Friday, December 3, 2021

A Christmas Ghost Story - If you call I will come.

 

 

 

 


 If you call I will come  

“Ladies and Gentlemen, please take your seats in the library for the traditional telling of the Christmas Eve Ghost story.”

The steward led the way through the corridor. The six guest, drinks in hand, followed on behind. There was Dorrie and Lesley, both early twenties, one fair the other dark—a frizz of excitement hung in the air between them as they clutched their drinks and scurried behind. Following them were Geoff and Jan, a couple in their mid forties. Then came Roger, a young man with a shock of red hair and a good deal of skepticism about ghosts. He sipped on his whiskey as he ambled along. Next to him was Miss Dapple, an elderly lady, sliver hair piled high on her head and a glass of sherry held tightly between her fingers.
“I do love a good ghost story don’t you?” said Miss Dapple.
“Roger smiled and said, “Hmm.”
 
The Manor dated back to the 1800’s; it had seen many parties in its early years. Now it housed just half dozen guests for the Christmas weekend experience. The guests piled into the library where a roaring fire burned in the grate and the lights were set very low. In a leather winged chair by the fireside, sat an old man dressed in a velvet smoking jacket and cap. His gnarled hands held a pipe to his lips, on which he puffed away rhythmically.

The guest, seated in comfortable chairs, sipped their drinks while they waited for him to speak. He lowered his pipe, and just for a moment looked at them, then he began.
“This is true story that dates back to 1860′s when this house was alive with people and music on Christmas Eve. It’s about two young people, Anton and Louise. Imagine the ballroom full of happy laughter…”

—oOo—

“Louise come dance with me.”
Anton held out a hand. She smiled as she allowed him to lead her around the floor to the strains of a waltz. He loved her; tonight he would ask her to marry him. Her father had approved and he knew she would say yes. He looked into her blue eyes and his heart filled with desire.

The music stopped and Louise flicked open her fan and fluttered is back and forth.
“Would you like some punch?” he asked.
“Thank you. I’ll wait out on the balcony, in the cool air.” She picked up her skirts and walked towards the open doors.

Anton returned carrying two glasses. The balcony was crowded, everyone was feeling the heat of the ballroom. He pushed his way past to where Louise stood facing out over the stone edge.
“Louise here’s your drink,” he said stretching an arm out towards her. But just as she turned to take it, a great oaf of a man crashed into the back of Anton, forcing him forwards against Louise; the impact sending her flying over the edge to tumble to the ground. Her crumpled body lay on the cold earth….

—oOo—

“Oh my goodness,” said Miss Dapple. “How sad.”
“I thought this was a ghost story.” Roger took a  swig of his whisky.
“It is,” replied the narrator. “Anton was so grief—ravaged that he took his own life later that night in the corridor outside this library, by slitting his throat with a knife. Every Christmas Eve strange noises have been heard around The Manor. Some say it’s Anton looking for Louise. His voice whispering through the air, asking her to call him.”
“Will we hear it?” asked Jan.

At that moment the lights flickered and the temperature dropped. Dorrie and Lesley gasped and clutched each others arms.
“It’s a trick,” said Roger taking another swig of his whisky.
“Is it?” replied the narrator. “They say Anton will keep searching this house until he finds her.”

A rapping on the window made them all jump.
“It’s getting colder,” whispered Dorrie. She shivered and rubbed her arms.
“Something touched me!” Lesley jumped up and looked around.
“Don’t be daft,” said Roger.  “There’s no such thing as ghosts. Can I get another whisky?” He held up his empty glass.
“Help yourself. The drinks are over there.” The narrator nodded in the direction of the back wall.

Roger walked towards the drinks table. Just as he reached it, the glasses started to shake, chink chink. The other’s turned around, mouths agape.
“Okay how are you doing that?” said Roger.
“I’m not,” said the narrator.
Roger grabbed the whisky bottle, poured himself a shot and came back and sat down. “Don’t be fooled by all of this.” He looked at the other guests. “It’s just an illusion.”

“Anton walks the corridors on this night searching for his lost love and they say if he finally finds her, he will be at peace.” The narrator took a long slow puff of his pipe, then leaned out across to his audience. “Be warned though, do not utter his name. Under no circumstance call to him or he will come and it is said if you are not his love, his anger is terrifying. Now drink up and Merry Christmas to one and all.” The narrator slipped back into his chair and continued smoking his pipe.

The group stood, wished him the same back and left the library. Miss Dapple, Geoff and Jan, headed off in one direction towards their rooms and Dorrie, Lesley and Roger in another.

The corridors were dimly lit and the grandfather clock that stood in the entrance could be heard striking midnight.
“What a load of rubbish that was,” said Roger.
“I think it was fun,” said Dorrie.
“Something strange happened,” said Lesley, “I felt something touch me.”
“That was your imagination,” replied Roger. “All this nonsense about not calling his name. What a load of…”
“You do it then,” said Lesley jumping in before he finished his sentence. She nudged Dorrie and the two girls giggled.
“I’m not afraid to. It’s a load of old poppy cock.”
“Go on then.” Dorrie laughed.
“All right, I will. Then you’ll see how stupid it is—Anton, Anton, Anton.”
The three stood still and waited, but nothing happened.
“There see, I told you.” Roger grinned at both the girls.

They started to walk on and as they turned the corner an icy blast hit them and a murmuring drifted through the air.
Who’s calling me? Is that you Louise, I’m coming, coming….
“Did you hear that?” whispered Lesley as she moved closer to Dorrie. Her breath as she spoke, came as a smoky cloud drifting in the atmosphere.
“It has to be a trick.” Roger’s face had now drained of its colour.

Their breath became thicker;  the air around them began to feel freezing. The three stood and stared as something hazy started to form further down the corridor. The apparition moved towards them, picking up more form the closer it got, until before them stood a young man dressed in evening tails. His eyes searched them as he reached out and ran a cold hand down the side of Lesley’s hair.
“You’re not her.” His eyes hardened and with a flick of his wrist he sent her tumbling to the ground.
Dorrie stood shaking, too frightened to move.
“Is that you Louise?”  He glanced over her, a finger stroked her straw coloured hair. Then he noticed Roger. “It’s you, you who pushed me, I remember that red hair.”
“Nnnoo, you’re mistaken,” stuttered Roger.
Anton’s face changed; wild eyes, gaping mouth, teeth capable of ripping out your soul. Roger screamed and crouched to the ground.
“Don’t,” yelled Dorrie reaching out a hand.
Anton turned to face her. Louise it is you?

Dorrie stared into his eyes and she could feel and see his pain. His breath moved the strands of her hair like a gentle breeze. “I’m not her,” she breathed; her breath a billowing cloud.
Anton looked more deeply into her face, then turned and floated off down the corridor, his voice lingering in the air—Louise where are you?, I’m coming my love….

Roger stood up, there was a wet streak running down his leg. Dorrie helped Lesley to her feet, then looking at Roger said,
“Still don’t believe in ghosts then?”

2 comments:

  1. Oh hey, you’re back! I guess Roger had to learn the hard way, huh?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Larry, so good to hear from you, hope you are well.

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