FOR THE LOVE OF A GHOST (Sample Story from our book “The Talking Board: and other stories)

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This a sample story from our book, we hope you enjoy reading this love story of a ghost and a young lady.

FOR THE LOVE OF A GHOST
by John Rakestraw

Available as an eBook | Print

My grandma sat there in her tiny little frame with a warm blanket around her legs and smiled as I walk in the door. I had been given the the job of looking after her by my mom. All of us kids in the family had taken our turns to do errands for this old forgetful lady. It was a right of passage, you got your driver’s license, you were the next in line to do the grandma run. I was the last of five. I didn’t get to pass on this duty. It was mine, and shall stay mine until her passing. I never wished her harm, I only wish that I could pass on the boring job to some other sap.

She was alway so happy to see one of us. She would ask how the others were and when would they be coming by.

It wasn’t till I got much older that I understood the loneliness of old age. We long to be apart of the world that rushes to fast by are old bones. I rushed to fast by her, myself, I stay long enough to give her the stuff that old people eat and spot clean the areas that she would use. Her world was small in my eyes. She live in her big over stuffed chair with all her pictures, books, postcards and mail.

She love’d her mail… she kept all her personal letters in shoe boxes. As she got older and older and less of her friends were with us, the letters became more precious and fewer. She get so angry at the junk mail that would pile up near her chair.

She would say, “I remember when that pile of stupid ads would be dwarfed by my letters from all over the world, the postcards, birthday cards, christmas cards, any old cards. Now I’m lucky if I get a card from my Doctor!”

She would look so sad and lost when no mail would come for her.

I was doing my best to get out of her house and back out to the world of the living. I would rush from spot to spot cleaning and avoiding her as much as humanly possible. One day she said something odd… it made me stop and look at her.

“I once dated a ghost, you know?” she said.

I stood there just looking at her, wondering if I should answer or just pretend that she didn’t talk.

“He was a good looking ghost, well as ghost go, anyway.” she said.

I finally decided the best way to handle her was to ask a question and see how feeble her mind was.

“When was this, last week? I did buy you more spicier chicken at the stores deli section last week. You were talking about how bland the normal chicken had become. Maybe that extra spice, spiced up your dreams.” I said.

“Oh, yes, I wanted to thank you, Brett, for that. That chicken was tasty. But, please buy me some more baking soda. The chicken is good. But, it gave me a little heartburn. I used up all my baking soda keeping my stomach under control.” she said.

“I could go back to the bland stuff if is to hard on your stomach, grandma?’ I said.

No, no… a little spice is good for the soul and it make sure that you systems is running. I most certainly want more of that chicken. Get me two boxes of baking soda so that I might survive the chicken.”

“I’m sorry about you getting nightmares about a ghost. It just your mind play tricks on you. Read one of your favorite letters before you go to bed at night and that just might help stop the ghost from showing up in your head.”

“No, Brett. That ghost and I dated many years ago. I was just a little older than you are right now. He was my first love. It was hard to find a man to replace him in my heart. Your grandpa, rest his soul, did his very best. He would read me the poems that my ghost lover left me on my pillow every night. He was never jealous of my first love. Your grandpa was a wonderful lover–”

“Wait, wait… grandma, I don’t want to hear about your love life with ghost or grandpa. I don’t know if I want those picture in my head. I have some right now… and I don’t know how to get them out of there.”

My grandma laughed, I had never seen her laugh so hard. She actually had tears running down her cheeks from laughing so hard.

“Brett, you sweet child,” she said still laughing. “You should be thankful that you grandpa and I had sex, you wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t.”

“I understand that concept… but, actually seeing old people going at it, in my head, isn’t pretty.” I said.

“Well, here, I’ll show you a picture of us younger, when we at our best. Your grandpa was quite a looker in his day and me? Well, I had my pick of the boys in this here town to choose from,” she pull out a photo album and flipped through a few pages and then show me.

I have to tell you, I never picture my grandma as a hot babe, until I saw her picture. It was an old black and white, she was standing in what looked like the yard of the house she was living in now. The sun was shine behind her and it made her hair look like a halo. She was wearing a thin top and you could make out the shape of her body through the sun shining from the back. She wasn’t wearing a bra and you had no trouble seeing that she a beauty. I never in my life thought of my grandma as that young, that pretty and that desirable. She was hot!

“You were a great looker grandma, I don’t mean to dis you for your looks now, I just can’t believe you were once this,” I said pointing to the picture.

“It’s alright, Brett. I can’t either.”

“Did you really love a ghost, or was just a story to get me to stop and talk with you?” I asked.

“I truly loved that ghost, he spoke of love like no one I have ever met before or since. Sit down and I will tell of our love affair. It started one night, in this house, in this very room…

…to put it as simply as possible,” grandma said, “he manifested right before my eyes late one night. I was scared. I had heard of ghost before, but to have one just pop up out of thin air. This phenomenon made me so scared I can’t move, I can’t even cry out for help. I sat there hoping that it, he, whatever this thing was. Would just pop away. It didn’t. I closed my eyes several times, he was still there. I thought the words to the lords prayer, that didn’t work either.

At first he, this apparition, had seemed like some strange and unexplained trick of the eyes or I was deranged at that moment. I wanted it, I needed it to be just some papers or dust fluttering off the floor, some part of the see-through curtain that was softly waving, and tricked my eye into being a persons. You would think was easy to dismiss this things, this IT, as an effect of an aimless draft of wind had made all the usual the unusual. All the wind from outside came rushing in, it rushed with such force that a shape was forming out of the maelstrom. Then as quickly as this happen the room fell silent. The wind had died away. The silence of the room was disturbed by a book that sat the table near the family bible, this book flew open and fluttered its page like leaves. The pages in the book suddenly laid flat and smooth. I looked over to see what the book was? It was Shakespeare… I remember that I had been reading the love poems, the sonnets. I look at the page, it was now on Hamlet, the scene where the ghost of Hamlet’s father returns to haunt the castle. I look at the phantom, I pointed to the page, it only shrugged it shoulders.

I meant to step back away from this… phantom. In the confusion from the swirling wind I must have gotten my feet behind each other and as I started to move I lost my footing and fell face forward toward the apparition. I must’ve thrown my hands forward to protect me from the fall and my hands were caught–

I immediately became aware that these very muscular male arms caught me and held me up. Out of the shadows slowly emerged into my uncertain view was the shape of a young man dressed in clothes from a bygone era.

He looked so out of place, he even had a beard.

“Confounded! I’m an ass!” he complained; “I thought I should never blow in as full formed in time to save you from your fall fair maiden.”

I flung myself back, and got behind the chair that I was sitting in, I was not sure what had just happen and who the heck he was. I just stood there behind the chair dumbstrucked.

“Beg your pardon, fair maiden, but do my feet touch the floor, or do I even have such a thing as feet?” ask the phantom.

I still couldn’t speak, I made my hands pantomime feet and nodded my head up and down. I then my put my one hand on top of the other and raised it slowly to show that he was floating in the air above the floor.

“Are you a mute?” he asked

I shooked my head and just looked at him.

“Well, I’ll just lower myself to the floor,” he said and with some effort, he brought himself down until his feet rested upon the floor.

He started to just walk around our room and examine the knickknack, he seemed to composed himself, he surveyed the rest of the room, his eyes look all around and then settle on me. He approached me, got down on one knee and put out his hand.
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“Well, My lady, here we are… you have won my heart, what else do you need of me my love!” he cried.

He then grab my hand and devoured it in ghostly kisses. I had never seen such a thing. Maybe on the stage at school with poor actors. He spoke again.

“It seems upon an eternity, that I struggling back to you, my love. I confess, I all but despaired of ever making it back to you. Life, or I should say death, is not, I assure you in the most, is not all mead and dove’s in wine sauce for us disembodied poor souls. Speak to me or let me be boiled to death with melancholy.”

He drew a long breath, and he stood there gazing upon me and I felt the entire chamber seemed to envelop me, l felt how he cherished me– then I stop and wondered who he was and how did he get in? I still couldn’t find my voice. But, he sure had his!

“Well, well, these things, us ghost, we irk the living. Naturally, we are dead, as soon as it was possible I made my way back.. to be here… to be with your soul… to see if you were still mine.” He spied a peek at me.

He said more, “As I can see it has been many moons and some years have elapsed since my…um… since I–”

“Died!” my voice finally came back.

“I was going to say, expired,” he added, with a faint blush. “Blast, how time does fly. I have forgotten the delicate gall of how life looks down upon death, we look down into the grave, we have our tears fall down our cheeks, we look downcast when people mention our names… the fact that you, dear lady, have forgotten me. I now look downcast, and wish for silent death.”

He looking away, with trembling hands he thrust them into his pockets, he finds his quill and tears a piece of ghostly cloth from his shirt. He dips the quill into his tears and begins to write on the cloth. The tears of ink appears on the cloth as strong colored words. He writes, for which seem like hours, for some long silent minutes and then hands me the cloth, then turned away to hide the dismay of his presence within my sight.

I read his note…

That I hast her not, it is for all my grief,
And yet it may be said I’ve love her dearly;
That she hath others, is my wailing chief,
A loss in love that touches me more dearly.
Loving offenders thus I will excuse her:
If you love’st her, be thou assured that I love her;
And for love’s sake even so doth she refuse me,
Suffering my friend for your sake to gain her.
If I lose her, my loss is your love’s gain,
And losing her, my friend hath gain that post;
Both find each other, and I lose both twain,
And both for my sake lay on me this scar:
But here’s the joy; my friend and I are one;
Sweet flattery! For she love’d me but once.

I looked up from the poem and he bowed, and, though as an old force of worldly habits, turned towards the door, forgetting that he is lock by death not to be able to open doors. He just stood there, almost as if he was willing the door to obey. The door did not open, with a sigh of remembering his damnable spiritual condition, he was to be denied his grand exit. He turns preparing to slowly dissolve away before me, I believe. Casting one last look at me, he see the cloth in my hand, and the one tear that ran down my face.

“Could I hope beyond hope that you have remember,” he asked, “how courteous that would be of cupid!”

For a moment it seemed this phantom could contain his mischance, cautiously discharge himself with a customary hesitation from the world of the living. The tear he saw running down my face made him overcome his fears, quickly, before I could react, he grab me in his arms, and was declaring his love. He told me of the many times he had reproached himself for not coming forward, the stories of his longing for my many different souls, who have walked this earthly realm, his doubts, his discontent, and his desperate journey back to our love.

“Why!” cried he, “you can sense my agony at finding you again and again, so many times and being forgotten. Perhaps some lines of poetry with revive our love from ages ago, perhaps you may recall my old words of affection? Here is one I still recite each night to put myself to sleep, we spirits still sleep. We even dream of better things to come. Here I hope you can recall it…

My bounty is boundless as the sea tides,
My heart is deep; the love I give to thee,
The more you have, for we are infinite.

Love is as smoke raising with the fumes of sighs;
Being purified, a fire ablaze in lovers’ lust;
Being vex’d as a sea encourage by lovers’ tears:
What otherwise? is a madness most discreet.”

I hear a familiar voice in my soul, it spoke of time long gone, of smell so sweet and of love so pure. The words he spoke flooded my memories. I knew these words, they were apart of me. I join him and we both hold each other closely recited them together. The years of separation washed away. I held my soulmate.

We said these words together,

“This seed of love, this flower bud ripening breath,
May prove a glorious bloom when next we touch.

Hear our souls speak, hear our souls rejoice,
The very moment that I beheld you,
Our hearts flew to join service with our love.”

We kissed at the end of reciting those beautiful words. We fell to the floor and spoke of our old love for each other, of the light on my face which had illumined him from his darkness to find a way to me… we kissed, and wept together.

We spent hours of the that night kissing, holding each other and the night passed, the moon waned, and the morning pallor started to rise in the east, those dusky clouds of the east, but his eloquence still flowed through my heart. He abruptly rose and look about the room and at himself. He held up his hand and it was fading.

“I cannot hold my image against the morning,” he said. “It is time that all good ghosts were to bed.”

But I threw myself into his waiting arms and clasping myself within a lovers embrace.

“Oh, do not leave me,” I cried, “or my love will leave with you. See, you are still here enough to hold me. Don’t ever let go!”

He blended eagerly into her. “Say it again… give reason to defy time, death and my grave!”

“I love you, for always!” I cried, I pleaded and said both of them again and again, with such suffering of sincerity as would convince the most skeptical of death’s workers that ever revisited this earthly realm.
.
“I will forget you, won’t I?” I asked.

“You shall forget” he said kissing my forehead. “My afterlife will henceforth be one continual aching, heart throbbing remembrance of you, this one beautiful immense act of hankering for your memory, your soul. That is to me an eternity of unceasing penitence, one long agony of waiting!” He bowed his head down and wept dryless tears.

I lifted his face, and saw that it was to be true. I wept with him.

“Well,” said he, gracefully wiping my tears away, “well, now I shall have a little peace. Knowing you wept for the lost of me”

He kissed her, as the morning sun dissolve him away.

“I will love you forever!” he said, as he kissed his last two remaining fingers and let those sweetly land on my waiting lips and was gone.

“If only you would have added, ‘and a day,’ we could had that day last forever. ” I wailed, madly trying to reach out and grab his vanishing form back into my arms.

Available as an eBook | Print

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