She looked at the writing with wide, terrified eyes and screamed so loudly that it felt like her ear drums had burst.
Get out of my house or die.
Get out of my house or die.
Get out of my house or die.
Molly kept reading and rereading the words in her mind and each time she repeated them she imagined them in a different voice; his voice. She expected it to be deep and croaky. She swore that she could even feel spittle splash her face as she continued to read.
There was a frantic sound of footsteps in the porch and then the front door flew open and her mum burst outside.
"Molly!" she cried. "What's the matter? Are you hurt?"
"The… the… the…" Molly muttered. She was so frightened that she couldn't get any words out. "Win… window."
Please believe me.
She shakily pointed towards the steamed up window. The words were still there but they were fading and distorting as water droplets slid down the glass. Her mum's gaze made contact with the ghostly words but instead of looking shocked, she frowned and put her hands on her hips.
"Molly, this is the last straw!" she snapped. "Do you think I was born yesterday?"
"What do you mean?" asked Molly.
"Don't backchat me, Molly. You know exactly what I mean. This nonsense has to stop."
Her heart dropped when the realisation hit her; her mum thought she'd written it herself. She never believed in ghosts or magic or aliens or any of that kind of stuff, but then again neither did Molly until now. She'd broached the subject to herself many times, wondering 'what if?' but until they moved to this big old house she had never seen a real ghost before.
"It wasn't me!" she pleaded. "It wasn't! I swear! Why won't you believe me?!"
Her mum marched up to the window and wiped the message away with her hand. She turned to Molly again and shook her head.
"You're grounded for the rest of the holidays. You can help me do the chores around the house and you can study for maths since that's the one subject that always gets criticised in your school reports."
"No buts, Molly. I've just done the washing up so you can do me a favour and dry up. While you're doing that I'll get the maths revision books down for you. I think they're still in a box in the study."
This was bad. She loved her mum so much but she could be so strict sometimes, and stubborn too. There was no way she was going to be able to get out of this. Then again, it might help her to take her mind off him.
She followed her mum into the kitchen and started drying the dishes. It was such a boring chore and it didn't take long for her mind to wonder. Was he watching her now? She was sure she felt eyes on her back. She whizzed around and jumped.
"I was just checking you were doing the dishes!" she yelled.
"But you made me jump!"
Her mum let out a little giggle. "Well that's what happens when you believe in ghosts."
Molly returned a sheepish smile. There was no point starting an argument. He was real, and for now she'd just have to pretend that he wasn't. Maybe if she didn't think about him so much he wouldn't materialise. It was a mad thought but she clung onto it. Trying desperately to think of other things, Molly continued on with the dishes.
"I walked into the village earlier. It's nice. There's this lovely tea room there and the woman who owns it makes the best hot chocolate."
She whizzed around only to find an empty kitchen. She could have sworn she was still standing behind her. She could feel a presence. But if it wasn't her, then who could it have been?
Him, she thought ominously. It was funny in a very weird way; funny that she had just been talking casually to a ghost because she thought she was talking to her mum. Shaking the thought from her head, she continued on with her chores.
She picked up a glass and started wiping the inside of it with a cloth. It made a weird squeaking noise which made her giggle so she wiped it harder and harder and the noises became more intense. She didn't notice the knife until it had rose from its place on the draining board and gouged itself across the top of her hand. She screamed as the knife clattered to the floor.
At first there was just a dark red line where the knife had scored the skin but then blood began oozing out of the crack and suddenly her entire hand was cloaked in it. It dripped onto the floor and all Molly could do was stand there in shock as the warm liquid cascaded over her hand like molten chocolate.
"Oh my God!"
Her mum dropped a pile of maths revision books onto the kitchen floor and came rushing over. She grabbed onto Molly's hand, yanked on the tap and pulled her hand towards it. The cold water stung as it cleansed her hand of blood but she clenched her teeth and fought through the pain.
"Molly, keep your hand under the tap while I fetch a bandage. Don't move it, just keep it there."
"O-okay," replied Molly shakily.
She spotted the knife on the ground. It was covered in her own blood, lots of it, and there was a trail of red on the kitchen tiles; a grisly marker mapping out the route that the utensil took as it slid across the floor. This was no accident. It was him. She had never even touched the knife and all of a sudden she was bleeding all over the floor. The worst of it all, however, was that no one would believe her, not even now. They'd just say she was clumsy or a bored child, or an attention seeker. If only that were the truth…
An hour had passed and Molly was sat on the swing seat right at the back of the garden, farthest from the house. Luckily, the wound was superficial. It was bandaged up and throbbed like it had its own heartbeat, but sitting out here in the fresh air with the warmth of the sun washing over her face, Molly finally felt at peace.
She glanced into her bedroom window. She couldn't help it. It was dark in there and the darkness wasn't just due to a lack of light, but as if the darkness itself was a solid mass. Molly likened it to a portal to a dark world full of death and decay and the spirits of men who had had their lives cut terribly short. That flicker of red shot through the blackness and stung her eyes. She squinted and looked away.
That knife could have killed her. She shivered at the thought. Even though it was summer, Molly never felt so cold. Was that story true? If it was, why did he want to hurt her? She was just a girl. Was it actually a cry for help, perhaps? A tortured soul crying out for help? No. He wasn't tortured, he had been twisted into an evil entity because a mad man pushed him into the foundations one hundred years ago.
Molly jumped, making the chains of the swing seat rattle. Lauren leered over her, a smug grin on her face.
"Ha, scared ya!"
She started waving her hands in the air and made mock ghost noises.
"I'm a ghost and I'll come for you when you're asleep! You'd better sleep with one eye open!"
"You're nothing but a bully!" cried Molly. "I hate you! Leave me alone!"
"Oooh, what's the matter, mardy bum?" She stomped away muttering under her breath and pulling her hair back into a ponytail as she went.
You'd know what the matter was if you believed me…
But she didn't. No one did. Molly felt like she was all alone. Maybe that's what he wanted. He'd isolate her from her family and then he'd strike the final blow. Of course. It all made perfect sense now.
To be continued...