bedroom was on that level when I was younger. That landing features in a family story about a man who hung himself. Bereft and depressed after the death of his brother by a lightning strike, he committed suicide.

I arrive at the top step and the same window is open at the end of the hall. The window where the first brother was killed, burned by the ferocity of the lightning as he left the bathroom beside the window. The wind is blowing through the hallway, bringing in the rain. I shut the window quickly, careful not to look at any relfection that may be there, and listen for thunder announcing a coming strike. As kids, we learned to count the seconds between the thunder and the strike to gauge how close the lightning was. 

I need a cup of tea or something stronger. My nerves are on high alert. As I turn, I notice the suite across from the one we used to occupy. It's used for storage now. The house was built raised above the ground in 1875. It's easy for rats to get in the storage areas, even though the fireplaces in each room were sealed long ago. 



Not the same house but similar vintage - WC-PD*

 
As I descend the stairs, the house sinks back into silence and I think of grandmother and the man who gave her this house for a pittance. He was in love with her, but married her sister as she was already married to Grandfather, a man twenty years her senior, when she met the younger man.  He was a doctor and lived in another town. His daughter was our erstwhile aunt. Only one photo we have shows them talking in front of the house. How sad that they never got together. Both Grandmother and Grandfather died in this house, as did others before them. That used to be the way of families, the elderly died at home. I make my tea and reminisce. The spirits settle now, my fear is gone, but I still feel uneasy. I don't know if I can sleep here tonight.

Maybe I'll just sleep on the couch over there in this one room next to the lower kitchen where it seems peaceful.  Then again, maybe not. I wonder if I can stay awake all night?

I might need a lot of tea.

******

(For more details on this same house see DG's 21st Century Journal Blog), A Gothic South Tale

For a peek at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris: 2013's post at Halloween
http://dghudson.blogspot.ca/2013_10_01_archive.html 

******
Have you ever felt the chill of 'otherness' in a house, room or even in an area outside? Are you fond of ghost stories, and the unknown? OR are you a fan of Halloween?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by and hope you can check the other WEP stories sometime before Halloween!

***
*WC-PD NOTE:
http://abnf.co/Ohio.htm Photo credit, free use image, used to set the mood. Not the actual house, as the real place on which this story is based has been renovated extensively and has a new owner.

***

WEP

Would you like to challenge yourself? Try Write...Edit...Publish! aka WEP

Join us for a monthly signup and some very interesting reading. It's flexible. I joined the once-a-month bloghop to write a few short stories or write in installments like the old-time serials. I've also met fellow writer-bloggers with the same penchant for responding to Denise's challenges. WEP can help you practice short writing and the prompts will invigorate your creative thinking.


Write…Edit…Publish! welcomes you to submit any of the following – flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction or playscripts to a word count of 1,000 words – artwork and photographs accompanied by your written inspiration in creating your work/s.

Next Challenge: November - Affluenza


Denise Covey - WEP in detail, the list of participants and prompts

***

40 comments:

  1. Nothing like being alone in an aging house during a storm. It would have a life of its own at that point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know how many houses like this are around in the south, Alex. Even our aunt's house (a mini mansion owned by the doctor) in a small town had a hidden stairway, a la the houses which helped those wanting to escape to the north, during antebellum days.

      Delete
  2. Yep, still creepy. Well done, though I hope I never run into a ghost in a creaky old house. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, LG, I've had those memories stirring since I last visited the house, and the feelings in that house still remained. Some houses do have a personality, IMO.

      Delete
  3. Stormy nights are enough for me. It takes a special imagination to tell ghost stories, I think. Hope you are doing OK. I am hopeless with emails, my brain has been so fogged over from all the stress. Take care, you are in my thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Storms and our associations with them make for good imaginations. A lot of scary tales and horror take place during storms. It adds to the mood. Don't worry about your emails, I know what you mean by stress, Inger. Just take care of yourself, as I'm trying to do, too. It's not easy, but we are both survivor types.

      Delete
  4. Chilling and creepy!!!!! I'm not a fan of being scared or of being in a haunted house. I remember once when I was in my late teens, my parents were out and I got sucked into watching 'Carrie' on TV in my room. I'd never seen it before and I was pretty terrified. When the movie was over, I opened my door only to find that it was pitch dark in the house. I'd lost track of time and didn't realize it was night (my shade was pulled down). I was now faced with a big old creepy dark empty farmhouse and having to turn the lights on. The doors downstairs were all wide open as it was summer. I was soooo scared. I turned every light on in the house and outside and I think I turned on the livingroom TV and called a friend till my folks got home!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds like something I can relate to, I had other incidents in an aunt's house and in a cousin's house that was being renovated. We called the police on the last one, since we were three teen girls in a big empty house. More lights certainly helps.

      Delete
  5. It's true that houses can talk, especially old houses. I loved your tale and I think I'll need a cup of tea or two now D.G. Your descriptions are great - 'the house sinks back into silence..' Lovely imagery.

    Thanks for participating and the shout out D.G. I'm looking forward to reading a lot more entries. Mine will go up on Wednesday as I have a blog guest tomorrow.

    Hope all goes well at your place...

    Denise :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looking forward to reading your post, Denise, and having a cup of tea is a way of ensuring ourselves 'everything's normal'. . .

      Delete
  6. Well done, DG. So much atmosphere in this piece. When I was a kid, we moved into a house that had been owned by a witch. There was a heavy, oppressive presence there for years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does seem that a house 'mood' can be set by what occurs there. We don't fully understand energy and what it can do or how it can affect our human sensibilities, but a 'known' witch likely adds even more to the mood. . .

      Delete
  7. I think I'd need a lot of tea, too, if I was going to sleep in that place! Nice job on the entry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it; I thought the place had been demolished, but no, it's been revived. . .

      Delete
  8. I've sat at a phone at a country diner and thought of all the words spoken there: words of love, of despair, of deceit. Had they been absorbed by the walls. Were their ghosts listening in to mine?

    Houses are even more sponges of strong emotions. Do they grow lonely when their families leave them? Do spirits of love, of deceit, of loss haunt those rooms?

    Your words evoke such thoughts in me. How many cups of tea did you drink after all?

    You are brave to bare your thoughts on such a personal experience in the dark storm of clouds and memories.

    Great job! I tip my Stetson to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Roland, I left home to go to college and have never felt the 'energy' like there was in that house. I don't attribute it all to an active imagination. . .some places must retain essences. Makes for scary stories, too.

      Delete
  9. I live in a house 100 years old and find more frightening stories in my imagination, but my grandmother's house was filled with atmosphere, but not my house. A ghost is seen standing in the front door regularly of grandma's. You wrote this extremely well, I was there with you - and I thought shutting that window during the storm, very brave. I couldn't have done it. Truly enjoy your work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Yolanda, I appreciate the kind words. Old houses vary, depending on what took place before, I suppose, and why the ghosts are hanging around. . . the house was real, and the family tale is real, but me there alone - not real.

      Delete
  10. Subtle haunting. Who knows if those ghosts are really there, or just in her subconscious. Nicely written DG.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, only the shadow knows. . .Thanks, Donna!

      Delete
  11. Or a lot of coffee, in my case!

    Houses can totally breathe, and sigh and talk. Usually at a vague, scary whispery pitch. Your story was creepy and so very convincing! Got me at that window.

    Great take on the prompt.

    Hope you and family are doing better and are less stressed.

    Nila.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yesterday, the stress was at a high pitch as the rehab place gave hubs too much sedative and then couldn't wake him. He went sent to emergency and later the rehab nurses got an earful from me. Now they must check with me always for extra meds as he is not tolerant of too much. It was a tough day, but ended well. Nurses can be a bane. I'll write about it one day when the prompt fits.
      Glad you liked the Halloween offering!

      Delete
    2. That sounds super stressful, sorry to hear it. But very glad it ended well.
      Wish you a better week, and more attentive nurses.

      Delete
  12. Part of my love of ghost stories is the past stories they tell. How did you know the past of the house? Great story! It would be eerie to be alone there, but the sadness comment sounded apt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My dad's mother and my own mother told me the background of the house. Mom used to have a bit of precognition, too. I do think some are more sensitive to the 'energy', and maybe it goes with imagination. . .it's a mystery.

      Delete
  13. Hi D.G.
    Good story...ghost can be so obnoxious in my experience. I tell them to go away and they do.
    Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great way to banish them! 'Begone, ye spirits' might work.

      Delete
  14. I could feel the tension. Thank you for a wonderful story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That house had tension, too. Thanks, Feather!

      Delete
  15. Nice job of building tension and creating scene. I've never stayed in a place quite like that, but there have been times when I've felt a chilling sensation. Can't explain those feelings, but it feels weird when it happens.

    Lee
    A Faraway View

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lee. I'm wondering if it's perhaps chilly in the otherworld or between worlds? Maybe spirits seek warmth?

      Delete
  16. Just love haunted house stories! This old house sounds full of secrets and lost souls. You wouldn't catch me sleeping alone there! Great story, thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I adamantly refused to sleep in that room next to the closet. My mind said no-no-no, and I listened. Nice to see you in the WEP challenge!

      Delete
  17. Staying in a house like that one would certainly freak me out, but I still love to explore those houses and read stories about them. :)

    Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We like to feed our imagination, but experiencing the fear is another thing. . .

      Delete
  18. This was hauntingly lovely. Yes, I've lived in a house where the first year or two we often felt the presence of another... I do love ghost stories, most anyway, and even wrote one! Thanks for the links to the other sites! I've been to Pere Lachaise also!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If we record what we felt, others seem to remember similar experiences. Some places, hotels, art galleries, and some houses just seem to harbor old spirits.

      Delete
  19. Houses do take on the aura of the people who lived in them before. Great telling sending chills up and down the spine. I'd need gallons of tea to stay there.

    ReplyDelete
  20. That was a very enjoyable ghost story. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete

Comments will be reviewed before they appear.