Monday, December 10, 2012

The Ghost of Christmas Past by Dorothy Davies -- Conclusion

The Ghost of Christmas Past

Dorothy Davies


Harriet woke her early next morning by impatiently hissing in her ear: “Wake up! Santa’s been! There’s presents under the tree and things in your stocking!”

Susanna scrambled out of bed, wrapped her robe around her and hurried downstairs. When she got downstairs she looked at the clock: 7.15. Not too early, if she was quiet, she wouldn’t wake anyone anyway.

The tree lights had been left on overnight, they shone on the wrapping paper and bows of the many boxes. “Open something!” Harriet was as excited as Susanna, who was trembling with anticipation.

 In a remarkably short time she was surrounded by presents: books, clothes, shoes, pretty jewellery, a host of beautiful and interesting gifts. Harriet was exclaiming over everything without once looking sad or jealous that she couldn’t touch any of it.
The door opened and her parents came in. “You got down here early!” her mother said with a smile that turned to a grimace. She held her stomach as if she was in pain.
“I got here at-” Susanna looked at the clock, “7.15. Now look, it’s just 8 o’clock.” She was proud of her ability to tell the time so precisely.
“That’s not too early, honeybunch.”
“Something wrong with your mother, Susanna?”
“What did you do?”
“Nothing … yet.”
Her father was gathering up the wrapping paper. “Looks like Santa was good to you,” he commented, with a sideways glance. Susanna went along with the joke.

He found out where I had moved to. Clever, isn’t he?”
Her mother laughed, then turned to go to the kitchen. “You’ll want breakfast; I’ll go get it started.”
Susanna watched her go, saw how she was stooped over, not walking upright as she usually did. “Daddy, is Mummy all right?”
“Well, the baby is giving her a few problems. Nothing for you to worry about, if it gets any worse we’ll call the doctor.”

Or an ambulance,” Harriet whispered.
“Do you think you ought to get dressed before breakfast, honeybunch?”
“Yes, I’ll get dressed now, Daddy.”
“Do you need any help?”
“No, I can manage. I’m big enough, thank you.”
“Wear the new red velvet, Susanna.”
“For a reason.”
“All right.”
She picked the new red dress up from the floor and took it upstairs to her bedroom. It fitted perfectly and went well with her dark hair. She looked at herself for a few moments in the mirror, then went back down for breakfast.
“My, you look good!” her mother said when she walked in. “I liked that dress when I first saw it; I knew it would be good for you.”
“Thank you, Mummy, Daddy, for everything.”
“Don’t thank us, Santa Claus bought it!”
“Daddy, Mummy just said she knew the dress was for me when she saw it! Santa wouldn’t know what size dress to get me!”
“You caught out!”
They laughed and for a moment they were joined together as a family. For a moment Harriet was not included and Susanna caught a sour look on her face. Then it went and Harriet laughed and ran out of the room.
Susanna’s mother looked round. “Do you know, Dan, I swear this house is haunted! I keep catching sight of someone, a small someone, in blue.”
“Pregnant women have all sorts of strange things happen to them, Emma. Don’t worry about it.”
“I’m not worrying, Dan, just don’t like it, that’s all.”
“We don’t have a ghost here, Emma!”
Don’t we?
Susanna went back to the lounge and picked up some of her presents to take to her room.
She wanted some of it out of the way before Buster came romping in to play.
Harriet went with her as she climbed the stairs.
“You’ve got some nice things, Susanna.”
“Yes, I wish I could share them with you.”
“I can look, even if I can’t touch.”
“Is that enough?”

“It has to be, it’s all I can do.”
“Mummy’s coming upstairs.”
“Shall we play a trick on her?”
“What sort of trick?”
“Remember what I said about changing places?”
“Can we?”
“Yes, like this.”
Susanna looked in the mirror and almost shrieked. It was her face but it was surrounded by blonde curls and her red velvet dress had become a pale blue one.
“Quick, go out on the landing!” Harriet was all but pushing her.
Susanna walked out of her bedroom just as her mother reached the top of the stairs. She took one look at Susanna, screamed and fell all the way to the bottom.
Her father rushed out of the kitchen to see what had happened. By then Susanna had gone back into her room, looked in the mirror and saw she was herself again, with black hair and red velvet dress.
“What did you DO!” She spun round to confront Harriet.
“Gave you your other gift, Susanna. There will be no baby now - or ever.”
Susanna heard her father frantically phoning 999 and asking for an ambulance. There was a sick feeling in her stomach. She went to the banister railings and looked down. Her mother was lying very still and there was blood coming from her head – and her body. That was my fault. Mummy’s hurt and it was my fault. She began to cry, but whether it was for her mother or the thought Harriet had died just that way she didn’t know. The sick feeling had been replaced by a cold empty core that made her shiver. Tears poured down her face and she began to sob.
“Susanna!” her father called. “Get your coat and shoes on! We have to go to hospital with Mummy! I can’t leave you here on your own!”
“All right, Daddy!” Susanna ran to get her shoes and then hurried downstairs, stepping over her mother who was moaning softly, saying something about seeing a ghost. Shut up, Mummy, she thought. Don’t tell anyone, they’ll think you’re mad. She frantically mopped at her tears, which didn’t want to stop.
She got her coat and put it on. The siren was approaching fast. Her father was crouched by her mother’s side and taking no notice of her.
“Open the door, Susanna, please.”
“Yes, Daddy.”
There was a flurry of activity as the paramedics tried to stop the bleeding, then hoisted her mother onto the trolley and rushed her out to the ambulance.
“Come on, Susanna!” Her father swept her up into his arms. That at least stopped the tears.
“Stay here, Harriet!”
“I will! I’ll take good care of our home, Susanna!”
“Yes, she’ll be fine. I promise. Now you’re safe. You are the only one and will stay that way.”
Susanna sat in the ambulance watching one paramedic working on her mother and another one taking details from her father.
No baby.
No squalling brat in the empty bedroom.
No other person to take her parents’ attention and love away from her.
It was as if a huge weight had been taken from her, she felt so much lighter. Even her mother’s serious condition didn’t dent the new feeling she was experiencing.
Her father looked across at her and tried to smile. “Everything’s going to be all right, honeybunch. Don’t worry.”
“Yes, Daddy.”
Of course it is. I have all I want. You and Mummy to myself and a best friend to give me whatever I want. Watch out, school…
The ghost of Christmas Past had become the ghost of Christmas Present and given her a very special gift, one she would never forget – or regret.


Bio: Dorothy Davies is a writer, editor and medium who enjoys writing ghost and horror stories. Her life resembles a ghost story at times, as much of her work is channeled from spirit authors. She can be found editing Static Movement anthologies and featuring on Amazon Author Central with her extensive publication profile.Her website is

You can read the first part of this blog's two part interview with Dorothy here:

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