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If you’re just encountering this story for the first time, please see these posts first:
A Down-East Tale
The Soul Mate
By Kathleen Mortensen © 2008
“I’m sorry, Alice,” the voice answered slowly, with a slight lilt, “I only wanted to feel a human being once more.” She sounded terribly sad, “It’s been such a long time since I’ve touched anyone. I’d almost forgotten what it feels like.”
I tried to take this all in. Here I was in the middle of a graveyard, talking to a ghost! “I must be dreaming,” I thought to myself and pinched my arm through my sweater to make sure. “Ouch!” I whispered sharply and then I knew it was all happening, for real.
“How do you know my name?” I was full of questions now for this bodiless voice. “Are you Eleanor?” I demanded. “Are you the person buried here?”
“Aye. That’s me,” she answered. “But it was a long time ago now.”
”How do you know my name?” I asked her again. I was going to get to the bottom of this.
“Your mother told me, Alice,” she replied. “She sent me to you. That’s why I’m here.” I felt the cold wet hand touch my face again, as if to console me. “She knows you need a friend like me.”
I pulled away. My mind was racing. My mother had sent this spirit to be my friend? How could this be happening? I had so many things rushing through my head all at once: How was my mother? Why didn’t she come to me herself? How did she find Eleanor? I needed answers to so many questions.
I settled in against the tombstone. “This is going to take some time,” I thought to myself. I might as well get comfortable.
Pulling my legs up to my chest, I slid the skirt of my dress down over my knees to keep them warm. I closed my eyes and suddenly I had a puzzling thought; what if the pinch I had felt had been part of the dream? I offered up a quick prayer to make sure:
“Dear Lord, please let this be only a dream,” I breathed. “Please let me open my eyes and find everything is normal.” I reconsidered my position, “Or if it is Your will for me to communicate with ghosts, give me the strength to cope. Amen.”
Slowly, I opened my eyes and looked around at the graves. Nothing seemed amiss. I was totally alone. I must just have taken a turn. There was no ghost, no spirit lingered beside me.
Somewhat disappointed, I whistled through my teeth and started to get up to head home. Grabbing the strap of my satchel with one hand, I grasped the top of the headstone with the other, for balance, when the voice came again,
“Must you leave so soon?” it intoned.
I stood stock still.
Kathleen Mortensen ©2008
(Come back on Friday for further developments in the story.)