#AtoZChallenge Who Are the Ghosts in My Attic? Fred, Frank, and Fran

Spooky windowMy suitcase waited for me by the front door. I’d spent most of the night weighing my options and ultimately decided to pack what I needed to get me through a few nights in a hotel. Since my conversation with Edgar, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this whole idea had been a huge mistake. Besides, what did I know about renovating a Victorian mansion anyway? The fact that it had belonged to my family for so many generations and I was the last one of our kind left to inherit it just felt doubly tragic. Truly, I had no idea what I was trying to hang on to.

And then there were the ghosts.

To be fair, I didn’t completely believe Edgar’s warnings about a sinister evil inhabiting the house itself. As far as I knew, there was no such thing.

But then, I’d felt that way about ghosts once, too.

All the same, I was more likely to believe that he’d used this story to rationalize the brutal murder of an innocent man. I still didn’t understand why he or Agatha had felt justified in ending Roger’s life but I had no intentions of sticking around long enough to hear Roger’s side of the story. Enough was enough. I had my own problems.

I dipped the roller in the paint tray and gently rolled it against the smooth wall I’d been working on for seemingly an eternity now. Another reason this renovation idea had been so insane – I absolutely hated anything to do with actually, well, renovating. Painting topped this list. It was mind-numbingly boring and gave me too much time to think. What I really needed was to do something that would distract my thoughts from the house and its otherworldly inhabitants.

“If only I could coerce them into doing manual labor for me,” I said to myself and laughed softly.

I glanced back at my suitcase for the umpteenth time as if I expected it to magically disappear before I had the opportunity to finish this room. Anything at this point was possible.

I would leave, I’d decided, as soon as I finished what I’d started in the living room. Unfortunately, it was one of the largest rooms on the main floor and I’d barely managed to touch it. That left me more to do than I had hoped. Once this room was complete, I’d put the house on the market and never look back, what I should have done in the first place.

The furniture had been covered in heavy white sheets to protect it but when I could no longer endure the silence surrounding me, I got down from the step stool to uncover the small television that I’d brought with me just so I would have some background noise while I worked.

I skimmed the few channels that I could get but there was very little selection. I settled on old TV show reruns. At least they were lighthearted. Really, it didn’t matter much as long as it served to stop the endless conversations running on repeat inside my head.

“Spending too much time with the dead,” I said as I returned to work, “It’s unhealthy.” An episode of the Three Stooges came on in the background while I hurried over the wall.

Evil. Murder. Bodies in the backyard. Ghosts in the Attic. Betrayal. Desperation.

The antics of Larry, Curly, and Mo couldn’t drown out my internal turmoil.
I glanced over my shoulder in time to watch one of the Stooges hit the other in a chain reaction that was somehow supposed to be funny. I’d never been a fan but I smiled at their antics anyway. Maybe I’d never given them a fair chance?
I rolled the paint over the wall with more enthusiasm. This could work, I thought. But when I went to dip the roller into the paint tray, it was gone.

“What the …” I was sure it was there a minute ago. I stepped down and looked around the room but there was no sign of it anywhere.

Gently, I set the paint roller on one of the sheets covering an old couch and did a quick search in the other rooms of the house, even though I knew it was fruitless because I hadn’t left the living room in at least two hours. I returned to the living room just as Curly smashed a cream pie in Mo’s face. I shook my head at the absurdity of it.

Then Whack!

“Ugh!” I yelped.

The paint tray hit the floor with a clang as I put my hands up to my face in horror to wipe away white paint that was plastered against my face and hair. As I cleared my eyes, I noticed a young girl getting ready to knock me over the head with the roller. I managed to grab it just before it made contact with my scalp.

“What in the hell do you think you’re doing?” I said, almost in tears.
Two others materialized next to the first and instantly they began hitting and pushing each other other almost mimicking the actions from TV.

“Seriously! Stop it right now!”

Ignoring me, they went about their fun, knocking over my step ladder and pulling the sheets from the furniture as they went.

I didn’t know what else to do so I walked over to the TV and slammed the off button. As soon as the Stooges disappeared from the screen, my uninvited guests flickered and disappeared from the room. I heard the echo of laughter and cringed as I expected them to reappear ready to hit me with something but after several minutes, I was left with only the silence and a huge mess to clean up.

Disgusted and now even further from finishing the living room than before, I marched up the stairs to take a shower. Ghosts were just no fun at all and I would never learn to be a fan of The Three Stooges.

**

Click HERE to check out posts from the other A to Z Blogging Challenge participants.

#AtoZChallenge Who Are the Ghosts in My Attic? Daisy.

old kettle on the stove an abandoned houseThe rain fell in big, fat drops outside my bedroom window. I stretched and rolled over, convinced that my headache would never end. My head had been pounding most of the day and although my curiosity compelled me to stay up and wait for my next ghost, listening to the sound of the rain tap lightly against the window was lulling me into a drowsy state. Since sleep would likely be the only reprieve from the throbbing in my head, I didn’t fight it.

The soft patter of footsteps in the hallway brought my focus back to the bedroom and away from the dream I’d been having of sitting on the beach digging my toes in the sand. I groaned. Anyone else may have feared the possibility of an intruder but I didn’t have to open my eyes to know what lurked outside my bedroom door – a ghost.

“Go away,” I complained. I flopped onto my stomach and pulled the pillow over my head as the sound of footsteps grew closer.

When I dared to peek out from my makeshift hiding place, I realized that my ghost was having fun turning my reading lamp on and off.

“Stop that,” I said, less than amused by the antics.

“Naughty, naughty, get out of bed,” said a voice so strong that I tossed aside the pillow just to confirm that she was indeed one of the dead.

A plump woman in her late forties stood at the foot of my bed with her hands on her hips. I sat up to get a better look. I was pretty sure she was one of them but her presence was so much brighter and solid that I could barely see through her like I could the others. I rubbed my eyes, deciding that I must still be dreaming.

“Do you plan to stay in bed all day, you lazy good-for-nothing? There is work to be done.”

“Work?” I said. “It’s night and I’m tired. Plus, I don’t feel well. Can this wait until tomorrow?”

“Complain, complain. Get your lazy butt out of this bed or I will see to it that your punishment will be remembered.”

“Who do you think you are ordering me around like that?”

Suddenly the blanket and sheets vanished, pulled onto the floor by some unseen force. I gasped and jumped out of bed standing on shaky legs.

“We must prepare for the banquet this evening. No time to waste. Everything must be perfect or you will be out of work and I will see to it that you never work again.”

I shuddered. I didn’t dare ask how she meant to do that. So far, I found this ghost to be the most annoying and obtrusive, not to mention, just plain rude.

“Off to the kitchen with you then.”

I gave my bed one final wistful look as I rubbed my aching head and made my way down the main staircase and into the kitchen as I’d been ordered. I was already counting down twenty minutes in my head until this spirit lost her mojo and went back to where she came from.

I flipped on a switch bathing the kitchen in fluorescent light. I felt a little silly standing there in my nightgown in the middle of the night. I waited for further instruction from my ghost but there was no sign of Madame Bossy Pants. I was about to give up and go back to bed when there was a loud clanging sound of pots and pans on the other side of the kitchen. A dish flew through the air and smashed into the wall behind me, just missing my head by about an inch. I shrieked.

“There you are. Doing nothing again! Get to it. We don’t have all day.”

“But I don’t work here,” I whined, bracing myself for another flying plate. “I live here.”

The woman materialized in front of me again, hovering several inches off the floor. She studied me a moment and I wondered if the truth was finally starting to sink in.

“It’s all wrong,” she shouted as she gave up on me and started circling the room. “This is terrible and it’s all your fault.”

Three more plates flew toward me in quick succession but by some fate I was able to dodge them.

“If you calm down, perhaps we can work it out?”

“I’m ruined and it’s all because of you.”

“What did I do?”

“If you could be on time just once and do what I ask of you like all the other servants then none of this would have happened.”

“You must be Daisy.”

I remembered my grandfather telling me a story about her that had been passed down to him but I couldn’t remember the details. I had been a little girl at the time and as far as I had known, Daisy was someone my grandfather had made up. The only part of the story that stuck in my mind was how others had feared the woman. Now I understood why.

The dishes came faster now. I sank down against the back of the island counter hoping to find protection as fragments of porcelain rained down around me. Great, now I was going to have to go shopping for dishes.
Was Daisy insane, I wondered? The other ghosts had known I wasn’t one of them but Daisy was too wrapped up in vengeance to acknowledge that I wasn’t the source of her misery. According to the clock on the wall, Daisy was exceeding her twenty minute time limit as well. Just my luck that the craziest ghost would also be the strongest.

When the assault on my crockery finally subsided, I dared to peek around the corner. Daisy stood with her hands covering her face, a diminished version of the bright entity that she’d been earlier.

“It’s over,” she said softly as I stood up to face her. I took two careful steps in her direction. “It’s all over.”

“What happened, Daisy?”

In a puff of smoke, Daisy vanished and despite my efforts to remain calm, the sudden reaction made me jump a little. It was as if someone had taken a big breath and blown out a candle. I called her name a couple of times but eventually I gave up. Daisy was gone.

“Well, that was the oddest encounter yet,” I said turning in a circle to assess the damage she’d left behind. I had a lot of cleaning to do in the morning thanks to this ghost but for now, my bed still waited where I would find warmth and comfort and hopefully a reprieve from the ever growing headache. After meeting Daisy, however, I very much doubted my dreams would be peaceful.

**

Click HERE to check out posts from the other A to Z Blogging Challenge participants.

#AtoZChallenge Who Are the Ghosts in My Attic? Benjamin.

Shadow Figure Walking Up StairsFrom where I stood at the bottom of the staircase, I could only see the simple wooden door that I knew would open into the attic. In the three months since I inherited the old Victorian and set about in my attempts to restore it, I still hadn’t found the nerve to climb those steps to discover what treasures from my family’s past may await in the most mysterious of all the rooms in my new home. The closest I had come to venturing into that space was the day I made the decision to invite the spirits down to tell me their stories.

Eventually, I would need to succumb to the curiosity that filled me, walk up those dreaded steps, and turn the knob to the other side. I needed to understand the house and my history as much as I needed to understand the other inhabitants of it.

For now, I was content to allow them to come to me. I’d been left with mixed feelings after my encounter with Agatha. I wasn’t sure I was ready for the stories the others might tell me. But as the minutes crept onward, my anxiety slowly changed to disappointment. Tonight’s visitor only had a twenty minute time frame to show himself and that time was quickly dwindling.

So here I stood staring at the mysterious door and wondering if I dare open it when suddenly the sound of giggling interrupted my thoughts and made me jump. I spun around on my heels to pinpoint the sound of the laughter.

“Try to find me,” said the voice of a little boy.

“Who is there?” I called out. My question prompted more giggling. I followed its sound down the long, dimly lit hallway until I reached one of the last bedroom doors on the right. It was partly open so I only needed to give it a gentle push.
Benjamin sat on the floor with his legs criss-crossed He looked up at me with large, dark eyes and an endearing smile. He couldn’t have been older than four.

“Do you want to play?” he asked me.

He was referring to the train set laid out at his feet and despite the fact that I knew I was communicating once again with one of the deceased, it was difficult to refuse his invitation. I joined him on the floor and reached out to push the little train engine as I made choo choo sounds. This delighted him and he giggled and rocked back on his heels clasping his hands together.

“It’s been a long time since someone has sat to play with you, hasn’t it?”

“Yes,” he said, suddenly sad and serious. His essence once bright and clear started to cloud and distort. “When Mommy went away, I had no one left to play with me.”

“You lived here with just your mommy?”

“No, I didn’t live here,” he said shaking his head until I feared it would roll from his shoulders.

“Oh. I thought maybe Agatha may have been your mommy?”

Benjamin stood and studied me with very curious, distrustful observation.

“I wasn’t allowed to live here,” he said at last, so quietly that I almost didn’t hear him.

I took a deep breath as I planned my next question but Benjamin took off running before I could have the chance to ask it.

“Wait,” I called out to the flashing ball of glowing light, “I thought you wanted to play?”

“Find me!” His voice echoed through the empty rooms, bouncing off walls and surrounding me. “You’re it!”

“Hide and seek,” I said with a sigh. Sadly, it was a game I’d never been very good at and I felt that Benjamin had an unfair advantage being a ghost.

I opened doors as I frantically searched the entire length of the long hall. Each room greeted me with emptiness with only the ethereal sound of giggling filling my head from somewhere in the distance. I cursed under my breath when I glanced at my watch and realized I only had about five minutes until our time was up.

“Benjamin, where are you?” I called out.

“Shhhh…” Benjamin said as he materialized before me with his index finger over his lips for emphasis. “He’ll hear you and get angry. He can’t know I’m here.”

“Who, Benjamin?”

“Come with me.”

I felt his small hand, icy cold, as it slipped into mine. It barely had substance or weight but his will pulled me forward and I let him lead me down the main staircase and around the bend. We stopped short in front of the grand piano that had been here before I moved into the house.

“What is it you want me to see here?”I whispered. I looked down into his tear-filled eyes and my heart broke with the pain of his pain.

“Mommy, wasn’t here to make him stop,” he said.

“He found you,” I said, realizing in that instance that this is where the inevitable had happened.

Benjamin nodded in affirmation and as much as I could manage, I knelt down to try to gather his little body to mine, to hold him close, and to take away that pain.

“And I know he is the one who made Mommy go away, too.”

I shuddered as fear shook through me. Benjamin wavered and slowly disappeared right before my eyes leaving me alone. The piano began to play a slow, sad song and not for the first time since moving into the big, old house, I wondered if I had made the right choice.

**

Click HERE to check out posts from the other A to Z Blogging Challenge participants.

#AtoZChallenge Who Are the Ghosts in My Attic? Agatha.

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? 🙂

**

old abandoned  Scary Haunted house
The kettle screamed, breaking the silence that had fallen over us.

“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.”

“The salad?”

“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.

**

Click HERE to check out the posts from other challenge participants.