The original article was published in the Ottawa Times. I’ve taken the article and rewritten it as a short story. It is a true story recalled as I remember it. Hope you enjoy reading it.
The Ghost Called Me by Name
“See you later.” I gave my husband a quick, passionate kiss, closed the door behind him and moved to the window above the kitchen sink. Not that I could see much. Dark had already fallen on this late October evening. I watched the taillights on the car gleam red as he left the driveway.
Third shift meant my husband wouldn’t get home until after midnight. I sighed and turned away from the window. A long, lonely evening stretched ahead of me. I reached down and scratched Hershe’s ears. At least I had a dog to keep me company.
I missed Mom and my little sisters. At that moment, falling in love, speedy marriage, and relocating two states away from my family seemed an idiotic thing to do. I didn’t know, yet, how to build my own family. Right now, on a dark October night, alone in a house that wasn’t mine, loneliness washed over me.
Hershe and I puttered around. Clicking through the channels on TV seemed pointless. No cable out here in the country; five channels to choose from and none of them remotely entertaining. I pulled the yarn and crochet hook out of the bag, and worked on the ripple pattern afghan for awhile, but boredom set in.
“I give up.” I told the dog. “I’m going to bed. Time will fly and Hank will be home before I know it.” I put everything away. I let the dog out for the last time. Then moved through the house turning off lights, leaving the night light in the kitchen on so Hank could see when he got home.
I’d lived here almost three months, but lying in bed, alone in the small house, felt very strange. As child number five out of eight children, I couldn’t remember ever being alone in my entire life. I didn’t like the feeling. I settled back against the pillow. Sleep didn’t come easy.
Something woke me. I opened my eyes, and found myself in absolute darkness. No comforting glow from the kitchen night light. Pitch black night surrounded me. Even though I felt uneasy, I sank back into oblivion.
Again, I awoke. Everything was normal. Soft glow from the nightlight. I puzzled about the contrast between dark and light. While I puzzled about the light, I slid back to sleep.
Several more times I roused. Dark. Light. Back and forth. About the third time I woke to darkness, the strangeness of the night woke me completely. I lay in bed, feeling a chill clear to the bone.
The air around me raised goose bumps on my entire body. And the darkness closed in around me.
I lay there, more frightened than I could ever remember being. Why was it dark? Why was it cold? And then I heard a sound that raised every hair on my head. From the second bedroom, open to my room by a small hallway, I heard a whisper: a low voice that barely reached my ears.
“Carol, Carol.” My throat closed and the scream inside me died. I stared through the darkness toward the doorway. Should I get up? Go investigate? I wanted to but I couldn’t move. Something else did.
From the dark doorway, I sensed movement. I strained to see. Slowly, a round ball of fog appeared, hanging in the air about head height. Misty white, round as a bowling ball and about the same size, it hovered. Thank goodness, it didn’t make a sound.
For one eternal moment, I stared, then it started to move again. Coming toward me. Again, I struggled to move. There was no way I wanted to come in contact with that moving ball of light. I remained frozen in my bed.
I tried to speak. “Who….who…..who..” I stuttered, unable to form words from lips that wouldn’t move. I tried again. The thing was at the foot of my bed. “Whooo….” Desperation drove me and in a rush of fear, the words tumbled out. “Who are you?”
That fast, the light returned. I could see again. I scrambled out of bed, wrapped myself in a warm robe. Turned every light in the house on and stayed awake until my husband got home. Dream? Maybe, but I’ve dreamed before and never, before or since, have I had anything as frightening happen as what happened that night.
Dream or ghost? Logic tells me I dreamed it, but in my heart? I met a ghost. One that knew my name.
(Sidenote) Years later the room the ghost floated out of was the room my mother-in-law passed away in. Was I visited by a ghost from the future? Whoever, or whatever, that ball of light was, it most definitely whispered my name. And I have never experienced anything as remotely frightening as what happened that night. I literally have no rational explanation. I am not given to panic. I am rock solid in an emergency. There is no reason this episode should have frightened me. As Halloween approaches, I always remember the only experience I’ve ever had that might possibly have been a ghost. And I have never been as frozen in fear, as chilled to the bone, and had every hair on my head stand up as I did the night this story happened.