“I hate when you tell this story, I can never sleep afterward.” Lucy snuggled up beside her mother in her parent’s bed and pulled the covers up under her neck. She would’ve covered her head but that would’ve reminded her too much of her Aunt Cathy’s story.
“Oh quit being a baby, chicken head. It’s one of the best ghost stories I’ve ever heard. Sorry Mom, I didn’t mean it that way.” Luis tried to correct himself but it was too late. Janie wiped her eye quickly and then reached over and tousled her son’s head.
“It’s okay hijo, I know. To you it is just a story. It’s just that Cathy was my favorite sister. She disappeared and it was like our family changed forever after that. My family moved to a new rental right after but it was like bad luck followed us wherever we went.”
“Why did Grandma ever move into that old house anyway? Couldn’t you guys have found something safer?”
“Well Lucy, that was right after my father had died. My mom had to move us off the farm we were working on and to a house quickly. My brother was about to go into the army and a family of four girls and their mam couldn’t run it all by themselves. We moved to this town and that house is all we could afford at the time. She didn’t know if it was safe or not.”
“Do you think that Black Witch thing really got Aunt Cathy?”
“I don’t know. I do know that my sister would never have left her family forever if she didn’t have to. They all assumed she had run off with some boy but that wasn’t like her. She wasn’t even talking to anybody that I knew of. Luis go get me that big book of fairy tales that you like so much. You two can keep me company in here tonight, okay?”
“Okay mama, no worries I’ll take care of you.”
“Lucy I’m sorry, when your brother asks to hear that story I forget myself for a minute. I did not mean to scare you, okay?”
“I just don’t know why he likes hearing the family ghost stories so much, that’s all. He keeps saying that he wants to see something one day.”
“Well, I hope that day never happens. Seeing things is never a good thing. No good has ever come of it for my family.”
“Like Uncle Nate, when he came home from the army and bought that land that was supposed to have money buried on it?”
“I thought you didn’t like our family’s ghost stories?”
“I don’t! But they are kind of interesting, that’s all. But Mama?”
“Tell it to me in the morning, okay?”
“Okay baby girl.” Janie kissed the top of Lucy’s head until she made her stop. She was happy that the twins would be sleeping in her big bed with her, she had never gotten used to sleeping alone while her husband was on the road. She didn’t even like them to sleep in their room when her husband was home if she was honest. Their room was right next to her and her husband’s bedroom but it felt miles away. Maybe that was why she always felt the need to get up and check on them several times a night. Her insomnia had been an old friend since her sister’s disappearance. It slacked off once she had each of her babies and kept them with her; it started up once it was time to move them to their own bed. She didn’t see it herself but the insomnia and her smothering tendencies were both battle scars that came with the loss of her sister and never really knowing what had happened.
Cathy looked around her. She still remembered the shack her family had lived in so long ago. She couldn’t imagine how her mother had felt when she had to move her children into that home, alone. She couldn’t imagine what that would have felt like. Her bedroom alone was the size of the front room and kitchen in that house put together. She felt lucky to have what she had, not only the house and the lifestyle and security, her family as well. Of course her family was her biggest blessing. She should be fulfilled and yet the past still bothered her.