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.

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Jingle Bell Rock – Footprints in the Snow

We sat by the fire drinking hot cider infused with rum. A perfect drink for a snowy December evening. It was Christmas in a glass. Les was engrossed in a noisy car chase on the television. So tense was his body, he might as well driving the cop car. It never ceases to amaze me how guys lose themselves in television. Isn’t real live much more fun?

I gazed at the Christmas tree. It was full of ornaments and memories. Many of the decorations were older than me, passed down from my grandmother to my mam, and then to me. My mam was still alive so they could have hung on her tree, but she ‘didn’t like clutter’. To me those old faded baubles weren’t clutter, they were history. When I touched them my body tingled as though they were trying to reach out to me, trying to tell me a story.

I took my empty glass to the sink and stared out of the kitchen window. It was snowing again. Christmas twinkled in the distance from the local bar. I faintly heard music, “Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock” sang with a country twang. It was a Saturday night, live music night. “Lets go down to the bar,” I said to Les. “It’s live music night, should be fun.” No answer! He was of course, on the edge of his seat, avoiding a collision with a school bus that had somehow gotten between the cop car and the bad guy.

I smiled. I wish my mind switched off from real life so easily.

I was drawn again to the Christmas tree, and the old clutter that hung there. Smiling I touched one of my Grandma’s ornaments, balancing it in the palm of my hand. It was a golden bauble, so worn and shiny it was like looking in a mirror. It moved slightly in my hand, or did I imagine it? Carefully taking it from the branch I held it up to my face and gazed into its smooth surface. My own face looked back at me, slightly distorted because of its shape. I closed my eyes and thought about my Grandma. When I opened them again my face no longer looked back at me, instead I saw the image of a child with blonde curly hair.

She smiled at me and waved, before turning around and walking away, leaving only footprints in the snow!

 

 

Who’s out there?

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He looked into my eyes, waiting for an answer. What do I tell him? 

“Come on we need to clean these scratches. Are you going to tell me how you got them?”

I daren’t

I followed him to the sink and stood silently while he dabbed my wounds with warm water. “So what happened, I saw you out there in the snow. Not exactly the kind of day to go for a walk. Did you fall?”

“Yes, at the end of the driveway. I heard a noise behind me and it made me jump. Lost my balance!” I said, relieved he’d put the idea of falling in my head. It wasn’t a lie. I did fall.

“What startled you?”

“It was snow falling off a tree branch, silly really, but I was lost in my thoughts.”

“You need to start paying attention or you’re going to hurt yourself.”

“I know, I have another book on my brain though. I was working out the plot in my head, walking helps me think.”

Les laughed. “Your mind is always somewhere else. Did you check the mail?”

“No, I didn’t”

“OK, I’ll do it now.”

I watched him walk along the driveway, wishing I dare tell him what really happened, but I couldn’t. He’d think I was imagining it, getting lost in one of my own plots. Sometimes I wondered if I was! 

Standing on the porch I breathed deeply, inhaling the cold crisp air. Snow fell from the roof, hitting the ground in front of me, I didn’t jump this time. 

Les walked back along the driveway, engrossed in the letters he was carrying, not noticing the snow whipping up behind him even though there was no wind. I held my breath as I watched the glistening mass take shape. It looked like a child, but disappeared before he reached the porch.

“Whats up? You look like you’ve seen a ghost!” Les said as he kicked the snow off his boots. 

If only he knew!

Footprints in the Snow

Christmas is undoubtedly my favorite time of year, but it brings with it hours of preparation. After baking all morning, I needed a break. Grabbing my jacket and scarf, I stepped outside. A winter wonderland glistened before me. Standing still for a few minutes, I took in the beauty while me eyes adjusted to the brightness! There was a chill in the air and my breath made little clouds in front of me. A brisk walk would clear away the cobwebs. With one hand firmly planted against the house I walked carefully down the icy steps from the porch. When I reached the bottom something caught my eye.

FootstepsFootprints!

They started on the path and continued along the driveway to the dirt road that ran past our house. How could that be? We had no neighbors. Anyone who came to visit us, came by car. I looked along the dirt road for tire tracks, but saw none, only small footprints in the snow.

Surely these were made by a child! 

I set off to follow them anxiously. What if a child was lost and cold?

Why would they start at my house? 

Bewildered, I walked along the dirt road that led to the old barn and opened the door cautiously, not wanting to scare whoever may be taking shelter there.

Why would a child be out here alone. Where did she come from?

It was dark inside, but splinters of sunlight shone through the holes in the roof, and eventually I was able to see my surroundings.

“Hello! Is anyone in here?” I asked. “I followed your footsteps. Are you lost?”

Silence.

“Are you hungry? I’ve made fresh shortbread, I’d love to share it with you.”

Movement! A rustling in the far corner. My view was blocked by old farm equipment.

“I’m coming over, don’t be scared.” I said as I walked towards the noise.

Silence.

My cellphone rang, I screamed. “Dammit!” I said as I switched it off.

“No need to hide, I’m not going to hurt you.”

Something dropped on me from above, claws digging deeply into my shoulder, teeth sinking into my ear.

“Holy Shit!”

I swatted at the crazy wild thing that attacked me, knocking it to the floor, and then I turned and ran.

 

Finding Christmas – Part Two

I woke up this morning, and laid quite still,

And listened

The lights on the pine trees shone through my window

A light frost glistened.

Outside the sun was starting to rise, on the first day of December

It was crisp and raw,

The sky was orange and deep, dark blue, such a dramatic hue

Incredible in its beauty, no Christmas yet though!