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Haunting of Catherine Blaque 7
Erin LeFey Copyright 2011
October 31, 1946
It’s been raining a lot these days and the leaves are falling from the trees making the outside a muddy, soggy mess. Autumn in the swamp is not so pretty and I am not looking forward to winter. The bareness of the landscape, the fog that creeps through the trees, and the smell of old rotting plants will fill the air making the outside seem like the haunted backdrop for a Hollywood film.
I know I’m sounding melancholy. It’s October 31st, and I’m reminded of the Halloweens before this one that George and I would celebrate together. We’d always dress up in some masquerade costume (fashionable of course) and make our rounds to all of the Halloween parties we’d been invited to. We’d stop in a few of the clubs along the way where we’d had some friends and make an appearance too. This was always the start of our holiday season, and we loved spending all of our holidays like this.
You see, George and I were unable to have children, therefore; we lived a lifestyle of parties and adventure. We traveled, had lots of friends, and always had somewhere to go. Don’t get me wrong; we loved each other’s company and loved being home together just as much. Our house was beautiful and, I think I mentioned before, in the same district as the rest of our friends. One thing we never did though was babysit! It seemed everyone wanted to always go wherever we were going.
Well, I miss that so much. No one could possibly blame me. But I know I had the life most only dream of and I was lucky to have had it for as long as I did. I just don’t want to celebrate the holidays anymore without him; in fact, I wish this whole winter time would disappear. Perhaps I should have just moved to Florida where I didn’t know anyone and hole up in a beach cottage. It certainly would have been nicer than buying this swamp house. What possessed me to do this?
I'll be right back, Melinda, someone is rather insistent on the doorbell. Probably one of the neighbor's children trick or treating.
I went to the door Halloween night, and no one was there. I stepped out on the porch and the door slammed shut behind me. At first I thought it was just the wind so I just went back to open it, but it was jammed or frozen solid – so cold to the touch. I felt that sick feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach and turned around. The night was so dark and the fog swirled off the ground making it difficult to tell what was going on in the yard.
I sat on the porch swing to contemplate my next move. There was an axe on the lawn in a tree stump, I could simply break through one of the windows to get back in the house. But was the dark entity in the house or out here with me?
That’s when I saw the shadow out of the corner of my eye. He was creeping from tree to tree, moving closer to the house. Before I know it, he was sitting next to me on the porch swing. I was feeling like I was going to faint, but I held it together, taking a deep breath and trying to figure out what to do. I felt like lead. And the stench coming from him was putrid, like standing swamp water full of dead things.
He looked at me slowly and said, “Dangerous night to be out in the swamp Catherine.” It KNOWS my name, I thought.
I tried to sound strong and unafraid when answering, “I-I-I got l-locked out.” Damn, didn’t work, I was shaking all over; I wanted to run, but where? I’m sure he could catch me with those long legs. I shot him a slightly better look and he was a shadow but oozing with marsh grasses and gasses. He seemed to be the consistency of mud, dark mud in the form of a large man. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I could hear the water falling from him.
“Catherine, let’s take a walk. I want to show you something.” The creature tried to touch me but I jumped up and started backing my way toward the door.
“I’m not properly dressed for a w-w-walk” was all I could say feeling for the door handle
“Catherine, I want to show you the swamp. Come walk with me.” He was moving toward me now at a rather fast pace and I turned to open the door, still locked. So I just continued on around the porch that wrapped around the house, thinking if I stayed as close to the house as possible it would be harder for him to take me from it. I needed time to think, only I couldn’t think, just run.
For some reason he couldn’t run as fast as me, so I kept going as I heard him call behind me, “Catherine! But I have to show you something, you will love my surprise!”
I just kept running until I reached the back of the house. When I looked in front of me, there he was waiting on the back stairs, holding some ugly rotten swamp grasses. “Catherine, I know women like to be wooed, I brought you flowers.” I screamed then.
Suddenly the back door opened, A woman appeared bearing a shotgun and blew off his head. Then, she grabbed me by the waist and pulled me inside. Where she promptly admonished me, “Catherine, NEVER EVER answer the doorbell of this house after midnight! What were you thinking!?” My heart was still racing and I tried to slow my breathing down.
The woman was in a long gray dress just past her knees with a white apron and wore her hair in a bun on the back of her head. My ears were ringing and she was now facing away from me still talking. “There are dangers, Dear, outside of this house…I’m making us some tea, with lemon. And you really should be more careful. George and I can’t keep you safe all of the time. We’ve got other work, Dear.”
She turned around then and I captured her face in my mind. “Cat got your tongue, Dear?” she smiled, “you don’t need sniffing salts, do you? You look white as a ghost.”
She placed the tea in front of me, and I looked down at the steam rising from it. When I lifted my head again, she was gone. I hadn’t heard her step out, she simply vanished. She didn’t move past me, unless somehow I had fallen out of time and had lost consciousness for a moment. I looked back at the tea and could still see the steam rising from it. There was another cup on the table, filled to the brim and piping hot. So I figured I had just not seen her slip out. I sipped at the hot tea, but my hands were shaking so badly. I decided to take a few deep breaths to calm my nerves and just wait for her to return.
Only then, as I was calming myself down, did it dawn on me that there was another woman in my house! I had been so glad for her rescue and comfort that I did not even question her presence. The feeling that crept across my heart was one of gratitude and familiarity; I was sure it was the ghost of Helena. I must have thought about her for about two minutes before I was startled again by the door swinging open suddenly and violently!
I swung around to see George running toward me! He was on one knee at my chair looking up at me saying, “Darling! I heard you had a close call tonight!”
Now I was sure George was dead but at this point I wasn’t too sure that this wasn’t all a dream, I’d had dreams like this before; all too lucid for my taste but I had George back so I wasn’t too anxious for it to end. I’d endure the worst nightmare to have George rescue me in the end.
“George, tell me, am I dreaming?” I asked him.
“No, darling,” he answered slowly, “but you are in danger if you stay here. You have to leave this house.”
“Can you come with me?” I practically begged him.
“No, I only came to help you.” He looked at me with sad eyes, “Catherine, you have to move on darling, this house is sinking and will take you with it.”
I could feel the room spinning then and me along with it; forcing my eyes to close and my body go limp. “This house is sinking and me with it” kept running through my head as I spiraled down this long tube for I don’t know how long.
I awoke the next morning in bed to a gray morning sun in the swamp.
I processed this all yesterday, that’s why I didn’t write until this morning. I believe I must have fallen into a deep sleep on Halloween night while I was writing you, no doubt induced by these heavy drugs prescribed to me by the doctors. I believe this lucid dreaming may be a side effect.
Yesterday I searched the house and grounds for any clues that might have told me the events from the night before had been real. There was no sign of any Swamp/Fog creature dead or alive, all the doors were locked from the inside; I found a picture of Helena and she looked nothing like the ghost in my dreams (although I do say the picture was of Helena maybe 60 years younger than when she was reported to have died); and no signs of anyone having tea late that night. I am only left to conclude it was a dream. I am trying to be logical no matter how frightful these delusions as I do not wish to end up in the hospital again – and I will not mention any of it to my doctors.