“The People in the Past” by Emilia Moberg

Jerry Butler left college early to make more time for his photography. He never actually kick-started his career and one could call him a “struggling artist.” Monica Thomas was a model. She had gone to modeling agencies all over the country. But she settled in the small town of Saratoga, California, when she got engaged and married Jerry Butler.

As you would assume, they were an attractive, happy couple, and they thought they had their lives set and stone. They were at about a year through their marriage when this all started. They woke up every morning at precisely 8:00. But for about a month, the alarms would go off at 7:59, 6:20, or even 1:00 in the afternoon. They tried to fix it, but that didn’t work. They bought a new clock, the same thing happened with that one, too. This was a little conspicuous to them, but they didn’t speak to each other about it.

Until one day, Jerry was quite extremely late. Extremely late. He had his first meeting with a new photography group, who were interested in his art. Luckily, he had laid out his outfit and made breakfast the night before. He was positive he did. He even sent a picture of it to Monica. But they weren’t there. He burst through every door of the apartment. He even looked on the porch, in the lobby, and the washroom. But his clothes were nowhere to be found.

“Slow down, Jerry!” Mrs. Jenkins called after him, but he could not, would not slow down. He had to get to the meeting. He looked through his drawers again, and then he stopped. He stopped for a second, and then, as though his brain was being controlled by something else, he looked up. And there they were. His clothes. Above him. Floating . . . in the air. He did not know what to make of it. But there they were, his tie, shoes, cufflinks, everything.

The next day, while Jerry was in the middle of his (rescheduled) meeting, he got a call from Monica. He declined it and kept talking to the group, but in the span of 8 minutes she called him 7 times. He finally asked to be excused, and answered the call.

“What could be important enough for you to call me in the middle of my meeting?” He asked, as fierce as a lion. He waited for a response, but only heard the faint trace of the local news playing in the background. “Hello? Monica?” After a couple seconds he heard the phone move, and Monica’s voice responded.

“Hello? Who is this?”

“Monica? It´s Jerry . . .”

“Oh. Hi honey. Is your meeting over?”

“Did you butt-dial me?”

“No, my phone has been on the kitchen counter . . .”

“Not again.” Jerry responded with a groan. You see, these kinds of little things have been happening to Monica and Jerry for a long time. They have had little oddities happening multiple times every day.

The couple went to people everywhere, and they found out that (by the sounds of it), they were being haunted. This actually angered them quite a bit. But they wanted this to stop, because this is obviously no way to raise a family.

Not too long later, Jerry and Monica went to visit Jerry’s mother Mary Grace, in a small town in California. There, she had anything that might give them a clue as to what might be going on with the whole haunting catastrophe. Mary Grace had the diaries and scrapbooks of almost all of their family dating all the way back to the 1500s. The most promising ones to Monica were the ones dated 1692, from the Massachusetts family members. They were on the verge of giving up, calling it a day, and content with living with ghosts, when they find a box of books that were incredibly helpful. There were some diaries and notes that were written focusing on just the Witch Trials in Salem! These diary entries that seemed to help the most, and they were dated all the way back to February 23, 1692.

 

Dearest Diary,

 

Dear Abigail’s burning is today. If only there was a way to cover up the truth. If only the pendant was strong enough to take out the whole town. If only. Then we could escape, we could get out of here. Clarissa gave the pendant to me when I was young, when I just began my studies. She says it brings good luck, but if I use my power incorrectly, it will let the Sisters know, and they will punish me. I think it’s insane. Maybe enough so that if I use the power to save Abi, I won’t get punished by the Sisters. I’m saving one, so they should not punish me for it. Well, I will do it. I hope that nothing unfortunate happens.                            

 

Wish me luck,

Bridget Bishop

 

There was another one after it, but it looked like it had gotten wet. The only words that Monica could make out were “salvage”, “punish”, and “curse,” so she is guessing that it didn’t go all that well. “Oh, yes. My father told me that the Massachusetts family always made things up, but they do tell a superb story. And they gave neat gifts, too.” Mary Grace left the room while Monica showed what she found to Jerry. When she walked back in she held a reddish-blackish stone with bronze twine, twisted to resemble a tiny tree, as small as a grape seed, wrapped around the stone, hanging from a long, thin, bronze chain. Mary Grace smiled and put it around Monica’s neck. The moment that it hit her chest, it started glowing. It was not too noticeable, at first glance, but if you are studying the design and every little scratch, looking for a clue, any hint to make the story unfold, you would see it eventually.

“So may I interest you in a glass of water? Or a brownie? You two have been working as hard as dogs, are you looking for something specific?” Mary Grace asks. A moment of silence fell over the three adults, and then Mary Grace broke it with “Brownies it is!”
A couple days later, after continuous research, Monica found a website that spoke of an Adams family, including a John Adams Jr., Chelsey Adams, and Abigail Adams. There was also a Theodore Bishop, with his wife, Eleanor, and their 6 daughters, May, Hayley, Ava, Therese, Gennie, and Bridget. Adding on, there was a talk of the governor’s wife, Clara Burton. The article said that the whole Adams family was burned at the stake for accusation of being witches, and that there were also theories against a couple of the Bishop girls and Mrs. Burton. One of these girls (being Bridget) went on, stake-free, to marry a David Butler, and start a family of her own. She was later charged for murder of her 3 youngest and 2 oldest children, and nobody knows for what reason. She was known to be a trickster, as well.

“I don’t know about you, but I think that this might be our ghost.” Jerry told his wife.

“I think so . . .” she replied, trailing off at the end. “Oh my goodness, Jer, I think I know what to do.”

Monica’s plan was to write back to Bridget. Killing her own kids had to mean that there was probably something incredibly wrong in her life, so she thought that writing her back could settle her soul. She didn’t know if it would work, but she wished that it would.

So, once Monica and her husband decided on what to say, they began to write.

 

Dear Bridget,

           

I am married to one of your very, very great grandson, Jerry Butler. My name is Monica. I have been being (I know it sounds crazy), but, haunted. I have been reading about your family and I thought that it might’ve been you? I’m sorry if that’s offensive, but I was hoping that at least you knew who it was. If you do, please ask them to stop. I would really appreciate it.

                                   

Thank you loads,

                                    Monica Butler

 

As soon as she finished signing the note, the ink seeped into the paper. She was quite confused, for nothing happened. She flipped the page. There, words were appearing on the page.
Young Monica,

           

So, you have probably heard of what I have done. It wasn’t my fault. After using the pendant to save my best friend, I was cursed, as a punishment. The Sisters made me as crazy as a june bug until my dying day, when I was, in an asylum for killing my children that I was not even completely aware I had. Everything was unknown to me. I want my life back. But since I know that won’t happen, I decided to wait for a completely euphoric couple, and I’d mess with their lives. So I chose you. Anyways. I mean I could always stop . . . If you do me a favor. If you bury the pendant next to my grave.                                                                

 

Kisses,

             Bridget Bishop

 

“Okay then, honey. I guess we’re taking a road trip.”

They found Bridget’s grave after a little over 8 hours of searching. This graveyard was a dark ocean of graves, with moss-covered hills and different levels of tombstones. Bridget’s was partly covered by other graves and it was obvious that there were other people buried above her. But there it was “Patient 223, Bridget Bishop, Mother, Daughter, Wife. 1688-1739.” Monica pulled out the necklace from her jacket pocket and set it aside the grave. She pulled out the diary, flipped to the next blank page, and saw that two words were written.

 

“Thank you.”

 

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