Marley by Samantha Dawson
Ella hated the picture. Even now looking at it through an adult’s eyes she still hated it. The grainy figures of scrooge sat hunched in his chair with the tall thin image of Marley’s ghost standing over him. Chains wrapped around his body and bandages hanging from his gaunt face. As a child, she had been terrified of the picture and it still left her with a feeling of unease. Gazing around at the now empty room she recalled happy childhood memories. A tear threatened to fall as she thought of her gran’s possessions, a life packed neatly into cardboard boxes. Is this what a life is reduced to?
Ella froze convinced she heard a strange noise, just like another Christmas Eve when she’d snuggled up willing herself to fall asleep so Father Christmas would come. Her stocking had been laid at the end of the bed, one of her mum’s old tights; they stretched so more presents could fit in. That’s what her mum had told her but looking back now, she knew it was because they didn’t have the money to buy the fancy stockings from the shop.
Ella always listened out for the reindeer’s bells but that night, all she could here was the rattling and jangling of chains. Her brother’s teasing that the house was haunted had helped encourage her already active imagination.
There it was again, Ella knew she was being irrational, but she needed to get out of the house. Taking a final look at the picture, Ella addressed Marley.
“You, my friend are staying here; the new owners of the house can have the pleasure of your company.” Nodding her head agreeing with her own decision she turned to leave but as she did the picture appeared to hurl itself on the floor.
“Sorry gran if that’s you telling me to take it with me, it’s not happening.” Ella picked up the smashed picture, but something caught her attention.
“That can’t be.” she thought staring at the picture which now only had the image of Scrooge.
“Now I’m definitely losing it,” she thought shaking her head. As Ella made her way to the door it suddenly slammed shut.
“Josh if that’s you, it’s not funny anymore.” Sensing a presence, she turned, stood behind her a figure weighed down with a long thick chain stood staring. As she screamed, the figure of Marley moved within inches of her, his putrid skin falling from the bones of his face, and drool dripped from his gaping mouth. Ella stood transfixed in terror as the chains wound around her neck and the life was squeezed out of her.
“You were always going to be mine.” The figure stated simply picking up her lifeless body up and dragging her inside the picture with him.
Popping his head round the door Josh shouted out “Ella are you here? She must have already left.” He called back downstairs not noticing his sister banging desperately on the glass from inside of the picture.