We ran up the cellar stairs and through the kitchen, looking down the hallway leading to the still closed front door.
There was no one there.
Jesse let go my arm, and ran down the hall, reaching the landing he looked upstairs, I was right behind him.
Nothing was moving along the shadows on the stairwell!
Jesse turned to face me. Then his eyes went wide!
“Just who the bloody hell is that!”
As he exclaimed this, looking up over my head into the Mourning Parlor, turned to look also, and jumped out of my skin…!
There was a black shape in a dress standing in front of the space that France’s coffin would have occupied, looking just like a lady in mourning!
Jesse went past me and turned on the lights…
“Oui, who are you then!”
I was right behind Jesse when he called out.
Now, I have always heard the term about a person receiving such a shock that their blood freezes in their veins from fright.
And until that moment had thought it was nothing more than a spooky expression used in ghost tales!
But as my eyes, and mind, fully grasped what it was I saw standing there in front of the space where Frances Froes’s open casket had stood… I experienced that exact feeling wash over me in total dreadful disbelief!
For there, looking like a sad mourner, now stood the dress form with its faceless head looking away towards the far wall…
And oh my sweet lord, the damn thing was wearing the black dress that had gone missing from the closet!
I turned, and without saying a word, dashed up the stairs to the nursery…
A startled Jesse following along, asking a million, unanswerable questions!?
I ran into the nursery, the dress form WAS gone, and in its place, facing us, sat one of the dolls on the floor, its black pupil-less eyes staring up at us, the molded grin on its plastic face seemingly smirking eerily at our disbelief?
For the second time in that room, I felt a hand placed on my shoulder and jumped, even though I knew this time it was cousin Jesse.
I turned to him, and he could see by the look in my eyes that something unexplainable had been going on.
Unlike him and my brother, I am not a prankster, and being fully aware of that fact, plus my reactions so far, Jesse knew that I had no better an idea about what he was witnessing than I did!
I could see all that play out in his expression, as he went from just a questioning look to one of mild panic!
He started questioning me…
“Let us have it than luv he ordered!”
I sat him over on the couch and began to tell him everything. The words spilling out of my mouth as I, now that Jesse was finally here, was no longer alone. I let myself admit that something was not right with the creepy old Froes House!
The lights flickering on and off, humming of Happy Birthday from the grate in the mourning room, the doll-like voice in the closet, my pillow being yanked, the rocking horse, my other discoveries in the attic, all came pouring out of my mouth like an opened floodgate!
Jesse took it all in, and as I finished, he took my hand, holding it firm he said with all seriousness…
“We need to do a séance!”
I spluttered in disbelief…
“A bloody what! You mean like with an Ouija board, talking to things long dead?”
Jesse solemnly shook his head yes.
“Blimey, your crackers mate, good luck finding anything like that in this house, or even in the village for that matter!”
I placed my hand on his shoulder as he smirked at me…
“Look, lad, I don’t think we need to be calling it over to us whatever it is! My suggestion is that we leave well enough alone!”
Jesse answered with all earnest, his eyes drilling into mine with a deep conviction of purpose!
“Look, Cousin, I think we need to at least try and find out what is going on, whatever it is that appears to go on here, something is trying to make contact, and I for one feel we need to know what it is that the bugger is trying to say to us!”
I said nothing, just took my eyes from his and looked miserably at the doll on the floor!
He continued earnestly…
“I need your help, because I don’t believe it can be accomplished with just one person, what needs doing should be done in a group or at least a pair! As for a game board, we can make one! “
He then went into how it could be done.
I listened on, realizing that I had never seen this side of Jesse. Even though I knew he liked to tell a good ghost story, I had never realized that he ( or anyone for that matter) would actually like to encounter a real ghost!
But, by the time he was through with his explanations, He had me convinced that it could be done, and that was the right thing to do.
Trying to talk to ghosts, I am such a sucker!