The Silver Woman
I remember my first experience. Have you read the Davi theory? He claims that paranormal beings can be divided into three groups based upon their actions. What I experienced was his second kind. Ghosts in that kind are not truly ghosts, but demons and blackened souls. Allow me to explain what drew me in. I had found a new home, this one in fact, when I found no item over the mantelpiece. The painting you see now is not what originally hung. On the contrary, I had ordered a rather large mirror from the silversmith on Hammond Road, for as you can tell my study is poorly lit when the fire is not burning. After what happened, I made it electrical. The mirror arrived on schedule, but the workers were reluctant to place it in this room. They claimed the home was haunted. They claimed the former owner’s wife, a Mrs. Barrett, was doomed to burn in hell for crimes against her children. I laughed it off. What mother harms her own flesh and blood? Anyhow, they installed the mirror and to save face I gave them a small tip for their efforts. Little did I know what I would be in for that night.
I had large amounts of paper to sort. At the time my employment was with a small shipping company operating a few ships. My work often ends with me staying up to midnight. Not that I was complaining for I loved reading reports of the ships racing around the globe. This was probably why it took me two days to notice her in my mirror.
At first I thought it was a trick from looking up into the mirror. But as my eyes focused the shape wouldn’t disappear. A long silver gown with a veil of matching colour. The facial features on her pale face were obscured save a twin pair of dark pools, almost of crude oil. I looked to the doorway but there was no one there. Looking back the mirror had stopped showing the figure. The chills down the back of my spine cannot be exaggerated. In an instant the figure had gone. I foolishly believed it a sign of tiredness and retired.
The next few nights were uneventful. Work poured in as the main ships were locked in the great Tea Race. Such was the necessity to log all reports my study was never used. Leaving office seemed like a sin. Then one day I had collapsed from exhaustion. Sent home to recover, I began to grow bored. I began doing crossword puzzles to pass the time. I only noticed how dark it had grown towards supper. I struck up a fire, turned on the light in the hallway, and made my way upstairs to change to go out for dinner. As I walked past the study I felt a draft of ice cold wind. Looking in I looked upon the window to see if it were open.
It was bolted shut as I had left it. I leaned back out of my study only to feel a pressure on my back. Looking in the mirror, I saw that same frightening face. My body became paralysed with fear. Her arctic hand held me in place. Her eyes stared into me. They tortured me with horror, pure unadulterated horror. She leaned into my ear and whispered. Her breath by now chilling my blood well below freezing. The words to this day make me ill. “Leave my home.”
I was awoken the next day by the postman who had seen me flat on my face. Well, him and an officer. I told them what I had seen, omitting that I was on leave for exhaustion. The officer seemed understanding. The postman however was quick to cross himself and leave to deliver the rest of his cargo. Once he was gone the policeman made two enquiries over my telephone. One was to his superiors to inform them I was alive and well. The other phonecall he made was to the local priest.
The officer then informed me of the story. He had been a patrolman of the street the night of the arrest of Mr. John Barrett. Mr. Barrett was a former merchant, who just so happened to own the very silversmith on Hammond Road. The very shop I had bout the mirror. Mr. Barrett travelled regularly to secure supplies and keep the business profitable. He had returned the night in question to find his wife covered in blood. His children, three of them, murdered in such a gruesome fashion the officer could not compel himself to recite it. Mr. Barrett seized his wife in anger and tried to strangle her. The struggle caused her to slam into a mirror. The impact caused internal rupturing in the brain, the coroner explained in the autopsy.
The officer said that Mr. Barrett was charged with murder but placed in an asylum. He, that is Mr. Barrett, claimed his wife had become possessed by the devil or some henchman of his. His death in his cell was as horrid apparently as his children. Blood was found all over his cell, horrible lashes across his torso. Until this demise of horror he claimed the final words of his wife were “Leave my home.”
As the policeman explained these final details the priest, a tall elderly man, arrived. Upon my oral recording of the events, he took out a vial of holy water and began chanting without another word. The room soon took a dark tone. Shadows creeped over where light once shone. The officer and I moved toward the priest, his words never ceasing. A loud shrill cry came from in front and ran towards us.
The mirror suddenly turned into a spider’s nest of cracks. The shadows retreated back to the corners where they came from. A still calm took the room. For a few minutes we didn’t dare breathe loudly for fear we would disturb what had happened. It was only when a passer-by called us out, concerned for my door was open, that we collected ourselves.
And so dear reader you find yourself in that room. I have since moved out to a flat in Chelsea. I caution you though. Mrs. Barrett’s full story is one which only the spirits can tell. You do yourself a favour not to replace that painting with a mirror. And do not polish its glass cover if you have one. Especially if you went to the glass cutters that now own the silversmith’s former shop on Hammond Road.
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