Since Halloween is fast approaching, I thought I’d talk about something near and dear to my heart. Will-o’-the-wisps. Apparitions. Ghosts.
Not everyone believes in ghosts and that’s cool. I completely understand. I mean, yeah, you feel the occasional cold spot in an otherwise scorching room. A brush across your neck when no one is around. And let’s not forget the ever-popular levitating object. But absolutely, keep denying their existence. Ghosts? Really? Pffft. That’s just crazy talk.
Or is it? We all have ghost stories, right? How about that time you saw a stranger standing at the end of a dark hall? Or when you spent the weekend at your aunt’s house and she decided to spring the fact that her humble abode was haunted as you got ready for bed? (Thanks, Aunt Barb!) You can’t tell me you didn’t ‘see things’ that night. And possibly even needed therapy afterward.
Statistically speaking, 18% of Americans claim to have seen a ghost. Surely 18% of the population can’t be wrong, right? Well, okay, they can be, but I’m here to give you one more piece of fodder to add fuel to that already raging fire of curiosity.
When I was 12, my family moved into a very normal looking house. It had normal windows and normal carpet and a ghost. I didn’t know that at the time, so it was quite a surprise when I saw him. I know, I know, there is nothing more active than the imagination of a 12-year-old. But hear me out.
So, we move in and weird things start happening. You know, the usual stuff. All unexplained and eerie. Then one day a visiting friend said she saw a little boy in a yellow shirt run across the hall. Admittedly, that freaked me out. But weeks went by and nothing. Just when I’d almost forgotten about him, I was sitting at my dresser, getting ready for bed one night when I looked in the mirror and peeking out from under my bed was a little blond boy with a yellow shirt. He was just gazing up at me, his chin propped in his cupped hands, the expression on his face utterly endearing. But I was still scared out of my mind. I couldn’t look away. I couldn’t blink. I couldn’t move.
Finally, I turned around, but he was gone. I looked back in the mirror. Nothing. I scrambled to search under the bed, in my closet, over the doorjamb, just in case. He’d vanished. The most darling boy I’d ever seen was gone.
It took me a while to shake that experience. I didn’t know what to think, if I should even believe my own eyes. Sadly, I never saw him again. Then a few years later, I was hanging out with a friend from high school. We’d known each other a long time, but had never really spent time together. We started talking about where we lived and learned that our streets weren’t that far apart.
“But I used to live on your street, too,” she said. “What house number?”
I told her and she blinked in surprise a few times before saying, “That’s where I lived.”
“No kidding?” I said. “You used to live in my house?”
“Yep. When I was little. We moved when I was about seven. And I have to ask you since you’re in that house, have you seen the little boy, yet?”
While I am still iffy on the whole apparition thing myself, that is a true story. It shocked me to the core. And even though I never saw that boy again, a part of me wonders what happened to him. I would love to know that he is okay, his days spent playing with other children who have the inexplicable ability to vanish before one’s eyes.
So that’s my ghost story and I’m sticking to it. And yes, even after this, I am still a skeptic. There comes a time when one must consider the fact that denial is playing a big part in one’s life.
But how about you, dear readers? Any ghosts in your past? Skeletons in your closet? Literally?
Author Bio: New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a RITA®, and a Daphne du Maurier. As a born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.
Available October 31st
With renewed energy, I pulled back onto Academy— after hitting a
drive- through for a mocha latte— and had just started for home when
my phone rang.
“Yes?” I said, illegally talking on the phone while driving within the
city limits. Scoping for cops, I waited for Uncle Bob to stop talking to
whomever he was talking to and get back to me.
My uncle Bob, or Ubie as I most often referred to him, was a detective
for APD, and I helped him on cases from time to time. He knew I
could see the departed and used that to his advantage. Not that I could
“Get that to her, then call the ME ay- sap.”
“Okay,” I said, “but I’m not sure what calling the medical examiner
ay- sap is going to accomplish. I’m pretty sure his name is George.”
“Oh, hey, Charley.”
“Hey, Uncle Bob. What’s up?”
“Are you driving?”
“Have you heard anything?”
Our conversations often went like this. Uncle Bob with his random
questions. Me with my trying to come up with answers just as random.
Not that I had to try very hard. “I heard that Tiff any Gorham, a girl I
knew in grade school, still stuff s her bra. But that’s just a rumor.”
“About the case,” he said through clenched teeth. I could tell his teeth
were clenched because his words were suddenly forced. That meant he
was frustrated. Too bad I had no idea what he was talking about.
“I wasn’t aware that we had a case.”
“Oh, didn’t Cookie call you?”
“She called me a doody- head once.”
“About the case.” His teeth were totally clenched again.
“We have a case?”
But I’d lost him. He was talking to another officer. Or a detective. Or
a hooker, depending on his location and accessibility to cash. Though I
doubted he would tell a hooker to check the status of the DOA’s autopsy
report. Unless he was way kinkier than I’d ever given him credit for.
I found his calling me only to talk to other people very challenging.
“I’ll call you right back,” he said. No idea to whom.
The call disconnected as I sat at a light, wondering what guacamole
would look like if avocados were orange.
I finally shifted my attention to the dead kid in my backseat. He had
shoulder- length blond hair and bright blue eyes and looked somewhere
between fifteen and seventeen.
“You come here often?” I asked him, but my phone rang before he
could say anything. That was okay. He had a vacant stare, so I doubted
he would have answered me anyway.
“Sorry about that,” Uncle Bob said. “Do you want to discuss the
“We have a case?” I said again, perking up.
“How are you?”
He asked me that every time he called now. “Peachy. Am I the case? If
so, I can solve this puppy in about three seconds. I’m heading down San
Mateo toward Central in a cherry red Jeep Wrangler with a questionable
“Hurry, before I get away!”
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