Chapter 14:

Fennel and the Haunted House - V

I Can Hear You

Prescott seemed like a good man, no, I was sure that he was a good man, but I could also be sure that this man failed on arguably the most important thing that he had to do in this world, he didn’t make his family happy, even worse, he failed to them, he caused one the worst kinds of pain that I can think of to the most important people that he had.

“Adam, it doesn’t matter how much I ask for forgiveness, I know that they would never do it, they would never forgive a man who failed them in such a way”

“What are you even talking about? You haven’t been able to tell them that you’re sorry, that you failed them and want them to forgive you”

“The thing is that you don’t know the rest of the story, you only know my side, but you didn’t see how they lived after I died…”

There are few times in my life when I have seen a person who shows real guilt in their actions, Prescott was one of those persons, he is guilty of something bad, but is it truly worse than what he already told to me? Could it be something so bad that it made him stay in this realm, avoiding an ascendance to his eternal rest?

“Think about it, after I died everything went down for them, as it would be obvious”

“It’s reasonable, losing such a dear person is already hard, but when that person is also that one guy who sustains your whole life, your children's life… hard falls short on how to describe what they had to live through…”

“But this was even worse, I caused them more pain than what any person deserves; after they found me I started following them around, even if I wasn’t able to go in the house, I was still able to fool around, out of the house, going to the park, exploring the city, I could do all of that, but my favorite thing to do was observing my family, looking at their daily life, but then the results of my autopsy came…”

“They found out that you lied to them, right?”

“They did…”

“And I assume that they didn’t like what they discovered”

“Once again, that's completely right, boy; they obviously did not like anything about my lie”

“But was it that bad? I’m sure that they would have been crazy mad against you, but was it bad enough for you to assume that they would never forgive you?”

“It was even worse, not only did they hate what I did, they didn’t end really hating me, but they felt depressed, more than anyone I had seen before, but my children were strong, Brooke was a tough girl, she felt a lot of anger in her heart, it would have been the obvious reaction on every person with an experience like that, but she was strong enough to keep going forward, while Oakley was her trusted companion, he would always follow her ways, and as long as his sister was fine, he would also be happy”

“So why do you keep feeling so guilty after all these years?”

“It’s easy to notice that you have never been in a couple, boy…”

“What do you mean by that?”

“My daughter, my son, they were strong after they lost their father, but they never felt like I lied to them, the person who truly felt betrayed was none other than my wife, Amaris…”

“Seems reasonable, if you marry someone, then you want to live forever with them, to die with them”

“Boy, even if you don’t have lots of experience as part of a couple, I can at least say that you are right, the biggest dream that we shared was to live together forever, even if it implied transcending out of our own flesh and blood, but I doomed us”

The Prescott that was almost starting to look like a friend had been buried, I noticed how he was still trying to maintain a composed attitude, but his face, his gestures, everything seemed out of place, like what he was about to tell me was something that he wanted to avoid as much as it was possible, almost like a real-life criminal once he has been found, but he couldn’t have done something so horrible, he didn’t seem like that kind of sick person, I was sure that he was a good person who happened to do something too horrible without knowing what he was doing, there wasn’t any other option for me after talking with him for hours, but I guess that even the best person of all mankind could commit a mistake so horrible that forgiveness would instantly stop being an option.

“Prescott, how did Amaris react to that? I already know that she felt betrayed, but aside from that, was she able to overcome such a harsh part of her life?”

“At the start, everything was fine, or as find as becoming a widow with two children can be, she was obviously quite sad, but nothing that would have been able to kill her”

“But at that time she didn’t know about your lie…”

“That’s right, she managed to live during such a stupidly difficult phase of her life with ease, it felt almost like she was some kind of real-life Wonder Woman, but I guess that even a superheroine wouldn’t have the same resilience that Amaris managed to show…”

Sadly, my experience inside of that house was a clear show of how, as resilient as she was, Amaris had been defeated, I still don’t know about how her life ended, but I’m more than sure that it didn’t end well, her death at least was no more than the consequence of all that negative emotions that her suffering brought into her life.

“Even if my life had already ended, Amaris was able to act as a beacon of light for our children, but little by little she started feeling down; I used to see her coming out of the house, every day she would take Oakley to walk around the city, Brooke sometimes came out with them, but it was mostly Amaris and our little boy, she managed to live like that even after she discovered my life, but only for a few days. After some time, she started going for her walk every two days, three days, five days, once a week, and then almost never, after some time only my children came out, there were entire months when I couldn’t see Amaris, sometimes I could see her through the window, but it didn’t feel good to see her like that; at the start, when she initially went to do her walks with Oakley, I used to follow them around, and when she stopped coming out as usual as she did, I didn’t want to leave my house, so I always stood here, then Brooke and Oakley started going out on their own, so I followed their usual walks, but when I realized that Amaris wasn’t coming out, I decided to stay on this garden again, not like I ignored my children, but not seeing your wife for a long time is weird, I had to stay here until she decided to return to her daily life”

“I completely understand that, but did she ever return to that daily life? I’d personally assume that she didn’t, even if I don’t have anything to prove my point”

“Sadly, I have to admit that your assumption is correct, she sometimes leaned out the window, after some time I could only see there as I had already told you, but some months later she even stopped doing that, she wouldn’t even open the windows, so I could only see her walking around the house from outside”

“And you completely stopped trying to go in?”

“No, I always tried to, but would it have helped in any meaningful way?”

“Well… sorry, I didn’t think about it…” – I was kind of dumb asking that, but it’s easy to forget that seeing people like Prescott’s family is something that only I can do, most people would have a heart stroke if they ever had to experience something like this, so even giving a try to something like interacting with living people could be a bad idea, especially if we’re talking about someone that had such a bad situation like Amaris. Now that I think about it, I had some dumb luck about Fennel, the fact that she was so chill with those weird things happening in this house… if it wasn’t like that, if I had to explain why I knew that we had to run even before weirder things started happening, I could’ve ended as the crazy man image that I want to avoid…

“Don’t worry about it, even if you can see us, it’s not like you can feel the same things that we feel, no one could blame you for having weird thoughts about this “condition” that we have” – I guess that he isn’t wrong, but by this point, it feels just completely awkward, mainly because I know that as much as I can try to understand them, I know that I’ll never will, well, at least not for a long time, right…?

“Prescott, I’m sorry if I sound a bit rude towards you, but could you go to the most important point? How did your family die? No… even more important than that, why did all of your family die during the same day?“

"Don’t worry, I can see why you would want me to hurry; well, as you can see, Amaris stopped having a normal life, but the next time I saw her, after months without leaving our home, one day Amaris came out, she was completely destroyed, thinner than anyone I had seen before, haggard, emaciated, that wouldn’t be enough to explain how bad she looked… she went for a walk with our children, they were out for hours, and I even saw her smiling! I thought that everything would be right from now on, my wife, and my children… my family! They would be fine from now on, even if what I did was horrible, *sob* they would finally be happy *sob*”

Prescott kept talking, he finally let his tears go on, it was always a "fun" thing for me to see a ghost crying, not because I thought that someone crying was a fun sight, I would never think something like that, but because the sole idea of a spirit crying was funny, they shouldn’t be able to cry, that was my logic during all of these experiences, so I always had this weird thought on the back of my mind, always, except for this time… maybe if I had a mirror with me when I heard Prescott’s story, it could have been funnier, just the idea of watching how even my attempt of an eternal poker face turning into nothing more than a mess should have been funny, right…? No, the truth is that nothing could have lessened the dark thoughts that my brain spawned, every word that this man was freeing was almost like torture for me, I knew that something was coming...

According to him, the day he saw Amaris and kids going for a walk had nothing special, nothing that he could remember, but as usual, he was ignoring something that should have been obvious… that night his family came back, they looked happy during that little walk, but he couldn’t go into their minds to see what was going on, “maybe if he could do it, if he could know what they were thinking, something could have been changed” that was the thought that he expressed, even if his words said something completely different, but he knew that it was a completely impossible wish.

The next day Brooke and Oakley went to their respective schools, as usual, Amaris stood there, inside the house without doing anything special; some hours later, both of the siblings came back home, nothing seemed weird for him, but then *BAM* a huge noise called his attention, both of his children came running out of the house, he followed them afraid that something could have happened, it wasn’t usual for them to have such a ruckus, they were all usually tender people with calmer attitudes, but that he saw tears in his daughter’s eyes… his son on the other side seemed sad, something that he had never seen. Prescott followed them, they talked a bit about some things until Brooke calmed down, she gave a huge hug to her little brother and took his hand…

Presocott told me that his daughter, Brooke, used to have a really bad attitude when she was younger, but once she realized how important her relationship to her brother as a life guide, she changed, she became better for him, for Oakley, but when she still had her bad reactions, she would always slam the door and go take a walk to the park, and once she was finally calmed, she would come back and go inside using what she called her “secret entrance”, that was nothing more than a window on the second floor, this usually didn’t mean any big problem, Prescott would follow her around without her noticing, and once she went inside she would fall sleep, so Amaris would be able to talk to her after she woke up, not like it was the best of the ideas when they wanted treat their little girl, but it worked fine enough at the start, and then she changed… but that day Amaris didn’t thought that she could have used the secret entrance, so they just stood there, Prescott saw how the siblings went inside, and thought that everything had been fixed…

By this point, I still hadn’t completely realized how messed up this story could be, but now I was sure that something was coming, I could feel it… and, sadly, I wasn’t wrong. The next day after that they had a little fight inside, Brooke opened the door, Prescott stood there as usual looking at his daughter.

Brooke moved her mouth a bit, “It’s been a year dad”, those were her words, she didn’t move from there, but those simple words were enough for Prescott…

“Some days later, some people came looking for them, Brooke, Oakley and Amaris, the three of them had been missing for some days… a strong odor was reeking through the whole house according to what those persons talked here, three corpses were found, a woman who was lying in the kitchen, a girl who was found on her bed and a little boy was lying alongside a phone, that strong odor was responsible, gas…”

Never had I felt so bad about being right, this was messed up…

“Amaris wanted to kill herself, but she didn’t know that our children came back… only Oakley managed to notice what was happening, but he didn’t make it to the phone, he attempted to save them, but he couldn’t; all of this happened exactly one year after I died…”

I couldn’t believe it… I have seen dead people, and even when I had seen people who died in horrible ways, this felt… this felt like the worst thing I had ever heard…

Completely shocked, that’s the only way on how I could have been with this story, and then I heard a voice…

“Messed up, isn’t it?” – That was the voice of a girl…

“Adam! I went for my master; he is the only person who could solve something like this”

Behind me, almost imperceptible, she was looking at me, almost like she always knew what was happening there, Fennel was standing right there, looking at me…

“Do you want help with your ghost problems?” – She said, with a strange grin on her face…