The Rosewood' House
The Rosewood' House
The doorbell rang at quarter past ten – night time!
Mr. Jonathan Bleecker was afflicted by some strange communicable disease that was rotting his left arm, gradually to an alarming rate. It made him retire from his naval post in the sea trade. He was singly brought up by his father, too engrossed in the same business. His entire childhood had been pretty much the waves, the shores, the gulls, and the crewmen. When his father died, while watching the radar, of heart stoke, Jonathan was shouldered the responsibility. But the sudden outburst of this strange malady made him stay put away from the sea. Benevolently, he has pensioned a home in Sutherland, Scotland. It had been only two weeks since his arrival.
Mr. Bleecker opened the door. None was there! But a parcel!
He picked it up; swept his eyes in the neighborhood; none was there; night had enrobed the locality. He read the delivery note pasted onto it and was shocked to find that it was addressed to “The Rosewood’s House”! The Rosewood’s House was the one facing Mr. Bleecker’s abode. The house has had its own intriguing charms. Mr. Bleecker himself has noticed that none walks, speaks, or peeps out of the house. For the two weeks, he has spent, he saw a middle-aged man coming twice a day, once in the morning and then in the evening. No life seems to fervor in the house. It had outwardly rotten. Not a single bulb or candle had flickered, not even in the night. Others told Mr. Bleecker that Mrs. Rosewood; near to hundred and two, old hag, lives alone in the house. The house had folds of mystery and having no light gleaming ever since the past fifty-five years took Mr. Bleecker aback. Donald visits her twice every day to provide her with medicines and minimal meals for strength to barely live. She has familial ties all across the globe now, but none in Sutherland.
Being a caring curious man, Mr. Bleecker just yesterday, watched Donald enter the house, whilst he sipped his morning tea out in the garden area topping it with a good reading of the daily. Waiting for around thirty minutes, Mr. Bleecker saw Donald stepping out of the threshold. Mr. Bleecker dashed his way towards him before he could leave the porch to get back on his bike and leave and confronted him.
“Hey, Donald!” Mr. Bleecker panted, “I’m new here; Jonathan Bleecker, just got to know about Mrs. Rosewood, poor lady- Well! How is she doing?”
“Oh! Well, she is not better than she was yesterday!”
“You mean, she is worsening!” Mr. Bleecker had an air of question blended with fear.
“No! Not worsening as in continuous tense but just that she is worse today than yesterday or she had been any day—Well I think that this phenomenon is going on with her lately to every- day…….Oh! Dear Lord, She is worsening!”
Donald owing to his age did figure it out quickly. He had been doing this for the past twenty-two years; looking after the old lady must have consumed his mind and alertness, or was he? Mr. Bleecker was surely taken aback and his perplexed face was expressing it all the more lucidly. Donald had almost swirled to head back when Mr. Bleecker called him out “Umm…Will my visit be cheerful for her, will she like talking to a lonely stranger?”
“Once I asked about cleaning the house, lighting the abode, opening that closed room……..she does growl at me very often……Rest is your call!” Donald almost whispered doom struck!
The story and the house itself had an eeriness. Now this parcel! Who could have sent it? None but Donald visits her. He had completed his night shift. Was it important for Mrs. Rosewood? There might be some crucial medicines? Her health must be worsening…….
Thinking of all this, Mr. Bleecker grabbed the parcel and headed towards The Rosewood House. The blank black boulevard in the moon night was swallowing tranquillity. Rosewood’s next-door family, The Millers, the home was dimly lit. A faint gleam peeped from the attic and the living room seemed active, thanks to the musical whispers of Sunday telecast of The Jimmy Fallon Show. Surely, the parents were down and the two ‘poltergeist’ sons were up to no good at the attic. Just after Donald’s departure yesterday, Mr. Samuel Miller had run into Mr. Bleecker. Miller and Bleecker had become closer friends. Being the next-door family, a lot of information about Mrs. Rosewood came to Mr. Bleecker via Mr. Miller. But this time, Mr. Bleecker told Mr. Miller regarding the worsening condition of Mrs. Rosewood.
“Blimey!” Mr. Miller said in a grief-stricken tone, “I hope she has the strength to bear with what is going on with her. Once Donald told me how she was craving for euthanasia!” Mr. Bleecker flinched for a moment, “Yes! Her loneliness drives her crazy!”
“Well……I asked Donald to visit her, sit next to her, talk to her……..But he wasn’t so sure.”
“Honestly, I did once knocked at her door…….” Mr. Miller said in a trance, “It ended up with her throwing a slipper at my face and shrieking ‘D’you wanna die too’!”
Mr. Miller grinned at remembering the scene. It was a bright morning after the Hallowe'en and the men chatted radiantly.
Mr. Bleecker had made up his mind, he couldn’t think of the consequences right now. The house door was open and Mr. Bleecker saw the weathered house from within. Doors are swollen with molds, dusty floor wood; dust seemed to have settled in the house like layers of slate. Plaster fell from walls in shovelfuls and old furniture smelled typical of rotting aged wood. No doorbell or any kind of lock. The house was still dark. No bulb; no candle. Just the door and the window allowed moonshine to radiate a clear pathway. There had been footsteps; Mr. Bleecker followed. But after pacing a bit of floor, the leading prints were engulfed into darkness. His heart was beating with unprecedented speed, the house loomed up haunted or so. The first room he encountered, Mr. Bleecker tried to penetrate it. Unlocked, yet it was jammed by ages it seemed. He was determined that Mrs. Rosewood won’t be in it; it was stuck. He even took a step past it, but a subtle curiosity to explore the house swept past his mind. His left arm was useless; he used his right profile and gave two tight jolts to let it open in the third attempt.
The door creaked open, hissing like a mad snake, to let a man as lean as Mr. Bleecker gain entry. The room appeared to be that of a kid, equipped with toys and Russian Dolls; rummaged and untaken care of. Dusty, pungent-smelling beddings were there. The door behind him flung open wide.
A young lass nearly of twenty-two in a white satin nightgown, clinging an old gramophone disk close to her chest. She was looking vaguely through Mr. Bleecker with dreamy blue eyes like beads of turquoise and made her way towards him.
“You are?”, she questioned, rather hissed in a spooky tone.
“Oh! I’m Jonathan Bleecker”, he said, regaining his breath after a long pause in which he admired the girl’s beauty, “your new neighbor.”
Mr. Bleecker gained awareness of carrying a parcel when she pointed questioningly at it.
“It’s because of this that I came here.”
“There must be a wreath in it, as my aunt, Mrs. Rosewood, died.”
Mr. Bleecker was aghast. Poor lady, though a proud centenarian, she longed for mercy killing of her….
“So sorry to hear about it…… Well never heard of you?”, Mr. Bleecker questioned a blank face of the girl.
“I am Evangeline, fondly Eva”, the girl hissed again, “Actually, I’m suffering from this contagious malady........ I’m locked up in my room. It is only at these hours that I roam around, having fun!” Eva’s lips curled interestingly.
With his left arm rotting, he felt her pain. He did see her arms skin was chafed and crimson peels were dangling from the wounds. Her feet too had scratches and red pus-filled wounds. Her condition was way more pathetic than Mr. Bleecker. He sighed and gasped in horror on seeing the lacerations. He shared his bitter part of the story. She told him the harshness she is going through. There was comprehension of agony and sympathy. A healthy lively conversation began.
“I had pretty much been just on the sea expeditions. The crewmen, the ships, the gulls are basically my childhood memories. There haven’t been much of other people that I’ve interacted with, especially with ladies, so…….forgive me if I ever step across a line.” Mr. Bleecker couldn’t help himself being fond of her company.
“No, it is good, at such a point of time, to have a person to talk to, who can help you undo the loss by making you forget about the loss.”, she continued to whisper, “Knowing that you too are troubled by the world because of something that one has no control on, does make me comfortable around you. I know what loneliness means.”
Those last words by Eva were almost ended in a sob. Mr. Bleecker told her how loneliness can no longer affect him for he has been for days on the ship, visiting and staying on lonely sea cliffs and how dejection had cured that vacant spot in his heart. Eva was found aroused at the prospect of lonely sea cliffs and desolation. Mr. Bleecker could resonate. Bloodspots! He saw blood stains and a few pungent-smelling yellow urine patches on the bedsheet. Mr. Bleecker instantly jumped off the bed, but knowing that Eva is locked in the room all day long and that Eva was a girl nearly four years younger to him, made him feel nervously uncomfortable. His heart rate was utterly high, he didn’t know how to react after that. He regretfully looked at her. White pearly teardrops had welded in her strikingly blue eyes. A little emotion of shame was dripping from them. No matter what illness had consumed her, nonetheless, none could steal the brilliance and charm of her face. Mr. Bleecker had lost himself!
“I’m really sorry-”
“You really shouldn’t be! You helped me, you’re there for me in this difficult time and I will always be grateful to you for that.”
She told him that old school jazz, the gramophone disk she was carrying, was her favorite. One of the things that she loves and will never part from.
Mr. Bleecker was showed the gramophone which he had previously seen on the mantelpiece. He smiled innocently and turned back to Eva.
“Hey, why don’t you come and hand over the wreath to her?”
But Mr. Bleecker wasn’t looking at Eva….. he had fixed his gaze on a showcase full of bright beautiful dolls. “How come? This- how is this doll here? Is there a girl-child around too......... who owns it?”
The showcase in the upper right corner had an utter gorgeous porcelain doll in a white gown. Mr. Bleecker was almost stunned; horrified! The doll was like hypnotizing him! The rack was full of many striking dolls and figurines, but that one was a level up. Dry-mouthed and petrified!
“Annabelle?”, Eva hissed, and lifted the doll in her hands and moved closer to Jonathan, “She’s my confidante- my only friend! You can play with it.”
Eva was pushing the doll in Mr. Bleecker’s hands, clutched near his heart- he trembled, feared; Annabelle blew a gush of smoke in his eyes.....
A day before yesterday, the Hallowe’en, the kids in the locality…..
Mr. Bleecker opens his doors….. “Trick or Treat”
“Boys? This ain’t America!”
The upset Miller “poltergeist” boys, in queer scary outfits and make-ups, turned saying, under their breaths, “But we are!”
Mr. Bleecker felt for them and called them out, “Oi!”
The boys turned with a desperate look and were elated to find four big bars of chocolates in Mr. Bleecker’s palms. Mr. Bleecker tossed his eyebrows questioningly and smiled his heart out. The boys rushed towards him and almost snatched the bars. They left the house after giving Mr. Bleecker a tight warm hug.
Mr. Bleecker, a shy man, felt unusual and closing the door, scratched his earlobes smiling. He was binging on a thriller movie at night and resumed it. The film was building up to the climax….. Peculiar music at its peak…… TRINGGGGG
The doorbell once again rang.
Mr. Bleecker got frightened, skipped a heartbeat. He didn’t have more chocolates or candies. Nonetheless, he got up and went to the door. A little girl, utter pretty, was by the door. Her eyes were wanting something but her lips didn’t utter anything.
“Well, sorry girl; no more sweets!”, Mr. Bleecker was heartbroken at her expressions. He melted….. He asked her to stay put and that he’ll be right back. Mr. Bleecker rushed to his refrigerator, rummaged around but couldn’t find a single candy…… he saw a half-consumed vanilla cake….. he took it out and went to the door.
To his horror, the little girl had left. Mr. Bleecker peeped out in the streets…… none!
He returned to his television “The End”
The movie had ended and to Mr. Bleecker’s surprise, a gorgeous white gown wearing a porcelain doll was placed on the dinner table!
Mr. Bleecker reached towards it; tries to pick it up when the doll pounces upon him. Cutlery on the table, all crack into pieces....... T.V. bursts into smoke. Annabelle turns a horror-face and spits blood-red gel on his eyes.........
Mr. Bleecker opens his eyes; Eva splashes water on him. Mr. Bleecker quivers...... an unease. He senses something paranormal or was it?
“Annabelle, you call it…. But a girl left it at my place…..”, Mr. Bleecker stammered with utter pause and panting with fear.
“I only let my friends play with it…… and you know I don’t have one. Yours might be a bit different or some copy…..”
Mr. Bleecker has his mouth parched; his brain cannot question, cannot rationalize…. Exactly the same! He proposes to leave for he felt uncomfortable in the house. That doll, felt to him, anything but holy!
“If you want to leave…….. I won’t force you. If you cannot trust me….”, Eva turned and whispered, about to leave…..
Mr. Bleecker assures her of his loyalty….. he finally comes down to accepting that it is difficult to time for Eva and that he should be supporting her.
Eva tells Mr. Bleecker that she is going towards her Aunt’s room and asks him to accompany her. He agrees. On the dingy way, Mr. Bleecker asked, “Why don’t you light up the place?”
“I am locked up; don’t like the glare. I crush all the bulbs with the pliers. For a long time the place is dingy and DARK.”
Eva emphasized the word dark and Mr. Bleecker was hit by a cobweb on the forehead simultaneously.
They entered the dark but vaguely candle-lit room; Mrs. Rosewood’s corpse lay ahead; still. Dusty though, better than that of Eva’s bed. He mopped the cobweb and in the instant, the dead lady seemed to quiver! A rat?? He removed the sheets to check, he felt warmth…… A rough cough!
Mr. Bleecker was frozen! Doomed!
He took nine steps back; turned about; Eva had left the room. He called her out, no responses. Mrs. Rosewood had awakened and shouted at Donald for being so early. Mr. Bleecker prayed like never before; beads of cold sweat on the forehead. He searched for the wreath; it was gone too. Only the Gramophone disk was kept on the quilt and Annabelle sitting near the door. He once again shrieked out for Eva….
“Calling a ghost? She killed herself fifty-five years ago!”, said pale looking, horrified Mrs. Rosewood.
Mr. Bleecker rushed back...... but!
His door had – “Annabelle will play with you!”- written with white chalk.......... While Annabelle sits beside the door!