‘Sarah’s House’ – A Ghost Story

‘The day Sarah was buried her house fell down.

Her brother thought better of rebuilding, he sold the land to a neighbour for less than it was worth, on one condition, that the house never be rebuilt.

As further insurance he planted a tree in the old hearth. In those days, before machinery, it would be impossible to get rid of. After that, he was never seen or heard of again.

For generations every child in the country was reared on the stories, they seeped into the collective mind like a fever. The beautiful girl, the doomed love, the ghost.

Things they knew for sure, she didn’t get on with the brother, and after losing her love she poured herself into the house. It was hers.. That might not have been the law, in those days only men owned property, but the fact that it was known as ‘Sarah’s’ was proof enough. It was Sarah’s land and it was very firmly Sarah’s house.

She’d been a strange one in life, had the cure of flowing blood. Everyone was a little afraid of her, but she died young poor thing, from a bitter and broken heart was what they said, and after her death and the house falling down, her story, her legend grew. No one went near the place.

But years past and the time came someone did buy the land and then the news, they were going to rebuild the house. Everyone whispered about it. They turned out, a hushed crowd in the early morning mist to see the old tree pulled out by modern machinery.

The house re-built, a family moved in, within five months they were gone. Too remote they said, too eerie. What was their name again? Seasons turned, another family’s turn, they lasted longer, almost a year, or was that the next crowd? Every time new people came the locals shook their heads and said, ‘Living in Sarah’s house,’ and, ‘Someone in Sarah’s house again.’

Such was her power there hadn’t been a child named Sarah in the parish for over a hundred years. And still, lured by a dream they kept coming.

The last had been a young man. One day he’d walked to the local pub and got talking with some of the locals. ‘How you settling in?’ they’d asked, peering closely at him. ‘Grand. I’ve been keeping busy with the house and land, at first I thought it might be lonely but I met a woman, in the woods, she’s been coming to see me for a while now, keeps me company.’ The locals looked from one to the other. ‘Would that be Annie Taylor? From the bog road. ‘Or Mary O’Hara?’ ‘I don’t think so, she’s younger, Sarah, her name is Sarah.’

Shocked silence enveloped them all then, ‘You have to be wrong about that, there’s no one named Sarah here, not in over a hundred years.’ The new guy shrugged, laughed a bit awkwardly, ‘Well, surely it’s possible?’

‘Listen man, the only Sarah in these here parts is a ghost and she’s not visiting you, you’re living in her house.’

And because he knew it was true that was the end of him. Now Sarah’s house is empty once again.

Seasons turn.

‘Sarah’s House’ By Jane Gilheaney Barry

Art: Tom Straub
Art: Tom Straub

Morning! As you can see my favoured themes, women, houses, and wild nature, continue with this piece I’ve been working on over the weekend.
My intention was a flash piece or short story, now I think it may be something more. The question is, does Sarah’s story need to be told??? I think it does, I think this is my next novel.

Meanwhile I’m still not well, can’t seem to shake these flu like sympton’s whatever I do. I had a few weeks respite after being treated for pneumonia this summer and that was it. It’s wearying.

Meanwhile this autumn is the most beautiful I’ve seen, misty mornings, gold days, and fire trees.

Meanwhile our new community continues to amaze and inspire me through bootcamp, one whole month of daily creating. Creativity has taken over my mind and I’m grateful for it.  

My plan for this week is not to write more about Sarah (not yet!) but to keep on with the book that is written. I am slowly getting back into editing mode for the winter ahead. I’ll keep dabbling in poetry, journals and paint, for the growth, the escape, the release and all that BUT,  it is time to get back to the real hard work of editing, and move my book towards publication.

Have a great week out there whatever you’re up to. Chat soon xo Jane

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