And then they appeared.
Perhaps not all of them, but more than enough to be going on with. Whatever ward had been holding them back from their old haunts, so to speak, it had broken like an expectant mother’s waters. A pale female ghost, Victorian maid’s outfit emphasising a pregnant belly ascended to the ceiling in front of me as though climbing stairs, which perhaps is where they had been originally before the character and heart had been ripped out of the place. She was crying soundlessly and carrying a knitting needle raised in front of her as though about to use it as a weapon echoing some fraught drama that had taken place in this abominable old house.
A young man with a sad-eyed terrier under his arm prepared to tie a noose round neck as he stepped up on a chair that was no longer there and jumped off, neck lolling at an impossible angle. In the corner, a little girl in t-shirt that she had pulled down around her knees rocked back and forth, arm extended as though warding off blows from someone or something unseen. A middle aged woman raised a walking cane high into the air again and again, bringing it down on the supine body of old man in a wheelchair who was laughing, toothless maw wide open, shoulders heaving.
There were too many of them to count and they were all silent as the grave. A milling, mindless, soundless throng unable to utter so much as a word or scream, or connect in any way with this world. The truly disturbing thing about these ghosts was that they had either met violent ends or had dealt them out. Most ghosts did something random, like walking a particular path over and over again; or performing the same innocuous actions. Not these little vignettes of hell on earth. The spell, if it was such, had been broken and I needed to get out of there. Hopefully they were attached to the house and couldn’t come after me.
Only one way to find out.