The Old Jar

The attic was filled with strange odors from origins scant few could determine. Its windows were crusted with years of filth, through which daylight could barely penetrate, leaving the room in shadows, gloom and dust.

Attics commonly hold items like clothing, unused furniture and family keepsakes, but this particular attic held something sinister – a peculiar old jar bearing the remains of a long forgotten man.

 

It was a horrible sight, the jar with its cloudy glass and murky contents. Crumbling inside was Noah Jones, a local land owner with a bad reputation. This was known only to one and that person wasn’t about to start talking.

The owner of the attic and the repulsive old jar was Henrietta Bast and she didn’t take kindly to the advances of men. At least not in the way some of them would have liked her to. That’s why when Noah Jones came to her door late one evening and stinking of whisky, she wasn’t at all happy about his groping hands.

She pushed him off her but knew he had no intentions of stopping. Henrietta was strong and refused to let any man defile her, the way Noah Jones was want to do. When she could see that “no” was not something he would accept, she lured him to her kitchen, and laced a glass of water with one of the potions she kept inside her cupboard. Within minutes, she was standing over him watching unsympathetically as he writhed on the floor. When he finally grew motionless, Henrietta disposed of him best she knew how.

To some, her measures might seem harsh. But Noah Jones was known for his cruel ways with women. And even though he had decided to darken her door that fateful night, Henrietta was not about to fall victim to his whims.

As the days passed, furtive whispers of the townspeople grew into full-blown stories speculating circumstances behind Noah’s disappearance.  Although Noah was unmarried, his family and few ruffian friends had grown concerned. A search party was formed to scour the area, including the woods near his old farm. Others went door to door inquiring about his whereabouts.

Eventually, the efforts to find Jones waned and the town settled for vague explanations ranging from having fallen into a cavern to fleeing in the middle of the night, undoubtedly escaping one of his well-known, but seldom discussed gambling debts. No one suspected that Jones, the groping, wild-eyed brute was actually tucked away in a dim corner, floating in a vat of viscous liquid.

Henrietta never buried Noah although she considered it. At last, she decided that doing so would have been an act of submission. Instead, she kept him locked away in a location most suitable, in her mind, for a man of dishonorable motivations.

Henrietta lived alone. Therefore, no one noticed her death. And nobody witnessed the last beat of her heart that late Sunday afternoon. Upon her last breath, she closed her eyes and that was the end of Henrietta Bast.

Or so it would seem. But in fact, that was when the trouble truly began.

Henrietta was a spinster with no known heirs. She wasn’t well-known, nor was she well- liked among those who knew her. With no heirs, and nobody to care, her moment of death marked the descent of her humble home into ruin.

One night, shortly after her passing, the lid of the old jar slid back slowly. In a frightening gesture of enormous effort, a pale and wrinkled arm escaped and slinked away into the darkness.

In response, a wispy Henrietta manifested as a gauzy apparition and began rummaging through cupboards, desperately hunting for her signature potion. Dusty, cobweb-ridden viles greeted her as she searched frantically through the murky kitchen.

Each night thereafter, cupboard doors flew open, and objects floated across the room. And each time, a disembodied arm would emerge from the shadows, its gruesome fingers fiddling and poking the air, seemingly groping something or someone that wasn’t there.

To this day, house is still standing, but it is merely a shell. The forest has grown up around it, so it is concealed from passersby and forgotten to the rest of the world.

Inside, the old open jar still sits in the corner of the attic, half opened. Its contents are foul and unrecognizable.

The house itself is now haunted by two angry spirits – a haughty Henrietta and a very naughty Noah Jones.

 

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