Many groups went Private, not because we were talking behind closed, but the person was so paranoid we were, they sent friends to any new/ private which started to find out what was going on. Naturally, we weren't talking about them. all we wanted was somewhere to talk without being spied on.
A group of friends decided to bring out a book about the goings on, and send the money from sales to a children's charity. I don't know what happened as I had to leave owing to on line bullying.
This is the story of how someone's blindness to the facts,blurred their view of reality.
All my ghost stories are for sale on B&N
GHOSTS DON’T DANCE
Carolann and James made the perfect couple, she with her auburn hair tied in bows and looking pretty as a princess and James, proudly by her side with his dark brown hair swept back. Gaily they danced the night away under the moonlight, their love clear for all to see as they glided across the dance floor
Their best friends had been invited to the house that April evening to hear an important announcement; many had an idea it might be an engagement as the couple had been close friends since childhood and played in the fields; she was the princess and he had been her beau back in the halcyon days of childhood dreams. The music rang out across the floor as the orchestra played music from Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Schubert, Mozart and Bach.
In late spring, with the windows open the scent of honeysuckle drifted through the thin curtains of the windows as the ladies took the hands of their gentlemen companions for waltzes and foxtrots. The night was filled with the joyous laughter of the young at pleasure, all the ladies’ hearts a flutter with the expected news as the evening turned to dusk and the heavenly aroma filled the air.
The group danced the evening away, the ladies looking resplendent in all their beauty, and their beaus feeling so proud of them. Angela looked radiant in her blue dress with gold trim setting off her blonde hair and Geraldine in a yellow dress with green edging swirling across the floor like an angel with her black hair flowing over her shoulders. Friends from school -- they had grown together -- a bond once tied and never forgotten.
The light of the late spring sent tangents of gold across the floor as the men took the ladies’ hands and lead them for a waltz -- always the favourite of the ladies as it showed one had been raised correctly
The soft trill of the birds calling their young home filled the air as the music died away for a moment and the dances stopped at the behest of Carolann, “Friends, I have some good news to tell you,” she started as the buzz of excited chatter grew over the crowded floor. Her pause was not for effect, however, and for once the usually boisterous Carolann found herself at a loss for words.
Geraldine took Clive’s hand and let him escort her to a chair, “Do you think James proposed to her?” she asked her close friend.
Clive, who was looking dashing in his uniform, said, “I am at a loss as I haven’t had a chance to talk to James for over a week, and Carolann changes the topic if I ask her.”
Not far away David and Angela were having a similar discussion as she said, “I think they would make a perfect couple, don’t you?”
David, who had not been as fortunate as Clive and had been refused entry to the Army owing to a childhood accident, replied, “I am sure if they choose to get married, we would be among the first to be told, but I sense something is in the air.”
“What makes you think that?” Angela asked.
David continued, “The way she paused, normally she is so good at talking, if the news is about their engagement, you would expect them to be together and excited but look at them.”
Angela glanced at James, who appeared to be nervously turning his glass in his hand if waiting to say something but didn’t know how to put his words into action, which was unusual for him. He was usually sure of his position in the group, and yet here he stood on the edge, as if trying to be accepted by them.
Clive glanced at James and said, “What is the problem, old man, you appear vexed by something?”
James wandered over to Clive and a look of anguish fell across his face. When he was close enough to talk but out of earshot of the ladies, he replied, “We have something to tell the group, and I don’t know what to say or how to say it.”
Clive took him aside and commented, “I always find the best way to handle delicate matters is to come right out with it, that way people can understand where you stand on the matter.”
James patted his friend on the shoulder and replied, “Forever the diplomat, it’s easy to understand why you went into politics, Clive.”
Clive laughed, “Either that or the cavalry and you have seen my riding expertise.”
James glanced over Clive’s shoulder at the dance floor and replied, “Yes, that was something of a farce.”
Intrigued by the way his friend remained watching the dancers, Clive turned to view the scene, “Are you waiting for somebody to arrive? You appear to be observing the group closely, old man.”
James turned and as he did, Clive saw the tear form in the corner of his eye, “What’s wrong?” Clive asked gingerly.
“I was setting the scene in my mind and noting how pretty the ladies are tonight and how regal the men are in our uniforms, thinking of the time ahead and the idea we may not be together again as a group,” James replied.
Clive put his drink down and sat at the table as he said, “I’m not sure what you mean, old boy, of course we shall be here next year.”
James walked across to the table and sat beside his friend, “You think we invited you here to savour the evening and hear the news of our engagement, didn’t you.”
Clive took a moment to get his senses back before he replied, “To be honest, yes. What other reason could there be?”
James gripped the table and said, “Sadly, we have bad news to tell you, too, but for now we can let the ladies enjoy this evening in all its beauty. Soon, I fear memories are all that will remain with us of tonight.”
This news shook Clive. James had always been a cheery, optimistic type, and Clive was at a loss as to what caused this change in his friend. The pair rose and walked to the window overlooking the lawn, with its beautiful expanse of greenery edged with beds of Marigolds. It looked a dream.
In the far corner, Carolann held court with her friends; she trusted James with breaking the bad news after she told their guests the happier news. James was sure she had not mentioned their news as the ladies were giggling and laughing.
David appeared to be wandering aimlessly among the friends, but his keen eye picked up on the fact that James and Carolann were not together on what should be their happiest night. This was not only because Clive and James had moved to the window to view the lawn. The couple at the centre of the evening kept their distance from each other, a fact the others had noticed but not mentioned in conversation. David had seen the way James kept glancing at Carolann and the slight shake of her head in reply to his glance; obviously they had planned to do something, and she needed to prepare herself for the start of the proceedings.
James was nervous and kept glancing across to Carolann, waiting for her signal, A gentleman allows a lady to speak first when her news is full of happiness, he thought, even if the wait is becoming too much.
Finally, Carolann decided the time had come to break the silence, and she took her pardon from Angela and Geraldine before making her way to the centre of the floor. As she stood there alone, she took a final sip of her drink and started to tell her news, “My dear friends, I am sure you have some idea why we invited you here tonight. The news is James has asked for my hand in marriage and I have accepted. We were planning on going out to the country house later in the month for a big party on the lawn.”
David noted what had been said, but waited to see if anybody else had truly listened, for now he stayed silent in the background. To him, it appeared the news of the engagement had taken over the meaning of the evening or the others knew more was to come but decided to enjoy their time together and let the later news arrive when James told them.
The room burst into cheers and laughs as the group hugged Carolann and shook hands with James, but James appeared lost in his own world. The friends laughed and giggled at the news of the joyous event to come, and as they glanced out of the windows and saw the world of nature around them, all appeared to be going well for the group. Yet in the background, James lurked as if not sure when to say his news.
David could sense his tension mounting and crossed the room to James, “I sense you have important news for us,” he said as he approached his friend.
James, who had been lost in his own world, was startled and said, “Yes, I am waiting for the moment, but I didn’t wish to spoil Carolann’s joy, even though she knows my news.”
The tremor and sadness in James’s vice was evident to David. What was this news? He wondered as he watched his friend sip his drink, looking like a man who knew his days may be numbered.
James looked across to his love and saw she was busily chatting away like a bird in the spring air, and he didn’t have the heart to spoil her moments of joy, “She is so pretty and clever even enough to hide her pain,” he thought as he viewed Carolann talking to her friends
The evening went on and nobody other than the lovers knew what lay behind the invitations, although Geraldine was beginning to suspect something. James couldn’t help glancing at Carolann, and it wasn’t a lover’s glance, this was the glance of a man who was waiting to tell something and was waiting his cue. The group danced the night away and finally, the players left for their homes. The hall was empty, and David had taken a seat by the window, where he was joined by Clive and Angela.
Clive saw the inquisitive look on his friend’s face and asked, “What is wrong, David?”
Turning to face his friends, David replied, “James has something to say, and I don’t think it is good news, Clive.”
Angela took the seat opposite David, as Clive remained leaning on the wall and said, “I thought I detected an air of tension when I came in; I wonder what is wrong.”
David smiled and took her hand, “Dear, sweet Angela, you always could pick up people’s feelings easily. I have an idea what the news will be, but I’ll let James have his moment too -- it is only right.”
Geraldine and Carolann came over to join the group, as the friends gathered by the window with the sweet smells of the herbs on the wind and the sounds of the birds from the lakes. Nothing could have appeared more peaceful to the outsider. But for the group gathered inside the hall, the tension mounted as Carolann said to James, “I think now would be the time to tell our friends your news, love,” and with this she gave him a hug and a kiss.
James held Carolann close and kissed her on the cheeks; slowly he rose from his chair and started to speak, “I decided to let my news wait for the end of the evening. This way we can leave the house with the memories of a gloriously splendid evening in our minds and not have to think too hard that this might be our last meeting.” As he finished the first part of his talk, tears started to well in his eyes. “Excuse me for crying on such a lovely night, but I want to remember you as you are. Last week, I got my marching orders and at the end of next week, I’ll be taking a battalion to the front. From reports I read, the war isn’t going our way and my battalion will be sent into action at a vital section.”
Geraldine moved closer to Carolann and gave her a big hug, “You knew of this, and yet you didn’t let it spoil our evening. You are braver than I imagined. I’m not sure I could have put the party on, let alone kept such a charming demeanour.”
David leaned forward and said, “I don’t suppose they told you what to expect?”
James took a large swallow and downed his drink in one mouthful, “On the contrary, I was told exactly what we’re up against and why the position must be held at all costs. The position is between the 5th Highland Regt and the 16th Regiment of foot and, if it falls, the enemy can send in a cavalry charge and cut our troops off. That is why the area has been shelled continuously for the last week and HQ thinks there is nobody alive in our trenches. Our task is not only to block the gap but to hold it long enough for a counter-offensive push in a month or two.”
Clive moved from one side of the window to the other and turned, “Do you think you have a chance of holding the position?”
James put his glass on the window ledge and replied, “Not even a slight one. The position is almost destroyed, and we are going in as cannon fodder. If -- and it’s a big if -- anybody does survive it will be a miracle. I was at the docks when the last troops came back, and the sight of so many young men with broken bodies and missing limbs was so horrible, I cried and I am not ashamed to admit I did. Here is our youth, men who should be tilling the fields or working in the mills to feed their families, coming home wrecked, many of the men looking as though they had aged beyond their years and most with a far away look, as if they were still fighting over there.”
Sensing a new feeling of loss in Carolann, James said to her, “I have a lot to do, love and I probably won’t see you before I leave; I wished the party didn’t have to end this way.”
Clive glanced at the gathering friends and replied, “I have heard stories of things like that, but I didn’t know how much truth to put in them. It appears they are true and so sad.”
David re-joined the conversation as he said, “I’ll be going to join the regiment too as a reporter for the journal.”
The ladies joined the men by the window and as the group looked out at the beautifully calm scene of the placid pond and the dragonflies skimming over the top of the water, Geraldine said, “Do you think this will be here, when we get back?”
Angela replied, “The house and grounds will remain, but in what state? That is the question and how will we be effected by what is happening to our world? I shudder to think of the consequences, but fight we must, to defend our lives.”
The group said their goodbyes and left the house as Carolann walked up the stairs to her room. A room with a view overlooking the vast expanse of the lawns and sat in her chair, watching as the owls flew across the night skies, their wings swishing silently as they caught the moonlight glints of silvery light, Please come back, she said in silent prayer to an empty room.
The week without her love went slowly for Carolann and she knew he was set sail this morning. She went to see if she could see his ship setting off and give him a wave, but there were so many ships and such a lot of movement, it was impossible to see a thing, so she blew a kiss to all the men and went back to her empty house.
News from the front was scarce and sporadic, most coming from soldiers and seamen on leave or coming home injured and delirious with pain. The official line was that the gap where James was sent had been plugged, and the army was ready to mount an attack. The truth came out slowly from the injured and dying men on the hospital ships and the docked ships full of bloodied bodies -- the gap had been shelled until the ground was strewn with the bodies of the dead, to the extent no bodies could be claimed and the supposed charge to relieve the gap had been repulsed at a heavy loss of life. Small pockets of soldiers remained fighting, but it was only a matter of time before they were massacred as the enemy overran their isolated foxholes.
Months later, a bedraggled David was walking up the broken path to the house, his only support a broken crutch on which he hobbled. His left leg, blown away at the knee, was laid bare.
Carolann ran out the door to meet him, “David, it’s so nice of you to come in and meet the group; we can enjoy an evening of light music again.”
David hobbled up the few steps to the door and almost fell down; the pain wouldn’t stop and he found the morphine wearing off. Looking around, all he saw was dust devils dancing in the light and broken glass littering a dusty floor.
“Can’t you see James and Clive by the window and Angela and Geraldine laughing gaily at their jokes, and how the band plays Schubert?” she called as she danced across the room.
He dusted a seat and sat down to take one final look and remembered the days when the group had gathered together, and he said, “Carolann, we are alone. There is nobody here and no music to listen to.” Getting back up on his broken crutch, he hobbled to the doors as she danced merrily away, singing to herself. “Poor little thing, their deaths hit her harder than anyone imagined, she is locked in that moment now,” he muttered as he closed the door and walked down the path for the last time.