I am from here! I was born to this plain of existence. Who are they to tell me that I should move on? This is my house. Now it's all different. I do not recognize the people in the photographs on the wall, and the hallways and rooms are not filled with the sounds I remember. Curved slats of metal that can be titled by a long, clear wand that hangs aside the whole configuration that one former resident of the house called the 'blinds' have replaced the curtains that I helped my mother sew and hang. A fitting name for such a catastrophe. One could go blind looking at such an eyesore. A fancy sort of fabric has been laid over the hardwood floors my father and brother sanded by hand, and stained for months. Now you can't even see the craftsmanship of their hard work. And all the cupboards and cabinet faces that father designed and spent months carving beautiful patterns and pictures in, have been renewed with hard, and shiny tiles that look like pieces of mother's fine china, in odd little squares. This home smells different. This home feels different...yet it is my home. It is where I was born. And while many things have changed, I am still here, and will be for some time yet undetermined.
Many have come to claim this place as their own, and I have run them off, one by one, until I can be alone, in my home. Accompanied only by my memories, and the sounds that I fell asleep to, now nothing more than mere faint whispers I have to strain to hear. I hate what they have done to this place. The havoc they have wrecked, the improvements they thought they were making in a majestic home that needed no improvements in the first place. Oh and the toilet! It's an abomination! That horrid sound it makes, and the thought that people could do such a thing in the very place they sleep! Civilized! Ha! Savages are more like it! But all things must change...and I have adjusted.
I suppose in some ways I have become accustomed to what I used to see as invasions. But I was quite used to being alone in my home without disturbances, and most of the time, I sat waiting for my father, and mother, and my brothers to come home. But they never came. I knew that a great deal of time had passed, and though I didn't understand my family's reasons for leaving me all alone, I knew that I would be there when they returned. I slept very often. Sometimes, I would wake to see that the grounds and the foliage outside the window was bright and green with the life of Spring, and then I would fall asleep, and look out the windows to see that there was snow on the ground, and all the trees were bare and the window panes frosted on the inside. The experience depressed me. I slept as often as I could, and each time I felt myself losing consciousness, I would drift away, hoping that when I would wake, my family would come home.
A family did come...but it wasn't mine. It was the first family that came here, a young couple, with no children. He was an odd sort of fellow, and his wife, though very young, dressed like a woman that worked at the local saloon! I could see her knees in the skirt that she was wearing! Positively sacrilegious! And her hair was so short, her husband looked like he was married to a man! Her eyes looked like the mouth of a well, and she purposely put a black sooty sort of powder over her eyes to make her look that way. Can you imagine? She even danced in such a provocative manner one night that I caused a disturbance just to make it all stop. You should have seen it.
I suppose it was some sort of house warming party, but I can assure, I felt no warmth. There were no lanterns lit, pressing a button on the wall lighted the entire house, and suddenly, brilliant luminance in any room they chose! Witchcraft! There were so many people in my house that it looked like some sort of bar. And all of her friends were wearing that same sort of tramp's clothing. Short skirts with strings hanging all over them, that swooshed, and jiggled, merely there to accentuate the movement of a woman's body beneath her clothes! Their hair was so short, and shiny, and plastered to their heads like paste, and waved about their skulls in such blatant displays of vanity. To even be associated with women of this nature! I was appalled. And they smoked. Cigarettes mind you! The women were smoking! And then one of them went over and put on a thingy called a record, and suddenly, the room was filled with a brash, satanic sort of sound. Loud blaring music, and the women jumped and shimmied like their girdles were filled with ants! Kicking up their feet, and clapping their hands, and shouting, laughing like they were mad, and dancing with any young man they so desired, in the most inappropriate and provocative ways. I heard them asking each other if they were familiar with this dance, or that dance, and they had odd names for them like Swing dancing, and the Shag, and the Charleston. All that tossing of bodies over other bodies, and the sensual positioning of man and woman right out there for everyone else to see! Any decent woman would have put a stop to such madness. So I did. At the time I had no idea how to go about it. I was standing at the top of the stairs, looking down at all of those lunatics in the parlor. I placed one hand on the railing, and the other on the wall, and screamed at them, as loud as I could. I didn't even realize anything was happening until after I had stopped. That's when I noticed that the chandelier was swaying, and the parlor itself looked as if a strong gust of wind had flown in and blown everything to the floor. The platters of food were upturned and scattered all over the floor, and the napkins too. The lights were off, and the record was repeating itself, over and over again, stuck on one ear shattering crescendo that would not stop. I watched them all in surprise as my ire subsided. And then, the young wife looked up the stairs, and something miraculous happened. She saw me. She looked right at me, pointed her finger after a long pause, and screamed! Now there were more than a dozen pairs of eyes looking at me, gasping and ogling me. I ran from the top of the stairs, and went to my room. It was such a horrid feeling to have no safe haven to run to. The bed was not mine, the surrounding were foreign. I sat down in a corner and I slept.
Hammering awakened me. I knew the sound very well, for father was a carpenter. Before I even opened my eyes, I smiled, and stretched, and wondered how long I had been sleeping in this position. The hammering came again, and I was at last awake, knowing this had all been a dream, just a horrid, terrible nightmare, that had finally come to an end. I sighed, and stood up, and the hammering proceeded.
"Papa." I said, and made my way to my bedroom door. What I saw made my heart indefinitely ill. There were men, just droves of them, walking up and down the stairs, and knocking out holes in the walls that my father built, and using the claw ends of hammers to pull out whole sections of baseboards. I saw a woman, wearing pants! And could you have any idea what she was doing? Putting up red draperies in the living room. I walked around in total shock and perplexity! Oh when would I wake up? What would become of me? Who were these men? The kitchen was a shamble! There were three men in white overalls splattered with paint putting a large metal box in one side of the kitchen, and another two setting another large metal box just beside it. I listened to them.
"This is one of the newest models of refrigerators out there." Said one of the men, "This is the same one my wife wants. She says the one we have is too old."
"What year is it?" asked another who was helping him, and I was glad he had asked. It was precisely what I wanted to know.
"It's ten years old." The first man chuckled.
"Now that they have these cold and freeze models, you're not going to have a decent night's rest until you get one for her." The second man laughed. I was annoyed.
"But what year is it?" I asked, with a tone of inpatients.
"It's a 1938, ma'am." Said the first man, and turned to me.
"What's that?" the second man asked. The first man frowned, and appeared to be thinking something over. I was too devastated to even register my discovery of making my voice heard. How could it be that it was 1948? That just wasn't possible. I ran to my room, and the door slammed behind me. I was crying so heavily, that I didn't see the little girl. But she saw me. She sat there frozen on the bed, looking at me with huge wide eyes, and then, her little mouth opened up and she screamed to the full capacity of her lungs. Selfish little child! How could she be upset for my presence in my own house? She was the intruder, not me! I screamed back at her, and she bolted from the room like a terrified little rabbit. And good riddance!
I could hear them talking about me from all the way up there in my room. I heard the man in overalls telling the woman that was hanging the red drapes not to be so quick to discredit what her daughter was saying, because he had heard a woman's voice right behind him when he was helping to set up the refrigerator. I heard the woman saying that she would hear nothing of it, and that there was no such thing as ghosts. Ghost am I? Well, I decided to give them just what they asked for.
I terrorized that little girl every second of every day! I taunted her, mocked her, teased her, frightened her, pushed her down in the halls, and pulled her hair. I tried everything. But even when the mother was growing more concerned about her child's behavior, she wouldn't even entertain the possibility that she was living in a haunted house. And I can't say I rightly blame her! I wasn't a ghost! I was just...lost...somehow, or perhaps being punished for something I had done. And besides, a ghost was the spirit of someone who had died. I wasn't dead! Quite the opposite! I was very much alive, and trying to get these fools out of my home! This was my house!
I felt so cold. Where was Papa? And where was Momma? Where were my brothers? How could it be 1948?
That night, as the little girl slept soundly next to her mother, I roamed the house that was mine, the home that this woman, fond of red drapes, and mother of a bastard child that had no father, was destroying. I looked at rooms in my house and saw how they looked the way I remembered them, but then it would fade, like a mist, and I would see what did not belong. I would see what it looked like now, and it infuriated me. The living room was pitch black, albeit because of those abominable red drapes, and felt like crying. I was crying. I could feel hot tears on my cheeks, and I could feel my eyes flood with liquid, and the lump in my throat. A dim glow began to brighten the room. I thought it was a candle. I turned and saw a gentleman standing by the fireplace. He could see me.
"Who are you, sir?" I asked him.
"My name is Clark. I came here to ask you to leave my daughter and my wife in peace." He said in a very gentle voice.
"You can see me, Mr. Clark, sir?" I asked him, wiping the tears from my eyes.
"I certainly can. Why have you tortured my child?" He asked. I felt the tears coming to my eyes again, and found it hard to breathe. Then my anger welled up inside me, and I glared at him.
"Because this is my house! They are not welcome here, and I want them out!" I hissed hatefully. He took a few steps closer to me, and I felt the strangest kinship to him, but I knew I did not know him, and it startled me.
"May I ask your name?"
"You certainly may not!" I shouted.
"I mean you no harm, I just want to talk to you." He said. I thought this over for a moment, and then sighed.
"If you must know, it's Elizabeth."
"It is a pleasure to meet you Elizabeth." He said. He was such a kind man, but my anger would prevent me from listening.
" I would like to know who you are, and why you and your wife and child are in my home!" I demanded.
"As right you should know. You see, Elizabeth. My wife bought this house with the money that the United States Government sent to her after my death in the war." Clark said.
"What war do you speak of, sir?"
"World War II." He answered gently. As Clark began to tell me the details of not the first, but the Second World War, my head began to spin, and I felt nauseated. I could not digest what he was telling me, and could not accept it, nor could I get past the sincerity in his voice.
"Alright then, fine, you are a ghost? An apparition? A frightful worker of Satan that fools and gypsies tell stories of to frighten little children? Is that is?" I shouted.
"I do not frighten children, Elizabeth. But you have been. I have watched over my family since my death. I check in from time to time, just until they are strong enough to let me pass to the other side..."
"And you are here, telling me all of this, for precisely what purpose!" I snapped.
"That it is your time to cross over, Elizabeth, you're family is waiting for you." He said.
"You know nothing of my family! Further more, you know even less of me, Mr. Clark, sir, and if you do not leave my sight this very instant, I promise you, with every fiber of my soul, that I will rain down such tragedies on this house that it will not be fit for anyone to live here! Do I make myself clear!"
Such a wave of emotion had seized me that I did not realize that Clark was gone. I did not sleep for days. I walked about my home certain that I would vanquish all that did not belong, and refusing to believe anything of what Clark had spoken of. I did however; notice the changes to my unwanted roommates. When the mother and her child would come into the home, they would be very quiet, and literally tiptoe from room to room. They would not speak when they were inside, but if the mother took her child out to play in the yard, I would hear them laughing, and playing, and loving something I remembered loving myself, once. Life....
I did not try to terrorize the little girl anymore; I was too depressed to even think of something else to do to her. All activity from them and me seemed to peter off into a standstill. But within a month, the mother and child had packed up all their belongings, and were moving away. For some reason, I felt abandoned. It made me angry. I stood at the top of the stairs the last day they were here, and I watched them both. The mother was buttoning her daughter's coat, and child asked a question.
"Why do we have to move again, Mommy?"
"Daddy thinks that we can get a better place if we move from here." The mother explained.
"I wish I saw Daddy too." The little girl said, and I could see all the way from the top of the stairs the way the mother's eyes seemed to glitter with the onset of tears.
"Oh, sweetie...he sees you." She smiled. Just as they walked out the door, the mother looked back, and though I do not think that she saw me, she had a look of reserved anger on her face, and her eyes went to the top of the stairs.
"I hope you're happy....Elizabeth."
No one occupied the house for years after the mother and child left. It was during this time that I had the most horrible encounter of my existence. In all the time that I had stayed in the house, never once had I ventured outside. I remember the grounds that father and my brothers had spent years developing, and the acres of lush rolling hills with jade green grass waving in the breeze, and though it was autumn, I decided to go out and take in the wondrous fall colored foliage. As soon as I stepped beyond the front porch, I felt myself delivered quite quickly into the vise grip of a menacing danger. I did not know what was happening, and suddenly, it was if my feet took on a mind of their own, and I found myself marching to the tall oak tree that stood in our front yard. I saw the grounds the way they were then, and how they were now, and it faded and clarified itself over and over again, but I was unable to stop myself from the militant style march that I treaded in. The tree was no longer there, and what remained was only a large stump, but no sooner had my eyes focused on this, then I found myself staring up into the sun speckled tree tops of the tree I remembered. When I looked down, my feet had come to a stop at the stump. It sat there with its coal black bark, and a bright tan center, almost screaming at me like I was at fault for it having been cut down. My arms shot over my head, and I was unable to stop it. The motions I was making confused me, and I began to whimper as my back bent sharply over, and then I was forced to stand bolt upright, and again, my arms made the same odd movement. Then, the present faded out and the past came back with a cruel clarity. In my hands was a rope, and I was throwing it over a branch. It missed, and I bent down, picked it up, and tried again. I was literally wailing when I saw my feet step up to a latter, and then just as swiftly, the latter was gone and I was standing in mid air, in front of a tree stump, going through motions I did not recall. I could not see the noose. I only felt it tighten around my neck. Then the present faded out again, and I was looking up into the multihued green of the oak tree leaves. I could see the rope trailing down from the branch all the way to my neck. I screamed and shouted, but I was powerless to stop what was happening.
"Pleeeeeeeeeeeease!" I screamed, over and over again, but no mercy was given to me. The next thing I knew, I heard my feet stumble off the step latter, and a dull twang of the rope, and then an unbearable pressure begin to fill my head, and pound at my temples. I felt my body begin to convulse, and the hot gush of urine flow down my leg. Humiliated, horrified, and consumed with guilt and remorse, I was forced to relive the whole experience of my suicide by hanging, but this would be only the first of many times. Through trial and horrendous error, I found that anytime I ventured further than the front door, I would be made to relive this experience over and over and over. Once my feet left the threshold, I was marching down to the tree stump, and witnessing my own death. Bit by bit, I began to remember the events that propelled me to end my life, and it was then that I remembered Thomas...my wonderful, beautiful, beloved Thomas.
We were only sixteen when I met him. He was the most fascinating creature that ever drew breath. His hair was sandy brown, and curly, and his eyes were the most velvety brown I had ever gazed into. He was kind, and sweet, and came from a good home, and was raised well, and respected his elders. His father and mine were carpenters, and Thomas was an apprentice. I was not an unruly or promiscuous girl, and my mother had always told me that private affairs were to come only after a man and woman were married. But I knew that I would marry Thomas. He told me he would marry me, and I believed him. I gave myself to him freely and completely, and the emotions he sparked in me were so uncharted and new and wonderful that I could scarcely spend enough time with him. We were together for a year. Then Thomas's father sold their property, and moved Thomas and their family seventy-five miles away. In the beginning, Thomas came to see me on a regular basis. Then his visits tapered off. Determined to see him, I planned a surprise visit. Momma even crocheted a long beautiful shawl that she was going to give me for a Christmas present, but she thought going to see Thomas was as special of an occasion as any, and so, just as I was loading my things onto the wagon, she handed it to me, neatly folded, and smiled at me. I was overcome with happiness, and I tried it on, and turned around a few times so she could see how it fit. It was glorious. I knew Thomas would be impressed. Papa drove me to town, and I took the noon stagecoach. I could hardly stand the waiting. I hadn't seen Thomas in four months.
When I arrived at their address, it didn't look like anyone was home. Their wagon was gone, and I called out for Thomas a few times but I was not answered. I had sewn a new dress specifically for this visit, and Momma had saved a whole two weeks for the hat that she had bought for me downtown, and as I casually walked about the property, I heard movement in the barn. I walked in, careful not to soil my Sunday best boots, and patted a few of the horses that looked out to greet me. When I neared an empty stable, I looked in for some reason.
Lying in the hay, naked and sweating, writhing like dogs in heat was Thomas and another girl. She was making the most ungodly sounds, and saying things that I care not to remember. I didn't want to see this, but I could not look away. He was vicious with her, and she seemed to like it, and he kissed her over and over again, telling her he loved her, he loved what he was doing, and he loved how she acted. I was revolted with the sight, and I fled from the barn. Thomas must have heard me, because he ran out shortly after, telling me the oddest thing a young lady could ever want to hear.
"You have this confused with something else." He said tenderly.
"I most certainly do not! You make me sick with the sight of you!" I screamed.
"Now, Elizabeth, I'm a man, and this is just one of those things..."
"You're a liar! You're a traitor! How could you Thomas! I ruined myself to be with you!" I protested, and took a fit right there in front of him, throwing my arms and screaming, and cursing him. How could a pain that has no physical attributes physically tear at me this way? I felt as though I was being tortured.
"My Pa does it, so does yours, and I'll do the same thing!" Thomas shouted at me. "It's a man's business, and if you hadn't been out here, poking around, you wouldn't have known!"
"Papa would never do anything like this to my Momma!" I screamed.
"What do you think my dad and yours was doin' on Saturday nights when they would go downtown to the saloon?" Thomas asked me.
"You take that back!"
"No! You want to know everything so bad!" Thomas screamed at me. Everything in my mind just shattered. Anger bloomed so rapidly my head started shaking uncontrollably. I don't remember grabbing the pitchfork that was propped against the house. One minute I was crying and screaming, and the next, Thomas was lying on the ground and I was leaning on the handle of the pitchfork and watching him die. He stayed in a tensed position with his hands gripping the handle of the pitchfork so tightly that his knuckles turned white. Then he relaxed, and I stared at him...I realized what I had done. I ran away, and sat and waited for the stagecoach. Draped in the shawl that Momma had crocheted for me, so no one would see the blood that was splattered all over the front of my dress I returned home wearing a gift of love to conceal a crime of passion. It had been taken it so I wouldn't get cold. Now I was so cold I would never feel warmth again. The house was dark, and everyone was asleep. I undressed and shoved the whole dress beneath my bed. Then went out to the pump house and tried to wash away my sins. Mother woke us all up for church the next morning, and I told her that I didn't feel well, and asked her to go without me. She didn't question me, even though she looked at me in a concerned way, and while she and Papa and my brothers were gone, I burned that dress until there was nothing left of it but a few smoldering ashes. Then, I went to the woodshed, found a good length of rope, and hung myself. I finally knew the truth, and I knew what I was. I couldn't move on because I was too ashamed to see my family face to face. I slept. I was aware of families coming and going, but I didn't stir. I didn't try to scare them, or chase them away, but I still hated them for coming to my home.
I tried to punish myself a few times by purposely walking past the threshold of the front door, thinking that maybe if I punished myself enough times, I would finally be free of the whole thing. But that never happened. I was also aware of other ghosts. Some of those were just passing through...some the families brought with them. Some of those tried to speak to me, but got no response. Some knew better than to try. I watched the months and the seasons pass, I watched the season and the years meld into one another, and then one day, Rena come to my house.
The house was up for sale once again, and by now, it had a very known reputation for being haunted. Rena was a real estate agent, and as soon as she got near my house, I could feel her. It was so strong, and loud that I was instantly awakened. I ran to the window and looked out, and Rena was walking up the sidewalk. She stopped, looked up in the window, and saw me. Curiosity compelled me to meet her, so I walked down the stairs, and met her as she came in the door.
"I thought this place was empty." Rena smiled, as she came in the door.
"It is." I replied with reserve.
"Well, you're here." Rena said. We stood there looking at one another, and Rena sat down her bag, and tossed her keys next to it.
"More people are coming, aren't they?" I said.
"Yes...they want to buy the property."
"Why won't they just leave." I sighed, and sat on the bottom stair.
"Well, because they are busy with life, I suppose." Rena offered.
"There are other places to live." I snapped.
"There are other planes to exist on." She replied. I turned my head sharply and looked at her in a curious manner.
"Why aren't you scared of me?" I asked her sharply.
"I've never been scared of anyone." Rena started, "Not even ghosts."
"Everyone else is." I said.
"Most people don't see them as regularly as I do." Rena said.
"So you see ghosts...regularly?"
"Ever since I was a child. It's just a fact of life for me." Rena explained.
"I don't want more people to come here. This is my home. I hate what they have done to this place!"
"Most ghosts do. It changes life as they remembered it...but your life has ended."
"Yet I exist."
"So you do." Rena said, "So you do."
The house sat on the market for years. Rena came to my house and regularly visited with me. She explained many marvels of the present world that I had long wondered about and feared. Electricity, aircrafts, indoor plumbing, modern day appliances, television, everything that I had ever seen and thought was witchcraft, was nothing more than the evolution of life. She had become my friend.
After four years, by the time frame Rena explained to me, I was informed that someone had bought the house.
"I thought that you might be happy with the new owner." Rena said.
"How could I be." I replied.
"Because I am the one that bought the house."
I was pleased. Not only was Rena the first friend I had had in centuries, she would be the first owner that I would enjoy existing with. Rena knew my story, she knew about Thomas, and knew of my sins, and still accepted me. I had come to find a sort of piece, but I was wearing, and longed to rest. Rena spoke of a light that I was supposed to go to. I had not seen this light. As time passed, Rena began to look different to me. Her once dark hair was now streaked with gray, and there were wrinkles around her eyes and mouth. Rena told me that she had lived in the house for thirteen years now. To me, it seemed only a few months. When Rena took on an illness, I was at her bedside as she rattled bottles and bottles of pills and complained about having to take them. She was funny, and made me laugh, but she never seemed upset. Rena was always very calm. She got better in what seemed like the blink of an eye to me, and I began to sink into the welcomed routine of spending time with my friend.
Once night, as Rena sat in the kitchen drinking tea, I sat on the stairs listening to her talk to me. I felt sleep so suddenly, and rested my head on the railing. When I woke up, I was in the same spot, but the house was deserted. I looked for Rena everywhere, but I could not find her. Her things were still there, but the furniture had been covered with sheets, and there were boxes beside the front door. I waited for what seemed like hours for Rena to return. And when I did at last hear someone come into my home...it wasn't Rena. The young woman that entered did look very much like Rena when I first met her, but I could see it in her face, that this was not Rena. She moved about quietly, and packed Rena clothes, her belongings, and put them in a big truck. She spoke only once the whole time she went about her work, and had it not been for that one moment, I would never have known who this woman was.
"Aunt Rena." She said softly to a photo she was looking at, "At last you suffer no more, and can rest in peace." She kissed the photo, and packed it in a box. I went to my room, and slept.
I heard the sound of people talking, and came out of my room. There were lots of people there, talking about plan for my house. I listened intently, and invisibly as they conversed. They were planning to tear down the house! I was mortified! Not only would I lose everything I had ever known, but also I was terrified at not knowing what would become of me! I tried everything to stop them. I scared them, touched them and watched their skin break out in goose pimples, I turned off machinery, I did the more in that time span that I had ever done to anyone who had lived there. But the crew would not leave. I was beginning to lose hope, when Rena niece came into the driveway one day, accompanied by a man in a suit that looked like a weasel. In her hand was a packet of papers, and I waited on the stairs as they waited on the front porch for the workmen.
When Rena's niece came into the house with a very flustered man in a hard hat, I got up and stood next to her to listen in on their conversation.
"I have the originals here, Mr. Farley. My Aunt did not sign over possession of this house to you, or any other property developing company."
"This is out of my hands now, I have rightful ownership of this house, and you can't just shove a bunch of papers in my face, and try to stop all of this." Mr. Farley said.
"Quite the contrary! If you proceed, I am going to sue you! So I suggest you look over these papers, and read the fine print before you start digging a deeper hole you'll have to crawl out of later!"
"Gimme that!" Mr. Farley snapped, and yanked the papers away from Rena's niece. He read over the papers, and as he did, he shoulders seemed to droop lower and lower.
"You wanna tell me how you got this place deemed a historical land mark?"
"Happy to! My great-great-great-great- grandparents had a daughter named Elizabeth Morley. She is single handedly responsible for making the James brothers one less."
"What James brothers? You mean Jesse James?" Mr. Farley squinted.
"Yes. There was another brother. Thomas Claude James."
"Never heard of him."
"You wouldn't have. He was only sixteen when Elizabeth Morley stabbed him with a pitchfork for sleeping with another girl." Rena's niece said, "Thomas was the eldest of the James brothers, and he was already hard at work at being nothing more than a low life criminal. He and a few of his friends made a sport of stealing, raping girls, robbing people, and drinking. He had wooed the very young and modest Elizabeth, but all the while he was doing the same to about five other girls. He told people that he was a carpenter apprentice, and though he did work with his father, and Elizabeth's father in the carpentry business, he also led a double life full of crime, and even murder. By the time Thomas James was fourteen, he had already murdered his first victim. A young girl that he strangled when she refused his sexual advances."
" Oh that's a load of malarkey!" Mr. Farley said, throwing the papers back at Rena's niece, "And even if it was true, what gives you a right to this place! This was your Aunt's house."
"Yes, my Aunt Rena. Rena Kay Morley." Rena's niece said, with a single raised eyebrow.
"Who did you say you were again?" Mr. Farley asked, huffing at Rena's niece.
"I'm Beth Morley. Rena's niece."
"Beth Morley, huh."
"You know I'm gonna take this to court." Mr. Farley said with a tense face.
"Be my guest. But today, Mr. Farley, there will be no demolition crew working done to this house." Beth said.
"You'll never get this to stick." He shouted, walking out the door. Beth ignored him. Once he was gone, Beth turned to the man in the suit that had been waiting quietly all this time.
"Thank you, Alan. I know that there has to be more research done, and I understand that you'll have a hard time convincing historians about Thomas James, but Aunt Rena would have been so happy." Beth beamed, looking around the house.
"My wife doesn't remember much about this place, but she did tell me a few stories that could chill your blood. I don't know if this place is really haunted or not, but I got the shock of my life when I started doing research on this old house." Alan said, looking around, "And if you want my personal opinion, I think old Thomas got what he deserved."
"I agree. I can't imagine how your wife must have felt. A little girl, seeing a ghost and all." Beth said.
"Funny thing is, she said she saw her father, Clark, in this house once. Of course he'd been dead a few years then, but, she said he told her not to be afraid of Elizabeth, that she was just angry." Alan chuckled.
"That's amazing." Beth gasped.
"Well, perhaps she'll find piece now. This place is going to be around for as long as it can be preserved now." Alan said, smiling and shaking hands with Beth.
"Perhaps so, Alan. Thank you again for your help."
I watched the two of them leave, and I cried with joy. All this time I had been waiting for my family to come home, so blinded by my anger to see that they already had. I followed them out the door, and didn't realize until I had walked all the way out to the road that I had passed the threshold without reliving my curse. For the first time in centuries, I was allowed to feel the sunlight warm my soul, and the breeze of autumn wash through me. My dress was no longer stained with the sins of my past, and I was able to feel a peace that I had not known for some time. I stayed outside in the air until the sun went down, and then went inside.
I am from here. This is my house. And as my slumber takes on longer periods of time, I know that one day, I will awake to the faces of my family, and I will be at rest.