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Posts tagged ‘ghosts’

Story a Day: Day 30 – Three

Today’s Story a Day prompt was to somehow incorporate the rule of three into the story. I was just going to go with Yasmin looking at the three different books. Then, I saw a three sentence paragraph pattern forming. So, I decided to see if I could continue that through the rest of the story. And I did. This should be able to fit into the In the Moonlight WiP after the current scene I’m working on.

I couldn’t sleep. Every time I closed my eye, Nola was right there. Leading me through the house, showing me the little oasis Aunt Adriane had made, watching me.

I wasn’t sure she believed how casually I appeared to take that. If only she’d known what was really going through my head and how hard it was to keep up that appearance. If only she’d joined me in the bed.

Not likely. I snorted a little at myself as I threw off the sheets and swung my legs out of the bed. By all appearances, she was a good girl; something I’d never succeeded at being.

I tugged on a robe over my thin tank and shorts before leaving the room. I headed down the hallway to the stairs, running my hand down the railing as I went down. A shiver passed over me, but I told myself it was only from the memory of the ghost story Nola had told me.

Had a woman really died on these steps? I planned to find out. As long as I could find the right books in Aunt Adriane’s library.

My library now. I had to keep reminding myself of that. She’s left the house and everything in it to me.

I’d still rather have her here. Maybe I could have gotten her to tell me the real story, as long as she knew it. And really, I just missed her.

I closed the door to the library before switching on the light and drawing in a deep breath. I’d spent one summer helping Aunt Adriane catalogue all the books here. It had been one of the best summers of my life.

It didn’t take me long to find the section I wanted. One book on the history of the house, another on our family’s history, and a third on local ghost stories. I carried them all over to the couch I’d helped Aunt Adriane pick out my last full summer here when I’d just graduated from high school.

I stretched out on the couch and opened the book on our family history. We’d lived in this house as long as it had been standing here; more than two hundred years. If the ghost had at one time been the daughter of an owner, she should be in here.

I started with the generation before Aunt Adriane and my grandpa. It had to have been before her time for there to be so many different versions of the story. Probably quite a ways back even from there, but I needed a place to start.

Nola said the only common thread was that it was a young woman, so I ignored all the entries about the men in the family. And the women who had lived past the age of thirty. I kept flipping through the pages until one finally caught my attention.

She’d been born about a hundred years before Aunt Adriane and had died just short of her twentieth birthday. There wasn’t much more information beside that in this book, it gave birth, death, and the location of both. But, it gave me the jumping off point I needed.

I opened the book on the history of the house and found the corresponding time period. There was a photo of the family who had lived here during that time, but very little was said about the daughter. Only the sons and their service in the Union Army during the Civil War was recorded.

Not even one word about her death. I found that a little odd. She’d been young to die, even for the times.

I reached for the third book, maybe there were other stories of hauntings that would coincide with what Nola had told me. But, stopped at the creaking of the door and held my breath. Did the ghost haunt the library?

I shook my head and set the book aside. I probably hadn’t latched the door, that was all. I was letting my imagination get away from me, like Dad was always accusing me of.

I’d check it then go back and see what I could find in that final book. But, when I turned the corner of the shelves, I saw the door was still closed. Now, that didn’t make sense; I knew I heard it open.

I shook my head and started back toward the couch. Maybe I was tired enough to sleep now if I was imagining stuff like that. I’d just have to set the books aside for now.

But, when I reached the couch again, I almost screamed. A figure stood right next to it, looking down at what I’d been reading. It wasn’t until she turned to me, I realized just how far my imagination had run.

“Nola,” I said on an expelled breath. “You scared me, I thought I was the only one still awake. What are you doing in here?”

“Couldn’t sleep and saw the light on in here. I thought maybe Bailey had forgotten to turn it off. He reads in here before bed usually.”

“No, it was just me.” I looked away and picked up the books, not even able to look her in the eyes. “I think I’ll be able to sleep now, though.”

“What were you reading?” She followed me back to the shelves. I put the genealogy and history books back then headed back for  the couch.

“Trying to find the identity of our ghost. You put the idea in my head, and I couldn’t get it out. Found a possibility, but there’s not much information on her.”

Nola laughed, and I loved the sound of it, even if I shouldn’t. “Do you actually believe the house is haunted? It’s just an old story.”

“That could have some basis in fact. Doesn’t mean she’s haunting the place. I just want the truth behind it.”

We walked toward the door, and I shut the light off before stepping out into the hallway. “What about you? Why couldn’t you sleep?”

She hesitated, but for a moment, I thought she’d actually tell me. Then, she shook her head. “It’s nothing.”

I didn’t really think that was true, but it’s not like I could force her to tell me. We weren’t even friends. She’d worked for my great-aunt and now, I guess, she did for me.

I wanted it to be more than that, but I rarely seemed to get what I really wanted. I doubted this would be any different. I thought she’d made that pretty clear.

But, I paused at the bottom of the stairs, not wanting to leave her yet. “Can I do anything else for you?” Her hand was awfully close to mine as she asked the question.

There was a lot she could do for me, but nothing I would ask from her. “No,” I told her. “I’m just going to go up to bed.”

“I’ll see you in the morning then, Ms. Reisner.” She turned away,  but I reached out and put a hand on her arm. She stopped and waited for me to say something.

“It’s Yasmin,” I reminded her. “I told you to just call me Yasmin.” I didn’t need the formality.

“Yasmin then,” she said, and her smile nearly knocked my legs out from under me. “I’ll see you in the morning. I hope you have a more restful night.”

I watched her walk away and highly doubted that would happen. But, I might get some good dreams out of it. And I’d still call that a win.

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JusJoJan: Day 29 – Ghost

Welcome back for day 29 of Just Jot It January. Today’s prompt is ghost, brought to us by Barbara.

I don’t write about ghosts. Well, not actual ghosts. Though I do have one of those plotted out. Not sure if I’ll ever get around to writing it, though. It was actually an idea that came to me years ago while I was watching a show on Discovery ID(one of my favorite channels back when we had the satellite).

What I do often write about, though, are people’s emotional ghosts. This came up quite a bit when I was writing Chasing the Ghost(book 4 in my Gilbert, CO series). After all, it’s right there in the title. For anyone who has read Duty to Protect, this is Connie’s story(for anyone who hasn’t, there’s at least one spoiler right there).

Jason closed the door of his truck and glanced over at Leo. “Why aren’t you driving yourself? Or hitching a ride with one of the other guys?”
Leo lifted a shoulder, but he tapped his fingers against the door. “Didn’t drive here this morning, and didn’t want to have to depend on one of them if I wanted to leave.”
“You don’t stay on the ranch?”
“No. I have a house less than a mile away.”
Jason nodded but kept his gaze focused on the road. “What about you?” Leo asked as they turned toward town. “I know Brendan gave you the cabin since there isn’t room in the bunkhouse. Are you planning on moving anyone else into it?”
Jason nearly lifted his hand to touch the ring under his shirt, but he forced it to stay on the wheel instead. “No,” he said, his voice gruff. “There’s no one.”
Leo was silent, but Jason felt him watching him. “Was there?” he finally asked, his voice soft.
“Yes,” he said after a moment. “There isn’t now.” There wouldn’t be. He wouldn’t bring someone into his crazy mess of a life.
“You don’t think she’ll ever take you back?”
“She can’t.”

And there’s Connie’s ghosts:

He reached out and lifted her chin, so she had to look up at him. “It’s not something to be ashamed of. You survived, Connie. That means you’re strong.”
“It means I’m lucky. That’s it, Jason. I got lucky. My fiancé didn’t. That’s why I’ll never have it. The only man I ever loved was stolen away from me. And I…I didn’t even get to grieve for him. I still have trouble remembering he’s gone. Sometimes I forget, and it’s like I lost him all over again.”
He slid both hands along the side of her face, then he bent down and pressed his mouth to hers. Her lips parted in surprise, but he didn’t take that as invitation to take the kiss deeper. He kept it light and soft. He pulled back after a moment. “I know,” he murmured. “I’ve lost, and the pain doesn’t go away. Even when you can remember.”

And some more of what’s haunting Jason:

“I said I wouldn’t ask questions, but I need to know.” Brendan’s voice was strained, as if it pained him to ask. “Is it true?”
Everything inside of him froze. “What?” He had to push the single word out.
“Your wife. Did you kill her?”
Jason shoved up from the bed. He felt cold everywhere, even though his blood burned. “No.” He spit out the word. “I loved her. I loved her with every fucking thing I was. I wasn’t there when she died. I came home to learn my family was dead. How can you ask if it was by my hand?”
He took the picture out of the box and shoved it at him. “I loved them. Why would I kill them?”
Brendan’s hands shook slightly as he took the picture and looked down at it. “You had a son too,” he murmured.
“Adam.” Another tear slid down his cheek. “He was…” Jason sank back onto the bed. “I loved my boy. He was the most precious thing to me, even above my love for her. I don’t care what he says, I never lost my temper with them. I never would have hurt either of them.”
“I can see that, son,” Brendan murmured. “Who says you did?”
Jason blew out a breath. “Her father. He always hated me. Even though the police cleared me, he insists I’m responsible.” He wouldn’t bring up the other things his former father-in-law had done in retribution.
“Why does he have a, what did Garren call him, some sort of private investigator following you?”
“Because he doesn’t believe the police. He’s so sure I did it, he won’t believe anything else.” He rubbed a hand over his face. “You don’t need to worry about this, Brendan. I’ll be leaving. You don’t need my problems.”

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