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I’m a little unsure as to why I should even post something like this here.

I guess it could be like venting? To finally get these thoughts out of my head and put my mind at ease. If, of course, that is even possible. I mean, maybe it will finally put her at rest. She likes it when I tell people about her. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning.

Okay, so, about three years ago, in the early summer, it all started. I lived in the Netherlands, in a tiny village that is only about 14 kilometres (about eight and a half miles for you American folks) northern to Amsterdam. The village is called 'Marken', and currently is extremely popular with tourists looking for a typically Dutch experience. It's typically Dutch; and old harbour, old houses, tulips, everything is blue/white wood and the trademark Dutch architecture style.

Now, it was the time of the year where school has already stopped -I believe I was thirteen, so I was in what Americans call 'middle school' -, but my parents still had to work. 

So it was some workday, and I was home alone, cleaning the living room. My parents, and I were planning on going on vacation in a couple of days, and when we go away, the house needs to be tidy. I was cleaning the windows at the time, humming something under my breath. 

My house is one of the ones closer to the middle of the town, so I had no view into the harbour, just a couple of masts in the distance. I was humming the tune of some Dutch nursery rhyme, something rather old. I didn’t know the lyrics at the time, again, it’s something old, something I learned from family members, who all also grew up in the area around Marken; Volendam, Monnickendam, Broek in Waterland, etc. 

I then however, heard a faint voice, barely audible above my humming. I shut myself up, listening. The voice continues to sing for a couple of seconds, before also stopping. I frowned deeply, looking around. But I'm home alone. Just me, myself, and I. I opened the window I was cleaning, looking down, however again there is no one there. The voice sounded female, and rather young. 

I shrug it off though, deciding to just continue humming and cleaning. The voice returned, faintly I could make out singing. Was it the lyrics of the old song? I didn’t stop humming this time, and the voice started to get louder and louder, never too loud to bother me though. No, it was elegant and soft. I wasn’t sure how many verses the song had, so I was just infinitely humming, stopping when I felt like it. It felt like an acapella duet with this unknown voice. As scary as it was, the voice was just so soothing, so calming that it did not even bother me. 

Eventually, the voice stopped, and in a calm tone said “Bedankt, Marlies. Zullen wij nog een liedje zingen?” (“Thank you, Marissa, should we sing another song?”) I immediately stopped my humming, suddenly being a little freaked out. How did this thing know my name? I looked around a little, speaking up; “Waar ben je?” (“Where are you?”). The answer was much different from the… ‘thing’s’ usual tone. “Gij moet mij aanspreken met een gepaste toon.” (“Thou are to talk to me in a more fitting tone”),  it sounded like a hiss, accompanied by a blow of wind that shut the window I had previously opened to look down.

After that I tried to somehow get it to talk again, I started humming again -though, in a less calm tone-, and apologised repeatedly. Though, no reply.

Though to this day, I don’t know what the voice meant with ‘fitting tone’, though it was a good possibility that she was referring to using ‘u’ instead of ‘je’. ‘u’ Is a more polite version of saying ‘je’ (you) in Dutch, used to talk to older or more superior people. 

-

Later that night, I was cleaning the kitchen. Just doing the dishes from dinner that night. We had a house rule; ‘Anyone who doesn’t cook, does the dishes.’ and so I was patiently scrubbing down some plates. Note though, Dutch people eat rather early compared to people from other countries, often around 5-6am. So it wasn’t too late yet, and since it was early summer, the sun was barely even setting. 

My parents were upstairs, all I know is that they were not on the same floor. I’m not sure if that is even important-. Anyway-.  I started hearing this voice again, it sounded so upset; “Waarom ben je zo stil?” (“Why are you so quiet?”) and almost judgemental. 

“I-Ik ben bang voor u.” (“I am scared of you.”) I replied. Honesty is a moral code of mine, I could never lie, not even to an unknown voice. “Oh-.” Was the reply I got, though, before I could do anything else, the sponge and plate in my hand were pulled down by… Something. Landing in the sink with a soft sound. I quickly looked around, feeling scared for my life now. “Wees niet bang. Praat met mij.” (“Don’t be scared. Talk to me.”) the voice demanded, though, her tone was was soft again, the soothing tone from when she was singing. I nodded slowly. “Zit.” (“Sit.”) She said, and a sound could be heard at the dinner table in the kitchen. It sounded like patting, I just nodded again, grabbing a seat, sitting at the dinner table. All alone. 

“Ken jij mij?” (“Do you know me?”)  I shake my head in response. I waited for a moment, not hearing a response. My eyes were fixed on the several bookshelves neatly decorating our kitchen walls. One of the books -one of the older ones, never cared to open it before-. It flies out of the shelves, much like how the plate and sponge have been ripped from my hands earlier, and lands on the table in a rather unspectacular fashion. I frown. “124.” The voice explained simply, not saying anything else. It took me a moment to realise what it meant, I quickly reached for the book, flipping to page 124. 

It’s one of those old information books, about the history of some town. In this case, Marken. Page 124 was about a young girl. I don’t remember exactly what it read, but it could be summed up to;

‘Catharina Veerman

Catharina was a talented young lady born in 1902. 

She was known around the town for her beauty, elegance, and incredible singing voice. Wooing men all around town to do her bidding. 

She died in 1921 during the build of the Melisvennen 124.

Due to the current state the town was in, her burial, despite being loved by most the town, was unspectacular. Some say her spirit still haunts the street, and many have reported hearing her singing in the wind blowing through the masts in the harbour.’

A small photograph has been added to the text, it was old and black and white, printed in terrible quality. But the young woman in it did look beautiful,

I glanced up, looking around the room. “Catharina?” 

-

It was her. Catharina. Her name meaning ‘purity’. 

She never showed herself to me, she never talked to me in more than two sentences, unless if she was singing. She treated me with kindness for the most part. She would always say that she saw herself in me.  And, as much as I enjoyed it, the feeling of being special, she would always mention that at one point in my life I would be betrayed, that the living is not to be trusted. 

She promised to bring me justice, to guard me so that I could live the long and deserved life /for/ her. She controls me. She- she is me. Catharina and I. 

She believes that the living has no right in being here, no one is perfect. Everyone wants what’s best for them, and some people do, and some people don’t admit it. 

She likes it when I tell people about her.

Would you like to know why? 

Only the ones who know her name, are the ones she can reach out to. The only ones whom she can assist, in stopping their earthly career.

You’re welcome, Cath. She'll see you soon.  

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