Why Must You Follow Me (The Haunted Story of My Life)© is an online chapter by chapter publication of Felina Silver Robinson (Copyright 2016)
Chapter 1 – The House of Stirring Spirits©
In a quiet little neighborhood on a quiet little street sat a tall white house with gold trim. It didn’t look much different from any other house on the street except it was the only house that had no place to park the car of its occupants. During the day, each room in the house is lit by the day’s sunlight. When the night falls, the moon and the stars blocked by the sun because of overwhelmingly large elm, and maple trees perfectly placed all about the street. This makes for a very dark street, making a home for those lurking about. It’s the perfect environment for those who enjoy taunting unsuspecting victims.
The wind always seems to be whispering even when the wind isn’t actually blowing. The street lights flicker for no clear reason and play a game of on and off again and again. Thankfully, most of those who live there don’t need light to know where they’re going.
This street has always been home to hard-working family minded people and Helen is no exception. One very hot afternoon Helen was returning home from work having first stopped at the grocery store. The walk home from the store was close to unbearable with the sun bearing down so hard. Helen was anxious to get home.
Finally reaching her house, Helen was happy to reach the stairs to her house. She had no choice but to step on every squeaking step until she finally lands at the top landing of the porch. Somehow the landing always feels as though it wants to buckle and swallow up each passerby. Helen is once again safely in her outer hallway ready to enter her apartment, which may be a disappointment for the powers that be.
Upon entry, the front hallway is a very light, but bright shade of pastel green. Despite all attempts to brighten the hallways it continues to hold onto darkness and the air remains cold despite the scorching outdoor heat. Even with the brightest of lights the hall remains dim.
Helen places her key in the keyhole but something seems to be forcing the key out of the keyhole from the inside. She rightfully dismayed and wonders who could be pushing the key out since she knows there is no one home. Helen set her second bag down and gripped the door knob firmly with her left hand and then firmly reinserted the key with her right hand. The key just won’t budge. All of a sudden, the key is on the floor at her feet and it wasn’t her fault. What could have happened? Beads of perspiration slowly roll down her cheeks just past her ears. Helen sighed and leaned up against the wall wanting to give up, but in this heat she knew that her Haagen-Dazs rum raisin wouldn’t last; neither would her milk and other goodies. Helen blotted her sweat with her hand knitted handkerchief than reluctantly walked back over to the door, and bent down to retrieve her keys.
Suddenly it feels cold even though it has to be at least 92° outside. Before she could even try to return the key to the keyhole, the door slowly creeks open. She’s dazed and confused and stood dumbfounded by what has occurred. Helen was seemingly afraid to enter her own apartment. She tells herself that the heat and exhaustion are just getting to her. Helen slowly enters the apartment. Only the hall light softly illuminates her way to the kitchen. The house feels strangely cool just as the hallway did. Helen has the strangest feeling that although she knows she’s alone, she knew she really wasn’t alone. Helen could have sworn she saw a shadowy figure ahead of her. She realized now that just 3 feet ahead of her was a gleaming shadow of a woman in a long red gown that was facing her at the threshold of the kitchen door. She waves for Helen to follow her into the kitchen. Helen slowly crosses over the threshold behind her. The room is still a little cool but not as cold as the hallway and the front hall. She looked around the kitchen and didn’t notice anything different in the room other than the woman in the red dress. The woman in red just stood in the middle of the room with her dress waving while she was seemingly bouncing in the air at least a foot off the floor. After a few minutes she just vanished. Five more minutes passed and the room seemed to warm up and Helen was again perspiring.
Helen put away all the things that she had purchased, washed her hands, got something to drink and turned on the lamp that sat atop of the TV set. Helen pulled out the chair seated at the head of the table and just collapsed from fatigue and maybe just a little bit of fear and a lot of confusion. She wondered where everyone was and why she was still alone in the house.
Chapter 2 – Former occupants©
Today was such a draining day. From the start everything seemed to go wrong. Helen wondered if it being Halloween played any role in the days occurrences. She had left for work rather early today hoping to get a head start on her day. The Green Line However, decided it wasn’t going to cooperate with her. The train slowly pulled into Copley station. The lights on the platform flickered on and off continuously as if someone was playing with the lights. The conductor asked for our patience while he tried to figure out what was happening. Suddenly, the lights inside the train shut off and the train sounded as if a wind tunnel had just opened up. For the next three minutes straight, all you heard was screaming. There was so much chaos. It sounded as though people being trampled on by a heard of elephants. Then suddenly the lights came back on as if nothing had happened. Everyone and everything just went deathly silent. The lights on the platform were also back on. Everyone was busily trying to pull themselves together and collect their belongings. Helen decided that she had enough and walked the rest of the way to work.
Unfortunately, her day didn’t get any better. Helen was wearing a brand new navy blue pin striped skirt suit with a baby blue button down shirt. Everyone complimented her as she walked into the office. Helen walked into the copy room to pick up her copies the report for her 10 am meeting. There was a temp doing a large copy job. She was struggling to open the cap on her bottle of white out. You could hear strange growling noises coming from her direction. Suddenly Helen heard a loud popping noise. Then for no apparent reason the top from the white out flew across the room, but stranger than that, somehow the bottle of white out was suddenly flying in Helen’s direction. She quickly tried to move out-of-the-way, but she was so tired from having to walk the rest of the way to work, that she just wasn’t fast enough. Her new suit now sported a large white out puddle the middle of her skirt. There was no way to hide it. Thank goodness Helen usually kept a spare suit in her bosses office, and would be able to change in time for her meeting. The temp was never more sorry about anything in her life. Sorry didn’t really help replace Helen’s new skirt. But being the forgiving person that she is, Helen smiled and said “Don’t worry about it. Just try to be more careful next time.”
By lunch time, Helen couldn’t wait to get out of the office for a while. Helen and her friend Lucy walked to Faneuil Hall in Government center. It was their ritual to get a baked potato with broccoli, mushroom and melted cheddar cheese. It had to be the best in town. The owner, Susie, would always greet the women with a smile. Today Susie was training a new counter girl. Her name was Betty. Helen would have really liked her had she not dumped her baked potato, toppings and all, onto Helen’s blouse after tripping on the floor mat. Helen had never been so unfortunate as to suffer a single day of bad luck in her life, but she seemed to be making up for it now. So by lunch time, Helen had gone through two outfits with nothing left to change into back at the office. Helen was left with no choice but to spend the rest of her lunch hour going shopping for something to wear for the rest of the day. Thank goodness for Macy’s and Filene’s. Helen picked a baby blue tweed skirt suit. It was beautiful. The blue was a soft shade. It was so serene. So she returned to the office in the suit. Helen’s other friend Jennifer said, “weren’t you wearing something different when you left for lunch?” Helen told her it was a long story and didn’t really have time to talk about it now.
So Helen was able to finish the day with no further events. Her ride home was uneventful. It was only when she was nearing her house that she noticed that something just didn’t feel right. As soon as she stepped off the #60 bus, a strange feeling came over her. She felt as though someone was watching her, but not just by one person, but two. It turns out that she was right. Helen turned onto her street and immediately noticed two boys that looked to be about 9 or 10 years of age. They were sitting on the stairs to her house. She asked herself who they could be since there were no kids that young living in the house besides her own children. Where did they come from? What could they possibly want from Helen? With each step Helen took, the boy’s stares made her feel like they were trying to burn holes through her. Helen looked more closely at the boys and noticed that they were both wearing navy blue knickerbockers with cuffs, with a large button to fasten them at the knees. They had navy blue suspenders and wore white round collar shirts. They also sported navy blue beret’s. Helen was almost within two feet of them. she noticed they were crying. They also had the same red marks on their necks as if someone had tried to choke them. The dark scars under their eyes were just as painful to look at. It seemed as though someone had called their name, because their heads darted half way around then within an instant they had both disappeared as if she had never seen them.
Helen wondered if upon entering her front door she would find them there waiting for her. She slowly opened the door to the entry way half expecting it to be swung open or slammed shut on her. Thankfully, neither happened. She looked high, low and all around and luckily saw no one or anything. So she proceeded to enter her front door. It sounded like there were voices on the other side of the door telling her to “go away and leave them alone”, but again there was no one there once Helen entered her apartment. Tired from all that occurred, she plopped on the sofa with a big sigh of relief, she refused to move until the kids returned home.
6:00pm on the nose the door swung open wide and all three of the kids came running in wanting to quickly eat dinner so that they could get ready for trick or treating. Lucky for all of us, pizza and french fries with a house salad was on the menu, they only needed to wash up and be seated. That in deed was both the fastest and quietest dinner we ever shared together. Helen’s oldest gathered up her things and ran out the door to go meet up with her best friend. Her two younger ones were trick or treating with a neighbor so that she could hand out candy. She probably had about 15 minutes before the onset of all the trick or theaters would arrive.
Helen turned on the scary music and all the Halloween lights. The house was decorated pretty scary. Maybe that was what brought out the visit from the boys when she had first arrived home. The quiet was over. The first ringing doorbell was upon her. Luckily it looked like just one family. Three boys about the ages on 8, 9, and 10 with their 13-year-old sister. Before even saying trick or treat, the sister asked Helen “How can you live in this house, my grandmother told me that twin boys drowned in the bathtub of this house in the 1800s, don’t you ever get scared?” Helen said “no, I never knew it was haunted so it doesn’t bother me. ” before she could even give the kids their candy, the lights turned off and the door slammed without any help from her and she could hear the kids scream and run away! For the next 15-20 minutes, no one rang the doorbell. It was almost as if someone or something was turning them away. Then suddenly for the next two hours straight, the crowd just wouldn’t stop. Helen didn’t even think she would have enough candy for that many people, but the supply just seemed to be never-ending.
All three of her kids arrived home on the nose of 8:30pm. They all asked at the same time, who the two little boys were sitting on the front stairs in the funny pants with the strange hats. They reported to me that they had hand marks on their necks and their eyes looked like they had not slept for a long time. When we all went out to see who they were talking about, there was no one there and all the lights were no longer working. The street was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
Helen got the kids ready for bed, but no one seemed to want to sleep, no one was even interested in their candy. Everyone ended up sleeping in mommy’s bed.
Chapter 3 – Like Any Other Day©
As always, Sally laid out her clothes for the next day before climbing into her cozy oversized bed. Her bed was her haven and the one place where her thoughts were all her own. No one could tell her if she was right or wrong, good or bad, nice or mean. She only answered to her thoughts. Tomorrows outfit was a pair of black pants with an owl shirt that her mom had bought just for her. They both loved owls, therefore that shirt was meant to be her lucky shirt from now on. She was going to need it because tomorrow’s math test was going to be major. Sally ran her tongue over her top and bottom teeth to make sure she didn’t feel any plaque or she would be running right back to the bathroom to brush it off. This time she was good, there was nothing there. She was now ready to climb on into bed. As always, her mom tucked her and her sisters in. Once her mom left the room, they texted each other with more good night wishes and expressions of love, she said her prayers. Sleep came instantly.
At 1:00 am Sally was awakened by a sound. She wasn’t really sure what it was, but she knew she had heard something. She thought it strange that neither of her sisters were awakened by the sound which had seemed quite loud to her. Once wide awake the sound was gone, but Sally was awake. She decided to go to the bathroom to splash cold water on her face hoping to relax herself so she could try going back to sleep. Suddenly there was coolness in the room. She quickly looked behind her even though she was standing in the mirror and would have seen anyone that was in the room. She returned to facing the mirror only to find the face of her mother’s old doll staring into the mirror next to her. Sally wanted to scream so badly, but she didn’t want to wake everyone up so early in the morning. She again splashed cold water on her face hoping that when she returned to the mirror the image would be gone. Unfortunately, the messy blonde haired freckled doll with one eye opened and one eye mostly closed, was staring right at her. Sally clenched her fist tightly swaying at her sides, grinding her teeth with her eyes as wide as could be, screamed the loudest internal scream possible then ran and jumped in her bed as fast as she could without waking up her sisters. Sally instantly pulled her blanket over her head, forced her eyes closed holding them tightly. She was squeezing her bear coco so hard she could barely feel the stuffing. She fell asleep saying “I saw nothing, I saw nothing, I saw nothing…”
6:20am never came faster. Sally’s mom was bending over giving good morning kisses saying “it’s time for your shower, have breakfast and then studying for you young woman after brushing your teeth. You want to do the best you can on your math test.” Sally bounced out of bed as if nothing had happened hours earlier. She did remember, she just had no intentions of letting it get in the way of her busy day.
Sally had gotten into the bathroom before her sisters. She quickly took her shower making sure not to look into the mirror for she didn’t want to see that scary old doll again. Those eyes of hers just made her want to run and hide under or behind anything. Sometimes what you want and what you get are two different things.
Now at school, Sally sat at her desk tapping her pencil, waiting for her classmates to finish piling in. She was day-dreaming thinking about the doll. She really didn’t know why she couldn’t get the doll off her mind. Next thing she knew there was a tap on her shoulder. She jumped, startled by the touch of her teachers hand on her shoulder. She asked Sally, “are you ok? Is there anything wrong?” Sally replied, “Yes Ms.Yi, I was just thinking about the test while waiting for everyone else to come in.” The truth was, she was worried about the doll, wondering if she was going to get in the way of her getting a good grade on her math test.
Everyone was finally in their seats. Ms. Yi was passing out the Math test. Sally was starting to sweat. She was so nervous her left eye and temple started twitching. Then she thought about what her mother had told her. “If you tell a ghost they don’t exist, they are not real and they don’t scare you, they will go away”. So that is exactly what Sally did. She concentrated on her mothers smiling face as she took her test. It seemed like it only took her five minutes to take the test when 30 minutes had actually gone by. She was the first in the class to lay down her pencil and hand in her test. By the end of the school day Ms. Yi approached her to let her know that she had gotten an “A” on her test. Sally was so happy that the mean old crazy doll hadn’t gotten in her way after all. She was grateful to her mom for the words that got her through the test. She couldn’t wait to return home at the end of the school day to share her good news.
Chapter 4 – The Long, Scary, Dark Hall©
Sarah was really happy when it was finally moving day and she knew she wouldn’t have to walk down that long, scary, dark hall ever again.
Moving day was in the middle of the week on Wednesday, July 1st. Just seven more days to go. Sarah’s mom, Helen wanted the family to be all settled in before camp started on the following Monday, July 6th. Helen is a very organized person. She suffers from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Sometimes it seems like she can’t ever make up her mind about anything.
So it was the last week in the old house. Sarah felt the presence in the hall even more. It was almost as if it knew she was going to be leaving. Every time Sarah had to walk down the hall she always felt like someone was watching. Sarah knew it wasn’t possible for a real person to be there because the hall was so narrow and dark. Who else could fit there? Maybe she was just paranoid, or maybe it was one of the many spirits of the house.
Sarah always wondered why the hall was so dark. Even when the lights were on, the darkness continued to lurk. A 100 watt bulb was positioned dead center in the middle of the hallway. The walls were white. There was no real reason such darkness should win out no matter what time of the day it was.
The house was quiet as everyone else had gone to bed for the night with everything in its place and nothing but the sounds of the house could be heard. That was exactly what was keeping Sarah up. She decided that she was going to get some water from the refrigerator. The only bad things was that her room was at the beginning of the hall and the kitchen was all the way at the end of the hall. There was only a small night-light outside the bathroom door that was meant to light the entire long, scary, dark hallway. If the big light didn’t really help, how did her mom think a night-light was going to be any better?
Sarah had only made it a third of the way down the hall when she felt the hair raise at the back of her neck and she suddenly felt really cold. Since it was almost the end of June and pretty hot in her house, she didn’t understand where the coldness could be coming from. To make matters worse, she had that feeling again. The one where it felt like someone was watching her. She turned around really fast. Of course she saw no one. Sarah started walking again. She was only able to take three steps before it felt like someone or something reached out and grabbed her arm. Sarah couldn’t see who or what it was, but what she could see where the marks that materialized on her arm. It looked like the finger marks of a long skinny alien or something. Sarah had never seen anything like it before. She shook her arm lose from the grip and ran quickly back to her room. She was still pretty thirsty, but it wasn’t worth whatever might have happened next.
Sarah was lucky that whatever it was didn’t seem to be interested in entering her bedroom. Maybe because she shared the room with her other two sisters Sally and Jamie. She was safe for now, but only until the next time she had to go down the scary, dark, long hall.
Chapter 5 – Underground Dwellers©
Helen, her brother Paul, and her then best friend Marguerite decided to go to the movies at the circle cinema. It was a Friday night, so the cinema would surely be packed. The movie started at 7:20. They decided to leave the house at 6:40. The cinema was only three train stops away, but they wanted to arrive a little early to be sure to get tickets and a good seat. They stepped out of the house to start the walk to the train station. The sun seemingly set early that night. It was the middle of July and the sun didn’t usually set until around 8:40pm. The air felt different tonight and no one could figure out what it was. The wind was blowing pretty strong.
The trio made it to the train station in 5 minutes flat. They thought they would find standing room only, but strangely once aboard the train, they ended up being 3 of about 10 people all together including the conductor. The train pulled out of the station and headed on its way. The train was unusually shaky and the lights kept flickering on and off. To make matters worse, the train was exceptionally cold. Helen went to ask the conductor if he could turn the air conditioner down. He stated that the air conditioner was actually out-of-order and offered no explanation for the coolness. Helen then asked why the train was making all the noise and why the lights were flickering. He again offered no explanation only to say that all was well for the rest of our ride.
Thankfully, it was time for Helen, Paul and Marguerite to get off. They couldn’t have been happier. It was 7pm on the nose. They had 20 minutes to buy their tickets and find a good seat. Unlike the train, the cinema was jam-packed with patrons. They were lucky to get their tickets so quickly. They also got the seats they had wanted. There was not an empty seat in the theatre.
Paul decided that he would go out and get the drinks and popcorn. Helen and Marguerite talked about their plans to go to the beach the next day. Paul wouldn’t be able to join them as he got stuck working the entire weekend. He and his dad were doing a state to state move and wouldn’t be back until Sunday night. Paul got back just in time for the start of the previews. We were all really excited even though the movie was meant to be kind of gory.
The movie credits were finally rolling and then there it was as big as life across the movie screen C.H.U.D (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers). The trio enjoyed horror movies more than any other genre. It didn’t seem as though they realized what they were in for. Once the movie was in mid stream, you could hear most of the patrons screaming with fear, some were vomiting because they were so terrified. Amazingly, Helen was the only one that wasn’t scared. In fact, she was laughing her head off. She almost vomited because she was laughing too much. The screen was showing all the underground dwellers eating the brains of the innocent people they were killing. Things were getting so out of control that people were running screaming out of the theater. Helen, Marguerite and Paul decided to leave as well.
Once out of the theatre and once most of the crowd had dispersed elsewhere, Helen was able to calm down Marguerite and Paul. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long because the wind they suffered through on the way to the train while traveling to the movies was back and even stronger. The strange thing was that there was nothing in the weather report that warned or confirmed the weather pattern. The wind was blowing so hard that the barrels people had left out during the day were all up and down the streets. Trash was blowing around like falling rain.
The train ride was horrible. Once off the train, the wind was even stronger. It was so strong you could hear church bells ringing by themselves. Some of the street lights had blown out and others were flashing on and off. The streets were empty. Somehow it had gotten pretty late. It was 11:50 pm. They didn’t realize just how they had been again stuck underground in the train. It was so hard to see with most of the lights not working and all the stores and restaurants closed. The trio just decided to run as a group in the direction they knew. All they could think of was that maybe just maybe the cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers were somewhere out there and that they were going to be their next victims. They of course knew this couldn’t be the case since C.H.U.D. was just a movie. Luckily, they were all living in the same building. No one wanted to be alone tonight, so they all decided that they would stay in Helen’s apartment. Once in the house, they put all three locks on the outside front metal door and ran up to the third floor where Helen lived and put all three locks on her door. They no sooner turned on the light when the doorbell rang. Since it was now midnight they all decided not to answer the door. They ran into Helen’s room jumped on her bed after kicking of their shoes and hid under the covers of her king size bed. They all passed out from fear and didn’t move until the morning when all was seemingly back to normal.
Chapter 6 – The Spiral Staircase©
Did you ever have an Incident that just couldn’t get out of your head, it just endlessly circulates in your brain through the years? Since the age of 6, Helen has had this long-standing dream about a spiral staircase that seemed as though it was 20 stories high. Whenever Helen was falling down the spiral staircase, it seemed to be never-ending and she never made impact. The question Helen always asked herself, “why was she dreaming about it in the first place?” When Helen first moved into the house she was only three. When you are that young, everything is big and scary. Somehow it seemed even scarier to Helen because every time she slept, she always had nightmares about the house she lived in or strange things would occur. Every night she would live through a different story almost as if when she was away, she was one person and when she slept she was another person. Every Incident would end with her falling down the never-ending spiral staircase.
Helen asked that we share some of her experiences with you.
Incident #1 – The Window©
Helen walks to the living room looking out the far right window through the clear white curtain. The streets had just been swept by the prisoners locked up in the county jail. It was their job to keep the parks and streets of the town clean. That was part of how they had to pay penance for their crimes.
Everything looked fresh, clean and new. Something seemed different though. Helen just couldn’t put her finger on just what it was. Then suddenly she realized, she wasn’t in the time she was supposed to be. At least that wasn’t what she saw before her. It should be 1969, but it was clear to her that somehow she was somewhere in the early 1900’s as it appeared before her outside her living-room window. There were no cars on the street. There were people with bikes that had big front wheels and little back wheels and they were sitting up high on a small seat. Some people were also riding unicycles, the bikes with only one wheel. Some people were even in buggies driven by horses. The women were all in long dresses and hats on top of their heads. All the men were wearing suites. Helen was yelling hello out to all the people from her window, but no one seemed to hear her. No one looked toward the window to see where the voice was coming from. Why couldn’t they hear her? she wondered. What was stranger was the inside of Helen’s house didn’t match what it looked like outside. Inside her house it was still 1969. How could that be?
Helen wanted to leave the house so badly. she wanted to be outside riding the funny bikes or riding in the horse and buggy, but she was too afraid that she might get lost in what looked to be another time and place. If she got lost, who would take care of her? How would they treat her since she didn’t look the way they looked and didn’t dress the same way they did? Would they think she was a child slave? Would they even allow her to try to return home? So Helen continued looking out the window hoping that someone would look up and notice her.
Suddenly, Helen felt someone tugging at her shoulder. She quickly turned around but saw no one there. She did hear loud footsteps and someone giggling. She followed the sounds to her front door. She could still hear noises on the other side of the door. There was no way she wasn’t going to attempt to find out what the noise was or who was making the noise now. Who knows, maybe she would make a new friend.
Helen opened her front door. It was strange though, some how the stairs that were in front of her were not the ones she normally saw. This staircase was spiral, painted white with brown pine wood banisters. They were beautiful and looked as if someone had put them there just for her. There was one problem though, they seemed pretty steep and seemed as if they had no end.
Helen’s only thoughts were what would happen to her if she were to step onto the staircase? Where would they lead her? Should she dare? Suddenly, it felt as if she was pushed. She heard the same giggle that she had heard inside the house and the funny noises that followed. She was now falling down the center of the staircase. She felt as though she was flying like a bird. She could see no end to the staircase. Just as she thought she was going to hit the bottom, she was suddenly awake in her bed soaked as if she was dumped in a pool of water.
She ran to look out the window in the living room. It looked like 1969 again outside. There was no sign of the horse and buggy. No uni-cycles or bikes with one big wheel in front and a small wheel in the back. People were wearing jeans or regular dresses. The only hat Helen saw was a baseball cap. She ran to her front door. The spiral staircase was no longer there. It was the regular two-story staircase lined with brown carpet down the middle.
Helen was so disappointed she changed her clothes and went to eat breakfast all by herself without following her normal routine of waking someone else to keep her company.
Incident# 2 – The Visit©
Helen and her sister, Ann were playing monopoly at the dining room table. Helen suddenly remembered that she and her sister promised their friend Julie that they would come over and play since it was a snow day and there was no school. Both girls yelled to their mom who was in her favorite spot at the kitchen table sipping a cup of tea while reading “Gone with the Wind” and watching “The Price Is Right”. “We’re going to Julie’s house, be back for dinner.” Since there was no response, the duo ran off towards Julie’s house. It was lucky for them she only lived around the corner.
There was so much snow outside. You could still see the over the snow banks. The sidewalks were clear which was the only reason the girls were lucky not to fall flat on their faces as they ran up the street. They only had to go to the top of their street, turn left and it was two houses down. Julie’s house was big and white with blue trim. They had a really nice brick walkway. What the girls didn’t know was that underneath the snow was an inch of slippery ice. As they were turning onto the walkway, they slid all the way down the walk way to the stairs. Ann was fine, she made it to the stairs without falling. Helen wasn’t so lucky. Her foot got caught on a small block of ice, it made her trip and she fell face forward onto the brick stairs. It was so cold she couldn’t really feel the pain. By the time she was able to stand up, Ann heard Julie’s mom apologizing saying that Julie ended up going to her grandmother’s house for the day. She apologized again and sent them on their way.
Once in the walkway, headed away from Julie’s house, Ann stopped abruptly and was staring at her sister she said, “why is their ketchup all over your face?” Helen replied, “I haven’t eaten anything, especially anything with ketchup.” She realized she must have cut herself when she fell. The girls hurried home so their mom could clean up the wound.
The girls arrived home but the door wouldn’t open. Ann was banging on the door so hard, they could hear their mother yelling “hold your horses, ill be right there.” When their mom opened the door, “Gone with the Wind” crashed to the floor and she started screaming, “Oh my lord Jesus, what happened, where did all of this blood come from?” She didn’t even wait for an answer, she picked Helen up and ran out of the house, yelling to Ann to stay put and tell her father that she was taking Helen to the hospital.
Helen had drifted off to sleep and woke up not ever knowing how she had gotten to the hospital. She woke to the sound of her mother yelling “Help, help, my baby is dying”, Helen knew it couldn’t be true. Her mother must just be really worried. A nurse grabbed Helen from her worried mother who was now covered in her daughters blood. Another nurse immediately came over and gave her a pair of scrubs to put on with a plastic bag to put her soiled clothing in. They wanted to cut the risk of infection.
Helen was laying on a stretcher, they had removed all of her clothes except for her undergarments and replaced them with a hospital Johnny. The room was so brightly lit. Helen’s head was spinning and suddenly she couldn’t control the urge to vomit. She pressed the button on the control the nurse had given her. Her mother came running in the room ahead of the nurse. Both women asked what was wrong at the same time. They didn’t have to wait for the answer they could tell what was happening. No sooner did the nurse hand Helen a container then out it came again. It felt like it would never stop. The nurse gave Helen some water so she could rinse her mouth out. Nurse Sheila said that “one thing is clear Janet; your daughter suffered a concussion. I will let Dr. Roberts decide how severe it is.”
Helen’s mother began pacing back and forth for the next 10 minutes. Dr. Roberts entered the room with his intern, Dr. Samuelson. Dr. Samuelson was all business he didn’t say a word. His cold, long fingers moved across Helen’s forehead searching for lumps, bruises, pain and dirt. He shined a small flash light in her eyes to check her pupils reactions. Helen could have sworn he saw a woman in a red dress peaking over his shoulder. It was actually kind of strange because she had the feeling she had seen her before, she was trying to think of where it might have been. It came to her just as fast as she had thought about it. It was the woman in red from the basement in her house.
The room that was just full of bright lights was suddenly black. Helen couldn’t see anyone or anything. There was nothing but emptiness. There wasn’t even any noise. What had just happened. Was her mother right? Was it possible that Helen was in fact dying? That wasn’t possible, she was way too young for that. She did fall pretty hard on the ice, anything was possible.
Suddenly there was a spot of red coming towards her, it kept getting brighter as it got closer. Helen was now frightened, she could start to see again. The woman in red was back. Had Helen fainted? Where was she? Why was the woman in red the only thing and the only person she could see? Where was her mother? The doctors? The nurses?
The woman in red was saying something but Helen couldn’t understand her and just started making faces. The woman in red grabbed Helen’s arm and suddenly they were looking down at the street from the roof of the hospital building. Why would the woman in red bring her here? What did she want from Helen.
Helen yanked her arm away and ran to the first door she saw. The metal door was really heavy. Helen was so strong at that moment because her adrenaline was out of whack . Helen didn’t even want to turn around to see if the woman in red had followed her. Helen reached the stairs, her eyes opened wide. What did she see before her? It was the white endless staircase with pinewood railings. Why were these stairs here? Were they meant just for Helen? Where did they lead. All of a sudden she was pushed, she heard the sounds of laughter. She turned her head around as she was falling to see a smile on the face of the woman in red. Helen just kept falling.
Suddenly, Helen’s eyes were burning she had blacked out and the nurse was swinging smelling salt in front of her nose to bring her back around. She said welcome back Helen. We thought we had lost you there for a moment. Where did you go? Helen couldn’t tell her what had happened to her, she would think she was crazy. She just replied and said she didn’t know and that she was just glad to be back.
Helen was glad to be home. She had 12 stitches above her left eye and a severe concussion. The hospital wanted to keep her for a couple of nights, but her mother wanted her to recover at home with her family. Helen was glad because she was afraid someone was trying to kill her and she just wanted out of that hospital. The doctor told her mother Janet, that Helen was not allowed to take gym class, do any heavy lifting or play any sports for at least two weeks. She would have to come back in a week to ten days to get the stitches out. The doctor also warned that if she had any trouble waking Helen up, that she was to call for an ambulance and bring her right back to the hospital.
Incident 3 – The Closet©
Helen’s room didn’t have much to offer. There were two beds, one for her and the other for her sister Ann. A simple night stand separated the two beds. A lamp that Helen had made in Mr. Kelly’s woodworking class brought a soft light to the room. A three shelf light pine bookcase sat at the foot of the two beds leaning up against the wall with a few books, Helen’s broken dancing ballerina doll, Ann’s under construction transistor radio and a deck of playing cards. There was a 6 drawer pink bear claw dresser at the foot of each bed as well, one for each girl. Pictures of Scott Baio, Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett and Andy Gibb covered the pastel floral colored wall paper. There were pink frilly curtains hanging over the window with a cream-colored shade.
Because the girls were always told to keep their beds neat with no wrinkles, the pair spent a lot of their time sitting on the floor seated on their oval rug that had at least six different shades of pink swirling in a circle. They would sit and play the games neatly stored underneath either of their beds.
Helen however spent most of her free time in her bedroom closet. Undeterred by the overflowing amount of Helen and Ann’s Sunday dresses for church and Sunday school, there was still a lot of space to keep all their odds and ends so they wouldn’t clutter their room. Believe it or not, there was still also room for Helen and Ann to sit and tell each other ghost stories, chat about boys, listen to the TV playing in the living room or just listen to what the adults in the room were talking about. Sometimes they heard things they didn’t really want to hear. Especially when their dad told their mom that he would be home late that night because he had to fix some problems at one of his buildings. Tenants always needed something to be fixed. It didn’t matter that he has a family. The next day was Thanksgiving and they were all anxious to get sleep and wake-up to enjoy their holiday feast.
Helen and Ann woke up enthusiastically Thanksgiving morning, had their breakfast and settled into helping their mother prepare for their big feast. They were always responsible for chopping whatever needed chopping. There was celery and onions for the stuffing, carrots, potatoes and more onions to put with the roasted turkey. Helen hated turkey. She was always running to the bathroom getting sick. She never wanted to touch it. Once the girls finished their chores and the Turkey was roasting in the oven Helen seemed to get so ill. She ran into the closet to try to escape the smell coming from the kitchen. Thank goodness their room was at the other end of the house. Helen felt as if she was in another world while tucked away in her sanctuary. Ann kept calling her name, but she just wasn’t responding. Ann had no way of knowing that somehow Helen had slipped away to another corner of the world mentally. She was still physically hiding in her closet, but her mind was somewhere else.
Helen didn’t realize it yet, but the smell from the turkey had an effect on her that was life threatening. It would be by the grace and will of god that she would get through this night. While in the closet Helen had left herself. She was in another time, another place. She was in a mansion, but her parents were different. Her mother was quite tall about 5’11, slim with long, wavy brown hair. Her skin was a pale brownish red with soft brown eyes. Her smile was bright and happy. Her father was at least 6’1 with a just slightly lighter complexion, with short, blonde wavy hair and Blue eyes.
Helen didn’t know why they lived in such a big house; she seemed to be the only child. The house was kind of cold and somewhat scary. Was she really expected to be happy here? Why not? Her parents seemed to be really happy. Maybe they were only happy because she was there. Helen could hear the sound of a cat’s meow. She turned to see a Siamese cat who answered to the name of cocoa. It suited her since her colors were various shades of brown. The whole situation seemed kind of strange. It didn’t feel real. Helen found herself chasing the cat up the stairs; it seemed to take forever to reach the top. Somehow the stairs had changed. They were no longer straight and narrow stairs, she now found herself on a spiral staircase. This time, it wasn’t the woman in red pushing her over the railing; it was cocoa, the cat scratching at her ankles. Once again, Helen was taking the never-ending fall down the spiral staircase still never landing.
Helen’s next memory was sitting on the living room floor with her dad Adam, her brother Paul and her sister Ann. The movie Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang was playing on the TV while we were playing Monopoly. Helen’s brother Paul was yelling to their dad that it was his turn, but he was so mesmerized by the TV that he couldn’t hear his son. It was funny because her father didn’t really like TV, but it didn’t mean that he couldn’t get caught up in it every once in a while. Helen had enough her dad was going to win the game as usual any way. She excused herself and went to bed.
Suddenly, Helen was unable to breathe. She called out to her mother, but there was no answer. She called out to anyone, but no one responded. She tried to run into her closet, but there was smoke coming out of it, which made Helen fear for her safety. She couldn’t understand why she was here and no one else was answering. Trying to dodge the smoke Helen ran through the smoke ran to the stairs and ran out of the house as fast as she could. For once, she was happy not to have seen the spiral staircase. Once outside, she saw her family all huddled together. They didn’t even realize that Helen had been left in the house all alone. They had forgotten that she had gone off to bed. Helen was almost unrecognizable with every inch of her covered in suit from the smoke. The smell was horrible. Thankfully, the fire only caused damage to their apartment and the one below them. Drinking college students thought it smart to light a non working fireplace and go to sleep. Fortunately, everyone survived.
Helen and her family were church going people and their church was good to her and her family. Helen and her sister Ann got to stay at the church while their house was under construction. On their floor, it was just their room and the living room that had to be fixed it was the same for the apartment below them. The rooms were the same. Their father was so angry and swore never to rent to college students again.
The older neighborhood boys were kind of mean and would make jokes every time Helen and Ann passed by like “Did you have a nice turkey roast on Thanksgiving, heard you almost became dinner instead”. “Was that woman in the red dress there?” they would tease followed up by hysterical laughter. Helen would just cry and run off, because she knew they were really talking about her. Normal people would apologize and wish you well and offer to help, not torment you.
Incident #4 – Living in the Rectory©
It was strange sleeping somewhere other than her own bed. Helen longed to be back home in her own room. The Rectory was big, old, scary and cold. She knew she should feel safe in the house of the lord, but it was strange, she always felt like there were people watching her, not just one, but many. Who could they possibly be? Helen wondered if they could be people who may have lived and died there in the years passed. What could they be so mad about in such a holy place?
At night when everyone was sleeping, Helen swore that she heard non stop crying. She wanted to know where the crying was coming from. She just had to figure it out. The wind was blowing hard, you could hear branches cracking then breaking off the tree limbs. It sounded like the wind was talking too. Maybe that was why the voices were crying. Maybe whoever was crying didn’t like the feel of the night and what they knew might be ahead of them.
Helen couldn’t wait anymore, she had to follow the screams. She got out of her bed and felt for her slippers under her bed. Helen quickly pulled her hand back. Something very cold had touched her hand. It was colder than ice. What, who would be hiding under her bed? What could they want from her? Helen screamed out to her sister Ann who appeared to be in a very deep sleep. Ann wouldn’t respond. Helen wanted to hide under the covers, but what if whatever or whomever were to come out and grab her? So she did the only thing she could do, she ran out of the room.
Helen’s feet felt much like whatever it was that had touched her hand underneath the bed. She wished that she had her slippers. But finding out where the screams were coming from was all that matter to her now. Just then Helen felt a presence standing next to her against the wall outside her room. She was too afraid to turn around for fear of what she might see. Helen knew she couldn’t just keep standing there, she would have to turn around. Helen took a deep breath and then just dug in deep and turned quickly and to my shock and disbelief stood none other than “The Lady in Red” standing right next to her. Helen almost lost it. She didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t run, she couldn’t hide. She had to stand there just hoping that she wasn’t going to be hurt. Why would the woman be here at the church? How did she know to find her there? Helen got the urge to turn around again. The woman in red was just lingering there staring at her. Helen didn’t know what to do, so she asked her, “What do you want from me? Why have you followed me here?” She pointed down the long dark hall. Did Helen dare go anywhere with her? She truly feared for her life.
The woman in Red was dragging Helen down the hall as if she were a rag doll. Now petrified, she definitely wasn’t willing to go on her own. The woman in red was holding Helen’s wrist, continuing to drag her to the destination. Where that was, was anyone’s guess. Helen’s wrist was now numb and her knees were shaking, at least she thought they were. She just wanted to get this over with so she could just go back to bed. Now she didn’t even care about the voices anymore. Helen was 100% scared.
When Helen lifted up her head and looked forward, she realized they were now in the basement. The woman in red was pointing to a crate. It was quite old and very heavy. It had gold brackets with an even bigger gold lock. Suddenly the screaming and crying voices were quite loud as if they were standing atop of them. It turns out they actually were. Somehow the voices were coming from the crate. The woman in red pointed to the crate as if she was instructing Helen to open it. She was hesitant because she of course had no idea about what might be in the crate, especially after thinking she heard screams coming from it.
Helen needed something to help her open the antique rusted lock on the crate. Before she could open her mouth to say anything to the woman in red, she had opened the crate for her. The cries and the screams were now piercingly loud. So much so that Helen had to hold her ears and was screaming herself. Again, the woman in red had come to her rescue. Helen never saw what she did, but the sound was lower now almost as if the screams were whispering.
Helen worked up the nerve to go and peak in the crate. Again her legs were shaking. She was so cold that she thought for a minute that she was in a walk in freezer. Her teeth started shattering. She leaned forward and to her disbelief she saw a crate full of tiny people laying on little beds in clothes from yesteryear. What could be the reason that they would be held prisoner in a crate inside a church? What sins could they have committed? How could they still be alive today? Was this really happening? Could what Sally saw in front her be real? She turned to question the woman in red, but she was nowhere to be found. Now Helen was full of fear because she wasn’t paying attention to how she got there and had no way of knowing how to make it back to her room. She was still worried about the small people in the crate, but wasn’t sure what the woman in red excepted her to do about what she had just seen.
Helen was suddenly overwhelmed by what was happening so much so that she fainted. When she woke up she found herself back in her closet in her own house. She could smell the fresh paint. Thankfully it was no longer wet. Propped up against the closet wall, Helen didn’t understand how she could be at her house when she went to bed in the church. Where was her sister Ann? Helen quickly crawled out of the closet and as she stood up, she saw that Ann was fast asleep in her bed. All Helen could do was climb into her own bed and try to get some more sleep. She would have to think about this in the morning.
Ann was trying to wake up Helen to make her stop screaming out in her sleep. She was sweating so badly that her sheets would need to be changed. Ann couldn’t imagine what could be upsetting her so much. Helen finally woke up. She looked as if she had seen a ghost, little did Anne know that Helen had in fact seen a ghost. The question is why hadn’t Anne ever seen it?
Helen woke up and wasn’t at all happy to find herself back at her own house. She had too many unanswered questions back at the church. Had someone put something in Helen’s food or drink and then sent her home because she stumbled onto something no one wanted anyone else to know about? Now Helen would never know. She wasn’t sure if she could deal with that. She would have to let it go for now.
Incident #5 – Church Fire© (1/6/76)©
Returning home from school Helen smelt a horrible burning smell all around her. Helen was afraid to breath in. She started choking and didn’t have her asthma inhaler. She got closer and closer to her house. Helen could see flames erupting worse than an explosion. She started getting scared that her house had caught on fire again. Helen started running faster and faster. Helen realized that from the angle of the smoke it had to be coming from the church. Helen couldn’t get there fast enough. She fell upon the crowd of worshipers and spectators. The church was now nothing but a hollow shell. Helen suddenly fell into a snow bank on her knees crying endless tears. She couldn’t imagine what she was going to do now. There was no one standing that wasn’t screaming, crying or yelling. It was a true disaster.
Helen’s mom grabbed her shoulder. She knew that Helen would have a hard time dealing with the fire. The church had been the one place that truly meant something to her. It had become her home away from home. This made Helen’s mother feel good because she knew if she were there she wouldn’t have to worry about her getting into any trouble.
This wasn’t about the feelings of any one person. This fire affected an entire community. The church not only provided spiritual support, it was a place for people to go for help, almost any kind of help. They had many programs for all ages. Al of these things were going to be missing for however long it would take for the church to be rebuilt.
Helen’s mom insisted that she come home now. That night Helen couldn’t even think of sleeping. The only thing she could think about was the church. She could smell of the burnt walls creeping in her bedroom window. She had a feeling that she would smell it for a long time to come whether her window was open or not.
Helen waited for everyone in her house to go to bed. It was her plan to sneak out of the house and go over to the church. She had to go see what it looked like. Otherwise there would be no rest for her. She already knew she wasn’t going to sleep, but she wouldn’t even be able to lay down and just close her eyes if she didn’t get to see the church, and tomorrow would just be too late.
The house sounded quiet. Helen put her sweatshirt on top of her pajamas. She purposely did not wear her favorite night-gown knowing that she was going to sneak out. She didn’t want to take a chance hurting her uncovered legs. She made sure everyone was sleeping, she then slipped out the back door. She was afraid that the creeks from the front stairs would wake up her mother who could hear a pin drop. Helen slipped a small cloth in between the back door so it would not lock.
Once at the bottom of the stairs, Helen started to walk really fast. The church was only a half a block up the street and a turn to the left and another 1/4 of a block.
Luckily no one saw her out there. Helen’s mom always had her friends watching her and her sister and brother and would report if anything was not right. The closer Helen got to the church the stronger the smell of the damp smoke was. There was no worse smell that she could think of. Helen’s heart was pounding so hard, as if it wanted to burst out of her chest. The entire situation made left Helen scared and nervous at the same time.
All of a sudden she felt as though she was no longer alone. She thought she could hear the screams she had heard from the locked crate the woman in red showed her when she was staying at the rectory. Could it be possible? She wasn’t sure of what to do, what direction to turn. Helen felt a familiar tap on the shoulder. Something told her not to be afraid to turn around. She turned quickly as if anxious to find out who it was. She had a feeling she already knew who it was. She was right, it was none other than the woman in red.
The woman in red lead Helen through all the rubble, they then stood amid the empty shell of the church and the smoldering rubble. The woman in red was pointing straight ahead. She never said anything. She pointed to a lit area coming from the corner where the church bell resides. Somehow that spot wasn’t to badly damaged. There was a door leading down a separate set of stairs leading up. Helen was lead down the stairs. The smell of smoke was no longer so obvious, which was strange being that they were still amid the remnants of all the rubble.
It seemed to take some time to get to where they were going. In all the years that Helen had been a part of the church, she didn’t remember anything under the church steeple. The woman in red pointed to a door straight ahead. Gesturing for Helen to enter. They entered and the first thing Helen saw was another crate. It was clearly different from the one that she had seen when she stayed at the rectory. Remembering what she saw in the last crate, she wasn’t really looking forward to what she might find in this one.
The woman in red showed her a pocket outside the crate that had an envelope in it. The envelope looked like it had to be more than 100 years old. It was quite yellow, but not torn. It just looked as if it had aged like pages in an old book. The envelope was so old that the seal had disintegrated and Helen was able to open it by just lifting it out of the envelope.
Helen started reading the letter, which was just instructions that if anything happened to the church that this crate must be taken to the church rectory and stored with the other crate already being stored there. Helen now understood what the woman in red needed her to do this time. Lucky for Helen, this crate wasn’t heavy. She followed the woman in red back the rectory basement. She again was not paying attention to where she was going. It was trance like every time she was with the woman in red. Once she delivered the crate placing it next to the other one, the woman in red walked her to a heavy gold framed door covered with carved angels. The door opened on its own. Helen was once again pushed and fell endlessly downward until the next thing she knew she was back home in her bed once again.
Helen didn’t even bother turning her head to see if her sister Ann was going to notice her return for she knew she was still fast asleep. Helen had given up on trying to figure out what was going on and what would happen next. She just closed her eyes hoping that no one would bother her at least for a while.
Note to Readers:
This is it for a while. I’m starting work on future chapters now. I hope that what I’ve shared will keep you interested until I’m ready to share what comes next. Please feel free to post comments on suggestions for change or additions. Please do not link advertisements to this posting. Your interest is much appreciated. Felina Silver Robinson (Author)