WHAT WOULD YOU DO if you received a priority mail package from the ghost of a girl buried alive in 1886? Would you open the box? Or would you toss it in the garbage?
I faced that dilemma on Tuesday when an unexpected package arrived with a return address of “A. Mary from Hanska.”
Instantly, I felt the hairs on my arm rise and not just because of the cold. You see, ever since I heard the true story of 6-year-old Annie Mary Twente, who fell into a coma and was buried alive near Hanska, I’ve been, might I say, taunted by A. M.
Usually, Annie sends only Halloween greetings. But this year she apparently felt I also needed a Christmas gift. Now typically, I like getting packages in the mail because, well, I seldom get them. But this was a bit different, coming from A. Mary.
So I turned to my cousin Dawn for advice. I explained my situation in an e-mail and she advised me to open the package, assuring me that Annie Mary wouldn’t send me anything mean (like the mouse head my husband mailed to his sister nearly 30 years ago. True story, I swear.) But Dawn suggested that the gift could possibly contain Annie’s bones.
Now that was an unsettling thought.
So I proceeded with more than a bit of caution. First, I opened the cardboard box, revealing a wrapped gift and a homemade card wishing me a “Mousy Christmas!” Annie had apparently learned how much I dislike, OK hate, mice.
Then inside, in her childish handwriting, she printed:
Now I was really nervous. I didn’t want to open a box that rattled and that even remotely suggested a mouse-related gift.
With horrible possibilities looming at the forefront of my brain, I tentatively unwrapped the present to discover chocolate candy kisses (at least one thing I like), a Christmas book about mice, a bat and a plastic mouse that poops red and green candies and quite tauntingly wishes me a “Merry Christmas! Guess who?”
Yeah, guess who. I’m guessing my not-so-innocent cousin Dawn and her mom, my Aunt Marilyn (AKA “A.M.”), are behind this whole Annie Mary charade. Upon closer inspection, I discovered a Morgan, Minnesota, postmark on the box. Surprise. Dawn and her family live in Morgan.
So, I decided to accuse my cousin and elicit a confession.
She responded: “Sure, I can confess if that is what you want, but then would you know for sure that I am telling the truth and not just confessing just to confess?!? A Morgan postmark? Well, I guess if Norman Bates was in Minnesota, then maybe Annie Mary was in Morgan? Ever think of that?”
She was referring to Norman Bates of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Bates recently sent Dawn a letter, to which I later confessed authorship. (See my December 15 post, “My cousin receives a chilling letter from Norman Bates.”)
Then Dawn added this warning: “I would continue to watch your mailbox, A.M. may continue to keep in contact with you now.”
Uh, huh. And Norman Bates knows your address too, Dawn.
© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling