“Aaaaaaaaah!” Martha shot up from her deep sleep, as usual, to find a shadowy figure at the corner of her bed staring back at her. Martha had grown accustomed to the presence of that figure in her room. She would then open the lights and the figure would completely disappear. She would then shun the thought, considering it to be a nightmare and go off to sleep again but not before glancing at the clock which would always read 3 am in the morning. She would be curious and question the coincidence of always receiving the nightmare at 3 am, the answer to which never really occurred. She tried speaking to her parents regarding the same. Mrs. Rebecca Swift would console her daughter and try to put her to ease. “Honey! Maybe, you are just too knackered of all the work which is causing you to hallucinate. You need to relax, baby!” Mr. Joseph Swift also wouldn’t back in assuring his daughter. “Don’t worry honey! You are just stressed out. All of this is just a fragment of your imagination and won’t last long. I would suggest, you take a break from work if possible.” Martha would then feel better and purge further thoughts regarding the experience.
This went on for two months but the figure remained punctual enough to visit Martha every night! Martha was quite sure by now, that this was neither work pressure nor sleep paralysis as she could move comfortably. However, every time her parents carelessly ignored her perception. “It’s useless talking to Mom and Dad. I guess I need to speak to Vicky aunt.” Vicky aunt or Mrs. Victoria Fernwald was actually Mrs. Swift’s real sister. She was a paranormal expert and more so, she made sure to lend complete attention to her favorite niece. She would visit Mrs. Swift often, and make sure to always hand a neatly wrapped present to Martha. She would enter with a sweet smile plastered on her face. She wore her usual outfit comprising of a long gown, a leather hat, white gloves, and a pearl necklace. Her smile would gradually transform into a huge grin on seeing her favorite niece. She would rush over to Martha and embrace her tightly and then secretly hand her the gift. Martha deeply loved her aunt and felt quite comfortable to confide in her. She was damn sure that her problem would definitely have a solution if Vicky aunt was to resolve it.
She decided to visit Vicky aunt the next day. “Mom, Dad I am planning on visiting the library today. I need to read more and more content for my approaching projects. I’ll be going there at 12 noon. Hope I am permitted.” Lied Martha. “Yes, dear. You may go. But make sure that you return before the sun sets.” Replied Mrs. Swift. Martha provided an approving nod.
Martha kept her beady eyes fixated on the clock as she couldn’t wait to visit her aunt. She desperately needed a solution to her intense problem. “Bye Mom, Dad. See you soon.” Said Martha as she left the house.
Martha’s aunt resided just two blocks away from her home. Mrs. Fernwald had a huge white mansion. Martha would always give the house an appraising glance. She loved the interiors of the house which were way better than hers. The house had an amazing garden with ample tulip, hibiscus, and rose plants. Mrs. Fernwald would give strict instructions to the gardener and warn him of the consequences in case any plant was damaged. However, whenever Martha admired the plants, Mrs. Fernwald would eagerly hand a bouquet with a combination of all the plants to her niece who would feel extremely overjoyed. Martha would then give a tight hug to her aunt while thanking her.
Martha walked through the beautiful garden and reached the main door to the house. She rang the bell. Mrs. Fernwald herself opened the door.
“Blimey! So glad to see you here Martha. Please come in darling! Lucy, please get some snacks for my darling niece.”
Mrs. Fernwald was buoyant and greeted Martha. She asked her to have a seat.
“I am glad you visited me, honey! Is this visit backed by a purpose?” inquired Mrs. Fernwald.
“Yes, aunt. I know it may seem disappointing to you.”
“Why would it disappoint me, sweetheart? Just go on. Tell me your story.”
“Vicky aunt, I am here because of a mysterious experience. It’s hard to say whether it’s a nightmare or reality. I am tensed and don’t know how to get out of this. Mom, Dad keep ignoring me. Then, I thought of you. Please help me!” wept Martha.
Mrs. Fernwald outstretched her arms and embraced Martha dearly. She intelligently deduced it to be a paranormal experience.
“Don’t worry honey! Everything will be fine. Just narrate the events that transpired with you and the duration of their occurrence.”
Martha wiggled her nose and narrated the entire story.
“Hmmmmmm!” exclaimed Mrs. Fernwald lost in her thoughts. “Well, honey! I need you to answer some questions of mine.”
“Okay aunt. Please go ahead.”
“Firstly, since when have you been experiencing this?”
“Since the past two months, that is ever since we entered the new house.”
“Okay, and did you try changing your room any time?”
“Never, aunt. We do not have an extra room out there.”
“Did anybody from your family, happen to meet their demise two months back?”
“No, aunt. Not that I remember.”
“Does the figure stir or just stay still?”
“It remains as still as a statue as if staring at me with pleasure.”
“Hmmmmm! Who lived in that house initially?”
“I guess an old couple lived there. The woman died of some disease and the man sold the house.”
“Where did the woman die?”
“No idea, aunt.”
“Well then, I need to talk to your parents for a further explanation of the story.”
Saying so, Mrs. Fernwald grabbed Martha’s hand softly and brought her home.
“Martha, when did you meet your Vicky aunt? Didn’t you go to the library?” inquired Mrs. Swift with a surprised yet baffled expression.
“Rebecca, I will explain everything to you. She never really went to the library. She came to me to discuss a problem which you ignored.”
Mrs. Fernwald commenced the narration of the entire happenings of the afternoon with highlights.
“Oh, that! That is just a nightmare Victoria. She is just….”
“If she is indeed hallucinating, then why is the same nightmare disturbing her? Why does she see the same shadowy figure at sharp 3 am every morning? Don’t you think it’s quite peculiar?” interrupted Mrs. Fernwald.
Mrs. Swift reflected for quite some time and then invited Mrs. Fernwald into the living room.
“I’ll get you something to eat. What would you like to have?”
“I am not here to enjoy refreshments. I am here to discuss the paranormal occurrences that haunt Martha. I need you to tell me the story of the couple that lived here before you guys arrived.”
“Ah! An old couple inhabited this house. The old woman loved this house beyond belief and never wanted the man to sell it. That’s what she said to the old man on her death bed as well. But maybe, the man found it a burden to tend to the house alone or perhaps he felt short of money which made him sell the house to us. Since then, we have been living here.”
“Okay, do you know where the woman died?”
“Oh yes! Joseph says she died in Martha’s room. That’s what the man told him. However, we don’t believe in ghouls so we never really thought much about it.”
Things had now become clear to Martha as well as Mrs. Fernwald. Martha’s eyes twinkled.
“We have put half of the jigsaw puzzle together. Now for the second half. Why does the woman stare at you with pleasure? And why does she always visit you at 3 am? For answers to these, I will have to speak to that soul.” Said Mrs. Fernwald.
Mrs. Fernwald decided to spend the night in Martha’s room and perform the Ouija setup.
The next morning, she spoke to Martha. “The old woman states that she had a granddaughter who was just your age and thus, she loves seeing you every night. She further explained that she died at 3 am in the morning and her attachment towards the house compels her to visit it every time. Her soul isn’t able to rest in peace because of her intense love for the house.”
“Ohh! Then how can her soul be made to rest in peace?” inquired Martha who was by now curious as well as freaked out.
“I’ll visit the church and speak to the priest. Maybe, he can suggest something.”
Saying so, Mrs. Fernwald patted Martha’s back affectionately and left. She returned after two hours which seemed like forever for Martha.
“What did the priest say?” leaped Martha who popped the question as soon as Vicky aunt entered.
“Well, he has advised to read the bible more often in the room and to put up the cross there.”
Saying so, Vicky aunt handed the cross to Martha.
“Honey! He will be coming here to perform some holy rituals in the evening. Don’t worry! He has promised that the soul would definitely attain liberation after the ritual.”
“Cheers aunt. You are the best.”
“You need not thank me, dear! I am glad I could help you.” Saying so, Vicky aunt gave a bear hug to Martha and kissed her on the cheeks.
In the evening, the doorbell rang. The priest dressed in white with a rosary around his neck and a bible in hand made his way to the haunted room.
“I will be performing an important ritual for which I may have to lock myself in this room. Please make sure that I receive no disturbance whatsoever and if possible please stay away from this room tonight.”
Saying so, the priest bolted the door and started the ritual.
The priest finally appeared in the morning. Mrs. Swift offered him breakfast and thanked him. Before leaving, the priest provided certain instructions.
“I have installed the holy cross right above the bed. The soul though has attained liberation, the cross should not be moved from its place. Make sure that the interiors of the room aren’t meddled with. Also, more and more biblical reading in that room is always welcome. It will help create a sacred and peaceful atmosphere.”
“Thank you very much. We shall definitely abide by these instructions.” Said Mrs. Swift.
“Good for you. God bless.” Saying so, the priest left.
After that holy ritual, Martha never met that old woman again.