Let me tell you a story, a story of love and hate and the fine line between the two.
It all began over 60 years ago…
13th June, 1947
'You shouldn't be here,' Elizabeth Smithe giggled, unresisting to Jack Winchester's gentle advances, 'I should be getting back I'll be missed soon,' this time only protesting slightly.
Jack inclined his head, through the trees, in the direction of Elizabeth's boarding school, a patch or darkness in the faint moonlight, 'Would you rather be back there with those simpering, rich, arrogant girls?' he countered, 'Or here with me?' he continued seductively.
Elizabeth smiled; any further misgivings quieted as Jack put his mouth to hers and began to kiss her gently but insistently. Elizabeth melted into his arms, all thoughts of anything other than this glorious moment dismissed from her mind by passion. As she slipped into delirium Jack reached into his pocket, retrieving a short, sharp dagger, all the while never stopping his gentle kisses as he plunged the dagger into her heart. Blood bubbled from her mouth, into his, and he drank it down. There was a small gasp, then silence. Elizabeth Smithe was no more.
'You're as bad as the rest of them, now you too know pain, cheating mongrel!' Jack spat as blood dribbled from his mouth, an evil grin distorting his usually handsome features. He wiped his blade clean on his breeches, pocketed it once more then faded into the shadows and was gone.
Tuesday 13th June, 2007
It was dark, though the day's heat still lingered in the air. In the hall of Old Meadows Grammar, hundreds of students were gathered, dancing and generally having a good time. It was the last social of the year and it was almost over. People were making the most of the time they have left, talking with friends, kissing their dates or sneaking of into the night.
Hannah Johnston and William Winchester were no exception. While their friends were distracted they quietly slipped out of the hall and head for the solitary dark of the boathouse by the lake. As they walked together, hand in hand, William felt Hannah shiver.
'What's the matter?' he teased, 'Scared of the dark?'
Hannah smiled nervously, 'No, but it is pretty freaky out here at night.'
At this William smiled, 'Hannah,' he began, 'Have you ever heard of the ghost of Old Meadows?'
Hannah shook her head.
'Well, it is said that one summer's night in 1947, sometime in November, it is said that one of the students' boyfriend snuck into the school and met with his girlfriend. He led her to the little grove, down by the boathouse and while he was kissing her he stabbed her to death,'
Hannah looked shocked.
Enjoying the moment he continued, 'Some say he even drank her blood!'
'Why? Why would anyone do that?' Hannah whispered, almost silently.
'Apparently, another student at the time, one Annabelle Hetherington, told the boy, Jack Winchester, that his girlfriend, Elizabeth Smithe, was cheating on him. He was so outraged that he did not ask Elizabeth the truth of the matter. Rather, he killed her without question. The accusation was not true however; Annabelle had only said it out of spite, for she secretly loved Jack and wanted him for herself, but she was not so heartless to have wished Elizabeth dead and she blamed herself for Elizabeth's death.'
Beside him, Hannah had gone deathly white.
'What's the matter?' William asked.
'Well, your name is Winchester…' she trailed off, unable to finish the sentence.
'It's a common enough name,' William reasoned, 'Though,' he continued somewhat nervously, 'my grandfather's name was Jack.'
'Annabelle is my grandmother,' Hannah whispered, so quietly that William had to strain to hear what she was saying.
Now it was William's turn to pale, he swallowed nervously. 'I…it's only a story,' William scoffed, 'It's not real. Anyway, tonight is just about you and me.'
Hannah smiled but somewhere, deep down, they knew it was the truth, not merely a story. They had reached the boat house by now and were trying to open to doors unsuccessfully.
Suddenly, a window creaked open. Hannah and William looked at each other, an unspoken question on their lips.
'Was that the ghost?'
William shrugged and headed towards the open window. Hannah stood where she was for a moment, unsure of how to proceed. William turned to beckon her forward and she hurried to catch up to him.
'Give me your leg,' William said, 'I'll help you up.'
Hannah swallowed nervously as William helped her through the window. She landed on the dusty floor of the boathouse, looking out into the gloom.
'William? Where are you?'
'Coming!' William shouted back, landing beside her in the dust a moment later.
The boathouse was dusty and dark, the only light was the faint moonlight shining through the grimy windows, and the story still lingered in their minds.
Despite all this, their passion returned, enveloping them like the heavy scent of a florist's flowers. William pushed Hannah against the wall and began to kiss, wet, desperate kisses. Hannah melted in his arms, responding to his kisses with fierce intensity. Five minutes passed in this way when suddenly Hannah tensed in his arms.
'What's wrong?' he asked.
Hannah was as white as if she'd seen a ghost. Slowly she pointed a wavering finger behind him. William turned around and saw a girl of about seventeen standing there. She wore an old fashioned dress and her face would have been quite comely had it not been distorted with loathing. In her hand she held a dagger, short and sharp. The window swung shut. There was no escape.
'Tonight, you are going to die. Tonight, you are going to pay for what you did to me, Annabelle and Jack, now you can be together forever…In death!' The ghost's words were soft and willowy; she spoke as if discussing the flowers in the garden or the pattern of an embroidered pillow.
'W…we're not Annabelle and Jack, they were our grandparents,' William said hesitantly, knowing his plea would have no effect.
'No matter,' said the ghost indifferently, 'You can pay in their stead.' And she smiled a vicious, hateful smile.
With this she lunged forward, plunging the dagger into William' heart, killing him instantly. Hannah screamed, but there was no one to hear her. Slowly the ghost advanced, dagger raised and menacing, to where Hannah cowered against the wall. She plunged the dagger into Hannah's heart, a grim smile of satisfaction on her face.
Hannah and William were found the next morning, lying side by side, their bodies neatly arranged. They looked peaceful, as if merely sleeping…in a pool of blood.
Written on the walls in large red letters were the words…'Love Hurts'
How do I know this? Because once, I was known as Elizabeth Smithe. Any last words?