Entry # 18





This Old House
By
Paul Freeman






The old house looked the same, all crumbling mortar and rotten timbers, even the overgrown ivy appeared no different. He allowed himself a self-satisfied smile, who would have guessed, he thought to himself, that he would come back after all these years and buy the old heap. His eye was automatically drawn to an upstairs window, a dark gaping hole in the off-white wall.

Somebody had boarded up the front door and downstairs windows, they needn’t have bothered, nobody from around here would set foot inside the place. He remembered growing up in the area, none of the kids would come near this place, even the bravest of them were petrified of the old house. It was still considered ‘the old house’ back then, he smiled as he remembered.

The place was haunted, they said. ‘Don’t go down there or the White Lady will get ye.’ Some swore they had seen her, looking out from that top window, dressed in white. There were countless sightings and rumours, ‘walk three times around the house at midnight, on the night of a full moon and she’ll appear,’ they said. ‘Old Mick saw an English man do it back in the fifties. The man was never seen again.’

All nonsense of course, superstitious rubbish. He believed it as a kid though. He even thought he had seen her himself. He had accepted a dare to go into the house, he didn’t want to but he was thirteen and there was a girl to impress, he could not turn down the challenge. He got as far as the front door when he heard a creak, he imagined a rope swinging from the rafters, when he looked up there she was. Her white gown floating in the breeze. She was staring at him, two black pits for eyes, that look turned his insides to ice. He ran and ran, to hell with impressing girls. He cried all the way home. He could laugh now.

They even had a name for the ghost, Mary McGuire, maid, married and widowed all in one day. The story goes; it was during the Irish civil war, the Irish rebels had fought the British army to a standstill and a ceasefire was declared. The Irish sent a contingent to London to negotiate a peace treaty, that treaty resulted in the island being divided, twenty six counties were set free, six remained under the control of the British. This sparked a civil war between pro-treaty and anti-treaty factions. Setting brother against brother, father against son. Ironically the pro-treaty side who formed a government used British guns against their former comrades.

The story doesn’t say which side Mary McGuire’s new husband fought for, only that on the evening of her wedding he was called away, there was an ambush and he was shot dead. So, a widow on her wedding night. They say she was distraught upon hearing the news and was found hanging from the ceiling of the bridal chamber the next morning. Every night since she comes down off the rope and comes to the window searching for her lost love.

He shivered at the memory of the old ghost story. She’s going to have to find somewhere new to live, he thought to himself, his construction firm had big plans for this place and there was no room for ghosts in the new development.

He kicked in the door and stepped inside into the darkness. It smelled of decay and neglect, the staircase in the hallway was rotten away, even the ceilings had gaping holes, he could see right through them. It’s about time this place was demolished, he thought.

He heard a creaking noise, a shiver ran down his spine. He felt a breeze on his face, he swung around his eyes opening wide in shock. He couldn’t breathe, his chest felt as if someone had stabbed him in the heart with an icicle.

Falling…falling…blackness.



*****

The old house looked the same. The estate agent felt an odd, unpleasant sensation every time he came out to the place.

“So what happened to the previous owner?” A voice interrupted his thoughts

“It’s a strange story, he was a local lad, made it big up in Dublin with his own construction company. He came back here a few years ago with big plans to develop this site into a shopping centre. Then he just disappeared,” the estate agent answered the young couple.

“How very odd,” the woman said.

“Hasn’t been sight nor sound of him in years. The company just want to get rid of the place now,” the estate agent shrugged.

“Well that’s to our gain so, we really like this village and plan to start our family right here,” the man said, smiling at his wife.

“Well, she’s all yours, come by the office later and we’ll sort the paperwork.” They shook hands and the estate agent left the couple to wander around their new property.

As he walked from the overgrown garden he glanced back. What was that in the window? He knew all the old stories about the house, every local did. He wondered should he have said something to the new owners… and have them laugh at him for spouting such superstitious nonsense? He shook his head at his own foolishness and with a wave left them to it.
  


Comments

  1. This has my vote. Well written and spooky enough to fit into the Halloween theme.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm voting for this entry. It's an engaging story and I enjoyed the descriptive writing.

    ReplyDelete

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