Stories from the Village of Hawthorne (The town in “Snapshots In Time”)
Hawthorne Village is home to more ghosts than people. Everyone has a story, and this is mine.
I’m a floral designer, and my little shop is haunted. It must be! That’s the only explanation for what has occurred and why I have more white hair than not.. I’m only 32.
I moved to Hawthorne after my marriage imploded, but that’s a whole other story. My shop is on the first floor, and I use the top two floors of the cute colonial as my home. Now, this house has changed and evolved over the years. The only thing that has stayed the same, if you believed the rumors, was the ghost of a little girl in a pink and white dress that looked mournfully out of a second-story window. That window just happens to be my bedroom window, with a beautiful view of the village cemetery.
I tried to ignore the stories and thought I might just use the whole thing as a marketing ploy. “Come get some flowers and say hello to our ghost” sort of thing. But that wouldn’t be a new approach in this village. Everything around here is haunted; even the Hawthorne Manor Inn is supposedly haunted by the owner’s sister.
My first night there, I chalked up anything that felt weird to my just being in a new place and not knowing its quirks and creaks. Everything was naturally going to feel weird for a while. I slept through that night, mostly because of the exhaustion from moving. Now, after being here for ten years, I can tell when a sound is natural or something else.
This story is about my second night, long before I knew the ins and outs of this old building or of the many ghosts who reside here.
It started while I was locking up the shop. While my thoughts were still occupied by how I was going to set my floral displays, I stepped through the door to the stairway leading up my living quarters and turned off the light in the shop. It was then that I heard it—a rattle of metal on metal. It was barely there at first, but as I locked the door, the jingling turned into a clank and seemed to grow closer and louder until the sound chased me up the stairs and into my apartment. I opened the door and practically fell inside, bashing my knee against the door as I slammed it shut. I crouched down behind the door, reached up, and locked it.
I curled into a ball, covering my ears from the cacophony that now shook the whole of the house. Sobbing hysterically, I knew I needed to calm down. I wasn’t sure if I was being haunted, or if one too many ex-husband-induced concussions had finally driven me mad. But the noise was there, and it was relentless. Why would my cute little Victorian colonial be shaken by the near-deafening sound of chains? I shuddered as I recognized the sound—the exact same sound that chains make in a slaughterhouse. This house had never been a slaughterhouse, had it?
Minutes later, after my knee began to swell, and my sobs had sufficiently subsided, I lurched my way to the sofa and plopped down on the overstuffed cushions, placing one underneath my purple-red joint. I laid my head back and closed my eyes.
What do I do now? Is there something wrong with the house? Are there actually ghosts in the house?
I knew I needed to learn more about the house that I now called home.
I somehow pulled myself together enough to prepare some food. After an uneventful dinner, my knee packed in ice, I sat on the sofa again, this time with a cup of tea and the TV remote. I had just gotten into a new detective show when a loud bang came from my bedroom. My body jerked so hard that I nearly fell off the couch, but I managed to catch myself before I did further damage to my knee. The hot tea sloshed over the edge of the cup and onto my hand. My skin immediately turned an angry red; I was sure a blister would follow.
Swearing profusely, I lurched my way to the bedroom—with the thought that one of the yet-to-be-unpacked boxes had fallen over—knowing I needed to get to my bathroom to deal with this burn before I did anything else.
I poked my hand around the corner and flicked the light switch. Nothing happened. I pushed the lever from on to off and then back again. Still, nothing happened. I didn’t know what to do. I certainly wasn’t in any condition to go climbing up on the bed to see if the ceiling light needed a new bulb. But I was too scared to work my way through the boxes in the bedroom. A thought hit me then. My ex could have found out where I was, snuck in, and been lying in wait to do what he promised so many times…to kill me.
I needed to get my cell phone immediately and call the police. They would either find some harmless explanation for all those loud noises, discover and arrest my ex, or haul me off to the asylum. If they even had asylums anymore.
I sat back down in the living room and reached for my phone. As I began to hit 911, the bedroom lights flickered on, then off, then the bathroom light, on and off. I stared in frozen astonishment, I mean really, what else could I actually do? While my apartment put on a light show, I got the police on the line. I told them about my fears and my ex-husband, and they promised to send someone right over.
The next three hours were a whirlwind as the police searched every nook and cranny of the house and shop and called an ambulance that took me to the emergency room to get my injuries looked at. By the time I got back to my house, all the lights were on, and, other than a few throw pillows being tossed haphazardly on the living room chairs, there was no evidence that the police had ever been there. The officer that had accompanied me to the emergency room and then home again, not that I could remember his name,, told me to get new locks for all the doors.
At 3 a.m., I finally crawled into bed, tentatively reached over to turn off the light, and huddled under the covers like a child. That was when a sharp bang exploded right beside the bed. With either intense courage or extraordinary stupidity, I jumped up and turned on the light. There, lying harmlessly on the floor, was a book.
The History of the House with the Cemetery
By Amelia Hawthorne
I picked it up and, on closer inspection, realized that the faded photograph on the cover was the house that had tried to scare me to death, the very house I was now living in.
Stay tuned for more stories.
If you liked this little story, let me know in the comments and I’ll keep writing them.