Cellar of Sorrows

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“I do love a good ghost story. Let’s join husband and wife Ghost hunters Natalie and Larry Dawson for one now.”

I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
FOWC with Fandango —Temerity
Your Daily Word Prompt — Proclaim
Ragtag Daily Prompt — Steps
Word of the Day Challenge — Impignorate

Cellar of Sorrows

Larry Dawson pulled his delivery van up to the curb in front of a traditional Victorian home. It was 8 PM; there were no parcels to deliver. Larry and his wife Natalie were here for a ghost hunt.

“Damn, Hubby! I sense a lot of sadness in there and I’m still in the van!” Natalie was born with psychic medium abilities. It was those which drew Larry to her when the two joined the same ghost hunt as teenagers. They’d made it their life’s work to help those suffering from paranormal issues ever since.

“The McGuinness family bought this house two weeks ago and already have a problem. Donny should be waiting for us inside.” Larry never told Natalie much about their ghost SOS callouts prior to visiting. He knew that allowed her to read location cleanly and without influence. Climbing from the van he met her at the sliding door to collect their ghost hunting tools.

Natalie rolled up her cardigan sleeves and tightened her chestnut bun of hair as she took a camera and voice recorder. “The energy is powerful here. I’m not surprised it’s causing the new family trouble. Let’s go and see if we can help.”

Larry selected a tri-field meter and the spirit-box along with his thermal imaging camera. With a smile and a nod, he allowed Natalie to lead the way to the house. It had traditional Victorian bay windows and a red-brick porch. Even the old sash windows and ornate gable trim appeared original.

A short, rotund gentleman with ginger hair and glasses was awaiting them in the brick porch. “Good evening te ye, lass. Larry, thank ye for coming back te help mah family. This must ye lovely wife ye told me about,” he greeted them in a cheery Scottish accent as they shook hands.

“Hello, Donny. Glad to help. This is my wife Natalie. She’s already detecting presence here. We’ll go right in; if that’s okay with you?”

“Sure, Larry. Have at it. Noo, don’t forget the house is fine. It’s the —”

“Cellar. I see a middle-aged gentleman scaring your family by stomping around in the cellar.” Natalie looked at her suede ankle boots. “Under here.”

Larry grinned at Donny’s surprised expression. “I never said a word to Natalie. I told you she’d figure out what was going on.”

“That’s ruddy remarkable. Ye got an incredible talent, lass. I’ll get outta ye way and see ye in a few hours,” Donny winked, handed Natalie his front door keys and walked away down the garden path. The couple watched him drive away in his car before focusing on the task at hand.

“Right, straight to the cellar then?” Larry suggested.

Natalie engaged her camera and stepped inside with a nod, “Yes, if I pick up anything elsewhere in the house, I’ll take us there, then.”

Larry switched on the tri-field meter. He wanted to get a baseline for EMF temperature and infrasound readings in the house. He was about to give directions but Natalie set off into the house. Traversing the narrow hallways in the pitch dark.

“Magnus — He seems to be called Magnus. Demon, Demon … He thinks he’s a Demon but he won’t tell me w—” Natalie was caught off-balance, she almost slammed into the kitchen doorframe. Behind her, Larry’s device began twittering loudly as it picked up on EMF spike.

“Darling, you okay?” Larry steadied her. The tri-field abruptly silenced itself leaving an all-consuming quiet in the house

Natalie smiled and shook herself with great temerity. “I’m fine, he made me dizzy to show how powerful he is, that’s all.”

“Listen, Magnus. This is my wife you’re affecting. You will treat her with respect and look after her. We will treat you with respect and if you talk to us, we will help you in any way we can.” Larry entered the kitchen and panned his camera around. It revealed no unexpected heat signatures.

Natalie walked around the oak dining table and creaked open what looked to be a pantry door. “Here’s the steps. Ugh, he laughed at you and said; ‘She’ll be mine if I want her.’ Which is creepy and weird because I don’t think he means it.”  

“He better not. I can soon bin the respect and whoop his ectoplasmic arse!” Larry said with a grin leaving Natalie chuckling.

The stone steps twisted between rough brick walls into the darkness of the cellar below. Ominous feelings seemed to reach out like claws from the impenetrable gloom. An unmistakable sound of water moving echoed from below. Larry turned on his spirit-box filling the air with loud crackling static. “This device sweeps radio frequencies. You can use it to talk to us.” He explained for the ghosts benefit as he started down the steps.

Help uhuhuh

Natalie gasped as she followed Larry down. “That sounded like a little girl crying on the spirit box.”

“It did. Is there a little girl down here needs our help?” Larry asked. His nostrils filled with the smell of damp as he left the steps and entered the echoic cellar. The stone walls were dark and mossy the whole room felt heavy. “I didn’t expect a stream to—”

Demon’ said a man’s voice on the spirit box.

“Magnus, please. You are not the demon you proclaim to be. You were a good man. Who is this little girl?” Natalie asked. “It’s so sad down here. I feel the running water of the stream passing through here is acting like a battery for the paranormal energy.”

‘——’ The device continued to crackle nothing legible was heard. The Tri-field meter began twittering again for a moment before silence fell.

“Come on, Magnus, little girl. Talk with us. We came to speak with you as friends. We—” Larry heard a loud thump. A search with the thermal imager revealed a warm brick at his feet. “Did you just throw that? Please do not throw heavy or dangerous items at us again. Communicate nicely or show yourself,” he ordered as he put the spirit box on the brick

“Oh, Larry. This is terrible.” Natalie couldn’t hold in a sob and had to wipe tears from her eyes with a shaking hand. “I’m seeing a little girl in a pink dress playing with her dolls in the stream. She —”

I – mur-der-ed – her,’ said the sorrowful man through the spirit box. ‘My dau-gt-er.’

“No, Magnus. It was an accident. You didn’t know she was here.” Still in tears, Natalie turned to look across the stream. She was in time to see a little ball of white light rise from the dark corner. It seemed to twinkle before vanishing again. “Well, hello, Rosy. Thank you for showing yourself on our camera. You’re very pretty.”

Thank you,’ said the girl’s voice coming from the spirit-box.

Larry felt a shudder of sadness passing through him. He held out a hand and watched it grow warmer on the thermal imager. “I feel her, Natalie. She is holding my hand.”

“I know, I can see her. Go on, Rosy. It’s okay to speak. Your daddy is ready to listen.”

I — sorry, Ro-sy sweet-he-art,

“You’re doing great with the spirit-box, Magnus. Thank you for calming down and talking with —” Natalie froze she felt the atmosphere grow warmer and nodded with a reverent smile.

‘Daddy … it was … my fault … I played here … when you … told me not — tooo. I forgive — love you.’ Rosy’s voice was garbled in the static but her message was clear.

Natalie put her arms around Larry both overwhelmed by the powerful energy and crying tears of sadness. “You see, Magnus. You are not a demon. It was a simple mistake you made all those years ago. You’ve been punishing yourself for almost one-hundred-and-thirty-years and in doing so neither you nor Rosy can rest.”

Thank —you, Rosie … I — love you — too,” said Magnus on the spirit box.

At the same time, Natalie watched an orb of white light on her camera. She followed it along the stream to a rectangular hole in the wall. “Look, Larry. I think the brick came from here.”

Larry found his torch and gave her light. It wasn’t long before he watched Natalie straighten with the green-glass wine bottle in hand.

“There’s no label and this is extremely old.” Natalie strained her fingers as she uncorked the bottle with a loud pop. “There’s old parchment in here.”

Larry took Natalie’s camera and began to film her as she wheedled the ancient paper from the bottle. “How exciting! Is everything written on it? “

“This was written and put here by Magnus. I—”

Ple-ase read…’

Natalie nodded to the room, “Thank you, Magnus. It reads. ‘I Magnus Thorn am the worst father imaginable. I murdered my darling daughter Rosy in the cellar of my home on July 15, 1892. In throwing boxes into the cellar, I knocked my dear Rosy into the stream and drowned her. I shall never forget the terrible fate I thrust upon my daughter. It is with anguish and sorrow that I take my own life. I impignorate — I pledge my soul to the devil in the hope that he will restore life to Rosy and allow her to live the life she deserves. A guilty but loving father, Magnus.” Natalie wiped tears from her eyes as she finished and stood with a hand to her face in silent sorrow.

“Oh, Magnus that’s so terrible. Now you know, you didn’t murder Rosy. It was just a terrible accident. Rosy forgives you, we forgive you and now we ask you to forgive yourself. The devil does not deserve your soul. Instead, you must take Rosy’s hand and lead her to the bright white light you see in this room. Inside you will find heaven and a beautiful place where you can finally rest.” Larry said with his eyes closed in prayer.

The energies in the room seemed to abate. “Magnus says ‘thank you’ I feel he is preparing to leave now,” Natalie said with a smile as she took back the camera.

Larry picked up the spirit box and made to switch off but it wasn’t done yet. Rosie had one final message.

‘Thank you … for helping my … daddy. Mummy and I … can take good care … of him now. Larry, Natalie has … something … very special for … you.’ There was a rush of movement in the room.

Larry followed the sudden wind to his wife. Her abdomen took on a glow beneath her cardigan. “What is it Rosy?”

Cherish your … daughter. She will be a special soul … just like her mummy.’ With that, the spirit box died and the energy left the room never to return.

“Natalie darling, are you pregnant?” Larry asked with shining eyes. He knew they’d been trying for a while unsuccessfully. He raced over and hugged her from behind with his hands on her belly.

In the torchlight, Natalie placed a hand on his and broke into the most beautiful smile. “Yes, Larry. I believe I am.”

The End


Join Larry and Natalie on the Dawson Ghost Hunt’s page.

Thanks for reading my friends and don’t forget there’s always plenty more stories for you in the Short Stories and Short Stories 2 tabs.

Have a great day.

21 thoughts on “Cellar of Sorrows

Add yours

      1. That’s a fun way to write a novel. Start with a list of words and weave from there. I wish you great success with it, Joseph.

        I myself have retired from novels having written 28 and failed to publish them. Just short stories for me now.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. That’s a fun way to write a novel. Start with a list of words and weave from there. I wish you great success with it, Joseph.

        I myself have retired from novels having written 28 and failed to publish them. Just short stories for me now.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You know as I grew up I loved reading many, many books. If I found words I didn’t know, I’d write them down and then have a dictionary session later to find and learn them. Maybe your book will help others learn too.

        Liked by 1 person

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