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Notecard sent to Mrs A. Morsden, 2nd March

Dear Annie,

Thank you so much for the card! Yes, I am settling in alright, but there is so much unpacking still to do! It’s such a marvellous old house, but I feel as if I’m rattling around in it a bit. Still, when H comes home and the baby arrives, I’m sure we’ll fill it up. You must come and visit as soon as you can. A house like this ought to have a proper housewarming, to drive the ghosts away!

Love,
Susan.


Letter to Mrs A. Morsden, 7th March

Dear Annie,

No, silly, of course I don’t think the house is haunted! Of course it creaks a little in the night, but it’s an old house so that’s to be expected. You shouldn’t take me so seriously, my dear! Well, I have most everything unpacked now. I’ve decided to use the lovely big room at the front as the nursery, it has a beautiful view of the garden, towards the pond. Well, it will once we get the big hedge cut down, at any rate. I can’t imagine why anybody would grow that right in front of the window when they have such a pretty garden beyond. I have been wondering what colour to paint it, though. It would be nice to have it all ready before the baby comes home, and with H. kept away until next month at least I don’t know that he’ll be back in time.

Oh dear, now I’m worrying again!

Love,
Susan


Letter to Mrs A. Morsden, 12th March

Dear Annie,

I hope you’re feeling better, dear. I would so love for you to visit soon, so you must get well! I tried that trick you told me with the wedding ring, but it wouldn’t swing just one way. Maybe that means I shall have twins, one of each! I certainly feel big enough. I haven’t seen my feet in an age! Anyway, whatever happens, Baby has a lovely view now. I got a young chap from the village over to cut the hedge down, and now we can sit in the nursery and look out at the garden. We just need to get the pond cleaned (it’s all full of weeds, like nobody’s touched it for years) and it will be the most picturesque thing you’ve ever seen!

Love,
Susan


Letter to Mrs A Morsden, 17th March

Dear Annie,

I think I realised why they grew that big hedge now. There’s a most dreadful draft from the nursery, it goes right up the stairs. I felt the most awful chill just now walking down. I suppose the hedge stopped the breeze coming through the windows. I hope that they can be re-fitted to keep the chill out, but we won’t be able to do that before Baby (or babies!) arrive. For now, I think we shall have to move the nursery to the upstairs room at the front. The view is not so inspiring, but the room itself is big and warm. Baby’s comfort must come first!

It turns out that I was right about the pond. Nobody’s cleared it for years and years, at least not that anyone can remember. I found a painting though, from when it was cared for, and it looks like it was painted from the nursery window. It must be fifty years old, but it’s absolutely adorable. I think I shall hang it in the upstairs room, at least until we have the windows fixed and we can use the nursery properly.

Love,
Susan


Journal of Mrs Susan Amsden, 18th March

Dear Journal,

The house is so much colder without that hedge! It is really quite distracting. And the way the draft blows through, it sounds almost like somebody whispering! It surprised me so, I nearly slipped on the stairs this afternoon. It looks as though the carpet has come unpinned. I shall have to see if that handyman Alfie can come back and nail it down properly. Perhaps he could clear the pond, too?


Letter to Mrs A Morsden, 24th March

Dear Annie,

You’re really coming! My dear, that is the most wonderful news. I have been quite lonely, waiting for H. to come home. He’s been kept away so long, it’s quite tearing me apart. I shall have the guest room ready for you. Just let me know what train you shall arrive on, and I’ll come out to meet you.

I have arranged to have the pond cleared as well, the young chap from the village who cut the hedge has agreed to do it for me at a very reasonable price, considering the awfully big job it looks to be. He should be starting a few days before you arrive – I do so hope it will be done before you get here!

I look forward to seeing you soon!

Love,
Susan


Journal of Susan Amsden, 26th March

Dear Journal,

I know now why the old lady who lived here had that hideous hedge hiding the garden. Alfie, from the village, had been clearing out the weeds for an hour or two when he found it. He wouldn’t let me near the pond on account of my condition, he said it would upset me, but I think I know what he found. After all, why else would he need to call the police?

Poor lady. I don’t think I would have been able to bear the sight of the pond afterwards, either.


Letter to Mrs B Gorse, 26th March

Dear Mam,

You were right about what happened at Highfield House, Mam, I found proof. I was clearing the weeds out when I found the body. It was horrible, Mam. I had to have a strong cup of tea after that. I expect the police will be calling on you soon, since you’re the only one left who was working there back then. Did you know the lady there is expecting? Wonder what the old lady would have done if she knew there was to be kids in her house again.

Alfie


Journal of Susan Amsden, 27th March

I found an old lady in the village who would talk to me about it. I had to quite spell it out for her before she would agree that I could cope with such a subject. Honestly, I’m only having a baby, it doesn’t make me an imbecile. It turns out that there’s always been rumours about the house. I don’t know how H. hadn’t heard any of them before he bought the house. They say that the old lady who lived here drowned her only child in the pond, then threw herself down the stairs, all because she thought her husband had run off to have an affair. He wasn’t – he’d had an awful accident and been killed abroad. She lived, but I suppose she must have been awfully bitter and sad.

I almost wish I hadn’t learned about it at all though. The house feels awfully unfriendly now, and the way the breeze whispers through the house, it’s almost sinister.

The stair carpet came unpinned again. I must call Alfie back to do a proper job of it before I break my neck.


Evening Chronicle, 29th March

Police were called to Highfield House on Tuesday to investigate the death of Mrs Susan Amsden. She was found at the foot of the stairs on Thursday last by a family friend. Although the circumstances were originally considered suspicious, a police spokesperson stated that there is no evidence of foul play. A loose stair carpet may have caused eight months pregnant Mrs Amsden to slip and fall. This is the second time the police have been called to the house in just a few days, after a handyman found a body believed to be that of five year old Charles Herringden, missing since 1903, in the pond behind the house. It was thought that Charles was murdered by his mother before she attempted suicide, but no evidence was found during her lifetime and she was never brought to trial.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: Another long one! I’m not sure if it does everything I wanted though – what do you think?)

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