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Ghost With My Name

Lila, Carrol, Ireland
March 2006

I live with my Nan, my brother (Noah) and my sister (Kristine) on a farm in Ireland. During the famine times, my Nan's ancestors lived there. One day, I was out walking with my brother Noah and we saw a girl. She was crying. She was wearing a dirty cotton dress, and she didn't seem to see us. Noah called to her, but she didn't look up. I asked, "What should we do? She looks pretty upset," but Noah just shook his head, said she didn't want to be disturbed and to walk on.

A few days later I woke in the morning and looked out the window. It was a lovely sunny day. I saw that girl again, only she was with a woman, two men (one a priest) and a little boy. There was a hole in the ground. What were they doing, I thought. Burying someone on my Nan's plot of land?

I ran down and told my Nan about it. "Ah," She'd smiled. "That's Lila."

Lila is my name. I mentioned this to Nan, and she laughed and said, "I know your name, love. Lila's family lived here in Famine times."

Nan told me the full story. Lila was a young girl around my age who lived here on her own at the end of the famine. When the great hunger first struck, her little sister Mags died, then her brother Jim, then her Mother. It was just herself and her father Lawrence, until he was killed by a man who was trying to steal food for them. Lila didn't want to be sent to the workhouse, so she faked her own death. She wrote a fake note. The note is a heirloom of my family, and my Nan showed it to me. It said - "All in my family have died. My wife, My son, my daughter Mags and her sister Lila. I am the last. Disturb my property and you shant be doing right by your God." She signed it by her Father. Their landlord was a superstitious man and he sold the plot of land to Lila's Father's brother, who soon built the current farmhouse that I live in. The ruins of Lila's cottage are still there, but my Nan has warned my never to go inside. "Why?" I asked her. "I don't know," She confessed. "But my Grandmother warned both me and my mother never to enter. Remember, child...Lila must not be disturbed."

So that's my story. I have seen Lila more times. Once I saw her dancing with a small child that must be her sister. I have seen her as a young girl, as a woman. I have never seen her since a month ago, on the last full moon, when I saw a ghostly shape entering the old ruins. My brother Noah says that she left the cottage for three days when she was forty-six. On the first day, she met a man named Mike. On the second day she fell in love with him. On the third day she found out he was married, and she fled back to the cottage and killed herself.

I am not scared of Lila. I only feel very perturbed that she didn't get to live her life proper. She lost her entire family at twelve and spent 34 years living on her own until her own love forced her to take her own life. I hope people don't make fun of my story. Lila is bound never to leave this place, and I do not want her to be alone - I think I shall not leave here either. I will live here for as long as it takes to help her, find what she needs to rest at peace.

Lila, Carrol, Ireland
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