The days are so strange at the moment, what with all the Covid-19 shenanigans, I’ve taken to scheduling these posts in as soon as I think about them, because I’m finding it very easy to lose track of days at the moment. I’m out of work now, and they all feel the same!
But onward with our latest instalment of the horror story The Girl In The Park
Last time, our protagonist had lost relationships because of this woman, lived through the death of his father and ended with him taking his dad’s job as head groundskeeper at the park.
My work sent me all over the park, performing the myriad tasks that were needed to maintain a park of that size, and in my first few years in the job, I encountered the woman several times. Sometimes I would be working by the lake, sometimes up by the house. I could discern no pattern to the appearances, but that was fine. I accepted the random nature of our encounters, and cherished every one. When she appeared, she was often sporting the large red stain on her nightshirt, though not always. I tried approaching her on more than one occasion, and found that, like a rainbow, the closer I got, the farther away she seemed.
Throughout all our encounters I never once spoke of her to anyone. It felt as if the act of telling would somehow make her less real. I am not sure how to explain that, but there it is.
Things continued in this fashion until early one September morning, I found myself heading towards one of the many large greenhouses on the park. A young man of no more than twenty came running round the corner of one of these greenhouses, almost knocking me over. His eyes were bulging, his breath ragged. He told me he had just seen an injured girl, and gave a quick, garbled explanation. Grabbing my arm, and tugging my sleeve, he headed back the way he had come, at a sprint.
I followed him into a group of tall bushes. From his description of the girl’s injuries, I already knew what I would find, or rather wouldn’t find. My theory proved correct, as the man went further into the bushes and stopped suddenly. Hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath, he swore to me that she had been there only moments earlier. The girl, he insisted, had been bleeding from her stomach, and we should call someone. The nearest phone was up in the old main building, so I explained to the gentleman that if there ever had been a girl, we could not reach help fast enough.
We continued to search amongst the trees and bushes for the girl, to no avail. After about an hour of fruitless searching, I suggested that if there had been a girl, and she had any sense, she would be heading for the nearest doctor for treatment. The man eventually agreed, and headed off. I never saw that man again, but he was not the only one to see this perplexing young woman.
Over the years, several stories had surfaced of the Girl in the Park, all sounding vaguely similar; a girl or young woman, wearing a pale coloured nightshirt, with bloodstains would be seen. Some of the stories had her walking across the lake at night; some had her passing through trees and walls. I could not say if they were true, I had simply never observed this behaviour. I suspect at least some of the stories had been fabricated; an amalgam of popular ghost stories. It brought the park a lot of attention; newspapers were first to begin reporting the sightings, and this in turn, had alerted the local TV stations. Cameras were set up across the park, hoping to catch a glimpse of its newest attraction. They never did, and eventually, their interest waned. The ghost chasers moved on, and park life returned to normal.
I, however, found I still couldn’t let her go. Although we had shared neither word nor touch, this young woman enthralled me. I needed to know who she was. The reporters had tried looking into her past, digging into the murky history of the Elizabethan house on the hill. If there had been anything to find, they would have found it, of that I am sure. But they did not, and the girl remained an enigma.
It was several years later that she appeared to me again. Exactly when, I cannot say for sure, but I recall I had been working on one of the flowerbeds behind the big house, and was returning my equipment to the storage sheds, in the small courtyard alongside the house. I happened to glance up at the house, and saw her. She stood silently, halfway up the stone staircase. I let go of the wheelbarrow I had been pushing, and stood upright. My first though was that she looked exactly the same as the first time I had seen her; her blonde hair lay against her back and flowed over her shoulders, untroubled by the light breeze; the red of her lips contrasting with her alabaster skin. The pale nightshirt she wore looked as it always had; the red stain was present as was the small bow that I remembered from my childhood.
The momentary giddiness I felt when I saw her passed, and I was left with was the realisation of her beauty. The juxtaposition of her serene countenance with the spreading bloodstain was not lost on me, and my eyes went from the stain to her face, and back again, before settling on her face, which she now turned to me.
It was not the first time our eyes had met, but I noticed, for what felt like the first time, her eyes; they were the deepest blue, and trained intently on me.
That’s it for today. Join me next week for the next instalment…
My question to you:
Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever seen one?