A Sister Haunted


"What the fuck? How did I get in this?" She confessed.

"Ha. Caught you playing dress up I see." I tried to act innocent but was hoping my guilt wasn't protruding from my face.

"No I'm serious, what the fuck happened."

Ashley never uses language like that unless she is serious, but I saw everything.

"Clay. I'm not fucking around. Last thing I remember is reading that book over on that chair. How the fuck did I get in this dress, and where did all this shit come from?" She was visibly concerned.

"I don't know Ash, I just came up here and found you lying in your new outfit." I laughing trying to play along just in case she was still trying to pull a prank on me. She looked around the room as if trying to remember how things were set up before she went to sleep.

"Did you rearrange the room?" She asked. Now I was starting to feel a little concerned. But had no choice but to tell her.

"No Ash. You did."

Chapter Three

Ashley looked up at me, her face turned ghostly pale. As much as I hated pranks, I was starting to hope she was trying to pull one. I didn't know what else to say but I could see she was frightened.

"Do you sleep walk?" I asked not knowing how else to explain what she was claiming.

"Not that I know of."

"Well, don't worry about it, that's probably what it was." I said, although I've never known anyone to rearrange a room in their sleep. I wondered if she was thinking the same thing. "Well, lets go get something to eat, I'm hungry."

I tried to act like what had just happened was not that big of a deal. And I still had not ruled out that she was trying to pull a fast one.

She looked around for her clothes and went down to her room to change. When she came into the kitchen she didn't say much.

"I'm frying up some chicken. I've been craving Mom's fried chicken for a few weeks now so I figured now's a good time to make it; with you coming to live with me and all." She smiled and asked where to find the plates and glasses. She set the table and poured our drinks, she placed my glass next to me as I stood over the fryer poking at the chicken making sure it was cooked. She hadn't said more than five words since she came down and I was starting to feel really paranoid.

"Are you okay?" I asked

"Yeah, I'm fine." She was unconvincing.

"Don't worry about it Ash, you were just tired. What was the book you were so interested in up there?" I wanted to get her talking. Maybe if we talked about it I could get clues about what really happened. It was driving me mad not knowing what she was thinking. I knew this was mostly my own guilt, wondering if I was somehow responsible for this. But still, I could tell she was very shaken over it.

"Um, it was actually a diary. The lady that owned it was named Isabelle. All I remember was reading her excitement about a new job in America and she was due to arrive at her new employer's house fairly soon. Mr. Du Bois I think she said."

"Mr. Du Bois, that's definitely French. I wonder if Isabelle owned this place?" I asked.

"I don't know. But the dialect was obviously foreign, She said in the beginning that she was going to write her diary in English so she could practice. And she mentioned that she would miss her family and hoped one day to return to France and visit them."

"That's cool. It'll be neat to learn a little about the history of this place. Where did you find the diary, I'm surprised it was still up there."

"I found it in the back of a drawer of one of the chifforobes."

"Neat. Well I figure tonight we can just relax and get some rest. Then tomorrow if you want, we'll set your room up how you want and you can get settled in. That way Sunday we can watch the Raiders game." I laughed. We are both die-hard Raiders fans and thanks to Direct TV I was able to watch the games weekly.

We finished up with dinner and she washed the dishes. I teased her about the many fights we had when we were younger over who would clean the dishes after dinner. We both hated the chore. I told her I was glad she didn't mind, because I still hated it. She laughed. I asked if she wanted to watch a movie but she decided she was going to turn in for the night. Chicks never want to watch Die Hard; even my own sister. I laughed at the thought.

I woke up on the couch and didn't have a clue of the time. That's what I get for taking so long to unpack, there wasn't a clock in the house. My cell phone read 6:48 AM. I hate waking up early on my day off. Sleeping on the couch was pretty normal for me. Since I moved in, I probably slept on the couch more than my bed. Most of Ashley's luggage was still on the floor. I decided to freshen up with a shower before starting breakfast.

As I prepared breakfast I heard Ashley moving her luggage around. I called her to the kitchen to eat before we got started. Afterwards, we rearranged her furniture to her liking. I left her alone to unpack and get situated. I went downstairs to review some paperwork on a case I'm working on. Before I knew it, several hours had passed. When I went to check on her, she wasn't in her room and the bathroom door was open. The attic door was closed so I didn't think she was up there, but there was no where else she could be. I walked up to the attic and before I could see her I heard the familiar song from the day before.

When I saw her she was wearing another dress from the old collection. She was dusting all of the furniture she had rearranged the day before. The bed was made up and the room was neat and tidy. All of the boxes that had not been unpacked were moved against the wall next to the stairs. She had cleaned the entire attic.

"Wow." I said, amazed at her hard work. "You should have told me you were going to do this, I would have helped." She gasped and spun around to look at me. I startled her. "Oh sorry." I said, "didn't mean to scare you."

"Pardon me sir, I no see you." She spoke with a heavy french accent.

I just smirked, she's playing again.

"Can I help you sir, dinner okay, no?" She asked

"Dinner huh? I haven't had dinner." I played along.

"Oh I sorry sir, you not like what I prepare? You like for me to prepare something different?"

"Wow, your accent sounds real." It really did.

"Oh." She paused. "Thank you sir." She looked confused.

She stood with her hands locked together. She didn't move and only looked down towards the floor. I asked her about the room and why she wanted to rearrange. She wouldn't break character.

"I no understand sir." She was visibly agitated. I was feeling sort of irritated.

"What you going to do the rest of the day?" I asked.

"I try to fix water, it no working." She looked back down at the floor after answering my question.

"I see. Well I'm going to start dinner."

"Thank you Mr. Du Bois." She said

I froze in place. For some reason, when I heard the name Mr. Du Bois, Gale popped in my head. Ashley told me that morning that Mr. Du Bois was Isabelle's employer, the lady whose diary she was reading. Isabelle was from France and came to the U.S. to earn a living. For a moment I wondered if Gale had been right and Ashley really was having some sort of supernatural experience. All I could do is wait for it to wear off or run its course, whatever happened in those cases.

I acted like I was leaving, but I just opened and closed the door. I eased back up the stairs. I wanted to know if Ashley was playing a prank on me. She started humming the same song and resumed dusting off the furniture. I watched for about thirty minutes as she worked. After she finished cleaning off the furniture, she stood before the bed and stretched. She laid down like she was exhausted. I left the attic quietly.

I was watching television and reading when Ashley walked in the room. She was back in her own clothes and looked like she had lots on her mind. I asked her if she had finished dusting.

"What?" She looked at me panicked.

"Did you finish cleaning your second room?" I asked again. "You remind me of when we were kids. You're upstairs playing house with your 19th century dresses." I forced a laugh.

"Clay." She said looking very concerned. "Something is wrong. I don't remember again. Did you see me this time?"

I gave in. If she was playing a prank, I was going to let her win. I acted like I didn't see much the day before. I told her I saw her uncovering and rearranging the furniture. Then I told her about our conversation earlier and how authentic her accent sounded. She looked surprised. She didn't recollect any of what I was saying. We ignored the television and just looked at each other.

"Come on, lets go out and get something to eat. I've never been out around here so it'll be something new."

We drove towards Gramercy looking for a place that looked appetising. We came across a small steak and seafood place and decided that was as good as anything else. I like local spots more than I do the chain restaurants. We were seated right away and our waitress was very friendly; I think her name was Josie. In fact, Josie was so friendly that Ashley and I didn't have time to have our own conversation, which was probably for the best since neither of us were in a mood for talking.

"So where you two come from?" We answered all her questions. We told her about our jobs, how long we'd been in south Louisiana and what we thought of the place. Every time she came to the table she had a new question for us. It's a wonder everyone's food wasn't cold when they got it.

"So where did you say you live again."

"Over in Wallace. There's an old mansion out there I bought. Been around since the late 1800s." I boasted. It wasn't a mansion in today's times, but it was back then.

"Oh you braver than I am, there's a lot of haunted houses in those parts." She said as she walked away. Her statement hit me like a punch in the gut. I looked at Ashley and her expression reflected what I was feeling.

"What are you thinking?" I asked

"I think we need to go see Gale."

Chapter Four

When time for bed Ashley was so spooked she refused to sleep in her room alone. We decided to both sleep in the living room; me on the couch and her on the loveseat. We laid quietly, listening to every little creak the house made. The silence was getting to me but I didn't want to talk just in case Ashley was sleeping.

"You sleeping?" She whispered.


"You scared?" She whispered again.

"No." I lied. "Haven't you watched the history channel. Real ghosts aren't mean. They just do weird shit around the house." I'm not sure if I was trying to convince her or myself.

I don't know exactly what time I fell asleep, but next thing I knew daylight was invading the living room. I looked over and saw Ashley sound asleep. After freshening up, I made breakfast. Ashley came in the kitchen looking like total hell.

"Are you afraid to shower too?" I laughed.

"Shut up. I just woke up and wanted some coffee butt hole."

She made herself a cup then went to freshen up. She wanted to go back to Jackson Square. I told her I would since the Raiders game didn't come on until 3pm. That didn't get a good response either.

On the way to Gale's she told me a couple ideas she had about her 'experiences'. One was, she noticed that it only happened when she was upstairs in the attic. I asked her why she was in the attic on Saturday and she said she wanted to read more of Isabelle's diary. She was sitting in the same chair then next thing she knew, she woke up on the bed in the old dress.

I asked her what was in the diary and she told me how Isabelle seemed to have a crush on Mr. Du Bois. Isabelle wrote that he was very attentive and could tell that his wife didn't like her very much. Isabelle made an entry every evening in the diary and Ashley had already read a couple months worth. I thought about how risky it was for Isabelle to keep a diary around documenting her feeling towards Mr. Du Bois. But Ashley thinks that's why the diary was so vague on the subject. If something had happened, Isabelle would be crazy to say it outright.

When we got to Gale's office there was a closed sign on the door. Ashley knocked but no one answered. Neither of us thought to call and see if she was open. Ashley called the number on the door but no one answered. I could tell she was upset. She thought Gale was going to solve everything; tell her what to do and it would all be over. I tried to get her to walk around the Quarter with me but she just wasn't into sightseeing that day; so we went back home.

We didn't say much on the drive. When we got home, I grabbed a case file and set the TV on the Saints game. Since Oakland was on later, there was no reason I couldn't support the local team. Ashley went upstairs then returned with a book in her hands. It was Isabelle's diary. She read on the couch next to me while I sifted through my file. Next time I looked her way, she was napping. I turned the TV down so it wouldn't wake her. I knew she didn't get much rest the night before.

I went to get something to drink and when I got back to the living room she was gone. She must have gone upstairs to sleep. Maybe she wasn't as afraid as I thought; or she just stopped caring. At halftime of the Oakland game I walked upstairs to check on her. The game wasn't going worth a damn anyway. Sometimes I wonder why I keep watching football, it can be very stressful.

Ashley wasn't in her room. She wasn't in the bathroom either. I know she can't be in the attic. She told me she wasn't going up there again. I eased the open and walked up the steps. When I got to the top my heart dropped to my stomach. There she was, facing away from me wearing another old dress. She was powdering her face in a mirror and was situated so she couldn't see me. I didn't know if I should say anything or not. I turned toward the door.

"Oh! tu m'as fait peur!" She said in perfect french. She was staring directly at me. "You scare me Mr. Du Bois. You say you wait till later to come up."

I didn't know what to say, or if I should say anything at all.

"Um, what are you doing?" It was the only thing I could think to say.

"I get ready for you." She said.

"For me?"

"Yes you. I make myself pretty. You like?" She was wearing a very heavy coating of makeup.

I was still at a loss for words. I wanted to ask if I could talk to Ashley, but I had enough sense to know that was a stupid question.

"What is matter with you Mr. Du Bois?" She looked confused or maybe it was concern.

"Um. I. Um." I looked around the room not knowing what to say. I was afraid but also concerned for Ashley. I knew she wasn't in control of herself, I wanted to make sure she didn't get hurt somehow. She stood up and started walking towards me. I think my legs were actually shaking. I was really hoping she didn't go all 'The Shinning' on my ass. Her dress was unbuttoned down to the top of her breast, which looked like they were going to burst from behind the straining buttons.

"What are you doing Ash?" She stopped within inches from me and looked confused.

"What is this name you call me?"

We just stood there. 'What do I do? What am I supposed to call her. I don't even know for sure if this is Isabelle. What if I say the wrong name again and she goes postal.' Okay, maybe I was being a little paranoid but its not like I had lots of experience with this sort of thing.

"If you no want to see me, why you here?" She looked hurt.

"Um. I. Isabelle." I waited for a reaction, but she just looked up at me as if waiting for me to say more.

"I'm sorry. I've had a long day and I just need to get some rest." I saw the tears building in her eyes.

She turned and walked back towards her dressing table. What the hell? I started towards the stairs, hoping that it would pass like it had the last few times. Halfway down the steps I heard a loud shattering noise. I ran back up and she was sitting on her chair facing the same direction the mirror used to be. Her fist was bloody and she was crying in her hands.

"What happened?" I called out as I hurried to her. She didn't answer. When she saw me coming she grabbed a piece of shattered glass and aimed for her wrist. I caught her hand just in time and swung her out of the chair. Raising her hand above her head I shook her wrist hard making her drop the glass. She started screaming at me violently.

"Why you fuck me if you no want me? Why Mr. Du Bois?" She was sobbing. She started slapping at my face so I pushed her back on the bed and held her down. I was laying on one of her arms and pulling the other around me. Her face was pressed against my back as I held her arm down trying to keep her from hitting me again.

"Isabelle! Stop it! I didn't mean it like that!" She stopped struggling and just cried. I was too afraid to let her up so I pulled a sheet from the bed and wrapped it around her hand hoping to stop the bleeding. I laid on top of her arm until she stopped crying. When her breathing became even, I sat up to look at her. She was sleeping.

I was in total shock at what had just happened. Not only does Isabelle think I'm her employer, she thinks I slept with her. Was she trying to kill herself? It was all too much to comprehend. And worst of all, I didn't know shit about how to fix it. Not only that, I was really worried for Ashley. I didn't want her taking any more risks. I need to seal off the attic. As I was contemplating what to do, I heard her move.

"Hey." She barely got the word out before she blurted. "What the fuck!"

Chapter Five

"What the fuck happened to my hand?" When I looked at her she saw the marks where she hit and clawed at me.

"Holy shit. What happened?" It took me awhile to form words.

I told her what happened and she was hysterical. I didn't mention the part about Mr. Du Bois apparently sleeping with Isabelle. Or that she tried to slice her wrist. I just told her Isabelle was upset and hit the glass with her hand. She ran downstairs to her room and slammed the door behind her. She ripped the dress off while screaming at me from behind the door. "How did I get in the attic?"

She swore she didn't go in the attic on her own. Last she recalled she was on the couch reading. Drawers and cabinets were opening and closing frantically. I was about to knock when the door suddenly opened.

"We've got to get out of this house." Her bags were on the bed and she was throwing her clothes on top of them.

"Calm down Ash. I'm going to lock the attic up so you can't get in it. You said it yourself, it's something to do with the attic. We'll go see Gale tomorrow and see if she can help us figure it out. Until then, I won't let you out of my sight, I promise."

"Are you fucking insane?" She protested.

"Where are we gonna go, a hotel? I've stayed here every night since I bought the place and nothing has happened. Nothing has even happened to you at night. It seems to only be happening in the evenings. We can sleep on the couch again and I'll stay up to make sure you're safe."

I was starting to feel guilty for not telling her everything. If she was that pissed about what I told her, imagine how nuts she'd be if I told her Isabelle actually tried to cut herself. She didn't need to worry about it. I was going to stay up and protect her like I said. I didn't feel like Isabelle wanted to hurt Ashley anyway. If I hadn't acted like a total jackass, Isabelle wouldn't have gone crazy; I don't think. Maybe if I had sat and talked to her, none of this would have happened.

I guess my reasoning made some sort of sense because Ashley agreed to sleep in the living room again. This time we tied a string from my wrist to hers so I would feel if she got up in the middle of the night. She wanted me to sleep too. She tied so many knots there was no way to get free without my arm moving. It worked pretty well because she had to wake me up to go to the bathroom. She actually had to cut the string off my wrist and made me wait outside the door while she peed. Then she tied the string back on my wrist with another dozen or so knots.

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