Who Are the Ghosts in My Attic?
Happy April and Welcome to the Blogging A to Z Challenge! I have, somewhat foolishly, accepted the goal of writing twenty-six blog posts in a single month. If you’ve visited my page recently, you know that my theme for the month of April is the ghosts in my attic.
Each day I will blog one ghost in alphabetical order from A to Z. He or she will tell a story that I hope will entertain. Please keep in mind that in order to keep up with a post a day (except Sundays), I’m writing quickly with very little opportunity to edit before clicking go. I apologize in advance. Nevertheless, I hope that what I share will be as enjoyable for you to read as it is for me to write. There is no telling how crazy and far-fetched things could get by the end of a crazy month!
Let’s have some fun, shall we? 🙂
“Do you take sugar?” I asked.
“No, dear, black is fine, please.”
I poured the boiling water over the tea bag, watching as the water turned into a muddled brown. Carefully I set the mug in front of Agatha and I returned to my seat across the table from her. My hands shook so badly that I considered it a miracle that I hadn’t spilled the tea everywhere.
“You were telling me about the accident,” I said, prompting her to continue. I was caught between dread and curiosity, wanting to know but not wanting to know at the same time.
“Yes, the accident,” she said giving the mug a forlorn look.
I didn’t know why she’d requested the tea. Agatha is a ghost and as far as I know, ghosts can’t drink tea. Perhaps it was simply a reminder of the life she once lived.
“Not everyone believed it was an accident,” she said sadly, folding her hands together in her lap, twisting them together as her focus moved away from me and away from the tea she could never drink, downward to some despair I couldn’t see. “With good reason, I suppose.”
I didn’t know what to say so I waited for her to continue. It wasn’t often that I entertained those from beyond the grave so even though there were a million questions swarming my head at that moment, I couldn’t settle long enough to focus on just one. I let her steer the conversation, as I suppose any good host should.
Agatha was the first of what promised to be a long month of ghostly entertainment and I had yet to determine what to think of this. I’d heard the footsteps over my head in the big, old mansion where I lived for several months now but it wasn’t until today that I’d opened the attic door and invited any of them down. It seemed only right that if were to share the space, we should get to know one another.
Why were there so many, I wondered.
I cleared my throat and indicated the clock hanging on the wall beside the long oak table. Agatha’s strength allowed her only twenty minutes of visibility in my world before she would disappear once again to her own. Each second that ticked by was precious.
Agatha glanced out the window to the darkness of night as if the past would come alive for her – a sea of ghosts going about their world as though we didn’t even exist.
“I always loved to play in the garden,” Agatha said with a wistful sigh, “Edgar accepted that when he married me. As long as the summer went on, he knew where to find me, there, planting, tending to my flowers. I had the best vegetables in the neighborhood. Sometimes he liked to boast about that,” she paused and wiped away a stray tear.
“But then there was the accident,”I said.
“It was late July,” Agatha said with a nod, “and I had just picked several large tomatoes. They were beautiful and I couldn’t wait to show Edgar. We were planning to have fresh tomatoes in our salad that night for dinner.”
“Yes, but what about the accident?” My patience had never been a strong point and I immediately regretted my tone.
“They were all ruined. A perfectly good salad gone to waste. But I never intended for it to happen that way.”
“No. The accident.”
“But you did intend for it to happen?”
“It was so hot, unusually hot, even for July. Even misting myself didn’t help and the heavy dress I wore clung to me with the dampness of my sweat.”
I realized that the dress Agatha was wearing that day was probably the same one that she appeared to be wearing now as her image wavered in front of me. I blinked a few times to be sure that it wasn’t a trick of my eyes the way parts of her seemed to disappear and come back again and finally, I settled my gaze on the table, aware that I was staring in a way that in any polite conversation would be considered rude.
Agatha didn’t seem to notice, however, but when I glanced up again, she’d moved away from the table and was standing soundlessly looking out at the midnight sky. The clouds broke revealing a crystal full moon suspended between them, a sight both breathtakingly beautifully and bone-chillingly creepy.
“I lost count of how many times I hit him with the gardening shovel,” Agatha whispered as though the burden of the memory was too much to bear. “The blood was everywhere.”
“You hit him? You mean, Edgar?” I struggled to make sense of the words as they’d taken an unexpected turn. “But I thought you were going to tell me about the night that you died?”
Agatha turned back to face me and I could tell that her pale white face was soaked in tears.
“I mean Roger.”
“But who is Roger?”
“The man that Edgar never knew about.”
“Oh, I see,” I let out a slow breath as the weight of her words sunk in. I didn’t really understand at all.
“When Edgar came home and found me bent over the lifeless body, he knew that he had to do something. No one could ever know the horrible thing I had done.”
“You murdered someone, Agatha.”
“If I hadn’t done it, someone else would have, sooner or later. Edgar never asked any questions. He trusted me. I don’t know why, but he did, and he would have done anything for me. He spent the whole night digging the hole in my garden where we hid Roger’s body.”
“Did anyone ever find out about it?” I glanced at the clock knowing as her image faded that our time together was nearing an end.
“Life went on like normal for a while after that,” she said, “but once you have done something so hideous, the gods have ways of punishing you for it. Yes, others found out and peace and tranquility was never our friend again.”
I sat for a long time staring wide eyed at the space that Agatha had occupied before I got up to dump the mug of tea chilled by time and the icy presence of my strange new friend. Then I looked out at the way the moon illuminated the vast grounds surrounding the large house.
Somewhere down below lay the rotting corpse of a man that I knew I would eventually meet.
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