Sylvia Eversole was beloved by everyone in the small town of Bell Creek. Her father had made them rich in that small coal mining town, but one would have never known it since her family never did flaunt their money. Sylvia spent the biggest part of her days visiting with folks and had learned from her father that wealth means little if you can't do things for the people you love. Sylvia loved the people of Bell Creek! She had helped the citizens of Bell Creek get a first rate Fire Department, helped keep the small mom and pop stores thriving, helped to put a steeple on the church, gave money to help a small hospital be built, and her greatest love was providing for the small school that was in Bell Creek.
That all changed when Russell Wurley came to the town and put his sights on Sylvia. Some would argue that it was his "charm" that had enticed Sylvia, but the majority came to the conclusion it was her daddy's money he saw not Sylvia. Russell and Sylvia were married in less than eight months after meeting. Her father had fought against it, and tried to reason with his only daughter, but Sylvia wouldn't be denied. In her mind, Russell was her 'Knight in Shining Armour'. For the next four years Russell did well about maintaining the illusion that he adored her. He pampered and lavished attention on her. She would hang on to every word said and doted on him. Even when all his buisness ideas failed, she stuck right by his side. When her father passed away, there was never a more caring or loving husband than Russell Wurley. That, however, would change.
The next six years, the folks of Bell Creek saw less and less of Sylvia. When they did see her, the smile was still there but the light in her eyes was gone. Sometimes there would be hints of fading bruises, but no one right out questioned it. She still gave to her charities and causes, but there was something different about her that no one could put a finger on. It was also no secret that Russell cavorted around the town late at night in the bars,gambling houses, and with women. Sylvia never did discuss the rumors, but people assumed she knew but pride was standing in the way keeping her mouth shut.
One night Sylvia returned late from a church fund raiser to find strange cars parked in front of her home and some sort of party going on. She walked in on drunken men, women half clothed running about, and of course Russell was no where about. Sylvia had finally had enough! She stalked up the large wooden staircase and stopped short of the door to her bedroom...there was strange noises coming from the room. She jerked open the door and found her husband and some blonde haired trollop in HER BED! NAKED! Sylvia stalked over and grabbed the woman by her hair and flung her off her husband and slapped her so hard she was sure the woman's head made a "snap" noise. Russel just sat up in bed smiling.
"What's wrong Sylvie, forgive me if I didn't introduce Loretta to you." he drawled out in a bored tone.
Sylvia was livid, "Don't you mock me Russell! This is it! This is the last straw! You get your stuff and your whores and get the hell out of MY house!"
Russell laughed, "You're house? We're married, it's OUR house and I'll tell you what's going to happen." He swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up to his full height, "First off, you're going to apologize to Loretta and then she's going to finish what we started and you're welcome to watch, but if not there's the door. Secondly, you're going to accept the fact that I am a man", he kept walking towards her till he had her backed up against the wall, "a man that has needs that does not require you to fill them! Third, tomorrow morning, you're going to draw out about ten thousand dollars because I'm going to need it to go on an extended trip to the Showboat down in Mississippi. When I come back, " he leaned down to her ear and she turned her face because he repulsed her so, "you're going to have a change in attitude, wife."
Sylvia felt sick at her stomach! He was no longer the man she'd fell in love with, or maybe he had and she'd been duped. Either way, the marriage was failed! She would not be so easily dismissed! Her father left her this house and the money was in HER name, and there was no way she was going to cower anymore to Russell Wurley! She fisted her hands and turned to him with a fire she'd thought had been extinguished long ago.
"I would rather die first than give you one red cent and YOU are going to get out of this house right this minute, or I'm going to fetch the sheriff! Let me tell you what I'm going to do! First, I'm going to have you removed from this property and then I'm going to make a call to Mr. Lowery and have him draw up divorce papers, and then you're going to stay the hell away from me!"
He looked at her as if he was going to strike her and she braced herself for it. After all, it wouldn't be the first time but it would be the last time, that was for sure. Instead he walked back to the bed and motioned for Loretta to join him. The woman just looked at Sylvia with a slutty grin as she climbed back into the bed. Sylvia's mind snapped! She stalked out of the door and down the hall to the room that had once been her father's. She opened up his closet and took out his shot gun and loaded it. She might have been his only daughter but daddy had made sure that his girl had learned how to protect herself if need be. Sylvia went back down the hall to her bedroom and fired one warning shot. No one had to tell Loretta to grab her goods and go, because the woman fled so fast out the door, she didn't stop running until she went out the door screaming "She's crazy! She's crazy, she tried to shoot me!"
Russell wasn't laughing now. He was dead serious. Sylvia kept the gun pointed right at him. She had a dead aim right in the center of his chest.
"Russell, get your stuff and get out of this house! The next shot I take won't hit the wall above your head!" she threatened.
Russell got up and dressed but he didn't pack anything. Instead he walked towards her, which caused her to take a few steps back.
"Russell! I'm serious! I will shoot you!" she warned and cocked the gun just to prove the point.
Russell was unmoved. He still kept walking until he was about six inches from the end of the gun.
"Put it down Sylvia. Put it down right now and no one is going to get hurt!" he hissed.
"I SAID GET OUT RUSSELL!" she screamed.
Russell in one quick fluid move grabbed the gun and the tug of war began. He was strong-but Sylvia was holding on to the anger and rage she felt. She held tightly to the gun even when he rammed the butt of it into her shoulder causing her to wince with pain.
"Do you know when I really got sick of you Sylvie? The night we got married. The only pleasurable thing about it all was the money you were going to inherit from your dear daddy and the fact you were a virgin! You were pretty enough but I've had a better time rubbing one out with my hand than screwing you!" he taunted as he pulled and tried to jerk the gun from her grip.
Sylvia felt her heart plummet. Her marriage had all been a lie! Her father had been right when he had claimed that Russell Wurley was only out for her money. He'd never loved her and and had never found her satisfying in bed. She felt tears prick her eyelids but she held fast! Russell seen the determination in her eyes and gave one big shove, to knock her off balance, and succeeded! Over the high railing she fell backwards until she hit the hard floor and then nothing.
Russell looked down at his lifeless wife and at first he felt shock....then panic which then transformed into joy?
ONE YEAR LATER
Bell Creek hadn't been the same since the death of their Sylvia. Since her death a year before, Russell had cut funding to the schools, the hospital, and the charities that Sylvia had been so proud of. Several small buisnesses had closed due to bankruptcy and it was a dreary place to be. When Sylvia had died, an outcry of foul play had been let out but the Sheriff's hands were tied seeing as Russell Wurley had air tight alibis. The jewel of the town had been the Eversole estate. That big fine home had made the small town look modern and dignified; now it just served as a cruel reminder of what had once been. The house was falling into ruin fast-out of neglect. Russell had parties and it was no secret he kept half the hookers in Spaulding county in high heels and lipstick. He had announced not more than a week ago that he was intending on opening up a gambling establishment and when the town council had rejected that, he'd simply said he'd open it up in his own home. There was little the law or the town could do.
"Russ, I think Banks is late with that shipment of shine." a bloated man said as he laid down his cards on the table.
Russell was too busy paying attention to the red head on his lap. "He'll get here. Why don't you go see if Delilah's done with Arnie."
"Ah, I'm tired of her, she stinks and I don't like fishin' in another man's sink hole, if you get my meanin'." the man said with a belch.
The night went on and on, and the rains from earlier began to turn into a storm. The lights flickered on and off and the wind had begun to pick up. It had been a few hours, and Russell heard a knocking and got up thinking it was Banks with the moonshine. He opened the door and then froze! Standing in the cold rain, with the wind whipping her hair, was Sylvia! Before he could even think, he slammed the door and squeezed his eyes shut and then peered out the window-nothing.
"I've got to get a hold on myself. There must have been something in that last jug of shine!" he mumbled to himself and then went to check his friends in the parlor and perhaps see if there was an available girl he could amuse himself with for a bit.
The lights were out, only the flicker from the kerosene lamps lit the room. Russell cursed and then grabbed some logs and built up a fire, and the room became illuminated. He turned around to speak to his friends, when a sick feeling gripped his stomach! He wanted to scream, but couldn't! He wanted to run, but couldn't! All he could do was clamp his hand over his mouth and tremble! The sight was horrific! His three friends were laying with their heads in their laps and their throats ripped open. The women's bodies lay much in the same fashion. On the wall, written in blood read : "YOU'RE NEXT RUSSELL!"
It was then that he ran out of the room and up the stairs to his room. He locked the door and grabbed the same shot gun that a year earlier he had fought Sylvia over. The house fell eerily quiet, and he watched the door. Slowly the knob began to turn...slowly the door began to shake. Russell aimed the gun, shaking.
"Russell, open the door sweetheart!" a eerie but familiar voice echoed.
"GO THE HELL AWAY! GET THE HELL AWAY! I GOT A GUN!" he screamed.
"Let me in." the voice echoed again.
Russell could only cry out for her to go away! The door began to shake more and the voice outside got louder and louder and it felt as if the whole house was going to shake itself into shambles. Russell almost fell to his knees in fear. Then -silence.
Russell didn't know how long he sat there clutching the gun. Minutes seemed like hours, and all he could hear was the pitter patter of the rain against the windows. Was it over? Had he dreamed it? Had he imagined it? He'd been to opium dens before and had some crazy times there, but nothing...NOTHING like this! He'd never been so afraid in all his life, as he was now! Then with a mighty quake and roar, the door exploded into pieces, the windows burst, and the fury of hell itself was standing before him!
Standing at the threshold, Sylvia stood in the blood red dress that she'd been buried in. The lace of the sleeves was a bit worn but that was it. Her face was a sickly shade of gray and white and her eyes were as red as her dress. She hissed and he coudl see the blackness of her teeth from the embalming no doubt. Her skin had places of decay in it and along her cheek he could see the bones and rotted tissue. Her nails were long and yellowed and her fingers bony.
"Why husband, aren't you happy to see me? Haven't you missed me?" her eerie voice called.
She circled him like a bird of prey, keeping her sharp red eyes upon him. She laughed when she saw the crotch of his pants grow wet and urine puddle at his feet. Sylvia grabbed him and whispered in his ear, "Am I pathetic now?"
"N-N-Nooo! Sylvie, p-p-please, let m-me go!" he cowered.
Sylvia just laughed and flung him to the ground, "Beg, beg for me to not kill you! Beg for me to go away and leave you in peace Russell!"
Russell began to sob along with shake, "Mercy S-Sylvia! P-please, d-don't d-do this! P-please! I-I-I'm s-sorry I h-hurt you! I-I didn't mean to k-kill you! I-I'll turn myself in, I'll leave town! Please just leave!"
Sylvia laughed, her voice shrieking almost. Russell covered his ears as tears streamed in rivets down his face. The last thing Russel saw was her hand plunging into his chest and ripping out his heart, that still was beating as she laughed.
"Grandma, Grandma tell us the story of the Lady in Red!!" a little girl piped.
An old woman sat in a chair next to a fire place rocking, "Oh honey, why do you want to hear that old story?"
"Mama says if I'm bad, the Lady in Red will come to get me!" the little girl exclaimed.
The old woman grabbed her up and sat her on her lap. "That is true in some ways. It's said that if you look up on the ridge and you see a lady dressed all in red, that sickness and death follow. To those who wrong the people of Bell Creek, it's said she reeks her vengence on them just like old Russell Wurley. So you better be a good little girl and not tell tales that aren't true, or the Lady in Red will come looking for you!"
The little girl shivered and snuggled close to her grandma, "Granny I ain't ever gonna steal no more cookies when mama isn't looking and I'm going to say two prayers every night and I won't fight with Nathan no'more! I'll be good granny!"
The old woman chuckled, "Oh child, that's just an old ghost story! You don't have to do all that, you just be a good little girl! Grandma will keep you safe and sound!"
The idea for this story came from an actual accounting. When my grandma's father would come down with one of his spells from an illness he had, he would see a "lady in red" before he would fall ill or sometimes when his fever would be upon him. For some reason, that always sent a shiver up my spine. So it was from that story that I created this one. I hope you like it and will comment.