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Ghosts of days long gone

by Ciara McGregor 10 months ago in fiction

A short ghost story of longing and lost loves

The crunch of gravel and slamming car doors put Victoria on high alert. 'It should be the second room on the left, Annabelle,' a deep voice boomed. The scuffing of shoes brought her attention to the door, where a young girl ran into the room carrying a large box. Unceremoniously dumping it on the floor, Annabelle looked around and sniffed, displeased with the dated appearance of the room. Victoria gasped as Annabelle viciously pulled a large sheet of wallpaper off the wall, letting it fall in a crumpled pile on the floor, sending up clouds of dust. Victoria glared at the girl, her eyes turning icy… and the temperature of the room plummeted. She had only just arrived, and she was already destroying things… as expected. Annabelle shouted, "Mum fix the thermostat! It's freezing up here!". Rolling her eyes, Victoria turned, and with a swish of her long skirts, strode past the girl towards the hall, slamming the door behind her. She heard a yelp of fright and took pleasure at the thought of the girl's horrified face when the door appeared to shut of its own accord.

Her expression changed to one of quiet despair as she slowly walked downstairs. She didn't want to have to deal with any more people. She was tired. Painfully tired.

The slam of the front door shocked her, and she turned to see the girl's mother stalk through the entrance hall. She lowered her dark sunglasses and glared at the room with disdain. ‘Pathetic. It will all have to go.’ said the mother with annoyance. At this, Victoria's eyes sparked with anger. Instantly a light burned out, letting out a sharp crack as the bulb filled with smoke. The mother jumped and glanced at the ceiling. Victoria observed the woman as she walked. She was peeling back the wallpaper now, looking at the plaster underneath with a disgusted look. Her pointed face bore a sour look and a vile smell of ash and burnt toast emanated from her thi lips when she spoke. Huffing in annoyance, she began to walk through the house, muttering about which walls she wanted gone. She marked them with a bright red pen. There were too many. Too many walls. And far too much red.

Pulling herself away, Victoria retreated to the sanctuary of the ballroom, letting her mind drift to times long gone. To parties, and people, to memories of fine red wines, lilting music, and the elegant silken ball gowns in rich hues of blue and purple. She thought of the ball, that one glorious night, where she had first met her love. Luckily, Clara had not noticed her staring, for she stared a long while. It took months and dozens of parties before she built up the nerve to speak to her. But when they finally began to talk, she swore she felt herself glow.

Sadly her peace was interrupted as a tall, imposing man entered. The girl's father, no doubt. He began ordering the workmen around the room, as he impatiently directed the placement of furniture, sounding like a mad hound. The father appeared over-controlling and far too stern to be a kind parent. Despite herself, Victoria felt a moment’s sympathy for Annabelle. A workman accidentally scuffed the floor with his boot, leaving a dark mark behind. The father flew into a fury. He began yelling at the poor man, screaming, 'you fool! You're a complete disgrace!'

Reeling backward, Victoria was dragged back to the events of that fateful afternoon. She was sitting with her love in the garden, reading books, and just enjoying each other's presence. In one happy moment, Victoria lent forward to kiss Clara, holding her waist to pull her closer. They paused together in that moment, reveling in each other's touch. But a furious shout made them both jump. Her father was home from travel. Home too early. He stormed towards them, tearing Clara from Victoria's grip. He threw Victoria to the ground and pushed Clara away. Then he began to lay blow after blow upon Victoria, beating her mercilessly. The last thing Victoria remembered was her father yelling, 'You fool! You're a disgrace to my name!' Then, she lost everything.

Collapsing to her knees, Victoria wailed. Her chest heaving, she began to tremble like a leaf in a storm. She glared at the man as a cold fury ran through her. Her eyes turned dark and hollow, and all the light and colour seemed to leech from the air. One by one, the lights blew throughout the house, and a cold wind tore its way through the halls. The red pen marks seemed to dissolve, dripping down the wall like spilled wine. The floorboards creaked and heaved, like waves during a terrible storm, pulling and pushing at the man's feet. The workers scattered in fear, sprinting from the house. A scream heralded the arrival of Annabelle, followed closely by her petrified mother. The windows rattled, and the walls bowed inwards as if they were trying to crush the family, the paper peeling off them like melting wax. Victoria snarled. Now. Now they would see her. She loomed in front of them. Taller and taller, she grew until her head nearly brushed the ceiling. She began to flicker about the family, like a mirage, all the while hissing

‘Get out. Get out. Get out. Get out. Get out. Get out. Get out. Get out. Get out. Get out. Get out. Get out.’GET OUT!!!)

She let out a deafening roar, the inside of her mouth like molten tar. Furniture fell, and the windows shattered, exploding inwards, showering the family in shards of glass. They ran to the front door, and Victoria appeared behind them, screaming 'MY HOUSE' in a ghastly, distorted voice as she slammed the door shut on their heels. A shrieking of tires and scattering gravel accompanied the silver station wagon as it disappeared down the driveway.

Victoria sank to her knees. The wallpaper rolled back up the walls; the red ink disappeared.

Two days later, the movers had taken away all the boxes and furniture. No evidence of the invasion was left behind. Victoria sauntered into the ballroom, and a broad smile danced across her face. She dreamed of her love, their gowns twisting together in a beautiful waltz, their eyes gleaming with happiness. She twirled lazily, her arms reaching for invisible hands, her feet moving to an unheard tune. She could see her, Clara, looking glorious in a blue gown adorned with soft purple flowers. Alone, she danced, lost in her memories.

fiction

Ciara McGregor

Creator of micro fiction for the easily distracted!

Imagination prompts and fantasy ideas

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