Welcome to Goosebumps. I’m sharing a family ghost story, “My Family’s Home?” I write paranormal, historical, and contemporary novels, novellas, and short stories which are published by Champagne Books, Carnal Passions, Secret Cravings Publishing, and Siren BookStrand. Check out the blurb and buy info for my paranormal novella, Finding Eve, following my story about my family’s century-old home. The pic below is my family’s home which was pre-1906. The lady sitting on the porch died that year and the 1906 hurricane took down the eyesore of an oak tree on the right side of the pic. There’s a cat sitting on the steps and a man with a straw hat standing in the door.
Have you ever been in an old house and knew you weren’t alone? There’s something about old houses. Strip away the wallpaper and paint throughout. Change the drapes. Refinish all the furniture. They still don’t feel new. How do I know? After all my mother’s efforts to restore our century-old family home, we always knew we weren’t alone.
My great-grandfather, a cotton broker who built the house in 1889, lived comfortably with his wife and son in what their rich relatives called “the cottage.” Great-great-grandmother Mary moved in with them. She was the first to die there—of old age in 1906. In time, both of them died in their beds.
My grandfather and grandmother lost twin boys in a late-term miscarriage and their baby daughter during the influenza epidemic of 1918. Grandfather died when Mama was twelve. Like his parents and baby daughter, his wake was held in the living room.
When Mama married my father, they built their own home on the river, but we were frequent visitors in town. Even as a child, I felt Gramma wasn’t alone there, but it was always a comfortable, welcoming feeling—never threatening.
We moved in with Gramma when she was diagnosed with leukemia and couldn’t live alone. She died in her bed on Christmas Eve. I KNOW she stayed around but to this day can’t talk about what happened the week after she died.
After Gramma died, Mama totally restored the house. We’re talking award-winning with signs and plaques. When we held my wedding reception there, I discovered later that some of the guests had been a little uneasy about attending. A cousin confided that everyone was certain the house was haunted.
Years passed, Daddy died from a heart attack while working in the yard. The neighborhood changed from rural to urban shambles. Mama refused the invitations to move in with my family. Then, abruptly, she accepted. Years later, she told me why.
Our spectral family had always confined themselves to the living room, dining room, and hall. They were benign presences, strictly observers; that is, until one of them invaded the kitchen. One day, when Mama was washing dishes, she thought she heard something in the front of the house. She walked over to the door leading to the hall. She stopped, unable to touch the doorknob. Suddenly, her hair was yanked from behind and a voice distinctly said “Go!” She grabbed her head and turned quickly but the room was empty. For the first time in her life, she felt unwelcome in her home. She believed that this was her family’s way of telling her—or giving her permission—to leave.
We maintained the empty house for more than a year before putting it on the market. We didn’t attend the closing when it sold. The new owner died within the month. His widow never lived there. Today, the house is a well-maintained business. I don’t know if my spectral family stayed with their home or accompanied their possessions which are in my home. They’re welcome to visit or reside with us anytime or maybe they’re already here. Copyright © 2013 by Rita Bay
Can a feral cat ever return home? Nicholas Lyons, chief physician to the Lyons clan of shapeshifters, has mourned the death of his promised lifemate until a rogue shapeshifter reports having seen her at an exotic animal sale. Accompanied by Marie Lyons who is no stranger to the dark side, her new lifemate Anthony, and the imperious Lady Bat, he embarks on a frantic search for Eve through the dangerous world of exotic animal trafficking.
Eve, whose first memories are of recovering from an injury at an isolated animal refuge, has lived through a succession of owners in a world filled with cages and cruelty. When Eve meets Marie at the exotic animal sale, she begins to have flashes of a different life – a life in which she was something other than feline. Her last sale, however, has landed her as prey to exotic animal hunters and the clock is ticking.
Coming Friday, Soul Cakes: a Recipe and History