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 

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: 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.



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