It was a cold, foggy morning. The sun struggled to be seen, only to be shunned by thick, dark clouds. The ground was wet with dew, and the only thing that filled the Boston streets was silence. A young girl was the only thing to be seen walking about. Her poor toes were blue and numb; her hands were cold and stiff. Her brown dress was thin and worn, and the poor thing wore no warmth, though it was below thirty degrees. The only way she warmed herself was by hugging herself and stamping her feet. She kept on looking back and forth, looking for a house with life in it.
Finally, she saw it. A big, brick house with smoke coming out the chimney. She could see light streaming from the windows, and could hear the murmuring inside. Excited, she rushed up the steps and knocked on the door excitedly.
A beautiful girl of sixteen answered. Her long, brown curls were attractively swept to the side, and her soft, white face was obviously taken care of. But, though this green eyed girl was beautiful, the poor girl could see something in her eyes: vain.
"What do you want?" the pretty lady asked with annoyance.
The bedraggled child shook as a breeze of cold air suddenly passed by. "Ma'am…I…I'm cold…and I am very, very tired. Could you spare me a few coins to buy myself some food? Or…could I at least come inside and feel some of the warmth from your chimney?" The tiny girl's big, brown eyes pleaded silently.
The lady at the door stared at her for a moment, and then laughed. "Why should I help you?" she asked with a smirk "Who do you think you are? Why should someone as beautiful as me help someone as lowly and poor as you?"
The young girl stared at her in shame. "I…I'm sorry for disturbing you…" she whispered.
The vain girl snorted. "You better be," she said, then slammed the door. She then walked down to her silk couch and sipped her tea. The warm liquid seemed to warm her cold body. She smiled and thanked God that she was not that stupid poor girl. She giggled as she remembered the sight of the ragged child. Why didn't she take care of herself? Even poor people do that, right?
"Who was that, Mary?" a voice asked from behind her.
She turned around to see her younger brother, Christopher. Instantly her cold heart warmed. Christopher was her beloved brother, and everyone knew that if someone hurt him, they would soon hear a few nasty words from Mary. In fact, though she was inexplicably rude and selfish in front of most people, she was kind and sensitive towards her brother. It was a bond that no one could explain.
Mary soon snapped from her thoughts. "Oh, just some beggar," she said, waving it off. "Did you sleep well brother?"
The boy's black eyes smiled. "Yes, I did. But I do wish you would be kinder to people."
Mary raised an eyebrow towards her brunette sibling. "And why should I?" she asked. "There is only one person I care about, and that is you."
Christopher blushed. "Well, I love you too, but sometimes it is better to give than to receive."
A retort was on the tip of Mary's tongue when the doorbell rang. "I'll get it," Mary grumbled as she walked over to the door. She opened the door and sighed heavily under her breath. The same poor girl was on the porch! When would this kid ever learn her lesson?
"Please Miss, please give me some money," the girl pleaded. "I have no food and I have no where to go. Please help me."
Mary didn't even try to hide her annoyance. "Why would I help you? I thought I told you to get off my property! Go! Go I say!"
The girl looked up and gave Mary a strange stare. "As you wish," the girl whispered.
Suddenly a flash of lightning struck where the girl was standing. A bright glow nearly blinded Mary's eyes. She staggered back a few steps from the bright light. As the light dimmed, a beautiful woman with wings stood in the place of the child. Instead of the ragged dress, the angel was now dressed with glorious robes of gold. Her bedraggled hair had turned as smooth as silk. Indeed, it was a beautiful sight.
Mary however, was scared to death. "Please come in!" she squeaked.
The winged lady shook her head. "You are vain and selfish," she said quietly. "Instead of using your money to help those in need you satisfy your own desires. You have no shame."
"Wha-what are you going to do to me?" Mary asked in a trembling voice.
A pause filled the air with silence. Finally, the angel spoke. "I shall curse you. You and all the inhabitants of your house. For if I curse only you, you shall learn no lesson. No, you will be cursed, but your brother shall be cursed even more so."
Tears poured down Mary's cheeks. "Please…curse me, but don't do anything to my brother…" she said, her voice choking.
The glorious figure shook her head. "I curse you to be trapped in this house as a ghost; you as a visible one, and your brother as a living shadow. But, you get one chance. If you can get a girl to love your brother by two centuries from today, the curse will be broken. But…if nothing happens…you and your brothers shall be lost souls…forever."
Mary's heart pounded like a drum. "Why my brother?" she wailed "Why not make me a living shadow? What did my brother ever do to deserve that?"
The angel closed her eyes. "I'm sorry, but it is my duty. And besides; if one crewman fails to do his job, the whole ship sinks. I am sorry."
With that a sudden flash of lightning struck the house and no one ever knew what happened to Mary and Christopher Bullen.
One hundred and ninety-nine years soon passed. The curse was still strong. But…so was its cure…