November 26th 2019
The crooked house hid many secrets, as young teens Billy and I spent many hours there. Hiding in the cellar and exploring it’s cavernous rooms we were having too much fun to be afraid. Maybe the house enjoyed the shrieks of happy children, but those happy children grew up. From playing hide and seek to families and pursuing careers. It’s now in my thirties that I sit in horror reading the danger that we were once in.
As an Estate Agent it is my job to sell the old crooked house. Developers had painted the front, put in a new kitchen and updated it inside. Walking around, it’s a lovely family home, but I always needed to wrap my coat around me. Even when sunny outside, I felt I wanted my scarf and woolly hat. It’s only now as I feel my skin tingling that I know why. Any moment I knew the phone was going to ring loudly disturbing my morning coffee. This was the story of the week, maybe month or year.
Reading the Newland Gazette, journalist Hans Lee’s had written of an unidentifiable girl’s body found in a pit in the cellar with a Snoopy watch lying next to her. We had spent many hours in the house, I could feel icy sweat crawling over me like ants crawling up my arms. I thought of pretty red head Marie. She had vanished twenty years ago and the police had decided that she had been kidnapped or murdered, she had never been found.
Jumping at my mobile, Billy’s name flashed across the screen.
“Jane, you seen the paper?”
“Yes, just reading it and I can’t believe it”.
“She might be unidentifiable but Marie always wore her Snoopy watch. It can only be her, she was never found.”
“Do you think she fell when playing?”
“When she vanished, we had been playing together a while earlier. We thought she’d gone home”.
I could see her now, a happy child shrieking and whooping with the rest of us. Any one of us could have fallen in that pit. Feeling sick I wondered why we hadn’t heard her, maybe she had banged her head and couldn’t shout.
“Jane, you still there?”
“Yes, sorry Billy, what now? Her family moved away, should we offer to identify the watch?”
“Yes, I’m going to ring the crime line. I’m assuming the police must have contact for the family on their records. They will have to reopen their cold case.”
“Yes, but this could have been just been an accident.”
“Jane, I know you are trying to sell the house, but what else do you know about it?”
“Not much, it’s old and it’s crooked.”
“Research it’s history. I haven’t liked to say, but for the hours we played there I think the spirits were happy having us there”.
“Spirits, what Spirits?”
“I’m saying no more, but there’s an old theory about red heads as well. It’s a shame thing’s hadn’t been recorded twenty years ago”.
“They probably were but things weren’t so easily accessible back then. Now we just ask Google.”
“Jane have a read, it will make you shudder. I’m going to phone the crime line, will talk later”.
She hung up the phone as I opened my laptop, now bombarded by frantic emails. That house was certainly not going to sell to a normal buyer now.
Searching the internet, I found the story, the reason why the crooked house had been empty for so long. I read how in 1985 the owners had gone missing. Leonard Brown, was later found guilty of murder in a village miles away. His wife was never found and relatives had told how they had been desperate for children. Was his wife haunting the property now? Had she captured Marie? I don’t usually believe in the supernatural but the house doesn’t have a welcoming feeling about it. No, this place will not sell now.
A phone call
As my desk phone rang I expected a journalist on the other end.
“Hello, is that Hills Estates?”
“Err, yes it is.”
“Hello, this is Marjorie from the BBC. We are filming ‘Ghost Hunters’ and would love to come and visit your possible haunted house that you are selling”
Their researchers were quick, I’d only just found out.
“You will need to talk to the police first. I’m sure you know about the body.”
“Yes, we aren’t filming for a few weeks but need to book the job in. We will come to a deal over payment and will contact the police station, but will you let us film?”
May be this could be good publicity and we were getting paid.
“I’ll check with my boss, can I take your details?”
Appearing on ‘Ghost Hunters’ with the BBC was not something I ever thought would appear on my CV. Here I am, now knowing that ghosts really do exist as I watch the film crew with their equipment.
Since finding Marie, the police excavators had found bodies of a man and a woman in the cellar. Evidence had been found to support the idea that Mrs Rosie Brown had been having an affair with local postman Bobby Rogers. Husband Leonard Brown had reacted badly and murdered them. Ghosts Rosie and Bobby liked hearing us playing. but they had wanted to keep red headed Marie. A seance had revealed this information and was the strangest experience of my life.
There are now conversations of promoting it as a haunted house or trying to help Rosie and Bobby leave the house and cross-over to the other side. It’s my job to market it but I don’t see a family wanting to buy it, especially one with a red headed child.
The story of the crooked house has led to teens breaking in to spend the night, scary bets between friends Many have been asked to leave. Only time will tell what happens to the house now, from what I’ve been told Rosie and Bobby are happy where they are, a haunted house and place of interest it might stay.
Written for Write the story on Writers Unite!
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