The Woman Standing in the Hallway
My friend Jaime purchased a new home about six years ago when his wife was pregnant with their first child. Until recently, he lived there with his wife Claire and their two daughters, Sarah and Emily. Sarah is now five years old and Emily is three. Within the first two years living in the house, Jaime said that he never experienced anything out of the ordinary. It wasn't until his daughter Sarah was around two years old, that he started to notice her talking to herself. Jamie thought nothing of it, she was just learning to talk and he figured she was just entertaining herself.
One afternoon when Claire was out at the grocery store, Jaime overheard his daughter in the upstairs hallway, whispering and giggling. Curious, he asked, "Sweetie, who are you talking to?" Sarah replied,
"The woman standing in the hallway".
"Is she your imaginary friend?"
Amused, he went upstairs to find her staring blankly at a wall, whispering quietly. "What's your friends name?" he asked her.
"Her name is Helen Mary", she said.
"And what are you two whispering about?"
Sarah looked at him and paused before she piped "I'm not supposed to tell you."
Suddenly the front door opened downstairs, and they heard Claire come through the door. Sarah rushed down the stairs to greet her. Jaime didn't think about that again for a few weeks.
Over time, the two noticed that Sarah's interactions with "Helen Mary" became more frequent, but they attributed this to the fact that they had just given her the news that she was going to be a big sister.
About two weeks before Claire gave birth to Emily, Jaime was at home alone with Sarah. He heard her playing upstairs, chatting away with her imaginary friend, when suddenly he heard glass breaking. He ran upstairs as quickly as possible to find his daughter standing in the hallway, holding a hammer. She was staring up at the wall of family pictures that were now smashed to pieces. There was glass everywhere. Jaime picked his daughter up and carried her down the stairs. He told her to stay put as he returned to the upstairs hallway to clean up the shattered fragments of their family portraits. When he returned to the living room, he asked her directly, "Sweetie, why would you smash all of our family pictures?"
She looked at him, "Helen Mary told me to do it."
When Claire returned home that evening from her girls night with friends, Jaime told her about the incident. The crept up the stairs so as not to wake their daughter, so Claire could view the damage with her own eyes. She gasped silently at the sight.
When they returned downstairs to the kitchen, they started to discuss possible explanations for her behavior. Suddenly, the color ran out of Claire's face and she looked at Jaime. "There's no way she could have done that alone."
"There is no way she could have smashed all of those pictures by herself."
Jaime was confused, "I told you, I caught her with the hammer. She told me that she did it."
But it wasn't until his wife said it aloud that it dawned on him, "But… some of those pictures are almost five feet off the ground. How could she have reached those?"
His mind was racing, "She must have moved a chair or something."
She was adamant, "There are no chairs upstairs that she is strong enough to move without you hearing it, and you would have seen her carry one upstairs, right?"
Jaime was silent. He didn't have an answer.
They went to bed that night without any answers. The following morning their daughter had little recollection of smashing the pictures, and things seemed to go back to normal. Two weeks later his second little girl was born.
Emily was two years old in the summer of 2012, and one afternoon, when Claire was at home alone with the girls, she heard Emily alone upstairs, whispering. She called up to her, "Who you talking to, kiddo?"
"The woman standing in the hallway."
Claire thought that her Sarah must have told her about her imaginary friend, and that she was simply trying to emulate her big sister. Then she spoke again.
"She doesn't like you, Mommy"
"Why doesn't she like me?" Claire responded, surprised.
"I don't know."
Suddenly her daughter came bounding down the stairs as if nothing had happened. Even though both Jaime and Claire both found this slightly creepy, nothing about the situation ever felt threatening or malevolent. Until one night last month.
Jaime had put the kids to sleep around eight o'clock in the evening and he and Claire had got into bed soon after. Exhausted, Jaime and his wife fell asleep extremely quickly. Jaime was awoken by the sound of screaming. He was disoriented and had no idea what time it was, but he could tell that it was his wife screaming right next to him. He turned to see what was wrong and saw it. His 3 year old daughter Emily, standing beside the bed with a hammer in her hand. Blood poured from Claire's forehead. Jamie jumped out of bed and grabbed the hammer out of his daughters hand. He turned to his wife. She had stopped screaming now, and Jaime grabbed a towel from the bathroom and wiped the blood away from her face. She was going to be alright, but she did have a deep cut to her forehead.
Jaime picked up his daughter and carried her out of the room. He went and checked on Sarah, who had awoken to the screaming but was clearly unharmed. He told her that everything was alright and closed her door. He was standing alone with his daughter in the upstairs hallway, and he finally asked her, "Emily, why would you hurt Mommy?"
"She told me to, Daddy."
"Who told you to?"
"The woman, Daddy. The woman standing right behind you. She told me to hurt Mommy" Jaime felt a chill run up his spine, and then his daughter leaned into his ear and whispered, "And she told me to hurt you too, Daddy."
They moved last week.
-Leo Francis -thechildrenofsamhain-
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