La Feria News

The Pet Ghost: Part 2

By Nandy Ekle
Part 2
But I know David. Before long his wife, his best friend, his coworkers, the priest, the entire world would know about “my little pet ghost.” And in this town with a population of around 30,000, news was so scarce that a stumped toe was a headline. This piece of gossip would have no boundaries. I had blurted out that story, but I needed something substantial to back it up.

After taking the glasses to the kitchen and rinsing them out, I booted up the computer to research some town history and local ghost stories.

Millicent Carnes, the previous owner of this house, sold her home to Glen and me when our kids were five and three. We signed all the necessary papers, proudly plopped our down payment into her hands and took the keys she handed us. She had a slight tear in her eye as her daughter led her away. I felt a little sorry for her giving up a lifetime of memories to move to the nursing home. I assured her we would love and take care of this house as much as she and her dearly departed husband had.

In the twenty years since watching Mrs. Carnes’ bowed back leave the front porch, Glen and I had striven to do just that. We made the house our own, but we still respected the love and care the previous owners had given it. We raised our two children and watched them leave to start their own lives. When Glen and I divorced after my accident, the house became my best friend.

I felt pretty sure that Mrs. Carnes would be a perfect ghost—elderly, grandmotherly type, eager to help out around the house. And so I constructed my story from there.

“I know, Jen, I just never felt the need to share the news.” Right on schedule, David’s wife called as soon as she returned from her mother’s to ask about David’s news. “No, it’s not scary at all. I think it’s Mrs. Carnes, the lady we bought the house from . . . Yeah, she loved this place. She cried when she put the keys in my hand . . . Well, the things that happen around here are things that help me out a little. You know, if I drop a sock on the floor, she picks it up and puts it into the laundry basket. Or, like when David was here, she keeps disasters from happening, such as wine on the carpet . . . No, I don’t want a lot of attention. I just want to live here with my little ghost and be quiet. Okay. . . Okay. . . Yeah, later.”

Jen assured me that I could stay with them if things here got too spooky and I needed to run. I turned back to the kitchen where I sat with my computer in front of me. The tide had only just begun. David could spread news quicker than the Associated Press, or any other professional, and I knew Jen’s call was only the first of many.
“Come on, Alfred, I mean Mrs. Carnes,” I said to the air and blinked my breakfast dishes to the sink. I supposed I might even have a few visitors show up trying to feel Mrs. Carnes’ presence. I giggled a little more. I could really have some fun with this.

I gathered a larger ball of energy and sent it to the back of the house to bring the laundry basket to the garage. Time to exercise it like a saggy muscle so I would be ready for the army of phenomenon seekers that coming to find my ghost.

Donna, my daughter, called that afternoon.
“Mom, I just talked to Uncle David.”
“Oh? And what did he say?”
“He asked if I knew you have a ghost in your house.”
“It’s only a teensy one. I think it’s Mrs. Carnes. Remember her?”
“No, but I do remember some things happening when we were growing up.”
“Now, Donna, I don’t think it’s been that long since she died.”
“Mom, there are things I never told you. Brad saw stuff too.”
“Like what?” A snicker threatened to come back up my throat.

“Well, one day I was in bed, I think I had been sick. I wasn’t sleepy, but you made me stay in there. I remember you walked down the hall and stuck your head in my door, told me to lie down and take a nap. Then you opened your bedroom door, went in and shut it. I sat there for a minute and then lay back, but my eyes were still open. About two minutes later, you walked down the hall from the living room again, stuck your head in my room and told me to lie down and take a nap. You opened your door, walked in and shut it.”

“I don’t remember any of that. Besides, you were probably asleep.”
“I wasn’t asleep. It was really weird, sort of like a reel of film rewinding and starting over.”

I wasn’t sure what to say to her. She was three years old when we moved in and now she’s twenty-three. So that was a very long time ago.

“And Brad told me a story about something he saw one night. He said he was awake because he heard a noise. He went into the living room and saw a pair of your shoes walking around in the kitchen.”
“He had to be dreaming that.”
“He said he wasn’t. He showed me exactly where they walked and he pointed out a scuff mark he saw after the shoes stopped.”

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