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.

Isn’t it Ironic!

The garage door closed slowly but I watched it go all the way down, still sitting in my car, headlights shining. I wanted to make sure nothing had followed me home.

The air in my house was alive with whispers.

Maybe I should go and grab dinner at the Stagecoach! It seemed like a great idea, but I’d still have to come home afterwards. The phone rang and I almost screamed. OK, pull yourself together!

“Hello”

Nothing, just static. “Hello, who’s there?”

“Its me, whats wrong? You sound on edge.” It was Les. I must have sounded bad because my husband lived in his little high-tech bubble and didn’t usually notice what was going on around him.

“Bad day at work.” I replied. “I’ll be OK after a glass of wine.” I didn’t want to tell him what was really wrong. We’d already been down that road.

“Well I hope I’m not going to make it worse. Looks like I’m not going to be home this weekend. Things aren’t going smoothly here and we can’t hand off the project Friday as planned. Its going to be next week instead.”

To be honest I wasn’t really listening. Although there was nothing to see, I knew I wasn’t alone.

“Hey, are you listening to me? There’s nothing I can do about it.”

“Yea, I know, it never is.” I answered, not even thinking about the words that came out of my mouth. I don’t remember hanging up the phone, or how long I stood by the door. The phone rang again. What just happened?

“Hello!”

It was Les again. “Do you want to fly out here for the weekend? I’d be working, but you could shop during the day and we could have dinner together.”

“A weekend in Columbus, Ohio in January doesn’t really appeal to me. I’ve got stuff to do at home, a weekend alone will help me take care of it.”

“What stuff?”

“Les, I have to go, I’ll call you back later.”

The air had become electric, literally, small sparks were igniting, lighting up the darkness.

“Show yourself! I know you’re here, just show yourself.”

I head musicWhere was it coming from.

“Isn’t it Ironic, like rain on your wedding day……”

Was it outside? I walked towards the patio door, but before I even reached it, it slid open. How could that be? It was locked. The music came from outside, maybe the Stagecoach? I only heard their music in the summer when live bands on the patio.

Maybe I will go for a drink after all. “Hey I’m leaving, want to come for a drink with me?” I shouted into the darkness.

The house remained silent!

Haunted House!

DSC07093

photo from davidstillman.blogspot.com

All I could think about was the sad face that haunted my dreams at night, and my thoughts all day. The face that was taking over my life. Why? I didn’t know her. If it was the old man’s daughter, she was long since dead. My day at work was painfully slow. Finally, eager to talk to the old man, I made and excuse to leave early.

January dusk soon fell, cold and uninviting. I was grateful for my heated car seat after being chilled to the bone walking across the parking lot. It was dark when I pulled onto the drive way of the ranch. There wasn’t a light to be seen in anywhere in the house either. Wishing I’d brought a flashlight I opened the car door. The breeze was no longer gentle.

Watching my step I walked in the direction of the huge shadow which loomed ahead of me. It’s all I could see of the house. I approached the front door and tapped on it nervously, feeling like an intruder smothered in a blanket of darkness.

The door swung open slowly, creaking as it did so. Doors always creaked in these situations.

“Hello, is anyone home?”

No answer, no movement. The air was deadly still. I took a step forward into the house. The temperature dropped several degrees when I did so. How could it be colder inside than out. My breath formed a cloud in front of my face.

“Hello.” I said softly.

A floorboard creaked. The sound came from above. I looked in the direction of the stairs, but thought the better of going up there.

What if he’s dead? 

Standing just inside the doorway I wondered what to do next. I had no business walking around the house uninvited. People did that in movies and it always ended badly. Turning around I pulled the door shut and walked back to the car. Should I leave a note?

Footsteps crunched on the gravel drive way and I looked up expecting to see the old man. The steps continued, but there was no one to be seen. Instinctively I locked the car door. Footsteps crunched past me, stepping onto the porch. Looking in my rearview mirror, I watched the front door open and close on its own.

Time to get out of Dodge! 

I started the car and floored the accelerator, pebble dashing the front of the house with gravel as I left.

Thank God I didn’t go upstairs! 

Voices in the Night

I sat bolt upright in bed! Cold sweat chilled my body. The air around me was alive, charged with activity. I wasn’t alone. Show yourself!

The atmosphere settled. Was I dreaming again?

Pulling the covers from the floor, I snuggled back down and hugged my pillow. “Help her!” It was no more than a whisper.

I froze and held my breath, hoping to hear more. Silence! The clock told me it was only 5 AM. I didn’t really want to get out of bed. It was cold and dark. Ten minutes passed and I realized sleep had left me for the night, so slipping on my robe I trudged downstairs and said good morning to the coffee machine. While it warmed, I decided to edit the last chapter of my novel. There was still a lot of work to do before it could be published. I opened my laptop and in the brief moment before the screen awoke, a face appeared. It was the sad face of a young woman. She closed her eyes and bowed her head. Before I could take a better look, it was replaced with sun setting across the Mediterranean. My desktop! What the heck?

“Help her!”

“I can’t help her unless I know who she is.”

A sad, heavy silence hung in the empty room.

Is this going to last forever? Show yourself so I know who you are.

The coffee tasted good as I sat down and worked my novel. My imagination was flowing and my fingers flew across the keyboard in an editing frenzy. Music brought me back to reality. My alarm clock! Thanks heavens I’d left it on or I’d have forgotten it was Monday morning.

As I showered I thought about my broken sleep. Who was trying to contact me? Who needed my help? I knew it was connected to the not so old man and his tragically departed daughter, but how? She was dead, he was living from day-to-day, waiting to die.

“Who needs my help?” I said out loud to a deserted house.

I dressed and left for work. My usual route was blocked by a delivery van, so I drove the opposite way through my little community to get to the main road. Houses were few and far between, hidden among the trees, all set back from the road. Country living at its best. As I passed the ranch at the top of the hill, the front door opened, illuminating the bent shape of the man who had recently come into my life. I’m going to come and visit you tonight!

He looked up as though he could read my mind. Maybe he could!

Through your Eyes!

Old-man-photo-by-Ahmet-DemirelThe old man stood in my living room, obviously uncomfortable, and so very vulnerable. He couldn’t look me in the eye.

“I don’t know why I’m here,” he said as he made for the door.

“Don’t leave, please sit down, I have to know why you came. Can I make you some coffee?”

He nodded his head and sat on the very edge of the chair, ready to bolt if necessary. “Cappuccino or Americano?” I asked, and then regretted it when I saw the look on his face. Obviously what type of coffee I made was the last thing on his mind.

“Which tastes better with whiskey?” He replied as he took a small bottle from the inside of his jacket. I looked at the clock, it was way too early to be drinking whiskey, but who was I to tell him what to do? I made us both an Americano and watched while he poured a large measure of cheap whiskey into his mug. He offered me the bottle, but I shook my head.

“Why are you here?”

“I think you know.” He said, sipping his hot steaming whiskey laced coffee.

“I know we have a connection, I felt it down in the bar on New Years Eve.” I knew what the connection was, but needed him to open up to me. He took another large gulp of coffee. His bloodshot eyes filled with tears and he looked at me.

“How old do you think I am?” he asked.

I considered this before I answered. Should I be complimentary or should I tell him the truth. I decided to be complimentary, he actually looked about ninety.

“I’m not great with ages, but I’d guess around seventy.”

He laughed a bitter laugh, no humor in it at all. “I’m fifty-eight.”

I was both uncomfortable and embarrassed. He looked and walked like an old man. Fifty eight wasn’t old at all.

“My daughter died twenty years ago when she was only 17, my wife joined her ten years later. I’m still here. I neither the courage to kill myself, nor the will to live. Its Hell on Earth.”

“God I’m sorry.”

“God, do you really believe in God, because I don’t. He took my daughter away from me, then he took my wife. God is supposed to be kind, I don’t believe in him anymore.”

“Why did you come to see me?” I asked.

“I think you already know.”

“Maybe, but I want to hear it from you.”

He finished his coffee and rubbed his eyes. It was difficult for him to tell me what was on his mind, but eventually he spoke. “On New Years eve, when I brushed past you, I saw my daughter through your eyes. I saw her reaching out to me. I saw her and I want to see her again. I want to be with her.”

I remained silent.

“You felt it too didn’t you?”

Before I could answer the phone rang. We both jumped. I picked it up quickly.

“Hey mum, can I call you right back?”

I put the phone down and turned around, but the room was empty. All that remained of the sad old man, was and empty mug and the smell of whiskey.