Water hammers against glass a constant stream into sodden ground. A clock chimes down the hall. Behind the door a familiar swish of endless petticoats. A heavy skirt moves along the dusty corridor. Elderly walls holding many secrets begin to whisper in her ears. Can she hear the music, dancing, drinking, laughter? Has the party started again?
Hands pressed hard to her ears, eyes squeezed tight shut. Perhaps she can wake herself, but she is not sleeping. Only when it’s raining! The chill closes in, forcing her into the chair in the corner. Behind her eyelids she tries to picture nice things like mother said. Hugging the cushion, eyes stinging, all she sees is pink. Footsteps, hard determined footsteps follow the skirt. Running. Shrieking. No laughter any more.
She opens her mouth to shout but no sound comes. No one believes her anyway. She has seen the adults’ exchange nervous glances. Footsteps stop. The skirt stops. There, outside her room now. Always at seven o’clock! A cry, no, a scream. A long painful scream. A thud, scraping, dragging, the footsteps move away.
The chill lifts, her breath no longer visible. Distant music ends. A five-minute nightmare is over for another night, until next time. Her heart slows. Uncurling herself, she stands. Pulling back the curtain she stares out into the dark garden. Water running down glass, trees blowing, tapping against her window. It was only the rain of course. No such thing as ghosts. Just rain.
(c) 2007 Liah S Thorley all rights reserved