I Do – Sample Chapter

January 16th

Jackson watched every night as Bryony tossed and turned in her sleep moaning softly, whispering the name Ronald. He wished he knew what was bothering her, to understand what was causing her so much pain. To find out who this Ronald was she was moaning about. Who was Ronald? Did they know a Ronald? He tried to think if they had come across anyone called Ron in their lives, but he could not think of anyone. He wondered if she had been seeing another guy and this is why she had been acting strangely. Did she want to be with Ronald? Did she regret agreeing to marry Jackson and this was her way of telling him that she did not want to go through with the wedding. Why was she continuing with the plans if she did not want to marry him?

Jackson could feel himself becoming distressed the more he thought about what was happening with Bryony. He was worried by how much she had changed in the past couple of weeks and the person she had started to become, her behaviour had changed dramatically but he had been patient and had not questioned her. It was torture watching her turn into this uglier Bryony, although it was not a term he liked to use lightly. She was making comments he did not understand and was acting as if she was fighting with herself at times, even seem to be scared of her own shadow, she was very jumpy.

He knew he had to ask her what was bothering her but he was afraid of the answer. Scared to know that he might not be the person that he wanted to marry anymore. He just wished she would have the courage to tell him the truth; that she would not lead him on. Jackson hoped that the stress of the wedding was the reason why Bryony was acting this way and that once things had started to come together she would return to the woman that he loved.

***

Bryony paced outside the door nervously; she could not believe that she had come here, that she was going through with this. She wondered if she was able to back out; if she was able to leave before her appointment. She was not sure if she should be here but she needed to talk to someone; someone who was not her fiancé, family or friends. She had found the person online and they had come highly recommended. Bryony was lucky to have called when she did as there had been a cancellation that morning and she was able to have an appointment.

But now she was beginning to think it was not a good idea to be there. She was worried that the councillor, Dr Hannah Anderson, would laugh when she explained why she was there. She shook that thought away. No they were not allowed to laugh or judge, they are there to provide advice and support no matter of the situation. And when she looked at some of the recommendations online, Dr Anderson was known for dealing with situations where paranormal activity was involved, which helped Bryony make her decision.

The door opened and a middle aged woman appeared. She was approximately 5 foot 7, medium build with shoulder length brunette hair that was curled and loose. She was wearing a dark grey suit with a pink undershirt and small heels. She created Bryony with a smile and stepped aside and let her into the room. Bryony entered the room and noticed it was not like she had expected it to be. Whenever she saw a psychiatrists office on the television she was always under the impression that it was a square room with white walls with a desk, couch and chair.

But when she walked into Dr Anderson’s office she was surprised to find that it was brightly painted yellow and green, had a large table in the corner that housed some flowers and a statue of a guitar. A purple couch, stuffed with various shaped black cushions, was in the middle of the room with a smaller black chair beside it. A large plant stood behind the door, its flowers brightening up the room. Bryony heard the door close and Dr Anderson approached her.

“Good afternoon Ms Carlson.” She held out her end to Bryony who shook it and smiled. Dr Anderson gestured to the purple couch and Bryony sat down. She made herself comfortable up against the cushions and watched as Dr Anderson sat down and opened her clipboard.

“Hi.” Bryony said quietly, continuing to look around the room as she did so. She was still thinking that she should have gone home when she did but she was unable to turn back now, she would have to spend the next hour telling a complete stranger what was bothering her. The reasons why she was there.

“So Bryony,” Dr Anderson started, “Would you like to tell me what has brought you here today?”
Bryony bit her lip and looked at her feet, she was not sure how she was going to even start answering that. She could not understand her self what was going on; how was she meant to tell a complete stranger what was going on in her life?

“It’s okay, Bryony. In your own time. I am not here to force you to talk, I’m here to listen.” Bryony took a deep breath and closed her eyes, this what she needed to do. “I have been seeing things, strange things.” She did not know what she was saying, she just needed to say it.

“There’s this woman, well I say woman, she is more of an apparition really. Anyway, she appeared to me in a mirror one day and told me that she had been murdered by her fiancé on her wedding day.” Bryony took a deep breath, now that she started she found that she could not stop, she needed to get it out no matter how crazy she sounded. “She took over my body, and my life and has started telling me that I have to help her, that I have to find her fiancé and make him confess to murdering her.” Bryony started laughing and she did not know why. “I mean how is that even possible? It sounds completely nuts right?” Bryony stared at Hannah and wondered if she was going to be escorted out of the building, instead she noticed that the Dr was writing notes and looked at Bryony.

“I think we need to go back to the start, Bryony, just so I can understand what is going on. Can you please tell me when all of this started?” So Bryony proceeded to tell Dr Anderson what happened when she had gone to visit the castle. As she spoke Bryony could feel Carolina’s presence close by, could feel that familiar feeling surrounding her. She knew that she was watching her; listening to her, wanting to know what was going on.

Dr Anderson continued to write notes as Bryony told her story, occasionally looking up and making eye contact with her. When Bryony had finished talking, Hannah put her pen down and looked at the woman sat on her couch. Bryony looked away, embarrassed that she had told someone what had been going on, thought that she would be put on medication to stop the delusions.

Hannah nodded and crossed her legs. “And has Carolina made an appearance lately?”

Bryony nodded. “She makes a regular appearance, and it’s getting very difficult to control when she is going to appear.” Bryony could still feel Carolina’s presence in the back of her mind and hoped that she would not make an appearance during the session. Although if she did, at least the doctor would know that she was speaking the truth, Bryony thought to herself. She took a deep breath and tried to keep Carolina pushed aside; she could not have her appearing. Even if she did Bryony realised that Hannah would not be able to tell it was her. Bryony was there to find answers, to seek help for her problem and she could not have Carolina taking over and compromising the help she needed.

“Are there signs to tell you when she is beginning to take over?” Hannah asked and Bryony nodded once again. She was thankful that Hannah was not dismissing her, that she was taking an interest in what was happening to her. That she had not shunned her and had made her feel comfortable and welcome in her office.

“I get these headaches.” Bryony said, instinctively rubbing at her temples. “Everything starts to spin, I get dizzy, lights seem to become brighter and noises seem to be louder. There is also a slight buzzing that I hear at the back of my mind and then I can feel myself become weaker and I fade away while Carolina takes over. It’s a quick process. One minute I am me, the next I am watching myself from the back of my mind. Watching as she lives my life.”

 

“Have you tried pushing that feeling away? To stop her from taking over?” Hannah continued to make notes and she was beginning to feel sorry for Bryony. She believed what the woman was saying, she was very open minded when it came to paranormal activity, and even had her fair share of encounters over the years. Although she had a range of clients that she counselled, she did prefer when a case involved supernatural intervention.

Bryony wished she could see the notes that were being written but she knew they were confidential and allowed Hannah to understand why Bryony was in her office. She wondered if she had used any words that described her as crazy; if she had written that Bryony should seek more professional help in order to get over this delusion she assumed Hannah probably thought she was having.

“I did at first, but then she started to become stronger and she was able to easily take control. She is able to hold objects and make me say things that I don’t want to say. I feel like I am a ghost when she is around, she makes me disappear and I am hidden away, pushed to the back of my mind. Made to feel like I don’t exist as she tries to ruin my life; my relationship.”

“Have you tried finding out about her fiancé?” Hannah turned the page in her notebook and did not stop writing as Bryony told her the events that lead to her being at the session.

Bryony sighed heavily. “Not yet I haven’t. I know I need to, she keeps telling me that I must look for him. But I am not even sure where to start. If I’m honest part of me still does not believe all of this is real you know? That this could not possibly be happening. But every time she takes over, I know that it is real. That there is someone, or something, possessing me. And I don’t know what to do anymore.”

Bryony could feel the tears starting to form but she swallowed them away as she did not want to cry in front of Hannah. She was already embarrassed that she was there, telling the woman that she had been possessed by a dead woman, let alone allowing herself to cry in front of her.

“I can understand your feelings, Bryony.” Hannah rested her clipboard on her knee and gave full attention to Bryony. “It must be difficult to be going through this and not knowing what to do. Possession is not an easy thing to cope with but I think that with a few sessions we might be able to deal with your problem. It is not going to be easy but if you want to continue with these sessions then I will happily try and find the best solutions to help you. But only if that is what you want.”
Bryony took a deep breath. She was thankful that Hannah was being so understanding, that she accepted what was going on but she was not sure if she wanted to have more than one session. She was hoping she would be able to find answers in this session. Part of her wished that after this one session she would be able to get rid of the ghost and continue with her life. She was definitely naïve. Did she really expect that things could go back to the way they were after one counselling session?

“There is no rush in deciding if you want more sessions now, I do not want to force you to have more if you are not ready to. If you want you can go home think about it and you can ring the office if you would like to book more sessions. This is just an initial session to see if you would benefit from any support from our services. Do not feel obligated to come back for anymore if you feel it is not something that you feel will help you.”

Bryony nodded her head in agreement and stood up, she could not believe had quickly an hour had gone and shook Hannah’s hand. She wished the session did not have to end, she felt she was getting somewhere and she was not ready to leave yet. “Thank you Dr Anderson. I feel that things are a little better already just by being able to talk about it.”

Hannah shook her hand back and then placed her hands neatly at her sides. “It’s no problem Bryony. People do not believe in the supernatural and are willing to pass off incidents that occur to them as everything but the supernatural, but most of the time there is paranormal activity involved. I believe this entity, we shall call her, possessed you because she was attracted to your soul, to your aura. Now I do believe that there is a way to help her move on with her life but it will not be easy, we would have to perform a ritual if she will not leave willingly. But as I said it is up to you if you want to have any more sessions. If not then I wish you all the best and I hope you are able to solve your problem.”

“Thank you again.” Bryony left the office and made her way out of the building. Her mind was spinning, she did not know if she wanted to continue with anymore therapy sessions but she was not sure she could go without not having anymore sessions either. She needed to help Carolina move on but she did not want to have to go through the process required in order to help her move on.

Bryony felt herself beginning to get a headache and she could hear the buzzing sounded softly. All she wanted to do was go home and lie down and try to take her mind off everything. Climbing into the car she could hear Carolina’s voice in the back of her head, she was laughing. ‘What did you hope to achieve there Bryony? That she would be able to make me disappear just after one session?’

Bryony wondered how long it would be before Carolina made an appearance. She could feel her presence while she was in the counselling session and she was curious how much she heard. Bryony drove home slowly and pulled up outside the house, sitting in the car she rested her head on the steering wheel and sighed heavily. She looked in the rear view mirror, and surely enough, Carolina was staring back at her.

“Why me? Why not someone else?” Carolina sighed in annoyance. She did not want to have this conversation again.

“We have discussed this before Bryony. Your soul is the one that I attached to. You are the one who is meant to help me to move on. No one else.” Carolina wished she had been able to attach to another soul sooner. Wished that she had not been stuck in limbo, having time to think about what happened to her. She had wanted to move on, wanted to forget what had happened to her. But it had not been possible, Bryony was the only soul that had allowed her to attach and leave the castle. And now she did not want to waste anytime in getting what she wanted and finally moving on.

“But surely there have been people who you could have attached to over the past fifty years, why did you have to wait for me to come along?” Bryony still hated herself for being so weak that she had allowed Carolina to attach to her soul. She felt that she had brought this upon herself, that she was being punished for something she had done previously. Why did the ghost have to attach to her? Why was she so adamant on ruining Bryony’s life?

Carolina sighed again. She was starting to lose patience with Bryony; she was asking too many questions. “I do not know why. I have tried to attach to people over the years and it has not been possible. I have always felt too weak to completely latch onto another’s soul but when you came along, I was easily attached to you, I don’t know why, I don’t understand these things myself either.”

“But I cannot have this happening to me. I am getting married in a few weeks, I cannot have you taking over my body all the time. I will help you. I promised I will but you need to give me some time and space to be able to do so. Jackson is already beginning to suspect something, and I cannot lose him. So please, just leave me alone for a couple of days and I promise that I will find a way for you to be able to move on okay?”

Bryony hoped that Carolina would understand her pleas. She really did want to help the woman but she also needed time to make sure her wedding was going ahead and that Jackson did not begin to think that she had mental health issues – issues that she had considered herself many times before she accepted the fact that what was happening to her really was happening.

Carolina nodded, although she did so reluctantly. “Okay, I will give you a couple of more days but you must make sure that you continue to help me. If not I will make sure that my presence is known once again, and this time it will not be easy on you. You have been pushing me aside for too long and I promise that I will not sit by and continue to let you to push me away anymore.”
Bryony was slightly scared at the tone in Carolina’s voice but was willing to agree if Carolina was giving her some more time. She knew she had been pushing Carolina aside but what choice did she have? She had a wedding to plan and could not afford to lose anymore time than she had already lost. And searching for Ronald would be a long task, and that was time that she was not willing to lose.

“I promise you Carolina.” There was desperation in Bryony’s voice. “I am not going to push you aside anymore. Just let me get my relationship back on track and continue with the wedding then I will try and find Ronald for you. I mean it this time.”

Carolina still had a look of annoyance on her face but she was willing to agree. This time. She was not about to give Bryony any more chances. She would not be ignored anymore than she had already been. “Fine. You will have a couple of days but remember, if you do not help me then I will make sure that you will know it.”

Bryony moved her head in agreement. “I got it.” She was becoming very frightened of Carolina. Frightened of the things that she was capable of, but she was thankful that she was agreeing to leave Bryony alone for a couple of days so that things could be normal. Or as normal as they could be.

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