Evil Happenings …
Gabe Atkinson ~
Gabe Atkinson is the main character in a house of evil happenings. We find him sitting in his parlour, reminiscing …
I like to sit in the front parlor in the evenings where Amelia Rose would visit. None of the other family members entered the room, for they knew it was off-limits to them. Amelia Rose had always been strong-willed. She ruled the family with an iron hand and the threat of banishment if she was disobeyed. Even when she and all the others were alive.
I am now the last of the Atkinson line. I never did mind living next to the cemetery. It would be nice, though, if just sometimes all the family members would stay put there or go on to Heaven where they belong – except Angela, she belongs elsewhere, for evil happenings seem to follow her around. My parents, grandparents, in fact a lot of the ancestors were buried there. It is quite peaceful to stroll through the grounds in late afternoon and visit the family plot. Sometimes it is necessary to find a place of quietude outside the house. It is also pleasant when George, that nice young man meets me at the front door and walks with me through the cemetery. He is strongly built, so I feel safe with him.
I have lived in this old Victorian house all my life. Great-grandfather Jacob Atkinson had it built about 150 years ago when he married Amelia Rose. Amelia was quite shocked when she first saw the size of the house, but it was filled up with children then grandchildren over the years. By the time Jacob and Amelia were great-grandparents, there were five families living in the house, all of them descendants.
In the parlour ~
“Well, I think it is just dreadful, Gabe darling! Dreadful, indeed.” Amelia Rose sighed and picked up her embroidery, jabbing the needle in and out of the fabric, each stitch appearing like magic.
“Dreadful?” I stared at her then lit my pipe. Squinting through the aromatic smoke I looked at my beloved great-grandmother. “You have been working on that piece of embroidery for over a century and you think me being single is dreadful?” She stopped and glared at me, then we both laughed out loud for several minutes till my stomach muscles were sore.
“Oh, really, Gabe. Don’t you think you would be a lot happier married to a lovely young lady who could give you children to carry on the line? Just think how wonderful it would be for you to have little ones come and hug you, and be able to read bedtime stories to.” She sighed, probably remembering her own children when they were babes.
“A lovely young woman like your sister?” I laughed then looked at the painting of Amelia Rose and Angela Hyacinth.
“Oh! Good Heavens no! Angela was a tart, shameful and full of evil thoughts. I still think she poisoned Papa. He was far too young and healthy to die. And she torments everyone up on the fourth floor. She is so malicious, Gabe. You best keep yourself safe and avoid her. Too many evil happenings are caused by her.”
“But, she loves to flirt with me. She is so tempting and enticing in that lilac dress! Too bad she is a ghost or I might take her up on…”
“Gabe! Now you just get that thought out of your mind. For shame!”
Angela Hyacinth ~
There were other stories about Angela that turned the blood cold. She had been caught one day coming up from the cellar, the skirt of her dress ripped in several places. She brushed her arms of dust and glared at the cook, daring her to say anything. “Miss Angela! What are you doing in the cellar. That is no place for a lady to be. And why is your skirt so torn? Were you playing with the new kittens and their mother?”
“You just never mind what I do, Betta. It is none of your business!” She stomped up the back stairs to her room. When Angela came back down carrying her soiled and torn dress to be burned, she saw Betta coming up from the cellar, looking shocked and bewildered. Quickly Angela darted back out of sight.
When the evening meal was late, the servant girl told Mr. Atkinson that Betta was missing. She was not in the kitchen or her room and all the food that had been prepared for supper was cold. A search of the entire house was made and Betta was not found anywhere. All they found was a basket of dead kittens and the cat, with their necks twisted. The next day a more thorough search of the cellar was conducted with a few police officers. Betta was found in the locked cold storage room where meats were kept. She had apparently taken some poison and died, as evidenced by a bottle of wine lying broken beside her body. In a corner Atkinson saw a dress he knew belonged to Angela. He later went down by himself and inspected the dress, then threw it in the incinerator.
Later Atkinson spoke with Angela. “Betta must have killed the cats then herself. Strange woman she was,” he gave Angela a long look from under his bushy eyebrows as he filled his pipe. A look that frightened her. “Well, Papa, you know she hated those cats.”
“Angela, your Mother always remarked on how fond of the cats Betta was and doted on them.” He kept staring at Angela, questioning with a bewildered look. “Your Mother also said many times how much you hated cats.”
“Oh, Mother is wrong, Papa! I don’t hate cats!”
He puffed on his pipe, still staring at her. “By the way, Angela dear, whatever happened to that lovely lilac dress of yours?” He tossed his match in the fireplace and put his hand in his pocket as he puffed on the pipe in his other hand, squinting at his daughter.
She stomped a foot and ran up to her room. A month later Atkinson was found dead in the library. A glass was lying on the floor next to his chair, where his dangling hand must have dropped it. The doctor said it was a heart attack that took Mr. Atkinson.
Evil happenings indeed ~
“Do you think Angela was that devious?” I asked Amelia Rose. “You think she really did get rid of the cats then Betta and your Papa?”
“Devious, evil and wicked! Yes!, I do think she did all that. She was very sly and cunning. She was also mean to the younger children, hated them and always tormented them.” I stared at her, not wanting to believe, but there must be some truth in the story.
The Head Nurse was instructing the new nurse’s aide who had just come on shift. “Now, when you go to the parlour you will find Gabe Atkinson. He is a descendant of the man who built this building.” They sat down in the nurse’s break room and each poured a cup of coffee.
“I will tell you the history of Gabe Atkinson. He was born here forty years ago. His mother died in childbirth. There were no other close relatives by then, they had all died off. There was one distant cousin who lived in Scotland. When he was contacted he told the family attorney to sell the house, maybe to the state and turn it into a mental health hospital for patients. The cousin had told the attorney how to handle it and signed all the papers. He was adamant about selling. He said, “The family was all a bit wacky anyway, thinking the house was full of ghosts and evil happenings. The baby? Gabe is his name? No, I don’t want the baby. Have the state raise him.”
“When you see him”, the nurse continued, “call him Mr. Atkinson. And be polite, courteous. He gets irate if not shown respect. He will be the only one in the parlour. It has been kept the way it was when his mother died. He is the only patient allowed in that room. Tell him it is time to return to his suite and take his medicines. He is okay with that as long as George goes with you. He trusts George.”
Back in the parlour ~
Amelia Rose walked over to the window and gazed out upon the garden. When she turned back to the room Angela was standing there smiling at her. “Angela! What are you doing in here?”
“Oh, don’t get so huffy, Amelia. You don’t own the house, Gabe does – well the state does, but Gabe thinks he owns it,” she strolled over to the large table in the middle of the room and ran her finger along the edge, speaking in her cunning, coy way, “I think I may visit Gabe one of these evenings and leave a treat in his water.”
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© Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved Phyllis Doyle Burns
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