“Ghosts do not exist,” my mother said as we walked into the new house. The house was more like a mansion and was not exactly new. It had an eerie look.
But who would have guessed that my mother was to be proved wrong?
That evening my mother was preparing dinner. I must first say that my mother is a great cook. A special soup was boiling on the stove. Mother has her back turned to it.
Suddenly there was a sizzling sound followed by a small sign of content. My mother was examining the soup bowl for the next second.
“What a greedy girl you are, Milly! You don’t have to taste the soup while it’s still cooking!” My mother said angrily.
I protested. I had not even touched the soup. But my mother was adamant. In my experience, all mothers refuse to drop charges against their children once they find a fault.
I was sent up to my bedroom which wasn’t much of a punishment since there was so much to explore in my new room. I hadn’t even unpacked yet. My room was spacious. It had a huge chest of drawers and a small bedside table.
Armed with a pile of clothes, I opened the chest of drawers. To my immense displeasure, it was full of dust. I tried to open the drawer under the bedside table but it was locked.
Slowly and methodically, I began to dust the chest of drawers. When I was dusting the uppermost shelf, I found a brass key. Experimentally, I used the key on the bedside table cupboard. Surprisingly, it opened. In the cupboard there was an old diary.
Normally, I wouldn’t have read anyone’s diary, but it was dated to the 1990s so I flicked the pages. I was greeted by childish handwriting and a thousand spelling mistakes.
The diary belonged to a boy called Tommy Sutton. I assumed that he was around 10 years. Sutton was the name of the first owner of this house according to my father. They had left the house when their youngest son died. The house had been on sale for years since then.
Perhaps Tommy Sutton was the little boy who had died. And maybe, I thought, this bed was his. Had he died on the bed that I was now lying on? I immediately moved to a chair and began to read.
Apparently, Tommy Sutton had been a very naughty boy. The pages contained a trove of mischievous tricks he had played on his parents, the parlor maid, servants and various visitors who had come to stay. A certain Aunt Margaret had left the house as a result of being confronted by a frog in her bed. An Uncle Robert had departed with his left arm bandaged.
Little Tommy Sutton had expressed his views on many matters beyond his age. In the page before the last he had written,
“I really like to play tricks on people. It makes me laugh. But what will happen when I die? Perhaps, I will play tricks then too. But not on mother and father and Little Rosy. They will be sad, I think…”
I sat still, shocked at what I had just read. Then mother called us down for dinner.
While we were eating, my parents were talking about the new house. Suddenly my father’s hand slipped and a bowl fell with a crash on to the floor. There was a sound of laughter that followed.
“It’s not polite to laugh like that Milly dear! Perhaps you should wash the dishes after dinner,” mother said, crossly. I scowled. I knew well enough that I hadn’t laughed.
Things went quite smoothly next day. In the afternoon, mother had a headache and went to rest. Not long after, a scream issued from her bedroom. Father and I rushed in to the room to find a big fat toad on the bed.
Mother was staring at the frog with a look of horror when a guffaw of laughter erupted from nowhere. My mother turned to me, her face blazing with anger. “You put a frog in my bed and then you even have the nerve to laugh about it! Milly, your behavior these days is disgusting!”
“Mother, I didn’t do that! Any of the other things either!” I shouted.
“And then who would put this frog on my bed? Your father? Don’t try to deny what you did! You are grounded for a week! No television!” Mother raged on.
Gloomily, I went to my bedroom. Suddenly a thought floated into my mind.
Tommy Sutton had also put a frog on his aunt Margaret’s bed.
My heart missed a beat. “Tommy?” I whispered in to the empty room.
“Yes?” a breezy voice whispered and I screamed.
By Ravisha Randasmi Hapuarachchi
Sanghamittha Balika Vidyalaya