The Story of Lorna Bellefountaine
“You kids get out of my house!” the old woman screamed, but to no avail. Lorna Bellefountaine watched helpless as the adolescent boys proceed in past the door with the broken lock, and further into her house. Lorna had been dead for about 25 years, but had never left her home. In life, this was very much the case as well. Lorna had moved into the house shortly after getting married in 1956, and aside from going out to the market or to church, she really didn’t stray far from her home. Her husband, Arnold, had preferred it that way. He worked in a nearby factory, and she kept up the house. They rarely had the money to go on a nice vacation or go anywhere special, but despite that she was happy- or at least comfortable. So, after Arnold died, Lorna stayed in the home.
Relatives urged her to move out. Some wanted her to move in with them, and as she got older, some urged her to move to a retirement community. “This is my home, and this is where I belong. I’m very happy here, and Arnold worked very hard to provide this place for me, so I’m going to stay here as long as I live,” she would always tell them.
By 1981, Lorna still stubbornly refused to move. The house was showing it’s age, as was Lorna. It became increasingly difficult to climb the stairs in the house, and maintaining the upkeep of the old building was more than the elderly woman could handle. Still, she loved her home, and refused to leave it. Even after she fell down the basement stairs while carrying a basket of laundry late one Saturday evening, she wouldn’t leave. Although her neck was broken by the fall, Lorna refused to be taken from her home.
“We are the black angels who guide the souls of the dead,” the boy had said.
“I don’t care if you are the gall-darned President of the United States, I’m not leaving my house! Now get me out of this place, and take me back to my home! I’ve got laundry to do!” she had argued.
“Is that your choice?” the woman had asked her.
“Missy, don’t make me repeat myself. I want to go back to my own home, and I want to go right away,” she stated, making herself very clear. Since then, she had remained in the house as a spirit. Death was merely a setback for her- at best, she was mildly irritated by the mess her body had left in the basement stairwell. However, it only remained their for a few weeks before some neighbors got concerned, and she was taken away.
Lorna had left the house to her sister Cindy’s boy, Greg. Greg lived in Toronto with his wife Dolores, and the two of them were lawyers for a big firm. They had a nice, well-decorated apartment in the city, so when news of his aunt’s inheritance came to him, Greg was less than enthused.
So for the past 12 years, the creaky old house remained untouched, a solemn and faded “For Sale” sign peeking out into the suburban streets from it’s perpetually untrimmed lawn. Over the years, the Bellefountaine house became something of an urban legend among the children of the neighborhood. On later summer nights, fireside tales of a haunting by old Mrs. Bellefountaine would lead to late night raids into the house, each child daring the other to progress farther into the rickety old domicile than the last.
Naturally, Lorna was less than pleased by this. Children these days had no manners whatsoever, she often told herself. In her day, they would have been taught to respect the privacy of others. Tonight was no different. The children, two boys about age 12, had broken in to satisfy some sort of dare, no doubt, and were slowly creeping their way up to Lorna and Arnold’s old bedroom.
“Dude, stop making so much noise!” one of the boys snapped as his companion stepped on a squeaky floorboard.
“What, you aren’t scared of old Mrs. Bellefountaine, are you?” the other teased.
“You had better damn well be scared, you brats! Why, if I still had my body, I would have you both over my knee!” Lorna fumed in futility. That’s when she saw the third child. This one was a girl, about the same age, perhaps a year or so older. She had long, red hair- straight, and cleanly cut, falling just below her shoulders. She was pale, with freckles, and had bright blue eyes. She wore a white and navy blouse, something reminiscent of an older time. She walked quietly behind the boys, and they didn’t seem to pay much attention to her.
“I’m not s-scared!” the other child stuttered. “Everyone knows that ghosts aren’t real!” At that point, the girl laughed. Neither boy paid her any mind. The girl didn’t seem to care, though. She walked up the stairs behind them, and then looked directly up at Lorna, who had been sitting at the top of the stairwell.
“I think we both know that’s not true, right?” she said, her voice sweet and friendly. Lorna was somewhat surprised. In all her years, she had never had anyone be able to see her.
“You can see me?” she asked, somewhat startled. The girl laughed. “Of course I can. I’m dead, too!” she announced, and walked right through the boys. They shuddered.
“Holy shit, Mike, did you feel that?!” the more nervous one exclaimed, looking around the room in a panic. His friend, while visibly shaken, tried to remain calm.
“Calm down, you pussy, it’s nothing. God, grow a pair. It was probably just a wind.”
Lorna felt a pang on uncharacteristic empathy. For such a girl, so young, to be walking among the deceased… it seemed tragic. “Oh, you poor young thing…” Lorna cooed, extending her arms to the child. The girl ignored them, and smiled.
“Poor? Me?” she asked, quizzically. “Why do you say that?”
Lorna was a little thrown off by her cheerfulness. “You don’t mind it?” The girl shook her head.
“Of course not. Being dead has opened more doors for me than I ever had in life. For example,” the girl said, “I can help you get rid of these nosy kids, if you want.” Lorna’s old eyes lit up.
“Oh, would I!” she exclaimed. “Such a helpful child! I would be most appreciative.” The girl nodded.
“Alright then!” The young girl waved her hand, and suddenly, there was a change. Lorna felt sort of a tearing, as the girl flickered out of existence for a moment, and reappeared at the bottom of the stairs. She was different somehow… Lorna could smell her skin and hair, and hear her heart beating… it was as if she was alive. The girl said nothing, but picked up an old, rusted knickknack off a shelf and pitched it up at the boys.
Both of them jumped at the sound, and whirled around to see the girl behind them.
“Who in the heck are you?!” one boy cried. The other gave a snort.
“It’s just some dumb girl. Shouldn’t you be home playing with dolls or something?”
The girl stopped smiling. “Dolls, eh? I haven’t played with dolls in years… that sounds like it could be fun.” She snapped her finger, and suddenly the cowardly boy began to convulse.
“Jamie?” the other boy asked, some fear in his voice. “Oh my God, I think he’s having a seizure!” The boy, Jamie, rocked and pitched wildly, and lost his footing, falling down the stairs. He landed right at the feet of the girl, who did nothing. She merely stood, observing the scene with a flat expression. The other boy, Mike, raced down to his friend, and knelt next to him. He gave the girl a pleading glance, his eyes tearing up.
“Come on, help me! I don’t know what to do!” he whimpered. “I don’t know what’s happening?”
The girl chuckled. “I do.”
Mike looked at her, as did Lorna.
What in God’s name is this child doing? Lorna thought, horrified at what she was watching.
“What’s happening?” the boy asked, a little quieter now, as his friend bucked and foamed at the mouth. A trickle of blood began to run from his nose and ears, and he was sweating profusely.
“I’m boiling his internal fluids,” she responded casually. The other boy went white, and Lorna stood up.
“Stop this at once!” the old ghost demanded. The child ignored her.
“You see, you started talking about dolls, and that put me in the mood to play with them. But I don’t have any dolls anymore, so I’m going to make him into one. But first, I need to get his fever high enough to shut down most of his voluntary motor functions. I want him alive, but only alive enough to keep his body alive. I can’t really play doll with him if he’s going to insist on having a mind and a soul, right?” she said with a little grin. Mike got up, and punched the girl.
“You fucking bitch! Stop it right now!” he screamed, tears streaming down his face while he trembled. The girl recoiled at the blow, and turned back to face him slowly, her pleasant expression gone, replaced by one of icy hatred. She clicked her tongue, as if to disapprove, and suddenly, a burst of intense emotion surged across the house, knocking Mike down and even hurling Lorna’s spirit against the wall.
Lorna picked herself up, and quietly hid behind the banister. What could she do?
Jamie stopped convulsing, and the girl nodded, as if satisfied. Slowly, Lorna could see a white light rising out of the boy… was it his soul? The girl watched as the brilliant figure climbed out of the still body. Suddenly, a terrible appendage reached out from within her. It was translucent, like a spirit, and resembled a terrible claw. It grasped the white specter as it rose, and clamped down on it, causing it to wriggle around painfully. Then, like a frog’s tongue, the arm recoiled into the girl, and she shivered for a moment as the white light entered her. When she opened her eyes again, they were shining terribly, like a cat’s eyes in darkness. She looked back at Jamie’s body, and smiled. The body rose up slowly, and moved like an automaton towards the other body.
“J… Jamie?” he asked, his fright undisguised, backing up against the wall. His friend approached, his eyes lifeless, and wrapped his hands around Mike’s neck.
“This is fun!” the girl giggled. “Look, I’m making him get back at you for bringing him here!” Mike made hideous sounds as he struggled to breathe, clawing hopelessly at the hands of his friend. Jamie’s grip was powered by some sort of supernatural strength, making it impossible for the boy to break free. Mike turned blue in the face, and his wriggling became weaker, and less noticeable. The very life was being choked out of him.
Lorna stood up, and raced down to the girl. “Stop this! This isn’t what I wanted! Stop it now!” she screamed. The girl glanced at her, her striking eyes like daggers. Lorna froze in her tracks at the sight of it.
“Shut up, you old bag,” the girl growled, her voice much deeper now than before, “Who gives a shit what you want? You, some miserable old memory of a wasted life, lingering around like the stink of garbage in your own little hellhole? It makes me sick,” the girl snarled. Mike stopped struggling, and as before with Jamie, the tell-tale light began to climb out of him. As before, the girl snatched him up, like some sort of terrible predator.
Lorna wept, “Why did you do that?” The girl shrugged.
“Because I wanted to?” she offered, with no remorse. “I had been following them for a few days, and I knew they would eventually end up here, where no one would be able to witness this. I didn’t really count on anyone else being here,” she explained.
“What… what are you?” Lorna asked.
“I already told you. I’m a ghost, just like you,” she said, with a shrug.
“How… how can a ghost be capable of such.. of such… ” Lorna was afraid to continue. The girl drew close, and placed her face very close to Lorna’s ears.
“You’d be surprised what we can do,” she whispered. Suddenly, Lorna felt pain again for the first time in 25 years. She felt something raking across her back, and looked down to see the talons of one of those terrible claws that had devoured the spirits of the boys stabbing into her stomach. Lorna gasped and choked, unable to speak.
The girl stepped away, and chuckled. She rose up off the ground, carried by a thousand groping, grasping claws that now extended out of her. The girl’s body faded, and left a misty apparition in her place. It looked vaguely like her, only bound in chains. All of the terrible arms were connected to her, all of her body but her face obscured by them. Within the foggy image, Lorna could see countless faces rising and fading, each one wracked in agony. A cold wind began to blow.
The arms embraced her, and tore at her spirit. Lorna screamed as she felt herself being rendered asunder. Slowly, but surely, the knife-like fingers pulled at her, tearing her soul into tiny bits, and delivering them into the swirling mass of chains and faces.
Lorna looked around her house as she felt herself disappearing… why had she decided to stay here? She thought now of what the black angels had offered to her… why had she discarded Heaven so casually? But before she could contemplate it any further, her mind split as she felt the blade-like digits slice her remains into tiny pieces. She was no longer herself, barely aware of anything. She could feel herself being pulled into the mass. It was like being submerged into dirty, ice cold water. In this place, she felt herself pressed up against the presence of others… surely those that had been devoured before her. The touch was in no way comforting, though- each was like a collision. It was as if she had no skin, and even the slightest brush caused raw, merciless pain. Lorna wanted to scream… but her mouth did not open. Instead, only the girl’s words came out.
“I should have expected as much. So disgusting, these souls that are content to linger.”
Back in the house, the mass of spiritual energy subsided, and the girl reappeared, now a spirit once more. She looked around the room. The boys’ bodies sat lifelessly. The girl took a little mental snapshot, placing her hands to her face as if she were holding a camera, and then making a clicking noise. “These ones look pretty good like this. Very edgy, very real.”
And with that, she floated up and out of the house, and disappeared into the night sky.