Folklore Friday: The Woman in White

It was Friday night and more than anything, Jessica wanted to be out with her friends. There was supposed to be a hugely crazy party happening in the next neighborhood over at Renan Bryant's house, whose parents had just left for a business trip. Everyone knew the Bryant's were loaded, so the promise of a party at their house was well received any day. But this particular party had been eagerly anticipated by more than half the student body at Craigstaff High because it was happening the weekend before Halloween. The Bryant's house backed onto the local cemetery. It was going to be perfect, but Jessica was stuck working. Babysitting to be exact. She had nothing against Ms. Denzel's two young boys, they were actually fairly well behaved and since her mother had been friends with Ms. Denzel for as long as Jessica had been alive, she usually made fairly good tips. But this time, Tyler, the younger of the two boys had the stomach flu, and missing the party coupled with her tasks of cleaning up after a vomiting six year old were putting Jessica in a rotten mood.
Thankfully, it was around 11:45 and both Tyler and his older brother Eli were asleep. Ms. Denzel worked the night shift at the local hospital, and she wasn't going to be home until seven in the morning. Jessica usually didn't mind covering for her neighbor. She had the run of the house most nights after the kids went to bed. But tonight there was nothing on TV and nothing to read; Jessica had even been so desperate that she'd finished her algebra homework a half an hour ago. She was currently sitting on the love-seat, reading and rereading texts from her best friend Alex who was describing the party scene.
WISH YOU WERE HERE. Read the first one
SO MUCH FREE BOOZE! :) Had come around twenty minutes later.
THINGS ARE GETTING CRAZY!! Was the last one she had received, and she hadn't heard anything afterwards for a good hour and a half. Jessica sighed and was just about to get up to raid the Denzel's Popsicle supply when her phone vibrated with a new text from Alex.


Jessica shook her head and texted back
Can't, I'm looking after sick kids. Take your phone off CAPSLOCK.
Srry. Just so exciting! Ditch the kids for a 1/2 hour, ur gonna miss all the fun!
Can't. Take pics for me. 
JESS, ur so going to regret this. HALF AN HOUR GIRL!

Jessica glanced up the stairs towards the Denzel boy's bedrooms. The house was totally silent. She slowly climbed the staircase and eased open the door to Tyler's room. The little boy was sleeping soundly with his arms wrapped around his pillow. The "Miss Bucket" Jessica had placed at his bedside after the third unpleasant spill she had to clean up was thankfully empty. Across the room, Eli was also asleep, one arm dangling off the mattress. Jessica closed the door again, and softly and padded back downstairs. The beginnings of guilt had crept into her stomach, but she pushed them out of her mind as best she could. Only 30 minutes. what could happen in 30 minutes if she locked the house up tight and hurried back?
Be there in 5. Jessica texted to Alex and sprinted out the backdoor to her car.
Alex hadn't been exaggerating. Things at the Bryant's house were out of control. Jessica was surprised the neighbors hadn't called the cops yet, based on the sheer volume level of the music pounding out the windows of the house. Cars lined the street on both sides, and some teenagers were lounging about on the porch, smoking and drinking. Once inside, Jessica had to squeeze past a sea of thrashing bodies, accidentally knocking a couple (who appeared to be surgically attached at the mouth) into the fridge. She gave up trying to apologize after a while, no one could hear her over the music. Alex, Renan and four others she didn't know were waiting out on the back porch. Renan had a tour map of the cemetery spread out between them and one girl was already flicking her cigarette lighter nervously.
"...looks like a skull." Renan was saying gesturing at one of the mausoleums marked on the map. As Jessica stepped out the back door, Alex hopped to her feet, staggering a little.
"Guys, this is Jess," she announced, slurring her words just a bit.
"Okay great." Renan flashed a smile of perfectly straight teeth in Jess's direction. "She's the last person coming, so let's head out."
The group got to its feet murmuring excitedly. The nervous girl's eyes flicked back towards the lights of the house and she put away her lighter and folded her arms.
"Yeah, you guys go ahead," she said quietly, "I'm not feeling so good."
"Don't be such a wimp Taylor," one of the boys Jessica didn't know smirked. "You're just scared."
"Walking around a cemetery at night is illegal," Taylor quipped.
"So is binge drinking," another stranger giggled.
"Guys, come on," Renan sighed, flicking on a flashlight he had been carrying, "Who ever's coming, we're leaving. Go back inside if you want Taylor."
The nervous girl smiled apologetically, glared at the boy who had teased her, and went back in the house. The rest of the group proceeded through Renan's backyard.
As Alex drunkenly babbled, filling Jessica in on the details of the party, one of the girls Jessica didn't know sidled up to her trailed by the boy who had spoken before.
"Hi," said the girl, nodding at Jess, I'm Katie, and this is my boyfriend Jared."
"Hi," Jessica said. Jared smiled lazily.
"So, are you scared at all?" Katie continued. "I mean, have you heard the legend?"  
Jessica shook her head. "What legend? I thought it was just a spooky graveyard for Halloween."
"No," Jared chipped in, "there's a particular ghost we're trying to see tonight. They say she comes out if you chant a special saying. She murdered her kids."
"No, her kids were taken from her and she was murdered," Katie amended.
"Whatever. The thing is, Gage Hinder said he saw her last year, and Ashley Klie after that. This thing might actually be real."
"Yeah," Jessica mused skeptically, "or those two could have been really drunk."
Katie laughed but Jared frowned and quickened his pace to catch up with the other kids in front of them.
A few minutes later, they reached the boarder of the cemetery and the end of Renan's land. A short brick wall ran in front of them, vanishing into the darkness on either side. Several other members of the group switched on their flashlights.
"You think it'd be better guarded," Katie whispered.
"This is the back end," Alex nodded, "they don't like to mess with it to keep it 'historically accurate'."
Ahead of them, Renan was stepping over the wall. The others followed, and after a very short distance, gravestones began to loom out of the dark. Most of the names and dates were so crumbled and encrusted with lichen that they were unreadable. Some of them sat at odd angles in the grass. The group became very quiet. Suddenly, one of the girls ahead of Jessica screamed.
"What is it?" Jared's voice asked none too calmly.
"There's a person over there!" the girl pointed and everyone whirled around, aiming their flashlights. A somber angel statue stared at them from behind a scrubby bush.
"Oh," the girl giggled nervosly.
"Come on, we need to go west," Renan laughed.
It grew steadily darker. Jessica kept glancing at her watch. She'd already stayed a little longer than she'd intended. Gravestones surrounded them, and more and more creepy statues startled them as they walked forward. For a little while, Jessica could have sworn she heard footsteps trailing them, but whenever she turned to look there was no one there.
"Here it is!" Renan finally called from further ahead. The group gathered around an ornate mausoleum which bore the name "Darwen".
"Look," Katie pointed, her voice hushed, "the door is open."
A group of flashlights focused on the door to the mausoleum. It was made of wrought iron flourishes and swirls, and it was indeed open, just a crack. As they looked, the wind picked up, and the door swung slightly, creaking mournfully and revealing blackness beyond.
"That's disturbing," Jared's friend whispered.
"Not as disturbing as that." Jessica pointed. Off to the left of the mausoleum steps there was a statue of a cloaked lady in white marble. One hand was held to her forehead in a gesture of fatigue, and the other was stretched in front of her as if she had been holding something at one point. Jessica suddenly found herself fighting a crazy urge to take the statue's hand.
"Somebody say the thing," Alex giggled nervously. "Make the ghost come out!"
"Shh!" one of the other girls said.
For a while nobody moved. Then Renan took a few steps towards the White Lady. He swayed nervously for a moment before clearing his throat.
"White lady, white lady, I stole your black baby," he said.
Everyone waited anxiously. After a few minutes, nothing had happened.
"Say it again," Jared prompted.
"You say it," Renan whirled on him.
"Okay fine." This time Jared approached the statue, and repeated the chant.
"White lady, white lady, I stole your black baby."
The wind whistled and the mausoleum door banged shut. Six teenagers jumped and muttered expletives.
"Come on, let's go," Katie suggested.
"No, let's look around a bit," Jared said.
"I have to get going," Jessica said, "I left kids at home."
"I'll go with you," Alex said. They said goodbye to the rest of the group and someone handed them a flashlight. Everyone else walked off around the edge of the mausoleum, and Alex and Jessica were left standing alone.
"Come on," Jessica said.
"Just a second, I want a picture to prove I was here," Alex fumbled for her phone in her back pocket.
"Alex I really have to go..."
"Okay okay, here. Take it over by the creepy statue." Alex laughed and went to strike a pose by the White Lady.
Jessica held the phone up to take the shot, turning on the flash so the mausoleum would be visible in the darkness. As soon as the camera clicked, Alex insisted on seeing the shot.  
"Look while you walk. I'll be in so much trouble if I don't get back soon. Alex--"
Jessica turned around when she noticed that her friend hadn't followed her. She was standing perfectly still, staring down at her phone.
"What is it?" Jessica asked.
"It's eyes are open," Alex breathed. "Look at the statue. Look at its eyes."
"What are you talking about?" Jessica walked back to look at the phone and Alex zoomed in on the statue's eyes. They were open, and they appeared to be staring straight at the camera.
"They were always open," Jessica shook her head. "Now come on."
"They were not. They were closed. And...what the hell is that?" Alex's voice rose to a panicked scream.
"Alex, what the heck?" Jessica stared at her friend who was frantically gesturing at her phone.
"Look at the door to the mausoleum."
Jessica looked. A white mist was snaking around the edge of it. If she looked closely, it almost looked like...a pale hand.
"It's...probably just the flash." Jessica said as she started walking.
"There's a fucking hand coming out of that woman's grave!" Alex cried.
"All the more reason for us to get out of here." Jessica said and quickened her pace.
They got back to the house without incident. Alex began showing everyone her phone and Jessica quickly made her way back to the car. She wasn't scared exactly, but she made sure to lock her doors for the drive back to the Denzel's house. Halfway home, her headlights flickered and went out. Jessica punched the button a few times, her heart racing. It's a blown fuse, she tried to reason. Just as she had managed to convince herself of this, something appeared in front of her on the road. Jessica slammed on the breaks, swearing. A woman stood there, dressed in flowing white. She was pointing down the road, and staring directly at Jessica with familiar eyes...they matched those on the marble statue at the mausoleum. As soon as she had appeared the woman vanished. Unable to comprehend what she had just seen, Jessica stepped on the accelerator. The sooner she got back to the Denzel's, the better.
"They stole my child..." said someone behind her. Jessica screamed as a grotesque face appeared in her rearview mirror. It was deathly white, skull like, with lank black hair that hung over it's sunken eyes. Rotting teeth stuck out of it's gaping mouth at angles. Jessica flung open her door and stumbled out onto the road. She started to run, only to be confronted by the White Woman again in the middle of the road. This time the apparition rushed at Jessica, and a frozen hand gripped her neck. Jessica couldn't breathe. She struggled wildly and managed to break free, just as a brilliant pair of headlights rounded the corner. The car swerved and blew it's horn loudly.
"WAIT!" Jessica cried, hurling herself after the speeding driver, but the car continued down the road and a voice behind her was crying
"They stole my baby girl..."

Song of the Day
Sorry, I got a little carried away on this one. I sort of combined three different ledgends. And I probably shouldn't have wrote it in the dark :P