Miss Jemima’s Caller

Once upon a midnight dreary,

As I pondered weak and weary…..

I know indeed that’s Poe, but that’s how my story started…

It was 3 days ago, August 14, 1923. I sat at my desk racking my brain for an idea. Any idea. Something that I could make a story of. After all, my deadline was approaching rapidly and I hadn’t even 𝙗𝙚𝙜𝙪𝙣 to write my poem for the paper.

My mantle clock chimed the midnight tone. The heavy rain pounded against my small London flat. Lightning tore through the sky, flashing eerie lights on my wooden floor. I had one lightbulb lighting the place, in the middle of the room. I had just about given up writing anything, and then all of the sudden,

a knock sounded at my door.

I thought to myself, now who could that be? Only one person in the whole world would be knocking at my door at midnight. Jemima Higginsworth.

The old maid that lives down the street was one of my worst nightmares, eyeing me day and night as she did. Says I remind her of her son that died of pneumonia as a young man.

If that doesn’t beat all.

As if that gives her a right to be watching me so.

Anyways, so I go to the door and peep out the visitor hole. And would you believe it, no one was standing there! Indeed it wasn’t old Miss Jemima Higginsworth.

So I returned to my desk, and tried to get back to work. But I could not seem to shake a very unfamiliar air, which had then filled the room. I glanced up cautiously with the certain feeling I was being watched.

A knock sounded again.

My adventurous, daring side of me determined I should open the door, while my thoughts also told be to stay put.

Fortunately I had settled on checking the door.

But it was not particularly an easy task to do. It took me all of about ten seconds to decide what to do,

and another ten seconds tiptoeing to the door.

My creaky wooden floors were moaning as I creeped towards the door.

Thunder crashed outside.

I cautiously turned my doorknob,

and pushed open the heavy wooden door.

I glanced at the shadowy figure set before me. A bright crack of lightning flashed just enough light on this mysterious person. In no way could I identify him. He wore a nice black evening suit and a tall glistening top hat. He had a pipe sticking out of his mouth, which was covered by a van dyke beard, and he was standing stoicly, staring at me. It was almost as if I was looking in a mirror, for the resemblance to myself was striking. (Of course I was not wearing evening attire at this hour.)

“Can I help you, sir?” I asked politely, though I was scared out of my wits.

“Indeed you can. I’m looking for a Miss Jemima Higginsworth,” came the deep voice’s answer.

“Are you kin?” I asked.

“Yes you could say we were very close kin,” he answered, never moving a muscle, except to talk.

“Could you wait until morning?” I asked. “It’s quite late out. Perhaps you should stay in a hotel until morning, and then I’ll show you where ol- um Miss Jemima lives.”

“Very well. I shall call on you at 7 o’clock,” he answered. He took out his pipe and turned away.

And I could not sleep for the life of me.

The next morning, at 7 am sharp, a knock sounded on my door. Fortunately, I had already been up and ready. So I answered the door. And there was my caller from the previous night, looking exactly the same.

“Good morning, chap,” he said to me, tipping his hat.

“Good morning to you, too,” I replied slowly.

“Are you going to show me where Jemima lives?” he asked, rather suspiciously.

“Um, well, sure. I mean, yes, sir,” I answered cautiously.

We started walking to Miss Jemima’s old apartment.

“Could I ask you something?” I asked, breaking the heavy, eerie silence with laid upon us.

He was silent. All that was heard was the plopping of misty raindrops on the road and sidewalk around us.


I swallowed hard.

“Why do you need…to see Miss Jemima?” I asked, rather timidly.

“You’ll find out soon enough, sir.”

I never thought that I would ever be concerned about creepy Miss Jemima’s safety.

We reached her doorstep rather quickly. He knocked slowly.

Miss Jemima answered the door. “Oh, Thomas! What brings you here?”

I stood amazed.

The man broke out into laughter.

“Come in, chap, and I’ll explain to you, that I’m not a creepy killer. I’m her dear grandnephew, the striking resemblance to her dear departed son,” he said merrily.

Well, he and Miss Jemima had a good laugh, and I was embarrassed at first. But then, I went back to my apartment, and I had my story.

Comments 0