by Norsebard






This spookish dramedy belongs in the Uber category. All characters are created by me, though they may remind you of someone.

All characters depicted, names used, and incidents portrayed in this story are fictitious. No identification with actual persons is intended nor should be inferred. Any resemblance of the characters portrayed to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.





Written: August 2nd - 5th, 2022, for the 2022 Royal Academy Of Bards Halloween Invitational.

- Thank you very much for your help, Phineas Redux! :D

As usual, I'd like to say a great, big THANK YOU to my mates at AUSXIP Talking Xena, especially to the gals and guys in Subtext Central. I really appreciate your support - Thanks, everybody! :D


Description: When Charlotte Willumsen moved into her new home, she never expected that her first Halloween there would be disrupted by a hyperactive poltergeist - nor that she and the apparition behind the supernatural occurrences would engage in a friendly conversation over the course of the witching hour…





The welcoming committee couldn't be grander. Just as the thirty-eight-year-old Charlotte Willumsen turned her fire-engine-red Seat Ibiza into the driveway of her new home, the sun broke through the clouds and cast golden rays onto the garden and the white bungalow.

Though the late-October light was far bleaker than during the height of summer, it was a vast improvement over the early-morning drizzle that had hovered over her and her red station wagon the entire eighty-kilometer stretch down from the capital.

After switching off the engine, she donned a pair of work gloves, opened the rear hatch and took the next set of packing cases out of her Seat. She and the professional movers had already brought down her furniture for the living room, bedroom and the home office as well as her kitchenware and a hundred other larger, more unwieldy things a few days earlier, but there were quite a few smaller items yet to be transported.

A quick calculation showed that she would have to make three more runs in the coming days to get the rest of the more delicate items like various decorative knick-knacks shifted from her old apartment up north - the reason for not having the pro-movers take care of that was simple: the insurance fee for handling fragile cargo was three times as expensive as the fees for non-fragile items. She could have let them ship it uninsured, but she knew that taking care of it herself would put her mind at ease.

The fine gravel on her garden path crunched under her shoes as she walked over to the main entrance. Balancing the packing case on her knee, she unlocked the front door and crabbed inside.

It was her fourth visit to her new home prior to moving in for real, so the power had already been turned on and the central heating system chugged away creating a pleasant warmth in all the rooms.

Turning left, she entered her new living room and promptly let out a sigh. Not only did it resemble a storage hotel for packing cases, the movers had managed to put her large, heavy oakwood dining table in the wrong place and turn it in the wrong direction.

The first of the new packing cases soon joined its countless brethren on the floor. A hastily-scribbled piece of paper sticky-taped to one of them said Yet To Be Sorted! - with three further cases in the back of her car that needed to be moved inside, there was no time for sorting the items in them.

Moving back out onto the garden path, she needed to step to the side in a hurry to avoid bumping into a person who had already put up his hand to knock on the doorjamb. "Oh!" she said in a surprised groan.

"Whoops… that wasn't the best first impression!" the man said and let out an embarrassed laugh. In his mid-forties, the fellow wore white sports shoes, dark jeans, a dark-gray winter jacket and a neutral, black baseball cap. His full beard could best be described as salt-and-pepper: the mustache had remained dark while the rest of the facial hair had turned pale-gray prematurely. "Hi, I'm Martin Kjeldsen… we're neighbors. I believe you spoke to my wife Sussi the last time you were here?"

"Oh… that's right. Hello, Martin," Charlotte said and put out her hand for the traditional greeting. When she noticed she had yet to take the work glove off, she did so in a hurry. "I'm Charlotte Willumsen. Nice to meet you."

"Likewise. So you're the latest owner of the bungalow," Martin said while he took in the splendors of the white house. "It's neat and in good shape, but… well, nobody seems to want to stay here for long. You're the fourth new owner over the past three years or so."

Charlotte cocked her head. "Really?  The real estate agent didn't mention anything about that. I did wonder why it was on the market at such a low price, though. It was a fair bit cheaper than comparable houses in this segment, but… huh. Do you know why they didn't want to stay here?"

"Not really… well, it was rumored that one of the previous owners suffered a bad nervous breakdown. And for the others, perhaps it just wasn't the right house for them after all," Martin said and performed a half-shrug. "But anyway, my wife and I would like to invite you over for dinner at six o'clock on Saturday. We'll be a few people from the neighborhood so you could get to meet some of your new neighbors. Would you be interested in that?"

The quick change of subject didn't go unnoticed by Charlotte; that Martin had left something unsaid was undeniable. The reason for omitting details that might cast a light on such matters wasn't clear and left a blinking question mark at the back of her mind. The delay in answering had already turned a little awkward as the seconds kept ticking by. An answer was needed: "Ah… yes, I'd like that. Thank you. At six?"


Charlotte smiled at her neighbor as she moved along her garden path to get the next packing case. "I'm looking forward to it. Should I bring anything?"

"Only a good mood. We've got everything else covered pretty well."

Reaching her Ibiza ST, Charlotte donned her work gloves and pulled the next cardboard box to the edge of the hatch so it would be easier to lift. "Oh, perhaps I should mention I'm a vegetarian… just so you won't prepare steaks for me or something," she said with a smile.

"My wife and I are too," Martin said with a matching smile, "so we're having broiled corn-on-the-cob, a North African rice dish and plenty of other non-meat goodies."

"Nice!  Listen, I don't want to appear rude, but I need to get this done before noon… I have an appointment up in the big city at three, and I need to do a little grocery shopping before I can drive back north, so…" Charlotte said as she tapped a finger against the box she had readied.

Martin smiled and took a step back. "No problem. See you on Saturday."

"Sure. At six," Charlotte said and shook hands with her neighbor. Once he had left, she furrowed her brow and took a long, puzzled glance at her new bungalow.

The most important parameters to her had been the modest overall price and the manageable monthly expenditures that were far lower than what she was used to in the big city. Though the design of the house was perhaps a little soulless, it did possess a certain charm that only needed a little touch-up here and there to look sharp.

The building itself had no major structural problems anywhere beyond those found on any house built in the mid-1970s - she had sensed it was a good place to recuperate after she had been involved in a bad bicycle accident.

"But I'd still like to know what Martin meant…" she mumbled to herself as she turned back to her Ibiza. Shrugging, she grabbed the next packing case and carried it inside.


Later, after shopping for groceries and other invaluable items that she had forgotten all about - like toothpaste and toilet paper - Charlotte sat cross-legged on the living room floor unboxing what seemed like ten thousand books, CDs and DVDs from some of the first packing cases.

She kept her telephone close by to keep track of time. It flew along as always which meant she only had forty minutes to get through at least some of the entertainment items, whip up a quick lunch for her return trip and then head back up north for her important business appointment.

Her knees began to ache from sitting in the uncomfortable position, so she clambered to her feet, put her hands akimbo and observed what she had accomplished - which was in fact very little beyond creating three tall stacks of books, CDs and DVDs that were each sorted in alphabetical order after the title.

"Hmmm," she mumbled as she reached down to massage her knees. "Somehow it seemed more impressive sitting down… never mind."

The next item on her lengthy agenda was Try To Move The Damn Dining Table so it could be pointed in the direction it was meant to be in. Although no blood had been shed by the two beefy movers who had carried the 70-kilogram oakwood table from the truck to the living room, there had been plenty of sweat and a barrage of swearwords when it wouldn't fit through the door unless they flipped it over onto its side. All that extra stress and strain meant they had just put it down at the first available spot rather than where and how it was supposed to have been.

Charlotte let out a sigh. Cracking her knuckles, she moved over to the table to literally get a grip on the smooth edges of the dark-brown wood. The first, second and third attempt of moving it by herself all failed, so she threw her work gloves away in disgust, grabbed her telephone and stomped into the kitchen to make a few sandwiches instead.


Making lunch ate up twelve minutes of her precious time which meant she only had less than half an hour left before she needed to be on the road. Standing in the middle of the living room, she tried to compile a new agenda - that didn't involve the stubborn dining table - when the telephone rang.

Sighing, she noticed the caller-ID said Mom.  She accepted the call and put the telephone to her ear. "Hi, mom. Can we make it brief?  I only have less than- I know, I know. Oh, that's not true!  We talked for hours the other day!  It's just that I have a business appointment at three and it's a long way back up north to- I'm in my bungalow. Yes. How we can talk?  Because you called my smartphone, mom. It's not a landline… it's not like the old days. I keep it in my pocket. No, I don't have a clue how it's done technically and I don't care, either. No."

Strolling around her living room while chatting, she spotted a few things that needed adjusting: a porcelain figurine of a ballerina stood a little too close to the edge of a shelf and was nudged back to safety. A soft-toy polar bear had keeled over and was rescued from falling behind the row of books it had been put atop of. A small, two-armed ceramic candlestick needed to be turned around so its front rather than rear greeted the room, and a spruce cone she had found in the garden on her first day at her new home was pushed into a more prominent spot on its shelf.

All that activity meant she had no time to look behind her. While she had been talking, the three stacks on the floor that she had sorted in alphabetical order had fallen into disarray - not only had they shifted around so they were now DVDs, CDs and then books, the spines had been reordered to create a magnificent play of colors.

A faint, ethereal snicker rolled around the living room. Another snicker followed when the top book moved three centimeters off the stack and hovered in the air for a few seconds; then it was placed on top of the DVDs.

Charlotte still had her back turned so she hadn't seen a thing. "-yes, I really enjoyed that movie. It was just as good as the book and that doesn't happen too often," she continued into the telephone. Glancing at the wall-mounted clock, she grimaced at the speed the hands of time went by in. "Mom, I'm sorry, but I really need to- yes, I promise to call tomorrow. Yes. Bye-bye!"

A third snicker was heard in giddy expectation of a little playful scare, but when the woman whose stacks had been manipulated simply walked past without noticing a thing, the snicker turned into a grunt and then a sigh. From one moment to the next, the tallest of the three stacks tilted and all the CDs clattered to the floor with plenty of noise.

Charlotte certainly heard that, and she hurried back into the living room. Groaning out loud at the messy state of affairs, she clapped a hand over her eyes and mouthed a short curse that never made it past her lips. There was no time to straighten out the CDs, so she spun around and stomped into the bathroom to prepare for the trip up north.

The living room turned quiet after that save for faint, ethereal sounds of someone singing an old psalm - a short time later, the singing faded away into nothing. A sigh and a whoosh signaled the end of the day's fun and games.


Charlotte locked herself into her new bungalow a quarter past ten the same evening.

Her hectic day had gone from good to fair to just-barely-okay to can't-get-any-worse: the afternoon's business meeting had gone well and had resulted in a new contract for the company she worked for. The subsequent celebratory dinner had gone less well and had resulted in an upset stomach due to the fiery food in the Indian restaurant their liaison had brought them to. And finally, the drive home had been the trip from hell as she had been trapped in the kilometer-long logjam that had been created when an eighteen-wheeler had fallen onto its side at the exact halfway point between two off-ramps.

Her concrete-gray complexion told an R-rated tale of complete exhaustion. After putting her winter coat on the appropriate hanger, she spent the last ounces of energy hurrying into the bathroom to get some much-needed relief from the buckets of carbonated mineral water she had chugged down to combat the spice-intensive curry dish.

A long sigh escaped her as she wiped her hands and shuffled over to the bedroom across the hallway. There, she shed her shoes and business pant suit and jumped into something soft, warm and above all far more comfortable.

Walking into the living room, the mess on the floor seemed to mock her when she turned on the lights. She stared at it for a moment before she let out a mumbled "Tomorrow," and shuffled over to her personal laptop instead.

Five emails were lined up in her inbox, but only the one from a friend who had gone on a Mediterranean cruise was given a second thought. Even as she skimmed through the latest travelogue and watched the pictures from the harbor in Piraeus, her eyelids slipped shut. She was able to combat the fatigue the first two times, but the third was the charm and she fell asleep at her desk with her head propped up on her arms.


Three hours later - at 1:22 A.M. - a fair voice singing in an old-fashioned dialect woke Charlotte up. Her arms were numb and sore at the same time, and she had a bad crimp in her neck from sitting in such an awkward position for so long. The fair voice continued to sing what appeared to be stanzas of an old psalm somewhere in the living room.

Charlotte swiveled around on her office chair, got up on protesting legs and shuffled over to the coffee table to find the TV-remote - all this had been carried out with her eyelids glued shut. Pressing the off-button on the remote made the fair voice clam up and disappear.

She kept standing at the coffee table for a moment longer and thus didn't notice a ghostly-blue sheen illuminating part of the room behind her. A deep sigh and a whoosh was heard that extinguished the flickering sheen.

Noises akin to snoring escaped Charlotte's lips, aided by the fact that her jaw had slipped down when an early state of sleep had claimed her. She came to with a start when the remote fell from her unresponsive fingers and clanged onto the table.

A yawn so wide the Space Shuttle could have flown through it cracked her face wide open. "No… bed… need to… bed… now… slee-ee-eep…" she mumbled as she shuffled away from the coffee table, the remote and the TV that had yet to be plugged into the power socket.


The morning of October 31st started dark, early and somewhat nippy for Charlotte. As always, she preceded breakfast with an hour-long walk that saw her explore a few of the streets and roads in her new neighborhood. The streets were wet after overnight rain and the temperature never reached above six degrees centigrade, but it didn't matter - the morning walk was how she recharged her batteries.

After showering and washing the last of the previous evening's lacquer out of her hair, she concentrated on making breakfast - toasted whole-wheat buns and blackcurrant tea - that she carried into the living room on a tray. The items had barely been distributed onto her coffee table before she grabbed the remote to turn on the television so she could catch the news and the subsequent morning show at eight o'clock.

Nothing happened.

"What the… now what?  It worked last night," she mumbled as she tried to tap the remote against her palm to make it come to life. When that didn't help, she went for the universal remedy and changed the batteries.

Still nothing.

A groan resembling "I don't believe it!" left her before she moved over to the TV-set to check if something had happened to any of the connections or cables. She came to a dead stop when her eyes fell on the neatly wrapped power cord - it had yet to be untangled from the cable tie that she had put on it herself to keep it safe during the transport.

She just stood there like a sack of cement while trying to figure out the sequence of events of the previous night. "What in the world… I heard the teevee. I know I heard the teevee!  When I turned it off, the singing stopped… but…"

A long sigh escaped her as she reached down behind the low sideboard she had put her entertainment equipment on. Releasing the cable tie and plugging the television into the power socket only cost her a little time. The next attempt at manipulating the remote worked, and the typically somber news anchor soon spoke of the latest headlines of doom and gloom from around the world.

Charlotte only heard every third word or so; as she enjoyed her buns and her tea, she continued to piece together the events of the evening. She looked at the stacks of books and DVDs on the floor, at the messy pile of CDs, at the laptop on the desk behind her and at the TV remote. Everything was given a second and then a third look without getting anything out of it save for the early signs of a headache.

"Weird… very weird," she mumbled as she drained the last of her blackcurrant tea.

Just as she looked away, the top DVD was lifted off its stack, turned over twice and put on top of the books. An ethereal snicker was heard for a few moments but it soon turned into a deep sigh and a whoosh when the bungalow's resident still didn't respond to the unusual activity in her living room.


An hour later, the three stacks had been put onto their appropriate shelves in alphabetical order. With everything done and dusted - literally - Charlotte put her hands on her hips and broke out in a contented smile.

A sound akin to someone knocking on the front door reached her ears. She was about to head out into the hallway to answer it when the knocking stopped. Peeking around the corner, she was able to see - by looking through the frosted glass pane in her door - that nobody was there. "I mean… what the…" she mumbled and took a step back.

When someone tapped on one of the living room windows not two meters from where she stood, she gasped and jumped up on tip-toes. Her heart blasted away in her chest as she spun around to stare through the window in a state of wide-eyed fright.

The knockee proved to be her neighbor Sussi Kjeldsen and a shorter person wearing a home-made Halloween costume: a white sheet meant to resemble a ghost. Holes had been cut into the cloth so the child inside could see and breathe, and suitably wicked eyebrows and an evil-looking mouth had been painted on the sheet in blood-red. Sussi offered Charlotte a friendly wave before pointing at the door.

"Oh no, it's Halloween… but I don't have any candy for the kids… how could I forget?" Charlotte mumbled as she hurried into the hallway and unlocked her front door. "Hi, Sussi!  Ooooh, a ghost!" she said in a mock-spooked voice to cover for her real, earlier fright.

Sussi - Martin's wife - was in her early forties and the owner of an impressive head of voluminous curls. She wore a tan trench coat that covered the rest of her clothes save for a five-centimeter peek at a pair of dark-gray slacks below the coat's lower hem. "Hi, Charlotte… your doorbell doesn't work."

"It doesn't?" Charlotte said and tried pressing the little button. When nothing happened, she broke out in a shrug and made a mental note of getting it fixed as soon as possible. "Guess not… thanks, Sussi."

"No problem," Sussi said and gave the ghost's shoulder a squeeze. "I believe the little ghost has something to say to you… go on."

"Twick or tweat!" a fair voice said through the white sheet - the enthusiasm was evident even if the actual pronunciation had been a little wide of the mark. An empty plastic bag was held up in the clear hope of getting a solid haul of sugary treats.

"Ohhhh!" Charlotte said and put her hands to her chest. "I'm so, so sorry… I don't have any candy. I completely forgot it was Halloween… I guess you have to pull a trick on me… right?"

The ghost just stood there for a moment or two before its shoulders slumped and the plastic bag was pulled back. A long, tormented sigh was heard through the white sheet.

Sussi stepped in to save the day: "It's the little ghost's first proper Halloween…"

"Oh… okay."

"Yes, but we're not really sure what to do… you wouldn't happen to have an apple or something like that instead, would you?"

"You bet I do!  Please don't do anything scary while I get it!" Charlotte said to the ghost before she hurried into the kitchen. There, she opened the refrigerator and dug into the bag of apples she had bought the day before. A nice red one was found, rinsed and wiped dry before she hurried back to the front door.

Holding it like it was one of the Golden Apples of Norse mythology, Charlotte presented it to the little ghost whose tormented sighs turned into cheery laughter in an instant.

"Thank you!  You weal nice!" the ghost said before the apple was put into the plastic bag for safekeeping.

"You're welcome," Charlotte said with a grin.

Sussi grinned as well and rubbed the little ghost's shoulder. "We're doing this so early in the day 'cos we're going to pop down south of the border for a little shopping trip. They're always tiring so the little ghost will be too exhausted to do any trick or treating tonight."

"Oh, I see… to get the first things for Christmas?"

"Yes, marzipan and things like that. And also to stock up before our neighborhood get-together on Saturday, of course. You are coming, right?"

"Yep, at six."

"Good. Do you need anything?  Weekend candy, perhaps?" Sussi said and winked at her neighbor.

Charlotte laughed. "You know, I could use maybe three boxes of Albatross Salt Liquorice and, oh… three… no, better make that four bins of Toreador Mix. Yeah… four."

"Okay, so that's two kilograms of salt liquorice and four kilograms of Toreador. Noted!" Sussi said as she tapped the order into her smartphone. "Martin or I will be by later tonight or tomorrow with the goodies… then we can settle the payment. Okay?"

"Okay!  And you, little ghost," Charlotte said as she leaned down to the child inside the costume, "I hope you'll get a full bag one way or the other!"

"Thank you!" the ghost said from behind the white cloth. The lower hem reached down to the ground so no fists could be bumped, but a solution was found in the shape of a small arm that pushed through the sheet like a tendril.

Grinning, Charlotte duly touched the ghostly arm before she shook hands with Sussi the old-fashioned way. A short five minutes later, she waved at her neighbors as they drove off in their Skoda Octavia - it pulled a two-axled trailer with plenty of room for the sixteen kilograms of candy, nine boxes of wine and 480 cans of beer they were planning on buying.


When Charlotte made it back into her living room, she came to a dead stop. Her eyes crept wide open at the sight of the soft-toy polar bear that had somehow made its way down onto the floor. It just sat there in an upright position like it had grown tired of spending its entire inanimate life on a shelf.

Somewhere in the background, an ethereal snicker was heard plain as day. It blended perfectly into similar laughter that was created by a couple of young, costumed children walking past out on Jungsfeld Road at the far end of the driveway - in short, Charlotte paid no attention to it.

She made a slow turn to look at the spot where the polar bear had been before. That it could have fallen off the shelf, rolled a meter and a half across the dining table and come to a perfect stop down on the floor seemed just a touch unrealistic.

It gave her such a bad case of goose bumps that all the soft hairs on her arms jumped to Attention. A cold shiver trickled down her spine as she moved closer to the errant soft toy.

To begin with, she nudged it with the tips of her toes to see if it would go all Poltergeist on her - much to her relief, it didn't. It was soon picked up and studied from all angles before she put it back on its original shelf. She rubbed her chin several times once the polar bear was back where it belonged like it would help explain the uncanny proceedings.

"Of course… of course!" she said and broke out in a croaking laugh when the truth dawned on her. "The little ghost!  Oh, of course… trick or treat… Sussi and her kid had plenty of time to go in here and put the bear on the floor. That's what I get for not having any candy for the kids!  I better hurry and get some before others show up."

Somewhere near yet far, the ethereal snickers turned into a sigh and then a whoosh.

Charlotte produced a nervous snicker of her own as she donned her outdoor shoes and her winter jacket. The car keys came next so Operation Halloween Candy could literally get in gear.


The merciless hands of time made the hours fly past at a dizzying pace.

Charlotte had spent the entire day sitting at her work desk with her nose buried in the laptop's display - the evaluation of the previous day's business meeting as well as a detailed report of possible joint ventures with their new connections had become rush jobs after all despite what the head of the department had told her over dinner. Once the Big Boss had been made aware of the potential for profit, he had overruled the department manager and demanded that the wheels be set in motion at once.

Her neck and upper back protested even louder than her backside after spending so long on the swivel-chair, and she could barely stand up straight after sending the completed reports to the company's web-safety supervisor for all the usual anti-virus tests.


Returning to the work desk just shy of ten minutes later, she carried a can of orange-flavored diet soda and a small glass bowl containing raisins and freshly-shredded carrots she had made herself in her food processor.

Her neck and upper back continued to protest, so she put down the items on the desk and performed a few stretching and bending routines to get her body back in a happy mood. While she did so, her neighbor Martin Kjeldsen's brief mention of the nervous breakdown of one of the bungalow's previous owners was replayed in her mind.

Going on a whim, she leaned down over the laptop's keyboard and accessed her favorite search engine. After typing 'strange occurrences' and adding the name of the village she had moved to, she clicked on Go! to see what came up.

A surprised grunt escaped her when she found herself looking at a whopping six pages' worth of links to blog entries, personal websites and even newspaper articles that all mentioned events that had taken place near her new home.

"What the…" she mumbled as she pulled out her swivel-chair and sat down once more. She forgot all about her aching backside and even her salad snack as she began to study the pages the links pointed to.

The first article she clicked on was written by the public relations person for a club of occultists who had studied the strange case. It read:

'1971-1980: The Laughing Ghost of Jungsfeld Road, Part 2.

'The land was originally owned by farmer Karl-Aage Neestrup. In late 1971, Mr. Neestrup decided to focus on pig breeding instead of general agriculture so the outlying fields were converted into urban zones and subdivided into 40 parcels. Jens Anker 'Kanon' Knudsen and his son Jan Anker Knudsen, who were high-rolling contractors at the time, bought most of them for an undisclosed sum and built 12 medium-sized bungalows and 24 smaller detached houses over the course of the next eight years. The remaining four parcels were sold to a competing contractor whose plans included building a playground and a community hall that are still in use as of the time of writing.

'Historical research showed that the fields from where the parcels had been subdivided had originally belonged to a stately manor, Jungsfeld, that had been abandoned and subsequently burned to the ground in April of 1660. Although the incident came after several bitter skirmishes had raged against invading Swedish forces, there were no military campaigns in the area that could explain the destruction.

'Further research uncovered another possibility: the hon. Lady Sofie Amalie Kirstine Riewendorff of Jungsfeld, the second child and only daughter of the commander of the 3rd Army Corps "Zealand's Strength," Lieutenant-General Svend Karl Edvard Riewendorff, had been slain by her betrothed Johannes Antonius von Gerlach who had caught her in the arms of another man on the eve of her sixteenth birthday. The deed had been committed in October 1659 after which the betrothed was found guilty of blatant murder and subsequently hanged.

'Analysis of contemporary legends has shown that Lieutenant-General Riewendorff was never the same after the killing of his daughter, and - although speculation - it's not beyond the realms of possibility that he ordered the complete destruction of Jungsfeld Manor itself as well as all stables and barns the following spring to gain an emotional distance to the tragic event.

'The land formerly controlled by Jungsfeld Manor was used as regular farmland for the next several centuries. The earliest reports of strange occurrences came in modern times when the foundations were poured on some of the parcels. Most were discarded as drunken nonsense as construction sites at the time were generally seen as places where more beer was consumed than in most bars.

'The reporting of supernatural events gained momentum over the course of 1974 and 1975 when the first families moved in. The reports shared too many similarities to be coincidences, so an expert from the renowned Society Of Clairvoyants spent several weeks visiting the neighborhood to perform an in-depth, multi-faceted investigation.

'The expert concluded that the reports were true and not manufactured; unexplainable, seemingly supernatural occurrences had been observed by a wide variety of irreproachable witnesses including a minder at a day-care center, a retired head accountant of a respected law firm, an elementary school teacher and even a pastor.

'The witnesses to the manifestations all spoke of hearing faint, fair laughter similar to that typically produced by teenage girls. In some cases, singing of old psalms had also been heard. Soon after the laughter and/or singing had commenced, decorative items would be manipulated by unseen forces - some items would be moved around or swap places while other items would be hidden from the residents' view like it was all part of a game. If the residents began moving the items back, the fair laughter and the number of items moved would increase for a period of up to ten minutes after which everything would return to normal. If the residents ignored the events either through fear or simply a lack of noticing, the fair laughter would cease and a deep sigh followed by a whooshing sound would be heard instead.

'None of the nineteen supernatural occurrences investigated and analyzed by the Society Of Clairvoyants contained malicious elements. Although a general sense of fear was reported by most of the witnesses, none of them ever felt in danger or even threatened by the unfolding events. Occurrences had been reported throughout the 40 parcels, but the majority of reports came from Nos. 10, 12 and 14 on Jungsfeld Road. These three bungalows are believed to have been built on the exact location of the original Jungsfeld Manor.'

"Oh my Gawd… no wonder the former owners didn't want to stay here!  Oh my flippin' Gawd!" Charlotte croaked and let her fist thump onto the desk's surface several times. "I can't believe the real estate agents never even hinted at… at… that's why the house was so affordable, too!  This is number fourteen!  I'm smack-bang in the middle of… of… Gawd!"

Lost for words, she swiveled around to cast a concerned glance at the innocent-looking soft-toy polar bear that remained in place on the shelf where she had put it. Then she glanced over at the racks where she had stored the CDs that had toppled over while they had been down on the floor.

With a heart that thumped wildly in her chest, she swiveled around fully to study her living room in a very thorough fashion. That a bog-standard bungalow and a bog-standard living room filled with bog-standard furniture and knick-knacks could - allegedly - be the epicenter of a tidal wave of supernatural events and ghostly sightings threatened to blow her mind into a thousand pieces of mushy shrapnel.

The front door being knocked on interrupted her runaway train of thought. Darkness had arrived while she had been sitting by the laptop so her old instincts from residing in the big, bad city took over: she peeked through the curtains in the living room before even considering going out to open the door.

It proved to be a vampire and a walking skeleton holding bags of candy. The two little monsters were accompanied by a mature woman of the grandmotherly type, so Charlotte grabbed the bucket of Liberty Bell caramels, tropical-flavored wine gums and Beagle's Liquorice All-Sorts that she had bought earlier in the day and ventured into the hallway to greet the trick-or-treaters.


After the skeleton and the vampire had been fed, Charlotte's bungalow was visited by familiar characters from the Marvel and Star Wars universes, a few hairy trolls, a Jack O'Lantern, a giant pumpkin, a mermaid wearing pink chiffon and moon boots, and even two girls dressed as Yuletide Elves complete with pointy ears and red pixie hats that had a golden bobble at the end of the floppy cone.

One of the Elves had turned grumpy when she had been told there were only wine gums left - that type of candy was apparently too artificial for the finicky Elf - but she had been comforted by her taller companion who had promised her a well-buttered raisin bun upon returning to their sleigh.

The latter pair had caused Charlotte much head-scratching after she had been visited by them, and she had decided not to respond to further trick-or-treaters just to be on the safe side.


She hadn't planned on staying up late after the exhausting couple of days she had been through, but one thing had led to the next and the unstoppable hands of time were suddenly showing twenty to midnight.

As the witching hour approached, she sat at her coffee table eating a small tub of pumpkin-flavored ice cream that she had bought at the local supermarket - it wasn't the greatest flavor she had ever sampled, but it was all right. The empty cup and the spoon she had used were put on the table and pushed a short distance away so it wouldn't end up on the carpet.

Once she had finished her ice cream, she turned on the TV to catch a little of the horror movie that premiered on Channel 6. It turned out to be far too gory and brutal for her tastes, so she surfed around a little until she found a black-and-white classic from the 1950s that was more to her liking. Titled 'I'm Humanity's Last Hope!', it took place in a mental hospital that acted as the hub for an alien invasion of Earth.

The yawns that threatened to break her jaw clean off grew more and more frequent over the next twenty minutes until she could no longer ignore them. After setting her digital video recorder to record the rest of the classic, she got up and stretched her back. The crackles and pops that greeted her not only made her wince but reminded her of the fact that she needed to update her address in her membership details at the fitness chain she used.

Taking the empty cup and the spoon, she moved away from the coffee table - and came to a dead stop.

The soft-toy polar bear was once again sitting pretty in the middle of the floor. Worse, she heard a faint, ethereal snicker roll around the living room.

"Oh… shit…" she croaked; she clenched the cardboard cup so hard it crumpled in her hand and coated her fingers in the last of the pumpkin-flavored ice cream. Her brain roared a command of get the hell out of here while you still can! to her legs, but the rest of her body refused to pay attention to what the gray matter demanded.

Thus, she remained frozen to the spot while her heart thundered so hard in her chest she got a tangy taste in her mouth. All she was capable of doing was to stare wide-eyed at the soft toy on the floor.

Soon, other items began floating through the air: books moved from one bookshelf to the other, a DVD was pulled out and turned over several times in mid-air as if unseen eyes were studying the colorful cover. The curtains fluttered out, a small vase holding a single dried flower moved half a meter across the dining table, and a photo of her parents was flipped around so it pointed at the wall. One of the spruce cones she had collected toppled over and fell to the floor, but moments later, the cone was picked up and placed back on its proper shelf like that particular cross-dimensional manipulation had been an accident and not part of the eerie game.

At one point during the ghostly activity, the faint snicker faded away and was replaced by the melodious sound of a young girl singing an old psalm in a dialect so typical of the region.

Charlotte let out a strangled, croaking sound that was a cross between a grunt, a snort and a cry of recognition. She knew the psalm well as it was among the treasury of songs that had been deemed historically significant and thus part of the National Cultural Heritage Canon - and not only that, it had been one of her own favorites growing up.

Though her legs remained pinned to the ground and refused to go anywhere, her brain raced along at lightning speed. As the traditional psalm continued to be sung from somewhere just beyond the boundaries of time, she couldn't help but sing along in a croaking voice that was anything but clear and on-key.

Charlotte slammed a hand across her forehead and let out a croaking snicker at the absurdity of it all, but the laughter got stuck in her throat when her own pitiful attempts at singing the traditional psalm made the ethereal voice come to an immediate halt. The items that floated around in mid-air at the time all came crashing to the floor save for a book that landed with a thump on top of the bookshelf it had come from.

Time slowed to a crawl as she stared wide-eyed at her living room where nothing moved, no sounds could be heard and no traces of anything supernatural could be found. Her legs were finally released from the self-imposed spell they had been under, but now she had no intention of going anywhere. She held her breath though her heart tried to thump its way out of her chest; the need to get air into her lungs became too strong so she drew several greedy, wheezing breaths.

All of that had taken place within a span of five seconds. The moment she moved closer to the soft-toy polar bear intending to pick it up, a bright flash of ghostly-blue made the air crackle right next to her.

Shrieking, she flew back from the physical manifestation to get to safety in case a horde of hellish demons were about to be unleashed on her - another startled shriek was heard from the flash of ghostly-blue light that had yet to transform into a recognizable shape.

Charlotte's wobbling legs meant she ran out of equilibrium before she had reached a safe place to hide, so she ended up as an ungraceful heap of arms and legs down on the carpet. The crumpled-up cardboard cup was torn from her fingers as her elbow made an impact with the floor, and orange-white droplets of melted ice cream created an ugly Rorschach drawing that continued on for another twenty centimeters or so.

A pained "Owwwwch…" escaped her as she tried to untangle the human spillikin-game she had ended up as. Grimacing, she reached down to massage her left hip and elbow that had been forced unwillingly into second careers as stunt performers. A strong flurry of needles and pins rolled through her left forearm, but she could flex her fingers so nothing had been sprained, strained or otherwise damaged.

Then reality caught up with her - she whipped her head around as an unfiltered, supremely annoyed and above all crystal clear utterance of everyone's favorite curse word reached her ears. All she could do was stare at the surreal sight of a pair of old-fashioned ladies' shoes pointing straight up in the air while some unidentified, ghostly individual tried to hold down multiple layers of pantalettes, petticoats and skirts that the pull of inter-dimensional gravity threatened to send in the wrong direction altogether.

Once Charlotte had discovered which of her own feet belonged to which leg, she scrambled upright and hobbled away from the apparition whose predicament was not unlike her own. Her knees joined the chorus of aches so the speed she was able to move at wouldn't have impressed a snail going uphill on a slippery surface - she eventually made it around the tall back rest of an armchair to use it as a shield from the supernatural being who had invaded her living room.

Much like what Charlotte had done moments earlier, the ghostly figure managed to untangle itself and clamber to its feet. Its appearance was vague and fuzzy to begin with but grew more solid as the seconds ticked by. Still enshrouded in a pale-blue light, the being's edges were soon sharply defined which allowed the rest to fill in and become recognizable as a young girl of no more than sixteen summers.

The true colors of her eyes and hair were obscured by the ghostly sheen and the pale-blue light, but she was of the fair, Nordic type with long hair that had been tied into a loose ponytail down her back. Slender to the point of appearing slight, she was shorter and more petite than modern girls of her age.

Charlotte bared her teeth in a frightened grimace. Ducking down behind the tall armchair, she rolled herself into an aching ball and slammed her eyes shut so she couldn't see the ghost.

While the notion was sound, the execution was somewhat lacking as it didn't take into account what the ghost did next: "I say, what is this devilry?  Who are you?  And what are you doing in my chamber?" was uttered in a crystal-clear voice that held a strong, old-fashioned dialect.

Charlotte's eyelids were cracked open; they didn't move at the same pace which left her with a comical expression that was a good depiction of her severely baffled state. Staring with wide, unblinking eyes, she peeked around the corner of the tall armchair to take in the spooky sights. "Your… your chamber…?" she croaked in a trembling voice. "I beg your… pardon… this is… my house!"

"I think not, fair Lady!" the ghost said while she slammed her hands onto her slender hips.

"Yes it is!  I bought it, paid for it and signed the deeds…"

"Ack, I fear you have been the victim of a charlatan, fair Lady. Yes, a dastardly individual intent to fool a spinster out of her life savings. This is my chamber, and this is my father's manor!"

Charlotte shook her head in an unsuccessful attempt to get the myriad of buzzing bees to leave. Her knees ached too much to remain huddled up behind the armchair, so she crawled out onto the floor next to the soft-toy polar bear that had been the main protagonist of so much of the action until The Laughing Ghost of Jungsfeld Road had arrived. "Are… are you… are you the girl I just read about… uh, Lady… uh…"

"Sofie Amalie Kirstine Riewendorff of Jungsfeld manor!" the ghost said and stomped her foot onto the floor for each of her names. "Tell me, are you perchance the village fool?  Why, this is preposterous!  Such impertinence I have rarely encountered!"

Groaning, Charlotte clambered to her feet. She reached down at once to rub her aching knees, hips and elbows that had all taken solid knocks when she had ended up on the floor. "How about you had a look around before you boil over?" she said in a sour tone.

"A look around?  Fair Lady, do you not think I know my own chamber?" Kirstine said and observed what she could through her ghostly-pale eyes. A series of increasingly puzzled grunts escaped her as it became clear something was amiss after all. She did a slow turn to take in the strange sights of the modern furniture, the laptop, the TV-set and the rest of the things that had never been part of her chamber in her own time. "Ah… I fear there has been some kind of misunderstanding. For that, I beg for forgiveness. I am indeed not in my cham-"

When the ghost fell silent and began to flicker in and out of the present dimension, Charlotte squeaked and ducked behind the armchair all over again. From that vantage point, she watched as the physical presence of Lady Kirstine grew fuzzy, then clear, then fuzzy again. The fuzziness dominated for a while before the young lady returned to crystal clarity.

"Ack!" Kirstine cried and gave herself a quick pat-down to make sure all her parts had returned. "I do beg for forgiveness, fair Lady. I cannot recall the last time I became visible… I am simply not accustomed to it. I dearly hope you can explain why you have the ability to draw me from my own world and into yours?  None of the others I have visited have had such a pull on me."

"I wish I could," Charlotte mumbled as she scratched her neck, " 'cos I'm beginning to think I've gone insane."

"If that is the case, you shall have a companion on your way to the asylum, for I see and hear you as clearly as you see and hear me," Lady Kirstine said and threw her hands in the air.

Charlotte crabbed away from the meager protection the tall armchair had offered her; sighing, she leaned back on her thighs and rubbed her face. A quick glance at the wall-mounted clock proved it was a quarter past midnight. "This is nuts, but… uh… you really are Lady Kirstine?"

"Lady Sofie Amalie Kirstine Riewendorff of Jungsfeld manor I am indeed!  Kirstine for short. Greetings and salutations, my fair Lady," the ghost said and performed a dramatic bow with plenty of flamboyant gestures and fluttering robes. "And with whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?"

"Charlotte Willumsen…"

"Ah!  Pleased to know your name, Lady Charlotte. Yes indeed!  And such a pretty name it is, too," Kirstine said before she put an index finger across her lips like something about Charlotte's presence made her embarrassed. "Though… I will admit to being rather scandalized at the sight of a fair lady such as yourself wearing men's britches. Is fashion really such in your day and age?"

"We can wear pretty much whatever we wish now," Charlotte said as she clambered to her feet. She grimaced as yet another new ache joined those that had already been there after her unfortunate impact with the floor.

The answer made Lady Kirstine furrow her ghostly brow and fall silent for a few moments. "Ah. I see," she eventually said in a tone of voice that proved she perhaps didn't approve of the custom. "Ack, never mind such matters now. Now that we can see each other, would you care to listen to the story of my tragic demise?  Ack, 'tis so rare I can share the experience!  In a verbal manner, naturally."

Charlotte hobbled around the armchair intending to sit in it but found her destination claimed by the ghostly lady before she could get there. That snub left the uncomfortable swivel-chair that had already tormented her backside more than enough for one day.

Sighing, she changed direction and moved over to the chair at the coffee table - it was a simple yet functional design that she enjoyed sitting in, and that was just what the doctor had ordered. She pulled it out and lowered her aching body onto the seat. "Well…" she said and let out a groan as her knees had to bend to sit down, "could you perhaps leave out the goriest details?  I'm afraid that blood and I don't mix well."

Lady Kirstine - who sat with her hands in her lap and her legs firmly together in a prim and proper fashion - shot her hostess a puzzled look at the odd comment. A few seconds went by before she drew a deep, ghostly breath: "I shall be delighted to, Lady Charlotte!  Ack, it all started on the eve of my sixteenth birthday. Yes, 'tis true, I perished a mere child. I was born in the year of our Lord sixteen-forty-three, indeed I was. Of my father and mother I saw little as I grew up, but my nanny and my handmaidens were adequate substitutes. My father was a famous soldier!  Yes indeed, the military skills of Lieutenant-General Riewendorff obtained legendary status even before the war with the Swedes broke out in 'fifty-seven. Ack, those were terrible, terrible years filled with endless hardship and despair. You know, I never saw my father again after his Army Corps had been given their marching orders… by royal decree, I might add… to engage the enemy wherever they would find them."

The ghost fell silent. As she focused her supernatural energy upon reflecting on her distant past, her ability to sustain a physical presence faltered and she grew opaque and fuzzy around the edges.

"Lady Kirstine, you're… uh… breaking up," Charlotte said and shuffled out to the edge of the seat in case she needed to bolt after all. A wave of nervous energy rolled through her - witnessing the surreal light show in her living room sent an icy chill racing up and down her spine that in turn caused her to break out in a shiver.

"I thank thee, Lady Charlotte," Kirstine said and smoothed down her elaborate robe. The gesture seemed to do the trick as her edges became sharply defined once more. "I fear this new state of being is taxing me rather severely. I had better up my pace or else I shall simply vanish long before I reach the ending. Such an inglorious exit would be discourteous and unladylike!"

Charlotte let out a croaked laugh. "Oh, that's- uh… uh…"

"Now, where was I?" Lady Kirstine said and put an index finger on the tip of her ghostly nose like it would help her remember. "Ah, yes… upon the eve of my sixteenth birthday, I had a surprise visitor. My older brother August Frederik, a First Lieutenant with the Royal Guard Hussars, had obtained a day pass and had traveled hastily from the cavalry garrison at Vording Castle to our father's manor to see me. Alas, the loom of my life was about to become unraveled as my betrothed would also pay me a surprise visit on the same eve. The sole purpose of his highly secretive mission was to see his future bride for the first time-"

"Wait, you mean to tell me you had never met the guy you were expected to marry?" Charlotte said and shook her head.

The question caused Kirstine's ghostly brow to gain several furrows. A puzzled expression spread over her face for a few moments before she said: "Why… no. Of course I had not. From your response, I take it that has changed in your day and age, Lady Charlotte?"

"You better believe it has!  Nobody would accept that now."

Kirstine furrowed her brow again; it was clear the response she got from the modern woman caused much astonishment within her. "I see. Fascinating, indeed. Ack, to return to my tale… upon reaching my chamber, Johannes Antonius von Gerlach… my betrothed… found me in the arms of another strapping lad. A smart Guard Hussar officer with plenty of silvery ribbons upon his red-and-blue uniform. Johannes had no option but to act to avenge his wounded pride. Following his manly instincts, he drew a blade and drove it-"

"Of course he had options!" Charlotte barked and slammed her fist onto the armrest. "He could have punched the other guy into next week… or he could have walked away!"

Kirstine sat up straight and stared wide-eyed at Charlotte like the mere notion of not avenging one's pride was so alien to her it might as well come from a different dimension. "Walk away like a cuckold coward?  Surely not, fair Lady!"

Charlotte shook her head. "I can't believe you're defending the man who killed you…"

"It was all such a terrible misunderstanding. And of course Johannes had to act upon his injured pride. I can assure you he would have become a target of terrible scorn and ridicule among his peers had he not. May I go on with my tale, please?"

"Yes… yes, go on," Charlotte said and let herself fall against the easy-chair's back rest.

"As I have already said, Johannes von Gerlach drew a blade and drove it through me. The blade was broad and I was slender so the strength of the thrust nearly severed my torso. As I lay there bleeding and drawing my last breaths, my eyesight soon abandoned me but my hearing remained active until the end. I overheard my brother explain the horrific truth to my betrothed in the moments before I passed over. And thus my life ended… on a misunderstanding."

"Gawd, that's so tragic…"

"Indeed it was, Lady Charlotte. Yet little did I know it would not be the end but merely the beginning of a new phase in my existence. Though my mortal frame had perished, my eternal spirit had not and I found myself in the oddest of places. It was neither here nor there… neither Heaven nor Purgatory. I was gone yet I remained. I fear I cannot explain it better."

Charlotte shook her head again. "I'm obviously no expert on ghostly behavior… far from it… but one thing that's often talked about is a need to right a wrong. Maybe you can't move on before… before… well, the misunderstanding has been resolved?"

"But my betrothed was hanged for my murder… how, pray tell, would that not be considered enough to right the wrong or even resolve the misunderstanding?  Ack, I am grasping at straws here," Kirstine said and broke out in a shrug.

Charlotte opened her mouth to come up with another suggestion now the first one had been effectively shot down, but found she had run out of ideas - instead, she mirrored the ghost's shrug.

"I was able to follow the trial and the execution though you should not ask me how. I simply have no reply," Kirstine continued. "The hanging. Oh dear, the hanging… that was another terrible mess. They needed three attempts to send poor Johannes Antonius to his doom. The first attempt ended in failure when the rope would not hold his weight and he fell onto the floor beneath the gallows. The second attempt caused much laughter among the spectators when the executioner could not get the trap door to open on cue. The third attempt… well, as the noose tightened upon release, Johannes' neck snapped and his bowels were emptied there on the gallows-"


"What, does that no longer happen, Lady Charlotte?" Kirstine said and looked up in surprise.

"Which part?!  Most countries have abolished capital punishment. Almost everyone considers it inhumane and cruel."

"Oh… I see…" Kirstine said and scratched her ghostly cheek. "So how are murderers punished, then?  Or do you perchance no longer have murderers in your society?"

Charlotte let out a dark grunt. "We still have plenty of murderers. Believe me."

"Well… in that case, your labor camps and castle dungeons must be overcrowded. But never mind such depressing matters now. Ack, a strange thing, this afterlife… after all this time, I am still profoundly confused by it. Puzzling it most certainly is- ack, the most brilliant notion has just come to me!"

Kirstine suddenly jumped forward in her seat. "If I explore the skills I possess now, perchance I could show you my slaying or Johannes Antonius' hanging as they happened… would that interest you-"

"No!  No-no-no-no-no!  No!" Charlotte said, thumping her fist onto the armrest for each 'no' that spewed from her.

Kirstine shied back from the strong outburst. Her ghostly face gained a terrified grimace that lasted several seconds; when she settled down again in the tall armchair, her elaborate robe had crept up close to the underside of her knee - though she wore long stockings under her pantalettes, everything was soon pulled down once more so she wouldn't expose herself to a complete stranger. "Oh, all right, fair Lady Charlotte… it was merely a suggestion. And I am right here… there is no need for all that shouting."

Charlotte shook her head as she took in the sight of the young-appearing ghost sitting in the tall armchair without a care in the world - any world or even plane of existence. A slightly manic laugh bubbled up inside her that made her supernatural visitor shoot her a sideways look.

The manic laugh was followed by another before she glanced over at the wall-mounted clock that read ten to one. "Lady Kirstine, when I read about you, the last thing I expected was to actually meet you… in my living room… playing with my polar bear mascot…" The manic laugh returned, and Charlotte had to lean her head back to let it out.

"Ah!  Read about me, you said?  I am positively beaming with pride!" Kirstine said and shuffled around in the tall armchair. "To think that I, Sofie Amalie Kirstine Riewendorff of Jungsfeld, should become the subject of a penny ballad is just marvelous!  Why, it truly makes my heart swell and my skin tickle. So traveling minstrels still wander from manor to manor and village to village to sing their songs and wow their audiences, do they?  Ack, I recall one such performance when I was but a young child of no more than seven or eight years of age. It was a warm summer evening and the minstrel and a band of musical troubadours entertained my father, the Lieutenant-General-"

"I'm afraid that minstrels and… what did you call them, penny ballads?"


"Well, they're long gone. I found it on the Intern- uh… let's call it a global public library."

"Oh… I see," Kirstine said and fell silent to digest the news. A moment later, she broke out in a broad smile. "Regardless of how it was committed to paper or parchment, being remembered beyond the village connected to our manor certainly does not lessen my pride. Ack, to think that residents of other villages and towns can be told of my exploits is exhilarating. Why, 'tis quite exhilarating indeed, if I do say so myself!  To know I am remembered does send a ray of light upon my being. A ghostly life can be tragic and lonely for those who are forgotten."

Charlotte offered her visitor a wistful smile. "Do you wish you could find rest?"

The ghostly presence fell quiet to ponder the weighty question. After a while, she shook her head. "I cannot tell you, Lady Charlotte, for I have never given it any thought. Speaking with all honesty, I am quite satisfied with my lot in this afterlife. I am fortunate enough to be able to continue many of my favorite pastimes from when I was still among the living. I play games and sing psalms as you have seen and heard. Alas, my beloved embroidery is no more. My hands can simply not grasp the needle and thread."

"But how can you pick up books and other stuff, then?  You turn them over and make them fly through the air!"

"Yes, 'tis rather puzzling… oh, I cannot claim to have answers for everything. The childish games I play seem to be done more with the mind than actual physical touch. That skill I have yet to fully master. Perhaps I shall gain that knowledge one day, I cannot say. Though I do not know the exact date on the calendar, I sense that I have only been in the afterlife for a short while."

"Ah… you were killed in sixteen-fifty-nine, right?"

"Indeed I was, fair Lady Charlotte."

Charlotte scratched her neck as she made a quick calculation of the number of years the ghost had spent stuck between the worlds. "Well, that's three-hundred and sixty-three years ago… but maybe-"

"I beg for forgiveness!  Surely not?!"

Charlotte nodded.

"Ack!  Such a long time… why, 'tis an eternity!" Kirstine cried and put a hand across her ghostly forehead for effect. "I shall neither doubt your calculations nor call you a blatant liar, fair Lady Charlotte, but I cannot believe that to be true. No. My heart tells me that is not the case. I can assure you I have not been in the afterlife for such an absurd amount of years."

Continuing to nod, Charlotte moved out to the edge of her seat. "There might be an explanation… your father's lands were later used as regular farmland up until fifty years ago. Then a local businessman bought it from the farmer to develop a large housing project. Maybe you only returned when there was something here for you to come back to?"

"Why, that sounds far more reasonable, Lady Charlotte!" Kirstine said and put her hands together in glee. "Yes, indeed. Fifty years is still a sizable number, but far better than three-hundred and sixty-three. Oh… from the phrasing of your statement, I take it my dear father's magnificent Jungsfeld Manor is no more, then?"

"I'm afraid not. It was destroyed and abandoned less than a year after your death."

"Ack!  Such a shame. It was a majestic-"

As the hands of time reached one in the morning, the edges of Lady Kirstine's ghostly being suddenly turned fuzzy and opaque all over again. Wearing a puzzled expression, she floated up from the tall armchair like she no longer had any control of her physical presence. She hovered there for the briefest of moments before she vanished into thin air with a sigh and a faint whoosh.

"Oh!  Lady-" Charlotte said and jumped to her feet, but her visitor had already left her before she had time to finish the sentence.

The very next second saw Charlotte jerk upright once again. As she woke up, her right knee smacked against the underside of the coffee table which made a few items dance about and stray close to the edge. "Owwwwch…" she croaked as she reached down to rub her aching leg.

Her eyes were glued shut to begin with, but they slid open after a few moments so she could take in her surroundings - not that she could see much in the semi-dark living room that was only illuminated by a single lamp in a far corner.

A bleary-eyed glance at her telephone proved it was twenty past three in the morning. "What… the… was… was… all that… only a dream?  No way… but… I must have eaten something bad last night… or too much Halloween candy… Gawd!" she croaked as she pushed the chair back so she could get up.

After hobbling over to another of the lamps to turn it on, she moved into the center of the living room. She put her hands on her hips and studied everything intently. The soft-toy polar bear rested on the shelf where she had put it, the photo of her parents faced the room rather than the wall, and the small vase holding a single dried flower was back to its proper spot on the heavy oakwood dining table.

Charlotte drew a deep breath and let it out slowly. A slew of goose bumps rushed over her - she defeated them by performing a strong shimmy-shake. Remembering the psalm from the dream, she strained her hearing without picking up any odd noises anywhere. Another sigh of relief escaped her as she turned off the lamp and shuffled over to the other one in the far corner.

"No more late-night horror movies for you, Charlotte," she mumbled to herself as she reached for the switch on the upright lamp. A niggling thought of 'something's not right in here' developed in her mind before she could turn off the light.

Her breath hitched as she spun around to stare at the dining table. It took her the best part of thirty seconds to realize what it was that had triggered the persistent niggling: the heavy piece of furniture had been moved into the correct position.

Ethereal laughter suddenly rolled around the living room. The laughter soon segued into the melodious sounds of a fair, young voice singing a few stanzas of a psalm that was very old but still loved. A faint echo of 'I wish you a good eve, fair Lady Charlotte. 'Twas delightful!  I shall return before long,' was uttered before the room fell quiet once more.

"Oh… my… Gawd… it was real… she was really here… and I'm gonna need years of therapy," Charlotte Willumsen croaked in a semi-whisper. She stared at her bookshelves expecting to see all hell breaking loose all over again, but nothing further happened. Shaking her head, she turned off the light and shuffled out of the dark, haunted living room…