It's Friday the 13th. Obviously, we need to have a story telling...

It being mid October and Friday the 13th, I thought I'd share with you a time that I was scared.

This was a long while ago. I was still living in the house I grew up in. Something to keep in mind: this house was haunted. Ever since I was a child, me, my siblings, friends, and even my father knew it. We all saw the same ghosts, so much that we came to name them.

The Tree Man stayed upstairs, wandering between the kitchen and the back bedrooms. He had no appearance, not exactly, other than being darker than the gloom around him. It was as if he absorbed the dark and wore it as a cloak. He was easily eight feet tall, and you could hear him walking, the creaking of the old wood, before you saw him. He once spent four hours sitting next to my bed.

The Cat. Let me put it this way: I grew up in a bad area, and people are horrible, horrible creatures. A gang of them decided to shoot and kill a neighbor's cat in my backyard one day. That cat took up residence, sometimes just sitting atop a pool table or meowing at you when you weren't paying attention. Even today, it will play with Chronos and Clotho, my two cats, and they seem to get along. I am glad that it's having a good spectral life, though I will forever hate the people who killed it.

The Jester was, in a way, comical. We're fairly sure it was a teenager of some sort, based on size and demeanor. He would often throw things across the basement, sometimes at another person if the opportunity arose. He also delighted in mimicking the voices of friends and family members. His specialty was sounding like my sister was crying on just the other side of the wall. Once, as I was going to bed, he threw a snowboard at my door. I was alone in the house at the time.

But the one I want to tell you about, and the one everyone agrees on, is the Lady in the Blue Dress.

She first appeared in dreams, I think. My brother, years after the fact, told us of the time he dreamt of her running at him, arms stretched out, screaming, her broken neck causing her head to bob back and forth with each step like a terrible pendulum...

She was young, either late teens or early 20's in age. Outside of dreams, she could usually be found lying in front of a rear storage room in the basement, contorted in an unnatural position, usually in the corner of your eye as you turned to put the light out. She was usually harmless, aside from a scare or two every now and then.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I moved into a room we had built at the front of the basement. I learned to deal with the ghosts. More often than not, it turned out, if you simply asked them to leave you alone, they would. It was like they wanted to play and if you didn't have time, they certainly understood. After all, we'd known each other all my life.

One night, as I was preparing for bed, lying down, reading a book, I looked up to see The Lady standing in my doorway. I'd never seen her so clearly, nor for so long. Her dress was old fashioned and, to my eye, appeared Victorian, all ruffles and lace. She looked concerned. With her head hanging at the most disturbing angle and the vertebrae trying to press through her ghostly flesh, she spoke.

"Help me," she whispered. I lay there, dumbfounded, too terrified to speak as she looked around the room. And then she looked into my eyes and said again, "Help me."

I finally found my tongue. I asked her what she wanted, but she didn't seem to understand. I asked her name, what was wrong, how I could help, but she didn't appear to be able to hear me. She looked, as far as I could tell, confused.  Every time I stopped asking questions, she would simply repeat "Help me."

I could tell she was scared. I wanted, with every fiber of my being, to help this poor girl, even if she was beyond saving, but I couldn't.

Suddenly she cocked her shoulders as if her head were still upon her shoulders and she were listening to something, and then she seemed to panic, and I knew she was terrified. Eyes wide, she said the final words I've ever heard from her. "He's coming."

And with that, she turned and left.

After several seconds, I remembered that I had legs, and that I could chase after her. My heart in my stomach, I walked into the basement proper, turning on every light I could along the way, even going as far as her usual spot in front of the storage room, but she was gone.

I saw her a few times after that, but, it seemed to me, less often than I used to, and never again like that. Since I came back home last year to take care of my father, I've only seen her twice, usually after telling someone about her. She seems to enjoy being talked about. I wonder if I'll see her again tonight, if she'll talk to me, and if I may, finally, help her.

Happy Friday the 13th, my friends.

Until next time,

~Sean Walter