Unaccounted For

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          “Do you love me?” asked Kelly.

          “What? Why are you asking such a ridiculous question?” inquired Kansas.

          “Do you love my curly red hair and my hazel eyes, not to mention my perfect model body?” Kelly asked.

          Kansas began to laugh. “You’re missing some marbles, goofy! So, what do you need, little sister?”

          Kelly began to laugh. “I need those big muscles of yours to help unload my new treasure. Can you meet me at my house in half an hour?”

          “Couldn’t you just have said that first! I thought something was wrong! By the way, I’m not sure I’d agree with the perfect model body! But yeah, I’ll be there, but next time just ask and don’t mess with my head. Do you know how crazy that makes me?” asked Kansas.

Kansas stood leaning against his bright red pickup.  His arms were folded across his chest. His muscles bulged from beneath the rim of his tee shirt sleeve. His dark black hair glistened in the sunlight, almost as much as his baby blue eyes. Kelly pulled in next to his truck and climbed out. Kansas walked over to peek into the back of her truck.

“Nice find sis, you did well. That’s actually real wood! That is some nice woodwork on the front panels. Let’s see if there is a manufacturer’s label on the back.” Kansas rotated the dresser so he could see the back. A faded label was all that was left and only a few letters were readable.

“Who cares who made it? It’s mine now! How about we get it inside,” Kelly said as she bounced up and down.

It looked out of place, surrounded by the yard sale specials. It stood out like royalty. Rushing to the bathroom, Kelly grabbed a damp cloth and began removing the dust.  “Thanks for coming over and helping me.”

“Who did you sucker into selling this so cheap?” Kansas asked.

“Charlie Morton had this stashed in an old decrepit house.”

“It looks like you have everything situated. So, I’m going to head home sis.”

Kelly hugged her brother goodbye, and walked him to the door.

 The dresser had a musty smell. Gathering a bucket of bleach water, Kelly began washing the inside of the drawers. Instead of removing the smell, the odor grew worse, as if the wood was soaking up the bleach and mixing it with its own scent. Kelly began to feel woozy;  dropping to the floor, she buried her face in her hands. Kelly rolled over onto her side; she was so weak she couldn’t stand. Her eyes began to burn and water, followed by darkness.

How much time had passed? She wasn’t sure, but the sun had begun to go down. Slowly she opened her eyes; a puddle of blood surrounded the dresser. She began to gasp for air. Forcing herself upright, she crawled to the dresser. She dipped her finger in the substance on the floor. The liquid was sticky and red. Panicked, she wiped it on her jeans and crawled outside. Stumbling down the steps, she sat down on the bottom step. Once she had stopped hyperventilating, she took a deep breath, and went back inside. Walking back into the room, the floor was spotless. Glancing down at her jeans, there was no sign of blood.

“I guess the fumes got to me. I don’t ever want to do that again!” she whispered to herself. The day had faded into the night and exhaustion had taken its toll. Sleep was the cure all for weary minds. Kelly cuddled up on the bed and passed out.

The morning sun streamed straight into Kelly’s eyes.  Peeling one eye open, she looked across the room at the dresser. “I wish Charlie hadn’t mentioned anything about this dresser being haunted. Now my mind is playing tricks on me. Really, why would a spirit want to haunt a dresser?

I could understand a whole house, but a single dresser?” she said to herself.

Her stomach growled,  informing her that it needed sustenance.  Opening the refrigerator, she glared at the half empty jug of milk and some eggs.  This was to be breakfast. After eating, with magazine in hand, she walked outside to enjoy the morning.  The street was filled with children playing, laughter echoed everywhere. A young boy whizzed past her on his scooter and waved. It was a nice place to live; everyone was friendly. Flipping through the magazine, she shut out the rest of the world.

“Please help me! I am so cold, it’s dark and wet here!” said a childish voice.

The voice seemed to come from behind Kelly. Turning, she found no one. Taking a deep breath, she returned to her article. Once more, she heard the plea for help. She walked towards the children. Looking on both sides of the street, she saw no one who might have called out for help. Sweat was starting to drip off her forehead. It had to be at least eighty degree’s. How could anyone be cold, wet or in the dark? It was mid-morning and dry as a bone.  A shiver made its way up her spine. Perhaps, there was more to the stories of the dresser being haunted than she wanted to believe.

Running back into the house, she went straight to the dresser and began removing the drawers.  There were no identifying marks on any of the drawers. Laying the dresser over on its side, she began to search the bottom. Something shining in a small crevice caught her eye. Grabbing a screw driver, Kelly began to pry the crack wider. The object came free and rolled from beneath the dresser. It was a pendant; a small imprint was on it. It appeared to be a cat, but it had long been faded. Turning it over, there was another imprint. It read C.R.,  Pocketing the pendant, she climbed into her truck and headed back to talk to Charlie.

Kelly pulled into Charlie’s driveway; a young lady was working in the flower beds. She strolled toward Kelly, ever so slowly, swaying her hefty self. Her hips looked as if they were racing to see who could get to her belly button first. She crinkled her nose and hiked her brows. “Can I help you?”

“Hi, my name is Kelly and I bought a dresser from Charlie. There has been some strange things happening and I’d like to talk to him.”

“Kelly, I’m his daughter, Nora. I am sorry he sold that to you. I told him to quit trying to pawn it off on someone, but he doesn’t listen. I’ll go get him.”

When he came out of the house. Kelly headed towards him. He smiled and reached into his pocket, extending his hand with twenty five dollars in it. Kelly pushed his hand back.

“You saw the ghost?” he asked.

“No, I haven’t seen a ghost, but I heard something. A little girl’s voice asking for help. What can you tell me about what others have experienced?”

“I’ve heard a bit of everything from voices, blood, odors, and apparitions. That is why I keep getting it back. I’ll take it back if you like.”

Kelly reached into her pocket and removed the pendant. “I found this when I was cleaning. Do these initials mean anything to you?”

Charlie took the pendant and looked over it. “Well, the pendant may belong to one of the other folks I sold it

  1. I believe the last name of one of them was Rogers. If you want, I’ll take it and check with them to see if their daughter lost it.”

“How about you just give me their name and let me talk to them?  I’m curious to see what they experienced first hand.”

“I’ll have to see if I can find their first name. There is a lot of Rogers in this area. I’ll get back to you when I locate them. I have things to do and the day is going fast.

Are you sure you don’t want me to just take the dresser back?”

“No.  No ghost is going to scare me off!”

Driving home, she felt uneasy. It was as though Charlie was hiding something. He was too insistent on taking the dresser back. He also hesitated on giving her the name of the Rogers. Arriving home, Kelly went to her computer. She typed in the address of the old house Charlie used as storage. Finally, she found one article that could hold some answers. It was an article from 1915. A young girl, named Caroline Reed, was abducted from a wealthy family in Georgia. The address of the home was the same as where Charlie had stored the dresser. The article was short; Avery and Violet Reed had given up searching after several weeks. Caroline was never found, nor a ransom requested. Kelly let the article run through her mind. Could the pendant be from an unsolved mystery almost a hundred years ago?  Something wasn’t right.

Swinging her purse over her shoulder, Kelly headed to get groceries.  The checkout line seemed to go on forever and there were only two cashiers! Kelly fumbled through the magazines and books at the checkout lane. A book called ‘Ghost Stories From the Local Area, caught Kelly’s eye. She flipped through it and glanced at the titles. Suddenly, one stood out.  She began to read about a young girl who disappeared around 1915.

“Excuse me, miss? Are you ready to check out?” asked the cashier.

Looking up, Kelly realized she was next. “Sorry, I was lost in this book.” She tossed the book into her cart.

Arriving home, she quickly put away the groceries. She seated herself on the couch, with the book in hand. It started off describing her dresser and its history of being returned, just as Charlie had told her. It described a wealthy family with two children, Caroline and Harley. Caroline was eight and Harley was six at the time of Caroline’s disappearance. It told of the search for Caroline, and described the pendant. Kelly’s hair stood on end as she dug the pendant from her pocket. Looking it over, she realized, she now had Caroline’s pendant. It named several people who had owned the dresser and returned it. It was always returned after strange and unexplainable experiences had happened. The author’s name was Denton Graceson. Kelly went to her computer and typed in Denton Graceson,  she scribbled down his phone number.

The phone rang and rang. Finally, it was picked up by an answering machine. Kelly left a brief message. Frustrated, she went to look over her work schedule. She worked at the local pizza joint. It wasn’t her dream job, but it kept her afloat. She was taking night classes at the local community college to become a journalist.

Frustration had turned into anxiety. Waiting was something Kelly wasn’t good at. It had been hours since she had left the message for Mr. Graceson. Kelly unpacked some boxes, trying to keep her mind off the dresser and the

phone call.  Picking up a box labeled bedroom, she headed that way. Kelly laid the box on the bed. She tried to concentrate on the box, but her eyes kept roaming back to the dresser.  Her heartbeat felt as if it was in her ears. With every heartbeat, she heard it loud and clear.

“Crap!” Kelly screamed. The phone ringing had broken the silence of the moment. With shaky hands, Kelly answered it.  “Hello?”

“Hello, this is Denton. I am returning your call. I understand you want to know about the people I interviewed concerning the missing child from Georgia?”

“Yes, it seems I have the dresser in question. I’d like to show it to you, could we meet?”

“I’d love to see the dresser! When is a good time for you?”

 “Oh, how about now, I have so many questions.”

“Where do you live Kelly?”

“On Baxter Street, the house number is 331. My old rusty Ford  truck will be in the yard.”

“I’ll be there within an hour. See you then.”

Kelly removed a pop from the refrigerator and grabbed a snack cake. She took a seat on the front door steps, and watched for Denton. A faded blue pickup pulled into the driveway. The man climbing out of it wasn’t what Kelly had expected. He was short, fat and bald. His voice did not go with his appearance.

He sounded younger on the phone than he looked. Kelly stood up and stuck out her hand.

 “I’m Kelly; it’s nice to meet you Denton.”

“Thank you for inviting me over. I’ve often wondered where that dresser was. May I see it now?”

Kelly led Denton into the bedroom. Denton opened each drawer gently, he looked it over carefully. “I can’t believe how well it has held up all these years.  How did you come by it?”

“Charlie Morton had this in an old house; he sold it to me for practically nothing. He warned me about the problems with it and its ghost. Naturally, I didn’t believe him at first. However, I do now!” declared Kelly.

“Tell me about what you have experienced so far,” said Denton.

 “I saw what I thought was blood puddled up around the bottom of the dresser. When I felt it, it was sticky like blood. I wiped it on my jeans and ran outside to get some fresh air. When I looked again, there was nothing on the floor. The blood wasn’t even on my jeans. Then there was the voice of a little girl, begging for help. She said she was cold, wet, and it was dark. I found a pendant in a crack of the dresser on the bottom, with the initials C.R.,” explained Kelly.

“May I look at the pendant?” He asked excitedly.

Kelly removed it from her pocket and handed it to Denton. After examining it, he handed it back to her.

 “Thank you for letting me come over and examine the dresser. I should be going. Let me know if you find any answers,” said Denton.

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