Excerpt for The Ghost of the Blue Lady by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


[CHAPTER ONE-EN-YETTA] The wind was howling at the window so hard it shook the window glass. I snuggled down under the covers and shivered. This old Inn was frightening and I did not want to be here. I listened to the clock on the old bedside table ticking its angry thoughts at me for coming here. It wanted me out of this Inn as bad as I wanted to be out of it. I turned on my side and peered over the top of the heavy comforter which was filled with goose down feathers. It was toasty underneath, but I when I breathed in the air was cold. The embers in fireplace burned to a low light across the room, and I was not about to get out of this bed to call for Mom to start the fire up again. The large logs that were stacked beside the stone hearth would have to sit there until Mom, or one of my Aunts came and added them. I smiled, my toes were warm enough; I was wearing a pair of thick white cotton socks, and a long cotton gown, that had red teddy bears and snowmen on it. Although it was only the beginning of October, the weather here in Ohio was much colder than Florida. Jeon, my eleven-year-old brother, and I had to move here with our Mom. The Aunts, her Aunts elderly and needed someone to look after them. She had said, it was only fair after all, they had raised her. Besides she and Dad could use a break, they fought constantly, over chocolate chip cookies. Mom loved to bake them, Dad loved to eat them…all. Turning, in the soft bed I watched the shadows of the leaves dancing against the three large windows in my room. This room had belonged to Mom when she was eleven like me. Her Aunts: sisters Katie and Karen were my Grandma’s sisters; they raised Mom after my Grandma who I had never seen died. Mom loved her though and always talked about her to me, she had told me that I had hair like her. That was not good, I hated my hair, too long, too thick, and too uggh…Yet, here we were in Thunder Wood Inn, in the woods of Ohio. The Aunts who had never married took care of the people at this bed and breakfast. The twelve-bedroom, Inn, with six bedrooms on each side. The furniture was ugly to me, dark, something Mom called Cherrywood. It was not like the furniture of our home, white and beige. I didn’t like it, and those ugly floral printed sofas, which matched the wallpaper outlined in green looked like a old hunted house. I thought about that for a bit, and covered my head with the comforter. I had never needed a comforter like this back home, it never got this cold there. The wind blew the tree branches against the windows again, I hoped. Large vases of fresh flowers sat through out the Inn, everywhere; I did like that part of it I had to admit. I thought of the smell of them when we had arrived this morning, that and tasty food. The Aunts had served us baked chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, and biscuits. Even though they were old, they could cook. Mom said they had taught her how to cook, I believed it. You still awake? My mother called to me from the partly open door, as I took my head from under the comforter. Yes, I nodded, as she tossed in three logs onto the low fire before coming to my bedside, and kissing my head. You need to get some rest, she smiled, fingering the side of the heavy table with the lamp and my books on it. I followed her hand, and saw that it was her name. I did this when I was your age she said softly. Cool, I smiled, as she stood, before leaving the room she turned on a small lamp above the fireplace that gave the bedroom a warm glow, goodnight beautiful she said before leaving, I will see you in the morning. Goodnight Mom, I yawned, looking at the boxes piled high on the left side of the room, with my dolls, books, shoes, toys, sticking out of them. I held my teddy close, she was large and white and her name was Chloe, she had been my friend since I was four; Dad had given her to me for being able to spell my name correctly in preschool. En-Yetta, that was my name, it was different and it was not easy to write, still I had earned my bear because I did. I had enough stuff to last me the three months we were to stay here, I would hope. I yawned again. My bedroom was at the end of the hallway, near the bathroom, Jeon my brother was across the hall from me, I could see him, asleep in his bed. My mother’s room was next to the stairs, which made me feel safe; at least if someone came to get us they would have to pass her first. The Aunts each had a bedroom, on the first floor, this side of the Inn was for family, and the twelve bedrooms were all on the other side, separated by a large iron door, which led into the lobby. I closed my eyes, I was very tired, I decided it was time to sleep. Morning light woke me, stirring I climbed from the bed before I took the stairs two at a time, the smell of bacon and coffee was so strong it almost drowned out the cinnamon that had awaken me from my sleep. I knew even before I got to the kitchen that the cinnamon was mom’s homemade treat. I popped into the kitchen where I knew I would find Jeon, seated at the table. He loved cinnamon and he loved cinnamon buns, mainly the ones Mom made. Jeon was older than I was, by two years, he looked at me as he ate his breakfast. I looked at my Mom who was making my plate. Mom was not tall, she was not short, she was not slim and she was not fat, she was just normal, she was just Mom. She had bleached blond hair, she liked it that color, although her real hair was dark, like mine, even darker. I hopped into the heavy wood chair, and began eating, as Jeon reached for another cinnamon bun. I was happy the sun was out, I wanted to go outside and look around the yard, I didn’t like being in the house like my brother, he loved video games, I did not. Good morning you two, Mom said sitting a glass of milk in front of each of us, I have a lot of work to do today, so I want you both to keep busy. I ate as I watched Mom, make trays with food for the guest on the other side. When you two are done, wash up and get dressed, then you can take a walk outdoors, she added, places the trays on the tall cart which held milk, coffee and newspapers. Ok, we both mumbled as she added jelly to the cart. My brother and I were home schooled, so on a day like today when children would normally have been in school we were home. We had been home school for two years. Lynn was twenty-four, and she was a college graduate, she was out tutor and she was joining us in Ohio soon. We like Lynn; she was like a big sister to us. I packed the bacon into my mouth with the hash browns and munched and munched. It was so good, I thought, wiggling my toes in my thick cotton socks, and smiling inside, that was until I looked up at Jeon who was watching me. I kicked at him underneath the large heavy oak table that shined like the wood floors in the rec room, in our house back home. I missed as my foot touched the table leg, good thing I thought before draining my glass of milk, Jeon might have pinched me or something. I hurried with my breakfast and called to Jeon, after we washed our plates, to hurry so we could go outside and see what it looks like. He nodded with his mouth full, as I hurried up the stairs past him. [CHAPTER TWO JEON] I smiled at how my tennis shoes scuffed the shiny wood floor in the hall before I turned the large gold knob on the heavy wood door in the hallway, leading outside. We passed the library, as we headed out. Bookshelves were from floor to ceiling in the library, and they were filled with books. Thousands I thought, but I knew that was wrong. I didn’t like reading unless it was comics or super hero’s I thought as En-Yetta passed me, and I shut the door behind us. There were two floral chairs in there that faced out toward the street; I knew they were the Aunts. I stared up at the windows, large, and it looked like miles were between them. En-Yetta and I walked in the damp grass around the Inn, looking at it, and talking about the vines that were growing all over it. Hi, someone called, En-Yetta and I turned at the same time to see a girl waving at us. She was not much older than me, but she was taller, we waved back, my name is Jazz, she said walking closer, as she stopped and began stirring the wet leaves in a circular motion beneath her feet with a broken branch that she was holding. I am Jeon, I said, and this is my sister En-Yetta, are you staying here I asked. Pushing her glasses back up on her nose she shook her head, no, I lived just down the road, she pointed. Are you two visiting, she asked. You can say that I replied looking at En-Yetta, the owners are our Aunts; we are staying here for a while. I watched her; she was tall, thin and wore glasses, with curly black hair. My eyes danced from her face to the face of her two little brothers that she, introduced as Alaric and Alonz. Twins, who were no more than five I thought, as I noticed they both shared a dirt spot on their cheek that I assumed to be a birthmark I live in that house at the end of the street, It’s the house with the lighthouse in the yard, she went on. I nodded looking in the direction she was pointing in. No one could miss that ugly thing if they tried. A big red lighthouse that looked like it needed to be painted. Jazz smiled, showing tiny teeth, before speaking. So, what are you two up to? We came out to look over the neighborhood, I said, we didn’t get any further than Maple Street, I laughed. So, have you two saw any ghost? Jazz said almost whispering, this town has a rumor that everyone thinks it’s haunted, so it’s kinda cool because I live right down the street from it. I looked at En-Yetta, who waved her hand at me, and Jazz. Pushing her glasses in place, Jazz, looked at me, it’s what the neighborhood says, she laughed, I have not seen anything, and I have lived here all my thirteen years of life. Jazz threw the stick she was holding into the yard near where the twins were playing. Do you like video games? I asked. Her face lit up, I sure do!! She blurted out, what kind do you have? CHAPTER THREE: En-Yetta I walked with Mom through the heavy metal door that separated the Bed and Breakfast Inn from the side we lived on. I waited as Mom locked it behind her. Lynn rushed to meet us, Hi En-Yetta, she smiled at me with big dimples, I loved her dimples, and she looked like Hillary Duff. Jeon was standing near the check in desk in the lobby, drinking a bottle of water, he was happy she had made it to town, I could tell by the way he was smiling. I am working on a lesson plan for you and your brother it will be done by the weekend, and you guys will be right back on target, she said hugging me and then my Mom Neville the porter took her bags and headed through the metal door, to her bedroom which was on the first floor near the Aunts. Neville was young, I thought, maybe, around sixteen; he was slim and smiled a lot. I followed Mom through the Inn, as she introduced Jeon and I to the house keepers, and gardener. We stood near our mother as the Aunts came to us. They had been in bed when we arrived last night, and we had not had a chance to meet them. Aunt Katie and Aunt Karen did not look like the old people I have seen. They didn’t have wrinkly sun burned skin; they were short and looked like they were nice. They were also round, and I liked that too. After they hugged Jeon and I with their bodies smelling like peppermints, I decided they were nice. My Aunts went behind the desk, where they spoke to the guest signing in and out. They must have been so beautiful when they were young, I thought because they were not too bad for old people. The colors were different on this side. The walls were crème and pink. This side was vibrant and smelled so good like flowers, I thought. Oh yes, I agreed with myself it was flowers, as I noticed freshly cut white blossoms everywhere in large clear vases. Mom had begun a conversation with a lady who was holding a large bag of yarn. I pulled free from her hand, to explore, as Jeon ran off in the opposite direction. I smiled and greeted people that were arriving and leaving as they smiled and greeted me. Awesome, I said aloud, like me. I always assured myself I was Awesome; Jeon always assured me, I was not. The Lobby was so busy. I liked busy I decided. Hurrying to the doorway leading outside where the door to where Neville now was, waving off the couple in the white minivan, he began walking back towards me. Hi, he said smiling at me. Stepping out onto the little red stone porch beside him, I smiled, Hi, as I looked at his blue and yellow uniform which reminded me of the army. I have heard your Aunts and Mom talking about you and your brother, about just how adorable you both are and smart. Is your brother with you? He smiled at me. I liked the way his eyes squinted at the corners. No, he is somewhere inside, I nodded. Neville looked around the drive then to me, well another time we will meet, he smiled again, he did that a lot. I knew he had to get back to work. I spotted a field to the left of the Inn. I hopped off the steps and headed towards it. I smiled to myself, so the Aunts thought Jeon and I were smart. That felt good, I skipped through the over grown field of grass. I wondered why this part of the property was not taken care of like the rest of the grass. Stopping I looked up at all the huge statues and stone fountains. I liked it. [CHAPTER FOUR: JEON] Rain was pouring so hard it sounded like tapping on the roof; En-Yetta was hiding under her covers when I went into her room. She jumped when she saw me standing by her bed, I squealed too, because she scared me. She sat up as, I laughed. Let’s go, I ordered, I found a flashlight. Go where? she asked rubbing her eyes. Outside, I laughed; let’s see that garden you found today. She hopped out the bed and followed me down the dark, silent hall; the only lights were small yellow ones hanging on the walls by the bedroom doors. They faded when the lightning flashed through the huge hall windows. We crept down the mahogany carpeted padded steps. How are we going out? She asked. I shook keys in front of her face that reflected in the lightening, and then smiled a devious grin. When we reached the steel door, I sat the flashlight on the floor next to the door before unlocking it. Then we slipped inside as I locked it back. Those are Mom’s keys, she said. I know, I whispered; she hangs them in the kitchen at night. I got them after she went to bed; I said sticking them in my housecoat pocket. If we get caught, I whispered, we’re dead. The Lobby was now, lowly lit with soft yellow lights for the night and it was quiet, also there no one was at the desk, and the Lobby door to the drive was bolted shut. Neville was not at his post either he must have gone home for the night I thought. In the garden, I bent to pick a flower. Although it was the middle, of October, flowers were still blooming here; it reminded me of the garden back home. Taking a seat on one of the many white stone benches, I looked at Thunder Wood Inn that stood so huge in the distance. I took in the view; the building looked like an old-fashioned cottage in a fairytale, I had not seen this side of the Inn because we used a door off the kitchen in the other side. I decided I liked the way the Inn looked; it gave me a warm cozy feeling. I was excited. I could not help it, Mom always said I was a little too rambunctious but I just loved adventure. This place had to have many nooks and crannies for a kid like me to discover. I smiled at this thought too. I stood and peered at the Inn, noticing that all the rooms on this side had white curtains at them, with balconies attached. I showed this to En-Yetta as I tried to hold my robe together against the wind that was blowing the last of the storm away. I wondered why there were no balconies on the other side. There were little table sets on each of them. The garden had winding vines that curled around the small white fences and trees. I peeled one off, and played with it in my hands. We had better get back, I said looking at En-Yetta who was looking sleepy, we can explore more tomorrow I thought. [CHAPTER FIVE EN-YETTA] We hurried through the Lobby and up the stairs; my heart was pounding out of control. Reaching the top of the stairs, Jeon let out a gasp at the deer head that was hanging at the top of the steps. This side of the Inn was beautiful, the hallway was white oak wood trimmed with floral wallpaper, and green carpeting, it looked so much more up to date than the side we were on, it was so pretty. We stuck close together as we moved through the drafty hall we noticed it was much larger than our side too. Jeon stuck the flashlight down into his housecoat pocket, just like on our side, yellow lights burned low here too beside the closed doors. Large square white lights in the ceiling lit the hall, we didn’t have these I shrugged. Maybe if we did, I would not sleep with my lamp on I thought. Big plants in white cement flower pots were by the windows going down the hallway, each one sat next to a bench. This looked more like a hotel in Miami than a place ran by old women. We have to find out if there is an attic on this side, I whispered, Jeon nodded, as I lead the way. We found three doors at the end of the hall. One of them was the closet for cleaning stuffs, and the other had towels and sheets. Jeon looked at me, as I pulled open the heavy door, which lead to a flight of stairs as a gust of cold air blew against us. We began climbing the steps. Jeon studied the stairwell. It looks ancient he whispered, taking out his flashlight and shining a little beam into the thick darkness. I assumed that they didn’t use this part. Cobwebs and dust met us at the top of the steps. Jeon sneezed, come on let’s go back, I said quietly. Mom would be so angry if he got sick with his asthma. I am fine, he shook his head; let’s go all the way up, he said wiping cobwebs from the air. Once we were all the way in the attic, I forgot about his sneezing it was time to explore. There were many items covered under white sheets that looked frightening in the lightening that lit up the dark room every few minutes. We didn’t have a attic in our home, or a basement. The only thing I knew about attics are what I saw in the movies. We moved through the attic lifting a sheet here and there, only to find mirrors, and coat racks, old chairs, and clothes. I’m tired, I said, but I was drowned out by Jeon, Whoa! Look at this!! It’s unlocked, Jeon said, opening the door a little bit. I shook my head no. The door was in the middle of the attic, It looked as though it did not belong here made of dark wood. What was super scary is that it looked clean, not dusty like everything else here. I pulled at Jeon’s arm, don’t go in. He pulled free, I think we should we need to explore the whole place. I watched as he turned off the flashlight, turning the knob, he opened the door and went in. Of course, I sighed, he is crazy. He thought he was everything from a superhero to a ninja, looking around the dark attic I decided I was not going to stay here alone. I followed him in, and as expected it was so dark. Turn the flashlight back on, I demanded as we took tiny steps in the dark. It barely lit the small area, and all I could think was that I was going to fall through a hole in the floor. I took a hold of Jeon’s shirt and carefully put one foot in front of the other one as he led. We were mid-way in the darkness when lightening lit up the place. I screamed as Jeon shined the light from my face to the two rocking chairs with two old women sitting in them, smiling at us. I could not hear myself screaming though I know I did, because Jeon’s screams were louder than mine as we fell over each other running back through the door and down the stairs into the hall.[ CHAPTER SIX JEON] Running as fast as our feet could carry us, with as much air as we could breathe in while screaming we heard doors behind us open as we raced by. I checked to see if En-Yetta I could hear people talking, and asking what was going on, but we couldn’t stop. Falling to the bottom of the stairs, I slid to the steel door, fumbling with the keys I unlocked it, pulling En-Yetta through I locked it back. Hanging the keys back on the hook in the kitchen we ran past the Aunts bedrooms, quietly and up the steps. I watched En-Yetta run into her room, and I did the same. I woke up after not being able to sleep, but the sun would not let me rest. I could smell a breakfast and it made my stomach began rumbling as I sat up. Mom was making chocolate chip pancakes and I was so ready to eat them. I threw off the comforter and spilled on to the floor. I met En-Yetta in the hallway, rubbing her eyes she looked like had not slept much. We decided to dress before breakfast, we had a lot to do today, we could not waste a lot of time. Good morning, Mom said as we entered the warm kitchen. I looked at En-Yetta, I knew we were in trouble; she was not in her usual good mood. I saw that she had taken her keys off the hook in the kitchen. I want you two to find better things to do with your time until Lynn has you back on track with your studies, screaming in the middle of the night and scaring the guest is not one of them, Mom said placing pancakes on our plates next to crisp bacon and apple slices. She didn’t look at us. Mom was not a mean Mom, but she did not take any stuff either. I sat quietly, as En-Yetta spoke, but, Mom we saw something that scared us. Pouring milk into our glasses before sitting them in front of us, she now looked at us. You can explore she said, but not where there are guest and not in the middle of the night, people pay for comfort and rest not children waking them when they are already trying to rest during a loud storm. But Mom, there are old people in the attic, I whispered. Mom placed three trays on top of one another that had fresh baked pies on them. Although there was, a kitchen on the other side of the Inn, Mom still made treats for the guest on this side. Looking at me, she said, I know there are old people in the attic children, it’s your Aunts. Turning to leave the kitchen she looked back at us, if you want more food help yourselves she pointed to the bacon and pancakes on the plates sitting on the table. We watched our Mom left the kitchen. We did not speak, or look at each other, we ate our breakfast. Once we were done we headed outside. The air was nippy and smelled good, like burning wood. The wind played with leaves that were still damp from the night before. [CHAPTER SEVEN EN-YETTA] Alaric and Alonz were playing in the garden, when we reached it. Jazz sat cross-legged on one of the stone benches, I sat by her. How did you know about this garden? I asked. She smiled, and looked at the statue of a lady that was near the bench she was sitting on. The other end of this property comes out near my house, I have always known about it, she said. I nodded, because I was not really paying her any mine, I was watching Neville talking with guest and carrying luggage in and out, and this gave me an idea. Be right back, I said, to Jazz and Jeon. Hi, I called to him, waving as I walked from the garden through the parking lot towards Neville. Neville turned to me, and smiled Hi Ya, he said, I heard you guys had some fun here last night. I laughed, as I felt my face flush, yes, I guess so. Hey what do you know about this place being haunted? Neville shook his head, rumors little girl, rumors. No, I protested, I saw something in the attic last night, I said watching his face for a reaction. Really, He smiled nodding, maybe your imagination or cobwebs I felt like he knew better but was not telling the truth. Umm hum I said, as I went on speaking, there are two people up there. Mom said it was the Aunts, but they were in bed. Neville smiled as he waved to a customer that was arriving; maybe they were guest-playing hide and seek he laughed. I have to work he said, looking at me, but I will talk to you later. He pulled my ponytail before walking away to help the guest with their luggage. I strolled into the Lobby where Aunt Katie was just walking from behind the desk. I wondered how old she was, her hair was white like snow, but she didn’t look ancient. Good morning, I said to her, and waited. She looked over the cat eyed reading glasses she had on, Morn’ she said, did you two have fun last night? She came from behind the desk and hugged me really tight, before kissing me on the forehead. I let out a sigh of relief, I was so scared she was about to scold me. I hope you did, she said into my ear, as she kissed me softly on the cheek. I know it can be boring for children in a place like this, explore as much as you like, but do it before it gets too late. I looked at her soft pretty face, she smelled good like perfume, and peppermints. Auntie, Jeon, and I saw some people in the attic last night. [CHAPTER EIGHT JEON] En-Yetta stopped talking about what Aunt Katie had said about exploring and began looking off into space. I followed her eyes, then went to what she was looking at. This is Grandma’s headstone, I called to her, as she walked over slowly. Carrie Grays, It read on the circular headstone that was underneath the same picture Mom had of her hanging on the wall back in Florida. En-Yetta bent to touch it, as I watched. Jazz joined us, my Mom never told us that this place was here, I said, and I know she had to know about it. I felt a bit sad and happy, at the same time. I was happy we were seeing her headstone, and sad that she was dead. Let’s go, Alonz said, pulling Jazz by the hand, he was scared I could tell, his little eyes were looking from the headstones to the large dead trees throughout the garden. I looked at En-Yetta, yes, I agreed, let’s go, we can come back later. En-Yetta stared at the picture one last time, then joined us as we all left the garden. Jazz and En-Yetta walked to the front of the Inn, where En-Yetta told her goodbye, I went inside to play my game but that did not happen. I met Aunt Karen in the hallway near the stairs. She looked me over, then pulled me to her, hugging me. You are a fine and smart boy she said, peering at me. Thank you, I said as she took my hand and walked me into the kitchen with her. She cut three slices of apple pie and topped them with whipped cream before taking a seat next to me. It smelled so good, I thought as she handed me a spoon. We are happy to have you and your sister here, she said with her soft voice that reminded me of a librarian. I just want you both to be very careful and not get hurt on this land, a lot of things are old and heavy, can you promise me you will be careful? She asked. I nodded, yes, we will, I replied eating a spoon full of pie as En-Yetta joined us in the kitchen. I sighed as Mom cleared away the dinner dishes, while Aunt Cookie cut and placed large slices of apple pie on saucers for Jeon, Lynn and I. Aunt Kitty poured hot cider in mugs that sat on the heavy dinner table before joining us. I dug into the pie and placed it in my mouth. The apples were so tart and good. Stealing glances at the Aunt Karen every now and again I knew too that En-Yetta was thinking about what we saw in the attic last night, and our Grandmother’s gravestone. Mom, came into the kitchen carrying a large bag of potatoes, I have to start on dinner she told me and En-Yetta, that pie should hold you two over until lunch she smiled. Aunt Karen nodded in agreement. Mom, I said as carefully as I could, we found Grandma’s grave today. En-Yetta watched her, and then me. Aunt Karen stood up slowly, patting my hand she left the kitchen as Mom turned to me. Yes, she said softly I knew you two would sooner or later. Her face was sad, and I wished I had not said anything, but I could not take it back. [CHAPTER NINE EN-YETTA]Lynn took my saucer and the ones the Aunts had used, along with hers to the sink and washed them. I hurried up the stairs to dress for bed, though not really, I would pretend. I needed this night to end so that we could go explore. Once in my bedroom I pulled the long heavy cotton gown on over my clothes, before brushing my teeth. Brushing my wild wavy hair up into a ponytail, I hopped on my bed and selected a book from the nightstand. I realized Mom had done more unpacking and my room was beginning to look more like a bedroom. I was happy to be staying in her old room, I was also happy Jeon and I had new beds that had arrived before we got here. I liked the white lace curtains now at the window; they made it feel more like home. I opened the book, to read. Wake up, Jeon said shaking me. I opened my eyes, as the old tick tock clock on my bedside table told me it was twelve midnight. I sat up; tossing the book aside, I realized I had not read anything. Pulling on my now scuffed tennis shoes and my favorite purple jacket, I followed Jeon, who had two flashlights, one of which he gave to me. We hurried through the drafty hallway, down the stairs and to the kitchen and out the back door where after adjusting it so we could get back in we ran like a hurricane into the yard. Jeon was almost, out of breath by the time we reached the garden that now was lit by an eerie blue light. He had asthma but he refused to accept it. He always played too hard, Mom said. I thought about how he had looked at Mom today after telling her we had found Grandma’s grave. Mom looked so sad and so did Jeon, until Mom came and hugged us both and told us she was only sad that we had never met her. I wished we had. Where is that light coming from, Jeon said looking around as we passed the white wooden gate that separated the garden from the parking lot. We stood trying to see where the light came from, moving slowly into the garden then near the grave stone and statues we found our answers. Next to every third gravestone were small blue lights that looked like the airport runway, or Christmas lights, Cool! Jeon said as he bent to touch one of the lights as pulled my jacket closer to me. It was cold tonight, I thought while I kept my eyes on the gravestones and the two children that were now standing behind one of them [CHAPTER TEN: JEON] The lights are coming from the ground, I told En-Yetta, with no reply. I stood to see why she had not answered me, and my eyes followed hers. Two children, a boy that I guessed was around five or six, and a girl with him, which looked like she was around En-Yetta’s, age. Hi, I called for no plain reason other than fear. En-Yetta looked at me than back at the kids. I walked over to my little sister and stood in front of her, I noticed the kids looked tired, and they glowed in the blue light. I could not say they were ghost, but I could not say they were not but if they were. En-Yetta, grabbed at the back of my white jacket to keep me from walking over to them, and I don’t know why I had to, but I did, I pulled free. The girl stepped closer to us, hi, she said, my name is Laura, what is your name? Jeon, I blurted out, this is my sister En-Yetta I said pointing behind me. Laura moved closer to me, and so did En-Yetta, this is my little brother Roman, she said taking the little boys hand and pulling him to her I moved closer to her, are you a ghost? I asked. No, she snapped, Are you? She stared at me then I finally answered, not that I know of. She laughed, but I heard that the Thunder Wood Inn has ghost and if you come out at night you can see them, so are you two ghost? She asked, hoping for a new answer. No, I waved her off were looking for them too. Oh, my Laura said, are you guys staying there? Are you part of the family that moved in? I nodded, as En-Yetta stepped from behind me releasing the grip on my jacket where do you live? En-Yetta asked. Laura turned and pointed across the field, there she said, Roman and I slip out every night to see what we can see, and we thought we had found something tonight but it was only you. I looked across the Garden, but I could not see a house. As her words were ending, we heard a loud long scream that made me get goosebumps on my neck. En-Yetta and Laura looked at the Inn, as Roman moved closer to his sister. Looking up we all saw a huge flash of white light from one of the windows in the Inn. Running we stopped in the drive to look to where we saw it, just in time to see it again. Whoa, I said what was that? It’s the ghost; Laura cried, that’s what all the town people are talking about I looked at En-Yetta, she was looking up at the windows, examining each one, she did that she always looking for the logic in things. Lights in different rooms came on one by one; I pulled En-Yetta into the thick bushes to keep us from being seen by anyone looking out. Laura and Roman hopped in with us. Go home I ordered them, we have to go inside. Laura nodded, taking her brother, she hurried through the bushes back to the garden. When it was all clear, En-Yetta and I raced to the back entrance and into the Inn. I locked the door once we were inside. We hurried up the stairs and to our rooms. Just in time I thought, as I heard Mom and the Aunts stirring, Mom, I called what is going on. Stay in your room I will be back, it is nothing to worry about she called to me. I was not worried; I just wanted her to know we were in bed and not the cause of the noise. When I was sure that all was clear, and Mom had gone to the other side, I raced to En-Yetta’s room. She was sitting up in the bed with wide eyes open. What is going on? Did Mom say? Nothing I said, looking out her window. We could not see the other side from her room. Turning to her, I felt full of excitement. I want to know what that light was, let’s go and see what is going on, I said. En-Yetta looked at me, before jumping out of her bed, Mom will be upset, she said looking at me. I shook my head; no, I’m not sure and yes, she will be upset but we have to know for sure what is happening. Entering the Lobby through the heavy steel door that had left unlocked, we stood against the wall as guest talked to the Aunts and Mom [CHAPTER ELEVEN EN-YETTA] Last year this time the same thing happened, I heard a lady wearing a cotton night coat with flowers on it say to a younger lady that may have been about Lynn’s age. That lady nodded, in agreement, yes, my Uncle told me that too, she said, I think it’s the ghost, they have returned. Mom spotted us and gave a look that said we had better not get underfoot. I nodded, at her so she would know I was paying attention. Jeon walked over to Aunt Katie, taking her by the hand so he could listen to what was being said. I did the same to Aunt Karen. Yes, I know Aunt Karen, said in her soft voice, to the middle-aged man who was clinging tightly to a much younger woman. I don’t know what it is, I have never known. This Inn was my home as a child and our parents were never able to figure it out, the loud wailing and flashes of light in the middle of the night have at times been all too much for many guests, I understand if you must leave early she went on... I cleared my throat to get Jeon’s attention, it did, he looked at me. I motioned with my head for him to follow me. Slipping through the guest that now were being served coffee and cake by Mom and Lynn we eased up the stairs. Where are you going? Jeon asked. To find clues, I replied hurrying down the hall with him closely behind. I think I know which room the lights came from I just want to see if I can find anything in there that might help us to know what is going on. I tried the doorknob once we reached the room I suspected held answers. Just as I thought, it was locked. I looked up and down the hall; I had to find something that could unlock the door. We will wait until later and see if the key that works that door downstairs unlocks this door, I told Jeon, pointing at the lock. He looked at it, and then nodded, the locks looked the same. We headed back downstairs once we were in the Lobby; I walked toward the entrance, Jeon followed. Neville was standing at the exit and entrance door, watching the guests that were all gathered and discussing the night’s events. Hey, guys are you enjoying the excitement? He asked smiling. Jeon nodded and smiled while looking past him out into the parking lot where other guest was standing holding their robes tightly looking up at the Inn. I turned to meet Mom’s eyes as she walked toward me. [CHAPTER TWELVE JEON] Mom walked us back to the door, pulled it open for En-Yetta and I to walk through. Lynn was standing on the other side, with a scared look on her face. What is going on? She asked taking En-Yetta and me, by the hands. Off to bed Mom ordered, giving Lynn a look that meant don’t let them do anything else. Are you coming to bed, Mom? En-Yetta asked, as we headed to the stairs on our side of the Inn. Mom shook her head no, she motioned back to the Lobby where the guest were. I will come up as soon as I can, she added, before locking the door behind us. After Lynn, had saw us off the bed, I immediately went to get En-Yetta, and we went back downstairs to the pantry of the large kitchen, after finding a screwdriver in a old metal toolbox, we went outside through the kitchen door. The Moon was shining brightly in the sky, bouncing off everything. It really looked weird to me, like a scary movie, I thought, but I didn’t say it aloud, En-Yetta often had nightmares, and I never knew why, we weren’t allowed to watch scary movies it must have just been her imagination. She followed me closely looking around at the woods that surrounded the Inn; there was no way we were going to go to bed with all this excitement going on this is what we were born for. Walking around the back of the Inn, we were careful to keep Neville from seeing us. Stay here, I warned En-Yetta, I need to climb the balcony to the room that was locked. En-Yetta, grabbed my arm pulling me back, are you crazy? You will be caught or get killed. I freed my sleeve from her grip, I am a Ninja, I laughed at her. Climbing on the first balcony I peeped into the window to find the room empty, which was good, no one would see me. I looked at En-Yetta, she looked nervously around her then up at me. Hurry up, she whispered as loud as she could without yelling. I climbed to the balcony over the second one, doing this until I was at the window of the room that was locked. Looking over the balcony at En-Yetta, stay hidden I called to her, before popping the balcony door open with the screwdriver, a trick I had learned in Florida when our parents were too long arriving home from work. Slipping into the room, I was now covered in blackness. I begin to tremble because I didn’t know what or who was in here with me; maybe I had been too quick to find out. Pushing the thoughts of the old people in the attic out of my mind, I inched around feeling for a light switch. I touched it, and then decided not to use it. I could still hear people talking so I knew Mom was still on this side it Thunder Wood Inn. I had to hurry, En-Yetta was outside alone, and that really scared me, because I knew I would be in big trouble if something happened to her. Going back to the window I pushed the heavy curtains aside, to allow some of the October moonlight into the room, be right down I called to her. I felt along the walls, until my hand touched what I decided was a dresser, with four drawers. I felt the top of it, nothing. I went around the room like this, touching chairs, an intercom, a bed, a coat rack, a round table, a lamp, a face... A face? I screamed in my mind but it didn’t come out of my mouth. May I help you? A voice asked. I felt my heart pounding like it was going to run out of my chest. Turning to run to the balcony, I tripped and fell only to be helped to my feet by a pair of hands. Jeon? En-Yetta called from outside, what’s going on? I didn’t think it safe to answer so I didn’t. Did you find your ghost? The voice asked at the same time the light came on. It was Neville, smiling at me. Jeon? En-Yetta called again. It’s okay I called back, taking deep breaths be right down. What are you doing here? I asked, looking around the room that had many items covered in heavy cloths. This is where I come to nap between shifts, Neville said, taking a seat in the blue armchair. Then you must know what that light was, and the wailing because it came from this room, I added. Neville, closed his eyes, shouldn’t you get your sister to bed before your Mom finds you guys out? I turned back to the balcony to climb down. Neville called to me as I swung my leg over the side, come see me tomorrow, I will show you something he said. On the ground, I joined En-Yetta in the bushes. Where did she come from? She asked me. Who? I replied, not knowing what she meant. The lady, En-Yetta, pointed toward the Garden, she told me you said you would be right down, but I don’t know where she came from. What did she look like? I asked. Just some lady in a blue dress, En-Yetta, said, I don’t know why she went to the Garden though; she was carrying a bucket of what looked like flowers, strange. I nodded, very I agreed, looking up at the room Neville was in, and watched as the light went out, En-Yetta and I walked back to the other side in the moonlight. I was tired I wanted to go to sleep for the first time in my life. [CHAPTER THIRTEEN EN-YETTA] I was restless, moving from foot to foot while I waited on Jeon to finish washing his bowl. How long did it take to eat oatmeal? I thought, as I kicked little white pebbles around in the yard by the back door. And how much longer did it take to wash the bowl? The sun was bright and although it was cool, it was not cold. Come on he said bouncing down the back stairs, let’s go see Neville, I want to know what he was going to tell me today. We hurried around the Inn and to the winding drive. But Neville was not there. Going into the Lobby, we found Aunt Karen arranging yellow, red, and orange flowers in a vase. She turned to us, these colors make the fall come alive don’t you two agree? We nodded, Aunt Karen, I asked, where is Neville? He is not at his post. She smiled, shaking her head, no; I guess not, he wasn’t feeling well this morning so he went home for the day. Turning to us, she smiled, you like him I see, she nodded, and he is a good person to get on with. I looked at Jeon, then said Thanks Auntie, pulling Jeon away with me as I headed out the Lobby door, to keep Aunt Karen from hearing what I was saying. Neville told you to meet him here today, that he had something to show you, why would he stay home? Hello, Alaric and Alonz both said at the same time, twins do that I guess. Jazz was standing in the parking lot, as we came out. Hi, En-Yetta she waved, Sup? Jeon, She said, gamers lingo I assumed.. I looked toward the Garden, and thought about the lady I had seen last night. The town is talking about the adventure that happened here last night Jazz said, as we all started moving in the direction of the Garden. The Twins ran off to play in a little plot of grass near the drive. What they are saying? I asked, as Jeon listened too. Jazz pushed her glasses up on her face before pushing a long stand of hair behind her ear; they say one of the ghosts made a visit here last night that she wailed before she arrived. They also said that some of the guest saw her, carrying a pail of flowers. What did you say? I asked looking frightened as we all stopped at the little white fence surrounding the Garden. Jazz looked up at me, as she stood over us and spoke, Yea someone told my Mom that she was wearing a blue dress this time carrying a pail of white flowers. No way! I exclaimed, Jeon I told you I saw a lady last night, didn’t I? She told me you would be down; do you remember that? Where did she go? Jazz asked. I guess in the Garden but why I said softly as we all went into the Garden and begin looking at all the statues and headstones. Something had made her come this way, but why? I wondered. We pulled grass off of the small plot of stones, many had pictures on them. Alonz and Alaric followed but stopped when we got near the gravestones. Play here, Jazz told them pointing to the garden, I will be right back. We watched as the twins scampered off before investigating every head stone, again. After what seemed like hours, I found what I was looking for. The gravestone with a picture of the blue lady carved in it. Here! I exclaimed as Jeon and Jazz came running to my voice. That is her! I cried pointing to the circular picture on the gravestone with her eyes. Jeon and Jazz stooped closer the stone to read the name. I moved the fresh laid flowers from view so that I could see the name, Elizabeth Unum, I sounded it out. I looked at Jazz, to see if she knew who she was, her look let me know she did not. We all stood and began looking at one another; I decided it was time to ask Mom about her. [CHAPTER FOURTEEN JEON]They watched me, brush the dirt from my blue jeans, and we were all about to head back to the Inn, when, psst, someone said from behind one of the gravestones. Turning, we saw Neville bending behind a tall gravestone with an angel holding a baby on it. Hurrying to him, we almost fell into one another. I thought you were sick today. I stated, as Neville stood up to full height. I just said that so I could show you something, and I couldn’t do it at work, he said popping the rim of my cap. I straightened back in place, I hated when he did that. Jazz watched as En-Yetta and I followed Neville deeper into the Garden. Coming? I called to her seeing she was still standing where she had been. She shook her head, no; I have to go get my brothers and get home, but let me know what happens. I gave her a nod, before walking on. Neville opened a door in a stone tomb and waited until En-Yetta and I were in before closing it behind us. I spent my eighteenth birthday in here last week with two friends on a dare; he smiled, as he spoke. I shrugged, I didn’t think I could do that, I thought, it looked eerie and dark. En-Yetta followed close behind me, as Neville unlocked another door in the stone wall of the cool damp tomb. This one led down some stairs. I’m not going down there, En-Yetta cried. I looked back at her; she had a look of terror on her face. You can stay here, or go with us, I said knowing she would come with us, she did. Neville led the way through a dark stairway. Normally we would not follow anyone anywhere, but this was an exception, we were still on the property. Neville switched on a light that flooded the underground room with a bright glow. We stood in the middle of the room that looked like an old cave, hanging from the walls were posters and musical instruments. An old sofa sat against the wall, and wooden chairs and large pillows were tossed through-out. An old rug was spread out on the floor next to a stand that had a stereo sitting on it. Whoa, this your clubhouse? I asked Neville. He smiled, well I am a little too old for a club, but I hang out here with my friends sometimes, so you two must keep quiet about this. We nodded as I raced around touching cool things he had sitting around like skeleton heads on sticks made from plastic and life size super hero mannequins. Awesome I said touching one of Superman. You guys can come here whenever you want but no one knows got it? I nodded, tossing a baseball back into the box I took it from. Neville looked at us, this is not what I want to show you though, come on. We followed him, across the large space to a door that led up a flight of stone steps. The stairs seemed to never end, winding, and turning until we reached another doorway, here Neville unlocked this door with a key. I stood aside as he went in, then I did after En-Yetta. I knew exactly where we were once we were inside. With the light of day, shining through the dusty windows I realized we were in the attic, and now sitting before us were the two old women in the rocking chairs, which looked exactly as the Aunts. They are dolls En-Yetta laughed touching the hands of the one that looked like Aunt Katie. Neville smiled his wicked smile and nodded. I felt energy rising in me, and I kicked him in the shin, hard. Why would you do that? He cried bending to rub his leg. I shrugged, I don’t know, I added I do things like that when I get scared or nervous... Neville stood and took me by the collar, don’t do that again it hurts, got it? He said. I nodded, as he let go. I looked at En-Yetta who was still smiling, I thought to kick her then changed my mind, Mom would hear about it and there would be more trouble. Why did you bring us here? And how did you know about this place? I asked annoyed. Neville sat on the dusty wood floor, because I live here, he said. You live where En-Yetta asked, looking around, in this attic? Neville laughed, No, here he said, at the Inn. You guys are my little cousins, he added looking at me. I waved him off, whatever no we are not, Mom never told us anything like that. Neville stood and begin walking across the dusty floor to the windows that were covered with just as much dust as the floors. I am your cousin, he said again, I can’t tell you guys yet how I am, but I will and until I do, I need you to keep it a secret. If you are our cousin who will, we keep it secret from? That would mean that the Aunts and Mom already knows, En-Yetta said, as she walked over to the window where he stood. I joined them and saw that these windows looked out over the Garden. He turned to us, smiling again, I promise that I have more things to tell you both but I can’t if you two can’t keep it a secret, he said. I thought about it, looking at En-Yetta, who I knew was thinking the same. Mom didn’t like secrets and she forbids us to keep them, but this was different I thought. A secret for a little while should not be too dangerous. Neville waited until En-Yetta and I agreed, we all three pinky swore before slipping back out the way we came. [CHAPTER FIFTEEN EN-YETTA]


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