Welcome to Halloween week on my Dreaming Awake Blog!
Today, I’m happy to feature Emma Meade. She reviews supernatural books, films and shows on her blog. She’s currently working on self-publishing through Smashwords and Kindle, and she hopes to have a book out soon! Yay for fellow Indie Authors! She reads and writes paranormal fiction and is addicted to shows like Buffy, The X-Files, True Blood and more recently The Secret Circle and Vampire Diaries. I could get along with her well, especially on the Vampire Diaries and True Blood front. (Although, I’m not too addicted to the Vampire Diaries books. The show is MUCH better.)
Anyway, Emma is the author of this ficticious ghost story she’s gladly sharing on the blog today! Enjoy! And thanks for sharing, Emma.
Their footsteps echoed loudly off the pavement. Jessica wrapped her jacket more tightly around her against the frigid cold of the winter night. Her best friend Michelle, mom and grandmother strolled along beside her, each one pleasantly numbed from the glasses of lager consumed at their local pub.
Conversation had led to the eerie, tragic story of the local haunted house, where a young man had perished in a fire many years ago. It now stood silent and derelict, yet people often claimed a shadowy figure could be seen frequenting the front facing bedroom window, the very room where a man had died.
But why hadn’t he jumped? This was the question Jessica had harped on about back at the pub. He hadn’t far to fall, so had the smoke gotten to him before he awoke? And where had his lover been that night?
“Leave it be,” her grandmother had said. “It’s in the past and that poor man should be allowed to rest.”
“But,” Jessica had begun again.
“That’s enough,” her grandmother announced firmly and so the subject was dropped.
Jessica and Michelle parted from the older women and made their way to a friend’s home. The haunted house was on the same route. The sad story was fresh in both girls’ minds, as was the buzz from the liquor. Michelle stopped suddenly and turned to Jessica with a cunning smile.
“Let’s go see it,” she said excitedly. “Come on, it’ll be a laugh.”
Jessica shook her head. “I’m not that drunk Michelle.”
“It will be a great story to tell. Let’s just take one look inside and then we’ll go. I’m dying to see the place after all this talk.”
Jessica didn’t reply. She wrapped her arms more tightly around herself against the cold night’s breeze. Michelle took her silence for agreement and linking her arm, she led them both forward.
Within minutes the abandoned, dilapidated house stood before them and hesitantly they raised their eyes to the bedroom window and with relief saw that it was empty. Defying her rising fear, Jessica pushed the rusting gate inwards and headed for the side of the house, looking for a way in. Michelle was right behind her.
Using the light from her mobile phone she found a broken window and climbed inside, landing softly in a dingy kitchen, all appliances long since stolen. Michelle followed. The walls were grimy and peeling and pieces of wood were strewn across the dirty floor. Jessica, aware that the comforting haze in her mind was lifting, left the room and glided up the stairs towards the bedroom, drawn forward by an unidentifiable urge within.
“Are you coming?” she called to her friend.
“I’m having a look downstairs,” Michelle answered.
Propelled forward by an invisible force, most likely a mixture of the booze and curiosity, Jessica rationalised, she arrived at the bedroom. Most of the wood on the door was rotten and she pushed it open expecting a sinister creaking, yet it swung inwards noiselessly.
At first glance, the spacious room was empty. What had once been a bed was now nothing more than a crooked headboard and planks of wood. A trickle of light seeped through the moth eaten blinds of the window and Jessica found herself standing in a pool of moonlight. Shadows draped across the room, deepening in one corner over an old, decaying chair. That particularly black shadow shifted suddenly and a surprised squeak escaped Jessica.
She froze inside the threshold of the room and could only stare helplessly at the ghostly figure in the corner. It was him. Her mind registered this with a certain degree of calm acceptance but her body remained rooted to the spot with terror. And when the being beckoned her, she was only able to vaguely shake her head. It came to her instead.
Jessica found herself standing a mere inch from him, a young man, like any other but with loneliness, guilt and new hope brewing in his dark eyes. He reached out a hand and before Jessica could step back, she felt it, contact, connection between this life and an age many years ago.
The room, the figure and her time disappeared in a blinding flash. Jessica was now no more than a spectator in a scene that had taken place in another era. She witnessed that fateful night in precise, vivid and frightening detail. He was there, in that kitchen, lit now by glaring lights and so was Jessica, or what looked like an extremely similar version of her. Dawning realisation crept up on Jessica and she understood that she was looking at her grandmother when she was a younger woman. They were arguing and it was vicious, hurtful and final.
“How can you go? You promised yourself,” he was shouting amid the tears that were streaking his anguished face.
“We’re not meant to be together,” Jessica’s then young grandmother retaliated, snapping her teeth in her anger.
“So you’ll go to him. Leave me for him?” he asked bitterly.
“I love him,” was her simple reply and the other could say no more. He was utterly defeated.
Jessica saw the awful scenes rip by her like bullet shots, hard, fast and deadly. Her grandmother leaving with her bags, her old lover running wildly through the house turning off lights, disappearing into the closet beneath the stairs and emerging with three liquor bottles. He spilled their contents down the stairs and threw the match, landing exactly on the lethal liquid and a fire was ignited.
He barricaded himself in the bedroom, calmly awaiting the smoke that would crawl in under the door. A cry escaped Jessica and she was released from the terrible vision back into the bedroom of the present time.
She was now standing by the chair in the corner, looking down at the man sitting in it and smiling up at her, stroking her hand.
“You came back,” he whispered and Jessica nodded helplessly. Pity threatened to overwhelm her.
“We forgive?” he asked softly and tears dropped from his eyes to his cheeks and the ghost seemed to breathe a sigh of final peace.
“Can I go now?”
Jessica smiled. “Yes,” she whispered hoarsely.
And he faded away, so gradually and so quietly that Jessica questioned the reality of the whole incident. Her hand now held nothing but air. It was time to leave.
Slowly she made her way down the stairs and met Michelle before the boarded up front door.
“Anything up there?” Michelle asked.
Jessica shook her head. “Not anymore. Let’s go.”
They left the house the same way they entered it, with Michelle chattering on about what a good story this was going to be. Jessica remained silent and closed the gate after them, and one last time looked up at the window, now empty as it always would be.