The Lady in White
Halloween 1992 was different. I skipped the Haunted Hotel, Trick or Treat and the Parade. It was a chilly October night when I took a stroll downtown in Shelby. I often took walks alone, exploring and adventuring. Messing around, I found an open door that lead to apartments above an old store. These apartments were not the same ones where they held the Haunted Hotel, but they were close by. I imagined that the Haunted Hotel had once been an abandoned area before the Jaycees rented it and used it for our amusement.
In any case, the apartments I explored had not been lived in for many years. Alone, I quietly tip-toed up the stairs and into the ruined rooms. I treaded softly and cautiously as I examined an old mattress and an open medicine cabinet still stocked with bottles from the 1940s or earlier. My footsteps echoed in the dark silence as I stepped on wooden floors covered in dust, plaster and other debris. I peered through a broken window that had once been between walls. All that was left was a frame and a single shard hanging from it. No one heard me and I saw no one. Though I feared I might see a ghost that night, I did don’t think I did.
I came to the back stairs and descended them softly. I sat on the steps for a moment thinking back to a past life back in 1940. Had I really experienced something traumatic in another time? Or was I struggling to understand a trauma in this life? There was some darkness inside I latched onto and tried to hold in an effort to understand. I closed my eyes and drew in a deep breath. I saw a vision of a girl into an upstairs window—crying. Then the vision faded. I glanced up at the window above me, expecting to see something. There was only darkness.
That night I walked home thinking about reading The Vampire Diaries. I thought of Stefan and Damon and I thought of my past life in the 10940s. When I got home I set about writing my story Damon’s House. I envisioned a nearly empty English Manor that was haunted. I figured that those apartments were probably the closest I was going to come to touring any sort of haunted castle or haunted mansion, but they still inspired me.
Years later, I returned to the abandoned apartments to find that someone had bought them and began remodeling them. One apartment was completed and the rest were in progress by 1999.
Halloween night came, I had decided to stay home and watch some scary movies—but not too scary. I walked down to my local video store and asked for some recommendations. I explained that I wasn’t into blood and gore, but I wanted something thrilling. Karen pointed me toward The Abyss and The Lady in White. I checked out and went home.
My Mom left to go hang out with her boyfriend that night. My friend came over and wanted to ride our bikes to a nearby graveyard. I agreed to go with her and even grabbed some flashlights for the trip. We peddled quickly in the cool night; our hearts were beating wildly in our chests. Fear mixed with anticipation over what we might find there.
When we got there we dropped our bikes and began walking around. Our flashlights beams danced and landed on various headstones. I enjoyed reading their names along with their birth and death dates. Some of the last names I recognized, others I didn’t. No one I was close to was buried there though. Despite the shifting shadows and Gothic atmosphere, everyone was resting comfortably. No ghosts appeared before us during our fifteen minute visit. Content with our outing, we got back on our bikes and rode home. My friend went home and got ready to go out with some of her other friends. I returned to my dark, empty house and turned on the VCR. I popped in the VHS tape of The Abyss and watched it alone. When it was over, I put in The Lady in White. The Lady in White scared me a tad bit, but not too badly.
Years later, I walked into a pawn shop in Monett, Missouri and did a double take. I swore I saw Lukas Hass at the front counter. Turned out it was just his doppelganger though!