Ghost Stories - The Crying Veil
Anna smoothed her hands over the lace of the beautiful wedding gown. She had purchased it for a song. Imagine, a $6,000 gown for one-tenth the price! And the shoppe owner had been most urgent in completing the sale, as if Anna might have changed her mind.
Standing in front of the exquisite mirror framed in gold, she held up the gown to her too-thin form and swayed back and forth, so happy! Her eyes seized her face and as she performed a self-analysis, she knew her weak points in life. She wasn't pretty - never had been. Hopefully, age would mellow that out as it did for some. She was also spontaneous, which could be both a strong and weak point because she acted on the strings of her heart the majority of the time, rather than using her good sense.
But she certainly didn't lack a smart mind, for it was responsible for helping her achieve her small fortune. She might not be the prettiest girl at the ball, but she was certainly the richest! However, she was as generous as she was rich, and that was perhaps her strongest point in life.
Her engagement to Russell had been abrupt - that spontaneous trait seizing the moment when he had unexpectedly proposed. She barely knew him - just short of six weeks. But he loved her, of that she was certain. He was the only man who'd ever shown an interest in her rather than in her money. Perhaps it was because he was equally successful in the financial field; the cattle industry had been very good to Russell.
The wedding was only a month away and she felt like the luckiest woman alive! Russell had insisted that she move in with him and place her home on the market, as it wasn't exactly feasible to run two households. Yes, everything was perfect....
Russell sat crouched in his office, sunken in an expensive leather chair while he spoke on the phone to Ellen. How he loved Ellen - sweet, beautiful, but financially encumbered Ellen. It was difficult trying to explain his 'situation' to her.
"Ellen, no - I don't love this woman. I love you!" He lowered his voice, attempting once again to keep his tone down. It wouldn't do for Anna to overhear.
"Don't you see? Without some fast cash, I'm all but bankrupt. Do you want that for us, Ellen? Of course you don't! I want to be able to give you so many things, and by marrying Anna for just a short while, we'll have all that we could want. She's very wealthy, Ellen....extremely wealthy," and silently he tagged on, 'and extremely ugly'.
The thought of having to romance her on the wedding night continually plagued his thoughts, but the fear of losing all he had was even more distasteful. Besides, he'd be divorced before he knew it.
For now, Ellen wasn't happy; in fact she had began screaming over the wires, demanding him to rethink his plan and form another. However, Russell knew no other way out. One day, he'd been on the top of the world; next thing he knew, madcow had hit the states and he was belly up.
"Ellen! Listen to me!!" he yelled out, his tone far too loud, exercising his frustrations.
Anna paused at the mirror, furrowing her forehead. That faint echo; it was Russell. Her eyes widened in terror as the wedding veil she had situated on her head was suddenly covered with blood - drops of blood. She detected crying, pitiful crying as if someone in her head were in agony. And a faint voice cried out, "One in the house does not love you... Even now, he plots against you.... Go to him now, Anna..."
Frightened that she was losing her mind, she jerked off the veil, but when she glanced at it, the blood was gone. Not even a stain remained. It was as if she had imagined it all - as white as a virgin. And that voice - that silly, idiotic voice. Was she going crazy? Giddy? So happy that she was delirious?
Perhaps the stress of the situation, she told herself, the matter too disturbing to contemplate further. The evening light had a way of playing tricks anyway, she went on to confirm in her thoughts, placing the situation aside.
Even so, she couldn't put the disturbing thoughts aside. Best that she find Russell to silence this voice inside her head that would not die.
Five minutes later, Russell was still waging a tongue war with Ellen on the phone. His heart was suddenly in his dry throat, for now she had intentions of coming over and 'talking some sense into his dense head', as she had put it. That just wouldn't do! She was going to ruin everything!
Anna's hand went up to knock at the door, but she drew it back quickly as she heard Russell yell out impatiently, "Just stop it!! Ellen, I swear that I'll be divorced from her as quickly as I'm married to her. We'll have all the money we could ever want. Please, I'm begging you to trust me-"
Russell cut off his plea to Ellen as Anna suddenly appeared before him, her face ironed over with shock. Slamming down the phone, he reached out to her to attempt an explanation, but it was too late as she was already running from the room......
A month later, Anna decided to return the wedding gown - as she certainly didn't have use for it. She supposed that she would never be able to trust another man again.
When she entered the quaint shoppe, the owner widened her eyes, then made her way over to her. "I was afraid of this."
Anna delivered a questioning look and the shopkeeper continued, "Twelve times I've sold this gown and twelve times it's been returned. Each time, the bride jilted. You too, dear?"
The shopkeeper gently took the gown from Anna and eased out, "I fear it is haunted, this gown with the crying veil..."