This poem is a bit different from what you might expect from me. It’s what comes from reading too many romances and ghost stories, I suppose. In any case, I hope you enjoy it.

  The Witching Hour
 Like the heroine of a Gothic novel,
 she roams the night searching
 for something she isn't sure exists
 with only a dim candle to guide her way.
 The air thick with the lemon oil
 that polished the banister
 and the stairs creak with each step.
 The rhythmic ticking of the pendulum  
 on the ancient grandfather clock
 calms the frantic beating of her heart,
 but it is a false tranquility that shatters
 when on the chimes bong.
 Three o'clock. The witching hour.
 She gasps and grips the candle tighter.
 She doesn't believe in witches,
 but ghosts are another matter altogether.  
 When she was young they spoke to her
 and played hide and seek in the big old house.
 Her mother laughed at her wild imagination;
 her father only shook his head,  
 resigned that he would never understand women.
 She wasn't a child any longer
 and the voices had been silent  
 for so long she'd started to believe her mother
 was right and it was just her imagination.
 Until today when she walked the halls again,
 studying the old paintings that lined the walls,
 and was drawn to the man with eyes as green
 as the velvet coat he wore.
 She remembered those eyes in the face of a boy,  
 a boy who always found the best hiding places.
 She fell asleep thinking of the boy  
 and the man in the green velvet coat.
 The rain pelting against the window woke her
 and lightning cast shadows in the room.
 The door she remembered closing was ajar.
 How could that be when she was alone in the house?
 Now here she was creeping along dark halls
 with no protection save the candlestick she held.
 She followed whispers, unsure  
 whether they were dreams or the wind.
 When she reached the bottom of the stairs
 lightning flashed and thunder cracked together.
 Illuminated in that instant  
 she saw the man in green velvet
 and heard him whisper in her ear,
 “Welcome home.” 

~Elise Skidmore © 2021

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    1. Thank you, Lucille. I’m actually reading a book at the moment called “A Stitch In Time” by Kelley Armstrong that sort of inspired this poem. I’m not that far into it but the premise got me thinking and this poem came out of it. You should give it a try. I’m sure the author goes into much more detail than I could manage in a poem or short story, but as always, I thank you for your support and praise.