10 More Haunted Drabbles
In Agnes Custer’s garden, there are special flowers.
Only she can see them.
Standing over the peonies is Mrs. Calvert, pale and translucent. Mrs. Calvert’s eyes always turned to follow Agnes. Undesirable in a living neighbour, so Mrs. Calvert joined the garden. Mr. O’Malley, in the daisies, never picked up after his dog. He stares, silently.
Her first flower, Essie Flynn, was over the rosebush by the fence. In the 60s Essie had tried to ruin what would become Agnes’ lovely fifty-year marriage.
The geraniums were Mr. Custer, who ruined that fifty-year marriage himself.
Row upon row of special flowers.
The mice in the ceiling would not stop. Every night and every day they scratched and scrabbled in the thin ceiling panels. He couldn’t sleep. He was beyond stressed.
He had tried humane traps and the mice had ignored them, leaving them empty on the floor.
Wrestling with his conscience, he decided on a last resort, a poison bait cube. He would place it in the ceiling where the mice lived and they would finish themselves off. He felt awful about it.
He screwed up his courage.
He moved aside one of the ceiling panels. And a face looked back.
It is a tradition in MMORPGs to place memorial NPCs (non player characters) in honour of fallen friends, co-workers, and players. They stand around with their character’s name or the player’s name. Sometimes they have dialogue.
In the game Crest of the Nightqueen, there’s hundreds of memorials.
“Thank you for putting my friend Jill in,” writes one player. “She loved this game.”
“It’s great seeing Omar’s druid in-game again!” says another.
“It’s amazing how they’re coded to interact with us like they’re real players.”
The devs are afraid to confess they did not add any such npcs to the game.
Grandmother’s mirror was covered in black fabric, taped shut.
She needed to see if it was broken or worth selling, so she cut the tape. Luckily, the glass was clean and unbroken. The specks of rust on the frame were the only issue.
Her reflection had movement. She looked back. An empty room.
She looked at the mirror again, and this time there was definitely something behind her.
She looked back. The room was empty.
She looked at the mirror. A long hand reached for her reflection’s neck.
“Oh,” she thought. “That’s not rust.”
The frame was wood, not iron.
“He’s a nice boy! Go ask him out!” was how the latest argument between Melendi and her mother started.
It was a sunny day out and the light was filtering in beautifully through the library’s stained glass windows. Melendi–as usual, lately–avoided looking at the Nice Young Man bulldozing through every book on the Napoleonic wars.
Melendi’s hand rested on a misshelved book. “It wouldn’t work out!”
Since death, her mom was full of love life orders, do this, do that. Her ghost was always with Melendi.
“And WHY not?”
Melendi’s hand slipped through the book. “Because we’re BOTH ghosts, mom!”
“That’s a pretty gnarly fence,” she said, passing the half-empty beer can to her friend.
“Effective though, isn’t it.” Her friend took a big chug.
“Oh yeah. Nice, high, and pointy. No one’s getting through.” She checked for more snacks.
“Makes the yard seem pretty secure. Anything left?”
“Yeah, some gummis. Here. So does making the spearheads point inward actually do anything, or is that just for show?”
The girls looked at the see-through man with his head half off standing on the inside of the fence, white eyes staring blankly at them.
“Don’t know. Makes me feel safer though.”
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have done it, I’m so sorry.” The voice filled the room.
No one heard it.
No one heard anything in this house anymore.
But Timothy Michael kept apologizing, as he had years since the house was abandoned. Timothy Michael had grown up, grown old, and died. He had left this house long ago. But he was sorry. So sorry he kept coming back.
Timothy Michael was so sorry that he got mad at his brother.
He was sorry his parents hid his brother, to protect him.
And sorry he could never truly leave.
Some ghosts are terrifying. Some ghosts are omens. Some ghosts are a tragedy.
To limit yourself, however, to perceiving only one aspect of the unnatural unlife ignores the world’s potential for infinite variety.
Take, for example, the case of Esther Rhodes, who is tormented nightly by a shrunken, deformed figure from which the most terrible noises emanate.
Esther Rhodes misses her sleep, of course–she is tormented.
But despite this, she appreciates the panting, snorting, ghost of her former pug dog Peanut, coming to watch over her while she sleeps. Or tries to, through the spectral huffing and puffing.
“Simple as it is elegant. DST made it obvious.”
“It makes a weird sort of sense when you think about it. Why is it always the same time during the sightings? Time is a construct for all of us.”
Katie waved her hand in confusion at Lita. “And you’re–”
“Mhm. Reunion. Now watch. Moved the clocks to sync properly minute by minute for weeks.”
At ‘9:06 pm’, the floating spectral head came west. A headless woman came east at ‘3:56 am’.
It was 7 pm. They floated past each other.
“Oh. Seeing them together, not a match.”
The office had two buildings with a thin road between them, connected by a glass-walled walkway with doors at either end. In warm months, it was unbearable.
On her way to the lunch room, she thought about pastrami. Even though it was summer, the walkway was surprisingly comfortable.
She usually pumped her arms when she walked to get more exercise into her day, today they hung.
A small hand, soft and pliant, slid into her own. She looked at the glass walls. She only saw herself in the reflection.
She calmly placed her hand on her thigh and walked out.