“Mummy’s not returning is she, father?” Lillian asked, a tear rolling down her cheek.
Her father, William, looked down at his brown haired daughter, and picked her up, enveloping her in his arms. “Hush now, Lillian. No more tears. Mummy won’t be back, darling. I’m so sorry.” His voice was soft and gentle.
Lillian rested her head against her father’s shoulder as he carried her up the winding stair case to her room. Moon light shone through the white drapes, giving her bedroom a blue glow. Only one of the large windows was open, filling the room with a slight breeze. William placed Lillian in her bed, and shut the window, making sure to lock it. He tucked Lillian into bed, placing her favorite doll beside her. Looking at her was painful; she was a spitting image of her mother. Her ocean blue eyes sparkled in the moonlight with unshed tears, while her bottom lip trembled.
“Could you read me a bed time story tonight, father?” she asked hopefully, reaching out to touch her father’s arm.
He drew back slightly, the ache in his heart growing with every passing second. “Not tonight sweetheart.” He muttered, rising from her bed.
William left Lillian’s room, shutting the door behind him, leaving his eight year old daughter alone and distraught. His footsteps silently padded down the carpeted hallway to their…his bedroom. The deep purple walls brought back endless nights of memories made with Victoria. He faced the king bed, which now seemed quite lonely; with only one pillow now occupying the head. William sighed and pulled on his pajamas, asking why this happened to him.
Victoria and William met when they were children, as their parents were good friends. Both grew up in wealthy families and were given the best of everything. While Victoria was sent to work when she was of age, William went off to school. It was not until Victoria was sixteen years old, when Victoria’s father, James gave William permission to marry his daughter.
William was not like the other men of their time. He did not wish to control Victoria, nor treat her as property. He wanted to love her, to make her happy to the best of his ability. It was these rare traits that made Victoria fall for him, as she was not like normal woman of their time. She did not believe that woman should be controlled as they were, and immediately fell in love with William for his lack of control. It was however, precisely this lack of control, that Victoria was able to leave William. He did not wish to cause trouble with her absence, so he let her leave.
She had been gone for two months now, and in his heart he knew she would not return. He did not understand why she left; he gave her everything she wanted. He could swear on his mother’s life that she was happy with him. Her absence said otherwise. But the pain was becoming too much. He had lived seventeen years of his life with her, how was he supposed to go on now? It might have been easier if she had been murdered, because then at least she would not have chosen to leave him.
Pulling on his pajamas, he made his decision; it would happen tonight. It had to; he couldn’t deal with this anymore. William walked slowly to his dark brown dresser and pulled open the bottom drawer. He lifted up the clothes, exposing his rifle. Victoria didn’t like guns, so he hid it where she would never have to see it. Carefully, he picked up the rifle and checked that it was loaded.
He knew Lillian would be asleep now; she was always good that way. Slowly and quietly, William crept down the hallway to his daughter’s room. His hands shook and tears brimmed his eyes; this was the last thing he ever wanted to do, but he saw no other way. Victoria was gone, and he never wanted to live without her. Lillian couldn’t live without parents; he wouldn’t have it.
William pushed open the door and saw his daughter sleeping soundly. If he could keep quiet, Lillian would never know what happened. At the foot of her bed now, William took a moment to watch his daughter sleep, wondering what she was dreaming of. He closed his eyes, silently apologizing to her. He aimed the rifle to her chest and fired. Her eyes shot open for a mere second, in shock from the rude awakening. Her body remained still, and dark, scarlet blood spilled from the wound in her chest. William grabbed onto the poster at the end of her bed for support and let out a sob. The murder of his daughter made his next action much easier to go through with.
He opened his mouth, put the rifle inside, and blinked back tears for the last time. A sob escaped his throat just as he fired. His body lingered for a moment before falling forward at the foot of his daughter’s bed. Blood pooled around his lifeless body and the rifle lay above his head. All the pain he had experienced for the past two months was no more.
Philadelphia, North America
“Dad, do you realize how inconvenient and unfair it is for you to take me out of my junior year of high school? All my friends are here! I was going to start looking at colleges!” Victoria yelled at her father, who sat at the round kitchen table rubbing his temples.
“Victoria, I told you. This is for my job!” he explained again, exasperated with his daughter’s attitude.
“Chasing ghosts and talking to them isn’t a job, dad. It’s a hobby. A stupid hobby you picked up after mom left.” Victoria no sooner said the words than she wished she hadn’t said them at all.
Her father glared at her, clearly upset now. Victoria stammered, unsure of what to say. She hadn’t meant to say it. “Dad, I-” she began, but her father’s sharp voice cut her off.
“Go. To. Your. Room. Now.” He spoke firmly and clearly, his eyes boring into hers.
Victoria wasted no time running up the stairs two by two and bolting to her room. John sat at the table, angry and upset, letting Victoria’s words soak in. He knew she didn’t mean it, she was angry and upset. He couldn’t blame her really; almost seventeen years old and being pulled away from her friends, she was angry at the world. She doesn’t have much of a choice, though. John thought to himself, as he rummaged through the refrigerator trying to find something for dinner.
The movers moved the last of the boxes into the foyer of the 1800 Victorian home. John and Victoria thanked them as they pulled out of the driveway. The house was cold and gave Victoria a strange tingling sensation in her spine. But she brushed it off and helped her dad sort the boxes so they could begin unpacking.
“Remind me again why we had to move thousands of miles? To a completely different continent, no less.” Victoria said shrilly, dropping a glass of expensive china on the kitchen floor.
John sighed heavily, casting a glance at his distraught daughter. “Victoria, just go to your room and start unpacking, please.” His voice was tired, and Victoria knew better than to argue.
“Whatever.” She muttered, stomping up the winding stairs to her new room.
She pushed open the first door on the left, and peaked inside. The musty smell made her nose crinkle. I’m going to have to do something about that. She thought. Though the actual room was nice; it was decently big, and had large floor to ceiling windows. A door to the left of her bed was slightly open and Victoria went to investigate. Her jaw dropped when she saw that she now had her own bathroom! So maybe this house isn’t so bad… she thought to herself, closing the bathroom door.
Victoria looked around at the boxes strewn on her hardwood floors, and sighed. Why did she have to have so much stuff? She picked up the boxes containing her clothes and plopped them on her bed. As she opened a box, she heard her bathroom door creak open. She looked at it curiously; sure she had closed it completely. Maybe it just doesn’t stay closed. She thought, going over to shut it again.
Victoria opened the door slightly, and had to cover her mouth to muffle her scream. A figure of a little girl stood in the middle of her bathroom, looking terrified. Victoria couldn’t move, much as she wanted to. Her feet seemed to be planted to the floor, and her vocal cords had stopped working. There was a ghost….in her room…she thought maybe her dad would be traveling to somewhere in the area to investigate, but to live in a haunted house? She never had to deal with this before.
The ghost girl looked up and noticed Victoria standing in the doorway. She didn’t seem dangerous, but she was sure she had frightened the girl. “Hello?” the ghost called out.
Victoria jumped. “You can talk?!” she blurted.
The girl nodded, playing with her fingers. “Who are you?” she asked, tilting her head to the side.
“Victoria. And uhm…who…who are you?” she still couldn’t overcome the fact that there was a ghost in her room.
“Victoria?” the girl’s eyes widened. “My mother’s name is Victoria.” She smiled sadly.
“That’s…lovely. What’s your name?” Victoria asked impatiently.
“My apologies miss. My name is Lillian.” The little girl was shy, and her voice timid.
Victoria was about to speak when she heard her dad come up the stairs and knock on her door. “Victoria?” he called out.
Victoria turned to Lillian, wide eyed and whispered. “Stay here. And don’t do anything. My dad can’t see you, understand?”
Lillian nodded, her eyes fearful. Victoria shut her bathroom door, quickly threw clothing on her floor and moved some of her boxes before letting her dad into her room. “Sorry, I had to maneuver around my boxes.” Victoria said innocently.
Her dad looked suspiciously around her room, but thought nothing of her explanation. “You haven’t seen anything weird yet, have you?”
Victoria rolled her eyes. “No, Dad. Wouldn’t you have heard me scream?”
“Hmmm, good point. I’m just going to order pizza for dinner, is that okay?” he asked.
Victoria nodded, shooing him from her bedroom. She went back to her bathroom to find the little ghost girl gone. Dammit Dad.
The maid hummed quietly as she dusted the bookshelves and knick knacks of her Master’s office. It was barely mid-morning, so the absence of his barking orders was none out of the ordinary for the maid. Sunlight glinted against the freshly cleaned windows, and a cool air slipped through the openings.
When ten in the morning approached, the maid climbed the stairs to wake Lillian. She felt bad for Lillian, after all that had happened. Her wretched Mother left without a good-bye, and now her father was eternally angry. The poor little girl would never be the same again.
The maid approached Lillian’s door and saw that it was already open slightly; which was peculiar, as Lillian always slept with her door completely shut. Shrugging, the maid pushed it open, only to be greeted by her father’s dead body lying face down on the floor. Blood surrounded his body, and had soaked into the carpet.
The maid let out a blood curdling scream as her gaze fell upon Lillian, dead in her bed. Her knees buckled, and she sank to the floor, grabbing her chest. Sobs shook her entire body, as she continued to stare at the pair of them. Oh Lillian… she thought.
“Father, why did we have to move?” Young Victoria asked, clutching her father’s hand.
“Because sweetheart, daddy has a new job now. This house is closer than our old home.” He said gently, pushing open the front door.
Victoria looked around at the empty, dark house. Dread filled her seven year old body and she looked helplessly up at her father. She didn’t want to live here. It was scary, and big. Though she knew better than to tell her father this.
Victoria played outside in the spacious backyard as her father unpacked their belongings. He had promised she could sleep in his room until she became comfortable with the house. She still didn’t like living in such a big, lonely house, but knew she had no choice.
Victoria wandered into the house when the sun began to set, and set the table for dinner. Her father stood at the stove, stirring whatever it was in some big pot. He felt terrible for moving his one and only daughter into a new home, but he had no choice. If only her mother were still around…maybe this move wouldn’t be so hard on her.
The two sat together at the table and ate their dinner in silence. A fire crackled in the room next door, and the wind blew against the windows. James watched his daughter carefully as she ate. A new wave of guilt crashed over his heart as tears brimmed his eyes. She looked so sad, so lonely, and yet they had just moved here. Her dark, chocolate curls hid her eyes as she ate, but James knew she was probably holding back tears too.
Nightfall came quickly, and James and Victoria settled into their pajamas. He had set up one side of his bed in her bedding, including her favorite teddy bear. She clambered in and tucked herself underneath the covers. James blew out the candles, and settled himself in on his side. The only source of light now was the moonlight.
He stared up at the dark ceiling, thinking about dinner. “Victoria, sweetheart, I’m so sorry we had to move.” His voice was soft.
“It’s alright, father. I understand.” Her voice was barely audible as she rolled onto her back.
She reached out into the dark beside her, finding her father’s large hand. She wrapped her small fingers around his and squeezed. He took her hand in his and squeezed in return. He felt his heart swell and he let out a shaky sigh. He heard Victoria’s steady breathing, telling him she had fallen asleep. James smiled to himself and shut his eyes, trying to find sleep.
A shadow passed over the wall, stopping at Victoria’s side of the bed. The manly figure stared down at her, glaring at the rise and fall of her tiny chest. A rifle in his hand, his chest heaving, he reached out to the touch the girl with his free hand; moving a lock of hair away from her face. His eyes fell on her hand tucked into her father’s and laughed quietly to himself.
The figure aimed the rifle at her chest, shut his eyes and fired. As soon as the bullet entered her chest, he vanished, leaving the father screaming in agony, clutching his daughter in his arms.
Victoria came home from her new school with anger boiling inside her. A group of girls picked Victoria as their entertainment, and wouldn’t stop bothering her until the final bell. No one stood up for her, no one even talked to her. So she took it upon herself to put a stop to the bullying. She had shouted at the girls at first, but when that didn’t work, she punched the leader of the group right in the nose; earning Victoria her first detention ever.
She knew her father wouldn’t be happy about it, but if the girls had only just let her alone… Sighing, Victoria went to her room and flopped down on her bed. She closed her eyes and took deep breaths until she was calm. After a few minutes of staring at the inside of her eyelids, Victoria opened her eyes, only to find Lillian standing at the end of her bed, joined by another little ghost girl whom she did not recognize.
Victoria let out a small yelp and sat up. “Lillian…who is this?” she asked as calmly as she could.
The two little girls looked at each other, and Lillian nodded. “Her name is Victoria. Just like my mother.”
Victoria gazed at the two, confused. Their chests had a dark spot, almost like a permanent wound, and their skin was pale. Lillian, had light brown hair, while Victoria had chocolate brown hair. She got off her bed slowly and stepped towards the two ghosts.
“Lillian…Victoria, you need to be more careful. Understand? If my father-”
“Pardon me, Miss.” Ghost Victoria piped. “It is you who needs to be careful.”
“Excuse me?” Victoria asked, insulted that a little girl was telling her what she needed.
“She is right, Miss. You must be careful. You are in grave danger living in this house.” Lillian said anxiously, playing with a lock of her hair.
“What are you talking about?” Victoria asked, growing angry again.
“Victoria!” her dad shouted as he climbed the stairs. Victoria groaned as she watched the two girls vanish into thin air.
“What dad!” she yelled back, meeting him in the hall way.
He gave her a look of disapproval. “Your principal called today. Fighting, Victoria? Really?”
She rolled her eyes, placing her hands on her hips. “Dad, those girls were making fun of me all day! I lost control by the end of the day.”
He hazed at her for a moment longer. Finally, he sighed and rubbed his temples. “Just…control your temper next time, okay?”
Victoria nodded, ready to return to her room when her father called out to her.
She turned to face him, her hand on her door knob. She just wanted to get back to doing nothing. “What dad?”
He gave her a small smile, and scratched his head. “Whatever those girls said about you isn’t true.”
She smiled. “Thanks Dad.” Victoria returned to her room and shut the door behind her.
John sat at his desk later that evening, pouring over paperwork dealing with the history of the house. So far he knew that William and Lillian were the first to die in the house; that part was clear. Now he was focusing on the death James and Victoria. The police report had stated that James had killed Victoria, but the full details told John otherwise.
The more he stared at the police reports, the more tired he grew. The light of his desk lamp was hurting his eyes, and he felt his eyes closing. Just as he was about to close the folder, a thought struck him. He scrambled for the information on William, and found what he was looking for.
John laughed to himself, feeling a weight lift of his chest. The pieces of the puzzle were coming together. William hated his wife for leaving…he kills himself, and his daughter. His spirit haunts the house; a new Victoria moves in and he goes after her. But that means...
“Oh shit.” John whispered, bolting out of his chair in unison with an ear splitting scream from Victoria’s room.
He climbed the stairs three at a time and pushed open her door. His frightened daughter was up against her wall, her sheets pulled up to her chin. The figure of William stood at the edge of her bed, a rifle in his hand.
“Hey!” John yelled.
William turned to look at him, anger on his face. Ghost Victoria and Lillian stood in the corner, watching nervously.
“Leave my daughter alone.” John growled. “She’s not your wife.”
William continued to gaze at John, confusion now on his face. His grip remained tight on his rifle.
“Look, you can stay in this house. We won’t interfere with your presences, but leave Victoria alone. She has nothing to do with your anger. I’m sorry your wife left you. Mine left me too, but I don’t go around killing people with the same name as her. If you touch Victoria, or frighten her in any way, I’ll have no problem eliminating your presence. Do you understand?” John spoke clearly and slowly.
William dropped the rifle in between them and scooted it towards John with his foot. “She will be left alone.” Was all he said before he turned and walked into the wall next to the bathroom.
Lillian and Victoria followed suit, smiling at Victoria before disappearing. John sat down on his daughter’s bed and pulled her in for a hug. Tears leaked from the corner of her eyes as she looked up at her father.
“Dad…I feel this isn’t over.” Victoria whispered; afraid if she spoke too loudly he would come back.
John looked around his daughter’s room. “Me too, sweetheart.”
He squeezed his daughter tighter, kissing the top of her head. Neither John nor Victoria saw the shadow appear on the wall William had passed through just a minute before; the rifle back in his hand.
Word Count: 3, 526