Robert and Anna

Prompt: Lingering influence in house

Andy Miles 3rd February 2023

Robert Kinney had been in this house for 17 years, 3 months, 1 week and 2 days. To be honest, he was fed up with it and wished he could move out. His memories were of happy and sad times here, a normal life you would say.

Robert moved into 33 Angel Street on the 14th day of September in the year of our lord, 1913. This was his and Anna’s first, and only home.  They were just married and in the flush of youth. Robert had come back from the Great War unscathed, at least as unscathed as anyone who fought in those trenches came back. Anna loved him from the moment they met eyes across the counter of Formans Habadassry in the summer of 1911. Robert had to duck to get into the old front door of the shop without disturbing his jet black pompadour style hair. Robert seemed to feel the same about Anna and it was not long before they were courting.

The Great War was a very uncivil interruption to this courtship. Anna was very happy that Robert was not one of the 880,000 of the British forces that died in that terrible conflict. His conduct in Mons in the August of 1914 was mentioned in despatches, other than that he floated in the gap between being noticed for bravery and being dead.

Within a year of Armistice Day Anna gave birth to their son, who they named John after John Elliot, a comrade of Robert’s in the trenches who did not make it to November 11th, 1918. The next few years were happy for Robert and Anna despite the difficulties Great Britain was having in recovering from the war. Robert was working as an accountant in the town centre, getting home in time to spend time with John who was primarily raised by Anna.

It was in the winter of 1926 when Robert noticed changes in the house. Anna did not seem as happy, John was a difficult child, not naughty but full of energy and enthusiasm. Robert‘s work at the Accountancy started to slip as his mind was on Anna and his home life.

The most significant change was after the 16th of June 1927. After that Robert could not continue his job in the town as he had to keep a constant watch on Anna and John. Anna’s temperament was different, last night she had been angry. Her nightmares of Robert in one of those damp trenches as an enemy grenade explodes, or the one where he is gunned down as he ‘goes over the top’ and storms the German lines. Maybe the worst one is when the local smuggling gang do not like what he has done with their ‘legitimate’ books and his life ends in the office over his double-entry journals.

Robert tries his best to calm Anna whenever these bad dreams plague her, until that night in November 1926. He can not dare to imagine the visions that flooded her mind that night.  Now he has to linger in the house, his blood seeped into the wooden floor boards, his spirit darting through the rooms trying to keep John from harm. Robert tries to keep reassuring her at night when the dreams come. Despite this, she seems to be getting worse, she screams about the ghost of her husband holding her, the husband she removed from the house last November.