Don’t Tell :
“I don’t want to go to Mee Mee Linda’s anymore.” Britney’s little girl, Kristan, said as she was getting her ready to take to her mother’s house. Britney was confused by this, her daughter never had a problem with going to her grandmother’s house before. She always dropped Kristan off at her mother’s in the morning and picked her up again after work. There were never any complaints about this before. “Why, what’s wrong Kris?” she asked.
“I don’t like the little girl.” was the response.
Britney’s mother had just moved into her new house only weeks ago, and though Britney had already met most of the neighbors she didn’t recall any of them having a little girl. “What little girl?” Britney asked. Kristan was silent for a moment, as if she wasn’t sure she should continue.
“The girl in Mee Mee’s room. She comes when I’m watching t.v. in Mee Mee’s bed and says mean things to me and she has a band-aid over her eye because her daddy hit her. The blood makes her look scary, I don’t like it.”
Britney was deeply disturbed and confused by this answer; she didn’t understand how Kristan could have come up with such a story. She knelt in front of her daughter taking her by the shoulders and looked into her eyes,”Kris, what are you talking about? Is this a real little girl or are you making her up?” Kristan stared at her mother silently for a moment then shook her head as if refusing to say anymore. Britney sighed in frustration and stood again. She didn’t have time for games, she was already running late. Deciding to drop the subject for the time being, she got Kristan into the car and left for her mother’s house.
Britney’s mother met them at the door once they arrived. She bent down and gave Kristan a hug, “Want to go watch t.v., sweetie?” she asked. Kristan looked at her grandmother and shook her head then walked in without saying anything. She headed down the hall to the back room that she used when she spent time at her grandmother’s house, but as she passed her grandmother’s bedroom she walked by with caution and peeked in carefully before moving on.
This reminded Britney of their earlier conversation. “Hey Mom, do you know anything about a little girl?”
Linda looked at her puzzled, “What little girl?”
Britney wasn’t sure how to explain what her daughter had said, “Well, Kristan said there was a little girl here and that she was…” she hesitated, then shook her head, “Never mind, it’s probably nothing. I have to get going or I’ll be late.” Now that she was talking about it out loud it sounded kind of silly. She hugged her mother good-bye and went to work. Though the strange talk with her daughter was still on Britney’s mind, it was soon forgotten as things became busy at the office. The day went on normally and at the end of it Britney picked up her daughter and brought her back home.
That night as Britney was getting Kristan ready for her bath she noticed three scratches on her daughter’s upper arm. “Kris, what happened?” she asked in concern. Her daughter looked at her and said in a quiet voice, “I was playing with Chloe and got scratched.” Britney knew Chloe was a playful puppy but she didn’t think she’d hurt her daughter. It was probably just an accident though; she’d talk to her mother about clipping the puppy’s nails so that it wouldn’t happen again. Britney finished giving Kristan her bath and put her to bed. Before she turned out the light her daughter asked, “Do I have to go to Mee Mee’s tomorrow?”
Britney looked back at her daughter, “No, Mommy’s off tomorrow so you can stay home.” She remembered what her daughter had said that morning and paused in the doorway, “Did you see the mean little girl again?” she asked. Kristan quickly shook her head and rolled over with her back to her mother hugging her teddy tightly. Britney watched her daughter for a moment then turned out the light and went to her own bedroom.
Since she had the next day off from work Britney stayed up late watching television. As she was looking for something to watch she came across a documentary on the paranormal; she had an interest in such things and decided to watch it. The documentary spoke of entities that died violent or traumatic deaths and became restless spirits unable to move on. They would often stay in the place of their death and haunt it long after they died. Sometimes there would be residual hauntings, nothing more than an echo of past events and people replaying itself over and over. Some were intelligent, using methods such as sounds and visual activity to make their presence known and even interact with the living. Then came the mention of children and spirits; how young children are more sensitive to the paranormal than adults and can often see things that adults can’t. Some spirits can interact or communicate with children, and even attach themselves to them. Sometimes the spirit can be friendly, but there are times when the entity is dangerous. They can influence the child in negative ways, telling them to do bad things, or they may even hurt or scare the child. These hauntings usually cause strange or negative behavior, and a child may be reluctant to talk about it out of fear of being hurt.
Britney stopped paying attention at that point, now her thoughts turned to her daughter. The odd behavior and mention of a little girl in her mother’s house that couldn’t possibly exist, and even the disturbing description she gave. She began to wonder if the scratches on her daughter’s arm were actually from the puppy, or something else. Was it all just coincidence? Was Kristan just going through a phase, or was something else going on? It all seemed a bit farfetched, but there wasn’t enough to go on. She decided she would talk to her mother about it the next day and see what she could find out.
The next morning Britney gave her mother a call, hoping to gain more information from her. “Mom, do you know if the people who lived in the house before you had a daughter?” she asked.
Linda paused, as if thinking, “No, pretty sure they just had two boys. Why?”
Britney looked into the living room at her daughter; she was watching Dora the Explorer and paying no mind to her mother. Britney spoke softly anyway, not wanting her to hear, “Kristan seems to think there’s a little girl in your house and she doesn’t like her. She says she’s mean to her and says bad things and that the way the little girl looks scares her because she’s bloody.” Now that she said it out loud, Britney felt kind of foolish. She couldn’t imagine how strange it must have sounded to her mother. There was a long moment of silence on the other end of the phone. “Mom?”
“Is that why Kristan doesn’t like coming over anymore?” her mother suddenly asked.
Britney was caught off guard by the sudden question, “Did she say something?”
“She doesn’t have to, lately she just doesn’t seem to want to be here. She doesn’t like going in the back or watching t.v. in my bed anymore like she used to, and she asks how long before you come get her a lot. It was never like this before, she was always happy to come over but now she doesn’t seem to like it anymore.”
The description of Kristan’s behavior at her mother’s house made Britney feel uneasy. Did it really have something to do with a ghost, or was Kristan acting out for attention? Her thoughts were interrupted by her mother’s loud yawn.
“Sorry, I haven’t been sleeping well.” she said.
“Why? What’s wrong?” Britney asked.
“Well, I keep hearing weird noises at night and…” Linda’s voiced trailed off.
“And what?” Britney asked.
“Well, sometimes while I’m sleeping, I get woken up by something that feels like a tug on my sheets. Once I thought I even heard a giggle. I just roll over and go back to sleep thinking I was just dreaming, but now that I think about it there have been some strange things going on.”
Britney’s uneasiness grew, “Like what?”
“Well, there are the weird noises from time to time, the tug on my bed sheets, and sometimes something isn’t where I thought I put it; like it had been moved. And there are times when it feels unusually cold in my room, colder than it should considering it’s summer and all. And Chloe acts weird too, she growls and barks at the empty air or acts restless like something’s making her nervous. I figured she just wasn’t used to the new house yet.” Britney remembered hearing that animals were just as sensitive to the paranormal as young children, if not more.
“I never really paid much attention to all this before, but now that I’m thinking about it, it all seems kind of strange.” She paused as if thinking again. “There is one other thing, I thought I heard Kristan talking to someone a couple of weeks ago. I looked in on her and she was playing with her tea set and dolls. I thought maybe she was just playing pretend, but what if she wasn’t?” Linda’s voice had a hint of nervousness to it now.
“Mom, maybe you should look into that house’s background or something, just to see if there’s anything weird about it.” Britney suggested. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting to find, or if there really was anything to find, but they had no way of knowing unless they tried.
“I guess I could. Not sure if I really want to know though, I might end up moving again.” Her mother laughed weakly at her attempted joke. Britney started wondering if she should leave Kristan elsewhere during the day, just until they figured things out. “I think I might leave Kristan at Maw Maw’s house during the day instead of yours, just for a while.” she said. Britney’s grandmother was getting up in age, but she always enjoyed visits from her great-grandchildren. Britney just hoped it would solve the problem, even if it was only temporary.
“Well, alright I guess.” Linda said, sounding a bit disappointed.
Britney couldn’t help feeling guilty, she knew her mother enjoyed the company she got from Kristan since she lived alone.”Thanks Mom. Let me know what you find.” After hanging up with her mother Britney looked in on Kristan again; she was still watching Dora the Explorer and answering Dora’s questions. “Kris, how would you like to stay at Maw Maw’s instead of Mee Mee’s for a while?”
Kristan turned around to look at her mother, “I won’t go to Mee Mee’s house anymore?”
“It’s just for a little while.” Britney said.
Kristan nodded solemnly, “Ok Mommy.” She looked back at the t.v. but now seemed less enthusiastic than before and had grown quiet. The sudden change in her daughter’s behavior added on to Britney’s concern. She wasn’t sure what to make of the situation between the strange activity in her mother’s house and the effect it was having on Kristan. Was there really something going on, or was her daughter just having a childhood fantasy and would grow out of it soon? But what about the strange things occurring in her mother’s house? Could it just be coincidence? Britney felt frustrated knowing there was nothing she could do until they found out more about the house’s history. For now, all she could do was wait.
That weekend Britney was off; she hadn’t heard anything from her mother yet. Kristan spent the days with her great-grandmother and there had been no more mention of a little girl or strange behavior. It brought Britney some relief to have her daughter back to normal. She was almost sure the whole incident had been a phase; maybe just a little girl’s way of getting her working mother’s attention, or her way of saying she didn’t like her grandmother’s new house. Either way Britney was just glad that things were better now.
She sat on the couch with her lap top while Kristan lay on the living room floor coloring in a Dora the Explorer coloring book. Britney’s cellphone suddenly rang and she got up to answer it. It was her mother.
“Brit, I’m on my way over. There’s something I need to show you, but first check your email. I sent you something I found, I think you need to see it.” Linda’s voice sounded disturbed.
Britney froze at the sound of her mother’s tone, “What is it?” she asked.
“Just go check.” her mother said. “I can’t talk now, I’m driving. I’ll be there soon.”
There was a cold feeling in the pit of Britney’s stomach as she hung up the phone. She almost didn’t want to look at her email, but she sat on the couch and picked up her lap top again. She opened her account and clicked on the email from her mother. It was a news article dated about 13 years ago. Her heart skipped a beat as she read the title: “Girl Beaten To Death By Father In Home”. She scrolled down reading the details of the article.
A 6-year-old girl was being abused by her alcoholic father. After being questioned by a teacher who was concerned about the bruises on the girl she told her that it was done by her father. When the father found out what she had told the teacher he began beating her in a fit of rage and ended up killing her. Paramedics pronounced the child dead at the scene. Cause of death was massive head trauma. The father was arrested and found guilty of second degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison. At the bottom of the article was a picture of a little girl in a kiddy pool in the front yard of her home. The house in the background was the very house Britney’s mother was living in now. She was an adorable little girl, with light blonde hair pulled up into pig tails and pretty blue eyes. A wide smile with a missing front tooth adorned a somewhat chubby little face. She looked a little younger than 6 in the picture; perhaps it was a photo from an earlier, happier time.
A tear rolled down Britney’s cheek as she stared at the picture, her heart ached for the young life that had been tragically cut short. How could someone do something so terrible to a child? Especially their own. She looked at her own daughter and couldn’t imagine ever hurting her like that. At that moment, Britney recalled the way Kristan described the girl she had seen; how she had a band-aid over her eye because her father hit her, and that she was bloody. Britney slowly stood and walked over to Kristan carrying the lap top. She knelt and turned it to face her daughter, “Kris…is this the little girl in Mee Mee’s house?”
Kristan looked at the picture then looked up at her mother, her face was blank, “Her daddy told her not to tell anyone he was hitting her. She should have listened and he wouldn’t have hurt her like that. I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone about her either because she doesn’t like it when people say she’s not real. But I was bad and told anyway, that’s why she scratched me.” She looked back at her coloring book and continued coloring as if it were just a casual conversation. Britney almost dropped her lap top from the shock.
The sudden ring of the doorbell made Britney jump; she remembered her mother had said she was on her way and put the lap top down hurrying to the door. Her mother looked somewhat pale when she opened it.
“I’m freaking out Brit, this is really messed up.” she said as she walked in past Britney clutching something in her hand. Britney followed her mother into the kitchen and found her pacing back and forth nervously, “Mom, what’s wrong?”
Linda stopped pacing and looked at her, “Well, I talked to the people who lived in the house before me and they said they didn’t know anything about the previous owners, but they were sure that a little girl lived there. In the front bedroom they found disturbing drawings on the wall inside the closet that looked like they were done by a girl. They put wallpaper up inside to cover them up.”
Britney was confused, “Wallpaper? Why not just paint the walls?”
“They did…” her mother said nervously, “The drawings kept coming back.”
Britney felt chills run down her spine, “Kept coming back? Through the paint?”
Linda nodded, “They thought for sure their sons were doing it, but the boys insisted it wasn’t them. They said it…was the girl.”
Britney’s blood ran cold; it was the same thing Kristan had spoken of.
“She said they figured the boys were just making up stories so they wouldn’t get in trouble and just let it go. Anyway, they ended up putting in the wallpaper and covered everything up. I went in the closet the other day and ripped the wallpaper out. I found the drawings…” Linda held her hand out and revealed some photos. Britney slowly took them from her and began looking through them; she felt like she was going to be sick. There were doodles of faces varying in size along one side of the closet; most of them appeared to be of a man, a very angry one, with a big mouth as if he were yelling. Others looked like they were of a sad little girl that was crying. There were even a couple of figures; a big one holding up its arm as if about to bring it down, and a smaller one that looked like a little girl bent down as if cowering with the words ‘dont hit me!’ coming from the smaller figure. There were other words like ‘wy?’ and ‘wut did I du?’ written on the wall (misspelling on purpose).
Britney leaned against the counter for support, she felt weak as she stared in horror at the photos. “You said these were in the front bedroom?”
“Yeah.” Linda answered.
Britney looked up at her mother, “That’s the room you’re in, isn’t it?” she asked quietly.
Her mother was fidgeting nervously as she nodded, “Yeah. And that’s not all, unfortunately. I started asking around about the family that lived in the house before the previous owners and found an older couple who’s been in the neighborhood for over 20 years. They told me about the family and the little girl that lived there. Apparently the mother got into an accident on her way to work one morning and was killed. Soon after the mother died things changed for them. The father got depressed and started drinking heavily, and the little girl stopped playing with the other children and coming outside like she used to. She wasn’t happy and cheerful anymore. They never suspected he was beating her though, not until the day the ambulance showed up and they brought her little body out on a gurney covered in a bloodstained sheet.” Linda’s voice faltered and she stopped. Tears built up in her eyes as she shook her head, “How could someone do that?” she asked in a trembling voice. “How could he just beat his own little girl and kill her?”
Britney shook her head, “I don’t know Mom, I just don’t know. How could anyone lay their hands on a child like that?” As a mother, she found the act unthinkable and unforgivable. It made her sick just thinking about it. Britney looked at the pictures of the drawings again; everything was starting to make sense now. This poor little girl had been betrayed and killed by the very person who was supposed to love and take care of her. Now she was a restless spirit full of anger and unable to move on. It was heartbreaking. “I’d like to meet that bastard and give him a taste of his own medicine.” she said angrily.
“Unfortunately that’s not possible.” Linda said bitterly. “He’s dead.”
Britney looked at her mother in shock, “The article said he got life in prison, did they change it to the death penalty?”
“No, the couple I talked to told me he died not long after killing his daughter. Apparently he wasn’t completely unremorseful for what he did; he couldn’t live with the guilt of his crime. He committed suicide in prison a couple of months after he was sentenced.”
It wouldn’t bring the little girl back though, and it wouldn’t release her spirit. “But you know, despite all these facts we still don’t have any evidence of a ghost.” Britney said.
Linda reached into her purse that was sitting on the counter, “Actually, there is one more thing.” She pulled out a digital recorder, “I remembered hearing on Ghost Hunters and other paranormal shows that if you use a recorder you could catch the voice of an entity. I put one in my room and went grocery shopping. When I came back I listened to it.” She slowly held it out to Britney, “I caught something…”
Britney looked at the recorder in her mother’s hand and took it from her. She pressed the play button and it picked up where her mother had stopped it. For a moment there was nothing; a bird chirping in the tree out front, a car passing by on the street. Then she heard it, a little more than a whisper. A little voice with only one thing to say:
Britney and Linda finished putting the last of the boxes into the moving van. Britney’s uncle pulled the door closed then climbed into the driver’s seat. Living alone was becoming financially difficult for Linda, the bills becoming more than she could handle on her own. Since Britney and Kristan were the only ones living in their house it had been decided that Britney’s mother would move in and help out her single mother daughter.
“Is that everything?” Britney asked.
Her mother nodded, “Yeah, I think so. Where’s Kristan?”
Britney looked around; her daughter was nowhere in sight. “Maybe she’s inside, I’ll go look.” The inside of the house was bare now, everything had finally been cleared out. She saw no sign of Kristan at first, but then she heard a voice coming from the hallway. It was Kristan’s. Britney quietly made her way to the hallway’s entrance and peeked into the front room, previously her mother’s bedroom. Kristan was standing in the middle of the room facing the closet.
“It’s ok, I forgive you.” she said in the direction of the open closet doors.
Britney slowly walked in behind her daughter noticing the air in the room felt cold. Too cold for summer weather, and too cold for a house that no longer had the air conditioner running. “Kris, who are you talking to?” she asked. Kristan turned around to face her mother, “Jenny.” she said. Britney walked up closer to Kristan looking at the empty space in the closet that she had been talking toward. “Who’s Jenny, sweetie?” She already had a feeling before even asking.
“The little girl. She was saying sorry for hurting me. Her daddy always said sorry after hurting her too.” She looked back at the closet, “No, we’re not going away because of you. It’s because Mee Mee is having trouble paying the bills.” She paused, as if listening to someone talking. “I don’t know, it’s a grown up thing I think.” Britney got goosebumps and reached down to take Kristan’s hand, “Well it’s time to go, Mee Mee and Uncle Kurt are waiting.” As they started to walk out Kristan looked back and gave a little wave to the open closet, “Bye Jenny, I hope you can see your mommy again one day.” Britney didn’t stop as she walked her daughter out of the house closing and locking the door behind them. Her mother was already in her car waiting on them.
“Everything alright?” she asked through the open window.
“Yeah, everything’s fine.” Britney responded. She hooked Kristan into her seat then went around to the driver’s side and got in. Starting up her car she took one last look at the house. For a moment she thought she saw something in the front bedroom window, a pale face with light-colored hair tinged with a darker color hanging down around it. Britney quickly blinked her eyes and looked again. It was gone. It was probably just the glare from the sun on the glass. At least, that’s what she told herself. She pulled into the street and headed for the corner with her mother’s car and the moving van following behind.
She watched them drive away in their cars; her new friend was gone already. They got along at first, but then the other girl said she didn’t like the way she looked and didn’t want to see her anymore. It made her mad and that’s why she said mean things to her. She wished she could wear nice clothes and brush her hair again, but everything was bloody now. Jenny turned and went back to her closet, the place she used to hide from her daddy in when he was mad. Her head was hurting and she wanted to rest. Maybe next time she wouldn’t be mean to her new friend.
But maybe next time, they won’t tell.