GUEST POST from Don – Ghost Cabin (chapter 6)

GHOST CABIN, Chapter 6

Charlotte interrupted, “Which brings us to the murderous betrayal by the one who proclaimed love.  That is the most unfair of all.  I do not joke at all that betrayal is a cut to the heart.  It often comes without explanation, without reason, and without compassion.  Most of the time it is done cowardly and in the most hurtful manner.”

The ghost responded, “Go on…”  

She continued, “This is the reason you have continued to grieve for over a hundred years.  Your lover betrayed both you and the child you had together.  It makes one wonder if he really loved, really cared.  However, all his reasons are hidden from you.  You cannot forgive.  You cannot heal.  You cannot experience peace.”

The ghost sobbed, “Yes.”

Sedona added, “Well, we may be able to help a little.  We need rest.  However, in the morning we can research what may be known of your lover.  However, we will need his name and yours.”

The sad wraith told them, “His?  Roger Payne.  His family owned the land on which this cabin sits.  My name is Sara Whitaker.”

Charlotte said, “I will be leaving in the afternoon, but my sister will tell you what we found.”

The apparition winked out.  The young women were exhausted, but they made notes before falling asleep.

– – – – –

The next day, after breakfast, they told us the story of the confused ghost.  To be honest, our daughters always were excellent story tellers.  They are like a comedy team which plays off of one another.  So, it took a bit of convincing to take them seriously.  They were telling the straight story.

What they did next put the icing on the cake when they sat down together with pen and paper and their smart phones, and wrote what they found online.  As much as is on the world wide web these days you would think they would find tons of information.  But there really wasn’t very much.  

There had been a fire in 1908 at the county courthouse and the records prior to then were lost.  Land ownership, marriages, births … all lost.  People had recorded tombstones in known graveyards, but they were sketchy.  There was no record found anywhere about their ghost, Sara, or her child.  However, the Payne family was found.  The older brother was bequeathed the land in 1910.  He owned a large area of land, most of it not cleared, in this area.  There were a couple grave stones.  Roger’s brother lived 47 years and was married.  His wife died a couple years before he did.  Roger’s parents were probably buried on the homestead somewhere.  Of Roger, not a single firm record was found.  No gravestone.  No mention in the will that was in the records.  However, there was an urban legend from 200 miles away, at a farmhouse north of Winston-Salem in Rural Hall where a man of the appropriate age and by the same name became convinced his children were the cause of the disagreements with his wife.  So, he tied her up and killed all the children first, then her, with a knife.  Details were lacking.  The young women could not even tell if it had any connection.  It was merely a legend, but there were so many similarities.  Most remote villages did not even have a newspaper office then.  The only person with a memory of people or events of that time and place was the ghost herself.

Sad really!  There was not much here to help their confused ghost.  

Of the woman’s surname, no one was recorded.  No grave sites found.  They probably moved before that fire.  That’s what happens when all the records are destroyed, history is lost forever.

Some mysteries have an end.  Some have a bad end.  For some the end is never known.  What is important is that we can still care if we aren’t too busy with our own lives.

The younger daughter drove away that afternoon and left those who remained to deal with the issue.

So, later, as Sedona headed off to bed, she took a piece of paper with the few details found.  Instead of tapping, Sara appeared as soon as the light was off.  She was not as confused as she had been the night before.  She also seemed more in control of her emotions.  

Sara spoke, “Thank you for coming back to see me.  Most people go away, you know?”

Sedona responded, “We promised and for us keeping a promise is important.”

Sara continued, “So, did you find what happened to Roger?”

Our older daughter responded, “Ah, not really, at least not with certainty.  There isn’t much to be found.  The records of land ownership, marriages, births, and deaths prior to A/D. 1908 were lost in a courthouse fire.  We found some things, though.  We found that Roger’s parents owned this land and bequeathed it to Roger’s brother.  We found a headstone for Roger’s brother and his wife, he died when he was 47.  The will made no mention of Roger.  Speaking of Roger, there is a legend of a man by the same name near Winston-Salem who killed his family with a knife several years later, but details are scarce.  It is unlikely, but who knows!  We found no record of your family.  I’m sorry we couldn’t find more.”

Sara said, “You found much for one day.  How many miles did you ride?”

Sedona chucked, “We found information on devices you would not understand.  They are called smart phones and we just write a question and it gives us answers, but a poor question is rewarded with a poor answer.  Some things have no answer at all”  

Sara said, “Times change like seasons.  I be stuck in the long ago.  You be stuck in the season of your own present.  I don’t think I’d like those devices, as they aren’t from my own season.  I’m beholden to you both.  You were honest when you said that you could help, but not solve, my pain.  Maybe it is better to not know what happened to my family or Roger.  Why add pain over that which I already have? “

Sedona said, “You’re welcome.”

Sara Whitaker said a good bye and winked out.  Just like that it was over.  Our daughter felt sorrowful for Sara, but she couldn’t do any more for her than she had.  

Truth be known. we know little of the pain others feel.  Sometimes they hide it.  Sometimes they rage.  Still, we comfort them when we can  knowing it is not ours; it belongs to them.  Our world is one in which no life goes without scars.  “We do the best we can with what we have and what we know.”  That’s another of their mom’s sayings.

Sara’s lover WAS gone…long ago.  What was Roger’s reason?  No one will ever know, though we now suspect we might.  What he did was horrible, insane.  One man, committing unthinkable acts, which trapped a young woman in a web of confusing pain for over a century.  If there is any justice in this world, his reward was far worse.  According to the legend it was.  [google:  The Legend of Payne Road, North Carolina]

[PLEASE NOTE that Don is always open to discussing the thoughts and opinions he shares here and welcomes comments as shared in the comment section. He doesn’t use other social media platforms and won’t see whatever you’d like to share with him if you post it elsewhere. ~ Sherry]

See more GUEST POSTS from Don!

8 thoughts on “GUEST POST from Don – Ghost Cabin (chapter 6)

  1. This story is amazing! Not just the rich writing, but it sounds as though there is a beautiful mix of reality and fiction. I hope that many of your daughters’ expressions of compassion, understanding, empathy, sympathy, and wisdom are accurate. Those character traits will very likely help them and those around them throughout their lives. You are wise to have taught Sedona and Charlotte such exercises in caring for their fellow man … and ghosts.

    Thank you for this story, Don, and for posting it, Sherry!!

    1. I could not agree with you more! I LOVED it, and the stats show I’m not the only one! (I’ll be sending them to Don in the next few days.) I’m sorry to see it end, and hope that he will do something like this again!

      1. Appreciate the vote of confidence, Owly.

        I do have another (shorter) short story for Good Friday. Be on the lookout for that.

    2. Thank you Gretchen.

      It is more than reality and fiction, it includes actual history and historical fiction. My favorite part is when the ghost gets a name. Names are important.

  2. A great read. Don, you are an excellent writer.

    I could add several other ghost stories but I prefer not, lest I go down a rabbit hole which takes me away from God. Thank you, Don.

    1. Thanks for the compliment, ThomasN8HIS

      There are several types of writing. I try to use the type where the reader learns what is happening at the same time as the characters. No facts are hidden until the “surprise” ending for effect. For THAT think “Murder, She Wrote” or “Columbo.” They are fine and serve a purpose, too. On the other hand, I try not to forecast facts either, so you know what is going to happen. Think “The Love Boat” or “Gilligan’s Island.” I think this makes it more real and oddly satisfying.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *