Full Moon HousebyDeclan Cravens©
This is my entry for the 2009 Halloween contest. Thank you (ahead of time!) for reading and voting. Please comment as I love to hear from you as to what you liked or disliked!! Enjoy!
My name is Amelia Sutton and I want to tell you a story. It is a story about how I came to Full Moon House. It's also about why I can never leave.
I spent most of my youth traveling the world with my Dad. My Mother died shortly after I was born and it was just the two of us. It wasn't easy to raise a child and continue a military career but somehow he pulled it off.
From the day I was born I was obsessed with the moon. No matter where we lived the moon, and my Dad, were the only constants in my life. I would lie in my bed and stare at the moon as it rose and make my wishes on her, not silly old stars.
When I was nearly fifteen, Dad retired from the Marines and settled us in a little town in Louisiana called Gordon. It was full of run-down former plantation houses that New Orleans residents were buying up and restoring to their former glories. Dad was really good with his hands and smart so he started up his own construction business. He did good work for a reasonable price and before long his reputation in Gordon was golden. Sometimes he had more work than he could handle.
When we finally bought a house, Dad opened up a wall in my bedroom and put in a huge bay window with a seat so I could watch the moon rise every night. I loved sitting in that seat and writing my stories about the magical effects of the moon.
Since Gordon was the first place we'd settled in for more than a few months at a time, I felt free to join the track team, make friends, even think about dating. It was a totally new world for me and I was loving every moment. Dad even let me do some work around the business to earn spending money. It was nearly perfect.
My Dad was not the typical military man when it came to raising me. Not everything had to be by the book or so regimented that I had no freedom. He trusted me to be able to take care of myself and know right from wrong. I'm not saying I never made mistakes in judgment but when I did he didn't try to make me feel bad about it. We talked things out and he doled out restrictions appropriately. I was very lucky to have him.
During track season I ran every night, taking different trails around Gordon, exploring the area and thinking about colleges, boys, whatever crossed my mind. It was my way of relaxing, of taking stock of my world and everyone in it. When track season ended I still ran, but not every night. I took it slower, paying more attention to what was around me than what was in my head.
My birthday is in late fall, on Halloween to be exact and that year my birthday fell on a full moon. I was so excited. It seemed that everything was in alignment. I was turning sixteen, the moon was going to be full and bright, and I had the entire night to do whatever I wanted.
I went for my run early that evening so I could come back and get ready to go to a party with my friends. I had the most amazing costume, a little risqué, but not enough to set off Dad's warning bells. I also had a date, a boy I'd had a crush on since we'd first moved to Gordon. I just knew that it was going to be the perfect night.
My best friend, Sadie, came over and helped me curl my long auburn hair into seductive curls and then wove tons of little flowers into it so it looked like a garden nymph's hair. The costume was green and wispy light, a little low cut, showed off my long legs and made my hair and pale skin seem to glow. Lots of black mascara made the fake lashes I'd applied look even longer and my eyes look more green than the usual hazel.
The party was great. Loud music, dancing, tons of candy and junk foods. The best part was that my crush kissed me, really kissed me and it was amazing. I was on cloud nine. The moon was high in the sky when I started walking home and I felt like magical moon beams were escorting me home.
Lost in daydreams of kissing Josh again, I didn't notice that I'd veered off the normal path I would take to get home. By the time I did, I was way off the main roads and surrounded by deepening woods. Perfect place for a wood nymph on Halloween. I didn't panic, I was much too smart for that. I knew most of the town of Gordon and just because the area I was in wasn't familiar didn't mean I was lost.
Trying to get my bearings, I noticed what seemed to be the peak of a roof through the trees. A house meant people, a phone, directions back to town. I kept the roof line in sight as I walked through the thick stand of trees and eventually came to a halt in front of a large gate with two half moons making up the handles. The gate made me smile, someone loved the moon as much as I.
The gate wasn't locked and opened without a sound. There was a walk made of white quartz that led up to the large house with a wide wraparound porch. The quartz glowed in the moonlight and I felt a little like Dorothy on the yellow brick road, only my Dorothy followed moon beams.
The front door of the house had a large round window made up of a kind of glass that made it look like the surface of the moon. It was glowing lightly as well and I couldn't help but fall in love with the place a little more with each passing moment. It was as if someone had gotten into my head and created my dream house, a place I would design and build if I had my way.
I knocked on the large door but no one answered. I tried to look through the round window but the glass made it impossible to see inside. I walked down around to the other windows but all of them were made of the same glass. It was quiet, no sounds coming from inside so I turned to leave and saw that the white quartz path continued around the side. I felt a little uneasy about checking out the house while no one was home but curiosity was getting the better of me.
The entire place was amazing. Flowers were planted everywhere, night blooming and fragrant. It was a world meant to be enjoyed in the dark. Unlit lanterns were hung everywhere and would make the outside of the house glow pleasingly when the sun went down.
A bird sang out overhead and I looked up, noticing for the first time the third floor of the house seemed to have large half moon shaped windows on every wall. You would be able to see the moon from any direction on that level. It was my true fantasy room, I thought.
Despite some of the things I'd seen, most of the house seemed to be in need of repair. The paint was peeling from the wooden siding and the porch had sagged some in the front and back. The grass was higher than it should be if someone were there to maintain it. I wondered if it had been abandoned.
Standing on the back path I noticed that I could see the lights of town off in the distance. I had gone further out of my way than I had noticed and it startled me some. How had I gotten so far away without noticing?
There was no fence there at the back, just a large row of hedges and I pushed my way through them, following the lights of town. It took almost an hour to get home and it was way past my curfew. Dad wasn't happy but I explained that I'd actually gotten turned around coming back from the party and it took me a little bit to get my bearings. He grounded me from going to the fall picnic in town but I didn't mind. Seeing that house had been worth the punishment.
Over the next few days I would run the path that led to the house and wait to see if I saw anyone moving around. I never saw a soul, but one day the grass had been cut and the front steps repaired. I didn't dare venture around the back to see if the back steps had been repaired as well. I was disappointed, obviously the house was occupied. My dream of it being for sale and talking Dad into buying it went down the drain.
I still went past the house during the winter months but not as often. It made me a little sad to know that I would never get to live there, or even see inside. However, I felt compelled to go past there every now and then, checking on it, dreaming of living there.
After graduating high school, I went off to college and found that I was really good at restoration work and design. I worked hard and finished school with dual degrees and several honors. Dad was so proud. He made a place for me at his business and together we turned out some amazing homes. People from as far away as New York City were coming down to see our work, get ideas and check out properties for sale.
The business was really booming and during the summer months we had a waiting list of people wanting our services. I had moved out of Dad's house after getting the lecture that a woman of almost twenty-five had no business living with her old Father. He worried that I didn't have much of a social life, didn't date much. I tried to explain that I loved my work and it was enough for now, that I would settle down when I found someone I could love and respect as much as he'd loved my Mother. I didn't feel the need to tell him that after I'd turned sixteen I'd never really had much of a desire to be with a man at all. That I'd never had sex like all the other girls did in high school or college. That in fact, I didn't really think I'd ever marry or have children. It just didn't seem to fit with what I had planned for my life.
To appease him I purchased the space above the building our business occupied and used my spare time to make it into a luxurious apartment. I figured, when it was time, I would sell the place and turn a nice profit to use as a down payment for a home.
My twenty-fifth birthday was fast approaching when a realtor came into the office with a desperate request. She needed someone to stage and do light repairs on a home she had listed for sell. The owner was in bad health and needed to sell the place as quickly as possible. It was a unique property, she said, lots of potential. Just needed some cosmetic work. Could we fit her in soon?
I agreed to go look at the property that afternoon and see what we could work up. She gave me a spec sheet on the place and the address seemed familiar. I couldn't place it and the price seemed on the low side for all the property had to offer. Gourmet kitchen, living room, dining room, bathroom, pantry and laundry room on the first floor, four bedrooms and two baths upstairs, master suite and luxury bath on the third floor. It seemed almost too good to be true for the price. I found myself anxious to see the property.
I followed the directions the realtor gave that afternoon and realized where I was headed. The house with all the half moon shaped windows. Excitement rushed through me and I knew this was the moment I'd been waiting for since the first night I'd seen the place.
The realtor was waiting for me and I let her do her talking, all the while making plans for what I would do to this house when it belonged to me. The house came fully furnished and was in remarkable shape for its age. It needed some cosmetic work, like she'd said, but nothing that would break the bank. I told her I wanted to see the third floor.
It was everything I'd imagined and more. Those sets of half moon shaped windows went from floor to ceiling and were on three of the bedroom walls and the other set was over the huge claw foot tub in the master bath. It was breathtaking. A sense of peace came over me and I turned to the realtor and asked her how soon we could get a contract going. She was more than a little shocked, but also obviously pleased at having a buyer for the house.
She tried to tell me about the other owners of the home, but I'd shut her out, daydreaming of everything I would do. I had plans forming and materials lists running through my head. I asked her to please get the process started and that I would provide her with the down payment for the bank and get her to list my current home with her company to sell.
Two weeks later I was the new owner of Full Moon House.
I began to have the dreams that very first night. I didn't think much of it. Stress, most likely, I remember thinking. After all, we were trying to do the repairs and renovations around the schedules of the other jobs we had going on at work and I was anxious for them to be done.
I had dinner on the back area of the wide wraparound porch with all the lanterns lit and the garden glowing in the moonlight just like I'd imagined all those years before. It was later that I began to feel restless. I tried some hot tea to settle my nerves but nothing worked. I ran a bath in the huge claw foot tub and soaked my stress away with vanilla and musk scented bubbles. At some point I guess I dozed off and what I dreamed was both breathtaking and a little scary.
A man dressed in jeans and a long black coat over a blue shirt came into the bathroom and I knew him. He was a complete stranger, but I still knew him. Something inside me recognized that I'd been waiting all this time for him. That he had been here in the house waiting for me since that first night.
He stared into my eyes and I smiled at him invitingly. I was never much of a flirt but with him it came easily. He smiled back and began to take off his clothes, slowly. I asked him to hurry, my heart racing. He didn't speed up but he smiled again and his face was so beautiful. His hair was the darkest of blacks and his eyes weren't much lighter. Thick lashes ringed them and made him look as if he were wearing eyeliner. I liked his face, his body. He seemed a little pale but I didn't wonder too much on the fact.
I noticed as he lowered his body into the water next to mine that he had a very large scar on his back that resembled something very scary. It had long talons and longer, sharper teeth. I tried not to stare at it because it made me feel uncomfortable. Made me want to run from him and hide. I didn't want to be away from him. I wanted to stay right there with him forever.
He touched my face with the back of his hand and it was the lightest, the most reverent of touches I'd felt in my life. I could feel how much he cared for me, how much he wanted to be near me. I was amazed that someone so caring, so loving was there for me, wanted me.
My eyes closed as he stroked my hair, again the touch so light that I almost didn't feel it. There was a whisper of breath in my ear and I sighed, content and so tired suddenly that my body began to lower in the water. I wasn't afraid. He wouldn't let me go under.
I raised my hand to touch him, wanting to see how his skin felt under my palm, but when I tried my hand went right through him, landing on the cold metal on the other side of the tub. His head lowered and he looked at me with such sadness in those black eyes that I felt like crying. He shook his head, smiled a little and faded away.
I woke to a tub full of cold water lapping at my chin, so cold that my fingers and toes had a bluish tint. It had seemed so real. This time when I shivered it was from the feeling that I'd just seen a ghost.
Later that week, I went to the realtor and asked her to tell me what she'd been trying to tell me before. I learned from her that the house had been sold and bought twenty times in the past fifty years. She claimed that there wasn't anything wrong with the house, just that the owners tended to fall ill or die soon after moving in. Bad luck, she claimed. I left her office feeling uneasy but not really afraid. After all, there was nothing wrong with me. I was young, healthy and strong. I put my fears aside and went back to work.
I had the dream again a week later. This time he was stronger, or so it seemed. His touches felt more solid and when I reached out to touch him it took more of a push to get through him to the other side of the tub. I also noticed more of the strange scar that covered his back. The demon, or monster, held the full moon on the talons of one hand high in the air, the other held a knife pointed at the moon threateningly. I didn't like the image and closed my eyes to block out the sight.
This time when I woke I was not only cold, but weak. I was barely able to rise out of the tub and shuffle to the bed. I woke late the next morning and it took me longer to get around than it did most days. I chalked it up to stress and the amount of work on my plate at my job and around my new house.
The renovations finally got under way because of Michael David, Dad's foreman. He offered to do the work at night, after his other jobs were done and on the weekends for a small fee and free meals. Michael and I had flirted off and on for a couple of years but it never seemed to go anywhere. I knew he was doing it to get closer to me and I didn't mind. I liked him and thought maybe it would turn into more if I got to know him better.
That first night I fixed Michael his favorite meal and he spent more time wandering around the kitchen while I cooked than working. I let him get away with it because I liked the idea of having him around, liked talking to him while I worked. Michael was good looking, strong and tall. His hair was light brown and tended to curl over his collar since he never remembered to get it cut. His eyes were a light cornflower blue and he had this cute little dimple in his left cheek when he smiled or laughed.
We talked about the renovations and what should be done first and what we might need to check on to see if it needed updating, like electrical outlets and the plumbing. I was shocked to find myself checking out his body when he leaned down to look under the sink or reached up to touch the moldings over the doors. I never acted like that.
We ate together outside, with the lanterns lit and the moon shining down on us. I felt lighter, happier than I had in a long time. We laughed a lot and by the time we'd finished cleaning up I admitted to him that it was the first "date" I'd been on since college. He grinned and said that he would try a little harder to make a good impression the next time he stopped by. We made plans for him to start really working on Saturday since I'd need time to buy supplies and such. I walked him to the door and shut it with a smile, anxious for Saturday to come.
I had the dream again that night. This time it was different, darker. He came to me the same way but this time he didn't get into the tub with me. This time he stood next to the bath and stared down at me, anger and disappointment shining in his eyes. I didn't know what I'd done to turn him from the loving person he'd been before to this angry man and I lowered my head, beginning to cry.
When I looked back up again he was gone. I was alone, crying in my tub, freezing and shaking. And I was awake. The man was not a dream or a figment of my overactive imagination. He was a ghost, and he was living in my house.
I didn't say anything to anyone. Who would believe me? Even in superstitious Louisiana, ghosts are not something most people believe in. At least, not these days.
Michael showed up bright and early on Saturday and we spent most of it peeling the old, cracking wallpaper from the first bedroom. We joked and talked the day away, eating takeout Chinese from the boxes in my kitchen and throwing balls of old wallpaper at each other. By the time we started to paint, the sun was already low in the sky and the moon could be seen on the eastern horizon.
I left Michael to paint while I fixed us some dinner, surprising him by setting the outside table with candles and turning the lanterns down low. We ate and I took the plates into the kitchen while Michael poured us some wine. I came back out and sat down next to him, letting him put his arm around me while we watched the moon rise.
That night he came to me again, anger shining brightly in his black eyes and his movements choppy and harsh. I was in my bed this time, reading when his body began to take shape in the room. I should have been scared, instead I felt like the wife who'd been caught cheating with the help. His eyes asked for something he couldn't voice and something I wished I could promise. How can you love a ghost? Someone you can't touch, can't feel, can't kiss or hug? I wanted to have him for my own but it was impossible.