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Short story, Thriller

The Widow of Warren Street

Author: Moxie McMurder

Illustration: Mark Smith

Some say her name was Betty, others will tell you it was Louise, but everyone this side of the river knows her as the Widow of Warren Street. I’ve heard she was beautiful, 20 years old and newlywed to her childhood sweetheart. No one remembers his name either.

They were love’s young dream, but it was cut short when her husband was sent overseas to fight in the war. They wrote to each other as often as they could, the only way to ease the heartache of being apart. But after a few months the letters stopped coming.

Waiting by the window she would look for the postman and would run out into the street to ask him the same question.

Did he have a letter for her? The answer was always the same. No.

Soon she started waiting outside her front door. No matter the weather. She would walk up and down Warren Street looking for the postman, suddenly scared she would somehow miss him and her chances of getting a letter from her husband.

The neighbours began to talk, she had stopped eating, her clothes hung off her. She had stopped sleeping leaving her eyes red and weepy. She stopped brushing her hair and never seemed to change her clothes. They all felt sorry for her but no one spoke to her. People kept to their own back then.

Some will tell you that a letter arrived on the day of her funeral, 3 months after the last letter her husband sent.

They’ll tell you it said her husband had been badly wounded but was still alive.

And some people will tell you that two men from the army arrived at her house on the day of her funeral to tell her her husband was dead.

There’s even a story that there was a letter and it was from her husband. He had written to explain he had fallen in love with another woman. That he wouldn’t be coming back to her and that he was sorry.

No matter what came after she took her own life, the Widow of Warren Street still walks up and down the street late at night.

Her shadows creeps across the houses as she passes, her wild hair seeming to be alive, reaching out and licking at the stones.

My neighbour saw her ghost once, spoke to him, or so he says. Said she was looking for a husband. Her red eyes and pale face seemed to plead with him before her hands reached out, quickly as if to grab him.

He saw the scars on her wrists, painful and raw. He ran. He told me he could hear her sobbing the whole way home. A strange sound, echoing down the cobbled streets. Said he could have sworn her sobs turned to screams but that could have just been the wind.

So young men returning home late at night are warned to avoid Warren Street. Don’t speak to weeping women. If you see a shadow of a woman with wild hair you must run.

You don’t want the Widow to propose.

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