A Haunted Soul Episode 8
The poor ghost thought he was seeing a creature from Hell! It had two giant, round, white eyes that glowed so brightly in the night that they illuminated all that was around them. The creature growled and bellowed like the sound of a hundred angry wolves. The ghost was sure it was here to take him to that very worst of places. He had wanted to escape to the next life ever since his death so many hundred years ago, but he had never wanted this!
The creature had come in through the entry road through the forest, and it was coming closer and closer. The ghost knew he had done nothing so horrible to deserve a place in the netherworld, but this beast could only be here for one reason. The ghost was terrified, and he wanted to escape but had no idea where he could go.
But just as he was about to madly flee in terror, the creature stopped in its tracks, ceased its noise, and closed those horrible bright eyes tightly shut. It was then that he saw them. There were people getting out of the beast! The ghost then realized that this was no beast at all. It was really some sort of carriage with a monstrous animal caged inside to pull it around. He wondered how they pacified the creature to make it stop.
The presence of the people made the ghost's curiosity now outweigh his fear of the beast. After all, it wasn't often that he had gotten visitors over these long centuries. The last had come well over a hundred years ago. And he cherished every moment when he could overhear their conversations, even if none of them had ever known he was there. So he decided to walk over and see why these people had come to his castle.
The people had stopped in the same spot near the edge of the forest where most others had always seemed to prefer. The ghost wondered why nobody ever went to the castle. He had overheard it each time that this was because they said someone had seen a ghost out here on the grounds. He wondered who this someone was, because if that person saw him then why did he never find that one here. The people would come, camp for the night, see nothing, and leave the next day. It all seemed pointless.
As the ghost eavesdropped on the conversation of these new people, things seemed to go about the same as the other times. There were five in this group this time, three men and two women. The people mentioned how long it had taken to get here, as usual. The ghost didn't care. They spent the same time as others had, talking about nonsense around the campfire. None of this was holding any interest for the ghost. But then he noticed something odd.
One young woman who was sitting a little bit apart from the others kept looking in his direction. The ghost had the odd impression that she was in fact looking at him. This was more than a little unsettling to the ghost because no one had ever done this before. He decided to test this, so he moved to another spot. Sure enough, she was now looking in the direction of his new position!
The ghost had not been able to communicate with a living person for several centuries now, so he wasn't sure exactly what he should do next. He decided that maybe he should think about this for a few minutes, so he turned and walked away from the group. What he didn't notice was that the strange woman had gotten up and walked away from the group as well.
When he finally looked up, he noticed that the woman had wandered out into the darkness near his location, but more closely to the swampy area of the lake. There was no way her friends would be able to see her out here unless they summoned their monster to open its eyes again. The ghost ran toward her as she approached the small foot bridge that crossed the suddenly deep area of the edge of the lake.
The bridge was here for two reasons. The first was to serve as a nice observation platform. but the real reason was because there were many dangerous deep holes under the water in this area. One misstep could be very dangerous for an unwary person. And it was now the darkest time of the night. The woman had no idea how much danger she was in.
The ghost had only looked away for a second. But when he looked up again, there was no sign of the woman. What had happened to her? The ghost had a sick feeling in his stomach. He knew just where to look. As he got closer, his fears were confirmed. He found her floating on her back just a foot under the water. Her long dark curly hair was floating out straight in every direction. The woman appeared to be unconscious.
Panicked beyond all rational thought, the ghost quickly reached down into the water and pulled the woman out! As he set her down on dry land, he realized just what he had done. The ghost looked back into the water and dropped to his knees. The woman's body was still floating there in the water at the edge of the lake. She was dead! What he had pulled from the water was her ghost!
He looked back over to the woman he had pulled from the water. She was now standing there staring off into the darkness with no expression on her face at all. In a panic, the ghost turned back to the corpse floating in the water and then looked back up at the ghost woman. He just stared up at her dumbly as she wandered over to a big stone that marked the place where the road turned to lead up to the castle. There she sat down.
Finally the ghost got up and ran over to her and hysterically yelled, "You're dead! I think you fell into the water over there and drowned!"
The woman dully looked up at him as if seeing him for the first time and blinked. "Oh. Uh, yes, that's what happened. I think I slipped on a slippery rock or something," she said listlessly.
"But you're dead! Don't you care?", the ghost yelled again. "What about your friends! They'll be looking for you!" The ghost had no idea what to do. He felt as if this was the worst thing that had ever happened.
The woman answered with a far off expression to her voice, "I guess my friends will eventually find my body in the lake. Maybe they won't. Does it matter?"
The ghost was finally calming down, but only slightly. He was now remembering that he had similar feelings at the point of his own death as the woman now seemed to be experiencing. "Well, I don't really know what to do for you," he said in a quiet voice that trembled just a bit too much. "I've been dead and stuck here for several hundred years. I don't know if it will be the same for you or not. But you can go anywhere here on the castle grounds that you like. The castle is over there if you'd like that better."
"Oh yes, I know all about you. We came here looking for you, but I guess that's all over with now," said the woman.
With those words the woman got up and wandered toward the castle and into the night. The ghost just stood there watching. He really didn't know what to do. He felt horrible for the woman, even though she didn't seem to care. He heard one of her friends call out to her. The search had now begun. Even though something very significant had happened, the ghost knew that very soon morning would be coming and he would disappear once again.