Later that night after everyone was sleeping Steve slipped out of bed being careful not to wake Charlotte. He went over to the dresser and when he heard Charlotte move he looked back over his shoulder to make sure she was still asleep. She was, and even if she had awakened he was positioned in a way that she couldn’t have seen what he was doing. He just didn’t want to have to answer any questions about it. He really hadn’t thought of a good response if he had been caught. He managed to get what he needed and then slipped out of the room. He had left the bedroom by the door to the hallway and went around to the living room. Just as he came through the doorway from the dining room he looked up to see someone standing by the desk.
Steve didn’t know what to do so he just stood there. Now he wished he hadn’t been so quick to say what he had about seeing things. It had been several seconds but she was still there in front of him with a sad look on her face. He noticed that she glanced down at the desk.
“What is it you want Anna?” Steve couldn’t be sure but he would have sworn he saw her smile when he called her by name. It was a soft gentle smile that melted his heart. If he hadn’t been so dumb struck and to be honest, scared out of his wits, he would have probably tried to go to her and put his arms around her.
There was a sound from upstairs and the look on her face changed. Anna turned her head up and to the back. He realized she was looking up in the direction of Emma’s room. Before Anna had appeared gentle and sad, now the look on her face was one of pure anger and even hatred. Whatever had attracted her attention had altered her mood drastically and she became a frightening figure. In an instant she was gone and Steve heard a racket from upstairs and he went running in that direction.
Steve got to the foot of the steps in time to see Cornelius running from his room to Emma’s at the top of the stairs. Just as he put a foot on the first step Charlotte was coming out of the bedroom. There was a loud crash from Emma’s room before Steve was halfway up. Nothing could have prepared him for what he saw as he entered the room and came to a full stop.
On one side of Emma’s bed was a man dressed in pants, boots, and a long light colored coat and a wide brimmed hat. On the opposing side was the woman who had been standing next to the old secretary downstairs only a moment before. The two girls were prisoners unable to escape from the bed. They huddled together against the headboard staring from one apparition to the other. There was a roar in the room that made it almost impossible to hear anything. Cornelius stood at the foot of the bed not sure what to do.
Cornelius looked from one girl to the other wanting to reach for them but not knowing which one to reach for first. He wondered if he reached for one would he be too late to save the other. The look on his face was heart wrenching because he was locked in his own battle within himself that was every bit as tumultuous as the battled now taking place in this room. The turmoil raging inside of him had left him frozen, unable to move.
The look of rage on the faces of the two specters was beyond frightening. The anger that boiled out of each into the air around them was stifling. Their eyes blazed with a burning red hatred that would rival the fires of hell itself. Both seemed to be bathed in an electric blue blaze. Steve noticed the thickness in the air and it was like breathing through water. The room appeared to be getting darker and if something didn’t break this soon he was afraid they would all suffocate.
Cornelius looked as if he was going to try and reach for Emma and Alison.
“Cornelius let her handle him.” Steve shouted.
You could actually see the static in the air between the two apparitions. Emma’s and Alison’s hair reacted to the energy that surrounded them standing out from their heads. At times their hair entwined as if trying to tie the women together in an eternal bond. The male, and Steve was beginning to get a real good idea of who this was now, held his arms out waist high ending with his hands in clenched fist. The woman, Steve knew this was Anna, stood her ground. Whatever the static was it appeared to be coming from her and appeared to form a bubble over the girls letting nothing outside of that get to either of them. Charlotte let out a yelp and headed toward the bed to try and rescue the two trapped young women. Steve stopped her.
“No Charlotte, don’t interfere!” And Steve pulled her to him.
Suddenly the female apparition became a swirl of thick dark smoke and flew up and over the bed engulfing the male and dragging him to the floor. The male too turn to a dark black mist and sunk through the floor as if it was water and the whirling mist was a damaged ship sinking into its depths. There was a popping and hissing but above that was the blood curdling, nerve shattering, angry cry of defeat.
Dedicated To My Daughter, Gina
Today was one of the happiest days of my life. I watched my daughter walk across a stage to receive her degree from the University of Memphis. I know that there are a lot of parents who know what I’m talking about. There’s just something about that moment that touches you in a way that nothing else does.
We remember so much at that moment. We remember the day they are born, that first moment when you realize that they are moving away from you, with me it was when my daughter was six, their first date, their first prom, when they graduate from high school. Then they graduate from college. Whether it is four years out of high school or twenty it doesn’t matter. That’s your baby up there holding that degree, although in most cases it’s merely a representative of the degree because that doesn’t come until later in the mail, and you are one proud parent.
Today there was someone sadly missing. My mom. It left a whole in my heart and hers. Gina and my mom was supper close. In a way Mom did walk across that stage with her but I won’t go into how, just take my word for it she did. Even that however can’t take anything away from how happy for her I am and how proud. So hug your kids and your parents and I hope you get to experience what I did today. There’s nothing else like it.
Congratulations to my beautiful, wonderful, very smart daughter. I love you with or without the degree because that’s just become another part of the person you are.