Friday, October 23, 2015

A Ghostly Dare

Three friends take on a Halloween Dare to disprove an Urban Myth

image of the stairs Helena fell down...from 
WED Morning.

Dear Diary,

To celebrate ten years since we left school and went out separate ways, Alison, Sarah and I have agreed to a dare. We are going to disprove an urban myth. The one that surrounds the ghost cam website in Dublin. You might have heard of it. The myth focuses on the warehouse where Helena, a young girl died when she fell down the stairs. People who spend too long watching the webcam, waiting for Helena to appear, go  missing.

Our dare is to watch the site for the next three days, for an hour a day, and at the end of the week, which will be Halloween, we will post our reports and diary entries onto the Urban Myth blog. Thus we will prove beyond doubt, the myth is busted.

Sarah doesn’t believe in ghosts. I am not sure if I do or not. Alison does, and she’s quite worried by our dare. Being in London, you can understand her apprehension. Sarah in Olso, isn’t worried. Me, here in sunny Oz, can’t see the problem. I will have the advantage of watching the webcam during daylight hours. Nothing scary there.

Anyhow… today is day one. I will set up my spare monitor to show the warehouse site, for at least an hour. Then will report tonight if I have disappeared, or if I saw anything interesting. That is anything more interesting than the empty room where they once stored casks of wine before delivery. The old musty racks, shelves and vintage office. It looks like a perfect place for a ghost to haunt, but not the sort of place one would want to visit.

Till then…

WED evening.

Well, today was strange. I did my webcam watching, surreptitiously, I thought. Tony, my supervisor from work, though said he found me mesmerized watching it. I didn’t believe him. Well, not until he had to nudge me to answer my phone.

I turned the monitor off at morning tea. But when I returned to my desk, it was back on. I think Tony is playing tricks on me.

Three times he said I had missed phone calls. I found that hard to believe, but my answering machine had messages… as though I was not at my desk.

Tomorrow I will be more careful.

Then tonight when I came home Rufus, my cat, yowled and seemed agitated. He rubbed himself all over my legs, demanded a cuddle, but refused to enter my apartment. He’s gone to visit Delilah, my neighbour. She loves him too. So, he’s safe enough.

The apartment seems cold. It was a lovely warm spring day outside, but it feels as though I left the air conditioner on. I have made myself a hot pot of tea. I think I will turn the a/c onto heat. Maybe I am coming down with the flu.

Alison and Sarah have checked in. Alison says her boyfriend is freaked out already. She’s arguing with him, but thinks she might have to back out of the dare. Sarah’s email was short and sweet. She loves the webcam. Is convinced she saw movement in the warehouse. Alison says it’s probably cars passing by. I said I didn’t see anything, but relayed my missed phone calls.

Till tomorrow.

THURS morning.

Woke feeling cold. Found my winter blankets but still think I am getting the flu. Everything smells musty. Rufus won’t come into the apartment for his breakfast. Weird cat.

This morning Sarah said she watched the webcam for a while last night. She’s done some research into Helena’s history and thinks she’s seen her ghost.

Alison says she might get to watch for an hour today, but is worried her boyfriend will find out.
I am off to work.

THURS evening.

Feeling cold still. Work was a nightmare. I challenged Tony. Blamed him for the webcam always being on, even after I turn it off. I logged my hour, but somehow every time I looked up, the warehouse with its shadows and haunting low light is back on my monitor. Tony and I had a fight. He said I was obsessed, it was interfering with my work now. I had ignored repeated phone calls, staff interaction and client meetings. He accused me of doing nothing but stare at the monitor. I tried to blame him for being an ass, but Reagan and Jill stood by him and said he was not exaggerating.

I think it’s the flu. When I got home the place was definitely chilly. Smelt too. Still smells like a damp mop. I am burning some scented candles. Hope it helps kill the stench. Nothing is wet. I checked the laundry. There is no reason for the smell. Probably a problem with the plumbing outside. Will have to call the landlord, tomorrow. I am curled up in bed, with a hot pack. The laptop feels warm where it rests on the blankets. I feel like a blimp, wearing my winter clothes in bed, but I can’t get warm.

Sarah hasn’t checked in tonight. Alison says she has to drop out. I sent off my email. Mentioned how it is weird I don’t remember watching the website. I guess Tony and the others wouldn’t lie to me.

Anyhow… I think I will try to get a good night’s sleep. Throw off the flu or whatever ails me.

FRI morning.

Woke from a dream. Really strange. Woke to find myself sitting up with the laptop open and the webcam of the warehouse running. As though I had linked to it in my sleep. I swear I haven’t even opened it on the laptop. Only at work. During the daylight hours. I made that part of my deal to myself. I don’t want to say I am a coward, but hey, living alone isn’t the best time to tempt ghosts. At work… that was my deal.

Yet, here I am, waking up with the website open.

That’s not the weirdest thing.

The cold… okay, I reckon I can see frost on my windows. Now, for spring in Australia, that is really not right. It’s been 25 to 30 deg during the day. Only dropping to 13 overnight. Not cold enough for frost. That’s Celsius. We don’t do Fahrenheit here. So, apart from the cold, there is my dream.

Now my room smells like old wine and that’s not from the candles I burned. It’s not a bad smell. Sweet, like when we went to the vineyard and toured the cellars.
But that’s not the weirdest thing either.

I dreamed I saw Sarah.

She was in the warehouse, smiling, beckoning me… as though she wanted to share a secret with me.

She looked happy, unperturbed by the lonely room, the shadows, the aura of ghostly menace I thought the room held. Her expression was calm, blissful, and she wanted me to join her.

Alison just checked in. She said Sarah hasn’t emailed. Sarah’s mother phoned Alison. She is worried. Sarah missed work yesterday and she didn’t call or email for her sister’s birthday.

Reading Alison’s email sent shivers down my spine. I wonder if I should tell her about my dream. It was just a dream. Wouldn’t it sound stupid? Sarah probably slept in. She’s been doing research… been watching the webcam. I feel wrung out. Maybe Sarah has the flu too. Or something. Something logical. Nothing weird. Nothing ghostly.

I wish I could get warm. I have taken paracetamol for fever. Rufus is outside yowling. He won’t come near me. Strange cat. I should be getting ready for work. I think I will take a moment to check the webcam again before I go. I want to convince myself I was only dreaming. I didn’t see Sarah. There is nothing freaky going on.

What can one last look do? If I see Sarah while I am awake though, it will scare the living daylights out of me. Won’t happen. What could she possibly want to tell me? How can she look so calm, so beautiful…

One quick look… can’t hurt.


Rosalie Skinner resides on the east coast of Australia when not totally immersed in the fantasy world of her writing.
Rosalie’s love of the ocean, nature, history and horses has enabled her to give her books an authentic air. Her latest achievement has been to ride through the Australian Snowy mountains and see the wild brumbies run. When not watching the migrating whales pass her doorstep she has more humble pastimes.
Other than being a published author, her greatest thrill is being a grandmother. Born over fourteen weeks early her granddaughter’s perfect development and growth are a miracle and joy.

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