Button House, 1977.
Everybody dies, most don’t have a choice. Life though, life is a fragile thing. For instance some people don’t do much in their lives, others do more than anyone would ever think.
Some people learn the violin or they act in a major film. But here I am, laid alone in a dark and musty basement, one hand above my head and the other splayed on my stomach as I cough weakly.
I can feel my heart stuttering in my chest, the blood seeping from the wound on my head, until they’re not there anymore. I feel nothing as I stare up at the ceiling, and that's when it happens, drops of water start to fall from the cracks.
I expected them to hit me straight in my face, but they fell through me.
I sat up suddenly, I could hear my name being called out in the distance. It was death, his soft voice felt like an anesthetic, like warm sheets on a cold day. It was getting closer and closer, louder and louder.
Until it wasn't there anymore. I pushed myself off the dusty ground, I looked back to the floor.
I saw my own eyes staring back at me, cold and lifeless.
I wanted to scream, but what use would that be, I knew I was dead.
“Don’t worry, his voice haunts me sometimes too.” A small voice came suddenly from beside me. It would have frightened the hell out of me if not for the fact I was numb from my death.
“Will it go?” I asked, even as a whisper, it echoed around the room.
“Eventually,” the girl replied. “But for now you’ll just have to ignore it.”
I nodded hesitantly, how could you ignore a voice that was calling out for you? How could you forget a voice like that? More importantly, why was I here?
“What happened? I know not everyone likes to talk about it, but it helps.” God, was I happy she asked.
“I was pushed, I can still feel her hands on my chest from where she did it, I can see the anger in her eyes. But before that, why she did it, why she was angry, i- I don’t know.” I paused as pain shot through my head, a dull throbbing was left in its wake.
“Don’t think too much about what happened, it'll hurt more if you do.” That was all she said before she started to walk away.
“Wait! What’s your name?” I asked quickly, not wanting to lose her like I had done everyone else.
“Jemima,” she called over her shoulder before she disappeared through a wall.
I wasn’t alone for long though, more people emerged from the shadows.
“H-hello,” I said hesitantly.
The people just smiled, they were covered in bubos and blood, their clothes old and mucky.
‘Plague Pit,’ I said to myself, thanking my lucky stars I'd taken history at Cambridge
“You’ll want to go upstairs with the others,” a man with long hair said, he had no discernible marks on his face, meaning the bubos would be… elsewhere.
I didn’t want to fight, this was their space and it looked as if they had been there longer than the house had, so I slowly made my way up the steps. My legs started to wobble as I reached the top due to anxiety.
I braced myself to walk through something for the first time, it wasn't as bad as it seemed, just felt like going over a bump in a car.
Almost immediately after I had walked through the door, I heard a group arguing, so I walked towards their voices, slowly taking in my immediate surroundings. The walls and paintings seemed strange and different since death, like the mind was seeing them as possible escape routes.
Once I had reached the, in my opinion, unorthodox group of people, they were deep in a heated discussion about, well I don’t know what it was about but it didn’t seem good.
“Hello?” I asked as loudly as I could, attempting to get through to the frankly very loud group.
It was like a scene in a film as they all turned towards me.
And that was the start of my journey at button house
sixteen years later
I'd made friends with most of the people I had encountered at Button House. Kitty was hyperactive, Thomas doesn’t stop his woeful attempts at flirting. Fanny and the Captain didn’t really acknowledge my general existence, Robin and i liked playing hide and seek in the house (and on the grounds after Fanny shouts at us), he complains that I cheat when i find him cause according to him:
“You’re using powers, not fair.”
Yes, I found out the hard way, I could find other ghosts when I close my eyes. I could see what they were doing as well, a few embarrassing moments for them here and there but I never, ever used it to cheat at hide and seek.
Well, maybe once, but that’s because Robin forgot about the game halfway through after spotting a deer. Just don’t tell him that.
But today none of that mattered, because here I was, standing in front of a banner that went against everything I believed in.
‘The Conservative Party. What a bunch of Arseholes,’ I thought, shaking my head in disappointment at Heather, who had changed a lot since I met her.
I was taken from my deep thoughts by Robin, placing a hand on my shoulder.
“Want play seek game?” he asked, his eyes filled with hope and a playful cheekiness.
I didn’t want to disappoint him, so I said yes. We were on our third go, he was hiding and I was seeking, when suddenly a scream reverberated around the house. A deathly scream.
It caused me to close my eyes quickly, trying to see if it was Kitty again, but I couldn't find any of them.
And the last time that happened, Pat died . I turned to Robin and nodded, he understood what I meant almost instantly.
We started running where the people were running to. All towards the location of the scream.
A man ran into the room, only to run back out five seconds later.
"Call an ambulance!!!" He yelled, people began to scramble to find a telephone, I could feel my breath go uneven.
Something was wrong, not just because an ambulance was needed, but there was a strange feeling at the back of my head.
Near the injury .
I grabbed a hold of Robins hand, he laced his fingers with mine, something we had done a lot over the years whenever something bad had happened.
He dragged me through the crowd and up the stairs to meet with the others who had already gathered there.
“What happened?” I asked Fanny quickly.
“Robin, you need to take her away.” The Captain said, making me furrow my brow in confusion.
“No, I want to stay, what happened?!” I yelled.
And that’s when he came stumbling through the door, his breath ragged and worried.
‘Oh no.’ Was all I thought.
“Lindsay?! What the hell is going on?!” He shouted.
“They can’t hear you.” Fanny informed him, shocking the man.
‘No, no, NO!’ I was frozen in my place. When he turned towards me, all I wanted to do was run away.
“Selene?” He was breathless, quite literally.
And I did the one thing that I could think of, I ran away.
I didn’t need the memories.
It had been sixteen years, and I didn’t need Julian Fawcett.
I ran through the woods, the pain in my head sharper than it had ever been as the memories of that night came flooding back to me.
He was there, I was with him at the house.
He left with her, like he always did.
He became the one thing he swore to me that he wouldn’t.
And then her face came back, as clear as day. The anger in her eyes was burned onto my brain, but the smile she had was new.
She planned to do it, she planned to push me.
That’s why she asked if I would go with her to the basement, she wanted me away from him.
It wasn’t just the day I’d lost my life, but it was the day I had lost my best friend, in more ways than one.
He became her dad's puppet in politics, he did what he could to impress her, marry her.
But one thing was sure, Margot Fawcett had killed me. And I was gonna make damn well sure he knew about it.
I closed my eyes, focussing on the noise the leaves on the trees were making as they rustled in the wind, all my energy went into something I had only tried once before.
The leaves were replaced with chatter, that’s when I knew I had moved, I opened my eyes and doubled over, my breath heavy.
I hadn’t realised how long I’d been outside, not until I noticed the light streaming in from the windows.
I looked around, not recognising the main hall, it was run down, wallpaper peeling off, the mirror broken. It looked abandoned.
I felt drawn towards the ballroom, so I started to walk towards it.
Everyone was there, including two new people.
The lady looked scared out of her wits, which she was when she turned around to see half of Humphrey.
Her scream was louder than Robin when he won a game of hide and seek.
“WHAT IS HAPPENING?!” I shouted over the scream.
The lady and the new man ran out of the room as everyone slowly turned to me.
“Seriously, what is going on?” I asked.
“Is that?” Thomas asked the Captain quietly
“Can’t be,” he started. “She’s some sort of walking memory.”
“Isn’t that what we all are?” said Pat.
They started to talk amongst themselves, leaving me incredibly confused and scared. Everyone except Robin and Julian.
“Selene? It you?” Robin asked.
“Of course it’s me, w-who else would I be?” I replied.
“You’ve been gone for the last twenty odd years,” Pat said, breaking from the group conversation.
My stomach dropped. The move had gone wrong. But it can’t have done, it was perfect, something must have distracted me.
Julian had distracted me, him returning after all those years had stopped me thinking properly.
Robin knocked me from my internal conflict with a hug, I wrapped my arms around him tightly, not wanting to let go.
But I did, because I saw him over Robin’s shoulder, looking at me in shock.
I was wrong earlier, I did need him, I needed him more than a fish needs water.
He was Julian Fawcett, my Julian Fawcett.
So I moved from the caveman, walking slowly to a man I never thought I’d see again.
And I wrapped my arms around his waist and held on for dear life, well, dear death.
He hid his face on my shoulder as his arms came around me.
“I missed you.” He whispered.
And that’s when the dam burst, I started to cry silently.
“Missed you more,” I replied, my voice breaking slightly.
We didn’t even think about the others, who had formed a group behind me.
I could hear Pat turn, his shoes still made the same sound on the old wooden floor.
“What’s goin’ on?” He asked. The Captain was the one to reply.
“Well Patrick, it’s a very, very long story.”