The beloved and I enjoy ghost shows. Our current fav is The Ghost Brothers. The other night, we were watching some ghost show and discussed how one of two things happened with the ghosts.
A. They had no idea what the people were talking about because they didn't speak the language or had died way before modern equipment.
B. They knew what the heck was being talked about and were sick of having it explained.
Judith here, she falls into the latter category.
Angry Judith Got Her Hatchet
Her pale reflection in the mirror was no different than yesterday. And, still, she found her fingers brushing at the splatters of blood on her fine clothes. Wedding finery turned to ruin thanks to her no-good sister and her own husband. On the wall, not that she looked, was a photo of her and Phillip on their wedding day. Right after the ceremony when she was still blissfully in love. Before she caught him in the maid’s room with her sister.
Judith remembered the feeling. The flutter of her heart as it sank to the ground to be crushed by her heels as she ran from their chagrined faces. Shame, as the guests watched her race into the backyard, had made her wish to sink into the ground. Mostly, as evidenced by the hatchet always beside her, she felt rage. Not only at her new husband and betraying sister. No, she felt rage at the world.
Which is why she had killed more than them on her wedding day. Five guests joined them in caskets and she felt no shame for that. The sheriff had fired his revolver five times at her. All five had hit, but she’d been in such a fine mood, splendid in blood and butchery, it had taken the sum total of them to put her down.
What Judith had not expected was to remain in the home. She had free rein of the house itself, and the gardens around. There was no need for a fence to hold her in place. The singular time she’d tried to walk onto the street, there had been nothing on the other side. If she stood on the porch she was perfectly able to see the rest of the world, but if she tried to join it, there was nothing.
“Rejected by Hell itself,” someone said at the bottom of the stairs.
A female voice, unusual. Most of the so-called ghost hunters, were men. Oh, there were the occasional women whom claimed a kinship, despite having no deaths to their name, but most of them she ignored. With nothing better to do, she drifted down the stairs, the hatchet warming her hand as always.
“The town’s bloodiest massacre,” the short redhead said to a camera held by another woman. “It is believed she was rejected by her husband on their wedding day, as he preferred her sister, but as she was brutally gunned down before anyone might ask, there are no records of the truth.”
“I do not care he preferred my sister,” Judith muttered. “Only that he did not make his choice known until after he’d tied me to him until death.”
Although he hadn’t. She’d seen no sign of any of those killed on her blessed day. The reverend had called it that. Her blessed day. She’d killed him before any others excepting her faithless sister and worse husband.
“We’ll get the camera set up and be right back to explain our plan for tonight,” the redhead said. When the camera light stopped blinking she snorted. “And our plan is to fake a few scary noises and film a few suspicious shadows.”
“This might be the place,” the one with the camera said.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Susan. All the time since the murders and no one has gotten any proof this place is haunted. But, it’s expected, after all. The Blood Wedding Murder House.”
“I hate that name,” Judith said, but no one heard. A long time ago, before cameras and ghost shows, she’d found out she was capable of being heard. Only if she desired it. She never did to people like this. The kids who broke into the house she had fun with. Or, she had, until one had fallen down the stairs and been hurt. That injury she felt guilt over. She’d only been playing with the teenagers. He hadn’t died, and she was thankful.
“Ok, let’s film this part and we can set up the cameras after.”
“Time to tell the audience everything they know.”
Judith yawned, boredom not absent from death, and watched as they laid out their equipment. Over the years, since electronics had become mass produced and cheap, it was all the same. In the old days, each medium had her own tricks.
In her hand, the hatchet felt warm. Judith focused on the boredom. Whatever the reason, sometimes the hatchet wanted to direct things. As a hatchet was good for chopping alone, she had always done her best to avoid the temptation. Some of her visitors were temptation on the hoof and she prided herself on what a good woman she’d been.
Her attention was drawn back to the ghost hunters as they pulled out their gadgets. Nothing new. Someday she expected new toys, but lately they all used the same stuff. Which was dull.
“Let’s start with the spirit box,” redhead said.
Judith snorted, and the hatchet burned her flesh. Well, the hatchet burned the palm of her hand where her flesh would be if she were human. Pain. It was pain, dead or alive.
“I’m sure all of you at home know what this is,” redhead told the camera, “but we’re going to tell any ghosts here how to use it. Because we want them to speak to us, to learn the truth hidden here in the Blood Wedding Murder House.”
“Great,” Judith said to the hatchet, “the spirit box. I get it, radio frequencies and white noise and words.” As if she hadn’t heard it all before. Like they were the first. “Why do they all think I am a moron? Although, if they are trying to speak to my un-beloved it would make sense.”
“Are you listing, Judith?”
“No,” Judith said, but not so they might hear. “Because I know this. And I am not going to speak.”
And she did not.
Until the fifth time, in the third room, they explained the spirit box again.
The hatchet glowed red in her hand and she thought of the blood stains on her wedding gown. They looked so faded and worn. The rest of her might suffer so, but the blood should not. It deserved to be fresh, warm, rich in color.
“Will you shut up?” she screamed. The cameras did not hear. Nothing heard, no one, and she sought to change that fact.
“Susan, what the fuck just happened?” the redhead shouted as she dropped the powerless spirit box.
“I don’t know, Chris. Everything died.”
“You explain it all the time,” Judith said and this time they heard. “Over and over. As if I am an idiot. As if I have not paid attention to every last one of you who has entered my home. MY home! And always the same thing. Here is this, here is that, here is how it works. I am not an idiot!”
“Who’s there?” Chris demanded. “Reveal yourself!”
“Fine,” Judith said and let them see her. “But you tell the rest, I have had enough of being considered an idiot and a fool and a woman who does not listen.”
The redhead, Chris, a ridiculous name for a woman, fainted.
As the hatchet glowed a warm red and her wedding gown grew whiter, in need of purifying, the other woman fled from the sight.
And, suddenly, Judith felt the fool.
These women had done nothing. The same as the guests at her wedding had done nothing. Other than witnessing her shame. Which was not their fault. If only she’d been able to kill her fresh husband and his partner in betrayal more than once.
“I’m going to let you go,” Judith told the comatose woman. “But I swear, the next idiot to think I am an idiot, will know exactly how smart and angry I was and remain.”
6 MONTHS LATER
The news crews stood on the yard. So many. Police tried to keep them away, but they appeared to be multiplying as Judith peeked out the curtain. Some part of her, the part that liked to hold the hatchet, that liked to look at the stains in the mirror, was pleased.
For too long, she had been mocked. Last night had been the last straw. Those men, those men who would not shut up, and mocked her and her family. They had come to learn the truth and she had showed them. All four of them were scattered in pieces inside the house. Blood spray along the walls left indelible reminders on the wallpaper of their just desserts.
The hem of her wedding gown had trailed through the pools of blood and become, she thought, permanently stained. Carrying the hatchet this morning was impossible. It burned to look upon, let alone touch, so she only kept near it. No one living saw it resting against the window seat where she sat and watched everyone, inside and out. There had not been this much entertainment in so long.
Despite the apparent fading of stains, she knew it was too soon to take up the hatchet. No, let some time pass first. Catch them unawares.
“This is my house,” Judith told the people in the room, “and I have had enough of visitors.”