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Ghost. Chapter Three.

A young man shot by his brother returns as a ghost to haunt him.

Time. That man made name for the passing of the seasons and the years. To me, it had no meaning. It was limitless as far as I could see. I was nearly twenty years of age by this reckoning, and likely to remain so for eternity. But I still wanted to fight time. I wanted my brother to leave that world at the quickest moment possible, and to this end, I was devoting most of my time in his haunting. I felt a certain pride in this achievement of manifesting myself in all my gory that he had caused, to remind him that he had committed fratricide, and I was damn sure that I would never let him forget it.

I tried to enter his body as I had William’s, but there was some block that prevented me from doing so. I also found out that I could not enter William when I wanted, or anybody else’s for that matter, except, I found out, that only when the person was under some sort of stress or strain. The mind was then open for invasion, or more likely, receptive to my invasion for the purpose to help or aid them in whatever endeavour they were attempting at the time.

I sensed in William that he was striving for perfection in all that he did, and it was only when he came up against an obstacle was I then able to enter and help him resolve his current problem. It was this time of stress that I found that I could enter another person’s body, Like the groom who had hold of a fractious horse. I could feel the aura of panic and a sense of despair as he tried to curb the mare from causing damage not only to itself, but to the poor unfortunate groom. He was an easy subject to slip into and help him calm the horse and at the same time, teach the groom the art of the soothing word whispered into the horse’s ear and the way to stroke the neck to calm it. From then on, I watched with pride that this groom was all the better for my intrusion and at later periods in his handling of the horses.

I must also confess to the vicarious thrill I got when I came across the under butler attempting to take the virginity of one of the between maids. She had willingly let him make advances to her in one of the bedrooms, but when his hand found what he was seeking beneath her petticoats, I felt her apprehension. She wanted him, but was now feeling rather lost in what she should do, and she was therefore easy to enter and calm her mind. I must say that I rather enjoyed the experience of being a female accepting a man for the first time. I felt her pain the same as she did as her maidenhead was taken, and felt the love and fulfilment that the under butler gave her as he took her there in the bedroom.

Being a man, I was surprised that a woman could feel and gain such pleasure of having a man as I had felt, when I was earthbound, of taking my pleasure with some girl that took my fancy. It was as I found myself being forced out of her body that I realised that the woman was the superior in the act of love, that she could give pleasure and receive it, but be the one in control, much against the laid down laws that controlled the coming together of two members of the opposite sex. She dictated the where and when, and with whom she would allow the familiarity that led to the ultimate act.

I was therefore glad to be able to enter William when he contrived to get one of the maids alone for his first intrusion into a female person. He was worried about not giving her what she would expect from the future Earl of Stapleton. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of his body taking possession of a female for the first time. I gave him the confidence to say the right words and act as a man was expected to in the circumstances. She wasn’t a virgin by any means, but was pleased that she was able to be of service to the future lord and master and was sure that this coupling would stand her in good stead for the coming future. It did too. I was able to enter William quite often to help and promote this young girl who eventually as she grew older, to rise in the establishment.

There’s nothing better than to have the love and understanding of one’s servants, and it didn’t harm William one iota of my having taken control at the critical time in his first amorous adventure. From there on, he proved himself time and again and I felt quite proud of his sexual accomplishments. Not only was he becoming excellent in this field, but in his horsemanship, fencing, pistol shooting and his general education and bearing in the presence of his elders.

Though my heart swelled with pride at the achievements of William, it turned black at the knowledge that I still hadn’t brought about the downfall of Edward. Mind you, his present disposition and appearance was heartening to my eyes, now that he looked as though he was sixty years of age, sallow faced, gaunt eyes, his hair, what was left of it, turning white. His manner was also now most furtive, his head constantly turning from side to side expecting to see me mocking him. He drank much more than was good for him and I encouraged this more than anything. I was now able to fill his glass with wine as soon as he had emptied it. I had to take care in this so that none of the family should see that his glass should suddenly be refilled after he had emptied it.

He now seemed to listen to my words and accept what I said as the truth, and it was on one such night, with his glass emptied and refilled many times, that I said I had a message from Caroline. To those at the table, his actions didn’t make sense when he suddenly rose up and left the hall. He followed me up to the battlements, well, that’s what we had loosely called an upper section of the roof.

‘Where is she you scoundrel,’ he rasped, swaying slightly from the amount of wine he had consumed.

‘Not up here, but down below,’ I answered. ‘You can see her from here,’ I said, standing at one of the embrasures. ‘Come and see. She’s calling for you.’ He staggered forward to peer down between the two pillars of stone that I had indicated.

‘Where’s my Caroline,’ he wheezed.

‘Directly below you. Lean forward a bit more and you will see her.’ As he did as I instructed, I then used all the power that I could gather and I had the stone that he was leaning on, move outward. He gave a gasp as the stone under his hands moved out into the void, his weight, reliant on this piece of masonry, went with it.

‘Goodbye Edward,’ I said as he slowly toppled forward to follow the stone and the rules of gravity. I was down there in the courtyard as he came down, landing heavily on his upper back, the heavy stone still being held in his hands as it crushed his head. But like with Caroline, I didn’t see his spirit depart, much to my chagrin. I would have loved to gloat over his departing presence, but I was denied that succulent pleasure.

So I shot back to Staple’s Corner and there I caused his portrait to once again crash to the floor.

‘My God! It’s an omen,’ Joan exclaimed, shooting up from her chair with enough violence to send it toppling backward. They had all seen his sudden departure from the table, and now the falling portrait really did seem to have an omnipotence to them all. I seem to have neglected to mention that Emily had married, to my mind, a somewhat man of inferior intellect and therefore of no consequence. But it was he, Clifford Turnbull by name, that jumped up and called to the servants to seek out the Earl of Stapleton. It was only Joan who showed alarm, the others just gave him a curious look as he ordered the servants to this duty.

Clifford and Emily left the table immediately leaving William and Joan alone. Mother, still seemed to spend the last remaining days of her life in her rooms to dwell on the past. I stayed there to see the reaction when the news would be brought in that William would be known as the next Earl Stapleton.

What a time that was! Emily entered the hall first, crying her eyes out and Clifford was close behind her to help her to sit back down in her chair at the table.

‘What is it?’ Joan demanded.

‘Edward! Edward. He’s….dead!’ and off she went into another spasm of crying that was accompanied by hiccups.

‘It’s true,’ said Clifford in a sombre voice to the shocked faces of William and Joan. I was jumping up and down like a demented thing at having achieved what I had started out. I suddenly stopped as I looked at the white face of William, the truth suddenly dawning in on him just exactly what this meant.

‘My…my…father’s dead?’ he stammered. Oh you poor deluded boy I thought, but he was achieving what I wouldn’t have been able to give him, the Earldom of Stapleton. Joan, the thoughtful one, was quickly out of her seat and put her arms around the still young boy, now the new Earl.

‘Oh William, sweet William. Don’t fret now. Do not think on what has happened.’ I could see many emotions then cross his face, and I was quick to move an enter his body, to talk to him, give him advice. The first thing I had to do was calm him down. First from the shock of the death of his supposed father and the follow up being that he was now the new Earl. For a boy of fifteen, I found him very calm inside, calmer than I thought from his outward appearance. I could feel him easing me out as it began to sink in that he was now the Earl and the subsequent authority that went with it.

I can’t say that he really gloated as Edward was laid to rest in the family crypt, but he had definitely grown up in those few days and knew what he wanted.

There was not much for mother now and it was a scarce two months before she passed away in her sleep and so all that was left of the family was William, Joan, Emily and her husband. He was not much of an asset to the family really, though he had taken on the task of being tutor to William for the past two years.

It was a year of attending funerals. Oliver Wetherby went next, Caroline’s father, followed three months later by his wife. Caroline had been their only child and so the estate now passed on to Oliver’s nephew, one Arnold Spencer. But he wasn’t to enjoy his inheritance very long before being laid to rest and leave his eldest son, Wallace to be the squire. There was one other death, though it cannot really be called that because the child that Emily bore, was stillborn. Due to this difficulty in birthing and the lack of proper medical care, the doctor botched things that resulted in Emily being unable to bear any more children much to the annoyance of Clifford.

But the family thrived in spite of these setbacks. Joan, to everybody’s surprise got herself engaged to Wallace, so where it was that Edward had married Caroline to bring the families together. It was her that joined the two to cement this relationship between the two estates once again. He was nearly five years her junior, but, love does not take into account the difference in ages. It was to their first child that I became known and acquainted at a later date, but we’ll come to that in due time.

Wallace also had a much younger sister called Clare that came to William’s attention at the marriage of his aunt, and I could see why. She had the same characteristics that I saw in Caroline. A beauty that was just coming into bloom, and the plus factor was that she was a fine horsewoman. They constantly met at hunts and he made sure that he was there on hand to see to her every wish. He was in fact, courting her, and she was not averse to his attentions.

But I didn’t interfere. I was happy enough to watch him through this emotive period in his life and didn’t mind to watch him slake his thirst for sex with any number of our housemaids on his return from meeting her every time. I can’t say that I was that pleased that he sired two bastards before Clare agreed to marry him.

But prior to this happy event taking place, Joan went into labour with her first child by Wallace. I’d always had a special place in my heart for my younger sister and I felt that she wouldn’t mind me being there in her time of need. So with two maids, midwife and a doctor, I saw her daughter born. Now they say that babies at birth are basically blind, but I swear that that baby smiled at me as I leant over her cot where she was first placed, and this was followed with a gurgle of delight. Not only that, but Joan saw me that night, for she told the others later at the dinner table.

‘I had a funny dream the night after Sophie was born,’ she said. Sophie being the name they had agreed to call the child. ‘I woke up and there standing beside the bed was Richard. He smiled at me and said that all was going to be well with Sophie. He said that he had it on good authority.’ Then she broke into sobs. ‘It was so real! I felt that he was really there and I started to cry because it’s been so long since I’d thought of him and I suddenly felt ashamed of not doing so before. He patted my hand and said that he understood, though I couldn’t feel his touch, I suddenly felt much better and went back to sleep.’

She hadn’t dreamt this at all because I was really there and said those words to her, but it was the only time I was ever able to communicate with either of my sisters, and I meant every word that I had said.

The whole thing had appeared very strange to me because instead of having her baby born over at the old Wetherby estate, she had the child in my old room. She had been taken by the sudden pains while visiting, and as the pains were that close together, it was decided that they didn’t have time to take her to her other home, hence her being at the hall at this time. I think it was my room that caused this affinity between me and Sophie and Joan being able to see me at this stressful period of her life.

Of course, when she was well enough, she, Sophie and Wallace, returned to their home and I felt somewhat bereft but life, if I can say it with tongue in cheek, still goes on.

The marriage of William and Clare was a county affair. Refreshment tents were set up in the grounds and most people had to wait out in the gardens as they were married in the chapel. They came from all corners of the shire and many people came up from London that had connections with both families, though these were tenuous ones at that as proved later. The hall was decorated and a magnificent feast was given and then was transformed in a short time for dancing, though most of the guests preferred the drinking side of the feast. There were many carriages outside and more than one fight took place with recalcitrant coachmen as they constantly jostled their places to be on hand when called for.

It took two days to clean the grounds after the event and put it back to its almost pristine condition while William and Clare consummated their marriage. I must admit now that I took great pleasure in joining William on his wedding night. He was as nervous as hell and it made it very easy for me to enter his body and help him to get control of himself, and I must say that she was as good as Caroline after we had removed her virginity. She became a veritable tiger in bed after this had taken place and I was the first to give up and leave them to enjoy several days exploring each other in the marital bed.

I knew before she did, that she had conceived during those few first days of marriage, and I was very happy for them, and even more pleased when their first child was a male. I was especially delighted when they named the child Henry, for it was one that I would have chosen myself.

Over the next three years they turned out another son and daughter, Thomas and Mary. Joan wasn’t idle with Wallace either to produce a son that they named George. It was after the birth of Elaine to William and Clare at the christening ball that I encountered Sophie.

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