XII. The Tables Turned

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What a bizarre feeling, to see oneself before one's very eyes, as a corpse fresh to the death. My body was still warm, yet here I was looking down upon it. Once Elizabeth moved away, I knelt down and tried to feel my own cheek. It vexed me to know that I could not.

Finally, my questions of the deaths of my husband and baby were answered, but the cruel hand of fate strangled the life from my body before I had the chance to act on that knowledge I had acquired.

A truly sorrowful soul I had become, and a spirit I would remain. The humming from Elizabeth provided an overture of morbid dejection, like the fluty tune the ghosts in the churchyard sang. How slowly I had lifted the veil from my eyes, as Antonia had instructed me, but it came too late and at the most terrible price.

The cawing of a rook drew Elizabeth to the window. She petted the beast, her movements airy like a peaceful spirit. It surprised me not that I would soon feel the brewing heat of anger well within my unearthly form. More than ever did I feel so very helpless.

Elizabeth moved from the window and looked down upon my body like God. She played with my life and swiftly ended it, and I could do nothing but watch. Her strength was evident when she grabbed my dead legs and pulled me from the kitchen. It sickened me still to see what she was doing to me, without trouble nor feeling.

I had no control over my body; I could only watch a monster dispose of it. She dragged it into a small closet under the stairs – dark and undeserving to home a part of me that I cherished. Oh, the anger and pain was tearing my soul apart! Was this now my damnation? Was I doomed now to spend eternity with my murderer as she did as she pleased?

She stuffed my legs inside the closet and locked the door. She smoothly placed the key in the pocket of her dress, and made her way to the stairs. I followed closely.

I felt fortunate that she could not see me, though I hoped that maybe she would in time. There was a small landing at the mid-point of the stairs, where a great glass window spread from the floor to the ceiling. A light shone through, and it gleamed over Elizabeth as she drew a breath. What a simple human thing to do, of which I took for granted, and could not do no longer.

She stood at the window for a moment. I watched her as my loathing flared. How dare she do this to me. I could not stop myself, for I hated her so much, that I summoned every single energy I had to touch the murderous woman. To my surprise, she felt it and turned around.

Her eyes met mine. I internally gasped as she said, in shock, 'Rowena?!'

Yes, she could see me. She saw my spirit – a spirit she helped strengthen to the point of haunting resolve. For what I was to do next, she had no-one to lay blame but with herself.

With every possible energy from within, I lay my hands on her shoulders, and pushed. Elizabeth, too frozen to move from my grasp, only realised what I had done too late, as she had done to me.

She stumbled backwards, the glass of the window shattered upon impact. A piercing scream escaped her lips, and even as a ghost, it tore through me, and frightened me beyond belief. I took her place that she previously had at the window, and watched as she fell to the stone ground of the gardens.

I watched as she fell to her death.

Oh, how justified I felt in my actions. A sinner only in death, for vengeance overwhelmed my spirit and caused me to rashly exact mortal vindication upon my false sister. She was doomed to live no longer than I, though any action against God, I should have known, would wreak poor judgment against me.

A hollow being I had now become, when just prior to my death, progress to my health of a happier being was much improved. Ironic, that I would finally move on from the deaths of my husband and baby when it was fated that I should perish before I could reap the benefits.

I wander the Earth now, reader, in my ghostly form, with no clear direction of what I was or where I should go. I did not find the spirits of my husband or baby as I haunted the streets of Kintbury, and I plunged further and further into the abyss of darkness that enveloped the land of the dead.

For a small while, the news of my death created a panic. My spirit was noticed on occasion, in the latest of hours, by several patrons. The longer I remained dead, the thinner the veil between those living and myself thinned. I was regularly seen at the grave of my daughter, and I was cursed to hear her cries for punishment of my wrongdoing.

And that was when I began my tale, in the confessional chamber of the nearby church. The priest, with whom I shared this tale, was discovered dead upon my leaving of the chamber – that noise in which I thought I heard him leave, was truly the sound of his collapse and subsequent death.

Oh, how catastrophic and truly bleak to be stuck in the afterlife as such a pitiful spectre. I had managed to converse with the living, to only bring upon their death. Cursed, my burdening spirit could only seek elevation from sharing my story, in the hopes that those reading would sympathise with my tragic tale, so that I may move on from the horrors of what transpired during my time on Earth alive, and what soon followed.

The small house in Kintbury in which I abandoned following the deaths of my husband and child was now inhabited, but I was compelled to it. The strength left inside of me kept me from being seen, as I wished it so, and I hid myself in the attic. There were many nights I sat in the darkness, staring at nothing but shadows, in the hopes that this eternal torment would soon be over.

The owner, ironically, was a writer, and used the attic to pen his tales. An opportunity soon presented itself to me, one day, when light found its way in the darkness. The sleek white paper called for my attention, and for a while, I refused to approach the desk. But faith drew me to it, and my final hopes perceived absolution upon acknowledgment.

I now sit at the desk the paper lies upon, and it did not take me long; the words poured from my soul to the paper. As I write this now, I can feel the language in which I learned whilst alive, seep through my fingers to the quill and through the wet ink that rests on the pages. This is my story, and though I may not have been worthy of telling it whilst I was alive, in death, it is the only choice I have.

It may trouble you to know that, as I converse with you now, fellow reader, I am being watched. A woman indeed stands in the shadows, haunting me as she did whilst I was alive. Oh, reader, I believe it to be the witch, Lilianna Ravencroft, as she sings her haunting melody in this attic I am now confined to.

Heed me, for she does not sing to my spirit. I must not look at her, for in her arms, she has my baby.


THE END   

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