A Ghost and His Gold
What is a poltergeist?
The word poltergeist is derived from the German for “loud ghost” or “noisy spirit”. A poltergeist is a type of spirit or ghost that can create physical disturbances in the real world such as making loud noises and moving objects or even destroying them. It is also believe in ghostlore, that poltergeists can pinch, bit, hit, and trip people, as well as being able to levitate objects and move them around.
The film, The Exorcist, is based on the ‘real-life’ haunting of a 13-year-old boy referred to as ‘Roland Doe’ in 1940. After the death of his aunt, Doe began to experience strange occurrences whereby his mattress would move, a mysterious liquid dripped from the walls of his bedroom, and scratching noises came from beneath the floor.
His parents asked a local priest to perform and exorcism on their son, but the exorcism was never completed because Doe injured the priest with a spring from his mattress.
Doe’s parents took him to St Louis for another exorcism. The attending priests noted that mysterious scratches appeared on his body and his mattress moved violently. The boy also entered trance-like states and spoke in a guttural voice. A mysterious “X” was also carved into his chest.
A final exorcism took place, and this time it was successful.
An extract from A Ghost and His Gold relating to the poltergeist, Estelle:
“Michelle slips off her bathrobe and stands on the edge of the pool. Dipping her right foot into the cold water, she shivers violently, and jerks it out again.
“It’s really cold, Alice.”
Alice rushes up to the edge and leaps in, hitting the water with a huge splash and sinking below the surface. Her face breaks through the roughened surface and she squeals with laughter, just like a small child.
“Come on, Michelle,” she calls.
A dark shadow hurtles across the surface of the water like a torpedo rom an old war movie. Michelle’s mouth gapes open as it whistles past her. A ripple of displaced air causes her to jerk her head around just in time to see the shadow perform a tight U-turn and head back towards her. It thuds into her like a cannon ball and she flies forward and drops into the water like a sack of potatoes. Her head surfaces and she gulps air.
The words float on the air as the shape darts around the pool. They seem to bounce off the mosaiced edging.
“Your husband is a rapist and a murderer, but you refuse to acknowledge it.”
Cold hands press down on Michelle’s face. The water is too deep for her to stand in this part of the pool and she can’t muster the force necessary to push back against the downward force. Her head slips into the icy water which fills her eyes, nose and ears. Adrenalin fuelled strength floods her body and she fights ferociously against the determined spirit pining her down. Her lungs are ready to burst when the pressure suddenly releases and her head bursts out of the water, like a cork from a champagne bottle.
“I’m going to kill you, whore,” the voice snarls at her.
From this close, the shadow has features. Large piercing green eyes glow in a pale face, so fair the fine scattering of freckles on her nose stand out like dark marks. Recognition stirs as she gazes into the eyes of the young girl who had revealed her presence, firstly on her computer screen, and then on the television.
The spirit’s thin face is surrounded by a thick mass of straight blonde hair that falls well below her shoulders.
The same blonde hair I saw in the shower drain.
Despite her youth, the ghost looks about fifteen or sixteen years old, evil pulses from her like a deviant heartbeat and a wicked red light burns within the depths of her brilliant eyes.
“Why? Why must you kill me? What have I done?” screeches Michelle, her eyes dilated with fear.
“Why?” the girl throws back her head and laughs. “Because you knew that he was guilty of rape and murder but did nothing to bring him to justice.”
“But I didn’t know,” Michelle cries.
“Yes, you did know. There were signs all around you. You chose to ignore them just like my father chose to ignore my mother’s abuse of me,” the ghost’s voice drops to a low tone, but it still reverberates through the air. “She neglected and ignored me and, when the worst thing that could happen to me did, she rejected me and said I was unclean and defiled. I hated her almost as much as I hated him. My father, Pieter van Zyl.”
Her hands reach out again and deliberately push Michelle down be-neath the dark water. Numb with cold and shock, Michelle struggles against the downward pressure.”
After Tom and Michelle Cleveland move into their recently built, modern townhouse, their housewarming party is disrupted when a drunken game with an Ouija board goes wrong and summons a sinister poltergeist, Estelle, who died in 1904.
Estelle makes her presence known in a series of terrifying events, culminating in her attacking Tom in his sleep with a knife. But, Estelle isn’t alone. Who are the shadows lurking in the background – one in an old-fashioned slouch hat and the other, a soldier, carrying a rifle?
After discovering their house has been built on the site of one of the original farms in Irene, Michelle becomes convinced that the answer to her horrifying visions lie in the past. She must unravel the stories of the three phantoms’ lives, and the circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths during the Second Anglo Boer War, in order to understand how they are tied together and why they are trapped in the world of ghosts between life and death. As the reasons behind Estelle’s malevolent behaviour towards Tom unfold, Michelle’s marriage comes under severe pressure and both their lives are threatened.
Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a South African writer and poet specialising in historical, paranormal, and horror novels and short stories. She is an avid reader in these genres and her writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.
Roberta has short stories and poems in several anthologies and has 2 published novels, Through the Nethergate, a historical supernatural fantasy, and A Ghost and His Gold, a historical paranormal novel set in South Africa.
Roberta has 9 children’s books published under the name Robbie Cheadle.
Roberta was educated at the University of South Africa where she achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. She was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000.
Roberta has worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and has written 7 publications relating to investing in Africa. She has won several awards over her 20-year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.
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