Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)
TITLE: Pirates, Hidden Treasure and the Haunted House
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In 1801, my great, great, great, great grandfather, built this house. He had been a pirate ever since he ran away to sea and became a captain’s cabin boy. The ship was called the Black Raven… its captain’s name was…
“Electra, will you please stop telling that tale.”
“Aw…Dad. Why not? It sure beats the real story.”
“There’s nothing wrong with our family’s history, or this house. Don’t forget the reason why you were named Electra.”
Sandy, one of the girls at Electra’s pajama party, bounced off the bed. “Tell us, Mr. Chapman. We really want to know about your house…and your family.” The other girls joined in the pleading.
“Okay, you asked for it.” Electra took the popcorn from her father, pointed the bowl toward her desk chair where she had just been sitting and motioned him to take over the narration.
“Electra was right about the year…that’s when the house was built, but that’s where the truth finishes.” He waited for his daughter to join the three other girls cross-legged on her bed and watched her pass the popcorn round before continuing. “Basically, my father bought this house to save it from being bulldozed. The locals wanted it demolished for safety reasons. My father made an offer, bought it and renovated it. It’s been our family home since I was a boy. There are a few rooms that have never been restored but it’s stable.”
Sandy stared at nothing in particular. “You mean those rooms could be haunted?”
Electra burst out laughing. “You must be kidding.”
“Please continue,” one of the girls requested, her eyes focusing on Electra’s father and ignoring his daughter’s outburst.
“No, the house is not haunted—not that I know of. The rooms have just never been needed. There’s no great mystery, only the family who my dad bought it from, lost all their fortune and the house was left empty for years."
Sandy looked puzzled. “Is that it? Electra, I think it’s a great story. Okay, tell us Mr. Chapman how Electra got her name.”
“It’s not all that interesting,” Electra commented casually wriggling back against the bedboard and stuffing popcorn into her mouth.
Her father paused and took a moment to continue. “Electra’s mother was beautiful. She had red hair…”
“That explains your hair,” Sandy teased.
Electra pushed Sandy playfully off the bed, causing Sandy to squeal and the others to laugh.
“She died in child birth.” He continued unperturbed. A hush filled the room before he continued. “I didn’t know what I would do or how I would bring up our little girl on my own. I brought her back here to my family home where my parents helped until they passed away. Not only was Electra born with red hair but she looked like she had a shock and caused her hair to frizz. Her Grandmother named her. Electra’s hair lost its frizz but the name stuck. Her shock of red hair always reminds me of her mother.” He stood and left the room, closing the door quietly behind him.
The girls remained speechless. Electra climbed off the bed and placed the popcorn on her desk before anyone spoke.
Sandy followed Electra and stood behind her, hesitating before speaking. “You have never told me the real story, Electra. Why wouldn't anyone like the true story about your family and your home?”
Electra turned; her eyes were filled with tears. “I wish I knew my mother but I do know so much about her. Dad and my grandparents made sure I knew everything about her. Every birthday I tell my pirate story so I don’t get sad. I guess I didn’t realize until today, just how sad my dad gets.”
The girls gathered around their friend in support. “Your family sounds wonderful,” Sandy exclaimed. “Your family home is beautiful. Why don’t we get your dad to show us around?”
Electra smiled and wiped her eyes. “That’s sounds like a great idea. Maybe we’ll find some pirate ghosts or some lost treasure.” She took Sandy by the hand and led the girls from her room in search of an adventure.
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