Ahoy! Been a while, been busy, thought I'd add a new post for the Halloween time celebrations.
I've recently formed a writing group with my friend Kathy Dell (http://katherinedell.com/) and it's been a great motivator. Ideally, I'll be able to share some writing from our group members here, as well and link to their content, so I shall add fun tidbits as time goes on. We've had one meeting so far and it was great to get to know local writers and listen to some excellent stories.
This ghostly short was what I chose to write and share for that first meeting. Enjoy!
In Retrospect, We Shouldn’t Have Put All the Creepy Stuff in the One Room
Now, I know you folks are serious buyers. I knew it from the moment you gasped at the claw-foot tub. And the look you shared when we entered the kitchen? I mean, it’s written all over your faces. And, believe me, I get it. The place is beautiful, and it’s because you’re serious buyers, I should disclose something to you. The house does have a bit of a… well a ghost, if you can believe it.
Ok, slow down, let’s not get too excited. Sure, there’s a ghost, but my wife and I are pretty convinced that we sort of caused the whole haunting… thing. Heck, it’ll likely be leaving with us. See, the room we’re about to enter is what we believe caused it all to begin with.
Before we step inside, I’d like to highlight that this door handle is handcrafted Bavarian metalwork, dated to around 1700 AD and only recently restored. Nice, right? Your faces are kind of screaming “show us the ghost room”, but I saw a bit of knob-related twinkle didn’t I?
The creaking sound you’re hearing is something I’ve not been able to fix on this particular door, but it didn’t start happening until after the ghost started hanging out, so the two things are likely related. There has been an unbelievable amount of WD-40 poured into this thing and nada. Just keeps, well, I guess screeching is the only word for it, wouldn’t you agree? It’s like the sound of a cat just shaking a weasel to death, is how I think of it. Like, can you even imagine a more terrifying sound? Every time you open the door? All I’m saying is that, sure, there may be a ghost, but, I mean… it knows its stuff, right?
Oh, so sorry. I didn’t prepare you properly for that. The door will slam shut as soon as you’ve crossed the threshold. Quite violently, as you can see. I sure am glad you didn’t catch a finger in there. It may seem like we’re trapped, but not to worry – I’ve only had to spend the night in here a single time.
You’re going to notice a lot of oddities in this room, and – when I say that the haunting is probably our fault – this is what I’m talking about. My wife and I have accumulated a lot of what you might call, stereotypically “creepy” items. Take this porcelain doll for example – it’s an 1875 antique worth a pretty penny in today’s day and age. We got it for a pittance at a garage sale from this haggard old thing, probably didn’t know what it was worth. Got this case for it too, nice glass on a stellar mahogany plinth. While I think of it, just check out the wainscoting in this room. Pretty impressive, isn’t it? I redid the colour, so it’s not quite original, but it wouldn’t take much to restore if you aren’t a fan of that particular shade of ochre.
Anyhow, the doll is one of those ones with the eyes that close when you lay it down, and then open when you stand it up. Naturally, if there were to be any spooky stuff going on in the house, the doll’s eyes would open and close on their own, maybe blink irregularly, that kind of thing. They didn’t when we first bought the place, but they sure do now. Oh, there they go. Watch how they alternate like that – that’s not supposed to be possible, but, there they go! Crazy stuff.
The doll on it’s own would’ve been fine, but then we have this player piano. Honestly, I don’t even know why I came to acquire this thing. Piano’s not really my bag and it’s heavy as can be. The tune it’s playing is a rag time thing, but I have no idea what the name of it is. The roll didn’t have any notes or anything, but it’s downright eerie when slowed down this much, isn’t it? I literally can’t get it to stop playing and I have tried everything short of burning the thing to the ground. Took an axe to it once, and damned if the thing didn’t just bounce right back and hit me in the shoulder. Thank goodness it wasn’t the sharp end. Still aches like the dickens during a full moon. Harvest moon? Forget about it. Unbelievable pain. Great song though. Would sound nice on a machine like this one.
We put the piano and the doll in here, and still, it was just a normal room with some weird stuff in it, but check out this wheelchair. This thing was from a turn-of-the-century mental facility back when they still called them “insane asylums”. The straps on the arm rest and foot rests are wool-lined leather, so at least there was a bit of comfort for all the barbarism of the design. Original wood, with these beautiful spoked wheels. You don’t see things like this anymore, you know? Things that are designed to last, but still have a beauty to them? Anyhow, as you can see, the wheels keep spinning in place without moving the chair itself. They’ll stop, move backward. Once I saw a flash of light and what looked like a person sitting and… well, I suppose screaming in agony is the only word for it, really. Only the one time though, you don’t have to cover your eyes like that. Trust me, when you’re in here, you kind of want all your senses to be fully operational.
Things were still fine after we added the chair. Even after we added this ancient book used to judge people during the witch trials, after the painting of the feudal lord thought to have burned an entire village, and after the coin pulled up from the wreckage of a doomed passenger ship, everything was still ok. The trouble didn’t start in earnest until we added the old séance table into the mix. I mean, it came with the original table cloth? Isn’t that something? Getting together for a séance used to be such a grand to-do among the elite of the day, and it’s rumoured that this very table was used to commune with the ghost of Harry Houdini, though I can’t imagine he’s our spectre. This table tipped the scales as far as we can tell, and there was simply too much in the way of spooky bric-a-brac in here. I’d actually be more surprised if we didn’t have a ghost. It’s like, you build a birdhouse, you’d better expect there’d be a bird living there, you know? Ok, your eyes are starting to involuntarily roll backward into your head, so that’s my signal to move this party back into the hall.
Oh, looks like the wind’s started. Perfectly calm day outside, and in here it’s a gale force situation. Sorry to have to yell! Look, I know you’re serious, and like I say, I’m sure this will all stop once the stuff is gone! No, don’t worry, the levitation is normal! You can just sort of swim for the door! Give the knob a real good tug! I think it may have bit me once, so just reef on it! Great, there you go, now let’s get out of here before the blood-snow starts!
Whew! Quite the trip, eh? Here, can you help me with this barricade? Great, thank you. I don’t know if you noticed the light fixtures while we were up near the roof, but they are exquisite.
Here, let me get you something to wipe away the tears. Once you’ve settled, I think we should talk about your offer. It was a little low, but I’m sure we can work something out over a cup of tea. It’ll stop once we leave, I’m certain of it.