Six years ago, D and I went on our first date. I had no idea our first date would lead to many many more! (Seriously, I thought he was kinda a goober, but I guess he grew on me :) Since it's so close to Halloween I thought I would write a short (ish) story! Don't worry, our first date wasn't nearly this terrifying. Enjoy! Oh and Stella and Ricky? They might make appearances in future short stories.
And to my wonderful husband--I am so happy you are always there to hold my hand through the happy times and the more scary times in our life. Thanks for being my stone ;)
I stood in Collie Mansion in one of the oldest parts of town, waiting for a tour to start. It was two days before Halloween and this was supposed to be the most haunted part of the town. Also, rich with history and I was banking on the history part rather than the haunting part. I did not do scary movies, let alone haunted mansions. Nope. Nope. Nope. But I was happy Ricky had finally asked me out on this date and I was going to say yes no matter what. Even if I had made a fool of myself as I freaked myself out. It would be worth it. Hopefully.
While I waited for Ricky, I stared up at the huge mansion. I wasn’t too familiar with the story. It was apparently owned by a Croatian family who had decided to steer away from their Illinois based home and moved west in hope to find gold. They ended up here instead and well….they never found gold. They made their money in various ways and I doubted they were all legal means of entrepreneurship.
The house loomed over me; hidden in the last of the sun, turning the gray stone into a deep purple. It was a huge structure, with tales of it having over fifteen bedrooms and twice as many rooms for entertaining purposes. Each window had a light in it, an old-fashioned candle flickering in the thick paned glass, an eerie darkness behind the small light. The uppermost window was in a tower type room, a turret I think they called it. A light in the window flickered feverishly, like a wind was blowing it out and it was struggling to survive. I was transfixed by the flame, slightly confused. The rest of the lights looked like the fake plastic candles, but this one looked real, even so far away. I saw a dash of white for only a split second and felt someone grabbing my shoulder. I screamed and spun around, ready to attack to only see Ricky holding up his hands and a look of surprise mixed with laughter. “I am so sorry Stella! I didn’t mean to scare you. I tried calling your name a few times but you didn’t answer.” My breathing resumed a normal pace as my nerves settled.
I hadn’t said anything yet. “Are you ok?” Ricky asked me as he gently placed a hand on my shoulder. His touch on my arm brought me back to my senses.
“mmhmm” I said tight lipped. Doubts crept in about whether or not this was a good idea.
Ricky smiled at me and grabbed my hand as we walked up front to the guide who was already making his way into the house. We were the last in the crowd to pass over the threshold and as soon as we passed over the doorway, I felt a cold tingle attach itself on the back of my neck, making me shiver.
Ricky this time didn’t say anything but looked over to me, gave me a reassuring smile, and grabbed my hand. My attention went back to the guide as he told us the story of the Collie Mansion,
“Alright everyone, before we start going through the house lets give you a brief history about the Collie Mansion Andro and Mirna Collie moved to this town around 1890, trying to make money by finding gold in the mines nearby. They lived in a smaller house closer to the center of town ,but they found gambling and opium to be a better money making business. Only a year after moving here, they started construction on this house. At the time Mirna was pregnant with their daughter Brigita. The house took over two years to build and the family moved in shortly after. The extra rooms only helped their illegal businesses, as they entertained high profile people from all over the state.
Years went on and the family started to turn their more lucid dealings into legitimate business as they grew their empire. Soon they owned a large part of the town around the time their daughter, Brigita, was about sixteen. One of the businessmen Andro Collie dealt with was from New York and at the time twenty-one. They say the exact moment this businessman, Paul was his name, and Brigita saw each other it was love at first sight. He was five years older than her but they didn’t care. Her parent’s did care and were against it. Brigita and Paul had a secret love affair every time Paul came into town and soon she found herself pregnant with his child.
Mirna Collie, very much the lady of the house, was livid and forbid Brigita to ever see Paul again. The family had an image to live up to so they locked Brigita in the tower room through her pregnancy. They had decided they would pass off the baby as a distant cousin’s, saying the cousin had died during childbirth and they were raising the baby. Andro cut all ties with Paul and Brigita went into a deep depression.
Locked up in her room, Brigita threatened to kill herself if she never got to see Paul again, but Mirna made sure that was not possible. Brigita eventually gave birth to a baby boy who she named Jeremy. But even after having the baby, Mirna still didn’t let Brigita out of her tower room, instead taking the baby and limiting the time she got to hold her child. Brigita went crazy; screaming at all hours, voicing her hatred for her mother. One day a servant went up to give Brigita her dinner. Brigita stabbed the servant with a piece of wood she had broken off her bed, ran downstairs and then killed her mother with the same piece of jagged wood. Her father came into the room, seeing his wife surronded by blood, and demanded Brigita to tell him what happened. Brigita, in a rage, took the wood and told her dad he would have to live with her son and tell him why his mother and grandmother were dead, then proceeding to kill herself.
The empire Andro Collie made, quickly fell apart. Paul eventually came back and took the young boy away from Andro. Soon Andro had no one and joined his wife and daughter by taking his own life, some say with the same piece of wood his daughter used. They say all three of them still haunt this mansion, Brigita forever stuck in the tower room.”
Holy shit. What a tragic and screwed up family. The tour guide started to talk again, moving the group along but I felt a tug on my arm. I slightly freaked out, the story still running through my head, to turn and see Ricky had pulled me aside.
“Let’s see if we can get up there.”
“Yeah..let’s see if we can get up into that tower room. “
My eyes widen. Was he serious? There was no way you were getting me up to that room filled with an angry teen girl of a ghost. Teen girls were already terrifying, no need to add the dead part to it. But before I had time to answer, Ricky was already dragging me up the stairs, simply stepping over the velvet-lined rope blocking our path. I couldn't believe I was doing this. My heart started to race and the house was drenched in darkness.
We hit the second floor but Ricky kept going and found the spiraled stone encased staircase leading up the tower room. The farther up the stairs we went, the deeper the fear set in. I was in no way possible a daring person. This was not something you would ever find me doing. Ever. Yet here I was, following Ricky on our first date into a haunted secluded room. I was insane.
We reached the top of the stairs; the large wooden door loomed in front of us.
“You think it’s that simple.” Ricky asked me as he pushed the door open.
“I guess so.” I barely answered. We stepped into the circular room. It was a bizarre mix, like be thrown back in time. The stonewalls had a medieval vibe but the décor was mid 1970s. The small metal bed had an orange and green crocheted bedspread on it, the layer of dust visible even from the door. A poster of Neil Diamond was tapped on the wall, one corner hanging down covering half his face.
“Odd...” Ricky said as we walked further into the room. “But I think spirit free.” Ricky turned around and moved his arms around me, his hands wrapping around my waist and settling on my lower back. “I might have had a different motive besides trying to find ghosts.”
I raised an eyebrow. If I focused on the hot man in front of me, I was less likely to freak myself out about the potential angry ghost. “What was the motive then?” I asked Ricky
He smiled. And oh that smile. “This.” Then he was kissing me and what a kiss it was. After a few heavy moments of kissing he broke apart from me and said, “I have wanted to do that since I met you in your bookstore Stella.” I smiled shyly as Ricky traced kisses up my neck. I glanced over to the small bed, my thoughts distracted by the man in front of me when I caught a glimpse of something white.
As I focused more on the bed I saw a women with curly black hair on her knees on the side of the bed, acting like she was praying. My breath caught and the grip I had on Ricky tightened. He lifted his head and looked at me but I didn’t see his eyes because mine were stuck on the women. Her head lifted and her face was white, her eyes black as the hair that curled around her head. Ricky turned his head around to see what I was looking at. His breath matched mine as it slowed. We were both transfixed by the women in front of us. Her hands clenched together but slightly transparent, though it looked like she clutched a very real blood red rosary in her tiny hands. This could only be Brigita, a daughter scorned.
Her obsidian holes that were her eyes connected with mine. I could hear in my mind the pacing of footsteps; suddenly the ghost of Brigita was in front of my face.
Ricky no longer held me, flung to the side. I heard him hit the stone wall and a grunt but I couldn’t move my eyes away from the young woman. Fear filled every minuscule pore of my body and my heart was racing so fast I thought it would leap out of my chest.
Brigita didn’t open her mouth this time but in the deep hallows of my mind I heard, “You have to save him….my baby boy…..all I want to do is hold him. Why can’t I hold my baby boy?Where have you taken my baby boy? If my beloved was here, we would be a family but you awful wrench, you have ruined it all, taken away my family. I hate you.”
I couldn’t move a single muscle. My feet felt like the stone in the room, stuck to the ground, which was a pity when I saw in the women’s hand a jagged piece of wood, as real as the rosary I had seen only moments before. She lifted her hand and the sharpen piece of wood was caked in dried blood, the death of Brigita and her family forever embodied on the wooden stake. She held the stake up high above my head, ready to plunge into my body. The starry sky from the window behind Brigita leached through the ghostly pale form, a twisted version of the Milky Way. The light I had seen outside no longer glowed.
I glanced up to see the black holes of her eyes. I could only imagine the hurt and torture that would fill those eyes, the damaged soul of Brigita Collie. I saw her swing down the wooden stake and suddenly felt myself fly out of her path, hitting the stone floor with enough force to hear a crack in my arm. A heavy body was lying on top of me, but this one warm and breathing. Ricky rolled off me grabbing my hand and lifting me up. I clutched my right wrist close to me, pain radiating off in the same rhythm of my fast paced heartbeat. I looked over as Ricky pulled me out of the room to see Brigita gone but the wooden steak rolling around on the floor.
We rushed down the stairs and onto the second floor when Ricky abruptly stopped in front of me, causing me to crash into his back, bringing a whole new wave of pain to my wrist. I sucked in a breath and tightened my grip on his hand, leaning over him to see why we had stopped. In front of us was another form of a woman, this time her curly hair was gray and piled on top of her head.
This could only be the lady of the house. Mirna Collie. She stood there with her arms cradling something, but nothing was there. There was no baby in Mirna Collie’s arms. A small victory at this point. I have no idea what we would have done with a real life baby. The women looked past Ricky, staring at me.
Why me? Why were these women targeting me? The women glided towards me, like her feet weren’t even touching the ground. I heard her in my mind, just like I did with her daughter.
“I regret everything.” Her voice was like cold air, shrouding me in an icy blanket of sorrow.
And then she was gone. We both stood there, not sure what to do. It only took a split second and we were both on the move again, racing towards the stairs that brought us up here. We clomped down the old stone stairs, each step echoing through the stairwell. As we hit the bottom, we saw the guide bringing the group out of the house. We had somehow missed the whole tour.
The guide stopped and looked at us both. I was positive we were a sight to see. He smirked and said, “Looks like you two saw a ghost or something.” Then chuckled at his own joke, leaving us unable to respond.
Or something was right.
3 days later
I parked my car and locked the door as I walked the block to my bookstore. After our terrifying first date, Ricky was a gentleman and took me to the hospital to get my wrist set. I had fractured it when I landed on it but Ricky saved my life so I wasn’t too upset. Even after our date, he still asked me out again and I agreed ONLY if he never took me anywhere with angry spirits. He was quick to agree. I looked into my purse for my store keys. As I finally grabbed the keys and unlocked the door I heard a clinking against the window-lined door. That was weird, I didn’t have anything hanging from the inside of the door. I took the key from its lock and looked inside.
Hanging from the doorknob was Brigita Collie’s blood red rosary.