Chapter 25 – Natasha Conrad
Saturday, November 5th, 2016
It took a lot of begging for my parents to let me go and visit the museum with Annika, Cory and Davy. But eventually, after I told them we think we as a Hayes-family, might be related to Baywick, and we’re trying to find it out, they allowed me to go.
They even wanted to join us, but we assured them we were fine. Mom insisted on driving us and staying in Greenville for the duration of our visit to the museum, in case something was wrong with me.
I get why she’s a bit nervous about losing track of me. I’ve been feeling good ever since Tuesday, more energetic and well-rested. But I do have weird dreams, and I tend to daydream – as she likes to call it – a lot more.
I experience the daydreaming as zoning out. Because I’m not really daydreaming about anything in particular. I just don’t pay any attention to my surroundings and I can never recall what my mind was taken by.
Perhaps the malicious entity.
Who knows? It is breaking out slowly. It’s been two weeks since the Archangels strengthened the seal, but I feel as if their hold on it is slowly fading.
Angie has been giving me warnings that she feels the entity growing stronger again, and she told me she’s afraid to yet again lose her connection to me.
It got me thinking, that maybe once this entity breaks out, we will lose the connection, and I won’t ever see her again.
At least, not as a living person.
Maybe we can haunt Annika, Davy and Cory together.
But then again, I wouldn’t want to haunt Annika, because it would be too painful not to be able to touch her ever again.
No more hugging, no more kissing, never making love to her again.
It would break me, and it would break her heart too.
I don’t even want to think about the fact she might eventually move on with someone else, and I would witness her falling in love with someone else.
“Earth to Sid,” Annika addresses me with a nervous giggle. “Is this what your mom means with the daydreaming?”
“Eh, no…” I drawl, lolling my head a bit. “I was thinking about us.”
That makes her smile, though it’s a bit of a sad smile. “About how we might… not have a… future?”
I nod to confirm her suspicion is right.
“We’re here to solve things, right?” She smiles, grabs my hands, squeezes it shortly and let’s go again.
Annika is feeling the presence too, and it’s putting a barrier between us yet again. She’s uncomfortable and restless whenever she touches me for too long.
“Let’s go inside,” I suggest, merely in an attempt to get rid of the awkwardness because we both know what is happening.
She nods, and Davy and Cory wait for me to enter first.
As soon as I step inside, there’s a weird warmth inside me. As if I’ve been here before and it feels like home.
The suspicion of being a relative to Baywick grows by the minute.
What else would explain feeling so at home in a place I’ve never been to before myself?
Right… the entity might feel at home, and I might feed off of that energy.
I wake up from a stupor, as an old lady greets us with a warm smile.
“Oh, hello dear.” She looks directly at me.
“We eh… were wondering if we could have a look around the museum,” I’m stuttering a bit, suddenly nervous. What if she’s closed for some reason?
But then the door wouldn’t be open, right?
“I called last week,” Annika takes over the conversation, addressing the old lady. “About a tour?”
“Oh, right!” The old lady smiles widely. “It’s good to see some youth being interested in our towns history.”
The four of us smile politely, knowing we don’t give flying fuck about the history other then finding a solution to my problem.
Though I always liked history in general, so digging through local history isn’t that bad. It could be worse.
Like having to solve tons of mathematical problems and difficult riddles.
That’s not my cup of tea.
“If you guys want, I could give you a tour. We have audio guidance too, but those are a bit outdated…” She shortly looks to a couple devices in a box, that seem really outdated.
“A tour would be good.” Annika nods happily. “That way we get to ask questions too, hard to do that to an audio guide, right?”
“Exactly!” The woman starts smiling even wider, and for a second I think her face will split in two if she smiles even wider. “Let me get the papers, and we’ll start right away.”
“Don’t you have to way, perhaps others are joining?” Cory awkwardly looks into a deserted room on our right.
The old lady giggles and shakes her head. “The only reason we’re still open is thanks to the family of our founder. We don’t have that many visitors ever since they opened an exhibition in the town hall for people to learn about the history. It’s sad…”
“But we’re here.” Davy smirks at her, probably to get her to like him more so she won’t be constantly flitting around us like a hawk, making sure we won’t touch anything.
“Right, and I’m going to show you every part of the house, and make sure you young ones learn the right history. Sad parts included.” She shortly looks sad, but then smiles, as she goes into a backroom, retrieving some paper booklets to hand to us, one each.
“In here you’ll find basic information about the rooms, what they were used for when this was still the orphanage, how things went down here.”
Annika browses through the booklet, finding a map of the house, which has four little maps of four different floors; the basement, the main floor, the upper floor and the attic.
The first and last are practically empty and only the other two maps address information in the books.
We follow her into a large room, where a bunch of showcases are against the walls and in the middle of the room. In the far end, there’s a little cosy living room behind ropes, telling people it isn’t meant to take a seat, just to look.
She explains this originally the reception room, where families would wait until they could meet with personnel or kids they were thinking to adopt.
She gives out more information about the course of events whenever a family would come to adopt a kid, or, in some cases, single mothers who were looking for a place to leave the kid they could not take care of. She then show’s us a small side room, where there is a hatch in the wall.
“This used to be the baby hatch, where desperate mothers could leave their kids to be taken care of, whenever they wanted to remain anonymous. Natasha Conrad, the founder of the orphanage, was an orphan herself and was left behind in the streets. If the old couple who found her, wouldn’t have, she would’ve died. So, she introduced the hatch, that she learned about in Europe, to make sure kids could be left behind safely. There was a bell, mothers would ring the bell to alarm the nurse there was a kid in the hatch.” The old lady tells us with a sad smile on her face. “They would wait an appropriate amount of time so the mother could leave without being seen, before getting the baby. This room was filled with supplies to help the baby with any needs. They would measure and weight the baby and then, if no information about the birth was given, they would come up with an approximate date of birth.” She gestures for us to follow us, heading through another door, which tells us we’re entering the nursery. On our right side, there’s still six baby beds, while on the left another bunch of showcases are placed, mostly containing pictures of later years of the nursery.
She tells us babies would be kept here to be taken care of by two nurses who were only taking care of the babies. She shows us some pictures and then takes us back to the hallway.
She shows us the kitchen, she shows us the yard, and explains the house originally wasn’t as big as it is now. From outside, she shows us the original building, that has been rebuild in later years, but in the exact same way, and the build-on part, which is the biggest part of the house.
Then she takes us upstairs, and the warmth inside me grows, as if I’m getting closer to home. She shows us the bedrooms, tells us each room held two to four kids, before showing us the bathrooms and two playrooms. Then she takes us back downstairs, skipping the attic, annoying me because the two times we passed the door to the stairs, my heart started beating erratically.
“What’s in the attic? Or what used to be there?”
“It used to be where the staff had their rooms. Some would sleep in the first floor to keep an eye on the kids, the rest could always stay over during the night if they wanted to.”
“And why not show us how they used to live?” I asked with a bit of annoyance seeping through my words.
“There’s nothing there, just empty rooms. The family placed belongings of Natasha, her husband, two sons and two daughters in there. I believe even things that belonged to the grandkids of Natasha and Gregory is up there, but I haven’t been there in a while…” She walks further, wanting us to show the laundry rooms and whatever else is in the basement, when I pull Davy to the side.
“The attic, I need to go to the attic.”
“There’s something there… I feel it. We have to find a way into the attic.”
“’Mam?” Davy calls after her, winking at me. “Is there a bathroom we could use?”
“Oh, why, yes. The second bathroom on the first floor is in use for our guests. I’ll show you the way back…”
“No need, ’mam… we’ll head there and wait for the three of you at the reception.”
“Don’t you want to see the basement?”
“My friend here has been in hospital recently and he needs to rest. But I’m sure Anni and Cory will inform us about the basement once we’re home again.”
“Oh… well.” She looks back and forth between Davy and me, before she nods. Davy and I wait until she turned around, gesturing Annika we’re going up to the attic.
“Keep her down with tons of questions.” I whisper as we pass her, heading back upstairs.
She nods, shortly looks worried, but then hurries after Cory and the old lady.
I’m thankful Davy and I know how to pick a lock, so that it didn’t take too long to get the door to the attic to open. We’re currently searching the dark rooms – because most windows are closed from the outside with wooden hatches – to find what I’m supposedly looking for.
“Just follow your gut feeling,” Davy tells me, trying to encourage me to lead the way.
And it’s what I’m doing; following the warmth that is growing the closer I get to whatever I’m going to find.
Whatever it is, it’s in the last room down the hallway, which is left ajar by the last person who was up here.
I carefully push it open, finding boxes and boxes piled on top of each other, all with names written on them.
I trace the names, until I find Gregory, and soon after the name we’ve been looking for; Natasha Conrad-Yates.
I open a box in front of me, finding old clothing’s, impressed by how well preserved it is after 400 years.
“Look, an old desk.” Davy lifts a box off a desk, and I’m immediately drawn to it. There’s cabinets in it, small, and the back is filled with small books that are worn out and would probably fall apart as soon as you open them.
I trace the backs of the books, but my mind is screaming at me to check the drawers and cabinets, so I reluctantly do so.
There’s a hidden drawer.
I know there’s a hidden drawer that I need to open.
I trace the flowery pattern that is framing the desk, I search corners, gaps, and I open the main drawer, until I find a small lever, pulling it while holding my breath.
Suddenly, there’s a gushing wind that causes Davy to yelp in surprise, causing papers to fly all over the place. The window close by flies open, the door slams shut behind us, causing Davy to panic, while I think it’s me who is causing this. I think my excitement caused it to happen.
“Dude, we need to get out of here!” Davy hisses. “I’m not comfortable right now.”
“Relax, pussy. It’s me, I think…” I drawl, pulling open a compartment that jumped open at the pull of the lever, retrieving a black leather book with Natasha’s name on the front. I hurriedly put it in my backpack, turning to face a scared to death Davy.
“It’s you? You think?”
“I got a bit excited…” I shrug, trying to play it off as something natural.
I know it’s weird to tell him I might have caused that wind to start blowing, but I really feel like I did that. Or more, my excitement.
“Right…” Davy drawls. “What did you take?”
“A book with her name on it. I think this is what was calling me… or something. Can we not discuss this? I have no explanation either.” I brush past him since the look in his eyes is making me feel uncomfortable. “Let’s find the rest. We’ve been gone too long.”
Davy stares at me in silence for a couple of seconds, still staring confused, but then moving to follow me back downstairs. We put the lock back in place, and hurry downstairs and towards the reception. Right as we enter it, we hear the rest coming back up.
“Right in time,” Davy whisper. “But we are going to talk about what happened when we’re home.”
“I think I’m going to take a nap first, once we’re home.” I lie, not feeling tired at all. But since he doesn’t know any better then me needing lots of rest, he doesn’t protest it, though he does seem annoyed because I’m shutting him out.
But I can’t explain it, and the looks he gave me made me feel as if he disagrees, while I can’t control it.
I surely wasn’t planning on slamming a door shut that could’ve alarmed the old lady about our true whereabouts. And when I look up to the house once we’re outside, I see that the window is closed again, even though Davy and I didn’t close it. But looking at it, I swear I see an old lady staring at me with a small smile on her face, nodding politely as I stare back, before Davy pulls me away and I have to turn around to see where I’m going. Once we’re in the car, I look back again, but there’s nothing there.
Did I imagine it, or did I really see another ghost?
Nothing could surprise me anymore at this point. I’ve been under the protection of Archangels, I turn out to be a half-Angel, maybe even a full Angel, while Davy and Annika are too, and the latter is a witch too.
Mom’s been in a coven for as long as she is an adult, and well, I talk to Angie, so the possibility of seeing another ghost in that house wouldn’t be that weird.