October 8, 19__ Twilight Friday
Ok, it wasn’t a scream, more like a shriek, which I will admit was not very damsel in distress like, but for my defense, I had received a bit of a shock!
For once the lights flashed on It wasn’t my cousin Jesse standing there teasing me in front of the window, but a naked dress form, with a faceless mannequin’s head!
I caught me, heart, then laughed at myself.
The old prewar gas lights must have flickered on and off on their own accord.
I scolded myself…
No spooks, just faulty lighting and an old moldy dress form!
I was glad that neither Jesse nor my twin brother had not witnessed this, I would never have lived it down with that pair of unrelenting teasing prone rascals!
I looked around the room, the lighting was not as bright as modern, and countless shadows played along the walls from the rooms many pieces of furniture and other knickknacks.
This room must have been a nursery, a crib was on one side, with a small chest that I soon discovered contained old toys, popular about 60 years ago.
On the other wall was a small sofa and matching chairs, new by the toy’s standards, but still 40 years out of date.
Old lamps were standing on either side, the yellowed shades had long fringes hanging down, I figured they were from the twenties ( roaring twenties I believe they say in the states).
A fainting couch from the same era was on the wall just to the right of the doorway where I stood and above that a small ledge with a collection of stuffed animals and small dolls with eerie smiles!
These toys were a little more modern, with a couple of the dolls recognizable as the “talking” variety.
I turned out the lights and went back down the stairs to the first floor.
It had been a few years since I had been at the place, and I couldn’t wait till the next day to do a little more exploring.
The house was a small museum of artifacts collected over its 110-year-old history with the same family.
Children of a depressing time, everything was saved that good money had been spent on, even if it was no longer functioning properly!
But exploring would wait until the light of day, I was tired, and decided to find a room to unpack and a soft bed to sleep on.
It was now quite dark inside.
I turned on a small lamp sitting on a hallway table, then turned on the switch at the foot of the stairs, lighting up the corridor upstairs.
I grabbed my suitcase and satchel, then headed back upstairs.
Not that I was scared, but I closed the door to the room where the Dress form stood by the window.
There were four other bedrooms laid out along that corridor.
I knew the one at the far end had been the sisters’ shared room, and since both had died in that room, I decided that I would not be staying there!
The one immediately to my right was the master bedroom.
I knew that this room was still intact with all of Adelaide and Jacob’s possessions, a small shrine to their parents. The canopied bed that stood in the middle was large, too large by my standards, so I crossed it off my list.
Besides, who wants to sleep in a damp museum?
The other two rooms had belonged to the two sets of brothers, older two in one, younger two in the other.
I chose the one on the right, which had been poor Joseph and Frank’s bedroom.
Joseph, who was still in the hospital, and Frank, who had run away from home, and would now be in his 80’s, if still alive.
I figured neither would mind.
It was a smart little room, with a small bed on one side, and a small sitting area with two chairs, a more modern lamp( only 25 years old) and one of their father Jacob Sr’s hand-built chests.
Comfortable and cozy, even without a fire in the corner fireplace.
I soon made myself at home, hanging the clothes I had brought up into the small half suit filled closet.
I had to kick around some boxes that were strewn on the floor and move some of Jacob’s musty smelling clothes over to make room in the process.
It was getting late, so I prepared the bed, then headed downstairs to the water closet on the first floor to do my toilet.
The water closet was situated next to the Mourning Parlor, sharing a wall.
Convenient for any guests that had come to pay their respects to the deceased!
I did shudder at that thought, knowing that at least 5 dead bodies had been laid out in that room!
Needless to say, going in that room would only happen with the full light of the day!
I was running water to brush my teeth when I started to realize that I was hearing more than just running water!
A low humming was coming from behind me, and I started when I recognized that it was to a tune I recognized.
I turned off the faucet and listened, but my ears were met with dead silence.
Shaking my head, I turned on the water again and started to brush…
But soon my thoughts were broken again by the humming sound.
I listened …
Turning again, I realized that whatever was making the noise, was coming from the basement heat grate set in about a ¼ meter up on the wall.
The grate was on the wall connected to the mourning parlor.
I turned the water off again to hear it more clearly, but it stopped as I did.
Hearing nothing more, I finished up and quickly made my way to bed, convincing myself that it had been merely a humming from the basement furnace.
But as I went up the creaking stairs to bed, I knew all too well that the humming had sounded unmistakably like the tune of happy birthday!
To be honest, I had forgotten that Frances had died on her birthday, a fact that did not occur to me until much later, too much later.
Still mulling it over the humming, I changed out of my clothes, hanging the jumper I had worn in the closet.
I then put on my PJ’s, closed both the closet and bedroom doors and slipped neath the cool sheets on the small bed.
The house was noisy, as all old houses are, and I tried to let those various creaks, bumps, and rattles serenade me to sleep.
I must have finally fallen asleep…
I started dreaming that I was back in my flat. Apparently, it was one of the times that I had watched my neighbor’s little Toby, a rumbustious lad of about 4, although he was a lot older in my dream, more like eleven!
Tony was going about my flat, opening drawers, looking into closets, and I was forever chasing him about, at one point he had picked up a small glass vase and I told him to give it back!
“No,” he said and pulled it from my hand.
I heard that second NO quite clearly, and I felt the pillow being pulled from underneath my head.
Suddenly I was wide awake, remembering where I was as I looked about me in the darkroom. That last NO! had sounded like it had not been part of my dream, but had come from right next to my bed, and my pillow was now on the floor...
I got up and turned on the lamp, shaking just a bit as I looked around the room.
Everything appeared normal, wait!
The closet door was now opened, I knew I had closed It!
I walked over and looked inside its deep murky depths.
Shrugging my shoulders, I turned away and started to close the door, moving a box back in with my foot.
As I did I heard a doll-like voice coming from the floor.
Time to sleep
Is what I heard coming from the shadows.
“ A child’s talking toy!”
I said to myself, then added…
“Nothing more than a bad dream and an old doll Girl! Furnace noises, pillows slipping off a bed, and a child’s old toys are nothing that should be giving one the heebee jeevees!”
I scolded my self.
I was tired and decided to investigate things more in the safe light of day.
Going back to bed I slept soundly till morning….
October 9, 19__ Saturday morning
Morning came up rather gloomy, a blustery fall day in full force.
A low wind came howling about the house, shaking a few shutters in the process.
When I awoke, most of the occurrences of the night before seemed distant and far away.
I arose, and looked towards the closet, the door had remained closed this time, and I had all but convinced myself that It all had been a product of my imagination.
“What would a doll be doing in the boy’s closet anyway!”
Still in my nightclothes, I wandered downstairs to the kitchen…
Jesse had said there would be provisions there.
As I made my way down the long-curved stairway, I looked at the all the carvings of roses, I could still make out small faces, but instead of being creeped out, I found myself admiring the skilled craftsmanship that had gone into them.
I went into the kitchen, a long room with tall ceilings and black oak cabinets.
A shrill gust of wind came through a partially opened window, sending a shutter banging against the wall.
It did make me jump, but I went over and secured it, not trying to let me imagination take off into realms it shouldn’t. But as it turned out, It wasn’t a loose shutter that finally led me imagination take off.
After a quick meal I decided to dress and start exploring the house a bit.
I had never been in that house without one of the domineering Sisters or morose Joseph, hanging over my shoulder.
I went upstairs to the bedroom I had slept in and opened the closet to put back on the green jumper I had worn yesterday…
It wasn’t there!
I had brought along and hung up in the closet, 3 outfits, including a long black velvet dress with white frills that I had planned on wearing to Monday’s Funeral.
Two of the outfits, including the green jumper were there, but the long black velvet dress was not!
Deciding it had simply fallen off, I began to rummage around the closet, eventually pulling out an assortment of cartons containing stamps, and other related paraphernalia, but no dress, and no doll either!
I felt my hair begin prickling along my scalp!
“This was all starting to get a bit too weird!”
I said to no one… but decided that there must be some rational explanation!
Perhaps Jesse actually was here, playing games on me, teasing me like he and me brother always did when we were younger?
I looked everywhere… even dressing and walking back to my car!
Did not find that dress!
Coming back in I decided that, whatever the case, I would get to the bottom of it all, and if my cousin had had anything to do with this, I would have no problems seeking retribution!
I went back upstairs and started on my exploring mission….
Saturday – Children’s Bedrooms