Before heading south to Auckland Will and Molly stayed at Orewa for a couple of nights. It was unexpected but Molly felt the need to do some writing and their stay at Russell had been specifically to have a bit of a holiday. Will left her during the day and went exploring on the beach with his camera. Settled into the little cabin on the beach at Orewa where they had stayed before, Molly arranged her laptop at the small kitchen table, sat in the chair and took the time to relax and prepare, breathing deeply and slowly. She felt calm and peaceful. Meditation and visualisation came easily. Climbing each step purposefully, Molly wanted to enjoy this moment. She stopped at the top of the stairs to feel the coolness of the crazed white porcelain door handle and notice that someone had attended to it looseness, it turned smoothly to open the door to The Attic.
She looked around the room and wondered what she was to do…make a cup of tea first, of course! The room felt empty, it was weird being here on her own, it just doesn’t feel right. Where was Grace? There was no indication of her presence anywhere in the room. Molly sat with her cup of tea, in the armchair by the fire someone had so kindly lit for her, and enjoyed the silence, which wasn’t to last for long. Finishing her tea, Molly heard a persistent scuffling sound just outside the door and voices whispering, not so quietly, “Do you think she is in there? Is anybody home? It sounds awfully quiet. Do you think we should knock, or maybe we just come back another day? I guess she wouldn’t mind if we knock, if no one is home there will be no answer and we can come back tomorrow. Strange that there is no one waiting on the stairs, where have they all gone? Usually there is such a long queue.” Then there was a silent pause and Molly wonders if they have gone away. She gets up from her chair to stack some more wood on the fire and can hear a little voice through the keyhole, “We can hear you, we know you are there, can we come in?” The voices sound so small and Molly’s curiosity was stirred as to who this might be. She got up again from of the warmth of her snuggly armchair, walked across the wooden floor and opened the door to find…nothing. Looking around she couldn’t see anyone, and then she heard a little voice down by her feet. “Good morning Miss, may we come in?”Molly looked closely at her feet to see two small mice wearing clothes, waiting on the doorstep. She smiled, slightly disbelievingly and answered, ”Why of course!” Inviting them in, watching them in delight as they walked confidently across the room towards the fire to warm themselves. One was dressed in a buttoned-up vest, who walked with long strides proud and purposeful, the other was dressed in a long skirt and an apron, taking quick, tiny dainty steps, trying to keep up.
“Is there anything I can get for you?” I enquire, to which the female mouse replied, “Thank you Miss. We are a little hungry, may we please have something to eat? Just some wholemeal bread would be wonderful” So Molly cut a slice of bread into tiny squares and placed them on a plate on the floor by the fire for them. Politely picking up one piece at a time in their tiny paws, they eat their fill. Contented, they sit back on the hearth and look up at Molly expectantly. “Don’t you recognise me?” the boy mouse asked. “I do apologise, but….no” Molly replied. He stood up tall and proud and informed her, “It’s me, Thomas, from The Cottage, remember?” A smile of recognition swept across Molly’s face as she recalled the mouse who was living in the cottage at Long Beach. He would come out to visit twice a day, just letting Molly know he was living in the house. “What brings you here, Thomas, this is a long way for you to travel?” “It’s for Ana. We know that she is in Spirit but she is still in the house! She is haunting our house! We know of the magic that happens here, we heard of the stories you were writing. We need your assistance to help her move on, she has got to go! She is very unsettling, always moving things around the house, putting them back to where she feels they should be. She cannot understand what all of these people are doing in her house! And she wants them gone. She believes this is her home and just wants everyone to go away and leave her alone. When she was still in The Physical World she was so miserable and lonely, ever since her husband died. Oh she put on a brave face for the family, but her heart was aching all along, until the ache was just too much and her heart stopped beating. We were the ones who found her and sent out the alert to get a message to her family. But now, she is frustrated and unhappy, not knowing who all these people are coming to stay in her home and where are all of her family? Why do they not visit much any more? Can you help us? Pleease!” They pleaded in unison.
“I shall do what I can to help you. Come and join me at the table,” Molly bent down and picked up the two tiny mice and placed them on the kitchen table. “Can I get you some warm milk?” to which they replied, “ooh, yes please!” eagerly. She heated up some milk for all three of them and poured some onto a saucer for the mice. “I do beg your pardon, Miss,” said Thomas, cleaning his whiskers neatly with his paws. “This is my little sister, Sarah” Sarah, promptly stomped on her brothers foot, and scolded him, then standing tall, her hands on her hips she says, “I am not so little, thank you very much!” and holds out her tiny paw to greet Molly. “Pleased to meet you Miss,” she bowed her head and did a little curtsy. Molly thought, ‘Oh they are so cute!’
Molly’s phone rang, breaking her concentration and pulling her back from The Attic. How did she forget to turn it off? She was sure she had tuned it off! And for a nosy telemarketer! But what she didn’t realise was that the timing was just perfect, and that maybe even Grace had lined that one call up..
Checking that she had turned her phone off, she settled back into her chair, focussed on her breathing and felt herself standing at the bottom of the stairs to The Attic again. What have those darling little mice been up to whilst I was away? She thought as she bounded up the stairs taking them two at a time and stopped before opening the door quietly. She could hear their little voices chatting quite loudly, “And this is where Molly sits to write over here by the window. And this is where she and Grace sit to have tea and a chat in these comfy chairs….” What are they up to and who are they showing around The Office? Molly looked around to see no sign of Grace, but she could see someone of a human form being shown around the room by Thomas and Sarah. Who was this? She quietly closed the door behind her and waited patiently for the mice to realised she had returned. Molly was amazed at the amount of detail they knew about what goes on in this space. Then Sarah began to say, “And this is where…..oh, hello Miss! Where have you been? One moment you were here and then you were gone without a word. Hope you don’t mind, but we did get hungry, and thirsty and sleepy, and…oh, I beg your pardon…may I introduce you to Ana”, Sarah announced with a little curtsy. “Pleased to meet you Ana, I am Molly”.
“Pleased to meet you Molly. Although I think we have met before… I am well aware of you staying in my house! You were the only one whom bothered to say hello and good night. Could you see me? I know that you can, now I am here.”
“I wasn’t able to see you like I can now Ana, but I could feel you. Similar to when you close your eyes and you can sense there is someone in the room. It felt like that. Although I did wake during the night to see a gentleman standing by the bedroom door, dressed in trousers, a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows and his hands in his pockets,” Molly explained.
“Oh yes, that would be my Anthony! Isn’t he handsome a man! His presence is much bolder than mine. But can you tell me dear, why all of these people come and go in my house so disrespectfully? It is like they cannot even see me!”
“Um, well Ma’am, that’s because they are not able to see you.” Molly looked to the mice for some indication of what might be helpful here. Thomas shrugged his shoulders, his little paws up turned, perplexed. Sarah was mesmerised by an ant on the floor, totally distracted. Molly knew she was on her own with this one.
“Ana, would you like a cup of tea?” Molly asked, delaying the obvious whilst looking for the best solution here.
“Oh yes please dear, that would be lovely!”
“Come, sit down at the table and I will take care of a little lunch for us, yes?” Molly offered. Ana smiled and took a seat at the kitchen table, Thomas and Sarah climbed up and sat on the edge of the table, pleased that Ana was more accepting of them here and not trying to chase them away.
“Grace?” I think quietly. “Grace, what do I do here?”
“Ask Ana about her life in Russell?”
“Ana, what brought you to Russell?” Molly invited Ana to share her story.
“Well, dear, it was after the war and Anthony had had a hard time of it. His physical body had healed, although he was left with a distinctive limp, not painful just a shortness due to where he had been shot in the thigh and they needed to remove a slice of his femur where the bullet had lodged in the bone and had become infected. As he had pleaded for them did not amputate his leg, he was willing to try something new. So they cut out a section of bone where the bullet was and very crudely joined his leg back together. And it had worked, but had left him with one leg an inch shorter, and a distinctive scar around his thigh.
There were days when he would wander off and I would find him in his favourite hideaway, sitting on a rock high above the water, staring out over the sea. I would feel left out, unsure if he was longing for something or someone that was not here. He never spoke of it, and loved me dearly, so I was never too concerned. Although some days he would be up there into the night, not moving, like he was lost in another time, visiting others. The years passed undisturbed, we would go fishing, and walking and he would tinker about the house. It was a simple but pleasant life. Until one day he had gone on one of his walks and was away longer than usual. It was dark and I took a lantern with me up the familiar track to his lookout. He was sitting still, leaning against the rock wall. I knew in my heart his time had come and when I touched his body, it was cold. I just sat there with him, staring out over the moonlight on the calm water. I’ll never forget that moment. I felt him so close, but not in a physical way. Am I making any sense? But none of it matters now, because we are both happy living back in the bach.” she grinned cheerfully at Molly.
“What did you do?” Molly asked.
“Oh, for many years, I was so sad. Not that I would let it on to the family when they came to visit, but I preferred it when they weren’t there, the quietness was peaceful. And when I slept I would dream of Anthony. The sadness weighed heavy in my heart, until one day, whilst having an afternoon nap, Anthony came home! And we have been happily living in the Bach since, except for these visitors, I don’t understand!” she replies shaking her head puzzled. “They are so rude and disrespectful, none of them knock at the door, nor do they acknowledge that we even exist!”
“Ana, if you knew that Anthony had died, why did you think he was back at the bach with you?”
“I was just so happy to have him back again, I have never questioned it.” she looked down at her hands and realised that she they were translucent. Molly watched on as Ana’s awareness started to shift. It took a little while and they waited patiently whilst she was piecing together the memories, bringing her to a conclusion and understanding. Then she looked up, her eyes bright and a smile on her face – the look of knowing. “I do understand! Anthony did not come to stay with me, I came to be with him! But I don’t understand about the bach….” her voice faded and she looked confused. “Ana, where do you think you are now?” Molly asked, prompting her to stretch her imagination a little further.
“Well, Thomas and Sarah and their family have always popped in for a visit. We have this ‘cat and mouse’ game we play”, she giggled at her own use of words. “Some days I feed them, other days I chase them around the kitchen with a broom, depending on my mood. Then the other day, Thomas asked if I would like to meet an angel. I have always been curious of these topics and was eager for the opportunity to learn more. I did say to him that I thought I would need to go to heaven to meet an angel, to which he replied that he could take me to a magical place where we could meet up half way with some angels. This sounded interesting and well, I had grown quite fond of Thomas and Sarah because they were the first of the Mouse Family to actually talk to me. So I agreed to go with him, but only if I could come back to Anthony at the bach afterwards. Thomas suggested that I have a wee nap before we go, so I sat in my favourite lounge chair whilst he and Sarah sat in my lap and I fell asleep. But it was an odd sleep because they came into my dreams with me, and that was how we got here. It’s been lovely to meet you Molly, but I am a little tired now and would like to return to the bach, Anthony will be wondering where I am. Thomas will you….”
Ana was interrupted by a knock at the door. Now Molly was getting curious – who could be joining them in this story? Surely Grace would not knock… Opening the door she found a vaguely familiar man standing before her. She looked at him puzzled, trying to remember where the connection was from, and then realisation brought a smile to her face. It was Anthony! “Come on in,” she invite him excitedly. “Ana, there is someone here to see you,” Molly called over her shoulder. Ana looked up with great surprise and she took her husband by both hands, “What are you doing here Anthony, have I been gone that long? I’m sorry if I caused you concern, I did not leave you a note…” He smiled knowingly at her, and helped Ana to her feet. “I have come to take you Home my darling” and as he put his arms around her, holding her close, that all familiar light of transformation wrapped around them and in a flash they were gone.
“Wow!!” exclaim Sarah and Thomas together. “What did you do?”
I didn’t really do anything, they both knew it was time to go Home and you helped by bringing them here. No more hauntings around the old bach now! And they won’t have to witness the necessary changes which their beloved home will go through. As for you two, how about a little snack before you go Home too”. You do understand that it is not to the bach, that you too are angels now?” With delight and surprise they look at each other to discover they had indeed received their wings. “Oh I get it!” said Thomas, realising where they were now. “That stuff under the fridge was rat bait, wasn’t it!!! I did feel unwell before we sat on Ana’s knee in the lounge room. Hey, but it’s pretty good here! What do you think Sarah?”