Ghostly Guidance

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Larry and his wayward friends left, pleased and excited with the way the night had turned out leaving Jack, Janie and I at the kitchen table, where we talked long into the night. Photos from the old tin were spread out in front of us. The faces on them were now familiar to me. Everything made sense now, well sort of.

“My mom and dad were killed in a car accident when I was twelve years old. I was home alone when the police knocked on the door. They took me with them and arranged for me to go into foster care.”

“Why? Did you have no more family?” I asked.

“No, I didn’t even have a birth certificate.”

“Where was your home?” Jack asked.

“Colorado Springs, it turns out my parents weren’t my birth parents, but took me in when I was a baby. There was no legal documentation. No way of knowing where I’d come from.”

“How do you know they weren’t your parents?”

“A neighbor told the police when they were trying to track down family. She’s known my mom a long time, knew she couldn’t have kids.”

Jack shook his head, “You were so close, less than an hour away from me for all of these years. How did you end up on here? How did you get involved with the scumbags on Colfax?”

“I ran away when I was fifteen. My foster parents were awful, I was nothing more than an unpaid child minder to their spoilt kids. The man tried to abuse me several times, he’d hit me and threaten me. It was a nightmare. His wife didn’t believe me, she hated me for telling her.”

“How did you come by the photos, the ones you’ve just showed to us?” I asked.

Janie’s eyes filled with tears. “I found them in my mom’s room when the cops took me back there to collect my belongings, I’d never seen them before so I snatched them, hoping they’d help me find my real parents.”

“You know the girl in the photos is my daughter Janie, don’t you!”

“Yes, thats why I’m here, I recognized you when I saw you walking down the road one day. You were younger in the photos, but I knew it was you. I figured out you were my grandad. I was happy, but scared to talk to you because I’m a no good drifter!”

Jack covered his face with his hands, rubbed his bleary eyes and then spoke in a weak trembling voice, “Don’t ever say that about yourself. I can see you mother in you. I knew the first moment I laid eyes on you. I don’t care about your past, what you’ve done, or where you’ve been. I want to make your future better, I want to make up for everything you’ve missed. Your mother died giving birth to you. I let her down, I miss her and I can never fix that, but you are going to have the life she never got chance to live!”

I could see it was time for me to leave.

“I’m going to let you two talk and figure out your future, I’ll see myself out.”

Jack looked up at me. “Thank you for everything!”

“Hey, don’t thank me, thank Alice Hobson, she’s my grandma and the one who pushed me to help. I suspect your wife and daughter conspired with her to draw Janie to the barn, and close to you. Its got to be more than coincidence”

I felt my gran smile inside my head, she liked it when I talked about her.

“You’re different that for sure,” Jack responded, “but in a good way I guess.”

I looked back towards the kitchen before I opened the front door. Jack and his new-found grand child sat opposite each other, holding hands across the table. Behind Jack, and probably only visible to me, stood his wife, she smiled across at her daughter Janie, who stood behind her namesake. They were there for a few seconds and then they were no more.

The kitchen was filled with the smell of fresh bread.

 

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Gunfire and Hookers

We heard three shots, bang-bang bang, one after another! It was terrifying. The closest I’d ever been to live gunfire was watching my neighbors at their back yard shooting range. This was America, everyone had a gun, but I’d never been in the line of fire. Our driver reversed speedily back to where Larry and Jack were. “Get Down!” he yelled. We didn’t need to be told twice. Janie and I dropped to the floor. The back door of the van opened, and even before it closed again, our tires screeched and we sped down the road. More gunfire. The back window of the van exploded! Janie screamed. A sharp right turn threw us across the floor. Finally, after a few more turns, we stopped.

“I don’t want anyone to move. Stay down!”12648704893_0f2dcc7aab

The tattooed passenger (I wish I knew his name) got out and disappeared into the darkness. Although I’d been told to stay down, I raised my head slightly and peeped over the back seat. Larry was sprawled on the floor cradling Jack in front of him. He saw the look of alarm on my face and put his finger to his lips. Jack turned his head and looked at me.

Thank God, he’s alive.

He’ll be OK, stay down pet, this isn’t over yet. I think my gran was with me. Car headlights appeared behind us. Filled with adrenalin, I was ready to run. The car pulled along side us. “It’s OK,” Larry whispered, “It’s our boys.”

I moved towards the door, wanting to put all of this behind me. “No, not you, this is for the old man and the other girl,” he said, “We need to split up.”

Janie clung to me “It’s OK go!” I said and pushed her gently towards the door wishing desperately I was going with her.

“What about me?”

“We’re going to get a cab!”

“Dressed like this?” I asked.

“Yes!” We need to be seen.

Larry helped me out of the van and caught me when my legs gave way beneath me.

“Come on, you can do this.”

We walked along the back streets just south of Colfax. It was a cold night and the streets were deserted. I wasn’t familiar with the area and completely lost. Cold and afraid I clung to Larry’s arm.

“What if they come after us?”

“Don’t think about it. Pretend it never happened.”

I looked at him with tears streaming down my face, “And what about Janie, do you think they’ll just let her go?”

“OK dry your eyes we’re almost there. It would help if you acted like a hooker!”

I looked down at my short skirt and ridiculous shoes. I certainly looked the part.

We reached a major intersection. It was Colorado Boulevard and Colfax. A line of taxis parked by the curb outside a club.

Thank God!

Several police cars and an ambulance raced past us, sirens blaring. They turned left onto Colfax. I knew where they were headed.

Larry helped me into a cab.

“Where to?” The driver asked.

“Can you recommend a cheap hotel near here?” Larry asked, “I’m from out-of-town.”

I saw the expression on the drivers face as he looked at me in the mirror.

Dear Lord, I hope I never see him again. 

I glared at Larry. He was enjoying this way too much!

“I know just the place.”

 

Just an old fashioned brothel!

BrotherlThe creep who’s propositioned me made himself comfortable on a chair next to Janie. Without taking his eyes off me he draped his arm around her and pulled her close. Tears streamed down her face. Push him off Janie, push him away. I knew she couldn’t. He kissed her on her neck, then her lips. He stood her up and pinning her against the wall with his body, he slid down and nuzzled his head between her breasts. She was terrified. I looked at Jack’s face, worried about his reaction. Larry spoke!

“Hey man, leave her alone, I can’t concentrate on the cards while you’re doing that.”

Tom turned around and faced him. “Can’t have that can we!”

He took hold of Janie’s arm and dragged her across the floor. She fell to her knees but he didn’t stop, he continued to walk, dragging her behind him. She managed to get to her feet again when they reached the door, her knees were scraped and her blouse torn.

“You want to come too darling? I can handle two of you.”

Go Sheila go, it’ll be OK! He’s strong, but drunk. Go help her. The voices in my head belonged to someone I’d come to know. It was Jacks daughter. Go, we’re here with you. This time it was my gran.

“Sure, let’s have a party.”

The look on Janie’s face was horrific. “No, leave her alone, leave her out of this.”

“Shhh, honey, you can’t keep a mal like this all to yourself” I said, trying to take on the role.

I didn’t look behind me, daren’t see the look on Jack’s face.

The bedroom that Tom led us into wasn’t at all what I was expecting. It was clean and sumptuous, reminded me of a saloon brothel from some Western, where the madame would be called Kitty and her girls would wear frilly bloomers and basques. He saw the look on my face. “Like what you see, you’re gonna like what you get too.” He unbuckled his belt and started to unzip his jeans. “Lets play around a little first shall we?”He walked toward me, his belt hanging loose, the top button of his jeans undone and his zipper halfway down. Janie stepped in front of me, trembling, but trying to protect me. She moved towards Tom and draped her arms around his neck. He put his hands on her shoulders, dropped his head and kissed her breasts, then he pushed her to one side and laughed.

“I’ve had you before, its her I want. She’s new, fresh and I don’t think she’s done this before.”

Oh dear god please help me. 

I looked across at the speckled mirror in the old-fashioned dresser and saw four faces looking back at me. My own terrified face was in the forefront, but the faded, determined faces of my gran, and the two souls she’d befriended hovered behind, like fading holograms.

Everything moved very fast. Janie lurched forward and grabbed Tom’s jeans, she yanked them down to his knees and pushed as hard as she could. His legs tangled in his jeans and he went down hard, banging his head on the corner of the dresser as he fell. It knocked him out cold.

Run, run, run, run, run, run, ruuuuuuunnnnnnn! Get away, flee!

The faces in the mirror had disappeared, but the room echoed with their words. I grabbed Janie’s hand and we ran for the door. It opened as we approached and on of Larry’s boys appeared. He looked behind us and saw Tom on the floor, a pool of blood spreading around him.

“This way!”

We fled down the hallway and out of the back door. The old van stood outside, its engine running. We fell inside and the van took off, even before the door was closed.

“You girls OK?”

Janie and I didn’t speak, we just hugged each other!

“What about Jack,” Janie said, “What if they hurt him?”

I put my arm around her, feeling her wet tears on my shoulder. “He’s in good company, I think he’ll be OK!” I replied and hoped I was right.

 

The Hand!

A hand touched my shoulder startling me so badly I almost fell off my chair. “Hey sugar, I didn’t mean to scare you.” the hand didn’t move though, it remained on my shoulder, inching its way down to places I didn’t want it to go.
Relax Sheila, you can do this, come on its going to take more than an attempted  grope to scare you.

hand-tattoo-for-men

I slid off my chair, causing the hand to slide away. Turning around I came face to face with the bully we’d seen in the Stage Coach. His hand rested on the bar, it was tattooed to look like a skull. His face was a mixture of confidence and lust. I could tell them man was used to getting his own way.

“Are you here for an interview?” he asked, “if you are, let’s go out back, I like what I see, but a little time alone with you would help me make up my mind.”

I could feel Jack’s eyes on me. Stay Cool Jack, don’t blow it!

Smiling I said, “thanks for the offer man, it’s tempting, but I’m with someone.”

Larry left the table and came to my aid. He pulled me close and whispered in my ear erotically. “Keeping you safe, play along.”

I turned around to face him and kissed him full on the lips. He tasted of whiskey and tobacco. It was like kissing my dad.

“Come on, forget the hooker and let’s get on with the game.”

Larry laughed, “leave her alone man, she’s mine for the night, I want my money’s worth. Even bought me some little blue pills to make the night last longer.”

He returned to the table.

I tried not to show my disgust, the thought of being bought by Larry or anyone else made me feel sick.

“My name’s Tom, the tattooed bully said huskily.” He put his arm around me, resting his meaty hand on my lower back, pulling me towards him. I tried to resist, but he was too strong. “When you’re done with this old man some see me. I could use a girl like you.” I guessed he was two hundred and fifty pounds of pure muscle, not someone to upset.

“I’ll remember that big guy.” I said as I looked into his eyes.

He held me for a long time, too long, but I daren’t pull away. Finally he but his mouth to my ear and said, “You have a little more class than my usual girls, I could even keep you for myself.” He inhaled, “Mmm you smell good too!”

With that he went over to the far door and said something to the guy who guarded it. They both looked at me.

Shit!

Janie (Rosie) sat on her stool. Although her head hung down so far I couldn’t see her face, I knew she was crying, I saw the tear drops falling onto her lap.

Petal handed me a drink. “Cheers honey, it looks like you’ll be one of us soon!”

I took the drink and downed it in one gulp.

No fucking way! I’d rather die. Gran, I hope you’re out there. I’m going to need you!

 

Wanna Join my Girls?

I was nervous when I climbed into the front seat of the shabby old van, but I was also excited. As an amateur writer and budding novelist I wrote about
Gilded Lilyall sorts of weird and crazy things, but never anything quite like this. If I survived the night it would certainly give me material for my next novel. What do you mean if you survive the night?

I heard my gran’s voice, she was back at last.

Where have you been?

“I’ve been here, watching over you. You’ve been doing just fine without me.” 

With all of the doors shut and the engine running noisily, it really was an old rust bucket, Larry looked at me.

“Are you ready for this?” He asked.

“As ready as anyone can be.”

“Sheila, you don’t have to do this. We should just call the cops. Larry, let her out.”

There was silence in the van for about ten seconds, eventually broken by a husky voice from the darkness.

“You call the cops man, you’ll never see this girl again. She’ll just disappear. You aint messing with amateurs here. This is serious shit. We’re this girls only chance.”

“How do you know? You don’t know her!”

“I know who owns her. She’s money to him, nothing else. Get the cops involved and she’s worthless. She’ll be sold on, or worse.”

“Why do you care?” Jack asked, “Why do you want to help us?”

“Got a score to settle with this guy. An eye for an eye and all that!”

Larry pulled slowly onto the main road. The old van rattled and shook. I hope we don’t have to make a quick getaway ‘cos this van won’t do it.

We drove through the darkness in silence. It was thirty minutes or so before the skyscrapers of Denver lit up the horizon ahead of us. I should have been scared, but I wasn’t. I felt warm inside. Gran you’re there aren’t you? “Yes hinny, and I brought friends.” 

I closed my eyes and for a brief moment I saw my Gran’s face. Her piercing blue eyes looking into mine. She did indeed have company. I recognized their faces from the locket we’d found in the bar. I looked over my shoulder at Jack. “I think we’ve got company,” I said. He didn’t reply, just sat with his head in his hands. I think he was crying.

 

What happens next? Follow my blog and find out. I’m a budding (late starting) writer. I published my first book ‘Dead of July’ back in 2013. There’s been a gap, where life has been to busy for me to write, but I’m back in the saddle and writing up a storm. Stay with me and enjoy the ride. 

Dead of July – A Ghost Story with a difference

Help ME!

131286-aaa-tests-shine-high-beam-headlight-limitations.2As I walked home, my temples began to throb. Goddam this day! Why don’t I feel good about helping this girl? 

“Give it time!”

It was my Gran’s voice. I was comforted to hear it. Gran who is this girl.? There was no reply. The phone rang as I walked through the front door. I ignored it. After taking a couple of aspirin, I lay down on the sofa and slept. My dreams were a troubled mess of sirens and anxiety. When I finally woke up it was dark and cold. I was disoriented. Where am I?

Looking around, I focused my eyes and thoughts. At home of course. I’d slept for six hours. It was almost time to meet up with Jack and Janie again. Was that really her name? I doubted it. More likely she’d done her research on a poor lonely old man and chosen the name to take advantage him. But why do I feel the presence of his dead wife and daughter?

I washed my face and changed my rumpled clothes. The phone came to life again.

It was Les, “where have you been? I’ve been calling you at work and at home.”

“I stayed home, had an awful nights sleep and just couldn’t face work. I heard the phone ring once here, but I didn’t answer because I was trying to sleep.”

“Once, I rang about six times.”

Maybe the sirens I heard in my dreams was the phone ringing. 

“Well I never heard it.”

“Good news, I will be home this weekend after all. The system isn’t going live until next week.”

“Great,” I said, not sounding the least bit enthusiastic. “Look I’m not feeling well, I’ll call you later.”

I was becoming more agitated by the second. My heart was beating fifty to the dozen. I grabbed my coat, and jumped in the car, almost forgetting to open the garage door before I drove out. Something felt wrong!

Jack’s house was lit up like a beacon, porch light, bedroom lights, and the door stood wide open. As my car crunched along the driveway Jack appeared.

“She’s gone!” he said

“Is anything missing?” I asked without thinking.

He looked hurt. “I didn’t check and I don’t need to. We have to find her.”

“OK, jump in, we’ll go to the barn first.”

“No need, I already checked there, no sign of her.”

I closed my eyes and tried to collect my thoughts. Had she ever really existed? Was she something I’d conjured up? No, Jack has seen her too.

I started to speak, but my words were drowned by the noise of a truck passing by, music blaring from the windows.

“Help me!”

Icy fingers closed around my heart. I looked at Jack.

“Did I imagine that?”

He shook his head and jumped in the passenger seat.

“Go!” He yelled.

 

Dead of July  is my first novel and its available on Amazon for $0.99. It’s set in 1982 in Dortmund, Germany. If you’re enjoying my short blog stories, give it a try.

 

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?

 

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

 

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?”