#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.

**

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

Beautiful ghost girl in white dressA cool breeze floated over me and despite the warm evening air, I was grateful I’d grabbed a jacket before leaving the house. The sweat from my run served to cool me even faster so that my teeth chattered slightly and goosebumps covered my flesh.

I stood at the edge of the property looking up at the big, old Victorian house and shuddered, this time having nothing to do with the temperature. In one of the upstairs windows I imagined the little boy, Benjamin, who had cried in my arms. I thought he peeked out at me, secretly waving and smiling. I gave him a little wave back, careful not to draw attention, not because I was worried about the neighbors, but because I was worried about the man who had frightened him so much, the man who had taken his young life. Over and over the little boy would be forced to relive that pain and suffering. It hardly seemed fair. The afterlife overwhelmed me and even my run hadn’t managed to ease my anxiety about who I would encounter next.

Just as I was about to go inside, movement from the back of the house caught my eye. As I refocused my attention, I realized the figure of a young woman floated soundlessly across the yard. I glanced at my watch. My visitor of the evening was early. My post-run shower would have to wait until after I’d had the opportunity to speak to her.

As I jogged closer to the overgrown garden area of the backyard, I noticed that the young woman wasn’t merely out for a stroll in the lovely spring evening. She paced frantically, twisting her hands together, seeming to be talking but as far as I could tell, she was alone.

“Is everything alright?” I asked as I approached her cautiously. She didn’t even acknowledge my presence, continuing to pace back and forth, running her hands through her smooth, black hair.

When she switched directions again so that she was coming toward me, I was certain she would see me but instead she kept walking, almost moving right through me. I felt the chill circle around me again and I folded my arms over myself to keep warm.

“I would like to hear your story,” I said even though I didn’t expect a response.

I sighed and moved to sit on a an ornate cement bench to ease my tired legs. I imagined Agatha might have sat on this very bench on one time when she had been tending her garden. It must have been beautiful back then. I made a mental note to start clearing out the dead plants and weeds before spring really got into full bloom. Although I would never manage to restore it to what it may have been like long ago, I would look forward to spending time just as Agatha had, growing my own flowers and vegetables.

“I don’t know where to go. I can’t keep hiding like this.”

The sound of her voice startled me out of my daydreams and it took me a moment to realize that she’d stopped pacing and spoke directly to me. She hovered just above the ground and I remarked at how truly beautiful she was. She couldn’t have been older than mid-twenties and she had wide dark eyes that reminded me of Benjamin.

“You are Benjamin’s mother,” I said softly, mostly to myself. The resemblance between them was uncanny.

“Yes, I am Caroline. Can you help me? I’m afraid he will kill us both.”
I sighed sadly. I didn’t want to be the one to inform her that she was already dead. There was nothing I could do to change that.

“Who are you afraid of?” I asked.

“It’s Victor. He’s gone mad. I am certain he’s already killed a man and I believe he’s capable of killing again. Benjamin isn’t safe here. You have to help me protect him and get him out of here.”

Caroline melted to her knees, her white dress flowing around her as she did. Her eyes filled with tears as she reached one elegantly slender arm toward me. Her icy hand touched mine and I shuddered again.

“I don’t know how I can help.”

“I have nowhere left to turn.”

“There is no one who can help you? What about Benjamin’s father?”

“Victor is his father and there is no one else left.”

“Why would a man want to kill his own wife and son?”

“I am not his wife.”

“Ohhh,” I said.

“I didn’t want him to find out about Benjamin but now he knows the truth and he will kill us both.”

“Surely there must be some other way?”

I watched her rise to her feet and resume her pacing, twisting her hands together again, and mumbling incoherently.

“Maybe I can talk to Victor,” I suggested hopelessly. I knew it wouldn’t change the past but maybe I could help to give peace to their restless souls. Suddenly a purpose filled me. Perhaps it had been preordained that I should inherit this house? Perhaps fate brought me here for a reason?

“NO!” Caroline shouted. Her form shot up into the night sky and blazed through the trees. The chill wrapped around me again, this time squeezing me tightly until I could hardly catch my breath. I tried to move but I was frozen in place, shivering uncontrollably.

When she finally let me go, I fell off the bench and staggered forward, gasping for air. She materialized in front of me again looking serene and beautiful but in her eyes still raged a storm.

“Victor is mine and you will never have him,” she said.

“I don’t want Victor.” I struggled to my feet feeling confused and brushed myself off. One moment she was pleading for my help and the next she was threatening me?

“He is my only love. We will be together one day, you will see.”

“What about his wife?” I dared to ask.

“She won’t be a problem much longer.”

I shuddered again.

“And when he meets his son…” Her voice trailed off and she looked into the distance sad and lost.

“He will threaten to kill you both,” I whispered too softly for her to hear.

The look in her eyes changed to fear and she began pacing again. I simply stood and watched her as the anxiety gnawed away until finally she faded into the night.

No matter how long I stood in the shower letting the hot water pour over me, I couldn’t erase the deep chill that had settled into my bones that night.

**

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#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.

**

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#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.

**

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Blogging A to Z Challenge: Theme Reveal

BeingsWe’ve been searching for a new house for a while now. Something with a little more space for the kids would be helpful, especially as they grow older. Something with a little more storage room would be handy since I’m always running out of places to put things. I won’t be greedy and say I’d like my own office space for writing but yes, that would be an attractive feature too. We can dream.

But when it comes time to sell this house and we sit down to fill out the seller’s disclosure, an interesting question came to light – Will we have to disclose the ghosts in our attic?

If we don’t, will the home inspector come across the telltale signs of paranormal activity before the buyers sign on the dotted line?

How would you feel moving into a new home occupied by several residents that have no intention of packing their bags and going anywhere?

And more importantly, who are the ghosts in my attic?

Welcome to my Theme Reveal for the A to Z Blogging Challenge!

The challenge, quite simply, is to blog a new post each day of the month in April except for Sundays. Each day focuses on a new letter of the alphabet. There are twenty six days in April when you take away Sundays and twenty six letters in the alphabet. Perfect! We don’t have to incorporate a theme for the challenge but many do and I thought it would be fun to try.

(Curious to check out the Theme Reveal for my fellow challengers? You can find the list here.)

Okay, so maybe there aren’t really ghosts in my attic (I’ll leave that up for you to decide) but it’s fun to imagine and the kids and I have joked about them since the time they were little. I look forward to finally giving those entities names and faces.

So now, it’s time to roll out the welcome mat, open the attic door, and invite each ghost down for a cup of tea and an opportunity to tell his or her story and in the end, maybe we’ll even find out why there are so many lurking around up there.

I hope you’ll stick around and have some fun with the ghosts and me in April. We look forward to haunting you…