Amelia checked the address on her phone again. She was sure this was the place, but it looked nothing like the picture she had seen online. The pub was supposed to be a quaint and cosy establishment, with a thatched roof and a sign that read "The Windthrope Inn". Instead, she saw a dilapidated and dark building, with boarded-up windows and a sign that hung crookedly from one rusty nail. The only thing that indicated it was still open was a faint light that flickered from behind the door.


She parked her car on the side of the road and got out, clutching her bag that contained her laptop, recorder, camera, and other tools of her trade. She was a journalist and a paranormal investigator, and she had come to Althrope to look into the report of a haunted pub. She had read about it on a website that specialized in ghost stories and urban legends, and she thought it would make a good article for her blog. She had contacted the owner of the pub, a Mrs. Windthrope, who had agreed to let her stay there for a night and conduct her investigation.


She walked towards the door, feeling a chill in the air. It was late October, and the night was dark and silent. The only sound she heard was the crunch of leaves under her feet. She reached the door and knocked, hoping someone would answer. She waited for a few seconds, but there was no response. She knocked again, louder this time, but still nothing. She tried the handle, and found it unlocked. She pushed the door open and stepped inside.


The interior of the pub was as gloomy as the exterior. The light came from a single bulb that hung from the ceiling, casting shadows on the walls. The floor was covered with dust and dirt, and the furniture was old and worn. There was a bar at one end of the room, with bottles of liquor lined up behind it. There were a few tables and chairs scattered around, but they looked like they hadn't been used in years. The air smelled stale and musty, and Amelia felt a shiver run down her spine.


She called out, "Hello? Mrs. Windthrope? Are you here?"


There was no answer.


She walked further into the pub, looking around for any signs of life. She saw a staircase that led to the upper floor, where she assumed the rooms were located. She decided to go up and see if she could find Mrs. Windthrope there. She climbed the stairs, which creaked under her weight. She reached the landing, where she saw four doors, each with a number on it. She tried the first one, but it was locked. She tried the second one, but it was also locked. She tried the third one, but it was locked too. She tried the fourth one, and it opened.


She entered the room, which looked like it had once been a cozy guest room, but now was in disrepair. The wallpaper was peeling off, the carpet was stained, and the bed was unmade. There was a dresser with a mirror on top of it, but the mirror was cracked and dusty. There was a window that overlooked the street below, but it was covered with curtains that were torn and faded.


She walked over to the window and pulled back the curtains, hoping to get some fresh air. But as soon as she did so, she gasped in horror.


There, on the other side of the glass, was a face.


A pale and ghastly face.


A face that stared at her with wide eyes.


A face that smiled at her with rotten teeth.


A face that belonged to Mrs. Windthrope.


Amelia screamed and stumbled back, dropping her bag on the floor. She couldn't believe what she had just seen. Was that really Mrs. Windthrope? The woman who had invited her to stay at the pub? The woman who had sounded so friendly and helpful on the phone? How could she be here, on the other side of the window, looking like a corpse?


She ran to the door, hoping to get out of the room. But as she reached for the handle, she heard a click. She tried to turn it, but it was locked. She was trapped.


She banged on the door, shouting for help. "Help! Help! Let me out! Someone, please!"


But there was no answer.


She looked around the room, searching for another way out. She saw a fireplace, but it was blocked by a metal grate. She saw a closet, but it was locked too. She saw a lamp, but it was unplugged and useless.


She felt a cold sweat on her forehead, and her heart was pounding in her chest. She was terrified. She had come here to investigate a haunted pub, but she had never expected to encounter something like this. She had seen and heard many strange things in her career, but nothing as horrifying as this.


She wondered if this was some kind of prank, or a trap. Maybe someone had set this up to scare her, or to harm her. Maybe Mrs. Windthrope was not who she claimed to be. Maybe she was working with someone else, someone who wanted to get rid of Amelia for some reason.


But who? And why?


She tried to calm herself down, and think rationally. She needed to find a way out of this situation. She needed to contact someone who could help her. She needed to get away from this place.


She remembered her phone, which was in her bag. She reached for it, hoping it had some signal. She picked it up and turned it on.


But as soon as she did so, she wished she hadn't.


Because on the screen, there was a message.


A message that read:


**Welcome to The Windthrope Inn, Amelia. I hope you enjoy your stay.**


**You are my guest tonight. And you are not going anywhere.**


**Sincerely, Mrs. Windthrope**


Amelia felt a surge of panic as she read the message on her phone. She couldn't believe what was happening. She was locked in a room with a ghost, who had somehow hacked her phone and was taunting her. She felt like she was in a nightmare, and she wanted to wake up.


She tried to call someone, anyone, who could help her. She dialed 999, hoping to reach the emergency services. But as soon as she pressed the call button, she heard a voice.


A voice that came from her phone.


A voice that was cold and cruel.


A voice that said:


"Hello, Amelia. Did you miss me?"


It was Mrs. Windthrope.


Amelia dropped her phone in shock, and it fell to the floor with a thud. She backed away from it, as if it was a snake. She heard Mrs. Windthrope's laughter coming from the speaker.


"Did you really think you could escape me, Amelia? Did you really think you could call for help? Don't you know that I control everything in this pub? The doors, the windows, the lights, the phone. Everything."


"What do you want from me?" Amelia asked, trying to sound brave.


"I want you to stay with me, Amelia. I want you to be my friend. I want you to listen to my story. The story of how I died. The story of how I became a ghost."


"I don't want to hear your story. I don't want to be your friend. I want to get out of here."


"You can't get out of here, Amelia. You are my guest tonight. And you are not going anywhere."


Mrs. Windthrope's voice changed from mocking to menacing.


"You see, Amelia, I have been lonely for a long time. Ever since my husband died, and I took over this pub. Ever since the villagers shunned me, and spread rumors about me. Ever since I killed myself, and became a ghost."


"You killed yourself?" Amelia asked, feeling a mix of fear and pity.


"Yes, Amelia. I killed myself. I hanged myself from the ceiling fan in this very room. And do you know why?"


"Why?"


"Because I was bored, Amelia. Because I had nothing to live for. Because I had no one to talk to."


Mrs. Windthrope paused, and then continued.


"But then you came along, Amelia. You came along with your curiosity and your courage. You came along with your interest in the paranormal. You came along with your desire to write about me."


"I didn't come here to write about you. I came here to write about the pub."


"That's not true, Amelia. You came here to write about me. You came here to find out the truth about me. You came here to uncover my secrets."


"What secrets?"


"The secrets that are hidden in this pub, Amelia. The secrets that are buried in the walls, in the floorboards, in the cellar. The secrets that are waiting for you to discover them."


"What are you talking about?"


"You'll see soon enough, Amelia. You'll see soon enough."


Mrs. Windthrope's voice faded away, and the phone went silent.


Amelia felt a chill in the air, and she looked around the room.


She saw something move.


Something in the mirror.


Amelia stared at the mirror, feeling a surge of dread. She saw something move in the reflection, something that was not there in the room. Something that looked like a shadow, a dark and shapeless form. It was hovering behind her, as if it was waiting for something.


She turned around, hoping to see nothing. But she saw something.


She saw Mrs. Windthrope.


She was standing in front of the door, blocking her way out. She was wearing a white dress, stained with blood. She had a rope around her neck, and her skin was pale and cold. She had a smile on her face, a twisted and evil smile.


She spoke, in a voice that was low and raspy.


"Hello again, Amelia. Did you like my message?"


Amelia felt a chill in her spine, and she backed away from her.


"Stay away from me. You're dead. You're a ghost."


Mrs. Windthrope laughed, a sound that was harsh and cruel.


"That's right, Amelia. I'm dead. I'm a ghost. And you're my guest tonight."


She took a step towards her, and Amelia took a step back.


"What do you want from me? Why are you doing this to me?"


Mrs. Windthrope tilted her head, and her smile widened.


"I told you, Amelia. I want you to stay with me. I want you to be my friend. I want you to listen to my story."


She took another step towards her, and Amelia took another step back.


"I don't want to listen to your story. I don't want to be your friend. I want to leave this place."


Mrs. Windthrope shook her head, and her smile faded.


"You can't leave this place, Amelia. You can't leave me. You're mine now."


She took another step towards her, and Amelia took another step back.


She reached the window, and she felt the glass behind her.


She looked at the window, hoping to see someone outside who could help her.


But she saw no one.


She saw only darkness.


And then she heard a sound.


A sound that came from the mirror.


A sound that was loud and clear.


A sound that said:


"Amelia."


She turned around, and she saw it.


The shadow.


It had moved from the mirror to the room.


It had taken a shape.


A shape that was familiar.


A shape that was terrifying.


A shape that was hers 


Amelia felt a shock of horror as she saw the shadow take her shape. She saw her own face, her own eyes, her own hair. But they were twisted and distorted, as if they were made of smoke and darkness. They looked at her with malice and hatred, as if they wanted to destroy her.


She screamed, and she tried to run. But she was too late.


The shadow reached out, and grabbed her by the neck. It squeezed hard, and Amelia felt a pain like no other. She felt her breath leave her body, and her vision blur. She felt her life drain away, and her soul fade.


She tried to fight back, but she was powerless. She tried to scream, but she was voiceless. She tried to escape, but she was hopeless.


She looked into the shadow's eyes, and she saw nothing.


Nothing but darkness.


And then she saw something else.


Something that came from behind the shadow.


Something that was bright and warm.


Something that was familiar and comforting.


Something that was hers.


It was a light.


A light that shone from the window.


A light that broke through the darkness.


A light that said:


"Amelia."


Amelia's eyes widened as she saw the light. It was a beacon of hope in the midst of the darkness that surrounded her. With the last ounce of strength she had left, she reached out towards the light, desperately trying to grasp onto it.


As her fingers brushed against the light, she felt a surge of energy course through her. The shadow's grip on her weakened, and she gasped for air, feeling life returning to her body. The light grew brighter, pushing back the darkness and illuminating the room.


With newfound determination, Amelia fought against the shadow, clawing at its grip on her neck. She kicked and thrashed, using every ounce of strength she had left to break free. The shadow hissed and writhed, but Amelia refused to give up.


Finally, with one final burst of energy, Amelia managed to break free from the shadow's grasp. She stumbled towards the window, feeling the warmth of the light enveloping her. As she reached the window, she threw it open, allowing the light to flood into the room.


The shadow recoiled, retreating into the corners of the room, unable to withstand the brightness. Amelia took a deep breath, filling her lungs with the fresh air that flowed in through the window. She felt a renewed sense of strength and purpose.


With the light guiding her, Amelia made her way back to the door. She turned the handle, and this time, it opened without resistance. She stepped out into the hallway, feeling the weight of the darkness lift from her shoulders.


As she descended the stairs, Amelia noticed that the pub had transformed. The dilapidated walls were now adorned with fresh paint, and the musty smell had been replaced with the comforting scent of wood and warmth. The flickering light that had greeted her earlier now shone brightly, casting a warm glow throughout the pub.


Amelia made her way to the bar, where she found Mrs. Windthrope waiting for her. But this time, she looked different. Her face was no longer pale and ghastly, but rather filled with a sense of peace and serenity.


"I'm sorry, Amelia," Mrs. Windthrope said softly. "I didn't mean to frighten you. I was trapped in this place, unable to move on. But you, with your determination and courage, have helped me find peace."


Amelia looked at Mrs. Windthrope, her eyes filled with a mix of curiosity and compassion. "What happened to you? Why were you trapped here?"


Mrs. Windthrope sighed, her voice filled with sadness. "After my husband's death, I became consumed by grief and loneliness. I couldn't bear the thought of leaving this place, the only home I had ever known. I isolated myself from the villagers, and in my despair, I took my own life."


Amelia's heart ached for Mrs. Windthrope, understanding the pain and despair that had led her to such a tragic end. "But why did you target me? Why did you try to trap me here?"


Mrs. Windthrope looked down, her voice filled with remorse. "I was desperate for someone to listen to my story, to understand the pain I had endured. When I saw your interest in the paranormal, I thought you could be the one to help me find peace. But I went about it the wrong way, and for that, I am truly sorry."


Amelia nodded, a sense of forgiveness washing over her. "I understand, Mrs. Windthrope. And I'm sorry for the fear and pain I caused you. I never meant to disrespect your memory or your suffering."


Mrs. Windthrope smiled, a genuine smile that reached her eyes. "Thank you, Amelia. Your forgiveness means more to me than you can imagine. Now, it is time for me to move on, to find the peace I have been searching for."


As Mrs. Windthrope faded away, Amelia felt a sense of closure and resolution. She knew that her encounter with the paranormal had changed her, but it had also taught her the importance of empathy and understanding.


Leaving the pub, Amelia made her way back to her car, her bag of tools still in hand. She knew that her original intention of writing an article about the haunted pub had changed. Instead, she would write a story of redemption and forgiveness, of a lost soul finding peace.


Amelia drove away from Althrope, her mind filled with the memories of her encounter. She knew that her journey as a journalist and paranormal investigator was far from over. There were still countless stories to uncover, and countless souls to help find their way.


But for now, Amelia was content in knowing that she had made a difference, both for Mrs. Windthrope and for herself. And as she drove into the night, she couldn't help but feel a renewed sense of purpose and a deep appreciation for the power of human connection. The encounter with Mrs. Windthrope had reminded Amelia of the profound impact she could have on people's lives through her work. It wasn't just about uncovering stories or solving mysteries; it was about bringing closure, healing, and understanding to those who needed it most.


As the miles passed by, Amelia's mind began to wander, contemplating the countless stories that awaited her. She knew that each investigation would bring its own set of challenges and emotions, but she was ready to face them head-on. The thrill of the unknown and the possibility of helping others propelled her forward, fueling her determination to continue her journey.


Amelia's thoughts drifted back to the countless souls she had encountered throughout her career. The lost spirits, trapped between realms, desperately seeking solace and guidance. She had become their beacon of hope, their bridge between the living and the dead. It was a responsibility she didn't take lightly, and it gave her a sense of purpose that few could understand.


As the night grew darker, Amelia's appreciation for the world around her deepened. The moonlit sky seemed to whisper secrets, and the rustling of leaves carried the echoes of forgotten tales. She marveled at the beauty of the universe, knowing that there was so much more to discover beyond what met the eye.


With each passing mile, Amelia's determination grew stronger. She knew that her path as a journalist and paranormal investigator was not an easy one, but she was driven by a passion that couldn't be extinguished. The stories she would uncover, the souls she would help find their way, were worth every sacrifice and sleepless night.


As the first rays of dawn began to paint the horizon, Amelia felt a surge of excitement. The road ahead was uncertain, but she was ready to embrace it wholeheartedly. She knew that her journey was far from over, and she couldn't wait to dive into the next chapter of her extraordinary life.


With a renewed sense of purpose and a heart filled with gratitude, Amelia continued driving into the sunrise, ready to face whatever mysteries awaited her. The world was her canvas, and she was determined to leave her mark, one story at a time.