An unusual romance, definitely not of this world
She told them when she was young, the house they now lived in was haunted. She had become the butt of her family’s jokes for a while.
Sandy, as she preferred to be called, however, her mother still insisted on calling her Sandra, had sensed someone else was living in the house with them. She gave up a long time ago trying to tell them and just lived with the feeling in the background, eventually the jokes gradually faded. The family settled and they all gradually grew up, Sandra and her two younger sisters, Bethany and Jordan.
At seventeen, just coming up to her eighteenth birthday, Sandy was planning for her party coming up on the Saturday, it would be on her actual birthday. She was busy during the week at college so knew she wouldn’t be able to get last minute things for the party until Saturday morning. It was going to be held at the house, it was large, so plenty of space. Sandy had been handing out invitations for the past few weeks and there were plenty of people coming, she was popular, she had never mentioned the unsettled feeling she had about the house, she didn’t want to be the weird girl in her peer group.
Sandy had awoken on this special Saturday, to the now familiar shimmering glow in the corner of her room, ignoring it she got on with her day, she did think to herself that the small shimmering she’d been seeing on and off for years, looked a little brighter today.
Her plans revolved around her party today, she had no time for shiny things in her room, after all, Sandy needed to get her hair and nails done so she looked her best for the evening. Normally she would have borrowed her dad’s car, she had only just passed her test, and was one of the few of her friends trusted to drive her parents’ car. However, this day, her dad was using it, so she was forced to use the bus, the only other option. She was getting her own car for her birthday, but its delivery had been delayed, something Sandy found inexcusable.
She went downstairs and was about to head out when her mum stopped her, insisting she eat before leaving. Sandy was exacerbated, didn’t her mum realise she had places to go and things to do. She stopped and grabbed some cooked food, she was now thinking the delayed was worth it, she loved her mum’s cooking, especially breakfast. Once satisfied, she kissed her mum and set off to catch the local bus.
Sandy hated catching the bus, as all sorts of people would get on it along the way, some shouldn’t be on there, in her eyes. Now officially eighteen, she believed, as we all probably have done at that age, her opinion was the right and valid one, it never occurred to her entitled mind she might be judging people.
Sandy watched as the bus travelled through the more disreputable part of town, it picked up a much lower class of passenger, black, white, some talking loudly to each other, with expletives running like a stream through all their conversations; one man was talking on his phone to some invisible person, and Sandy hoped it wasn’t his girlfriend, at the very least nobody should be spoken to the way he was speaking to whoever it was.
As they drew close to the town, a young man boarded the bus with several other youths. As he boarded, he turned and looked directly at Sandy, eyes green, so deep, she lost herself in them in the split second their eyes met. He disappeared onto the top deck of the bus. Sandy could feel her heart beating so fast, she thought everyone on the bus must be able to hear it, it was so loud in her ears. She felt her face flush red. An elderly lady sitting next to Sandy asked her,
‘Are you ok my dear, you look very red?’ Sandy stopped breathing for a second, she wasn’t sure what to say, eventually she replied.
‘Thank you, I’m ok, it’s just a bit warm with so many people on here.’
‘As long as you’re alright, I just wanted to make sure’, the woman answered.
‘Thank you,’ said Sandy.
The bus, by this time had reached the only bus stop in town and the people all started to alight. Sandy took her turn and got off the bus, then stood back out of sight, to watch for the young man to get off the bus. He didn’t, he was nowhere, the group got off, he wasn’t with them. Sandy shrugged and went about her day, shopping for her party.
The party was imminent, Sandy was applying the last touches to her make up, her parents were chatting with the DJ downstairs. The party itself was to be held in the older part of the house, it was currently unused. The whole house had six bedrooms, four of which were en-suite, two main living and dining areas, along with other rooms. It made sense for the family to live in just one part of the house. Their plans were to renovate and rent out the other part as a separate house.
The party got under way on time and within an hour was already going well, buzzing with music and voices, talking and laughing. Sandy’s parents weren’t at the party, but they were answering the door for her. There was at this time, only one front door so this made sense, and a way for them to keep an eye on who was coming to this party. If they had an invitation, they would get in, no invite, no party for them.
About halfway through the evening, the party was getting off the ground, people were relaxing and dancing to the music. Sandy was chatting to her best friend Meghan when something caught her eye. She wasn’t sure what, Meghan realised Sandy was no longer engaged in their conversation.
‘Are you ok’, came the question she’d already been asked once today.
‘I think so’ replied Sandy
‘Don’t worry, where were we?’ she added, and they continued where they’d left off.
Just five minutes later she felt a tap on her shoulder, she turned, startled, there he was, the man from the bus. But how could he be here, she didn’t know him, so he wouldn’t have an invitation. He interrupted her thoughts.
‘Would you like to dance?’ he asked.
Before she knew it, she was saying yes and being swept up into his arms, looking into those deep, green eyes.
‘Who are you?’ she asked
‘I’m Gregory, it’s good to be here tonight Sandy’, he replied, his words rolling into her soul.
Nobody saw much of Sandy after she started to dance with Gregory. Sandy was totally enamoured with this handsome stranger. Then the party came to an end and Sandy assumed Gregory left with the other guests, she missed him already, how could that be?
She went to bed that night but slept fitfully, it was interspersed with strange dreams. She awoke exhausted, also realising she had no way of finding Gregory, she hadn’t taken his number, he hadn’t taken hers, all she could do was wait. She couldn’t eat much that day, and less in the following days. She waited for him to return, just when she was giving up hope, he walked into the dining room; Sandy was attempting to arrange flowers into some semblance of creativity, not her strong point. She nearly lost the lot when she saw him, he had come in so quietly.
‘Who let you in?’ Sandy gasped, her pulse still racing.
‘Jane did, she was taking the dogs out, it was ok wasn’t it?’ he queried gently.
‘Uh! Yes, that was fine, would you like a sandwich, a drink?’ Sandy asked politely, still taken aback by his arrival, and if honest somewhat nervous at being alone with him.
‘Yes please, both would be great, thank you’ he replied.
Sandy pottered about preparing beverages and food and they chatted about the party, then onto their lives and general conversation most of us have with each other. He left a couple of hours later. This pattern continued, times with no contact, Sandy’s health suffering in his absence, then he would return. Every time Sandy saw him, she wanted him more, she wanted him to come to her room, strip her naked and make love to her, but he never made the slightest move on her. This left her feeling desperate and bereft. Each time he left, she felt worse, the nightmares escalated, her weight eventually declined to a dangerous level, she was diagnosed with an eating disorder and hospitalised. She was fed by tube and stabilised, her parents kept a vigil, not knowing how to help her. They hadn’t been able to find Gregory, or anyone who knew him, so they could talk to him.
Sandy was released from hospital with eating plans and anti-anxiety drugs, she felt better physically, and she began eating better. The yearning for Gregory, however, would not go away, neither would the nightmares. A week after coming out of hospital, her mother went to wake Sandy for breakfast but she couldn’t rouse her, she tried again, and again, not wanting to believe what her eyes were seeing. She screamed for her husband, who rushed to her side. He could see immediately there was no rousing their little girl.
As they wept over her, Gregory stood in the corner of the room, unseen by Sandy’s parents now, his ability to step across the threshold from his world to theirs, at an end. Only when a child crosses into adulthood for the first time was it possible for Gregory, and those like him, to connect to them. The exchange is a life for a life. For Gregory it was a short time being able to live again, using the energy that Sandy possessed, a special energy, only there on that one day. If these spirits are there on that day, they tap into it, then feed from it as long as possible, it’s a fine balance, if they take it too fast, they have less time living, going back to visit gives back a little of the life, rejuvenating the subject for a while, raising their energy levels, but once the process has started, the end is inevitable. The subject dies and the spirit returns and awaits another.
The coroner’s verdict was a heart attack brought on by an eating disorder...