I grew up in rural Nova Scotia, on the eastern shore of Canada. The province is 'almost' an island, connected to the rest of Canada by a thin strip of land that leads into New Brunswick. It's a place settled by mostly Irish, English and Scottish folks, but also boasts a strong Mi'kmaq (or Migmaw) culture. It's important that you know this because story-telling is big in all of these cultures. There's also a lot of superstition and belief in the spirit realm.
I was raised by a woman who loved the idea of ghosts. She was also a tea leaf reader whose mother was known not only for her own fortune telling, but for having prophetic dreams. You can see where I'm going with this. When I announced to my mother (at the tender age of 3 or 4) that I saw two women coming down my grandmother's stairs she believed me without question. And when I found a black and white photograph of them several years later, she was not at all surprised that I knew their hair and eye color. I actually think she was a little proud!
My grandmother's house was haunted -- everyone seemed to know this. After her death someone bought the house only to quickly put it on the market again. An old man in the community said it was because of the ghosts. Most people scoffed at the idea, but I'm certain I'm not the only one who wondered if it was true. My uncle claimed to have seen a woman there late one night, though Nan said he was drunk. One day when she was gone, I walked down to Nan's house to water her plants. As I did so every hair on the back of my neck stood up on end. I *knew* that if I turned around there would be someone on the stairs behind me.
I did not turn around.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I said (very loudly), "I'm supposed to be here. I'm just watering the plants and then I'll go." After that things weren't so weird, but I couldn't wait to get out of there. The air in that house was different. When Nan was there -- or all was as it should be -- it was the most warm and inviting house I've ever been in. There was the sense of being surrounded by good things, and I refuse to believe any spirit that might have been present there was anything but good.
When I was still quite young -- probably 6 or 7 -- one of our immediate neighbors died in a house fire. My father was one of the volunteer firemen who found the body. Dad had visited this man earlier in the evening. Our neighbor was a hopeless alcoholic, generally harmless sort of man who was often times very paranoid and odd. It wasn't uncommon to find him looking in the windows of our house. One window he used to peer through was the window by our kitchen table. I won't lie -- until the time when my mother had to leave her house, I could not sit facing that window at night. Perhaps it was irrational, but I am still convinced that some nights our neighbor was out there, looking in.
One night my mother and I were watching T.V. and we heard the doorknob of the back door rattle. We lived in the country and it was common to leave the door unlocked during waking hours, but we always locked it at night. I remember seeing the knob turn, but when I looked out the window in the door to see who had come to visit there was no one there. Mom declared that it was that same neighbor coming to call, and we went back to our T.V. show. Yes, we just went back to regular life, as though nothing truly bizarre had just happened. Around the same time Mom experienced some strange things in our kitchen -- things rattling, items misplaced. Two drinking glasses that had been sitting in our sink apparently flew together and smashed into piece. A shadow moved across the wall. Mom, irked that she had just lost two glasses, frowned in the direction of that shadow and said, "OK [neighbor's name], that's quite enough!" The shadow faded and the mischief came to an end. Though, every once in awhile he'd show up again, as though letting us know he was still around, watching.
But I still won't sit in front of that bloody window.
Author: Kady Cross
Publisher: Harlequin Teen, 416 Pages (May 22nd, 2012)
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling - or dangerous.
Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves.
One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens.
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Kady, thanks for squeezing this in. I know you're schedule is crazy busy right now, but I have to say your story is way creepy! Thanks for sharing. Also, thanks for donating the signed book and soap for giveaway!
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