Confusion!

image0012I watched, hypnotized, as Janie and Jack warmed to each other. Janie didn’t say much, but her fear melted away. I became suddenly drowsy, all I wanted to do was sleep. My eyelids were so heavy I could hardly keep them open.

“Are you alright?” Jack asked. “You look exhausted. You can go upstairs and lie down if you want.”

I thought of the voices I’d heard in the bedroom, voices from the past, from the long dead. I wasn’t afraid of them, but I didn’t want to share a room with them. I wanted to be alone. I was tired and confused and I wanted to rest and think. Who was this girl? What was happening. “I’ll go home if it’s all the same to you. I’m tired, didn’t sleep well last night.”

My voice sounded unnatural and distant. It echoed around the room and seemed to hang in the air. Jack wasn’t paying attention anyway. He was focused on his new guest. Did he think she was his daughter? Surely not! His daughter was dead. “Janie do you want to come home with me?” I asked. “You’re more than welcome. You can take a shower and I can find  you some fresh clothes.

She shook her head.

“OK then I’m going.”

Jack walked me to the door. “You know this isn’t your daughter right!” I said, “This is some poor kid living rough, you need to be careful.”

“I know that, but this girl has been sent to me. She’s here to give me a second chance. I know we’re connected somehow. I have to help her. When she’s here I feel Janie, my Janie. I feel Miriam too.”

“Do you hear them or see them?” I asked.

“No I don’t, but I know you do, I’ve seen you looking upstairs. I’ve seen you listening. My family is here and you know it. I wish I could see them too, but I can’t. They are reaching out to me through this girl instead.”

Jack looked unsure of himself, vulnerable. “I don’t know your family Jack, but there is certainly a presence in your home. They’re here for you not me. What if they’re here to warn you about her? Just be careful OK! You know nothing about this girl.”

“I know nothing about you either,” he said, “but I trust you.”

I looked over Jack’s shoulder and saw Janie stand up. She she stood alone in the empty kitchen. A couple of the stairs creaked from the weight of unseen footsteps. A chill passed though my body. Footsteps crunched on the gravel behind me. I turned around, no one was there.

“I’m going home to take a nap, I’ll be back later though, maybe we can grab dinner in the Stagecoach, I’ll drive!”

“Sounds good,” he said, “Stop by around six.”

I walked along the drive way, my legs barely supporting me.

Who is this girl? 

Where did she come from?

What comes next?

 

Janie’s Home

JOY1690.0LJack and I stood still, holding our breath, thinking she’d turn and run at any moment. She kept coming though. When she was a few paces away from us she stopped and looked around frantically as though she’d suddenly remembered something.

“Walk, I’ll follow you,” she whispered.

“Your house or mine?” I asked Jack.

“Mine,” he replied, “It’s closer.”

I wanted to hurry. I wanted to get her inside to safety. She was afraid of something or someone and looked like she could turn and run.

“Do you think she’s in danger?” I asked Jack.

“Not sure, but somethings wrong.”

The footsteps behind us stopped, Jack and I continued walking slowly, hoping we’d hear them again. We did! When we approached Jack’s front door I was smothered with emotion. Not sure what was causing it, but it was overpowering. Maybe it came from Jack’s wife and daughter. Their presence was all around us. It felt good. I stepped onto the porch and turned to gesture Janie into the house ahead of me. She was smiling, her face was glowing. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. “Mama!” she said.

Jack was already inside and didn’t hear her, but I did.

The wind chimes hanging from the porch, whispered  gently in the breeze. The sound comforted Janie. She looked like a different person as she stepped inside the house. I stood on the porch and watched her walk into the kitchen. She pulled out a chair and sat down as though she’d lived there her whole life.

Jack beckoned me to join them, he was smiling too. “Come on in Sheila. Janie’s home.”

I joined them, greeted by the smell of coffee and fresh bread.

“Mama brought me here,” Janie said, “She brought me home.”

Janie clutched the locket to her heart. “Mama and Granmama.”

 

The Girl in the Bushes!

pine trees“This photo doesn’t look odd to you?” I asked.

“No, it’s faded, but it’s as familiar to me as the day I took it. So much love, so much happiness.”

I handed the locket to him, “Here, it’s yours Jack, I’ve a feeling I was supposed to give it to you anyway.”

He took the locket from me without looking, his eyes focused on something over my shoulder. I made to turn around.

“No, don’t move, just keep talking to me, I don’t want to alarm her. She’s not hiding anymore, she’s watching us.”

Jack smiled and raised his arm in a wave, “I don’t want to hurt you,” he said.

I turned around slowly. The girl was closer, and no longer hiding, but she didn’t move. “Hey, I’m Sheila, I saw you in the Stagecoach the other night. You left something behind.”

Jack held up the locket, “Is this yours?”

She still didn’t move, just watched us from a distance. Although there was no breeze the bushes around her rustled and moved. She turned her head as though she was listening to someone close by.

“Jack, do you feel that?”

“Yes,” he answered, “what is it?”

The dead January grass moved in front of us, as though making a pathway to the girl. “Someone is showing us the way,” I replied.

He took a step forward, the young girl tensed, ready to run. Jack stood still again.

She cocked her head to the side, listening to words only she could hear, and then relaxed again.

I took two steps forward, Jack followed. We stood still for a few seconds and waited, expecting the girl to bolt. She didn’t.

“Come on Jack,” I whispered, “lets keep going.”

Slowly and carefully we walked forward until we were close enough to see her face. Her eyes were huge and frightened, her hair matted, straw on her clothes from sleeping in the barn. She was painfully thin, her well-worn clothes hanging on her body.

The world around us became silent, the air still, almost like we were in a vacuum. We were in the eye of the storm.

Finally Jack spoke.

“I think someone sent you to find me.”

He held his hand out, the open locket lying in his palm. “Did you lose this? It belonged to my daughter. I don’t think you knew her because she died long ago. Did someone give this to you?”

She darted forward a couple of steps and snatched the locket out of his hand. I expected her to run, but she didn’t, she backed away a few paces and then looked at Jack, and then at me.

“Why are you living in a barn?” I asked

She looked down at the ground, as though ashamed.

“Are you hungry?”

She looked up at me and nodded.

“Come with us, just for a hot meal, you need to eat.”

“Do you have a name?” Jack asked.

“Janie!” she whispered and then turned and ran.

Jack stared after her as she disappeared into the barn.

“Janie,” he whispered, “My Janie!”

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My First Novel is available on Amazon.

Dead of July – A Novel by Sandra Thompson

 

Homeless and on the Run!

old barn

The barn door only opened a couple of feet. It was hanging precariously off its hinges, the bottom wedged on the uneven ground. The light that flooded the barn came from a window at the far side, a window that had been covered with boards the last time I visited.

“Looks like someone left in a hurry,” I said, “They smashed the boards from the window to escape.”

“Look at that.”

Jack pointed to a bundle of clothes on the floor under the open window. It was neatly folded and tied with string.

Next to the clothes was a plastic grocery bag bulging with empty water bottles and candy wrappers and a flashlight, which was still turned on.

“Doesn’t look like they have a very healthy diet. Why would they need a flashlight, it’s not dark in here?”

Nothing moved in the barn, whoever had been there was gone, but only just. We’d scared them away. As I looked around, Jack walked to the window. Without turning around he beckoned me and quietly said. “Someone’s watching us. Don’t scare her away.”

I walked to the window slowly and casually looked outside. “Do you see someone?” I asked.

“Yup, over to the left, by the scrub oak, behind the old trailer.” I didn’t move my head, but moved my eyes to see what he was talking about.

Even from a distance I could see it was the young girl from the Saloon!

Jack knew it, “It’s the girl who left the locket isn’t it?”

“Yes, we need to talk to her.”

“I think we’ll scare her away if we try to talk to her now. She needs to see us leave before she comes back for her clothes.”

Jack turned his back to the window, I backed away from it a few paces. The young girl inched out of her hiding place, but only a little.

“Come on.” Jack said, “Lets walk back to the road.”

“What if we lose her?”

“We won’t.”

“How can you be so sure?” I asked.

“Janie’s here!”

“What?”

“Whenever I’m with you I feel Miriam or Janie. This time it’s Janie, my daughter. She’s tied to this girl somehow and with your help, she drawing us together.”

“Jack I don’t feel anything right now. I’m in an old barn, watching a girl I saw in the Saloon, but I don’t feel anything.”

I followed him out of the barn, confused, but trusting his judgment. When we crossed the field and got to the dirt road he stopped and held his hand out to me.

“Look at this. I didn’t put it in my pocket, but here it is.”

The locked lay in the palm of his hand. It popped open in front of my eyes. I gasped. The photos had changed again.

“Look at the photos.”

Jack looked down at the locked and smiled. “Yes, Janie and Miriam.”

“Don’t you see what I see?”

He shook his head confused. He didn’t see a young girl with matted hair and sad eyes. That image was reserved for me.

 

This story is almost over. I hope you enjoyed reading it. I have many more short stories and novels up my sleeve. Some are waiting to be written. One is already available to purchase on Amazon for $0.99. Give it a try. Dead of July – eBook on Amazon.

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Ghost Whisperer?

“Jack, how long has this been happening?” I asked.

“Since New Years Eve! Since I saw you in the Saloon. You seem to be the connection. My wife and daughter are with me again. I think they’ve come to take me home”

“No, I don’t think that’s it. If they’d come to take you home, why would they need me? Something else is going on here.”

He looked at me, his tired eyes were moist with tears. “You talk as though this is an everyday occurrence. Are you some sort of Ghost Whisperer or Medium or something?”

I smiled, “Not exactly, but I do seem to attract the dead. Well those who have unfinished business anyway.”

“There’s no unfinished business here! My wife and child have come to take me with them. I have no use for this life anymore.”

“But you’re still alive aren’t you! Life hasn’t finished with you yet.”

Jack looked back at the locket on the table. “Tell me where you got this again!”

He sat in silence as I told him about the young girl in the Stagecoach. He shook his head, “None of this makes any sense, we need to find her and find out where she got it.”

“I agree with you, everything happens for a reason and I know she must be a part of this.”

“Tell me your story from start to finish again. I need to make sense of why you came into my life.”

I started with my night-time walk in the snow, my dreams, messages through my mam and my Gran. I talked slowly, thinking about every word before I spoke, being careful not to embellish any of the events. The words coming out of my mouth did sound like an episode of the Ghost Whisperer and I wondered what he’d think. If he’d believe me.

We sat in silence for a while after I’d finished.

“Fancy a walk?” It was Jack that broke the silence.

“Sure, I’ve called in a PTO day at work, I’ve nothing better to do. Anywhere in particular?”

I think its time we went back to the barn!

Janie and Miriam

JOY1690.0LI looked first at the rifle and then into his eyes. He had the look of crazy there, but not the kind of crazy that would shoot someone.

“You came to visit last night too didn’t you!”

“Yes, were you here? Why didn’t you come to the door?” Put the rifle down please!

“I was sick. You’d gone before I was able to come downstairs.”

“What are you doing with the rifle?” I asked, still a little nervous, unsure of whether to stand my ground or turn and run.

“Hobby of mine. I collect antique rifles, not for use, just because I like them. Sometimes I’ll sell one, just to keep food on my table.”

“You don’t work?”

“Odd jobs! Yard work. Minor home repairs.”

“Don’t you get lonely?”

“No, I have no time for people. Just biding my time until I join my girls. Nothing to live for.”

“You must have other family, brothers, sisters?”

“Not worth mentioning!”

My hand clasped around the locket. I knew it was significant. “Can I come in?”

He gestured to the door at the end of the hallway. “Coffee?”

Although I’d had more than my fill of coffee already, I nodded. The door led into a bright kitchen. Spotlessly clean, but dated. He pulled a chair out for me and I sat and watched as he prepared the coffee. Neither of us spoke until he sat down. It wasn’t an uncomfortable silence more of what my English teacher used to refer to as a “pregnant pause.”

“I’m Jack, don’t think I ever told you my name,” he said as he placed a cup of coffee in front of me.

“Sheila.” I said and smiled. “Funny how we’ve been thrown together.”

“Why did you come to see me last night, and why are you here now?”

Gazing into my coffee I wondered how much to tell this man. I didn’t want to scare him with my crazy dreams and premonitions. I put the locket on the table between us. “Ever seen this before?” I asked.

I watched a turmoil of emotions cross his face, sad, happy and finally confused. “Where did you get this?” he asked. His hands reached out to touch it, but stopped short, as though he was afraid to.

I didn’t answer, just opened it and pushed it across the table towards him so he could see the worn images inside.

At first his eyes remained focused on me. Finally he looked down at the open heart in front of him. He touched it briefly, and then put his head in his hands and sobbed.

“Where did you get this?” he asked.

Before I could answer, I felt a cool hand stroke my cheek. It wasn’t unpleasant, or scary. It wasn’t even unexpected. Someone was here watching. Jack felt it too.

“Janie, is that you?” he whispered. I feel you!

The smell of freshly baked bread filled the room. I heard laughter. The locket moved slightly on its own.

“Miriam?”

 

Death by Rifle?

Death by RifleJOY1690.0LI knew the old guy would most likely be at work, but I had to check. Someone was trying to make contact with me and I had a feeling it was his daughter. Why? Who the hell knew. Maybe I was the only person in the area who was open to her. I needed it over with. I needed my life back. Grabbing my coat, and stepping into my shoes, I set off up the road purposefully. I hadn’t gone far when my cell phone rang, it was Les.

“Hey, you didn’t call me back last night, still mad at me?”

“No, just tired, I went to bed. Not feeling great. I took the day off work.” Silence!

Ok say something! Ask me why I’m not feeling well! Give me some sympathy at least.

“You’re in the middle of another episode aren’t you?”

“Episode? What do you mean episode? You sound just like my mam.”

“I didn’t mean to. Are you going to be OK? It’s just hard to get my head around this stuff.”

“Why? When you’re mam died you knew it was going to happen. Explain that! You’ve seen things in this house that you can’t explain. Why is it so goddamn hard for you to get your head around this?”

“I know, I’m sorry. Just be careful OK!”

“I will!”

“Got to go, conference call starting. I’ll call later.”

With that he hung up. I ended the call and stuffed the phone back in my pocket. My fingers touched something cold. The pendant! I pulled it out and looked at it. I thought I’d left this with Bonnie in the Stagecoach! I opened it up and looked at the photos inside,they didn’t change the way they had last night. One side of the heart showed a young couple, and the other side was the face of a little girl, she was as cute as a button, her face beaming with happiness. I didn’t recognize any of them, but if I had to guess, I’d say the young couple were the old man and his wife. The little girl had to be his daughter. I choked back the tears. What a tragedy. Mother and child gone, and the old man wishing he were with them. It made me want to call Les back and tell him I loved him. Who knew what tomorrow held?

I walked along the driveway to the ranch, the neglected yard like a wilderness at either side of the rutted driveway. I approached the door cautiously, remembering what had happened the previous evening. The porch steps creaked as I mounted them. The door swung open slowly as a knocked. With a strong sense of deja vu, I stepped inside.

“Anyone home?”

Silence!

Then just like the previous evening I heard a noise from above. I was about to turn and flee when the old man appeared, he was carrying a rifle.

“I was expecting you!” he said.

Back to the Red Barn!

FootstepsAfter tossing and turning in bed for most of the night I gave up. Sleep wasn’t visiting me! At 4am I donned my robe and went downstairs to make coffee. I was tired and irritated. The dark silent house offered no comfort. It was no use calling Les, he was two hours ahead of me in Ohio, and probably already working, but what would I tell him?

I sipped my coffee and stared outside into the darkness. Nothing to see!

Gran what should I do? 

Opening my laptop I tried to work on my book, but I was too tired, too irritated!

Goddamn it, I have to get to the bottom of this.

After two cups of coffee and a lot of pacing, I showered. Work was out of the question, I was incapable of driving let alone working. Exhausted and defeated, I began to cry. I couldn’t go on like this.

Just after eight o clock, the phone rang.

“Hello pet, I had the strangest dream and I had to call you.” It was my mam. She had no clue about the time difference between England and the United States, had I been at work I’d have missed her call.

“Hi mam, I’m glad you slept long enough to have a dream. I was awake all night. What did you dream that made you think of me?”

“I dreamed about your Grandma! She was walking through the field near your house. It was very odd because she died long before you moved to America.”

“What a nice dream. It makes me feel like she’s watching over me.” My Gran had been watching over me since the day she died, but my mam wouldn’t discuss such things. 

“There was an old man with her, but it wasn’t your Grandad. He was very sad. Your Grandma was holding his hand, like she was leading him somewhere.”

I cold barely breathe. Mam had never shown any signs of having the gift my Gran and I shared, but somehow she’d become part of what was happening. I let her continue.

“They were walking towards an old red barn. I could hear someone crying.”

The phone went silent.

“Mam, are you still there? What did the man look like. What happened next?”

“I don’t know pet, your dad started snoring and I woke up. I wish he’d stop smoking, I’m sure it makes him snore.”

I exhaled deeply. Dammit, I needed to know what happened next.

I chatted with her for a while, not really listening, but making the right noises. Finally in the distance I heard a doorbell ring. “I’d better go, some one is at the door. Take care.”

“You too mam, love you.”

By the time I put the phone down I had a plan.

 

The Ghost of a Pendant!

JOY1690.0LThe Stagecoach was less than a five-minute drive, but walking was out of the question on a dark monday evening in winter. There was no sidewalk on the busy road and no lights on the dirt road that led to my house! Country living has its drawbacks!

When I arrived I was greeted by familiar welcoming faces. I didn’t know everyone’s name, but they were regulars, I felt safe there. A glass of Chardonnay was waiting for me when I sat at the bar. They knew me well. No English pub had ever been so welcoming.

“We don’t usually see you on a Monday night”

“I know, Les is Ohio and I wasn’t in the mood for being alone.”

“Menu?”

“No thanks, not tonight”

Bonnie was a star act in the Stagecoach. She was quick and witty, but also drop dead gorgeous with her blue eyes and black hair. She rode a crotch rocket, and not in a girly way.

She bantered with one or two other customers and then came back to me.

“Its quiet even for a monday, everyone’s probably recovering after Christmas. That old guy was in earlier, the one you were asking me about on New Years eve. He looked worse than usual. Kept putting his hands over his ears like he was trying to block something out. He sure has some daemons to deal with.”

Well now I know why he wasn’t home! Someone was in his house though, I felt it. I hope they hadn’t followed me.

The door opened allowing a freezing gust of cold January air into the bar. Bonnie looked over, prepared to greet someone, but no one entered.

“Maybe I didn’t shut the door properly before I came in,” I said, noting the question mark on her face.

“It’s heavy and shuts on its own. You don’t need to shut it. That’s the third time its done that tonight. The folks sitting at the table near the door moved because of it. Weird!”

Yup, it’s a freaky Monday for sure. I drank my first glass of Chardonnay in no time at all. Bonnie placed another on the bar without being asked.

The wine did its trick, finally I relaxed. I glanced around the saloon to make sure I wasn’t ignoring any one I usually talked to, and noticed a young girl sitting alone at one of the tall tables by the dart board. She had no drink in front of her and sat with her head in her hands, long matted hair covering her face.

“Hey Bonnie, who’s that? She wasn’t there a minute ago.”

Bonnie followed my eyes. “I never saw her come in either. She looks like she’s been dragged through a hedge backwards.”

“Ha, you’re starting to use British phrases, you’ll be using my accent soon.”

Bonnie laughed as she walked over to the table to serve the young lady, looking back over her shoulder she shouted, “No, you’ll be talking like me soon.”

By the time she got to the table, it was empty. The young girl had disappeared into thin air. Bonnie shrugged and then picked something up.

“Did you see her leave?” Bonnie asked.

“No, maybe she was a ghost!” I wasn’t joking.

“She must be in the bathroom!”

Bonnie dropped a heart-shaped pendant on the bar in front of me.

“She left something behind.”

“The pendant was easily opened and revealed a worn photo of a child, cute as a button and laughing for the camera. The image changed before my eyes. It became a solemn young girl, then a serious looking teenager. Finally I couldn’t see the face that looked back at me, it was covered with long matted hair. I dropped the pendant on the bar and ran outside, looking for the young girl who’d dropped it. A bitter wind chilled me to the bone, but there was no one out there.

“Who are you and where did you go?”

The cold darkness revealed no secrets.