When Charlotte was a child she was asked to stay over at her cousin Sally’s place.
Sally lived in a dark old house on the edge of town and though Charlotte had been there many times, on each subsequent visit there was an edge to the place that bothered her.
This time was no different. From the moment she entered the house she couldn’t help but feel there was something about the house that was unwelcoming.
Not the inhabitants, they were as welcoming as ever, they were always pleased to see her, and they said she brought a breath of fresh air to the place.
Her Uncle and Aunt were the loveliest people. She felt they were like second parents to her. They took her in and made her feel at home.
It was the house that worried her.
It creaked and groaned, it had the odd smell that she only appeared to be able detect.
Her Uncle and Aunt and cousin Sally always looked at her in amazement whenever she mention this. But there was a distinct smell of death in the air. She knew this smell as one day her mother had sent her down to collect the eggs and she discovered a dead chicken and as it was a very hot day the deceased chicken was well and truly on the nose.
Charlotte’s Uncle and Aunt saw her as an imaginative young thing and laughed at her suggestions of ghosts and specters inhabiting the house.
Cousin Sally always the inquisitive one would listen to her trying to explain her theories to her Uncle and Aunt and then afterwards say some thing like, ‘They don’t want to hear you, they know what you are saying, but they have an understanding. Maybe Charlotte that’s what you’ll have to achieve to feel safe here, an understanding.’
The understanding she was referring to was never explained and Charlotte didn’t feel brave enough to ask.
That night when Sally and Charlotte went to bed, Sally said that she should sit on the bed and if she stayed awake then when they came and she could introduce her.
Charlotte thought this was a silly idea. She said all those things about the house because that’s what she felt.
She didn’t think there would be any proof of what she was saying.
But Sally was insistent that she do as she asked, so Charlotte sat on the bed and it wasn’t long before she was wanting to drift off to sleep.
Then she saw what she could best describe as a white shimmering light. It came through the door and settled in a corner of the room. It hovered there and she heard Sally say not to move.
Then another appeared, then another. Soon the room was full of shimmering lights. The lights glowed from one colour to another, as if expressing an effervescence of emotions. They surrounded the bed and emitted a strange pulse towards Charlotte.
A strange warmth ran over her, but she thought its cold, but then so intense as to warm her, though that seemed a contradiction.
Sally was saying something, but it wasn’t to Charlotte, it was to a shimmer on her left and she spoke not a language but gibberish, a sort of guttural language where her voice dipped and peaked between slurs and spits, as it sounded to Charlotte.
The she turned to Charlotte her eyes a strange glow like she’d never seen before, and in a voice said for her to sit still as the Garnsted decided whether or not she was to be given free rein in the house.
Charlotte knew that the Garnsted were the original occupiers of the house. One night a hundred years ago the entire family were murdered in their beds. No one was ever caught nor did any investigation take place and as a result the souls of the Garnsted’s were doomed to spend eternity in the house, as there had been no restitution for them.
As a result the house had been difficult to sell.
Her Uncle and Aunt had always said the house was a cheap buy, little wonder thought Charlotte.
What followed was a terrifying experience for Charlotte. Suddenly the shimmers became agitated.
Within seconds they were moving, vibrating, swirling, this way then that, across and round the room with ever increasing speed, the room spun, the girls sat rigidly, while the colour spectacular raged.
Charlotte was at a loss to explain the phenomena occurring before her.
Then the shimmers gathered at one end of the room and momentarily there was a lull in their agitation, then followed a rush accompanied by a sound that sounded like the combination of every evil sound ever.
Charlotte was spellbound, and looked terrified as the shimmers gathered force and moving like lighting at her and then through her.
Such was the force of their passing that Charlotte was knocked off the bed.
She tumbled off the bed but she didn’t land, she continued to fall.
Charlotte flayed her arms hoping to catch something to halt her descent.
She tumbled over and over and as she fell she had the impression that the shimmers were falling with her.
They swirled around her, and she began to feel her fall slowing, until finally she fell softly onto a bed.
Sitting up, terrified by what had just happened she looked about to try and determine where she was. Nothing looked familiar.
There was however a hum in the corner and she looked towards it.
Hums had always bothered Charlotte. For reasons she could never fathom they frightened her. This hum was certainly achieving that goal. She sat rigidly on the bed, as the hum increased in volume and speed.
As it approached a deafening volume she could feel her ears beginning to split.
Then it cut.
She could hear her own breathing.
Her eyes darted about, but nothing made any sense to her.
The hum started again.
There was movement.
Two figures, a third behind as if shadowing the first two.
Charlotte looked into the eyes of her Uncle and Aunt.
Behind them, Sally smiled.
The voice of her Uncle, the last thing she heard.