Thursday, April 12, 2012

Aunt Ellie and Mrs. Barris

Shown below is a flash fiction prompt and the story I wrote to go with it.  Instructions were the words "I heard it too" had to be in the story and the story had to be between 101 and 1,000 words.  This story is 926 words.  This prompt was posted by Quill Shiv at http://quillshiv.com/.  The flash fiction Quill Shiv and others have written can be seen here http://quillshiv.com/2012/04/12/flash-fiction-faction-from-agatha/.

I hope you enjoy!!



Aunt Ellie and Mrs. Barris

The grand Victorian home sat on a 2-acre parcel inside city limits.  It is said to have been built in the 1850s as the city home of a very wealthy plantation owner.  In the 1920s, the house was purchased from the plantation owner’s family by Mr. Berris.  It was to be a gift for his new bride, Mary.  He had the home painted inside and out in all the colors that he knew Mary would adore.  She didn’t see the home until their wedding night.  Her eyes were wide
with wonder and delight.  “How is it that he knew every color that I would have picked”, she thought to herself as she strolled through the home for the first time.

Mr. and Mrs. Berris lived in this home their entire married life.  It wasn’t until 2 years after Mary’s death that Mr. Berris decided to sell the home.  He said that he couldn’t bear to stay there any longer without his Mary.  He sold the home for far less than market value to my Aunt Ellie.

One beautiful spring day, I was at my aunt’s home and we were sitting in the front parlor going through old photo albums.  We laughed, chatted, and reminisced over glasses of iced tea.  I thought I heard faint footsteps coming from the room directly above us.  I wasn’t sure if I really heard anything, so I decided not to mention it.  A few moments later, I heard footsteps again.  This time I was sure I heard them.  I looked at my aunt and she was still focused on the photographs in the album.  Her lack of recognition of the noise made me again questioned my hearing and I decided to say nothing.

Approximately 10 minutes later, I heard what sounded like someone pushing a cardboard box across the upstairs wooden floor.  I looked up at the ceiling as if I would be able to see through it and find the source of the noise.  Aunt Ellie’s voice was so calm when she said, “I heard it too.”  My eyes locked with hers and I am certain I looked frightened.  She continued, “It’s only Mrs. Berris.  There is nothing to worry about.”

“Mrs. Berris?” I questioned.  “Yes, Mrs. Berris, the former owner’s wife.  She died in that room and I don’t think she can bring herself to leave the house.  She so loved this house.  She wants you to know she is here.  I believe it hurts her feelings when she isn’t acknowledged.  I talk to her from time to time.  Just say, ‘Good day, Mrs. Berris’ all will be fine.”  I was about to question my aunt about her belief in the ghost of Mrs. Berris when a loud banging sound resonated from that upstairs room.  It sounded as if a shoe had been dropped from about 4 feet high.

My alarm was evident as I stood quickly.  I wanted to run from the room but my feet would not move.  It was as if my shoes had been nailed to the floor.  Suddenly, figurines, books, a vase containing water and three flowers from the garden, table lamps, and even the photo album that was in my aunt’s lap lifted from their resting places and rose to the ceiling.  The items hovered above our heads, delicately floating.  My eyes darted from item to item and then to my Aunt Ellie.  She sat, unmoved, staring at the place in her lap where the photo album had been.  I am certain there was panic in my voice when I said, “Ellie!?!  What is going on?”  She didn’t look up when she replied, “I told you Dear, it is just Mrs. Berris, now say Good Day.”

All the items floating poetically near the ceiling began spinning like a cyclone, slowly at first, then gradually picked up speed until they were circling so fast I could hear whizzing sounds.  “Ellie!  We have to get out of here!” I reached out to take her arm when the whizzing sounds stopped.  My gaze turned back to the items above my head.  They had stopped spinning as if captured in a still photograph.  “We need to go!” I insisted but her gaze didn’t leave her lap.

I felt one of the items hit me in the upper back just as another fell and then another.  I lifted my arms above my head for protection.  A figurine bounced off my forearm, the photo album grazed my elbow on its way to the floor.  Then, as if on cue, all the items feel out of the air.  Some hit me, some bounced off the couch where I had been sitting, some crashed into the coffee table, but not a single item hit her.  She was still staring at her lap.  “What is this?” I demanded.  Her eyes slowly lift to meet mine.  There was a snarl on her face and her eyes had an amber-orange glow.  In a voice I have never heard, she growled, “You have hurt Mrs. Berris’ feelings!  How dare you!”  She began to rise from the couch and reached out for me.  I found the strength to move my feet.  I ran through the main foyer and out the front doors.

I turned around when I reached the street.  The entire house was aglow in amber-orange and I could see Aunt Ellie standing in the large window of the front parlor.  The house began to shake and within a few moments, it collapsed.  Dust, rubble, and a faint amber-orange glow was all that remained.





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Thanks for reading and please comment on this story..I want to know 'Whatcha Think'.

Brooke

16 comments:

  1. Terrific! You know I think I'd have said "Good day Mrs Berris" pretty damn quick! I was urging her to do that. I loved this. A vivid tale, well told.

    http://castelsarrasin.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/nemesis-flash-fiction-faction-april-2012/

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  2. Well…..that sure took an unexpected turn. I liked the story. It keep my attention and you were able to build the suspense. It’s evident that had you not been limited to the <1000 words it would/could continue for several more pages.

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  3. Wow, intense. And original; it was very impressive. But I was rather shocked by the ending. Just because she wouldn't say Good Day, the house was destroyed. What?

    Aunt Ellie's obviously in a curious state of mind, as if she doesn't understand that somebody that died who still exists in some form is odd. It felt a little as if her mind had been twisted by possession. Even so, she seemed herself, and I felt more for Mrs. Berris and Aunt Ellie than the protagonist.

    She should have just said Good Day to Mrs. Berris. Honestly.

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    Replies
    1. She was the first not to say, Good Day, Mrs. Berris. I know I always say it loudly as I cross the threshold of Aunt Ellie's home. =)

      Thanks for the comment!

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  4. Just say Good Day!! Great story. Ghosts are testy for sure.

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    1. Ghosts are testy!

      Thanks for commenting!

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  5. Good Ghost Story! Loved how the items were floating delicately. Would she have been trapped in the house if she had said hello to Mrs. Berris?

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    Replies
    1. http://tedstrutz.com/2012/04/12/flash-fiction-faction-i-cant-find-it/

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    2. Had she simply said, Good Day, Mrs. Berris, all noises would have stopped, Aunt Ellie's eyes would not have been aglow, and all would have been fine.

      Interesting when not being courteous while in someone else's home can become a tragedy.

      Thanks for leaving a comment!

      Delete
  6. @ Brooke - I enjoyed your submission of the ghost story, "Aunt Ellie and Mrs. Barris." Its narrative advanced the plot in such a way as to invoke meaningful intrigue. The culmination created an epic feel to the story.

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  7. This is wonderful! What a battle of wills. She just didn't have the right tools to stand up against a ghost. :D

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Quill! Not sure anyone has the right tools for a ghostly encounter. =)

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  9. Hello everyone!!

    I posted an update to this story on this blog. Read it here:
    http://swthink.blogspot.com/2012/11/update-on-mrs-berris-and-aunt-ellie.html

    ReplyDelete