When you're young, you're shielded away from the nasty world that's around you by your parents, so no wonder at some point you start to become curious about everything. In need of answers to the many questions you have. One of the many questions for me was what does and doesn't exist?
Back in the day, when talking about ghosts, spirits and other beings that were said to haunt the world, I always had my mind made up. They didn't exist. I remember at Christmas, my family and I used to sit around watching Casper, that friendly, harmless ghost that we all grew to like; none like him could definitely exist, it was only a cartoon anyway. Although this was never to be, my opinion on ghosts changed completely, after an experience I encountered.
I remember this one ordinary day, when I was about six or seven years old. Can't remember the exact date, but I'm sure it was sometime in the summer. Where I lived was pleasant, crisp weather, but as we decided to visit my Granddad that day, I knew it was going to be much different when we got there. He lived up in the north, and every time we went there with the climate being so unusual it would be like going to another country, another place, another world. Being a naive six year old, I never knew there could be something else to it.
So that day the whole family- all four of us, arrived at the ancient like farmhouse, with its misted almost tinted windows, indicating the loss of life in the house. Even the newly built houses around it seemed deadly and did not even whistle a sound, just the wind blowing through the trees every now and then, which was very different from hearing the constant hustle and bustle of town life where we lived. As we entered I could fill the mysteries of previous lives flooding through me, like the house was some kind of time warp. The living room consisted of mainly an open log fire, which did not cure even the coldest of feelings, along with old couches placed around it. Once you got used to the warmth of the room you became accustomed to it. That wasn't the problem. The upstairs however, was.
Whenever we had to use the toilet we had to go up there, but even before coming across something unusual I still didn't like it. I'm not sure if it was the incredibly steep stairs, that I was worried I might fall through. Or maybe it was the pictures on the wall that you saw when walking up there. I remember the family pictures which did not frighten me at all; it was this one black and white portrait of a young woman with jet black hair which was tied back, that always stuck in my mind. I don't know who it was or why it was up there, but every time I walked up the stairs it made me feel uneasy and I could never understand why it scared me so much.
Anyway, that day I went upstairs alone, not because I wanted to, because I had to. Everything was fine until I came out the door onto the long and winding hallway, that lead off to many of the rooms in the house. I remember standing outside just about to make my way downstairs, where I felt less anxious, when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I then figured I was not the only thing up there, something else was there with me. Out of no where like a bat out of hell, I saw what could explain why this felt like such a cold and uninviting place.
From what I could make out it was a lady, but strangely nothing like the picture that frightened me. She was older, much older. With grey hair which was long and permed. She wore an old, ragged dress, which looked a bit like something a maid would wear; definitely not attire wore in this age. Also she was quite short, but still I noticed her. Who was she? What was she doing in my grand dad's house? I thought maybe she was a just friend staying over, but none of us were even told about her. Maybe mum and dad knew about her but did not want to mention her incase it startled me and my sister.
For a minute I did not feel at all tense by her presence, until I saw that smile. From what I recall her smile was a sweet, pleasant one that I had seen many times before, so why did it scare me? I think maybe it was how she smiled. Although she may have only smiled for a split second, it seemed much longer, like the whole occurrence was in slow motion. For all that time I had not said a single word, until it got to me that maybe this woman wasn't real, but someone from the past coming back to haunt me. I let out a shriek and ran down the stairs as fast I could, not looking back to see if she was still there, not looking back to see if she'd followed me, but trying to forget I'd even saw her.
Although I can't remember, I must've told my parents about her, because they mentioned it to the rest of the family. But would they believe a six year old girl? Well a few weeks later, my cousin visited and went upstairs and what he described seeing in the hallway was exactly the same as me. So I what I saw wasn't a figure of my imagination, it must have been real.
After my Granddad passed a few years later, the house was renovated into flats and changed the place forever. So I wonder with all the building disturbances if the lady still haunts there or if she's moved on long ago. I guess I'll never know.