fiction and other writing

Posts tagged ‘ghost story’

The Ghost of Love

‘She lives her life in another world now,’ I said to the doctor as my auntie smiled with eyes that seemed to focus beyond the boundaries of the room.

‘Mrs Ash do you know who I am?’ asked Dr Parsons.

My aunt smiled, ‘Of course dear. Would you like a cup of tea?’

‘No thank you. Do you know what day of the week it is?’

‘I don’t need to know dear. Weeks are a thing of the past. Can you see the poppies? Aren’t they delicate; such big heads on tiny stems.’

I couldn’t help but look out of the window. Snow carpeted the adjacent field and left a fringe along the top of the fence. Trees were covered in white lace. I shivered.
The doctor continued questioning gently, not showing any surprise at the random replies he received.

As he prepared to leave he said to me, ‘I’ll refer your aunt to a specialist. It could take several weeks but call me if you need me.’

Suddenly auntie’s eyes were focused. ‘I won’t see you again Doctor. ‘I’m off on my travels. Tonight I’m spending with Susan. She’s such a good girl. I want to say goodbye properly.’

The doctor gave me a sympathetic look but as I saw him to the front door he said, ‘She’s so believable isn’t she? It must make it very hard for you.’

We spent a lovely evening together, drinking tea and eating cake. Auntie reminisced about the past. We looked at sepia photographs and each held a story. I studied Auntie Moira and Uncle Walter’s wedding photograph. They were so happy. Even now, when time had faded the image, you could see their joy.

In the morning I carried in her cup of tea in her china cup with tiny roses. As soon as I opened the curtains I knew she was gone. I touched her cold hand and saw the hint of a smile on her face. There was nothing anyone could do for her now. I was about to pick up the phone when I glanced out of the window. A sun light beam caught dust particles in its path, like dancing diamonds. I walked over to look at the view. The day would be full of formalities; it wouldn’t hurt to take a moment to myself.

Outside there was a young couple walking hand-in-hand, through a field of poppies, they turned with bright smiles and waved. Immediately I recognised them from their photograph. I waved right back and as I did so the scene changed to white. Snow covered the fields, lay delicately on the branches and collected into soft mounds under the fence.

Time To Go

The beach seemed to stretch for miles into the distance. Ruffled waves edged the sea and the sand reflected a golden colour in the fading evening light.

Eve skipped along, just in front of her parents, chattering away.

“Robert is really pleased we’ve come,” she called over her shoulder. “He’s going to spend some time with us.”

Sam and Aileen looked at each other sadly. It was almost a year to the day since Robert had been killed by a car. Their daughter hadn’t seemed to grieve. She hadn’t cried or even once claimed to miss him.

They’d consulted the doctor, who had told them that everyone deals with the loss in their own way. Doctor Allen had told them that Eve would let Robert go when she was ready. He’d suggested that they didn’t make a big thing about her conversations with Robert.

The days and weeks passed and while they painfully grieved, Eve included Robert in everything. She shared her sweets, showed him her paintings and talked to him incessantly.

“We’re just going off for a paddle,” she called as she stuffed her socks into the sandals and ran towards the sea.

Aileen turned towards Sam, “This has got to stop. Maybe we need to take her to see another doctor. Eve can’t go through life talking to Robert. People will think her strange.”

Sam hugged his wife as they both stopped walking to look at their daughter, paddling in the sea. She seemed so happy. “Maybe you’re right my love, but just for this week, let her be. Next week we’ll think what we have to do.”

As the weather was fine there were many other families on the beach. Abersoch had always been a favourite family place. They had come last year. Robert had played on the beach. He’d even made friends with an old sheep dog from the Beach Hotel. It had spent many hours in their company; seemingly free to roam wherever it wanted. In fact the young man who owned him worked on the beach teaching people how to surf.

It should have rained on Wednesday. It should have been a dark, cold day with winds as strong as a hurricane. It was the anniversary of Robert’s accident. Perversely the sun came out, as it had every day so far on their holiday and the sky was blue. Aileen and Sam decided to make the day as normal as possible, so they set off down to the sea.

They sat in their usual spot and watched as Eve started building a massive sandcastle. As they watched they noticed that Eve was so engrossed with what she was doing she’d stopped chattering to Robert.

Later during the day the sheep dog from the hotel trotted over and sat beside Eve in the middle of the sandcastle. They sat together in companionable silence. Sam went over to ask how the sandcastle was coming along.

“Robert is leaving tonight. He said it would be nice to take a walk along the beach to say goodbye. We can do that can’t we dad?” asked Eve.

“He says he has to go and that we know that he loves us and his love will stay with us. Apparently you can only stay for so long and then you have to go onwards.”

Sam promised that they’d walk on the beach, not knowing if his daughter was going mad or if it was just a child’s way of saying good-bye. He helped to fill the moat up with water and then they stood for a moment and admired their handiwork.

After they’d eaten their evening meal they all trooped down to the sea again. It was still light but the sun was much lower in the sky. They walked peacefully along the beach; each with their own thoughts but the warmth of the day made them feel content.

Eve said her good-byes to Robert and then she turned to her parents. “Robert knows you can’t see him but he says he’ll love you always and he must be going.”

Aileen and Sam said, “We’ll always love you too, Robert and you’re always in our thoughts.” The sheepdog bounded down the beach to join them and stood with them. Suddenly the light changed. It went darker and the sun went very orange. Robert appeared fleetingly before them. He kissed his sister and blew them both kisses and then his image faded and he was gone. The sheep dog started barking into the quiet of the night.

There were no words to say. Robert had looked after Eve as he had always done and stayed with her until she could cope on her own.

“Come on mum and dad,” said Eve, “don’t be sad. Robert gave me a present.” Eve unfolded her hand and there lay a beautiful conche shell. “If we want Robert to hear us, well he can anyway, but if we hold the shell it will help us to contact him and he’ll listen. Of course he can’t reply but he said we’ll know his reply.”

Sam put his arm round Aileen and took his daughter’s hand as they walked back along the now quiet beach. The golden glow stayed with them as they retraced their footsteps. It was time to go home.

The Apple Tree

The door creaked open slowly. Agnes felt the cold creep into every part of her body. The heating was on but it made no difference. She pulled the woollen blanket up round her chin. The air shimmered in front of her.

‘Is there anyone there?’ she called out in a frail voice.

There was silence.

‘Who came in?’ she asked.

The silence extended its way into the room like the creeping tentacles of a vine. She looked at the shape appearing in front of her. The form was misty but vaguely familiar. She wished she didn’t live by herself in this old draughty house, but she refused to be frightened. She’d always been strong.

‘Who are you and what do you want?’

‘I used to live here. My name is Thomas.’

‘That’s a good name. Well Thomas, this is my house now and I’d like to know why you’re here.’

‘It’s my home,’ the small child replied. ‘I’ve never left here.’

‘I don’t understand. What do you mean?’

‘I lie beneath the apple tree in the garden. No-one ever blessed me or said a prayer. I can’t leave because of how I died. I’m tied to this house.’

‘Why have I never seen you before then?’

‘That’s what you always say,’ said Thomas.

The image faded before Agnes’s eyes and the room grew warmer.

‘Hello, it’s only me,’ called Martha from the front door. ‘How are we today? Oh, it’s nice and warm in here.’

‘Hello, who are you?’ asked Agnes.

‘It’s me Martha. I’ve just bought you a nice hot meal. I come every day. Do you remember?’

‘Hello Martha. What’s for dinner today?’

‘Macaroni cheese, followed by apple pie. Let me just get you some cutlery, and then I’ll have to go. Lots of people waiting for their dinner.’

When Martha closed the door, Agnes settled down and ate her meal. She had just finished when the door creaked slowly and Agnes felt the cold again. A little boy appeared before her out of a mist. She held the blanket close to her.

‘Who are you?’ she asked.

‘My name is Thomas. When I was alive I lived here. Now I lie under the apple tree in the garden and I can’t leave because of how I was killed.’

‘Well Thomas, this is my house now. I think you are making me very cold.’

‘I’m cold. I’ve been cold for seventy years.’

‘What can I do to help you to leave?’

‘You can say a prayer about how sorry you are that I died such a violent death.’

‘Well, of course I am sorry. No-one should die a violent death. Let me go and get my coat and I’ll come into the garden with you.’

Agnes went out of the room to get her coat, but when she got to the hall she couldn’t remember what she’d gone to collect. She went back to sit by the fire and pulled the blanket round her. The soft texture was comforting but there was a chill in the air. A young boy appeared before her.

‘Who are you?’ she asked.

‘My name is Thomas. You were going to get your coat and come into the garden and say a prayer for me about how sorry you were that I died young.’

‘Was I? Well Thomas why would I do that?’

‘So I don’t make you cold anymore.’

‘That’s a good reason.’ Agnes picked up her pen and notebook.
She wrote, ‘Get coat. Go into the garden. Say prayer for Thomas so he doesn’t make me cold anymore.’ Then she stood up holding her notebook. When she reached the hall she put on her coat and went back to her chair and put down the notebook. She headed for the garden, following Thomas but when she opened the back door she couldn’t think why she was going into the garden and turned round and went back to her chair. Agnes snuggled under the warm woollen blanket. She was very cold. She picked up her notebook and read: Get coat. Go into the garden. Say prayer for Thomas so he doesn’t make me cold anymore. Then she looked up and saw a young boy.

‘You must be Thomas. Can I say the prayer here?’

Thomas looked at her sadly. ‘If you like.’

Agnes was not a religious person, but there could be no harm in saying a prayer.

‘Dear world, I am sorry that this poor boy, Thomas was killed violently and is now buried under my apple tree. Please let him go where he should be, so my house won’t be cold anymore.’

Thomas went out and lay under the apple tree again.

The door creaked slowly. Agnes felt the cold creep into every part of her body. The heating was on but it made no difference. Her thick fluffy blanket felt like the inside of a freezer. Nothing she did made her warm.

When Martha arrived the next day it was to find Agnes stiff and as cold as an icicle. While Martha waited for the ambulance she felt a severe chill enter her bones and then a small boy appeared before her.

‘My mother killed me when I was eight, but she could never be sorry about it because she lost her mind and memory.’

‘Who was your mother, Thomas?’

The little boy pointed at Agnes. Martha said nothing, but opened her arms to hold the child. He went straight to her.

‘I am so sorry Thomas,’ she said. She felt a strong hug and then he was gone. Sun started streaming in through the windows. Rays of light danced on the mantelpiece and there they struck an old photograph she had never noticed before of a young boy. He was smiling.

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