My husband passed away while I was recovering from a serious operation in hospital. Quite possibly the worst timing of anything that anyone could dream of. He was gone in his sleep, as I had always hoped he would. Quietly and peacefully with a smile on his face. My mother and the building manager went into the apartment to find him. It was a devastating period of my life, but I swear he never really left.
I was in a private room and the staff were instructed to leave everything as it was for me. This included the chair he used everytime he came to visit. It was one of those high backed Lazy-boy types that leaned back and you could put your feet up. He had heart problems, and it was very obvious he suffered from angina. He often held his left side at the bottom of his ribs. He refused to use the oxygen he slept with during the day, and I knew he was getting worse.
About a week after he passed, as I was on the phone again, settling details of claiming life insurance and arranging his cremation, the rudest nurse I’ve ever met, waltzed into my room a pulled his chair out into the hallway. When I protested, in tears, she said, “Get over it. I need it.”
For me, it removed a visual reminder of the support he’d shown me and the joy of celebrating our 34th anniversary. His wicked sense of humor, and the jokes he told walked out of the room with the chair and so did his ghost.
They moved it into another room where a recovering hip replacement patient tried to sit in it, and couldn’t. She said there was already someone in it. Since she was just getting up for the first time, and still woozy from anesthetic, the nurse didn’t put much store in her complaint until she tried to sit in it and yelped.
Her words, “Someone pinched my ass.”
Later, at shift change, she told one of the other nurses she had a bruise on her bottom which made it uncomfortable to sit.
She pushed it back into the hall just outside my door and I got to listen to the fun. Two toddlers who tried to get in it to sit while their mother visited their grandmother, were unceremoniously dumped to the floor. They tried repeatedly to get onto the seat, and the nurses at the unit desk watched in disbelief as they tumbled to the floor four times in a row.
An infirm elderly gentleman tried to sit down, and then slid right out, ending up on the shiny linoleum floor. The scramble to get him up again was kind of funny, as I knew we had a ghost and they didn’t. And not just any ghost, a poltergeist. A spirit with a sometimes vicious sense of humor, which described my dear departed husband precisely.
Eventually they moved the cursed chair back into my room with a sign. Out of order. When my nurse practitioner came in to visit me and asked how physio was going, she took one look and burst out laughing. She was right with me, when I told her Jim’s ghost was still using it, She told me about the other attempts to move it into other rooms, with varying disastrous results. He did let one curvy intern sit down, but molested her breasts. He always did have a thing for a nice pair of tits.
My girlfriend Michelle came to visit me. A wise Cree woman, she’d heard my stories, and since sitting on my bed wasn’t advisable as I was recovering from a below the knee amputation, she picked up the sign and spoke.
“Alright Jim, be a decent guy and let me use your chair. You need to move on, your disturbing everyone. You’ve had your revenge on them. Karin is doing fine.”
She sat down with no problems. She always did have a way with spirits. She claimed she could see them. I believed her. When she passed away herself, she came to see me in my dreams, and still does when I’m particularly sad or agitated. She did get our poltergeist to behave, at least some of the time. Anyone coming to visit me with my approval could use the chair without ill effect. Every time they moved it into another room, it was back to no one being able to use it.
When I came home, I found his favorite lamp was out. It was one we left on 24/7 because it provided just enough light to keep us from tripping in the living room when one of us would come out in the middle of the night because we couldn’t sleep. Shaped like a red flame, it was a plasma lamp and used very little power, so we didn’t feel guilty about letting it run. I couldn’t get it to work, but left it plugged in hoping it would come back to life.
On the day I sold his guitars, which he told me to do, it lit with a hissing crackle. Exactly at the moment I signed the bill of sale. He wanted them to go to someone who couldn’t afford much and showed a love for music. The man was a new immigrant to Canada, starting a music school in his home. He took all the guitars, and because he was willing to move it, I gave him the electric organ we had as well. He got the two amplifiers for the electric instruments and a couple of other odds and ends that would serve him well in his new endeavors. The lamp finally burnt out on the fifth anniversary of Jim’s death.
He visited me one more time after that. Barely eight months after he passed, I was in hospital once again, this time with a deadly version of the flu. I found out later there were only a few people who caught it, but it didn’t have a very high survival rate. I was hovering somewhere between when he came. I knew I had a choice. Live or die. It could go either way. He stood there, and held me in his arms, and I wanted to go with him so intensely it caused me to weep. He spoke.
“You’ve had your cry. Now go back like you always have, stronger for the tears, and get better. You have more to do. Live your dream. Love again. It’s not your time yet.”
He was gone for the last time. I knew that was our last goodbye.
I recovered. I was told it was pretty miraculous. I’ve done as he told me; spread love and write the books he knew I had filed away inside my imagination. He always supported my creative side. I know I’ve made him proud, and I’m getting ready to publish my first book on Amazon Kindle in just over a month.
Yes, I believe in ghosts. I’ve had one fight for me, so I know they exist. When things go bump in the night, I remember the chair that wouldn’t let anyone sit.
T’Were Many Years Ago Now...
Afta the biggest drought we ever had. The rain come in that night like mother’s milk to a parched babe. A precious gift thrown to the ungrateful red earth, which supped it mercilessly and begged for more. We set out buckets to collect it, Janey and me, so’s we had a little cleaner drinkin’ water than what was spluttered out by the rusty rain-tank.
- I take it yur’v heard of the burrowin’ toads that live here ’bouts, and pop up afta a rain? There was some talk they was pois’nous after old Tombo got sick from a stew he made outa one of ‘em, he was hallucinatin som'n fierce, tellin’ ever’n he come ’cross how the “Frogmen” were comin to rule over us. How they’d bilt an entire civilisation unda-ground, and one day theyd dig 'emselves up afta the rains come, to eats up all tha children and livestock.
Well that’s Tombo for you, all they all thort was he must’ve ate sumthin mighty ’musing.
Anyway that was years before, so we didn’t pay’t no mind. We was still kids then, Janey was nine and I was about 'leven or so, and we couldn’t think of nothin better than to go frolicin' in the rainy dark, seein' if we’s could find one'a them burrowin’ toads to keep for a day-pet.
So there we was, digging 'round in the little puddles which was formin’ on the dried up ol' river bed. B’n dry as a bone for years... Anyway, that's when I noticed a few bubbles comin’ up in the mud under a rock. So I turned 't over, and somethin was squirmin' underneath. I called to Janey to bring a bucket ’coz I’d found one I thort, a big one too. Big as a football almost. I couldn’t see too well though ’coz my flashlight started flickerin', so I just went by feel. I tried to pick him up - it was definitely a toad I thort, judging from the slimy bumpy skin - but it was stuck in the mud somehow and wouldn't come up for nuthin'. I carefully tried to dig ’round it, loosen it up, but I couldn’t get my hands underneath it's belly.
That’s when it opened it’s eyes.
Two big orbs the size of golf-balls, glowing reddish yellah in the pitch black.
I screamed like an iddy biddy girl and I ain’t ’shamed to admit it. The thing I’d been touching that I thort was a whole toad was only it’s head. I backed up, fallin over Janey in the mud, and we froze thar shiv’rin in terror as it dug itsulf out.
Our eyes made out what they could in the little bit of flickering light. It was tall as I was, and twice as fat. Stood up on it’s hind legs, with a sickeningly 'telligent smile on it’s huge flat face. All at once it was free of the mud and it came t'wards us with a startling leap. Sunk it’s teeth down into my leg right here. Surprizin'y sharp teeth, like a shark almost. Still have the scar, see? Ripped right through my jeans and tore out a big chuck a' flesh. I’ve b’n limping ever since.
But I guess it didn’t like the taste a me too much because it sort of choked and spat 't out and then all t'once tha blaggard was gone, bounded off to go et Lord-knows-what for puddin'.
They all think I’m gone loopy whenever I tell 'em that, but Janey saw it too. Only she can’t corroborate to nobody coz the sight of the thing scared her voice right outta her and she han’t spoke a word since.
A small towns tale
It calls to me, to us, the woods that is. Like the pied piper the wind blows through the trees sending such a soft and sweet melody through our ears calling, enticing us to find the source. Oh what a beautiful sound it is, I do wish you could hear it. My grandmother told me story's of how she would sit in her mothers lap and they would crack open the window and listen to the beautiful gentle song of the trees. Night after night they fell more in love with the sounds as they swept through the entire town. However, not all appreciated the gifts the trees had given us and they did what humans do best, tried to turn a profit.
Unfortunately people not born in our little town could not hear the beautiful song of the trees. "If you will not sing for the outsiders then you need not sing at all." They spat in a blind rage once they realized the trees would not line their pockets with wealth. So they called in many a lumberjack and bulldozers so that they may line their pockets in a different way. The lumberjack raised his axe up high and with a mighty swing cut into the bark of the first tree, and out came a screech so gut wrenching and ear splitting it was heard all the way at the edge of town but no farther. And the lumberjack along with all of the men who had come to turn the beautiful trees into paper dropped dead.
From then on, like a sweet siren the woods sang and anyone who dared enter the woods to hurt the trees be it by accident or on purpose fell victim to the screech. Night after painful night it woke them from their sleep and when morning came the police would deliver the news to the town via radio of whom had perished. These woods have fueled many ghost stories they say, if you hear what sounds like change in your pocket as you walk and you don't have any. Then the spirit of the businessman who tried to cut down the forest will drag you down with him. Or if you hear a random thud in the night, its the sound of the lumberjacks body hitting the ground.
Well i can't say there is no credibility to the stories that are told. These woods are haunted with the souls that dared to threaten it, forced to spend their days wandering and dying a painful death over and over again with each shrill call. And in the night the trees whisper to me a funny joke, they say "If you will not live for me then you need not live at all."
“Now I’m not a very superstitious person but, this is too much to ignore!”
“The Gods can’t be happy with us, dear.” The queen shook her head and reached between their thrones to pat his hand.
“A parade of black cats, walking under the ladders where the painters were touching up the ceiling, is bad enough. They crossed the entire hallway, tails straight up, as they threaded their way under the ladders.”
“I understand three of the mirrors in the great hall broke today, and the entire salt bowl spilled at the festival dinner.”
“Your majesties, the royal princes are gone.” The head guard stopped to the right of the king as he he spoke.
The queen's face crumpled, and she whispered, "No, no, look for them, please they can't be gone."
"The twins have hidden before. Have you searched?" The king's hand thumped down on the arm of his throne.
"Every spot we've ever found them in before is empty. A guard posted in each to wait for them to appear. They aren't in the castle, and they aren't in the gardens. We are spreading the search to the village now." The guard sounded like his world was ending.
The queen turned white and ran from the throne room.
"Follow her," the king barked. "I can't lose her too."
The queen ran, as fleet as the lithe cheetah on the royal crest. Out through the kitchen and into the herb garden, she never slowed. The guard turned the corner in time to see her kneel at the foot of the Oak of Life.
The King went right by him hurling himself after his wife. Too late. She shimmered and disappeared. The echoes of delighted laughter descending from the trees branches, sent shivers through him.
What did the Gods want? He would give anything to have his family in his arms again.