Urban Legends: Conjuring the House by Emily McKeon
Welcome to Urban Legends: Author & Artist #SpookyShowcase. This autumn 2019, the strange and unusual is unleashed! Featuring the best authors and artists in the horror landscape, come back each day the month of October for a scare. You can find the master posting schedule here,
Expect dark stories, myths, legends, and creepy creations that will make your spine tingle. Remember, urban legends aren’t true…are they?
Conjuring the House
by Emily McKeon
Based on the urban legend
Bathsheba was tired. Exhausted. It took so much strength to deal with stupid mortals still cocooned in their fleshy vessels. All she wanted to do was rest, but they wouldn’t let her.
The first few decades were fine. Then, her name still inspired fear. No one dared to cross the ghost of a woman accused of witchcraft. Over two centuries after the debacle in Salem, so close to Bathsheba’s own home, and the fools hadn’t learned. But over time the fear vanished, replaced By curiosity. They wanted to see her, to tell their friends they had been in the presence of an infamous ghost. To prove they weren’t cowards.
Trouble started with that family. Whispers and rumors about the house floated around town before their arrival. Most locals stayed away, as Bathsheba wished. That family, and that one child in particular, changed everything for her. Turned her quiet unrest into a perpetual hell. Turned the town’s eye back to focus on her house.
Certainly she had caused some problems over the years. Minor manifestations whenever she required the current residents to move on. Not everyone belonged in her house. That family, though, was another story. They stayed longer than they were welcome, ignoring her attempts to oust them. The daughter became obsessed with her, pushing her to become more aggressive than she ever was in the past.
Eventually they moved on, as all others before them had. Her house was not one to be passed on through families. Bathsheba thought she could once more have peace. She couldn’t have been more wrong.
The new family was nice enough. The wife ran different businesses out of her house – cooking classes, crafting gatherings, and daycare. Bathsheba’s favorite was the daycare. Despite her reputation, she quite liked children. Generally they were inquisitive, but malleable. They brought information from the world outside and spoke to her as if she was still alive. They made her feel whole again. Those years Bathsheba thought her entrapment on this world might not be so bad.
If only they could have lasted.
Her peace was not meant to be. The brat from the previous family saw to that.
Louder whispers throughout town, speaking of things Bathsheba had done. Terrible deeds both real and imagined. Some starting with a kernel of truth, wrapped in exaggerations.
The rumors brought more thrill seekers. Self proclaimed spirit guides and ghost hunters, touting equipment designed to pick up her presence. If Bathsheba wanted them to know she was there, such equipment was never necessary.
A book was written and published, full of exaggerations. Hollywood took notice and the story that was no longer her own became a movie. More people arrived, hoping for an encounter tale of their own.
She was not sorry to disappoint them.
Still, they came.
They drove by slowly, cameras pointed out of car windows. They mistook neighbor houses for hers, egging elderly residents and filming for YouTube. They snuck onto the property under the cover of night, terrifying her current caretakers.
No matter what, Bathsheba would not bow to their demands. She stayed hidden in the shadows.
Her tombstone was vandalized. While not as strong of a connection as her house, she felt the anger and contempt of those desecrating her final bodily resting place.
The mania was settling down and thrill seekers were moving on. New ghost sightings and paranormal activity drew them to other parts of the world. Parts far from New England. At last, Bathsheba had the chance to rest.
All the chaos took a toll on her house’s family. Unable to deal with unwanted attention and fearing for their safety, the family put the house up for sale. For the first time in her unearthly existence, a family had been driven from her house through no fault of her own.
Bathsheba watched as they packed, passing through rooms and by her for the last time.
Sadness overwhelmed her.
Change wasn’t bad, was it? So many had lived and moved on, this was only one more. The new owners may not be so bad.
The house was empty. Bathsheba walked through the halls, imagining what the new people would be like. What changes they would bring with them.
A beeping in the driveway heralded the arrival of the moving van and new owners. Bathsheba sat on the floor of the kitchen, facing the doorway in anticipation.
Crunching of gravel beneath boots and the slamming of car doors. Would it be a family? A new couple starting out in life and not knowing the history of this house?
“Hey, don’t forget the notebooks. I want to start planning as soon as possible.”
Planning? Were they going to renovate the house?
“Got them. This is going to be the best money-maker you ever came up with.”
“Right? How much will people shell out to have a chance to run into the ghost of Bathsheba Sherman?”
The ghost let out a shriek of frustration that could not be ignored.