Copyright Oggbashan January 2021

The author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

This is a work of fiction. The events described here are imaginary; the settings and characters are fictitious and are not intended to represent specific places or living persons.

This is a short story of a ghostly encounter.

+++

I was pleased to have bought The Jurat's House. It was a medieval building in an old town and large enough for me and a possible family. I could only afford it because it was cheaper than it ought to be because it was supposed to be haunted.

The old lady who had last lived there said she wasn't worried by the ghost of a crinolined lady who walked around the house at night. She felt that the ghost was a benign presence. But when the house had been owned by a man, the ghost was supposed to have been a problem -- unspecified, but a problem that caused the house to be sold and resold many times before the old lady bought it in the 1970s.

The story was that the ghost was that of a woman who had died on what would have been her birthday and Valentine's Day. Edith had been putting some of her birthday cards on the mantelpiece when she was startled by the family cat knocking an ornament over. Edith swung around suddenly, but she was wearing the largest version of the latest crinoline fashion with a large projection at the back. That crinoline had swept the small fireguard aside and the edge of the crinoline had touched the fire.

The crinoline cover and her dress were made of lightweight cotton and Edith was wearing cotton long-legged pantaloons underneath. The dress, the crinoline and the pantaloons caught fire and within seconds all her clothes were alight. Her family rushed in, alerted by her screams, but it was too late. Edith had third degree burns over almost all of her body and died within less than a minute. She was one of three thousand women in the UK who had died because their crinolines caught fire.

But why was she haunting the house as a ghost?

Her birthday, Valentine's Day, had been the day when her fiancé, Amos, was due to return on a short leave from the Crimean War. They had become engaged just before he set sail for the Crimea as an officer in the Heavy Dragoons.

Three years' later, on her birthday, they were to be reunited and to announce the date of their wedding to the family. Amos was due to arrive that noon. He did, to find that his fiancée had been dead for two hours. Within days, he sailed back to the Crimea and was killed while leading a cavalry charge.

Edith's ghost is still waiting for Amos. She prowls the house looking for him.

+++

I couldn't see the problem with a crinolined lady prowling my house at night. If she hadn't bothered the old lady, why should she upset me? I was already upset because my house purchase had been the last straw that ended my relationship with my girlfriend. Magda had wanted both of us to go on an expensive cruise to Antarctica. I couldn't afford that and buy a house and I saw getting a house as more important. Magda didn't agree, we argued, and now I am an ex-boyfriend but with a very nice period house.

I was sorry that Magda was history but I didn't see an Antarctic cruise as the earth-shattering experience Magda thought it would be. I had looked at the details and it seemed to me to have too many days at sea with nothing to see, and then a few rocks and penguins, and more days at sea -- for thousands of pounds? I would rather have had a couple of Mediterranean cruises for the half the price, not that I could have afforded them and the Jurat's House.

+++

I was feeling tired but contented. During the day I and some friends had moved all my belongings out of my rented flat in the Jurat's House. It was Valentine's Day, the day that the ghost is supposed to be most active. I was sitting on the Victorian Chaise Longue with a sixth glass of beer, looking at the open fire burning behind a spark guard and a large fireguard fixed to the wall with clips that couldn't be undone by small fingers. The fireguard was mainly for visits by my young nephews who would probably come at the weekend with my sister and her husband. Joe had offered to help me modernise the bathroom. I had the fittings but for the next few days I'd have to use the thirties bath. It worked but was chipped and stained.

I heard the rustle of clothing behind me. I stood up and turned around. There was Edith the ghost in her large crinolined dress. She would have been a tall woman by Victorian standards at about five feet eight inches. I bowed to her. She held out her skirts and curtsied, far more elegantly that I had ever seen a modern woman do.

"Hello Edith," I said, "I'm pleased to meet you."

"Are you? Most men are worried when I appear."

"Why, Edith?"

"Because I am waiting for Amos, and you're not Amos."

"No, Edith. I'm not. I'm Geoffrey, the new owner of the Jurat's House."

"And my landlord, since I am a tenant in your house, Geoffrey."

"If you're not a disruptive tenant, why should I be concerned?"

"Because I want more than most men are willing to give, Geoffrey."

"You do, Edith? And what do you want?"

"You know that the day I died was my birthday and St Valentine's Day?"

"Yes."

"What you don't know and only I, Amos and my father knew, was that it was going to be my wedding day. Amos had to return to the Crimea in a few days and he had a special licence. At two o'clock we were to be married, but I died at ten in the morning. That night was going to be the first night of our very short honeymoon."

Edith paused.

"And?" I prompted.

Edith pirouetted to show the size of her dress.

"I am wearing my newest and largest crinoline. In a couple of hours I was going to change out of the dress into my wedding dress. I would marry Amos and a few hours after that I was going to bury him under my crinoline while he took my virginity -- or would I be taking his? He was going to be my victim, struggling under yards of white satin as I rode him. Now I am a ghost, I can't marry. But I still want to lose my virginity by impaling myself on a man trapped under my skirts. Yet each time I come into a man's bedroom, in my wedding dress -- he runs away. It has been over one hundred and fifty years and yet I am still a virgin. A ghostly virgin perhaps? But a virgin and I want what Amos never had to time to give me -- a male erection to penetrate me."

"Is that possible, Edith? Can a ghost actually take a man inside her?"

"I don't know. No man has let me try. But..."

Edith walked towards me. I could feel the front of her skirt pressing against my trousers. How? I don't know but the skirt felt solid with a yielding crinoline underneath. She kept coming and the skirt dented until its folds were beyond me. Edith held out a hand and took mine. Her hand felt cool, not cold, and almost human. I put my beer glass down and wrapped my arms around her waist. It was a slim, trim waist.

Edith turned her face up to mine and we kissed. I shut my eyes. I could have been kissing any human woman. One of Edith's arms came around my head and pulled our lips closer. This kiss was sensuous and more passionate than any I had had from Magda. I was drowning in it.

When we stopped kissing we were both short of breath.

"Wow!" I said eventually.

"Wow, indeed," Edith said. "I didn't know if I could kiss a human. No one had ever let me get that close before. Now I have? I want more, Geoffrey please? Can you go to your bedroom and get ready for bed, please?"

"Yes, Edith. But I'll have to shave and shower. I've been moving furniture all day."

"OK, But be as quick as you can. I've been waiting over an hundred and fifty years..."

+++

Twenty minutes later, feeling foolish, I walked, naked into my bedroom. Edith wasn't there. I turned around and Edith walked through the doorway, her massive skirts compressing as she squeezed through.

She looked as worried as I felt. Her wedding dress was yards of white satin, spreading wide either side of her and a long way behind. Her shoulders would have been bare but they were covered in a white silk shawl. She was holding several lengths of white satin ribbon in one hand.

"Wait there for a few seconds Geoffrey. I'm going to get the bed ready for what I was going to do to Amos."

She placed four lengths of white satin ribbon across the bed.

"Now, Geoffrey, get on the bed and try not to disturb the ribbons."

I positioned myself carefully on the bed. Edith took the first ribbon, looped and tied it around my wrists and then knotted it in the chest of my chest. She tied the second ribbon around my elbows. My hands and arms were fixed by my sides. Edith leant over me and kissed me. I wanted to hold her. My futile struggles showed that Edith had tied me securely. The third and fourth ribbons went around my legs above the knees and just above my ankles.

Edith stood beside the bed and hauled up her dress before untying her pantaloons and letting them drop. She stepped out of them.

"Now you are nearly ready, Geoffrey, and so am I." Edith said. "Try not to be upset if in the next few minutes I accidently call you Amos instead of Geoffrey. I have wanted to do this to Amos for the last hundred and fifty years and in my excitement I might forget. Is that acceptable, Geoffrey?"

"Yes, Edith. I'm not Amos, but if you want to pretend I am, I won't mind..."

"Thank you, Geoffrey. This last part could make me believe you are Amos."

She took off her silk shawl. My eyes dropped to look at half revealed breasts poking out of the bodice of her gown. Those breasts came closer, tantalisingly closer but then Edith wrapped her shawl tightly around my head. I was hooded, blindfolded, and as Edith knotted the shawl, gagged, breathing her subtle perfume. A hand stroked my swathed head.

"And now..."

Edith climbed on the bed and straddled me. She arranged her massive crinoline so that the whole of my body was underneath it.

"Geoffrey, I'm delighted with you. You have cooperated possibly more than Amos might have done. I might have had to smother him between my breasts before he would have agreed to be my victim. And as for the other men who have been in this house? They all ran out of the bedroom and out of the house, sometimes stark naked. But you? You have let me do what I had wanted to do with Amos. You can't say you aren't Amos, can you?"

I tried to speak. All I produced was a grunt.

"Now just let me do what I have wanted to do for so long."

Edith rubbed her lower lips along my growing erection. Despite myself I groaned into the gag. She teased me for what seemed a long time but can only have been a few minutes before she raised herself and impaled herself. I gasped as much as I could behind the gag. I had expected some resistance but she slid herself down me until she had taken it all. Her muscles squeezed around me before she started to pump up and down. She brought me almost to the point of no return before stopping and letting me recover. She was shuddering as she went through a whole series of orgasms. As she moved, the crinoline rustled around me. I was completely hidden under the hoops and yards of heavy white satin.

At last Edith shouted "Yes, Amos!" as I came into her on her last downward thrust. I was panting through my nose as she slumped across me.

A few minutes later Edith unknotted and removed the shawl. I could breathe freely but I was in danger of being swamped by the lower hem of her crinoline. Edith's hands moved it aside so I was looking up at her between billows of white satin.

"Well done, Geoffrey, and thank you. I'm no longer a virgin."

Edith climbed off me. She shook out her skirts and looked at my flaccid erection.

"There's no blood on it," She said wonderingly.

"Do ghosts bleed?" I asked.

Edith pretended to hit me.

"It seems I can do everything else, so why didn't I bleed?"

She sounded worried.

"Edith? Did you ride a horse?" I asked.

"Yes, why?"

"Did you ride astride sometimes?"

Edith blushed.

"Yes. I shouldn't have done, but I did, many times."

"That's the explanation as to why you didn't bleed. I felt no resistance. That's because you had broken or stretched your hymen when riding. You were a virgin in that you had never ridden a man, but because you had ridden horses there was no obstruction to bleed."

Edith bent over me and kissed me.

"Thank you, Geoffrey. That is a relief. I thought it should have hurt. It didn't and now I'm not a virgin I want to do it again. I enjoyed it."

"You will have to wait a bit before I'm ready again, Edith," I said.

"And while we wait..."

Edith unbuttoned her bodice. I gasped as her breasts were exposed. I couldn't look at them for long. Within seconds Edith had pulled my head into her cleavage and I was blindfolded by warm yielding flesh. She wriggled around until an erect nipple pushed between my lips. I nibbled and sucked as she groaned. She held me tightly as she started to have orgasms again. I snatched a breath whenever I could. Eventually she relaxed and a finger gave me a pathway for my nose to breathe.

"That was nearly as good, Geoffrey. I wanted to do that with Amos but even when we became engaged the most I got was a kiss on my hand. That was frustrating. But now? I have a Geoffrey sucking my breast and soon I'll be riding you again. I feel married to you. As long as you live in this house? You're mine."

I couldn't respond. Edith was holding my head so tightly that my mouth was filled with her breast.

+++

Half an hour later Edith was riding me again. This time she hadn't shrouded me inside her shawl but her hands were pressing the hem of her skirt and petticoats across my face. She was smothering me until her hands moved to her naked breasts when she started to orgasm again. From time to time as her skirt thrashed around I was able to see her hands kneading her breasts. I would have like to do that too, but my hands and arms were still tied to my sides.

A few hours later Edith had untied me but I was still unable to reach her breasts. Her skirts and crinoline were much wider than the bed. I was lost underneath them. What I could do was grasp her naked buttocks and pull her further down on me. She seemed to like that.

+++

When I woke up in the morning I was disappointed that Edith had gone. I went downstairs and had breakfast. I had just moved my chair back from the kitchen table when Edith's skirt and crinoline came over my head and down my body. She pressed the skirt over my face.

"Got you, Geoffrey!" She exclaimed. "You're not getting away that easily."

She turned herself around so that my face was against her naked lower lips. I extended my tongue and her skirts and crinoline shook as I raised her to orgasm.

That night Edith hid me, unrestrained, under her day dress and crinoline. I still couldn't get my hands outside her skirts and was her victim for as long as she wanted me.

+++

Over the next few days I was never sure when Edith might cover me with her crinoline. Every time I sat down I could be imprisoned inside her massive skirts and petticoats until my tongue had satisfied her. Sometimes she would flip the back of her crinoline over me. My head was squeezed against her buttocks and her hands smothered me before she turned round for some more tonguing.

Each night I would be trapped under her skirts and crinoline while she rode me at least twice each night. Day or night, Edith's crinoline was a threat to me but I was enjoying being her victim.

+++

About two weeks later, Edith uncovered my face after she had ridden me in bed. She looked down at me.

"Geoffrey? You're fantastic and I love you for it."

"I love you too, Edith," I said sleepily.

"I'm a ghost, but my wedding dress isn't." Edith said.

"It isn't?" I didn't know what she meant.

"My wedding was to be a secret from my family. Only my father and Amos knew. So I couldn't have my wedding dress or trousseau obvious around the house. My father and I hid them in the Priest's Hole."

"The Priest's Hole? There isn't one!" I objected.

"There is." Edith laughed at me.

"But where and how? I had the house surveyed before I bought it. The surveyor found nothing."

"And nor did all the previous owners, Geoffrey, but it is there, and there is a present for you. Meet me in the attic room after breakfast and bring a torch. Until then, go to sleep."

I might have said something but Edith lifted her skirt and pressed it across my mouth. I went to sleep with my head shrouded under skirt and petticoats.

+++

After breakfast I climbed the stairs to the empty attic room. It extends the full width of the house and has chimney stacks at either end. Beside the chimney stacks are full height cupboards, I had opened all of them in the past. I opened them again. They were the depth of the chimney's masonry but completely empty, ending in a wooden back that I had tapped. They seemed to be against the brickwork of the outer walls.

Edith joined me.

"Open the cupboard on the right hand of the North chimney," She ordered.

I did. As before it was empty.

"You see the line of coat hooks at the back, Geoffrey?"

"Yes."

"Turn the one on the left a quarter turn clockwise."

It was very stiff. I was wondering if I ought to get a pair of pliers when it began to move. There was a loud click and the panel moved away about half an inch.

"Push hard," Edith ordered.

I had to put my shoulder to it. As it began to move I saw that the door was lined with a complete layer of bricks. Beyond was another door with a conventional handle. I opened that. Edith followed me. I was puzzled that she pushed the false door shut behind her. It took her some effort.

Beyond the second door I entered a room lit from a long low side window. It was the width of the attic room and about ten feet deep. There was a large bed, a couple of chairs, a table and a wardrobe.

"This is the Priest's Hole, Edith said.

She walked across to the large wardrobe and opened the door.

"And here is my wedding dress."

The mass of white satin was inside an enormous cotton bag. Underneath it was a wooden trunk.

"In that trunk are the items of my trousseau, but -- if you look beside the trunk you will see a small chest."

I could see it. I tried to pick it up. I couldn't. It was too heavy. I slid it out of the wardrobe onto the floor. There was a key in the lock.

"Open it, Geoffrey."

I turned the key and lifted the lid. Inside on a fitted wooden tray, was an envelope, unsealed. I eased the letter out.

It had been written by Edith's father. I read it aloud. It said.

"Today, this morning, our Edith died on what would have been her wedding day. In my grief I cannot see the future but in this chest is what would have been Edith's dowry. I had intended to give it to Amos when he and Edith married. I am too shocked to do anything today so I will just leave it here with her wedding dress and shut the door of the room. Maybe, in a week or so I will decide, with Amos, what to do."

It was dated Valentine's Day and signed.

Below that was a date three months later.

"Amos is dead too. I wish I was with them but I'm not and have to live with my grief. But Edith's ghost haunts this house and tries to comfort me. I wish I could give her peace. I can't. Perhaps someone in future can make Edith's ghost happy, happier than her grieving father can. But as you are the new owner of this house, whoever you are, the contents of the chest are for you. Say a prayer for Edith, her Amos, and her bereft father, if you can, and use the money for this house so it is always here for the ghost of Edith."

The signature was the same but very shaky. There was evidence that tears had smeared the writing.

I stood up and hugged Edith who was crying. I kissed her gently and just held her.

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