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Cast of Characters
- The Narrator Aviel
- First Twin Bridgette Fritz
- Second Twin Ben Fritz
- Ms. Flaherty Malin Larsson
The twins are having a wonderful time reminiscing.
“Remember old Lord Biddle?”
“We had him seeing double!”
“The doctors thought alcohol did it to him.”
“So does he probably! Ha ha ha!”
They’re eleven. At least they were in 1750 when the nanny killed them. Oh, it’s true that they were little hellions always playing pranks on her and sometimes getting her into trouble. But she didn’t have to kill them. She poisoned their food! I know because I watched her do it. I was peeking into the kitchen to see how cooking was done. I was fourteen and everyone said I was too young to learn how to cook, so I would sneak peeks so I could learn by watching. But Ms. Flaherty was using ingredients that did not belong in people’s food. Foolishly, I confronted her.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
“You! Where did you come from?”
In a rage, she grabbed me by the throat and would not let go. I could not breathe and felt myself getting weaker. My legs felt wobbly and I could no longer stand up. Suddenly I was floating around the ceiling. I watched her pick my body up off the floor and carry it to her room. She stuffed it into the corner behind the bed.
That afternoon I watched in horror as the boys ate their lunch. Ms. Flaherty had a sly smile upon her lips and blood upon her hands. She had already killed me and was about to do the same to the twins.
The stuff worked fast! By two o’clock the boys were very, very sick. I went back and forth between their rooms but I didn’t know how to let them know that I was there. By three it was over.
The nanny came to get them. She carried them to the staircase under which there was a secret chamber. The boys used to like to hide in there and one day they scared her half to death when she came down the stairs and they jumped up, seemingly out of nowhere. They laughed and made her promise not to tell anyone about their secret spot. Now she would never tell. She returned to her room and brought down my body. She stuffed it into that same little compartment with the twins.
Sometime later I found the two boys wandering around the house, frightened out of their wits. It was as if they didn’t realize they were dead. I guess it’s different if you see it happen. We all watched that night as police came to the house and Ms. Flaherty cried and cried. She said we went out to play and she couldn’t find us at lunchtime. She suspected we were playing games and didn’t bother to look for us until suppertime. She said she was afraid and didn’t want our parents to come home and find police so she didn’t call them. What an actress she was! I remember wishing I could suddenly appear in the crowd and point an accusing finger at her and show everyone the staircase. But I didn’t know how to make myself visible then.
It turns out that it’s not very hard to do at all. The boys do it all the time.
“Remember the time that housekeeper came outside to retrieve the laundry?”
“And we were playing catch in the yard?”
“With our heads?”
“She turned as white as the sheets on the line. Ha ha!”
“I never saw anyone run so fast! Ha ha ha!”
“Everyone kept telling her it was only the sheets in the wind!”
“But all she could do was point and babble! Ha ha!”
By the time I learned how to appear to the living, it was too late. Our parents were long gone from this place. Of course, we couldn’t go anywhere, our bodies are here, so here we must stay as well. After a while I realized that if we were discovered and given a proper burial, well, let’s just say I don’t think the boys would go to Heaven. It seemed better to leave things alone and let them go on having their fun haunting people. Myself, I don’t go for that sort of thing. I don’t find it very amusing. In fact I’ve only haunted someone once; not counting the nanny, of course.
You didn’t think Ms. Flaherty got away with it, did you? After the police were gone and everyone had given up looking for us, she decided to leave town. But my brothers spooked her horse. It seems funny to put it that way, now that I’m telling it. Anyway, she was thrown. Everyone thought that she was killed by hitting her head on a rock, but she wasn’t. That was my job.
But I digress. This story is about my problem. There’s a boy. His name is Josh and he just moved in with his family. They laugh about the "ghost stories" and say they’re not afraid, so naturally the twins are looking forward to haunting them. And they can get very creative when they put their evil little minds to it. They once scared a young soldier so badly that he could never go near a horse again. They had him believing he had come face to face with the Devil himself. Another time they talked a gardner into killing himself. They found out he had left a pregnant girl many years ago and they convinced him that they were the ghosts of his dead children. In despair, he hung himself in the barn. And it’s unspeakable how they toyed with poor Lord Biddle. He finally suffered a heart attack because of them.
So that’s why I’m worried. I don’t want them to scare Josh’s family off—or worse. I’ve told them in no uncertain terms that I won’t tolerate them haunting those people, which sets them off in peals of laughter. They’ve threatened to crawl into Josh’s bed and let him wake up between the two of them. I’ve no idea what else they’re cooking up.
Which is why I have to somehow lead Josh to the chamber in the staircase. But I’m not going to enjoy doing this. It will mean an end to the three of us and, like I said, I don’t think the boys are going to Heaven. Actually I’m not so sure about myself either. I also don’t like the idea of Josh seeing the terrible mess that he will discover there. Or of him seeing me like that. Josh is fifteen and beautiful. I like to think my fourteen-year-old self was at least pretty—but now. . .
So this is what love is. To protect Josh from those two, I will haunt him first. Tonight. I will awaken him from sleep with a gentle kiss and a whisper in his ear. I’m sure he’ll follow me; if he doesn’t I’ll let him see a faint glimpse of me as I disappear around a corner. I’ll lead him to the staircase and let him see me go through the wall there. If he’s not awake enough to investigate, I’ll push the hidden door open for him. Hopefully, I don’t frighten him into fits, but it’s a chance I have to take. Once our bones are discovered and properly cared for, the twins and I will be on our own. Of course, I’ll never see Josh again after that. . .
Hush, now. Everyone’s asleep. It’s time.