Locked Away Memories
There was nothing more important today. Preparations for the festivities would attract a huge tourist crowd to Prosper Island. What was today, you ask yourself? Why today is October 31, Halloween, Samhain. The night that ghouls and goblins roamed the land. People were free to be everything they were afraid to be. You see, Prosper Island was famous, at least as far as small towns go. The house belongs to the descendants of the Tompkins family. Adelaide Tompkins was born in 1674 in the tiny little town of Ipswich, Massachusetts. Died in 1692 at the age of eighteen. Or did she?
Prosper Island, a total of thirty thousand square feet, which isn’t that large if you think about it. With a population of only three hundred people, it relied on tourism as its primary source of income. That is why Halloween was so important to the small town. Prosper Island, is created by the descendants of Adelaide Tompkins, a young woman who had died during the Salem Trials. So every year, the tiny community bonded together and created a Fall Festival and Haunted House event.
This year the theme was Halloween: The Spirit of The Season. Lights in every tree that graced Withrow Park; blinking and sparkling as they warmed the night sky. Booths littered what space was available, the more popular ones upfront. Salem and Ipswich proper held the advertisements for the festivities. People in costumes wrapped up last-minute preparations. Grills were fired up for the food and booths were opened for the first time that season.
Children seemed to love this event each year. This year held special meaning for one person in particular. For Rebecca Daughtry, Halloween was more than a holiday, it was her birthday, as well. This year she would be turning fifteen, a milestone in her life. Her parents had other plans for her. However, they had no idea what their daughter was in for.
For generations, Rebecca’s family lived and worked on the island. This year she wouldn’t be alone when she attended the festivities. Her twin cousins Diana and Isadora were going to be joining her. It took quite a bit of coercion to get her cousins away from their cell phones and computers and out into the crisp October air, but Rebecca succeeded. Their three-person troop made an interesting appearance since their costumes were as different from each other as possible.
Diana dressed as Diana the Huntress from Greek Mythology, her long blonde hair flowing in graceful curls. Isadora, the drama queen of the bunch, dressed as Princess Bride Barbie. The hot pink of her dress makes her golden hair shine in the moonlight, and her matching three hundred dollar shoes click across the pavement. Rebecca had made her outfit instead of purchasing one from the store. The emerald green silk edged with white satin and fit her well for a ball gown.
She wasn’t used to showing a lot of skin but had opted to go for a strapless design with a corset laced back. The pins that held her black-brown curls up from her face were emerald and diamond butterflies, and they matched her necklace. On her back, hiding the laces of her dress, were a pair of gossamer wings, making her look like a beautiful green fairy.
Magical and fantastical creatures had always been an attraction of Rebecca’s, and while her costume reflected her favorite, she felt her cousin’s far outshine her. She was an average girl, at least in her eyes. Average height, average weight, average looks. So it was not surprising that Diana and Isadora made sure to point out that little fact to her even as they drug her around from booth to booth.
It only costs five dollars for the locals to enter the festivities, but it was ten dollars for out-of-towners. You were awarded five dollars in food vouchers with your ticket purchase, redeemable at the kiosks with the golden star. Each booth handed out candy, and there was a prize location where tickets were redeemed from the games.
Rebecca was not been interested in any of the booths this year, which was unusual. No, this year, she became drawn to the old abandoned house that sat at the edge of Withrow Park. It was the Tompkins house, and it was rumored to be haunted. The legend spoke of the ghost of a girl, a girl who was eighteen and had been falsely murdered during the trials. They say her family brought her body here, back to the place where she was born, to lay her to rest. The anguish that she endured in her eighteen years allowed her spirit to roam the halls.
Haunted houses always held an appeal. Most of it was the idea that they might, for once, get to encounter something extraordinary. For Rebecca, it was being able to be close to someone of historical importance, someone who gave their lives to keep a secret.
As a slight wind picked up, an omen of sorts. As she stood with her blue eyes focused on the house, Rebecca felt a whisper in her mind. Someone, or rather, something, was telling her that she needed to pay a visit to the building. It was thoughts like these that made her oblivious to the actions of her cousins. If she had been paying attention, she would have noticed their devious smirks and, as the same idea popped into their head.
Every year among the teenagers, it was popular to play a bit of truth or dare, and the dare was always to spend the night inside Tompkins Manor. Most of the youth chickened out. Only four had ever actually been brave enough to make it to the home’s front door, but none had managed to get inside. She was the kind of girl that would accept the dare just to spite her vengeful cousins.
“Rebecca. REBECCA!” Diana yelled.
It was the harshness of her name that made Rebecca turn her gaze from the house and back to her cousins. The walk was only a few feet, and she easily traversed it in her heels.
“What’s the matter Diana?” she asked softly.
“Isadora and I were just talking with Jack and the others, and well, they chose you to act out the dare. You know the one.” Diana replied with a sneer on her lips.
Why everyone hated that not much scared the young brunette, she would never understand. Of course, they knew she would not back down from the dare. She had never done so in the past. Just like both girls knew, they would end up having to join her in the house. After all, it was easy to say that you stayed the night when all you did was hole up in a hotel instead.
“Of course, I will take the dare. You know that Diana, but you and Isadora must accompany me. After all, what would your parents say if they found out you abandoned their favorite niece to a house that could fall around my head.” Rebecca spoke with a kindness that both of the other girls hated with a passion.