A Christmas Ghost Story Part 2 could only happen in a place like Tecumseh, Indiana. This addition is part 2 of a three-part work of short fiction. A college professor realizes he may have made a mistake when he purchased the old Victorian on Monroe Street.
The first unusual occurrence took place the day after the contractors started the remodel on the old Victorian.
Richard Collins shuffled into his kitchen early in the morning to put on a pot of coffee and discovered the scent of roses filling the empty room. The aroma was a pleasurable surprise until he noticed a candle burning in the window, inches away from the lace curtains. Richard put out the candle and called for his wife. Beth rushed into the room. She didn’t like the scowl she saw on her husband’s face when she entered the kitchen.
“You can’t leave something like this burning all night. You’ll set fire to the place with us in it,” he said. (A Christmas Ghost Story Part 2)
“It wasn’t me. I’ve never seen that candle before in my life,” Sarah said in exasperation.
“Do you think Margo might have done this?”
“My guess is Bradley was the culprit. It’s more his style. He used a rose-scented candle to throw us off track so Margo would get the blame. I think we need to take him to see someone,” Beth suggested.
The couple got on with their morning routine and forgot about the arson attempt. (A Christmas Ghost Story Part 2)
A week later, a china doll with its eyes gouged out mysteriously appeared on the stairway. Bradley tripped on it and almost tumbled down the stairs. He claimed he would have broken his neck if he hadn’t caught hold of the handrail. All eyes looked at Margo over the breakfast table as the spotlight of suspicion turned in her direction. She denied any knowledge of the gross china doll like any guilty party naturally would. The case was closed due to a lack of conclusive evidence, but everyone decided to watch Margo for signs of violent behavior. Then, the reverberation from a gunshot echoed in the middle of the night. The noise rattled the bedroom windows. Richard jumped out of bed, and Beth was right behind him. The kids met them in the hall. “It sounds like it came from the basement. Dad, do you think someone is down there?” Bradley said.
“It sounds like it came from the basement. Dad, do you think someone is down there?” Bradley said.
“I don’t know, son, but you better take your mother and sister into the bedroom while I make the call.”
Two patrol officers showed up at the door within minutes. They pulled out their flashlights and went into the basement to investigate. They emerged after doing a thorough search and reported they hadn’t found a single thing. One of the officers suggested they must have heard the house settling. The other officer’s theory was they must have experienced a sonic boom. Both officers secretly thought it was the return of the Vanderburgh curse.
The doorbell prank started a week before Thanksgiving and continued through December.
The bell would sound at all hours of the day and night, but when the summons was answered, there was no one standing on the other side of the door. As far as Richard Collins could tell, the bell shouldn’t have been able to ring in the first place. It wasn’t hooked to any power source. The electrician was even stumped at the malfunction. He spent an entire day at twenty-five dollars an hour attempting to track down the power source.
“That’s the thing about these old houses. They have their little quirks, especially this one. I’m pretty sure I disabled it, but if it starts in again, you might have to live with it,” the electrician said on his way out the door, check in hand. The next morning the doorbell sounded again, and as usual, no one was there.
Antique toys started to appear in odd places, the hinges on the doors squeaked as they open and close at random, the oven would be turned on in the middle of the night, and banging noises coming from inside the wall became a constant distraction.
Richard thought he’d made a mistake when he bought the old house. Owning a piece of history wasn’t worth the constant irritation. The idea struck him he might be able to stop the high jinks if he could uncover the history of the house he’d purchased. Mr. Collins did what any good history professor would do. He took himself to the library and did a little research into the Vanderburgh family and their relationship to the old house on Monroe Street. It took three hours to find out everything he needed to know about the family.
The one question that remained in his mind centered around the China doll until he saw an old newspaper clipping of Susan Vanderburgh holding a replica of the one Bradley tripped on coming down the stairs, only this doll still had its eyes. Richard switched off the university library microfiche machine, convinced he was now the proud owner of a haunted house.
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures, click here.
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