Very seldom does it happen that a young person enters a nursing home. Mostly we assume that nursing homes are for the elderly. Those who are too fragile or infirm to be without twenty-four hour care, those with a broken hip that won’t heal or with too many illnesses to count. A few who will recover and the rest left here as a last resort. But occasionally a child inhabits a room at a nursing home. Here is the tale of one such child, and the impression she left behind.
Molly had never been what her parents would consider a good little girl. She was constantly fighting with her mother and attempting to harm her baby brother. Even keeping her medicated, they weren’t able to keep her under control. There were many instances when someone ended up being hurt. It was one of these times that ended with Molly in one of the sick rooms at Riverwood. She had started a fire in an attempt to kill her family, but had instead almost killed herself, after becoming trapped in her room. There had been no real explanation for it. She had just felt compelled to do so.
When they had finally been able to pull her out of the fire, most of her hair was gone; some areas of her body were burned almost down to the charred bone. An eye was completely gone, and the little bit of skin that was left was badly burned. She was 10.
Her little face was most haunting. Besides the missing eye, most of her hair was gone, and all of the soft tissue areas had been burned off completely. No eyelids, no nose, no ears or lips. It was a small face full of burned flesh and open raw muscle. The eye that was left was so damaged that it was fixed and cloudy. It seemed to look right through who ever looked into it. The family being unable to take care of her brought her to Crestwood, instructing the nurses to “just let her die.” They no longer cared about the girl or what happened to her. The mother was overheard telling one of the staff members to smother the pathetic creature with a pillow and put her out of her misery. Some thought that was confused sympathy, but I doubt it.
Despite many arguments about what should be done with the girl, she seemed to improve slightly, although, her appearance remained as hideous as it did when she had first arrived. Bandages were not placed on her in fear that if they were removed or changed, they would cause more damage. Her sick room carried the smell of rotting scorched flesh, and there was always that eye looking at you, without it even moving.
She loved to listen to music, so most of the nurses would leave a radio playing in her room. Sometimes it was said that you could hear her singing along with it. They say it sounded more like a raspy wind that an actual voice. “Come and play with me.” She’d say in her ghostly tone if anyone walked passed her door or into her room. Some nurses couldn’t go near her; they couldn’t handle it alone. So many nights they found the little girl in pain for lack of her medication.
On the night of her disappearance, it is said that she could be heard throughout the entire floor screaming at the top of her lungs. The nurse that had been on duty that night had left the building and not returned, yelling on her way out, “She was on fire, she was burning up in the bed, and it was fire unlike any I had ever seen. It was only burning her, nothing else, just her. Then she just disappeared in the smoke. No ashes, no body, nothing, she was gone.”
No one had ever understood what had happened to the girl, but then no one questioned it. No one seemed to care. Many stories circulate that even though the little girl’s body had vanished, many people feel that she’s inside the walls of Crestwood. Especially on those long, lonely nights when shadows lurk just beyond eyesight down the dimly lit halls.
Many say that they have heard her still screaming, others have witnessed a ghostly fire in the room that was hers, and others have seen her out of the corners of their eyes in the hallway. But mostly, her presence has been felt when a small ball with stars on it rolls by itself, out of nowhere, down the hall. Then you hear a windy, raspy voice say, “Come play with me.”