A Richardstower Christmas Carol: Chapter III
Chapter III: The Past Haunts
Scrooge thought he could escape his past, but his past found him when he least expected it to. As his nephew, Hyacinth Lowe, languished of fever in his bed upstairs, Scrooge decided to sit by the fire and take tea. But alas, the flames of the fire whipped forth and out emerged a figure from Ebenezer Scrooge's past. "SCROOGE!"the figure ghoulishly exclaimed. "I am your old associate, Robert Marley!"the ghostshouted. "Remember when I played in an orchestra and toured Italy? You were with me then, Scrooge!",he continued."Yes, but that was long ago and you are now dead..."Scrooge answered; recognizing his old friend but holding his composure on the surface."I am but a shadow of what I once was, Scrooge, and now I carry the very instruments I once played on chains! Each of them are filled with heavy coins; the bitter consequence of that money lending business we started together."Marley replied, as he showed Scrooge what had become of him. "This will be your fate too, Scrooge, if you do not change your ways! You will be haunted by three spirits! Wait for the clock to strike the first hour, and the first spirit will appear! This is no trickery, Scrooge!" With these words, Marley vanished once again into the flames.
Scrooge remained stunned in his chair as the night dragged on, only emerging once to change into his nightshirt. As the clock above the mantle chimed 1 o'clock, the first spirit appeared. Glowing, and hard to visualise, she called out Scrooge's name and called him towards the door. Ebenezer stood up and walked slowly across the room, as if in a trance. As he opened the door, he was embraced by the sound of sweet music. He went through the portal only to find himself in the actual location of one of his youthful performances. "Ah, Rocca Sorrentina." he said. "I know this place, I performed here many years ago with Marley."
Looking down from the balcony where he had arrived, Scrooge could see a crowd of Neapolitan nobles dancing to the music of his old orchestra. Scrooge could see himself, Marley, and the beautiful women who enchanted him as a young man. He closed his eyes, and could feel tears forming in his lids. Opening them, as he revealed a somewhat softer face, he suddenly found himself once again in his old drawing room. He sat down in his armchair and began to weep for the beauty of the past, entirely forgetting that a second spirit was soon to be expected...