“ We May Not Breath, Our Heart’s Not Beat, But We Are Much Alive.”
The town was named after the grousome war that plagued the shadows of the quiet little village. That dark morning 3,000 young soldiers marched into the large open field of what was then called the Van Tassel Farm. By the time dusk stretched is frightening shadows over the town, all were dead.
The dead were not recovered from the battlefield till nearly a week later. Many came to morn over there death. Women were asked to weave beautiful flowers into rags to cover the forgotten men’s graves. For none were able to afford the cheapest of gravestones for there loved ones. The most fortunate were given a small piece of slate in hopes of carving a memorial in memory of the unfortunate souls.
When finally all were buried, the town changed. The songbirds that chirped there marry tunes were replaced with the ugly cackles of crows. They roosted up in tall trees, waiting for a filthy black rat to rummage threw the rotten apples that littered the orchards. The hot, summer air was replaced with a chilly breeze and the aquamarine sky was clouded with black misery. Cheery mothers weeped at there beloved sons graves. Frightened and pronounced paupers, widows died within months from a broken heart.
Even the now crowded cemetery was no longer pleasant. The soil had become forever sour. The soft forest green grass was reduced to brown weeds and the beautiful rose bushes to piles of thorns. Loons echoed sad songs that forbid anyone from ever returning to the haunted grounds. Some even swore that late at night they could here the eerie melodies of the dead singing for all the living to here.
“ We the spirits of Morva Hollow, filled with dread and endless sorrow. We may not breathe, our hearts not beat, but we are much alive. We see, yet we have no eyes. We hear, but don’t have ears. We without blood and flesh, unable to shed our tears.”
Many thought the spirits of Morva Hollow were unable to pass on. Their frighting apparition’s seen rocking back and forth above there worn graves. Always floating, never touching the crumbling stone. The spirits were to angry to admit they were defeated and that there land was to be taken from them. The living to be enslaved by there enemies.
Many died on that beautiful day of June 10, 1720, but few rested. As there bodies rotted, there souls became stronger. Flourishing around there dark prison. Morva was their former home, but eternal sanctuary.
June 30th, 1720
Nearly 3 weeks
“ Come here, boy! Perhaps you prefer a beating or maybe a flogging. Except enslavement, boy, or I’ll thrash the devil out of you!”
The words were so new to the young man. It wasn't more than a month ago that his people were happy. Young children ran barefoot in the field. Picking the precious Lily’s and Tulips that scattered the prairie. Van Tassel Farm was his home, and always will be.
Nearly a month ago he recalled the upbeat music from the large drum hung over his shoulder. The job was frightening. At the third bang of the large instrument, the weapons were fired at the enemy. You needed fast skills to quickly get out of the way of the battle. He was stabbed in the arm with a long sword for his slow pace. The enemy was at his side in moments. It was healing well, but still painfully sore. He gave the soldiers from his country the benefit of victory. He failed his mission. Now, he was the laughing stock of the new citizens of Morva. And now, the man that wounded him was his master.
More than anything he missed his parents. He missed his fathers loyalty, his mothers kindness.
He was not alone. He was like the many others who father was killed in battle and his mother from grief. Now he was a nobody. No clothes of his own, processions, or even a speck dignity. A slave, and nothing more.
He could never except his future. His destiny. He wouldn’t.
“ Sir, I no not of my duty’s. I am of no value to you or any other Spaniard.”
“ You shall learn,” the Spaniard chuckled. “ Even the most proud American can be broken with the whip. And a lot of punishment.” he added.
“ I shall never call you Master, sir. I am a english gentlemen. English gentlemen do not beg for mercy. I’m brave.”
“ We’ll see about that, ” the evil man grinned.
The spaniard grabbed the handle of the large whip that hung on a nail above the boys head, raised it high in the air, and let it fly down with all his might on top of his bound disrespectful slaves sunburned back.
The now terrified young man let out a surprised gasp. Yelping at each lash. He let his tears of shame and agony slide down his red cheeks. But he did not beg.
He was true to his work. The boy didn’t give up. Not even when his skin sagged in ragged remains and strips of skin lay at his feet. Nor when his arms and legs grew weak.
“Still think you can win, boy?”
The boys last words were strange. His legs gave way, his head limp.
“ More than ever.”
And then he died.
The Spaniard stared in surprise at the dead body before him. Not truly believing he truly killed his new slave.
“ Stupid little runt. Couldn’t keep your mouth shut, could you?”
He decided to burn the body. Nobody would ever find the evidence.
Hours later the murderer awoke in his bed to the sound of a pistol, the screams of agony, and the thud of a body hitting the floor.
Who would of known that the stableboy next door saw his cruel deed.
The next day the spaniard was buried.
The slave boy’s body was found the next day. His death was a big event for the town. The cruel citizens were very particular about the boys burial.
“ A slave deserves no proper burial,” the villagers shrieked. The boy was wrapped in a large sack and tossed carelessly into a shallow grave. The only true friend that loved him dearly was a young girl the boys age. Her name was Katrina.
Katrina was secretly in love with her best friend. They had grown up together and had been neighbors sense birth. The day her secret lover died, Katrina slept for hours until dusk’s darkness sprawled out on top of the fresh grave sobbing about her dreams and her wishes of seeing the slave boy again.
She only left when her new master dragged her out of the graveyard. It was only 6 months later she died as well. Her life felt meaningless. She ended her life with the a pull of a trigger.
Forever the spaniards soul would grieve with guilt of what was later called: “ The Slave Boys Curse.”
Some people said for many years afterwards, late a night, when the moon was bright as the morning sun, that the slave boy could be heard screaming for help. It frightened many people in the town. Until one day, Morva Hollow Cemetery was locked up for visitors to never return.
Over 2 Century’s later...
Much has changed in over two centuries, and yet, so little. The Van Tassel Farm has become old. Its paint peeling, shutters bent, and roof leaky. Moss coated the broken floorboards and the door hinges were nearly rusted shut. But the fact of hard work would have to be accomplished, it would be a gorgeous home.
The evil open field was haunted with the memories of death and the faint smell every now and then of the blood that soaked the soil. But black raspberries bushes, blue berries, pumpkins, and even tiny crab apples flourished around the area.
The spirits of Morva had calm down a bit over the years. The towns folk believed that the lonely forgotten souls have given up hope of being saved.
Lately the sun shined more often, the accasional chirp of a chipmunk brought a hint of beauty to the dreary days, and the nights were not as frightening. The coyotes in the distance howled in harmony from time to time, the frogs in the swamps were not heard very often croaking in warning of danger. When the Well’s family arrived, the town’s nightmares of there gory past returned.
The daughter of Thomas Well’s was the most beautiful of all the girls from their home in town in Ohio. Her hair shined in a rosy tones and her eyes were bright as the morning sun. Her skin was the color of chestnut and she was doused in the fresh scent to fall air. Singing was her favorite hobby. Her favorite of all was “ Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”
As a little girl she dreamed of herself dancing in Judy Garlands little blue dress with a little black dog at her side.
Now, at nearly 15 years old, she hadn't drempted about such in forever. Now she drempted about the unexplained. Nightmares about weeping apparition’s, sorrowful spirits.
Her nightmare was always the same, she would find herself in a run down graveyard. She passed one stone after another, feeling the rough texture.
She came upon a child grave.
Passed Softly in
Eerie giggle’s echoed around her and she spun around. Finding nothing there, she continued to the next stone.
She heard humming. Loud and frighting. Up ahead a distressed female spirit screeched in grief.
A female apparition was hovering above a grave under a small crumbling stone. She continued to hum loudly as if she was wishing to get someone’s attention nearby as she rocked back and forth.
“ Richard,” she sobbed. “ Return to me. Don’t leave me so alone.”
With a loud explosion of a pistol, the apparition vanished before Karen’s eyes. The humming stopped. As she turned around, she gasped out loud. She lost her strength in her legs and fell to her knees. Panting in horror.
A decaying corpse was staring at her from the gate of the graveyard up ahead. Grinning and laughing evilly. He had no pupils and his eyes were bulging from his eye sockets. Black, greasy, shoulder length hair hung in wet strands all over his head. He raked a hand across his forehead exposing his rotting inner flesh. Maggot infested meat poured from the gash. He laughed even harder, and, with another chuckled, raised his bony hand to the wound. Karen retched. He yanking off a layer of brown skin from the bloody mess, raised it to his lips, and swallowed it whole. Blood squirted out of a large hole from his partly revealed skull.
A pleading gesture was seen behind him. Without turning around the corpse yelled in anger at what presence that was behind him. He turned around and threw a furious blow at his confronter. A muffled yelp echoed in every direction.
“ My your own business, boy. Crawl back into your bottomless pit where you belong.”
She new the boy’s presence by heart. A thin, pale, staggering figure. His hair was a tumbling pile of curly blond locks, his whole body was slashed in all directions leaving his dirty soot covered shirt stained with blood.
He was aware of me there. He stumbled in my direction gagging and spewing crimson fluids in his path. He was grasping his neck and choking in agony.
It was a race between the living and the dead. Karen was screaming in terror as the gasping boy chased her out of the graveyard. Though it was a dream, her sides ached from the long run and her lungs felt like they were going to burst. In every turn she made he was only a few feet behind her. Nothing was stopping him. No matter what lake she crossed, or how tall the cliffs she climbed.
She found herself trapped when she lost her footing and fell into a deep ditch full of crumbling soil. Her dream continued in horror.
She had fallen into a rattlesnake infested hole. Slithering and hissing in anger, the ugly creatures bared there fangs and lunged towards her. Its tail twitched and its loud noise chilled her very soul.
She didn’t have to make any disitions.
In moments the boy landed with a loud “ thump” in the middle of the nest. Snatching a few heads and twisting there necks out of place, he threw the lifeless reptiles at Karen’s feet. A mixture of snake venom and blood pooled around them.
While Karen was transfixed, he simply plucked the last remaining living serpent from the empty nest, grasped it throat, raised the angry creature to his lips, and bit down hard on the head. There was a crunch and the animals skull cracked under his powerful jaws. Blood gushed from the happy hunters corners of his mouth.
And then she woke up.
The first thing Karen Well’s noticed was the cold draft when she swung the door open.
There move to Connecticut was happy. The warm sun was beating down on the petite little blue truck.
“ Weather here in New England sure is strange,” muttered Thomas Well’s. “ It will take some getting used to.”
The farm was old. Rotting with age. The floorboards were soft and uneven, the roof was leaky and full of holes. You could see the sunlight shining threw the partly open ceiling.
“ I found out what is causing the drafts, Daddy.”
Thomas Wells stared at the new home. He whistled as his feet traveled up the stairs to the 5th step. Then, he stopped. There was a snap and a screech of fury.
“ This house needs a lot of work. The boards in this staircase are so thin, I nearly twisted my ankle. My foot is stuck. Go get me my hammer, Karen.”
Armand the evil spirit watched as a beautiful young girl struggled to pry open a rusty latch.
He floated to the roof to watch the view.
The spirit enjoyed her struggles to break the latch with a pry bar. He laughed to himself inside to know the weaknesses of humans.
“ Stupid little human girl,” he cooed. “Don’t you know anything? Your not strong enough to accomplish such a task.”
Eventually the evil spirit grew bored of Karen and in a fit of rage, mumbled a curse and lifted his hand. It was a command. A gesture of his evil powers. In seconds the tiny tool box screeched open and bent backwards as if it was made of cardboard.
He saw the girls face twist in shock for a minute or two, and then she snatched a large hammer from the box. In a hurry, she dashed inside her new home screeching with anxiety.
“ Beginners luck, huh, princess?,” he chuckled. “ Aren't you the sweetest little human babe I have ever seen. So tiny, so innocent. I’m keeping my eye on you.”
And with another glance at Karen’s pretty face he dissolved threw the broken shingles of the roof and slowly floated downstairs into the stairwell.
“ I grabbed the first aid kit too, Daddy.”
“ Thank you, honey. Will you pass me that hammer, Karen?”
Armand sneered in disgust. Basking in amusement.
“ Thank you, Dear,” he mocked in a whisper. He starred threw the stairwell at there pathetic affection. A smug, cocky smile on his face.
“ So, your name is Karen, my sweet? How adorable it is to see you worry. Daddy’s fine, my dear, ” Armand chuckled.
“It was amazing to be a demon to a evil soul,” Armand thought. “To see threw objects, to be invisible to the human eye, to have amazing powers.”
Armand could see Mr. Well’s wound. A jagged nail was scrapped across his shin leaving a ugly cut. He reached threw the rotten wood and roughly gripped his hand over the mans wound. Armand heard the human man yelp in pain, but the cut healed in a instant. In its place was Armand’s mark. Three ugly claw marks were scratched in its place. The sign of evil. A touch of the devil.
Armand continued to listen to the human’s conversation.
“ Daddy, what is it?”
“ Ow, I felt something cold grip my leg. Then something scratched me. I think there might be some damn stray cats taking shelter in this old building, Karen. I’m almost done with the hammer. Who would have thought such rotten wood would be so difficult to break. Damn, my foot is still buried in this mushy shit.”
“Stray cats,?” Armand cackled. “ You humans ARE really stupid!”
Then, Armand floated in silence threw the wall until he saw the sunset of the outside. And with no hesitation, he headed for the woods to return to his disobedient slaves grave in the abandoned little graveyard in the distance.
Thomas Well’s leg was still stinging in pain as he called one of his best friends. Grabbing his cell phone out of his pocket, he frantically typed in the numbers.
“ Andrew, this new house we found is amazing. But, the thing is, it needs a lot of work. I was wondering if tomorrow you could come over and help me put in new stairs. The old ones have gone to hell. I will pay you whatever you ask. I love this house more than any house I have ever seen in my life. Yes, it is old, why? That makes the place have more of a personality don’t you think?”
Karen, meanwhile was exploring. She traveled threw the basement with a new wind up battery powered flashlight. The kind that can be charged by being wound up like a crank.
She stumbled over a few abandoned beer bottles and climbed threw a narrow passageway. She could still here the muffled voice of her father up above her.
The passageway lead to tunnels that traveled threw-out the house behind the walls. It stunk badly of stagnant water and Karen could swore she saw a dead mouse in the corner.
Soon all Karen heard was her shoe soles brushing against the dry dirt floor. I was getting darker and colder as she traveled on.
She hummed her favorite song out loud to calm herself.
“ Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high. There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby. Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue...”
Karen thought of this large wonderful house. She thought of her dreams of being a young actress and visiting homes of the celebrities of the nineteen thirty’s and forty's. She thought of the magnificent Judy Garland and the adorable Shirley Temple with the curly little ringlets dangling from her head.
Her heart almost stopped when a thin, tiny figure raced across her path. Her bare lower legs brushed up against something wet, slimy, and and hairy. She let out a shrill shriek that made the small creature respond. The surprise caused Karen to drop her expensive flashlight leaving her and the strange little guest in complete darkness.
Frightening images flooded Karen’s mind. She imagined mean stray dogs with long decaying teeth about to bite down on her tiny neck, she thought of homeless people who could have died in the very cellar she was exploring. She felt her heart nearly exploding as she saw fantasized rocks collapsing from the old ceiling plummeting down on a helpless, homeless old man trying desperately to find shelter.
Then she thought of something even more terrifying.
Karen loved horror movies. They were her favorite. She began to panic thinking about criminals who had escaped jail and were hiding from the law. As she looked around staring into the darkness she thought about how wonderful this place would be for a insane killer looking for his next weak victim.
She fell quickly to her knees and franticly ran her fingers over the cold floor.
“ Come on, where are you damn thing,!” her voiced echoed threw out the cellar.
Her fingers caught on something sharp that ripped open her skin. She grunted and yanked the sharp object out from her fingers. She realized it was shards of broken glass from pieces of the abandoned beer bottles. She could smell the faint scent of alcohol covering her hands and seeping into her wound. It burned like crazy as she felt her warm blood and the mixture of the rank liquid oozing from the cut.
Apparently her cries of agony was greatly upsetting the little creature with her. She heard the pattering of tiny footstep racing in every direction as if I was being chased by a large beastly creature.
Finally her slick wet hands found a familiar plastic handle. She snatched the object in her grasp and quickly cranked it up till a very bright light filled around her.
Karen wanted to laugh. Sitting at her side was a frightened, confused, underfed cat. It was a young male she could tell from the angle she was in. It was a ugly looking cat. It’s gray filthy mattered fur was hanging in clumps all around him. Large baby like eyes starred in every direction every few seconds. Its bones in its hips, ribs, and shoulder pointed outward. So big and pointed they looked like they were going to cut open the poor helpless felines skin.
“ Oh, you poor little boy. Come here kitty. Come here boy.”
To Karen’s surprise, the little kitty limped over with little strength he possessed to Karen’s side. It let out a pitiful “ meow” that seemed to drain his strength at every breath.
Karen found the bravery to reach out with her uninjured hand and gently pat the cleanest part on the little animals body. It was his forehead.
“ Oh, you poor baby,” she cooed. She no longer felt afraid. Slowly the little light from her flashlight began to dim. She made no attempt to recharge it. Knowing that the loud noise would frightened her new friend.
With her bloody hand she gently pushed the flashlight into her pocket. She let the end stick upright pointed directly at the ceiling. Then, with the last of her courage, she gently lifted the cat in her gentle arms. The cat barely hesitated. Just relaxed in comfort against Karen’s warm body.
In nearly fifteen minutes later, Karen found her way to the bright opening she had started from. She saw the first step of the stairs.
“ Dad,” she yelled. “ You will never guess what I found.”
It wasn't until early October that the Well’s finally moved in. The roof was built in with strong fresh pine wood, the new staircase was rebuilt and painted, and the basement was thoroughly swept of all debris. Mr. Well’s even asked for the original railing to be kept and put in because of the beautiful designs.
The ill cat that Karen had found suffering in the basement was now recovering. Karen was happy to name her new lovely kitty. She named him Lucky for his wonderful escape from the cold and dark hell he was trapped in for many weeks. His coat was shiny, and his belly had grown large. Karen loved him so. He was her best friend.
Karen’s hand was nearly completely healed. She only needed twelve stitches, when the doctor told her she would lose her hand from infection.
That morning when her room was fully set up and all her belongings were put away, Karen noticed something very mysterious.
Karen was picking fresh black raspberries for a lovely pie that she would bake tomorrow when a sudden strong breeze tickled her neck from above. By reflex, she raised her head upward. What she saw was very peculiar.
Above Karen’s bedroom was a little window on the third floor. She was guessing it was the attic, but it was barely considered a window. I was about the size of 14x10 picture frame. Most would have mistaken it for a tiny vent until she saw ragged cloth blowing softly behind the dusty glass.
The ripped worn curtains started to move slowly to one side to revile a thin black figure. Its eyes were glowing a bright green threw the tiny creases on the fabric. Then, the curtains were ripped out of sight. Showing the creatures true form.
Karen screamed falling to the ground. Her head hit the tire of her fathers Chevy truck. She leaned up against the cold metal while she starred shivering up at the little window.
A blood soaked body was pressed up against the window. Gurgling sounds and chocking noises echoed around her. Its mouth was moving as if it was trying to speak. The muffled groans were gory.
I was a male voice.
Karen couldn’t see his actually face. Slash wounds covered his face and body. He was thin and grubby looking.
Karen was flooded with negative emotions. As more tears flowed, she closed her eyes and rocked herself back and forth as if to enter a wonderful paradise in her imagination.
When her father appeared, completely unaware of what happened, she wiped her face quickly and return to unpacking the last of her clothes.
As she scurried away she took a long look at the little window above her room. The frightening small man had vanished. But, in the corner of the window was a fresh handprint. It glowed at the angle Karen was in from the strong sun. She could see the handprint so clearly because the ancient dust that coated the window was wiped away to revile the glasses worn but shiny surface.
The day the Well’s moved in, Karen’s and her father had so many visitors welcome them into the neighborhood. Karen managed to finish her many pies full of juicy raspberries and each guest was served a piece. Each visitor adored every bite and soon the news was passed around about the “The Amazing Young Lady of Morva Hollow. Every visitor told them of eerie tales of there new home. Stories of terror and violence.
“ Actually,” a old woman replied. “ You know, I didn’t want to frighten you two young fellows, but there is something I have been wanting to tell you nice people. It’s a little mystery your house is involved in.”
“ What do you mean? It’s just was a old run down building wasn't it,?” Thomas Well’s grinned.
“ I’m afraid not, Thomas.”
She paused to take another bite of the delicious pie.
“A cruel man and his family lived here. His will to the house continued for many generations in till around the 1920’s when the only remaining family member nearby dropped dead. Then the Rosfro’s family moved in. It was such a terrible memory.”
The old woman pushed the last piece of pie in her mouth, and gently set the plate on her lap. She chewed it quickly and took another breath again.
“ I used to know the Rosfro’s. A little girl of around 3 years old, around...I would say...the midd 1940’s was murdered here. As a matter of fact, she was a wonderful friend of mine. Jenny Rosfro
The old woman paused to lean forward to look Mr. Well’s right in the eye.
Thomas, I think it would be best for Karen to leave the room. It might frighten her to hear such...” she paused again. “ Such a grousome tale.”
“ Its fine. Karen can handle more things than most girl her age can. Go ahead.”
“The little girl I mentioned was murdered in this house. Her father, who was the crazy drunk in the town, hung her from the staircase. After she was dead he hid her body under the stairs. Then, nearly a year later, he was caught. The monster invited a paperboy of about 8 years old in to his home. Of course he was drunk. He said he was gonna give the boy a “gift” for all of his work. He staggered to the staircase door and showed him the corpse of his dead daughter. Found her right over there,” as the old woman pointed under the staircase.
Karen gasped, Mr. Well’s gave the old woman a uneasy look.
“ What happened to the paperboy?”
“ He managed to escape. The police arrested the girl’s father later that night. Then, the bastard was thrown in prison for the rest of his life. He died a few years after his arrest. Serves him right.”
Karen felt faint.
“ Do you know how many people were murder here, ma me',?” Karen asked. The room was overloading with a fearful presence.
The old woman reached into her worn purse and pulled out her glasses.
“ Indeed my dear. I believe there has been four. A man, a teenage boy, a girl the same age, a little boy of about 4 years old, he was slow, if you know what I mean. He was born mental...” the woman choose her words carefully, “challenged. And then there was the 3 year old little girl,” she chuckled. “ I hope you two are strong in the heart if you know what I mean,” she smiled. “ After that little girl died, people told stories about seeing her spirit playing on the stairs.” The elderly lady glanced at the staircase door. “ You might want to nail down that door, Thomas. It makes a lot of noise at night. Pretty annoying to get up a dozen times every night to close it.”
By now Thomas Well’s was laughing like the story was the best he had ever heard of. He gently guided there guest to the front door.
“ Thanks for all the laugh's, ma me'. That was the best Halloween treat we have ever had.”
The woman smirked.
“ Why, dear Thomas. You think I was trying to trick you? A fine, healthy young man like you docent believe in ghosts? By the way, no need to call me ma me', dear. Call me Miss Trinity York-”
The room grew silent. Miss York expression was covered in amusement as she starred over Mr. Well’s shoulders. Slowly, Karen and Mr. Well’s turned around.
The TV sprung to life. Crappy blurred images flicked across the screen. First came Felix The Cat, Popeye the Sailor, and Tom and Jerry.
“ See,” argued Miss York. “ Jenny is so happy to see you. She must have been awfully lonely here for so long. Karen, dear, she would love to sit with you and watch cartoons. These were our favorite shows growing up.”
Karen let out a nervous giggle.
“ Maybe she would quiet down if you sat down on the rug with her. The show only goes for a half a hour,” Miss York chuckled. “ Oh, maybe I could tell you the romantic story of the murder of the ‘Slave Boy and the French Maid.’ The slave boy was drummer boy in the Morva Hollow battle. A spaniard flogged him to death and after he was dead he made a bonfire in the woods and burned the evidence. Years down the road the boys bones were found on the border of your land and the woods. The orchard is mighty beautiful, Thomas. My great, great, great grandfather Isaac York used to own the orchard before he was killed in the battle as well.”
Karen didn’t want to hear anymore. She rushed up the staircase to finish setting up her mattress on the bed frame in her new room.
When Karen was out of hearing reach, Miss Trinity York continued babbling away.
Oh, Thomas there is so much more to tell! While the french maid was taking a bath she took her life with a pistol when she found her lover was dead. Many thought she was murdered, in till they retrieved her body from the tub and found the weapon clenched in her fist. As a matter of fact, she used to sleep in your daughter room upstairs-”
Thomas Well’s had had enough. He backed Miss York off his door step, and gently shut the door. There was a few muffled curses from outside. The roar of a car engine and the screech of tires echoed in the distance. Then, Miss York was gone.
“ Crazy old bat,” Thomas whispered.
Karen had finished making her bed when the stroke of nine arrived. When her foot hit the last step at the bottom of the stairs, she gave a shocked glance at the TV that was still on and then looked up into her fathers eyes.
“ Dad, we don’t have cable yet, do we?
“ No Karen, shut off the TV and just go to bed, o.k.?”
It took them nearly 3 hours to go to bed. Mr. Well’s ignored Miss York’s warning of nailing down the staircase door.
A million thoughts were clouding Karen’s mind. Her new room was cold and had the feeling of someone watching her. She listened in horror to the tiny invisible presence giggling at the foot of her bed. She wanted so badly to dare herself to open her eyes. But she couldn’t. She thought of what she might see when she woke up at dawn for school.
Instead, she whispered into the darkness. Her fear was mixed with curiosity.
“ Hi, Jenny.”
There was no answer. Karen waited for about a minute for a response. Nothing happened. The giggling stopped, the banging of the staircase door downstairs subdued. So Karen rested her tense head back on the pillow and relaxed.
She bolted upright opened her eyes in terror. The light switch in her room was flicking on and off. If turned on and off many times till finally the lightbulb on the ceiling exploded. Scattered glass all over the old hard wood floor.
Karen looked into the darkness of the dim moonlight.
There was a apparition of little girl standing on top of her footboard. A rope was wrapped around her neck. She chocked out a few words. Her eyes were bulging out of her eye sockets as she screeched in fright.
“ Mommy. Mommy, help me.”
Karen slept with the sheets over her head for the rest of the night. Sobbing into her pillow. Knowing her new home had become a sanctuary for hopeless spirits. And, as far as she knew, she was the only one that saw them.
That morning Karen woke up surprisingly calm. Still a bit tired, but not so tense. The little girl on her foot post had vanished, and her room was warmer than usual.
Today she would start her first day of school.
Karen had never been to a school where she didn’t have to ware uniforms. She hated her school uniform from her old school. It was combined in certain areas as grey and black. Girls had to ware black skirts that went almost to the knees with grey lace on the bottom with a grey blouse. Boys had to where a black button up shirt, grey pants with a black or gray tie. The colors were so... dull.
It was 6:00 AM and she had only about one hour and fifteen minutes before the bus would pick her up. She snatched her favorite red sweater and skinny jeans headed for the bathroom.
Karen didn’t like the hallway. It was dark, narrow, and long. The floorboards creaked at her every step and there was little light because the hallway lights hadn’t been installed.
At the end of the hallway was the bathroom. It was a bit small but very cold. Even when the heaters were on Karen could see her breath.
In one corner of the room was a shower that was installed a few weeks before they moved in. Next to the sink, was a old antique bathtub with the claw legged design. Karen decided to start out taking a shower to wash her hair, and then relax for a few minutes in the deep tub.
Karen was used to using a tub, so she was in glory to take a shower. She felt cleaner and more fresh when she emerged out of the tiny shower stall.
She didn’t care if she was wasting hot water, her father had left nearly a hour before she got up to go to his new job.
Then, the voices started.
Though the tub water was hot just the way Karen liked it, she felt slightly uncomfortable. She was having a hard time to breath, and her throat felt tight. Feeling that it was because of her anxiety of “the spirits,” she laid her head gentle back and tried concentrate on the heat that was soothing her aching legs and stomach.
Helping her father remodel parts of the house strained the muscles in her calves and the horror stories gave her stressed out striking pain and unbearable nauseation as if she was loaded with ulcers.
She tried to think about what her new school would be like. How many rooms there would be and if the other student were nice. She even now, with her belly faint, she wondered how the cafeteria food tasted.
She was quick to sit up. A cold draft brushed past her damp face. Karen’s heart was racing again and her head started to spin.
The bathroom door hinges on the frame broke in half with a ear piercing snap sending what was left of the door shattering in splinters as it hit the floor. Karen was paralyzed with anxiety.
When silence surrounded her, Karen looked at the pieces of split wood that had flown in every direction around her. The silence only lasted for about a dozen seconds.
A woman’s scream was heard from down the hall. It started as a sob and changed into a high pitched cry of terror. It became louder and louder in till a red vase full of flowers on the window sill exploded as if it was strapped to dynamite.
Then the footsteps echoed loudly throughout the house. It sounded like someone was being chased.
A young girl in a black knee high dress appeared. Around her waist was a apron covered with bright red stains.
She gracefully walked by the bathroom entrance. At each step she took, Karen saw water pool at her feet and seep into the floor. When she passed by the door, the girl stopped to stare at Karen.
“Where is Michael,?” she asked.
Continuing to walk down the hallway, the young girl’s footsteps echoed on and occasionally the dripping of water was heard.
It only took Karen seconds to snatch her clothes on the towel rack.
As she raced downstairs, she saw the wet footprints at her side that followed her. In no time she climbed on the bus that was waiting for her in the driveway.
Karen knew from the moment she took her first step on the huge yellow bus that her new school would be complete udder hell.
The bus driver, Mr. Deras, had a icy cold stare and a mean attitude that startled her. He was a middle aged man that was known to kick kids of the bus if he saw the slightest disobedience or argument.
“ Good morning,” he growled roughly. “Your new I see. Your name?”
“ Karen Well’s, sir.”
“ Alright, sit in seat 6.”
“ Um, sorry, is it required to have assigned seats, sir? I would be much more comfortable on my first day to sit alone. Please?”
“ No, I’m the boss on this bus. What I say goes. You either do what I say or walk to school. Got it?”
There was a moment of silence.
“ Yeah, I guess, sir.”
“ Seat 6 is where Ben Afferton is,” he smirked as if too confuse her.
He is your seat partner from now on.”
Karen quickly counted each seat she passed to avoid any more humiliation. When she got to seat 6 she stopped.
Karen had never met anyone that was goth. All of her friends back home were cherry and open. Just they way she used to feel.
Ben Afferton was a shocking sight. His eyes were complete with coated black eye shadow and smoky dark eye liner. He had dark blue skinny jeans and a black and red stripped tee shirt that said “Blood and Tears.”
Though he had the same build as her, he was extremely intimidating.
“ Uh, hello! You gonna sit down? Plant you ass down or get out, girl,” Mr. Deras yelled.
Karen quickly sat down. Startled and confused.
A couple snickers from behind her caught her attention.
She was too afraid to look behind her. The presence of her new bus partner kept here uneasy and alert for the rest of the ride.
Karen never realized how long and boring her bus ride was. Sense her old school was only two buildings down from her own house, twenty minutes felt like 2 hours. After five minutes of waiting, she decided to lay her head back and take a nap.
She was awakened by whispering. It sounded like it was close to her left. She gasped. The memories of the young girl in the apron were still fresh in my mind.
“Good away!,” she screamed.
She opened her eyes just as a unfamiliar hand snatched her backpack off her lap.
She threw her weight in the thief’s direction. She saw the hand swaying back and forth. Teasing her out of her reach.
The thief was a big black boy a couple of years older that her. His head touched the ceiling of the bus. God, he must have been 6 feet 4! His eyes were icy cold and blue as the sky above. The width of his arms were as round as her head!
The remaining courage Karen had left turned into a speck of sand. She was frozen at the spot she was standing in.
“Hey, everyone pile out,” Deras commanded.
The black boy threw the backpack at her in response, and ran out into the isles.
“Just trying to warn you it was time to go. It woke you up didn’t it,?” he chuckled.
She was the last person to get off the bus, which gave her another lecture from the annoyed bus driver.
Karen’s homeroom teacher was Ms. Claudia. She was a twenty-three year old tiny little woman with a pixie like figure. Her hair was rosy red and her eyes were forest green.
Ms. Claudia’s freshman class room was decorated strangely. The walls were bright red and covered with pictures of her family members and posters about the school councilors.
So far, Ms. Claudia was the friendliest person she had seen all day. Right away Karen liked her. Still confused and uneasy, she raced to the first front row seat and sat down. She would be honored to sit up front and listen to such a cheery teacher.
The loud obnoxious bell chimed and it seemed as if Karen’s entire class piled into the room all at the same time. She was lucky she got into class early. She hated the thought of the embarrassing moment of not finding a seat, standing in the isle looking stupid.
Ms. Claudia sweet happy voice seemed to silence the students that were quickly trying to grab a seat.
“ Hello, good morning and Happy Halloween. Now, I would love to get to know each and every one of you, so when I call your name please stand up and tell me something about yourself.”
Oh, god! Karen felt like crying.
“ Miss Andrea Conteen?”
Everyone looked around as if on Que.
“ Here,” a soft voice giggled. Andrea stood up and introduced herself. “ I love cheerleading, Gatorade, cats, and my favorite ice cream flavor is strawberry.”
“Why, amazing, Andrea. I love many of those things as well. Oh, did you know that Garfield was on TV last night?”
“It was?! Oh, I miss everything,” she groaned as she sat.
Karen smirked. Andrea seemed cool.
Nobody turned around for some reason, as if everyone knew who this student was.
Karen turned to her right and let out a small gasp.
The huge black guy from the bus was siting next to her. He stood up. Other kids tensed that were near him.
Greg didn’t speak, he just stood up for a moment and sat back down.
Ms. Claudia voice seemed to shake faintly when she talked. Even she felt intimidated.
“Um, hello, Greg. W- what exactly d-do you like to do?”
“Football, I guess. And...” Greg smirked.
“What? What else?”
“Flirting,” he whispered. Then, with out warning, he took a deep breath and spit a large wade of saliva.
Right in Karen’s face.
It was disgusting.
Karen eyes water and she felt like she might die at this very seat.
The room was silent with shock. In moments Ms. Claudia snatched her phone on the wall and called the office. In a high but emotionless voice she pointed her finger to door and order Greg out of the room.
He didn’t hesitate. He shoved his hands in his pockets and stomped out the door.
When he left the room, Karen ran to the girls bathroom. Without asking. She was beyond humiliated.
After Karen scrubbed her face, applied new makeup, and wiped away her tears. She slowly walked back to class. Before she opened the classroom door, she hoped more than anything that Greg hadn’t already returned to class.
She was out of luck.
Calmly she opened the door, sat down in her seat, and listened for Ms. Claudia’s direction.
She found that Ms. Claudia was looking right at her. They were waiting for her. It felt nice someone cared.
“ O.K, now that you are back, we will continue.”
The teacher looked at a little check board and smiled.
“Hi,” she replied. Not making a effort to stand.
“Dear, would you please stand up?”
She quickly got to her feet.
“Um, I like swimming, reading, history, and exploring.”
“Exploring what exactly?”
“Old places, abandoned places.”
“Oh,” she laughed politely.
Karen blurted out her newest secret. She wasn't even thinking about it. It just slipped out like an ice pack with a hole in its side. Leaking with water.
Suddenly, the goth boy came in. He was very late, it was obvious, but Karen knew by the strange look on his face that he would not get in trouble.
“Oh, um, Ben Afferton?”
“Ya,” he whispered.
“Try to make an effort to not be late, please,” she said joyfully. “O.K?”
“Yes, Miss. May I sit down now?”
“Yes, yes you may.”
Ben sat down to Karen’s left. I made her feel uncomfortable. There were about ten extra seats that could be filled. But, he chose to seat next to her.
Karen was somewhat distracted and lost control of her thoughts. This boy’s presence reminded her of her new nightmares. Her new home. Her stupid, haunted home.
“ And... um... I can... see ghosts. My house is haunted.”
The classroom erupted with laughter. All but Miss Claudia, Andrea, and Ben.
Ben was now fully alert. He had this confused but fascinated look in his eyes. Like he finally found another student like himself. A friend perhaps.
Later, when the buses arrived, Karen felt extreme relief. Her first day of being a freshman, and she had been embarrassed twice in one day. She was now the laughing stock of the class.
When Karen returned home, the police and a ambulance were waiting for her in the driveway. When the bus stopped and she stepped off, she spied her father franticly waving his hands in the officers face. When he saw her, he snatched her wrist and dragged her aside.
“My god, Karen! What is going on? It appears someone broke into the house! The bathroom door was blown into tiny splinters!”
Karen felt consumed with guilt. She pretended to be horrified.
“ What? What do you mean? Was anything stolen?” She swung her head in every direction trying to play dumb.
This time, she remembered something. Rather a someone. Someone that made her eyes water when she thought about danger.
“Oh, god! Where’s Lucky? Where’s my baby kitty? My boy?!”
“You have a cat?” the officer asked.
“Yes.” Mr. Well’s raised his eyes in confusion. “Why exactly do you ask?”
“First, was it a indoor cat?”
“We searched the entire house. Every square inch from top to bottom. Either your cat got outside when the robbers arrived, or the robbers took the cat with them. Or they-”
The officer couldn’t finish. His head was full of pity for the young girl at his side. A girl that had seemed to have lost her favorite pet.
Karen wiped her eyes.
A soft, faint meow was heard. It caught Karen’s attention easily.
“Dad, dad, listen!”
“ I hear it too.”
The meows became louder. Shrieks of terror.
The police followed the noise.
“It’s over here!”
Other officers rushed to investigate.
“ Well’s! Thomas! Come here! Look what we found!”
It was a well. A cold, dark, deep, abandoned well. Right under the porch.
“What the hell,” Mr. Well’s yelled. “ There was a well under the porch and nobody told us?”
“Sorry, Sir, we never noticed it.”
Luck was in the well. Shrieking and thrashing around like an wild animal about to attack. As minutes past by his meows got weaker and his legs seemed to slowly go limp from exhaustion. The policeman lashed out his commands.
“It seems he has been in there for a while. He’s getting tired. He will drown if I wait any longer. I’m going down there to get him, throw a rope so I can climb back up.”
The police officer turned to Thomas.
“To get to your cat, Sir, we will need room. We need your pramition to take out the porch. It will have to be removed. It makes it harder to climb in and out of the well with only only 2 or 3 feet of room to move. Do you except?”
Thomas chuckled, then sighed.
“Be by guest, officer. The porch is starting to rot. The beams holding it up are shaky and soft. I would actually be very thankful. Saves me the time of taking it down myself. I’ll build another strong one this weekend out of oak wood.”
“Thank you,Mr. Well’s.”
Sheriff John Mandon was ready to jump into the well. Mr. Well’s lent the others his own axe and soon there was nothing left of the porch but tiny slivers and a couple of termites crawling on the grass.
As a police officer Mandon training strategies took over his thoughts.
“ Never mind, for all I know that well could be 20 feet deep. You will have to lower me down.”
Sheriff Mandon eyed the with of the well. Feeling it edges and the old rock wall for the possibility of danger. It looked sturdy, but he wasn't taking any chances. As a older officer, he also didn’t have the strength to free climb down the well.
“ This well is offal narrow,” he added.
Meanwhile, Karen was traumatized with panic.
“ Can you get him? When can you? Hurry, save him! He’s my only friend!”
“Just a moment, Miss. This may take more than a couple moments. We need to call the fire department.”
“ Screw the fire department! We can’t wait that long!”
Karen was sobbing almost as loud as her frightened cat in the dark hole. She made her disitions.
The policeman near by was too slow for her. Snatching the end of the long rope that was tied to a tree near by, Karen threw herself into the well.
But it was too late.
Mr. Well’s lunged forward but was yanked back by the other officers. He nearly fell into the well.
“Somebody get me some damn help here,” Sheriff Mandon scratched. “Grab the rope and pull her up, damn it!”
Two officers yanked upward on the rope without difficulty. The end flung right into there faces.
“What, the hell?”
“She must of let go of the rope, Sir.”
“Damn,” Mandon muttered. He shined a large flashlight down the hole. Trying to make out a shadow or possibly hear a faint splash. He neither saw or heard either.
“Karen? Can you hear me?”
“Men, go call for backup, it might be a while before we get her out.”
Karen grunted many times as she felt her bare legs scrape the rock walls. It was a long way down, and she felt dizzy. Her head hit the sides many times, and then she hit the bottom.
It was only knee deep, but Karen had to let her full weight slide to the side to avoid landing on Lucky.
The small splash frightened Lucky even more.
“ Come here, baby boy. It’s O.K.”
She tried to sooth the cat. She picked up Luck in her arms, and pet him behind the ears. He relaxed. Quieting his shrieks. But clutched Karen’s cotton tank top tightly.
“Good boy. It’s gonna be o.k.”
It became cold in the well. The little light from above disappeared, which told Karen it was night.
The moon light was there only comfort.
Karen wanted so badly to sit down, but that would only bring less heat, so she leaned against the moss covered wall.
Karen nearly jumped out of her skin when she felt a cold little finger graze her shoulders. She whirled around, and stepped back.
A little boy. A redhead with cute little freckles. He went up to Karen’s thighs.
He was looking at Karen very strangely. He tilted his head to the side every few seconds and gave her a large grin that looked almost like a sneer.
“Uh, um, kitty. That kitty?”
He floated closer. Karen could feel a cold breeze.
His little hand reached out to pat Lucky. Which made Lucky growl deep in his throat. The little boy’s hands must be cold. It didn’t help the poor cats shivering.
The ghost boy looked hurt. His eyes looked shiny as if he might cry. His lower lip trembled.
“Kitty no like me,” he whimpered. “I love kitties. Why kitty no like me?”
For once, Karen wanted to talk to this little boy. He was so sweet and innocent. Not frightening like some of the other ghosts.
He looked more confused. He started to sob.
“No. Why kitty no like me?”
Suddenly a rope was thrown. It hit Karen’s shoulders. Making her jump and almost drop Lucky.
Karen snatched the rope and yanked it to show she caught it.
“I got it,” she screamed to the moonlight.
She turned around.
The little boy was gone.
“Good bye,” she whispered. “I’m sorry, I must go.”
Karen was pulled up and grabbed when she reached the top. An ambulance driver and Sheriff Mordan dragged her to a ambulance bed.
“Ow, easy, I’m fine. Just scratched and bruised.” She turned to the Sheriff Mordon, “Let go.”
“Sorry, Karen, but no. I got to check you.”
It was very agitating to sit and have people check her tiny cuts and bruises, when she said over and over again, ‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’
Finally they stopped. Her father appeared and hugged her.
“She’s fine Mr. Well’s. Just come minor injuries. Scrapes and bruises, and the like. She just needs some rest,” the officer looked at her bleeding knees, “and maybe some bandages.”
He let go of her wrist, holding her in place.
“You know, Karen, you are very lucky. That was quiet a drop. At least 20 feet. Your lucky to alive. You could have even broke your legs.”
“Ya, I saved my cat didn’t I?”
“Yes, but you took one hell of a risk, didn’t you?”
“Yes, but I really don’t care,” he patted Luck who was wrapped in a blanket on her lap, “He’s everything to me.”
She got up, walked to the front door with Lucky cradled in her arms, and opened the door. Leaving her father, and all the police in town baffled and shocked.