Haunting of Catherine Blaque 8
Erin LeFey Copyright 2011
February 14th, 1947
I’ve been waiting for George to show all day. I received roses on the porch this morning, brought them into the house and arranged them on the dining room table; there was no card of course but George always brought me roses on Valentine’s Day. Helena has been here all day preparing dinner for us. She said that tonight is to be a special one and she should be here for me all day today. I haven’t stepped foot in the kitchen but I can hear her in there, banging with dishes, pots, and pans; and the wonderful smells emanating from that direction have been making me hungry.
I took a long hot bath earlier and went through my relaxation exercises that the doctors said I should. It’s been two years since George and I have celebrated a Valentine’s Day together. A special occasion indeed; therefore, I decided to dress for the occasion. I am wearing the pink dress he loved so much.
I have felt him in the house but since the horrible night with the swamp creature, he has visited only in my dreams. I’ve gone out to town in the morning and made sure to arrive back here in the afternoon so that I’m not out past dark. I’ve made arrangements to have my groceries delivered so I barely have to go out at all except to appointments or special occasions which don’t seem to come up as often as they used to. I keep everything that goes on here at the house a secret now; I am sure they would take me from here and put me back in one of those hospitals and I never want to go there again. I don’t know what the state of my mind would be if I should ever be separated from my house.
You see, Melinda, I have a theory. The state of your house and the state of your mind are connected. As long as both are in order, all is well with your world. Outside there are invaders…things you can’t control. Brooding gargoyles hide in the shadows screeching to warn you of impending doom; but if you venture out into that vast unknowable darkness, you are just inviting all the souls of the lost, aching, wanting, evil dead to do you harm. Therefore, I have decided, to keep my mind safe within the sanctuary of my house. And in here resides love, warmth, peace and somehow a channel for my beloved George to come back and visit me. I’ve decided that Miss Helena is connected to her own house and doesn’t really give a damn about me and George – that’s why she’s mostly in the kitchen – but her ghost is a kind and hospitable one always comforting.
The medicine that my doctors gave me only dulled my senses and made me unable to feel anything. In that state, I cannot feel any of the other worldly spirits but I am also unable to connect with anyone else around me. I’d rather live my life with too much feeling than with none at all. That’s why I refused the Electro Shock Treatments at the hospital. I don’t want that blank stare and glazed look; what kind of life would that be?
Well, I must get along now dear. There is an excitement in the air and I know that means George is arriving and something spectacular is about to happen. I don’t have that confused feeling like I did when the shadow man appeared, and since I haven’t been out at night (taking Helena’s advice) it hasn’t been an issue. In fact, I don’t spend any time in the garden or on the lawn anymore at all; I’ve hired a lawn service that doesn’t mind keeping up with the swampy yard. I can’t take any chances.
February 19th, 1947
My Dear Melinda,
George and I had the most wonderful night! I took a nap on the couch before dinner, and he woke me when he came in the door dressed to the nines! Our music was already playing on the phonograph when he pulled me up, took me in his arms and we danced. My heart was racing from the smell of his cologne and the feel of his arm around my waist again.
The room seemed to spin round and round in a dizzying array of soft light until he dipped me at the end of the song saying, “Darling, you are more beautiful than the day I first fell in love with you.” I was practically a puddle on the floor.
There was a soft clapping in the corner and when I was standing again I could see Miss Helena smiling near the dinner table where she had prepared a beautiful romantic dinner for two. It took us hours to eat the delicious meal, with all of our talking like nothing had changed at all. Well, you can guess how the night ended but it was beautiful.
When I woke the next morning, I was upstairs in my bed, dress neatly folded on the chair and I was in my favorite nightgown. I was alone, as usual, but for some reason; I did not feel alone.
I grabbed my robe and slippers and headed out the bedroom door and down the stairs. I could hear right away that the same music was still playing from last night. As I entered the parlor, I noticed it was dark – morning light should have been streaming through these windows by now. I felt like I had slept for hours. I looked at the clock and it read 9:30.
9:30? It couldn’t have been that evening; I had danced and dined with George until what I guessed was at least midnight. And I certainly had not slept for over 24 hours. Maybe something was blocking the light.
I opened the front door, crossed the porch, and it was dark! I went down the first few stairs. That’s when I heard the door slam and my heart sank. Fear took over every other thought in my head. I ran as fast as I could back to the door but just as I thought, I was again – LOCKED OUT!
This time I had a backup plan though. I had a baseball bat hidden behind a bush next to the stairs. I ran down a few stairs again, reached into the bush, brushed away some spider webs and grabbed hold of the handle of that bat. I maneuvered it through the railing, thinking it would have been easier to just go to the yard and grab it but I was staying as close to the house as possible. I turned around to head back towards the door and that’s when I saw him.
“Catherine, you’ve come to see me again,” the Shadow Man from the Swamp said with a menacing tone, “will you walk with me now?”
“Why do you keep asking me to walk? Why don’t you just tell me what you want with me?” I asked him, concealing the bat behind me.
“Catherine, you live in this swamp,” he edged closer, yet I still could not see a face, “but you fail to see its beauty. I want to show you the way the moon reflects off the water that floods this place, how the trees cling to life among their fallen comrades. I want to introduce you to the creatures that bring life to these muddy grasses and serenade you as you walk among them like a white lily surrounded by black roses.”
I took two steps up to the porch. He did not expect this and stopped looking surprised. I gathered my courage and my softest calmest voice to say firmly, “I’m not dressed for walking in a swamp. I need to change my clothes.” I was counting on his bad attempt wooing me revealing his level of intelligence.
The time then seemed to hang between us while he considered this.
“Time is nothing to me. I will wait for you here.” He just stood there as I slid past, bat behind me, in through the unlocked door to the safety of the house.
I locked the door behind me. How stupid of me to go outside. It seems these creatures can bend time. I laid the bat on the floor next to the door and went back upstairs.
I’ve been chastising myself ever since that day for being so stupid for venturing outside. What that Shadow Man in the swamp wants is my life. I believe they feed on life from the living because they live in their world of dying things. Everything out there at night feels so dangerous. Threats are lurking in every shadow; I could feel the happiness draining from me.
Well, Melinda, I don’t know what happened that day or night, why I lost time, or how I ended up out there really. I do know that I have to pay better attention to my actions if I am to survive here alone and not count on George and Helena to be here to rescue me every time.