Really Scary Ghost Story
This really scary ghost story is called. . .
The House, Part III
In the blackness, the sound of deep, labored breathing caused Valerie’s skin to prickle. She tilted her head slightly in the direction of the sound, straining to ascertain its source. Warily, she turned around ever so slowly, clenching the balustrade in her left hand.
She sensed something or someone a few inches away and apprehensively extended her right hand to touch it.
There was nothing there but empty air.
Suddenly a rush came at her with an unearthly force. The gust wafted through her hair trailed by the sweet scent of honeysuckles.
In the darkness, a dizzying sensation washed over her and she distinctly felt . . . she was being inspected. But her fear subsided as the uncanny awareness hit her that she truly wasn’t alone, and the presence before her was benevolent. An overwhelming sense of peace swept over her and she felt content to forever remain in its tranquil glow.
For a very long time, she stood awash in the warm soothing embrace of the entity’s presence. Valerie had no idea who the entity might be, and at this moment didn’t care. She had never experienced so much understanding and acceptance as she was feeling at this moment. It was evident to Valerie that an undeniable bond was being formed.
Another gust blew through the corridor followed by another groaning exhale. Once again, every previously illuminated lamp lit up simultaneously and Valerie was blinded by the 1000-watt glare. The radio abruptly squawked a car insurance commercial, then fell silent.
Her right hand flew reflexively to her eyes as she struggled to regain her sight. As her eyes adjusted, she made out a wispy shadow at the end of the hall. Upon detection, it shot down the stairs into the room below and evaporated around the corner into the main hall. She rubbed her arms to warm herself in the frigid air.
She was stunned.
The sound of crashing came up from below. “Valerie! Valerie!" cried a familiar voice, commanding knowledge of her whereabouts. Her reverie broken, she turned her head in the direction of the familiar voice. Flying around the corner was John, wearing a flushed and anxious countenance. Fully aware of her surroundings now, she broke into a sprint as she raced down the stairs in the direction of her estranged sweetheart.
All the tension of the previous months dissolved as she outstretched her arms in anticipation of a welcome embrace. Colliding softly, they melted together as one, and remaining entwined for several long minutes.
Then Valerie took John’s hand and pulled him in the direction of the kitchen.
“Valerie, you look like you’ve seen a ghost," remarked John who stood in the center of the kitchen stroking her face lovingly.
“John, I think I have," stated Valerie in a dream-like tone.
John gazed at her for a moment then replied, “What are you talking about?" He extended his arms and held her out in front of him.
Searching for rational explanations, Valerie scanned her mind for a way to explain her experience without sounding like a complete fool. After a moment, she asked, “Were the lights on in the house when you pulled up?"
“Actually, they were blinking wildly. That’s what gave me such a start. I thought the place was going to explode or something. Valerie, what’s going on?"
Before she remarked, Valerie located a teakettle and put some water on to boil. “Tea?" she asked John.
In response to his nod, she found the tea bags and two cups. She opened the tea and took out two bags, placing each in its own cup, tags hanging over the edges. She retrieved spoons and some sugar and placed them on the counter in readiness for the hot water.
She thought for a moment, attempting to clear her mind from the vodka she had drunk a short time before. She found a good place to start, then began slowly and deliberately, in an attempt to find her words.
“I arrived earlier today. I unpacked my things and went for a walk to explore my new digs." Valerie grinned widely, then continued, “The first odd thing I noticed was someone calling my name out in the yard. Then the keys in my pocket disappeared".
Valerie reflected on that point. She scanned the incident in her mind tracing it to the beginning. “Yes," she said, “I distinctly remember putting those keys in my pocket, John. But when I got to the shed, they were gone."
As soon as the words left her lips, the teakettle blared its enthusiastic signal, making Valerie jump.
John sprang forward and stopped her from moving. He took it upon himself to extinguish the flame under the kettle. Then he found a towel and lifted it, pouring two cups of steaming liquid into the cups. He returned the pot to the stove, dropped the towel and handed Valerie her beverage.
She gave him a grateful look and spooned a small bit of sugar into her cup and stirred it into the steeping tea. She stirred languidly for a moment with faraway eyes, and finally set the spoon down, removed the bag and set it on top.
She raised the cup to her lips, blew across the hot liquid to cool it, and took a cautious sip.
She cupped the tea in both hands and started again to explain the events of the day.
“I returned to the house and everything had changed back to the way it was before I had arrived . . . as if someone had worked behind me, erasing all evidence that I had been here. It was creepy. And when I discovered it, John, I swear I felt someone in the room with me. Someone watching me . . . judging me."
Valerie’s distress was visible. John reached out to touch her arm in a comforting gesture.Valerie patted his hand reassuringly and continued her story. “I brushed it off as imagination and decided to explore the house further. I was a bit shaken, so tossed down a couple of Vodkas and turned on the radio. I turned on just about every light in the house so I wouldn’t be scared.
“I went upstairs and was checking things out, first to acquaint myself on my new property, but also to assure myself that things were okay, and that I had imagined things. It was on the second floor landing that it happened.
“I was standing there when something touched me. It got very cold and I could smell flowers—honeysuckles, I believe. I also perceived a presence, John. I know I did. It was something intelligent, loving and kind. I think it examined me as if it were getting to know me. But at the same time, it let me know I wasn’t alone. I got the distinct feeling that it was telling me I should not be afraid, no matter what happens."
She stopped and looked into John’s eyes, searching to determine if her story was being met with incredulity or belief. She didn’t tell him the rest of what she knew, the part about the shadow on the stairs. Afraid to push him too far, she kept that part to herself.
His eyes were warm, kind and full of concern. She recalled the previous friction between them and her heart leapt, full of adoration for this man. She was so glad that he had followed her.
“Have you eaten?" he asked.
“Just half a sandwich several hours ago, I’m starving actually," she replied.
“Well then, before we do anything further, I insist we get you something to eat. Let’s drive into town and grab us a bite."
“That sounds perfect," she said. “I’ll just get the lights and my coat. Then we can go. But you have to come with me, I’m a little frightened."
They set their tea on the counter and ventured off to close up the house before they departed. John briefly inspected the lamps, wall switches and the inside of each of the rooms, looking for evidence of intruders, anything to offer a logical explanation to the events in her story.
Finding nothing obvious and everything in its place, they left a few strategic lights burning, then locked the front door and made way for John’s car. He opened the door for Valerie and once comfortably settled in her seat, John carefully closed the passenger door firmly behind her. He entered the driver’s side, inserted the keys and cranked the ignition.
As the taillights of John’s car disappeared into the distance, objects inside the house began to move about by an invisible force. The radio blared against the silence, the tuning knob turned to its previous position, then shut itself off. Within seconds, all evidence of human attendance had vanished.
Once again, the house appeared as though no one had been there for a very, very long time.
To be continued . . .
The conclusion is now available here.
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