The Meaning of Anya

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
Yet another ghost story. This time it is about a séance. A mother is trying to contact her dead daughter through mediums, but she constantly fails. Finally, she seems to find a medium who can help her. The story was inspired by a true story I heard not so long ago.

Submitted: April 03, 2008

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Submitted: April 03, 2008

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“Ahhn-yaah” she said.
 
That word made me mad. In fact, I almost missed it, because her accent was so unusual. But then I recognized the sounds, one by one, and a meaning was slowly constructed in my mind. It was a meaning I have not thought of since a long.
 
The medium’s hands were shaking. Her eyes were turning out as she screamed the boring lines. Those lines I heard so many times I could not believe in their truth anymore.
 
“I can hear something”, she sang in a high and mystic tone.
 
“It’s the voice of a girl. Young…afraid… it must be her.”
 
Oh yeah, just go on, I thought. Soon I’m going to find out everything. Just a few more words and I will know. I will know if you’re making a fool of me. She was trembling terribly, her hair disheveled, her fist in a grip. The round table seemed distant in the dark, the curtains pulled together, and the violet light that filled the room caused dizziness.
 
“She is speaking to me”, the woman whispered. “But I can’t….”
 
“What is she saying?” I asked with great anticipation.
 
Like a predator stalking around its prey, I was inquiring my victim. I was poking her. I did not have any hope, I saw no chance to hear my babe. My sleeping babe. My lost Katalin. I didn’t understand why I was doing that.
 
It all started with her death. She was only six years old. Pure and beautiful, she was my pearl. We emigrated from Hungary into the U.S. just one year before. We moved to a small town and lived in a cottage house, far from everyone and everything.
 
But we couldn’t be happy for too long, the two of us. Cancer took her so quickly that I didn’t even have time to explain to her what was going on. One day she got sick. Three weeks later she was dead.
 
“Wait.” The old medium came to a halt, as if listening carefully to some quiet music.
 
“What is she saying?”
 
“Shhhh…” she frowned. “I can’t…It’s…”
 
“What?” I got impatient. She was clearly making a fool of me. Suddenly I felt so stupid, taking part in this crazy drama theater. She is dead. She won’t come back. And this woman is only presenting a show for the money she gets, just like the ones before her.
 
When my Katalin died I just couldn’t go on with my life. After hundreds of sleepless nights I decided to find a medium. I wanted to know if there was a way to talk to the dead. I wanted to speak to my daughter. I wanted to tell her how much I loved her. So I called the first medium. And then the next, and the next, and so it went.
 
The medium laid her hands on the table, weary and almost sick, and she looked at me.
 
“I think I’ve lost her” she declared. Her face switched to normal again.
 
I was disappointed. I didn’t want to believe that she would trick me like that. That was too easy. She blew out the candle. I sighed and said something about being sorry. I think I asked her if we might try it again.
 
Those swindlers who called themselves seers, they were all the same. Soon I got used to witches coming to my house, doing strange practices and then leaving without success. My hatred towards them grew day after day.
They all did the usual rituals. The table, the curtains, the candle, and the pen. Some of them looked weird, with colorful clothes and wild eyes. Others seemed quite normal. But regardless of who they were, how much money they asked or what they preached, they all made the same mistake.
 
The old woman seemed to be pondering on something.
 
“Just before I lost the connection”, she explained, “Your daughter was speaking to me. But it was strange…like mumbling or…I couldn’t figure out what she meant.”
 
“What did you hear?” I asked monotonously, standing up from the table as I walked to my purse to pay her the money I promised. She was still sitting with her elbows on the table.
 
After a while she went on.
 
“I don’t know what she meant. She was repeating a word. Constantly, without a pause she said the same. But it was like…like a foreign language she spoke.”
 
My fingers froze inside my purse.
 
“A foreign language?”
 
“Yeah, I don’t think it was English.”
 
Whenever these mediums came, the first thing they did was asking questions. They asked all kinds of things. By the time we started the séance, they knew everything about me. I told them about my family, my origins, my hobbies, and last, but not least, about my Katalin. I confessed everything, except for one, tiny detail. I was very careful not to reveal that thing, never let them know about it. And it worked.
 
“What word did she repeat?” I asked the medium, my heart beating fast and strong.
 
She formed her lips in a weird fashion to pronounce the word.
 
“It was like…ahhn-yaah”, she said. “Does it say anything to you?”
 
I also realized that these mediums were excellent actors. They were playing their role in a truly authentic way. They had a couple of methods. Some of them even tried to imitate the voice of my daughter. They screamed “Mother, help! I’m so afraid!” and they sounded like a little child.
 
Of course I didn’t believe them. I threw these people out of my house. I knew they were lying.
 
Others brought strange objects, pretended to be fighting with evil spirits or told me that my daughter’s soul was captured by the devil himself. I always asked them the same question.
 
“How do spirits communicate with us? Do they use words just like we do? What kind of language do they speak?”
 
The answer was usually the same. Spirits speak just like anyone of us. The only difference is that not everyone is able to hear them. Only mediums, people who have that special gift of understanding, only they can tell us what the dead have to say.
 
“So then, spirits speak the language they’ve learnt in their life?”
 
“Yes, that’s right.”
 
Ahhn-yaah… It took me some time to realize what it meant.
 
“Ahhn-yaah”, I said it out loud. And as it left my mouth I could immediately hear it. Can it be? Can it possibly be? All the others were making that mistake. Can it be that this time it is real?
 
“Wasn’t it anya, what she said?” I asked the medium, my soul full of excitement.
 
“Exactly, that was it.” The old woman looked at me with a frown.
 
“What does that mean?” she inquired.
 
So she really did not understand it. For a while I could only stand there, dumb from the thousand things I felt. The love, the fear and above all, the vast and unbearable sadness.
 
“It means mother”, I answered finally. “It’s Hungarian”, I added.
 
My daughter did not speak English at all. She spoke only Hungarian.
 
 


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