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Moving On

Sometimes what helps isn't what you'd think

By Katt KantackPublished 2 years ago 10 min read
Moving On
Photo by Nikoline Arns on Unsplash

Rose observed the white colonial-style home. It looked like a very nice, pleasant home. Most homes in this neighborhood were. The lawn was well-manicured and watered, and it had views of the bay that were far grander than Rose's home. All the neighbors had similar landscaped and tended-to yards. Audis and Lincolns were parked on the street. The South Hill neighborhood was fairly posh. Jackie's old blue Geo Metro looked distinctly out-of-place on the street.

"This is it," Jackie said. "The wife contacted me on the forum. She's having trouble with a physical haunting. We're going to see if we can contact the spirit and see what's up. Are you ready?"

"No," Rose admitted.

"Good. Let's go." Jackie headed up the stone path to the front door. Rose followed close behind. She wasn’t sure what to expect from her first investigation.

A middle-aged woman answered the door. Her dark blonde hair framed her stern face in a mid-length bob.

"Hello, my name is Jackie, and this is my assistant, Rose," Jackie introduced them.

Rose tensed a bit at "assistant". She had no idea what she would be assisting Jackie with.

The woman nodded and nervously shook Jackie's hand. "Ms. Joan Wells," the woman said. "It's a pleasure to meet you." She glanced around and looked up and down the street. "You don't have any vans with logos or anything, do you?"

"No, ma'am," Jackie said. "Just the blue Geo."

A small wave of relief crossed the woman's face. "Good. Come, come inside."

Inside was cozy and filled with fine furnishings. Jackie and Rose sat on a plush, dark red couch. The woman brought them water.

"So," Jackie began. "Why don't you tell me a little bit about your experiences in the house?"

Mrs. Wells nodded and sat down across from them in a leather chair. "Well, it all started about two months after we moved in. I had some pans hanging from a rack in the kitchen, and one morning I heard a clamor. I came down, and they were all on the floor! I looked at the rack, and it was secure. I don't see how they could have all fallen at once like that. About a week after that, I came home to find all the magazines in my magazine rack scattered all over the room. My dear husband believed it was simply raccoons getting into the house, but I searched everywhere and there was no way they could have gotten in. I swear it! Then my dishes were broken. I came home after a weekend out and our dinner plates and wine glasses had been smashed to bits. There was broken glass all over the kitchen and dining room!"

Jackie nodded thoughtfully as she listened to Mrs. Wells speak. "Have you done any major renovations or changes since you moved in?" she asked.

"No, not at all!" Mrs. Wells exclaimed. "We've given it a good and thorough cleaning, and of course we moved in our things. That's all we've done! My husband…he thinks there's a perfectly normal explanation for this. That's why I asked you to meet while he was away at work. He would be furious if he found out I let in you sorts of people here...oh, I'm sorry. That was insensitive of me, wasn't it?"

Jackie held up a hand. "It's perfectly fine, Mrs. Wells. We understand. Now, is it fine if we walk around the house for a bit?"

"Oh yes, yes, of course!" Mrs. Wells exclaimed. "Please, do what you need to."

Jackie stood up and Rose dutifully followed. Jackie wandered thoughtfully across the room. Mrs. Wells remained seated, nervously wringing her hands and fiddling with her water glass.

Peeking into the kitchen, Jackie called to the woman. "Mrs. Wells, may I ask, do you have any children?"

Rose followed Jackie's gaze. A young blonde girl stood near the sink. She stared at Jackie and Rose.

"Oh yes, I have a daughter," Mrs. Wells said. "Alexa is her name. She's at Harvard right now. She's a brilliant young woman."

"Harvard, you say?" Jackie asked. "Good for her," she muttered to herself.

"Yes," Mrs. Wells replied from the living room. "Her father is an alumnus, you see. I'm a Stanford alumna myself..."

Jackie had stopped listening at that point, and was focused on the girl in the kitchen.

"Is that...?" Rose started to whisper, but Jackie gestured for her to be quiet.

As Jackie stepped forward, the girl seemed startled at being noticed. She tensed up, and looked like she was ready to run. Jackie put her hands up in a show of warm welcome and hospitality.

"It's okay," Jackie said. "My name is Jackie. This is Rose. We're just here to say hi."

The girl said nothing.

"What is your name?" Jackie asked.

The girl stood, remaining silent.

Jackie glanced around the kitchen. "This is a nice home you have here. Do you like it here?"

The girl still did not respond.

"Look," Jackie replied, "I'm not here to hurt you. I'm not going to exorcize you or smudge you out or whatever. I just want to talk."

The girl hesitated, and then spoke. "Veronica. My name is Veronica."

Jackie smiled. "Hello, Veronica. I'm pleased to meet you. How old are you?"

"I'm...fifteen." Veronica looked a little confused.

"I'm twenty-seven. Do you go to school?"

"No," Veronica said. "Not anymore. I...I don't like school."

“What do you like, then?"

Rose watched with interest. Jackie was conversing with Veronica just as if she were a regular, normal girl and not a dead one. The girl appeared anxious, but as Jackie continued talking and being friendly, the girl seemed to warm up. This wasn’t like any of the ghost hunter shows Rose was used to.

“I like reading,” Veronica shyly replied.

“I like reading, too,” Jackie answered. “What is your favorite book?”

Jackie continued talking to Veronica for several minutes, making light conversation. Throughout the discourse, Rose learned that Veronica was a fan of Russian romance literature – “La Karenina” was her particular favorite – and that she also liked going down to the rocky shoreline to read during summer sunsets. She learned that Veronica had grown up in Bellingham, was a Sehome High School student like Rose, and was an only child.

“Where are your parents, Veronica?” Jackie asked.

“They moved away,” Veronica answered.

“When did that happen?”

“A few years after I killed myself,” Veronica replied plainly.

Rose felt a chill run through her at such a blunt response.

“So, you understand you are dead?” Jackie asked.


“Well,” Jackie said with a sigh, “that makes things a bit easier. The whole business of getting spirits to come to terms with their physical demise can be quite frustrating. I’m glad we have that out of the way.”

“I don’t want to leave,” Veronica said.

“Oh, I’m not asking you to,” Jackie answered. “Tell me, why did you kill yourself?”

Rose shot Jackie a confused look. Wasn’t clearing the home of the ghost exactly what they were there for?

As Veronica spoke, Rose shifted her attention. Veronica told them how she was mercilessly bullied in school. Her mother gave little consolation, and her father told her to suck it up. She was taunted at school, in church, everywhere. It was mainly a small group of classmates who tortured her. When she went into high school, her friends had distanced themselves to avoid their own ridicule. She became isolated and alone. Eventually, she couldn't take it anymore and took her own life. She didn’t leave a note because she didn’t see the point. No one would care, she said. Her parents lived in the house for half a decade after her death before selling.

“It still hurts, doesn’t it?” Jackie said. “Is that why you still throw fits?”

“I wanted to end it,” Veronica said. “I thought death would do it. I was wrong. I should have left a note, should have told someone why I did it. Those monsters who shoved me into my locker and threw my belongings out on the soccer field will go unpunished. They got away with it.”

“I can only imagine how you feel,” Jackie replied. “You need to control your rage, though. These new people live in this house now.”

“It’s my home!” Veronica screamed. “It’s all I have left!”

“You can stay,” Jackie said. “You can share this space. But you have to respect that this is also their home. You have to learn to get along.”

Rose heard a stifled murmur, and turned to see Mrs. Wells peeking through the door. She wondered how long the homeowner had been standing there. What a strange sight they must be, talking to a girl that the woman couldn’t see.

“It’s my home, and I will do what I want!” Veronica insisted.

Jackie ran her fingers along her brow. She looked frustrated.

“Listen,” Rose anxiously chimed in. “Think about it. Without someone living here, someone living here who’s actually living, if you catch my meaning…what I’m trying to say is, can you fix the house if it breaks? If it falls into disrepair, what will you do then? This house needs a family living here, taking care of it.”

Veronica seemed to relax somewhat as she pondered what Rose had said.

“Rose has a good point,” Jackie said. “You could drive this family out, but the place will become a hovel. This is a very elegant home. Don’t you want it to remain so?”

“It just…it still hurts,” Veronica said. There was an edge of sadness in her voice that pierced Rose deep in her gut. It was a deep, helpless, heartbroken pain.

“Hey, those guys that bullied you? I bet they’re all losers who dropped out and are still living in their parents’ basements,” Rose offered.

A small smile perked up Veronica’s face.

“Listen, something is still eating at you,” Jackie offered. “Maybe we can help.”

“There’s nothing you can do.” Veronica shook her head. “I wish…I wish I could have made my parents really understand how much it hurts.”

“It seems that you regret not telling your family why you killed yourself,” Jackie said. “Let’s make a deal. I’ll deliver a message to them, and you behave yourself.”

Veronica thought about it. “You’ll do it? You’ll tell them why I did it?”

“I will,” Jackie said, “but I don’t want Mrs. Wells calling me back here because you’re throwing a fit. You need to take care of them, and take care of this house.”

Veronica sighed. “I can try.”

Jackie smiled. She pulled out her phone and opened it up to a notepad app. “Now, tell me exactly what you want to say.”

Jackie jotted down the names of Veronica’s torturers. She wrote down what had happened to Veronica. She also wrote an apology from Veronica: how the girl regretted the pain she had brought to her parents.

With that, Jackie and Rose said their goodbyes to Veronica, and headed back to the living room. Mrs. Wells was standing just at the other end of the door, waiting for them.

“You’re not getting rid of her?” Mrs. Wells asked lividly.

“She won’t be a bother anymore, ma’am. I can assure you,” Jackie replied.

“I want that ghost gone from my house! Completely gone!”

“It doesn’t work like that,” Jackie answered. “You can’t just make a spirit come or go. You can ask them, you can talk to them, but they have their own free will, just like you or me.”

“You’re a hack!” Mrs. Wells screamed. “You’re a fake! If you can’t do it, I will find someone else who can!”

“I wouldn’t advise it,” Jackie said. “Right now, the girl won’t bother you, but if you upset her…”

“Get out!” Mrs. Wells shouted. “I can’t believe I let you in here in the first place. Get out, and don’t come back!”

Rose and Jackie were quickly ushered out, and the door was slammed shut behind them.

“I hope she doesn’t call anyone else,” Jackie said.

“Why not?” Rose asked.

“Because,” Jackie answered, “if she does, her haunting will never end.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255


About the Creator

Katt Kantack

I'm just a normal gal trying to get into writing horror while enjoying my other hobbies like hiking, cooking, and keeping the thing in the basement from escaping.

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