Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

Premonition - The Other Mrs Johnson By Peter Collins

The terrified screams would have been loud enough to send any concerned parent rushing to their child’s room in blind panic. But in a rundown children’s home in South London, they just earned a bang on the door and irritated shouts of ‘Shut up!’

Anna sat up in bed gasping for breath, sweat plastering her long fair hair across her face and forehead. It took a few moments for her to realise where she was and then slowly her pulse and breathing returned to normal.

In the dream she was meeting her adoptive parents for the first time. Mr Johnson wore a crisp white shirt under an immaculate blue suit. He was tall and handsome with well-groomed dark hair and a cheerful smile. He shook Anna’s hand quite formally. Mrs Johnson was simply too beautiful for words. Slim, blonde and petit, her smile lit up her whole face and when she bent down to give Anna a hug she smelled of lavender. Anna sat beside her in the gleaming red car that took them to the large house behind a white picket fence

‘Welcome to your new home, Anna,’ said Mrs Johnson, opening the door. Her lips parted in a smile. Anna smiled back and then looked in horror as Mrs Johnson’s smile continued to grow. Her lips parted wider and wider until the skin peeled back to reveal the blood, sinew and muscle beneath. The dripping flesh began to disintegrate until only a bloody skeletal face remained. As Anna recoiled in terror, Mr Johnson leaned forward and took a lock of the young girl’s hair in his mouth. He sucked at it as if savouring its taste and then he too began to smile. His face dissolved like his wife’s until his bloody skull slowly emerged through the skin and tissue. Anna covered her face with her hands and screamed. Between her fingers she could see the two skeletal figures reach for her hands and she heard one of them whisper, ‘…and now we feast!’ Anna had screamed and screamed in terror until she finally awoke from the nightmare.

Sister Alphonse was characteristically stern with her over breakfast.

‘The social worker is coming to finalise your adoption, young lady, but nobody is going to want a child that screams like a banshee. Do you understand?’

Anna knew enough simply to nod and say, ‘Yes, sister.’

Anna was with the social worker in Sister Alphonse’s office when the red car turned into the driveway. The attractive blonde woman had barely stepped out of the car when Anna began to tremble and twitch. As Mrs Johnson turned to face the building the first screams rang out. The social worker looked at the terrified child in bewilderment. She was afraid that the new adoptive parents might simply turn around and go home. So she was relieved as the elegant young woman turned to her husband and they both slowly began to smile.

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