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Back button | Home | Interactive | Story Time | Sally and the Wardrobe Children, Part 4
Added to website: 12 May 2010

SALLY AND THE WARDROBE CHILDREN

Part Four

by Peter J. Bottomley

 [Read Part One] [Read Part Two] [Read Part Three]

“Sally, Sally wake up” Paul shouted as he shook his sister.
    “What’s wrong? Leave me alone,” Came a sleepy answer.
    “You were talking in your sleep, in a funny voice as well,” Paul said to his sister as Dad came through the door to the attic bedroom.
    “What’s all the commotion? Its ten o’clock you guys should be fast asleep”. Dad whispered as he came in.
    “Sally was calling out in her sleep and woke me up”. Paul told his dad as Sally wiped her eyes and looked round at the other three people in her family stood in her bed room, as by now her Mum had arrived upstairs as well.
    “Why are you two boys up here?” Sue asked as she walked in to Sally’s room.
     Paul told his Mum that he heard Sally talking and couldn’t get back to sleep so he came up to wake her and heard her talking to someone called Sarah but in a different voice than Sally spoke in normally.
    “It was scary Mum” Paul liked that word `scary` it was being used a lot just lately at number 4a Victoria Terrace, Saltaire.
   “Well! You two boys go and get the cocoa warmed up in the micro wave and get the ginger biscuits on to a plate in the kitchen, and don`t eat them until we come down,” Mum said quietly as she cuddled Sally, “Go on!” she added sternly as Paul and dad just stood there looking at the girls sat on the bed.
   Silence, as they turned round and looked at each other then walked out and down the stairs to the kitchen.
    “Better do as we were told,” Paul said to his Dad
    “Come on son, it looks like the `things` happened again”.

    The ‘thing’ as Dad called it was the problems that Sally was having settling in to the new house. She had heard voices and smelt things before, but she had never talked in her sleep or call out.
    “She was talking to someone called Sarah? Dad asked
    “I heard the name Sarah and I think it was Sally talking but I didn’t hear much more that I could understand” Paul said “It was very mixed up talking as if two people were in her room but when I got there it seemed to go quite and it smelt foisty, didn’t you smell it when you came in to the bedroom Dad?.
    “No! I thought it smelt of talcum powder, like all ways but I think I could smell starch”. Dad replied to Paul’s question.
    “Starch! What’s that Dad?
    “It’s something people used to stiffen shirt collars and cuffs, they used it when ironing clothes to make them stiff, I remember the smell from when I was young like you Paul, it was mainly used years ago on clothes to make you look smart and tidy”.
    “YEARS AGO? Well that fits in with this old house, they probably used it here on girls clothes like skirts, petticoats and blouses, so if Sally was talking to someone called Sarah she could have lived here years ago and now Sally’s in her bedroom, it all fits together Dad”. Paul said as he stroked his chin trying to look old and wise.
    “Get lost! You’re just putting two and two together and getting five!” but Sarah, Sally and Sadie are all the same name meaning princess, that’s why we picked it when Sally was born, a little princess to us”. Dad stated.
    “A little princes? Come on Dad, Sally?
    “Just wait till they come down and we will have a drink. Then I will sleep in sally’s bed tonight and see if I hear anything” dad said as he warmed up the cocoa.
    “Do You Feel anything funny or strange when you`re in the attic Dad?” asked Paul, “Because I think there must be something going on, it just feels you know. Quiet as if someone’s watching you”.
    “Stop it! Your making me feel edgy cold, shush! Here they come” Dad said quietly as he heard the two girls coming down the stairs.
    “Here have some cocoa and a ginger biscuit” Dad said as the two girls sat down.
    “Thanks Dad, I need some my throat is very dry” Sally said as she put her hands round the warm mug.
    “We’ve had a talk, And Sally was talking to another girl in her room, it was a bit jumbled up but it was about dolls, books and sweets, just the same stuff  Sally has now as Sarah had then” Mum quietly told Dad and Paul as all four of the family sat at the table.
    Dad and Paul looked at each other and then looked up at the ceiling as if looking at Sally’s bedroom, they were both thinking the same, Mums gone daft as well but daren’t say it out loud.
    “So! How do you know all this, then?” Dad asked as he crunched a ginger biscuit.
    “Sally told me what she can remember and I think she’s telling me the truth, something must have happened before in this house and it’s nothing to be afraid of” Mum said.
    Paul just sat there saying nothing, the more he heard the more he got a funny feeling in his shoulders. Dad had his hands clasped and was biting his thumb nail, that was a sure sign he was worried as well.
    “Ok! I will sleep in Sally’s bed tonight, she can sleep in our bed with you Sue, so she will get a good night’s rest” Dad said in a shaky voice.
    “What about me? I might not be able to get to sleep as well” Paul added, but a look from Dad with one of his eyes shut and his head to one side told Paul to be quiet, so Paul just smiled at all of his family and got up with his cocoa and picked up three biscuits off the plate.
    “What, What? Paul said as the other three just looked at him.
    “You just eat the biscuits and then you’ll be straight off, I don’t think there’s much that will stop you from sleeping, you can sleep for England” Sally said and tried to laugh at her brother as he walked out of the kitchen.
    “Boys! Go on then sort out your pyjamas Tom and bring down Sally’s night dress, I’m ready for bed myself,” said Mum shaking her head.
   
    So Tom got in to Sally’s bed and started to read his book, good job it’s not a ghost story he thought to himself as he snuggled in to his own pillow because Sally had shouted up to him to swop pillows.
    The next morning dad woke up, stretched as he got up and looked out of the attic window. The sun was shining and the view over the canal, river Aire, Roberts Park and Baildon moor was very clear. What a lovely day for a walk up through Milner Fields he thought to himself. Then he got dressed and went down stairs.
    “Morning Dad” Paul whispered as Tom walked into the kitchen.
    “I thought you’d be up son, are the other two awake?
    “I haven’t heard anything yet” came the answer as Paul ate his cereal with a crunching sound, “Have a good sleep did you?” Paul asked in between mouth full’s.
    “Slept like a baby, I heard nothing “. Dad said
    “What! No lifting of floor boards, dolls crawling, funny smells, ghosts all the things that go with haunted houses. Nothing at all Dad? Paul whispered.
    “Stop it son, just because I didn’t hear anything doesn’t mean that it’s not happening, any way just be careful this morning with Sally EH? Dad looked at Paul with one of his watch it looks.
    Paul knew to do as he was told; the look from dad said everything. Just then mum came through the door.
    “Make me a cup of tea Tom please” she said as she sat down as well.
    “All Ok?”  Paul asked his mother as he filled up his cereal bowl again, “What, What?” he added has she gave him a funny look as well.
   “I see your OK son. What about your dad?” Sue asked in a worried voice.
    “He’s just there, ask him yourself Mum” Paul said with a laugh as he poured milk over the cereal and the table.
    “Wipe that up Paul” Tom said, “I heard nothing last night, it was very quiet, in fact I like it up there better than in our room”.
    “Well then! We’ll swop bed rooms” came a voice from the door way, it was Sally still in her nighty and dressing gown,                          “I’ve had the best night’s sleep since we moved in”.
    “Have some breakfast Sally then we will have a talk about the `thing` in the attic” Dad whispered to his daughter.
   
    Mum sat down with the other three of the Miller family and told them all she had found out about the house and the people who had lived in it before them. The names of the families that had lived in number 4a Victoria Terrace were all in the archive register, so after some searching Mum had wrote them all down and she had them in front of her, along with lots of other information about the Saltaire area. There were 8 families that had lived in the house but only three had owned it since it was first bought from a property trust in 1946, and the other 5 families had rented it when they worked in the mill for the Salts family.
    “So we want a family with a girl” said Mum “So here`s what I’ve found out, The Watson and the Ackroyd families only had one son each and lived here in 1900 to 1946. The family before them 1885 to 1900 were the Carters and they had two sons and a daughter who was 16 when they moved in and she worked at Salts in the spinning and her father was a weaving overlooker who had come from a mill in Copley, Halifax. The people who lived here before them were called Smith they had 5 children 4 boys and 1 girl called Kitty, so now we get to the best bit, these archives are very good,” Mum said to a very quiet audience of  the stunned Miller family.
    “Well then don’t leave us in suspense, Who lived here before the Smiths?” Paul cried out.
     “Yes come on Mum” Sally said as she finished her orange juice.
     “You like all this research stuff don’t you Sue? It’s getting very interesting, tell us the rest and put us out of our misery” Tom added while fidgeting on his chair.
    “Are you ready for the rest?” Sue asked an exciting voice.
Just nods came back from all three of them.
    “The Berry family lived here in 1867 and they first moved in when Albert the dad got a job in the mill as a foreman looking after the fitting of some new looms, and that family had a mother called Laura a housewife, a son called William a school boy who did gardening at the Congregational church when it was just being built and a daughter called Sarah a girl in the mill school.” Sue added.
    “What year did they move in? Sally asked rubbing her face.
    “1856 or 7! So they were the first people to live here when the Terrace was built” Mum told Sally,
    “So 150 years ago Sarah slept in my bed room?” Sally asked sounding a bit more awake and interested.
    “Yes! But in the next census in 1860, its bad news I’m afraid, Sarah isn’t there it’s just three Berry’s who are on the paper” Sue said in a sad voice.
     “Why, Why? Does it tell you where she is on the census? Sally in a faint voice.
     “No! But I did some more looking and found out some bad news, Sarah died in a sudden accident”. Sue said sadly, “I’m sorry to tell you but that’s all I could find out” she added.
    “Yes but I did some more research on the Halifax archive site” Dad added “and I found that a Sarah Berry daughter of Albert and Laura was buried in Rastrict cemetery in 1859 aged 10, from a accident, it doesn’t say what type of accident, but the family originally came from that area so it looks like Sarah was buried in the area where she was born.
    “How sad! Where are the rest of the family buried Dad? Sally asked in a very sad voice and wiped a tear away from her eye.
    “We are going to look that up today if we can Sally, so you two can help if you want” Mum butted in giving Sally a hug.
    “We can go the Nab Wood cemetery site and have a look there, a lot of people from Saltaire are buried there” Dad said hopefully.
    “OK!  Let’s get going the sooner the better we find anything out, it will help us” Paul whispered to Sally with a tear in his eye as well.
   
    So Sally and Mum went on the lap top and Paul and Dad went on the family computer in the kitchen. After lots of searching and lots of dead ends, Dad found the name Laura Berry wife of a Saltaire mill weaving overlooker, died 1871 aged 42 buried in Nab Wood.
     A family meeting was called to talk about anything interesting that had been found, Paul was very pleased with what he and dad had found, so what had the two girls got? He wondered. As the talk started over tea scones, a lot had been found out about some other things in the Saltaire area and the house number 4a.
    Dad told what he and Paul had found. Then it was the turn of the two girls to tell their findings.
    “Well! We got some information on this house and what happened to the people who lived here, such has what they did for work, when they moved out and when they died” Mum said as Sally just looked on sadly.
    So after all researched the archive material was put together, the full story of the Berry family was sorted out as best as it could be. Albert weaving overlooker died 1873 of Emphysema, Laura Berry died 1871of pneumonia, William Berry spinning manager moved to another house on Mary Street when his father died and the new tenants at 4a were the Smiths.
     “So it looks like the two men both ended up with good jobs at the mill” Sally said.
     “Yes they did, but we need to do some more research if it’s the same Sarah that sally was talking to in her sleep”. Dad added.
     After a long day Sally said she would sleep in her own room that night, but could everybody listen out just in case that anything happened in the night.
     “Sally can you draw a picture of what you see out of your attic window and put it under the floor boards to night” Dad asked.
     “Why?” she asked
     “So if Sarah picks up the boards she will see how Saltaire is today and notice the difference”
    “OK I will write a small message as well saying who I am and what I do, and see if any answers comes back, I don’t feel so afraid now that I know something about the history of our house” Sally said in a more cheerful way.
    “So is it going on forever or is it over to night, that’s the question?” Paul said as he stood up, “I’m off to play football and having tea at Sam’s house, so see you lot tonight bye every one”.
     Sally had an easy day listening to music and watching the tele, Mum got on with the washing and cleaning, Dad did some work around the house, and tea time came. Sally, Sue and Tom ate fish and chips and talked about all sorts but not about the `thing` as it was called. The evening seemed to pass very quickly, until there was a shout from the back door. I’m home; it was Paul very muddy and tired after the football match.
    “No need to shout son, you gave us all a fright” Dad called back.
    “I`m going for a shower and then doing some homework in my room” was the answer as Paul went upstairs.
     “Nothing upsets him, come on Sally lets sort you out for bed, Dad you can put the things under the floor while Sally’s having a wash” Sue said as she took Sally up stairs to the bath room just before Paul got in.
    “Hurry up in there, I need a shower, I smell of mud and sweat” Paul said as he knocked on the door.
    “Give us a minute” Sally called back, “you always smell even after a shower”.
     Sally yawned as she got into bed, “I`m very tired tonight Mum” she said as she lay down.
    “Good! You need a long sleep to catch up” Mum answered.
   
    Tom, Sue and Paul all went to bed after a short talk and a cup of cocoa, what the night would bring was nobody idea. Sue was asleep when her head hit the pillow, Tom read for a little but couldn’t concentrate on the story, Paul fell asleep straight away and was dreaming of scoring a goal for the school team and all his friends shouting his name, when he really did hear some shouting it woke him up.
    “What’s going on now?” he said to himself quietly, then he realised it was Sally talking up in her bed room; he got out of bed and went to the landing where he met his Mum and dad.
   “Shush!” said Dad “Lets listen and see what happens, Sally’s sleep walking and it sounds like someone else is there in her room”.
    “OH Tom, I hope Sally’s alright in there, for better or worse I want it over tonight,” Sue whispered.
    “Can you hear what’s going on Dad? Paul asked as Tom crawled up the attic steps very slowly.
    “Shhhh, Sally’s ok I can see her because her door isn’t shut fully, I think its Sally doing the talking but in two voices, she’s saying the two red wood trees are only small and there is no new mill over the canal, hold on a minute Sue” Tom said as his wife came closer.
    “Let me hear as well Tom” Sue said quietly as she sat down on the top step.
     “Ohhh! I don’t like this sort of talking to dead people” Paul muttered.
    Dad just put his finger over his lips and shook his head, Mum just looked white and her hands were clasped, they were trying to listen to the conversation going on in sally’s bedroom. One voice was talking about her family being somewhere else and not knowing where they were, the other voice which was Sally’s was talking about Saltaire and 4a, then the other voice said something about William and how did he go on at school and work.
     “That’s it William!, it must be Sarah Berry talking from 1859 or so asking about her family, she sound upset”. Dad whispered.
     “What do we do?” asked mum.
    “Just wait and see, I don’t think Sally’s in any danger, I don’t want to frighten either of them, and they just seem to be talking”. Tom said. “Wait a minute, what did Sally say then? I think she was saying something about sorting it out”.
    “Yes! Hold on she’s getting back into bed” Sue said.
    “Good, let’s see what happens now” Paul said looking to his parents sat in a huddle on the top attic step, “It all sound creepy and sad to me”.
     Then it all went quiet, Sally got back into bed, she was still asleep when Dad peeped round the door very quietly. Nothing was out of place as far as he could see but it felt cold and there was a foisty smell of starch.
      “She in bed asleep, what do you want to do Sue?” asked Tom
    “Just let her sleep and we`ll see her when she wakes up”. Sue answered.
    “What if she doesn’t remember what went on?” asked Paul.
    “We will sort it out later Paul, Go back to bed and see if you can get some sleep” Mum said to her son who was yarning.
    “Yes, come on Sue, I`m tired as well let us get some sleep too, it’s been a long night” Tom said as he came down the steps quietly, “We`ll have talk when Sally wakes up in the morning”.

 
 

 

 

   

 
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