Creeping into the house in a hurry to get to school was a challenge I was not prepared for. I hit every creaking board and knocked over several items. Luckily I didn’t wake anyone, changed and went on my way. School that day crept by and I couldn’t manage to keep Finn, Nellie, and Katie from going through my mind. I didn’t even hear the Mr. Oglethorpe when he asked me to answer question number 5. ” Ellie… Ellie… ELLIE LANDRY if you cannot manage to stay focused, then please go home. You are taking up space and oxygen in this class.”
I was mortified, but focus wasn’t a problem after that. During free period I made my way to the computer lab to check my blog and my space. I must admit I was curious to see if Finn messaged me. There was nothing. I felt a cold sinking in my stomach. I thought maybe I had just went to far this time, and ran him off for good. But how can you run off something that may not even truly be there.
Of coarse I knew it wasn’t a figment of my imagination. But, somehow, I thought maybe it was some massive prank by someone very cruel. It had to be a hell of an elaborate prank. It had been going for months!
The day ended and I felt wary and tired. I didn’t even stop to check my blog or my space but just collapsed on my bed after school. The dream came extremely fast, and picked up Nellie’s wedding day. The had just rose, but Nellie hadn’t been to sleep. She sat in window staring all night. Searching for something, anything. An escape from this hell. She noticed movement in the bushes. Curious, she threw on her shawl and crept down stairs. Everyone was still asleep as it was early. She went to the bushes and saw further movement. Her curiosity got the best of her, so Nellie followed it. Whatever was there sped up. It was keeping just out of reach and sight.
She broke through a clearing and there was a pond. Beside the pond was a dog wood tree and Nellie Girl!”
No further words needed to be said. Nellie raced into his arms. It felt like coming home. All the stress and the fear melted away on a blanket beneath the dog wood tree that early June morning. She whispered in his ear as they lay tangled beneath that tree, ” I will always love you. My heart will never belong to another. Cant we just run away Finn? Why can’t we go get Katie and flee? I don’t need the best, I don’t need anything but you. I cannot marry Willoby, And I cannot live this lie. And neither can you…please Finn..” She implored him with her big blue eyes.
Some part of that naked plea had broken through his resolve. She loved him and that was all he needed to know. ” Aye. Lets go and fetch Katie and be gone before the rest of the plantation wakes.”
When they returned to the main house, it was still quiet. Everyone had spent the night before celebrating the impending marriage with wine and food and no one had come around to waking up yet. Finn his in the stable as Nellie crept inside to go and wake Katie to leave. They didn’t take long and everything was going as planned until they made it to the stables. There, with a knife to Finns throat, was Willoby. He smiled that evil , rat like smile and slit Finns throat. Nellie screamed and held Finn as his last sign of life left his body. He parted ways with the world with his eyes locked with Nellie in a Silent I love you.
I awoke with a start. It was raining and dark. I had a wet face from tears and I felt completely drained and sad. My Finn had been slain before my eyes. I was helpless to stop it and what was worse I couldn’t erase the memory from my mind. I made myself some warm tea and booted up the computer. Suddenly I remembered the diary I found. I curled up with my tea and opened the ancient book. The pages were yellow with time and the date was June 15, 1938. I will spare you the details as it would draw the story out, but I spent all night and into the early morning reading, It was a Saturday so I could relax because I had no prior commitments that day.
I came to read and find out that Finn was killed June 13, 1938 and buried on the property behind the stable. Katie was sent away because she was angry and inconsolable. Nellie was forced to marry Willoby. It was an unhappy marriage that resulted in her death by suicide on Finns death anniversary in 1939. Nellie went on to explain that she had nothing to hold dear of Finn. Her father and Willoby burned everything. She had nothing but her memories and they were now enclosed in this journal. She told of the day they first met, the different run ins they had. The way the wind blew his hair and how he smelled. Wild and free and sweet like sandalwood.
Nellie’s short lived marriage was an unhappy one. She was with child when she married, only she hadn’t known and Willoby slaughtered the baby when he saw the auburn hair. That was Nellie’s undoing. She spent the last 3 months of her life locked away and grieving for the man she loved and the piece of him that was ripped away by her husband and brutal father. She took poison and was found curled up on the unmarked grave of Finn. Mr. Milton Latter was wracked with grief and Commissioned a fountain in that spot. Willoby left and went to New York after her death and followed in his fathers foot steps.
I was so caught up, I didn’t realize it was lunch time and my stomach grumbled. I showered and hopped in the car and went to grab a bite to eat, then I went to the library. I logged into my space and there was a message for me. I couldn’t hide my anxiety over this. I knew now that I was in love with a ghost. That Finn had been dead nearly 70 years. I clicked on the message.
“Will you join me in the attic?” There was no question, I had to ride this pony to the end and see what was truly going on. I sneaked past the librarian and crept towards the attic. This time sneaking through the house, everything felt familiar. I stopped at what I felt was Nellie’s room. There was a fire place, and a grand bed. It was barren but the frame was still there, and I knew it was Nellie’s. I touched the wood poles and I suddenly knew to look under it, on the inside of the frame. There, carved in the wood was what I gathered to be a memorial, or a grave marker, or a way for Nellie to document the birth of her Son. The inscription read ” Finnegan Thomas Murphy jr. May 16, 1939- May 16, 1939. I felt the hot tears flowing and was helpless to stop them. This was all real, and somehow seeing this old ragged carving in a wooden bed, hidden from time and other eyes made it all too real for me,
I heard a thump above. I knew, Finn was waiting for me there. I slowly walked to the stair case to ascend the attic stairs. It was bright in the attic today. Not at all dim and cold like it was the last time I was there. I looked around slowly, not seeing anything out of place. suddenly, and old stroller came rolling into view. There was nothing in it and it was pushed by no one. It came to a stop inches from me. I should have been terrified, but I knew what was in that attic wasn’t going to hurt me.
Knowing what I knew, I went to the sketches and began looking through them. There I was, smiling and free in the framed portraits. The date on the back said 04/28/1938. So this was before it all went down. Of coarse it was. I was smiling and elated and in love in this portrait. The next portrait was of a stern faced man with a part strait down the middle of his hair and a mustache that took up his whole face. Nellie’s father, no doubt.
I felt him before I heard or saw him. I stood there staring at the portraits but I knew he was there. The sweetest voice I had heard whispered, “Nellie my love, I have missed you so.” This brought me into reality; I turned to face him. He wasn’t at all like you would fancy a ghost to be. He was solid, I touched his face, and he was there. I couldn’t make coherent thoughts. All I could say was ” how?” Then I realized what he had called me. ” i’m not Nellie, Finn, I am Ellie Landry. This is 2007 and you are dead.”
To be continued…