Chapter 8




Author: Rhonnie Fordham

Over the next few hours, the excitement of the mirror and bloody wall had died down. The group had split up, not to do work, but to have their own privacy inside the Christy house.

Generally, this was when Bridget did her own investigating while Linda and Tony indulged in more leisurely activities. Not even they could keep with Bridget’s never-ending drive into the paranormal.

In her guest room, Linda sat in bed like a teenager seeking escape from the stiff confines of school and parents. Unlike those teens though, at least Linda was allowed a bottle of wine. A very expensive brand to say the least. She held it in one hand, the top open and welcoming her next sip at her convenience.

Linda’s cell phone laid out on the nightstand, right next to the bizarre figurine. Serene New Age music played on her phone, giving Linda’s drinking session a meditative feel. The soothing music egging her on, Linda took another casual sip of the delicious booze.

Linda then looked down at all the articles and papers lying out in front of her. All of them from her personal Christy house file. Linda grabbed one of the articles.

In true exploitative fashion, this article covered the recent mystery surrounding the Baker family. “Father believed to be possessed by the house!” “It’s Amityville all over again!” “Horrified mother grieving over Christy house murders” “Manhunt for missing father and children still on” “John Baker suspected of murdering his own children”

But it wasn’t the lurid sentences that caught Linda’s eyes. Instead, her fascinated gaze concentrated on the article’s photo of John with Michael and Amy. It was a lovely photo taken in the Christy house’s very front yard. In Amanda’s garden. Hell, the garden still looked good even back then. At least, the paper had done a good job of not choosing the most unflattering Baker family picture.

The juxtaposition of the picture of the attractive family with the disturbing details of what happened to them could only make Linda shake her head. She took another sip like it was a reflex against the grotesque article.

A light rap against the bedroom door distracted Linda. She leaned upright as she did a half-ass job of covering up the wine bottle with a blanket. “Uh, come in,” she said.

“It’s just me,” Kevin said from the other side.

“Oh, okay.”

Kevin opened the door and took a step inside, keeping his hands behind his back. “Hey there.”


Noticing all the articles lying on the bed, Kevin cracked a smile. “I see you’re still doing your research.”

Linda smirked. “Just going over a few things.”

Kevin shut the bedroom door, all the while keeping a hand behind his back. “I was thinking maybe with the downtime, maybe we could discuss the sale,” he said with a not-so-subtle seductiveness. This guy was slick.

Smiling, Linda leaned in closer on the bed, crushing the articles beneath her hands and feet. “Hmm, why not?” she said with a not-so-subtle drunken seductiveness.

Kevin pointed toward the bottle of wine. “You wanna share?”

Chuckling, Linda looked toward the bottle. She had inadvertently knocked the blanket away, revealing the bottle. “With you,” she said as she faced Kevin. “Why not?”

Pleased, Kevin revealed another bottle that he had hidden behind his back the whole time. “I brought some reserves just in case,” he said with a flashy smile.


Evening had now set in outside the Christy home. Still hot and humid, the sun beat down upon the scene, scorching everything in sight.

In the lavish garden, Amanda and Bridget worked on their separate passions. Amanda tended to the flowers. Her outfit consisted of gloves, a hat, and a large apron. All of it looked to be straight out of a catalog for a gardening magazine.

Meanwhile, Bridget stood nearby and looked around the yard, simultaneously getting a feel for the property while also being on the lookout for any more weird sightings or noises. An unlit cigarette dangled out of Bridget’s mouth. Old bad habits died hard for her.

Using the long-handled spade, the sweating Amanda filled up a small hole.

“That’s what he said?” Bridget asked as she glanced over at Amanda.

With gentle precision, Amanda smoothed out the dirt with the spade. “Yes.” She looked up at Bridget. “He just kept saying we were possessed. That ever since we moved in, we’d all changed. We weren’t his real family anymore. God… he just. He just really lost it.”

Creeped out by the reply, Bridget looked off toward the house’s open front gate as she pretended to take a drag off the cig. It helped relieve her anxiety just a little. That’s what the therapist(s) told her at least.

“That’s all he kept telling us,” Amanda continued. Reflective, she looked down at the soil. “He said it all the damn time, always accusing us. Hell, I began to wonder if maybe his crazyass was right.”

Distracted, Bridget didn’t respond. She wasn’t just distracted, but too scared. She couldn’t guarantee it, but she was pretty certain a child stood right in front of the gate. The little boy again.

In broad daylight, he looked even more terrifying, his blood and vicious wounds even more clear. He looked on at Bridget with a helpless expression etched upon his face.

Amanda didn’t see him. She was too busy caught up in her own traumatic memories. “He told me we were doomed to Hell,” she stated.

Bridget stared at the boy, fear in her eyes.

Then a new voice drifted into Bridget’s conscious. A child’s voice.

“Help us,” the boy’s voice pleaded to Bridget in a most chilling whisper. His voice was timid and vulnerable.

With subtle panic, Bridget put a hand over her eyes, trying to see the little boy through the intense sunlight.

Still staring at the ground, Amanda continued thinking back on her troubled past. “He said it was where we all belonged,” she continued. “Even the kids.”

Bridget squinted to see the boy more clearly.

“That night, when he tried killing us,” Amanda said.

The sunlight caused Bridget to blink several times. And that was all it took. Just like that, the boy was gone. Vanished without a trace. His blood, his voice, none of it was left. By this point, Bridget wasn’t too surprised by the abrupt exit, so she wasn’t worried. She knew they’d come back.

“He said that was the only way he could save us,” Amanda recounted. Her voice trembled. “The only way was if he took us out of this life…”

Nervous, Bridget put the cig back to her lips.

“This world…” Amanda continued.

As Amanda’s voice died off, Bridget faced her. “Do you really think he believed all that shit?” Bridget asked.

“I know he did.” Fueled by anger, Amanda stuck the long-handled spade straight into the soft soil.

“But how?” Bridget asked, suspicious. “Maybe it was all just an excuse for him.”

Not answering, Amanda stood and brushed the dirt off her clothes.

Wanting Amanda to hear her out, Bridget stepped toward Amanda. “Maybe it wasn’t the house,” Bridget continued.

Amanda faced Bridget. “No. It was. This wasn’t the first time he’d said these things.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’d heard him talking about us being demons and shit long before he went fucking crazy!” Amanda said. She hesitated, struggling to go on. Like a mental patient trying to explain their issues, her unease was a combination of frustration and pain.

Bridget took the cig out of her mouth for another fake drag. It wasn’t very effective at calming Bridget. She knew the potential dark depths this conversation was headed.

“It was just this mumbling at first,” Amanda finally released. “But it wasn’t like John, it didn’t sound like him at all.”

“When’d this start to happen?”

“As soon as we moved in!” Amanda yelled in panic. “I mean literally the first few nights we were here.” She looked away, her body trembling. “I don’t even know if he knew what was happening. What he was saying…” She faced Bridget. “Hell, he’d mostly would say it in his sleep too. Like… like it wasn’t even him laying there.”

Bridget did her best to hide how much the recollection creeped her out. She didn’t do a good job. “What’d he say?” she asked in a nervous tone.

“Like I said, he was always talking about demons and stuff. That me and the kids were evil, that we were possessed.” Amanda leaned in closer toward Bridget, like she was too embarrassed or too scared by what she had to say next. “He’d say their names in his sleep! He’d whisper Amy and Michael’s names constantly, and I know it sounds crazy, but I know how John sounds! I know his voice, and it wasn’t him, Bridget! It was somebody else!”

“God… are you sure-” Bridget began.

“I bet it’s the same voice you heard,” Amanda interrupted. “That’s what John became, that’s what made him go crazy!” Breathing heavy, she looked to be hyperventilating. “That’s the voice that took him! It took John over!” Losing her voice, she staggered backward.

“Amanda.” Bridget snatched Amanda’s shoulder, keeping her from falling. She’d saved Amanda yet again.

“It just kept getting worse,” Amanda said weakly. “He wasn’t the same…” Amanda looked down at her garden, focusing on the protruding spade rather than looking into Bridget’s eyes. “He never was…”

“Did you ever try talking to him? Going to him about what you’d seen or how he was acting.”

“No,” Amanda began. “I couldn’t.” She faced Bridget. “I was too scared. I didn’t know what to do.” She paused in reflection. “After awhile, I started to think maybe some of it was true. I started to believe him.”

“What!” the shocked Bridget exclaimed.

“He was so convincing,” Amanda went on, undeterred like a rambling preacher. “What if he was right! I mean it was all in the house. The evil in here, it got into him. What if it went into me and the kids…”

“That’s crazy-”

Exploding in wild emotions, Amanda pulled away from Bridget. “But it was the house!” she yelled. “We know it was!”


“That’s where it all started!” Amanda interrupted. Her eyes stayed on Bridget. “I heard the footsteps at night! And the voice, that awful voice… I heard it in John, and now I hear it everywhere! And I know you hear it too, Bridget! I know you do!”

Not replying, Bridget just stared at Amanda with the understanding of a weary psychiatrist. At this point, Bridget didn’t know what or who to believe.

“We’ve got the videos,” Amanda continued.

“I know.”

“We’ve seen what this house can do.” Amanda stepped in closer toward Bridget. Immense and intimate intensity hovered between them. “That girl,” she said. “I know who that little girl is.”

“What?” Bridget asked, stunned.

“It’s Amy.”

Bridget struggled to respond, too shocked by Amanda’s statement. “Look, you don’t know-”

“It’s her and Michael.” Amanda looked away, the pain still overwhelming her. “I see them both. They’re still here.” She faced Bridget. “That’s the little girl you keep seeing. it’s her. I know it is.”

Supportive, Bridget rubbed Amanda’s arm, trying to soothe her. “We don’t know who it is, Amanda. They might still be alive-”

Amanda broke away from her. “I know my own children! I know what was done to them!”

Amanda’s raw hysteria quieted Bridget. Bridget didn’t think she had no choice but to give Amanda her space.

“Now they’re here in this Goddamn house!” Amanda continued. “They’re trapped here forever!”

As they maintained their eye contact, Amanda gave Bridget the stern look of a detective. Bridget didn’t like how confrontation Amanda was right now. Like Amanda was the one reading Bridget’s body language and not the other way around.

“You’ve seen them too, haven’t you?” Amanda asked. “Both of them.”

“I think so,” Bridget relented.

“I knew I wasn’t just crazy. I know what I see.” Amanda ran her hands all along her face with the manic worry of a mental patient. “What I see here everyday.”

Bridget grabbed Amanda’s shoulder in a firm grip. “Look, I believe you,” she said, reassuring Amanda.

“I told you it’s haunted,” Amanda replied. She didn’t say it in a smug way but with the defeated horror of a victim who had grown tired of begging to be believed. “Whatever’s here got John. And then it made him take the kids, and now it’s after me.”

“No you don’t-”

“It made him do what he did!” Amanda said. “It made him go crazy.”

Determined, Bridget tightened her grip on Amanda’s shoulder, hoping to tighten her grip on Amanda’s stability as well. “Amanda, you don’t know that! You don’t know if it’s all the house!”

Amanda pulled away from Bridget. “No! I should’ve done something!” she yelled. “We should’ve gotten out of here! We should’ve moved!” Fighting back tears, she looked back at the garden. Not even the decadent flowers could console the solemn gardener. “God, it’s my fault. It’s all my fault. I should’ve stopped him, I should’ve…”

“No,” Bridget said as she approached Amanda. “You couldn’t have.”

Distraught, Amanda glared at her. “I should’ve moved us out! I knew it was this Goddamn house! It tore us apart!”

Bridget grabbed Amanda’s arm. “Listen to me.”

“No, let go of me!” Amanda yelled as she struggled to break free.

Refusing to let go, Bridget only tightened her grip. “Just listen to me, okay,” Bridget said. “You don’t really know if it’s the house, that’s all I’m trying to tell you!”

“What do you mean?” Amanda asked, confused.

Bridget stared with conviction at Amanda’s apprehensive eyes. “What if it really was just John. What if it was all him.”

“I don’t know… it couldn’t…”

“Look, the papers said he’d battled mental illness. It’s not like he just snapped in the house.”

“Yeah, but that was before we were married,” the defensive Amanda stated. “He was fine then.”

“I know, but all I’m saying’s you don’t know, Amanda.” Bridget relaxed her grip on Amanda. “If it was just him and not the house. I mean there’s nothing you could’ve done about that, now could you.” She let go of Amanda. “You don’t know what was in his head, so stop blaming yourself.”

“But I don’t understand,” Amanda pleaded. “I thought you said you know it’s haunted! It’s the house that drove him crazy.”

The calm antithesis to Amanda’s histrionics, Bridget continued confronting Amanda. “Maybe the Christy house was never really haunted until John did what he did.”

Still bursting at the seams with nerves, Amanda glanced over at the house.

“Just think about it, Amanda,” Bridget said.

Amanda faced her, confused yet intrigued by the theory.

“None of you experienced anything in that house until that night. It was always John saying things and talking in his sleep and harassing you and the kids.”

“I don’t know,” Amanda mustered through her continuous doubt.

Like a convincing philosopher, Bridget stepped toward her. “But don’t you see! The ghosts are your children, the voice is John. If that’s the case then you couldn’t have saved them, Amanda, you couldn’t have known he’d do this! He was crazy!”

Amanda’s eyes went wide. Bridget’s persuasiveness was starting to pay off, Bridget thought.

“You’re using this house and its history as an excuse when all the real hauntings, the real horrors here are from John’s own problems!” Bridget stated. “You couldn’t have known he’d get worse, that the schizophrenia would resurface.” Bridget held up her cig, letting her case simmer in Amanda’s fragile mind. “You need to stop blaming yourself,” Bridget stated calmly.

Using the cig, Bridget pointed Amanda toward the Christy house. Even bathed in sunlight, the house retained a creepy aura. Like a haunted house by way of Norman Rockwell.

“Maybe it wasn’t ever haunted by evil spirits, but just by him,” Bridget told her. “In that instance, you’d never be able to stop him. You couldn’t have ever suspected he’d go this far.”

Amanda pondered it for a moment. “I never thought about it like that,” Amanda said with some uncertainty.

Bridget rubbed Amanda’s shoulder. “Some of these houses aren’t really inherently evil,” Bridget lectured. “They don’t have spirits, they just capture the events and people who’ve lived and died there.”

Like a scholar finishing their hypothesis, Bridget went quiet as she gave Amanda’s shoulder one final reassuring squeeze. “Think about what it has now with John and the Christy family,” Bridget said. “No monsters or demons. Just ordinary people.”

“Do you think that’s true though?” Amanda asked.

Taking a step back, Bridget put the unlit cig back in her mouth and gazed around the yard. “I think it’s a distinct possibility,” she noted.


Glad to hear the meek hope in Amanda’s voice, Bridget took the cig out and smiled back at her. “I think it’s more likely than a bunch of demons just randomly taking over a relatively modern house like this one.”

Amanda smirked. “Fair enough.”

The two of them shared a quiet chuckle. Bridget felt their amicable weariness only made their bond grow a little bit stronger.

Amanda motioned toward the unlit cig. “So what’s that for exactly?”

Amused, Bridget held up the cigarette.

Amanda flashed her a teasing smile. “Does smoking scare away the spirits?”

“No, not really,” Bridget said with a smile. She tossed the cigarette over toward the front gate. Almost at the exact same spot she saw the little boy earlier. “It just helps with the nerves.”

“I see.”

Bridget looked over at Amanda. “I just have one a day when I’m investigating.”

“But you didn’t wanna save it?” Amanda asked with some surprise.

“Not really.” Bridget recognized no smile or hint of sarcasm on Amanda’s face. “Why?”

“For tonight,” Amanda responded. She started to walk past Bridget and go toward the house. “I think you might need it,” Amanda commented with the tone of a subtle warning.

Before Bridget could say anything, Amanda was already well ahead of her. Amanda could walk fast, Bridget realized. Almost like she glided.

More uneasy than amused by Amanda’s final comment, Bridget watched Amanda make her way to the front door. Amanda’s walk was so methodical but well-paced. Her footsteps especially heavy considering her petite frame.




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