The Ghost of Your Grandmother

You are dealing with a bout of insomnia due to a reoccurring nightmare that started two days after the loss of your grandmother. Suddenly, you see a ghost who claims to be her spirit. Her spirit orders you to take care of something she wasn’t able to before she passed. If you do, she’ll leave you alone. If you don’t, she’ll haunt you forever. Write this scene.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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55 thoughts on “The Ghost of Your Grandmother

  1. kathleenmagner

    Amanda stood at the cliff’s edge, the urn holding GramGram in her hands. She didn’t look back when Jake closed the door to his truck or when he draped her jacket over her shoulders. Coming to her side, he shared her view.

    “Are you sure this is the right spot?”

    Closing her eyes, Amanda saw the mirror hanging on the wall across from her bed. She saw the reflection, one she recognized but one that wasn’t her own. The oval face she’d inherited through GramGram stared back at her, older, withered, worn from nearly a century of life and stretched over a now ashen skull. Sapphire blue eyes blazed in GramGram’s sunken face, brighter and more intent than they had been when she was alive, than they did in the face Amanda should have been seeing.

    Shuddering, she traded the urn to slip her arms through her jacket’s sleeves and stared into the sea.

    Jake tilted his head. “Do I have to ask again?”

    Amanda dragged her gaze to the urn. The sloped, silver sides gleamed in the light of the reddening sun, shadows warping in the etched rings and on the reflective surface.

    “I think it is.”

    On the urn’s curves, the ghostly face reappeared, one she saw when she closed her eyes, the one she’d seen in each motel mirror during their cross country trek, in windows, in silverware, in the visor of Jake’s truck. Gazing into those blue eyes long enough brought the demand Amanda had heard on the first of what had become a month of sleepless night’s.

    I need to see the sun set in the Pacific.

    GramGram’s voice had started soft, downy, kind. Nights after the funeral she became louder, more commanding. Her tone had escalated, her pitch growing sharp.

    Amanda had laid awake, waiting for her to speak and jolted each time GramGram’s pleas came. Problems at work had led to problems with Jake until Amanda finally divulged what she’d been seeing, hearing.

    Jake had taken it well compared to Dad, but perhaps because he’d seen more of the symptoms, seen her hands shaking, the bags under her eyes, held her when tears of fear and fatigue leaked free.

    Regardless, the guilt for sneaking the urn off Dad’s mantel still burned her cheeks. Even Jake had been surprised when she’d showed up at his apartment, GramGram in hand.

    A vacation had been in the plans, a date, however, never set. The time seemed chosen for them.

    Piling into his truck, they’d set off west. By their first night, GramGram’s voice had quieted. She remained steady, persistent, but less prickly. Her reflection, though, watched on.

    … Click here to read the rest. Any comments are welcome.

  2. Jen M

    The midnight movie had come and gone for the second night in a row, yet sleep evaded me still. I rolled over, eyes squinted, trying to focus the blurred numbers of the alarm clock. No sleep but my eyes were heavy with the hope of it. Three AM. I’d never had trouble sleeping before. Actually I was usually racing for the door, ten, twenty, sometimes thirty minutes late because I slept right through both my alarms. It had been a rough week though. The new manager at work, the car breaking down, and of course, my dear Grandma Winslow finally giving in to her three year battle with cancer.
    As I lay there, staring at the ceiling fan continue it’s never ending rotation, the light at the end of my bed seemed to shift. Startled I sat up, more alert than I’d been in the last 48 hours. I stared into the darkness as a small area at the end of my bed became lighter and lighter. Impossible, I thought to myself, no light crept through the drapes or came sneaking in form the hall. As I tried to focus, the light seemed to focus too, slowly taking form. Perspiration bristled on my neck as my dead grandmother, not yet 3 days below the ground, appeared to come towards me out of the shadows.
    “Sit up and stop staring. Anyone would think you never seen a ghost before. I have to talk to you. No, don’t be starting to interrupt me, always with the questions you, never let anyone else get a word in. Well, its’ my turn now missy, you’re not little anymore, time to learn some manners.’
    I sat their open mouthed, fumbling for words that would not come, as Grandma Winslow talked as though we were sitting in her sun room on a Saturday afternoon, sharing a pot of tea and watching the sun dance through the leaves of the old oak tree in her front lawn.
    “Talia, I need you to do something for me. You know how sensitive you’re mother is, I can’t go to her. You must go to my house. I’m sure you mother and her brothers are planning on cleaning the place out in the next day or so, so get yourself together and go now. In my burro, you’ll find a hidden compartment. The one in the sun room. I need you to go and destroy some letters for me.”
    “Letters… destroy… Grandma?” The words stumbled forth, not really coherent but she seemed to understand what I was getting at.
    “Yes dear. It’s a rather sensitive matter. I’d rather not go into too much detail, suffice to say, there was an indiscretion many years back now. You know how your mother and the boys bicker and argue and fight. Hell, I wasn’t even gone yet and they were dividing up the inheritance. If the boys, your uncles, were to find out she’s not their fathers daughter… well. I don’t think I need to tell you how hard they would make it for her. And you. Be a dear and get some clothes on now.”
    Well, what could I do? In a daze and with a million unanswered questions on the tip of my tongue, I found myself driving across town in the middle of the night. I would retrieve the letters. But I could not destroy them. The unanswered questions regarding my true grandfather would lead me on a journey even I could not have imagined on that cold winters night in January.

  3. Icabu

    An infomercial blinked silently at Jazzmin as she slouched on the sofa and stared blankly at the muted TV. For the fifth night in a row, since her grandmother’s death a week ago, vivid nightmares chased her from her comfortable bed. If she didn’t know better Jazzmin would swear that her grandmother was haunting her.

    With a weary shuffle that reminded Jazzmin of her grandmother, she went into the kitchen and put on a pot of water for tea. Her last mid-term test, chemistry, was in five short hours. She probably should’ve put this semester on hold and been there for the funeral. Jazzmin felt bad putting herself first. Family was what really counted – as her grandmother had told her so many times. Retribution appeared to be coming as the nightmares that left her a wreck with a major test just hours away. She folded her arms on the small table and rested her head on them, waiting for the water to boil.

    “Girl!” a thundering voice called.

    Blinking awake, Jazzmin realized she must have dozed off for a minute. She checked the teapot; it was not steaming yet. She wasn’t sure what woke her until finding her grandmother – looking exactly like she had when Jazzmin was twelve and spent the summer with her – standing in the corner of her tiny kitchen.

    “Grammy?” she said, sure that this was some kind of waking dream or exhaustion hallucination.

    “Jazzy,” the heavy, elderly woman said softly. “Look at you all growed up.”

    “But … Grammy, you’re …” Jazzmine stuttered and stared at the apparition.

    “Yes, child, I am. But I wasn’t quite finished with this ol’ world here. I have a single demand of you.”

    Jazzmin leaned back in her chair as the apparition of her grandmother glided across the floor, no shuffling feet. The gloss of sweat her grandmother’s face always wore was also absent, Jazzmin observed.

    “Child, I never had much schooling, other than life’s own hard lessons.” The apparition briefly glanced at Jazzmin’s chemistry book and notes scattered on the table. “No one ever went beyond high school.” The ghostly old woman laughed. “Oh, they turned out all right – hard workers each one of them. But you, child; you can do what none of your ancestors have done. You get all the education you can fit into that pretty head of yours. Do us all proud. I’ll be keeping my eye on you, so make sure you do!”

    A sharp whistle pierced through to Jazzmin’s subconscious. She jumped up from the table and shut off the burner. It felt like the nightmare had invaded her nap but she couldn’t quite remember it. She made her tea and settled down at the table. She’d have a good two hours of study before her test. She rolled her shoulders, the tenseness that had been there was gone. She opened the chemistry book and reviewed with her notes, quietly humming a tune she’d often heard from her grandmother.

  4. Rockygraciee

    “I don’t want to help you Grammy why can’t you just accept that?” I screamed. My grandmothers spirit was following me everywhere.
    “Just finish one small task sweet heart! Than I will leave you alone, Sarah dear.” My grandma yelled to me.
    “What is this task you want me to do exactly Grammy?” I asked taking a big breath.
    “All you have to do is to let my soul take over yours forever, it is quite simple. Wouldn’t you do it for your dear old Grammy?” She asked her voice sinking into my soul making me want to help her. I was stronger than a dead soul though. I would not help her.
    “No, Grammy I will not help you, get away from me!” I said running out side.
    “All you have to do is die, honey. It is quick and easy.” She said soothingly.
    “I have a question.” I said. “Can spirits die again?”
    “Well yes. They can, they can die again but than they die once and for all. No coming back like a spirit.” Grammy said.
    “Just what I needed to hear!” I yelled grabbing the small glowing ball, her soul, and throwing it over the cliff. I watched it disappear. I heard a loud THUD and knew my Grandmothers spirit was not going to bother me anytime soon.
    “Honey, Sarah?” I heard someone ask from behind me.
    “W-who are you?” I asked scared. Not turning around.
    “Well, I am your grandmother.” The voice replied.
    “But I just killed you Grammy!” I said with shock.
    “No, how would you have killed me?” The voice asked.
    “W-well.” I said turning around and seeing my Grammy.
    “I thought you died!” I yelled stepping back.
    “How would I die, I was in Hawaii!” She said in shock.
    “Oh than whose soul did I just throw over the cliff?” I asked, my voice shaking.
    “Oh, you mean that glowing white ball? I got your little brother that for his birthday it is meant to freak people out, honey. I guess the toy is gone now.” She said with a sigh.
    “Oh, sorry ’bout that.” I said with a laugh.
    “Come on I think you have enough excitement for one day. Lets get you a nice cup of tea and some cookies.” My grandma said leading me inside.
    “Okay.” I said, I was not going to argue.
    ***Meanwhile back near the cliff***
    “Ha! That old Grammy tricked Sarah into thinking I was not real. I will show her!” said the glowing ball.
    The End

  5. chopper

    I stood there staring at her picture on the mantel for what seemed like hours. Her smile was amazing, although she rarely showed her teeth. I knew why. It was just one more thing that bonded us together—the thing that no one else in the family shared with her, except for me. The difference was that she hated the gap between her two front teeth, and I loved mine, because I inherited it from her. And, anything that came from Grandma, biologically or otherwise was in my eyes to be treasured.

    She’d been ill for quite some time and because of our closeness, I just knew that no one else could care for her the way I could. So when talks of putting Grandma in hospice care arose, I defiantly disagreed with the rest of the family–so strongly that I took a leave of absence from my job and moved her in with me. I even felt that somehow my love for her could make the stomach Cancer go away. I was wrong. But, as they say, she was in a better place. I was in the same place, surrounded by all her things that I couldn’t seem to let go of, especially her watch. Whenever I wore it, I felt comforted. So I began wearing it every day in hopes that it would make me strong enough to move on. And during the day, it did. But, at night, I turned into a mournful, sleep deprived mess. I would either lay awake for hours or I would sleep like a baby, only to roll over and open my eyes to red, digital LED numbers, which read, 3:19am. So, one night, I decided to stay on the treadmill for 45 extra minutes to ensure that I was good and exhausted before I plopped into bed. It worked! I fell asleep right away. The extra workout had strange effects though, as I started to have dreams about my ex-boyfriend, Ben. Out of all of my old boyfriends, Grandma liked Ben the most because we had so much in common. I had just rolled over and was about to kiss him, but was instead awaken by a blaring alarm clock and numbers that again read, 3:19am.

    “ Dammit!” I shouted as I sat straight up in bed. I turned off the alarm and suddenly remembered that I never set the clock to go off at that time. Unable to return to sleep, I decided to try some muscle relaxers the doctor had given me awhile back for a strained ankle. I opened the medicine cabinet, and Grandma’s pink denture box suddenly came flying out. It landed on the scale, which immediately lit up, “319.” I bent down and picked up the denture box and placed it back in the medicine cabinet. As I climbed back into bed, I suddenly realized that grandma’s birthday was March 19th. I got scared and pulled the covers over my head, before drifting off into a light sleep.

    The next night, I decided to skip the extra workout session to avoid any more dreams about Ben. As far as I was concerned, he didn’t deserve to be in my thoughts or my dreams after breaking up with me for such a shallow reason. What a jerk! But honestly, I still loved the jerk. So, I lay there, staring at the ceiling and thinking of Grandma. Suddenly an image of her smiling appeared in the ceiling. But this image was different and almost foreign to me, as Grandma was smiling and exposing all of her teeth, even the two front ones with the gap between them.

    At first, I felt comforted by the image in the ceiling. But then I suddenly felt terrified and sprang from the bed and quickly cut the lights on. But, the image had disappeared. My heart began to race, as I ran through the house looking around. Just as I ran passed the bathroom, a glimpse of her pink denture box on the floor stopped me dead in my tracks. I slowly walked towards it and knelt down to pick it up. As I stood back up, her image appeared directly in the mirror in front of me. I tried to run, but my feet wouldn’t move. Too frightened to scream, I just stood there staring back at her smiling image.

    “Don’t be afraid, Wendy. It’s me, Grandma,” she said.

    “Oh—Okay. I’m dreaming. That’s what’s going on.” I nervously replied.

    “It’s not a dream sweetie. It’s really me. I’ve come to give you a warning. Seal the spaces, so that love can’t slip through,” she said. And as quick as she appeared, she was gone with the same amount of speed.

    I dropped the denture box and screamed as I ran out of the house onto the front porch. Just as I got to the bottom step, I heard my name being called, but not by Grandma. I kept running and suddenly felt someone grab my arm.

    “Hey, hey–slow down. Where are you going and why are you out of breath?” Ben asked while smiling.

    Shocked by the site of him, I turned and asked, “What are you doing here?”

    I couldn’t believe he was standing there talking to me. I tried not to show it, but I was happy to see him.

    “I heard that your grandmother passed away. She was a sweet woman. Always thought we made the perfect couple.”

    “And so did I, until you insisted that I get the gap between my teeth fixed.”

    “It was important to me.”

    “Was??”

    “Well, it still is,” he said.

    “Why? I love my gap. Why should it matter what my two front teeth look like, if we really love each other?”

    “It’s—it’s not me. It’s my family. You know I come from a long line of dentists. They would never approve of me marrying a woman with a gap between her two front teeth.”

    “But, why should you care what they think? You were in school to become an architect.”

    Ben looked down at the ground and turned his back.

    “What happened? You did finish, didn’t you?”

    He slowly turned around and said while still looking at the ground, “Yeah, I did, but not in the field of architecture.”

    “What field then?”

    Ben shoved his hands in his pockets and sighed long and hard. Then he turned to me and said, “You’re now looking at Dr Benjamin Arrington, DDS.”

  6. ryder

    The nightmares were horrible. They were always of people, who i had never seen before, dying in horrible ways. What made it worse is I was always the one killing them. I couldnt stop myself.

    I wasnt sure why i couldnt go to sleep that night but i wasn’t complaining either. ij ust sat up watchin re runs of old tv shows. That was until the clock struck 2am. Then all of a sudden i felt a chill pass over my body. I didnt know if i couldn’t move or was just not trying.

    My eyes were focused on the television. It was flashing back and forth between the show and an old picture of my grandmother. Then it finally settled on the picture. By now I realized that I couldn’t move. The pcture showed my grandmother looking down as if she was wondering about something important.

    She was a beautiful woman with silver hair and light blue eyes. She was always so nice to me. She would tell me ghost stories all the time and for some reason I never felt too old for them. I had seen that picture in my moms room for year and always wonderer what m grandma was thinking in it.

    My thoughts were then interuppted when the silver haired woman looked up at me. For some reason i wasn’t afriaid. I felt a warm sensation come over my body as i regained feeling in it.

    “Grandma?”

    “yes baby.”

    “What are you doing here.”

    “I can’t move on baby. I am earthbound until my unfinished business gets completed.”

    “You know i’ll do anything for you grandma”

    “Do yo remember all the stories i used to tell you?”

    “yes. they were about that little girl who grew up hunting and destroying bad ghost.”

    “yes. That little girl was me. The reason you’ve been having nightmares is because you must take my place.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “They’re not nightmares baby. They’re visions. You are seeing what your target has done while he was alive. soon you will be seeing the crimes he’s commited since his spirit left his body.”

    “What do i have to do?”

    “Find the man in your visions. He is the last spirit i was suppose to destroy. He found out i was on to him though, and he killed me baby. Now he is after you.”

    “i’ll get him grandma!”

    “I know you will. Theres no time to sleep, we got to get ready baby.”

  7. Aragedy Kilof

    Robert woke from a shallow sleep as he felt his mattress depress when his grandmother gently sat on the corner. He had been having the same bad nightmares for the past two nights and he struggled to wake up. He could catch the sent of the fresh flowers outside his bedroom window as it mingled with the smell of his grandmother’s perfume. He waited patiently for her to gently move her hand up to his face and caress his cheek with the back of her dainty hand. As she did so he caught a whiff of oranges and maple syrup from the breakfast she prepared every morning for him.

    As he reveled in her touch, a deep sadness overcame him. Robert quickly pushed that sadness down.

    His grandmother whispered “Robert, it is time for you to get up.” At the sound of her voice the sadness rose again, followed by a deep longing.

    She stroked his hair gently and said “How I miss you already.” With these words the sadness got stronger, and Robert struggled to ignore it and simply enjoy the closeness, the love he felt for the women that had raised him.

    “Now I need you to do something for me Bobby. Will you take care of something that will be hard for you, but that I can’t do myself?”

    “Yes Nanna.” Robert replied.

    “Bobby, I just found out that your mamma is sick. She needs you now.”

    He scrunched up under the comforter and said “No, she left us.”

    He could feel his Grandmother getting up off of the mattress. “She is at the University Hospital in Cleveland. Go to her, forgive her, and help her leave this life in peace so she can join me.”

    Robert’s eyes jerked open and filled with tears. The sadness came rushing back. His Nanna had died three days ago. There was no one in his room now, but the smell of her perfume, oranges and maple syrup lingered, as did his grief.

    The women in the hospital bed looked like an older, worn version of the vibrant girl in the few pictures that Robert had of his mother. Robert walked into the room and reached into the plastic bag he had brought with him. First he took out some flowers he had cut from the plants outside his room, the same room that had been his mothers when she was a girl. He rubbed some orange peel and maple syrup from a napkin onto his hands, then sprayed a tiny amount of perfume in the air. Gently, he sat on the corner of the bed. He felt his mother stir and awaken. Her brow knitted into a deep furrow and she squeezed her eyes shut “Mama?” she asked in a weak voice.

    Robert reached out with the back of his scented hand and to stroke her cheek. “No mamma, it’s me Robert.”

    He whispered in her ears “Mamma, I want you to know I love you and I forgive you.” Robert felt the tears well up in his eyes again as he watched his mother’s face relax, as her brow began to smooth. “Mamma,” he said, “I’m hear to tell you if you go in peace Nanna will be waiting for you, to take care of you”

    Susanna Nelson felt quilt free for the first time since she had left her six your old son with her mother. A long hard life after that had been underscored by a sadness and longing that finally lifted away from her with his words. She took in a deep breath, smelling the familiar scents, sighed in contentment, and let out her last breath in this world.

      1. linfady

        Write it as you want it. Go back over it and throw out all but the important stuff. Things you really like but aren’t important to the piece, save for another time. It works. I reduced 2500 words to 1500 and lost nothing. It’s good practice. Good luck.

  8. JeffreyJaros

    “Oh no….help….somebody, I need help”, I scream as my grip starts to loosen, and I feel the tree branch start to slide through my fist. My muscles are getting tired and my arm feels as if it’s going to pull out of its socket. I look down, and see the rocks hundreds of feet below. Oh my god….I’m going to die. “Help….somebody please….help…. I need….no….oh my god, nooooo…..”.
    I bolt upright in my bed. My bedsheet is wrapped tightly around my wrist and the rest of the bedding is clinging to my soaked skin. I’m panting, and I start to notice how alarming the intensity of my heartbeat is. I can’t go on this like this I think, as the tears start….like they have started every night since the death of my grandmother. I’m sobbing in my bed, and I look over, afraid of what the clock will read. I have to get sleep, I have to go to work in the morning. If I miss another day, Ms. Bechard might fire me.
    My heart is returning to its normal beat, when my eye catches something move in the corner. Goosebumps start to rise on my neck, and then my arms, and then it seems all over my body. I’m starting to get cold….unnaturally cold, and my body starts trembling in fear. Over in the corner is my dead grandmother, just as I remembered her, although it seems as if now I can kind of see through her. She seems to be standing in the corner, but something is wrong with the angle, like she is almost floating more than standing.
    “Jeffrey”, I hear her say. A chill pierces my very being as I hear the hollowness of her voice. “Please tell them it was an accident. He didn’t push me”. My body is shivering, my sweat like ice on my skin. “I loved him, and yes, sometimes he beat me, but he didn’t kill me. I slipped as he was taking my picture, and I fell over the cliff. Whatever you think of your grandfather, I loved him, and if you don’t do this for me Jeffrey, you will re-live my fate, night after night after night. Until you die”.

  9. JesseD

    Since grandma died over a month ago, my life changed for the worse.

    I pondered this one night while sitting at the breakfast nook and staring at a bottle of sleeping pills. Was her death somehow connected to my insomnia? To the nightmares? I thought about downing the entire bottle to end it all, to sleep forever.

    In the past month I had been sleeping only one to two hours every few days. After the first two weeks I went to my doctor and she prescribed me these pills that have only added one hour of rest. One more hour of nightmares.

    The same nightmare recurred nightly, of me being chased by some zombie. He shuffled a few feet behind me, but no matter how fast I ran I never gained distance. Then I would wake up as just before his hands grasped my neck .

    “Those aren’t going to help you,” a woman’s voice said in my ear.

    I turned and jumped up. “Grandma. What-?”

    “Sit back down boy.” She sat across from me.

    I was too stunned to speak.

    “I know about your dreams, your insomnia and a lot more than you think.”

    “Grandma, help me,” I begged. “I’m so tired.”

    “I can only guide you through this. The man in your dreams, his body broken, tattered and torn, his head split open on the side.” Her eyes searched my soul. “That man…you know who he is.”

    My chest tightened. What little energy I had left in me drained, and I laid my head on the table. I breathed hard.

    “Who is he?” I asked.

    “You know. I shouldn’t have to say it.”

    I knew who she was talking about but I wanted to hear her say it. To see if she was telling the truth about her claim.

    Tears formed in my eyes, and I whispered, “I don’t know.”

    “Don’t lie to me, boy,” she said.

    I raised my head. “I don’t know.”

    “He is the man you killed ten years ago. You hit him with your car while driving drunk. You left him to die on the side of the road and didn’t even stop to see if he was okay. You didn’t even call for help. You coward.”

    I buried my hands in my face and sobbed loudly. “Oh, grandma, it was an accident.” My body shook. “I was so stupid and scared. I-I can’t change it now. What do I do?”

    “You need to turn yourself in to the police. Let them shut the case and give closure to that man’s family.”

    “I can’t. This is too much to bear.”

    “If you don’t do this, I will haunt you for the rest of your life. You think your insomnia, nightmares and guilt is bad now. Just wait. It will get worse. I will make sure of that.”

    I took a deep breath and slowly let it out. I nodded and headed to the front door.

  10. bsnipd64

    Cold water trickled down my throat, carrying the tiny pill like canoe. I spun the empty glass towards the sink then stared as it appeared to gain speed on its own. Something was not right. The wobbly sound was joined by a rising cacophony of glasses and silverware clinking against each other as an unseen energy filled the room. I couldn’t be dreaming could I? Of course not, that would mean I was asleep and my body hadn’t enjoyed that activity for several days. Leaving the rotating glass, my eyes began to focus on an apparition taking shape next to me. The glowing visage looked just as it had in the dreams, the bent spectacles, random gray hairs struggling to escape a severe bun, there was no mistaking my grandmother. Stepping back, my left hand slid cautiously along the counter feeling for a knife. I couldn’t imagine hurting grandma and heaven knows a knife wouldn’t help me but the fear deep in my stomach kept my hand moving.

    Suddenly dry, my mouth uttered a few screeching sounds. Closing my lips and swallowing carefully, I tried again, “grandma is that you”? A strange query I thought as clearly it was her.
    It was then I noticed the sadness reflected in her eyes. Eyes that once sparkled like perfect Safires now held a bottomless aching. My hand touched the point of a blade and stopped, the prick travelling toward my heart turning to guilt as it gained speed.

    Forgetting my fears, I brought my hand back and looked her full in the face. The sadness in her eyes seemed to spill out, running down her cheeks and flowing over her once strong body.
    “Jimmy, my dear Jimmy”, the thin voice echoed in my ears though her lips had not moved.
    “Grandma”, I offered simply.

    “Jimmy my boy; I need your help now more than any time before”. She continued. “I have been coming in your dreams but you haven’t let me in so I had no choice but to see you in the flesh. You must listen for we are allowed to do this but once”.

    “I’m listening Grandma”.

    A frostbite sensation crept across my cheek and I realized her hand was cupping my face as she had done so often in life.

    “Jimmy, if you don’t help me I’ll never have rest.”

    “Of course, of course I’ll help you” I replied, still trying to grasp what was happening.

    “There was something I needed to do before I died but …….” She hesitated as if the pain was too great. “You can’t understand but I will never find peace until the truth is set free”
    I nodded as if I understood.

    Grandma continued, “it’s your mom, I never could tell her……..”

    “Tell her what?” I found my voice even if it was a little shaky.

    “She’s my little sister”, the specter proclaimed, a small dusty tear running down her cheek. “You must tell her or you will never be at peace.”

  11. wyocampbell

    That’s not fair Grandma. You should have taken care of that before you decided to die. Oh yea right, death comes as a surprise. Then why me? Your daughter is just down the hall go haunt her, I am sure that wouldn’t surprise her. I am not buying that, I’m not the only one that can see you. Enough with the ghost sounds. Your not going to want to make them and I am not going to want to hear them forever. Its dark outside can’t it wait until daylight? Very funny you know that I have to open the door to get out. Oh, hi mom. Can’t sleep. Sorry for the noise. I have to go for a walk. I’m okay don’t worry I’ll be right back.

    Mom, I had a dream about Grandma and she asked me to get this letter for you. It was in her hutch. I think you should read it.

  12. vspiritoso

    I never thought the day would come when my grandmother past away. She was a tough old gal that would take the bull by the horns. Not only would she take the bull by the horns, she would make hamburgers out of him. Grandma never liked anyone to do things for her and when you offered she would say “I may be old but I’m not cripple…move out the damn way!” I loved that about her. So it hurt me to see her lying in her bed…helpless. I sat down beside her in her last hour. Grandma kept looking at the dresser like she seen something move. I thought she whisper, “I’m going to tell her just hold your horses.”

    “What was that grandma? Who are you talking to?”
    Her eyes darted back at me like she came back to this world from another.
    “I need you to take care of something for me before I die. I need you to….” Her eyes closed and she took her last breathe.
    “You need me to do what grandma? Grandma!”
    She passed away before she could say what she wanted me to do.

    A couple of days after her death, I’ve been having nightmares of that day. She’s lying in her bed trying to tell me what she needed me to do but instead her teeth falls out and she starts screaming. Then I would wake up screaming.

    I’ve taken the day off of work to try to get some rest. I felt a presence standing over me and I smell sweet pea, the perfume my grandma use to wear.
    “This can’t be happening. This can’t be happening.” I quivered under the covers. The covers were pulled off of me and the cold air hit my body. I curled up in a ball like I use to when I was a little girl. I felt a slap on the butt, “Ow!” I said as I moved to the other side of the bed.
    “I know you’re not letting a few bad dreams keep you from making a living. Get up, I need you to do something for me if you do then I will leave you alone if you don’t, I will come back and keep slapping your hinny until you do.”
    I never like to be spanked especially by Grandma. It must be years of spanking children in order to know the exact place to hit on the butt for it to sting.
    “Yes grandma.” I said sounding like a little girl.
    Grandma said, “You know the next door neighbor Mr. Fields. Well I borrowed his weed whacker two year ago and never returned it. I need you to return the weed whacker to him.”
    “But didn’t Mr. Fields die a year ago?” I looked puzzled.
    “Yes and he’s been haunted me ever since and now he is following me after death. I told him he never used it but he said it was the principle of the matter. So I need you to return it to his wife so he can leave me alone and I can rest in peace.”
    “Why did you give it back then?” I asked curiously.
    “Don’t question me girl and just do what I asked.”
    “Yes Ma’am.”
    I went to my grandma’s garage and got the weed whacker. I walked over to Mrs. Fields house and knocked on the door. It took like it seemed forever for her to come to the door. “Hi Mrs. Fields, I’m Gretchen’s granddaughter and I’m her to give back the weed whacker that my grandma borrowed from your husband a year ago. Mrs. Fields responded, “What for? We never used that thing anyway.”

  13. vjmoore1

    Grandma’s Ghost
    The social worker at the nursing home called us at home. The evening news was coming on so it must have been just after 10:00 PM. Grandma had passed away, so peacefully and quietly, in her sleep, that there had been no time to notify us that her time was near. The funeral home we had pre-selected had been very prompt in collecting her remains. They would be open for business at 9:00 in the morning and had requested that we come in and finalize all the arrangements. Then the social worker said she was very sorry for our loss.
    Uncle Benny jumped up and went into the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee. That had always been his solution in times of stress. Everyone else started talking about Grandma; what a jewel she had been and how much they would miss her. Grandma and I had never seen eye to eye on much of anything, so I had to swallow any comments I might have been tempted to share. I would like to say here that I was sorry that she had passed, but that would be an untruth. We had never gotten along and in all honesty I couldn’t say that I would miss Grandma. That’s what makes the events of the next few weeks so strange.
    The next two days were busy. Suddenly there were many tasks to complete in order to give Grandma the send off she had requested. There were relatives to notify, flowers to order, a coffin to select, and on and on. By the end of the second day I was already exhausted and fell into bed early, determined to get a good night’s sleep. It was not to be. That first night I attributed my awful dream about Grandma to guilt. Good granddaughters should feel more sadness when they lose their grandmothers. I tried being more respectful in my thoughts and memories of Grandma, telling myself that she wasn’t such a bad person. All little old ladies can be a pain in the neck at times, it goes with the territory, after all.
    The following night she was back. That coffin we had so carefully selected was up against the wall, near my window and as I gingerly approached the open coffin Grandma sat straight up and screamed at me, pointing a bony little white finger in my direction. I was so frightened that I couldn’t make out what she was actually saying. There were loud buzzing noises in the room, competing with Grandma’s shrieks. I woke up feeling nauseous and sweaty. I tried to blame the night number two dream on the green chile enchilada someone had brought over. Surely I had eaten too much of that casserole, causing myself to have bad dreams. When the dream rolled out again on night number three, Grandma had my full attention. I had to get past all that background noise, pay careful attention and find out what my grandmother was trying to tell me.
    I fell asleep on night number four by telling myself over and over that Grandma was still Grandma, not some evil spirit and if she was determined to communicate with me I should conquer my fears and listen. It must have been just past midnight when something woke me up. I thought it was the sound of a door slamming shut, but as I lay there peering into the darkness a wispy apparition appeared to float through the air and hover at the foot of my bed. It had no real physical form, but the voice coming out of that swirling mist was definitely Grandma’s voice.
    “Benny gets the house on Market St. Make sure this happens, Lacey, or I swear I’ll visit you every night all through eternity. And make sure he gets a generous monthly allotment to cover his expenses there, including a small staff to help him out. I know you can get this done.”
    I sat straight up in bed, mouth open, trying to form the words to reply to this astounding command, but the apparition was gone. I got up and wandered around the house, checking on doors and windows. I was scared to let my mind accept what seemed to be a direct message from Grandma. I slept only fitfully the rest of the night and woke up early. Today we would all gather for Grandma’s services. Maybe once she was actually laid to rest I would stop having the dreams.
    In life my grandmother had been nothing if not persistent, and in death she was no less so. She appeared every night, carrying the same message and demanding that I carry out her instructions. I was getting exhausted and growing huge dark circles under my eyes from sleep deprivation. People all around me were clucking sympathetically about how hard I had taken my grandmother’s death. If only they knew. Finally the day came for all of Grandma’s heirs to meet at her lawyer’s office for the reading of the will. Once again I hoped this finalization of her affairs would put an end to my weird dreams.
    The lawyer droned on about this being the last will and testament of Ida Josephine Kelley. There were no surprises, everyone already knew, or thought they knew, how her holdings were to be divided up. My thoughts were drifting off to other things when the words “house on Market St.” jumped out at me. Suddenly I was paying attention to what the lawyer was saying, which was that Mrs. Kelley wanted the house on Market St. to be sold and the proceeds split among her heirs.
    I leaped out of my chair and shouted “No, no that’s not what she wants to do after all.”
    Everyone in the room turned to stare at me in amazement but now that I had opened up this can of worms I had to continue on.
    “It’s true. She wants Benny to move into the Market St. house, and she wants him to have an allotment for a staff to help him out.”
    Benny looked stunned and Aunt Shirley, Grandma’s oldest daughter, looked like she could kill me with her bare hands. She turned back to the lawyer and stated that she was certain that the will was clear on every point, and that the Market St. house was to be sold.
    I held my ground, insisting that I had inside information that Grandma had imparted to me personally. There was no mistaking her intentions, Benny was to have the house, free and clear. Everyone started talking at once and then the lawyer called the meeting back to order. He explained that the only way to contest an item in the will would be for me to file a formal motion to contest the item in question. He asked if I was indicating my intention to do so. I replied with a firm yes. I would contest the will if there was no other way to resolve our problem. Then the lawyer explained that such a motion could hold everything up in court for months. Now Aunt Shirley really looked like she could kill me with her bare hands. Benny started to apologize, saying he would do without the house in order to keep the peace. I told him to keep quiet. The lawyer then arranged to mediate a discussion between all interested parties, which turned out to be me and Aunt Shirley. No one else cared about what happened to the Market St. property. Aunt Shirley was a wealthy woman. Her inheritance from Grandma would be icing on the cake but the one thing she didn’t want was any more delay in the proceedings. In the end we were all able to agree on a change to the will giving Benny the house and a generous allotment to go with it.
    Benny was Grandma’s youngest child and her only son. No one ever spoke it out loud but everyone understood that he was a little slow on the uptake. Grandma had been spending a lot of time worrying about who would take care of Benny after she was gone. When a stroke landed her in a nursing home it wasn’t hard to imagine that certain final arrangements she may have been planning had become impossible for her to accomplish on her own. Now that Benny would have a place of his own, I believed that Grandma could rest in peace and that I would once again sleep alone, all through the night, without any other-worldly visitors. Tonight I would test that theory out. Wish me luck!

    THE END.

    **VJ Moore

  14. Dylio83

    As Dylan sat up to see who was standing by the foot of his bed, a breeze blew into the room, drifting the curtains apart and letting the moonlight illuminate the face of this mysterious being.

    He froze at the sight in front of him. The pearl necklace and the red dress that she was in when she was laid peacefully to rest just two days ago.

    “Gr..grandma?” he stuttered as he blinked hard to make sure he wasn’t just seeing things in the dark.

    “Hi Dylan… yea its grandma.” The figure spoke, in what seemed like a tried, throaty voice, as she moved towards the foot of the bed and sat down, her eyes still looking straight at him.

    “Oh My God, Grandma!! You’re alive??” He exclaimed as he got closer but she got up and took a step back.

    “No son. I’m not. I was buried two days ago. How could I be alive?’ She said as she shook her head. “Didn’t your father pay $50,000 a year to send you to that prestigious and ridiculously expensive college?”

    Sarcasm still in check he thought as he asked her, “But how are you here? Why are you here?”

    “There’s something I need you to do for me Dylan.” She said as she looked up at him. “Something I had been hoping would happen and I need it to be done before I can rest in peace.”

    “What is it grandma? I’ll do anything for you.”

    “I want you to get married Dylan. I want to be able to know that you’ve settled down with Natalie. I want that before I can get some peace.”

    “What? You want me to get married?? I’m just 25 ye… wait a minute!” Dylan jumped off the bed and turned the lights on.

    “MOM! WHAT THE HELL?? THIS IS NOT FUNNY!”

    Marcia stood there, half giggling as she tried to speak. “I’m sorry son I only wanted to take this chance to give you some peace. You’ve been having nightmares and I figure if I gave you something to work on, maybe it’ll help you to feel better. Like you’re doing something for grandma. And… well… I really want grandkids”

    Dylan looked at her in disbelief.

    “I can’t believe you’d do something like this! Dad is still grieving and I’m still trying to come to terms with it but yet here you are having fun with all of it!?”

    Marcia smiled as she looked at her son.

    “Someday my son, you’ll learn to find joy in the death of your in-laws… especially one who told your father, when he was getting married, that she would’ve been happier if he just got killed instead.”

    “MOM! I’m missing grandma so much and I just…” Dylan said as Marcia cut him off,

    “Grandma was a cold-hearted bitch,” she said taking off her fake pearl necklace. “So grief all you want but I’m going to Laura’s to celebrate. If dad asks, just say I’ve gone for a walk to clear my head. Love you baby, get some sleep.”

    She walks over, kisses him on the forehead and tosses the necklace on his bed. As she walked out she laughed mimicking him… “Grandma you’re alive??”

      1. Dylio83

        Thanks – tried to turn it into a funny story. Now that you mentioned it I think that might’ve been where the idea came from when I was thinking it up – that scary movie scene.

  15. m_farmer@hotmail.com

    My grandmother was a nightmare before she died so anything coming after her death was anticlimactic. When she appeared to me two days after she died she actually looked more grandmotherly than I ever known her to be. She came quietly and calmly, for her. and told me I must tell the family that she was feeling much better and she was happy to have moved on. She had spent the last seven years in Central State Hospital. One” treatment” after another had either done no good or increased her frenzy. She said she was sorry that her life had been so disturbing but it was much better now and we should be happy for her.

    Her appearance was not surprising, although I can’t say why. I took what she said as absolute truth without any hesitation. I quickly told my sister and sent word to my brother that Granny was well and happy. I hoped that we could be happy when we passed on like she was.

    The year is 1907, pellagra, a disease that looks like leprosy and causes severe mental disturbances, is plaguing the South. The cure is unknown at this time. It was not unheard of for whole families to become sick and institutionalized because of this dread illness. My Granny, my brother, Ned, sister Tess, and I have all lived here in Milledgeville’s mental institution for seven years. The county court said we were unfit to live amongst normal people and sent us here.

    In ten more years doctors will discover that the cure for pellagra is niacin, a nutrient that is found in eggs, cheese, or meat. Brewer’s yeast will also cure it. Until then, hundreds of people like my family will languish and suffer intensely because they are too poor to get these foods for themselves.

    I hope you believe my story because it is true. Look up pellagra and find out for yourself.

  16. Debzee53

    Grandma always told me that she could talk to the dead. There were always spirits around, telling her things. She spoke back to them, too, in many languages. That’s why she spent the last years of her life in an insane asylum.

    I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since she died, and that was two weeks ago. She keeps coming to me in my dreams. She doesn’t talk to me, she just stares. I think I’ve seen more of her in the last two weeks, than I’d seen of her in the last several years.

    Last night, I tried taking a sleeping pill. That idea seemed harmless enough. Unfortunately, I still tossed and turned. After I’d flipped my pillow for the umpteenth time, and punched it out savagely, I completely gave up. I reached for the remote control and turned on the TV.

    Instead of Jay Leno, I saw Grandma. She’d hijacked David Letterman’s spotlight, as well. Choking the remote control, I found nothing on TV at all, but Grandma. At every click, she just stared at me, angrily, and at that hour on a sleepless night, it was maddening. At that moment, I almost missed seeing her when she was alive, when she was more animated, and when she was still entertaining all her invisible friends.

    Exhausted and feeling helpless, I shouted, “What do you want, Grandma?”

    At that, her spirit rose out of the TV screen and manifested itself in my bedroom. Was it the sleeping pill, or the stress from my lack of sleep, or was this real? I couldn’t take a chance, so I begged her.

    “Please let me sleep, Grandma! I’m going to lose my mind if you don’t go away!”

    Grandma scowled at me, and spoke bitterly. “You never wanted me around when I was alive, did you? I should haunt your selfish ass until the day you die. But we can make a deal, if you’d like.”

    “What kind of a deal are you talking about? You’re dead!”

    Grandma chuckled and pointed a crooked finger at my face. “If I’m so dead, who are you talking to? You fool. I’ll promise to leave you alone, boy, but only if you’ll promise to help me. There’s something that has to be done before I can move on.”

    “Yes, Grandma, I’ll do anything for you if you’ll just leave me alone. I promise!”

    Grandma’s lips curled into a devilish smile, and then she lifted her arms to wave them all in. “Come on in, everyone. Welcome!”

    Through the walls of my bedroom, her spirit friends began entering. One by one, they stepped up to my bedside for introductions. In their eyes, there was an eternal desperation for someone’s attention.

    “This is my grandson, everyone. I’d like you to meet him. He just promised to take care of you after I leave.”

  17. Ricky Cairns

    The house is dark and quiet, but that is too be expected when it is 2 A.M. A sound comes from the main bedroom, it is the sound of crying.
    Inside the room sitting on a couch is a young man who has his hands in his head. “Just leave me alone,” the man mutters in between sobs.
    A young woman sits up in bed next to him, and she looks towards her husband worried. “What’s wrong, hun?”
    “Nothing is wrong. I uhm, I just need to go get a glass of water. I was having that nightmare again.” He gets up and grabs his robe off the floor and swings it around his shoulders and slips his slippers on.
    “Bill,” his wife says firmly. “This has been going on for what, two days now? You can’t sleep, you can’t go to work. You have to go see a doctor. Maybe they can give you some sleeping pills.”
    Bill just shakes his head and moves off into the hallway outside of his bedroom. He rubs his eyes trying to get out the dream that has haunted his sleep every night for the past two days. Ever since his grandmother passed away.
    Moving down the stairs and across the living room he enters the kitchen and flips the light switch on. Grabbing a glass out of the cupboard, Bill pours some water out of the faucet and takes a sip from his glass staring at his reflection in the dark kitchen window.
    Turning around with glass in hand Bill gasps and drops the glass cup onto the floor; where it shatters and sends water spraying outward. Standing right in front of him is the ghost of Bill’s mother.
    She cants her head to the side, looking at her son and goes to reach a hand out to touch him on his head like she had so often done in life. However, her hand just passes right through Bill’s head and a cold shiver runs down his spine at the contact with the spirit world.
    “Bill,” his mothers voice sounds just as it did when she was alive. “I need your help, son.”
    Bill shakes his head fervently and squeezes his eyes shut. “I know what you want, mom, but I can’t help you.”
    His mother looks sad. “I will not leave you alone, son, not until you help me out. I need you to do something for me and it’ll allow me to rest peacefully.”
    Again Bill shakes his head and he turns his back from the ghost of his dead mother. “I am sorry mom. If I help you though, you will leave. I can’t let you do that. I need you here. Even if it is just in spirit form.”
    “You would deny your own mother from moving on,” her voice sounding sadder still.
    Bill turns to face his mothers spirit. “Yes.”

  18. JMBooze

    Peppermint white chocolate, with just the lightest spot of cinnamon, hit my senses just around 2 a.m. Its scent so fulfilling it sent me back in time, back to a time when things were simpler. It was Nuna’s specialty on rainy winter nights like tonight. She would be in the kitchen while my sister, Lara, and I snuggled on the old white couch watching the fireplace flicker. We would hear her singing as she stirred the pot and we would know that everything was alright.
    Even at the worst of times, when our parent’s split, when I was kicked out of college and even when Lara was pregnant, Nuna held our hands and made sure we always had a home to come back to.
    Nuna had been my rock and her passing crushed me. “You’re the strong one, be there for Lara. She needs you more than she knows.” She told me on her last night. It was the last thing she’d said and thinking about it now, in the middle of the night, had me crying.
    Right after Nuna passed Lara ran off to California with some biker leaving me alone with the responsibility of caring for our mother and Lara’s two kids. She had always been troubled, irresponsible and that was the last straw. I cut off all contact, ignored her phone calls asking for money, and refused her then-empty apologies.
    Nuna’s last words began haunting my dreams the last few nights. I could hear her whisper, smell her chocolate and I couldn’t escape the memories. Every night her voice would get louder, the smell of peppermint would get stronger until I finally woke up crying out for her. This time when I woke up, I was met with more than just a memory.
    Nuna was standing at the front of my bed, a ghostly apparition with the same knowing smile she always had in life. “Nuna?” I barely say, shaking and feeling the color drain from my face.
    “Yes honey, it’s me.” She said.
    “Oh my god,” I said, the tears already building too quickly to control. “But –“
    “I know, Sam. I know.” She said.
    “What’s going on?” I asked. My mind raced, confused and terrified, while my heart ached to reach out for the woman I loved most in the world.
    “You were supposed to look after her,” she said in despair, “I asked you to look after her. You gave me your word and I won’t leave till you fulfill that promise.”
    Her disappointment was clear. “What am I supposed to do?” I tried to explain. “She left her kids, she left the family, and she left me to clean up her mess!”
    “She needs you, Sam.” She said, stepping around the bed toward me – the air choking me with peppermint white chocolate. Her hand was icy as she touched my shoulder. “I’m asking you to find her. Save her. Don’t you realize you are the only one left who can?”

  19. egg

    An ethereal mist lingers like a dream that sits on the edge of one’s consciousness, at the foot of my bed where my chest of drawers usually stands. My nostrils quiver with a scent that seems to flit teasingly through the air; a damp, humid air cooled only by the monotonous thrum of the ceiling fan. I try desperately to focus on the amorphous haze, and to identify the mysterious aroma, but it eludes me like the sneeze that tickles, and then disappears within the nasal cavities to await a more convenient time to erupt. Then my mind fills with a melodious murmur of someone singing, deep and low, to the impossible rhythms of my heartbeat.
    This is not the nightmare of recent days; the demons of my dreams could never sing so sweet a song or reach into my soul with the calm hand that now covers my heart. I rub my eyes and push myself up against the bedhead. My cotton sheet is damp and twisted around my legs like a devilish python, reminding me that darkness is still my companion.
    It is rosemary. The smell plunges me back to my grandmother’s kitchen as she cooks roast lamb on a Sunday afternoon. The wrinkles chiseled around her mouth from a life of laughter turn and smile at me. Her eyes are small and impish, and regard me with the kindness that I have depended on since my mother left me with her mother more than thirty years ago. My grandmother, my savior, raised me as her own until that hellish day when we parted company, leaving me alone once again.
    “You need to do something for me, child.” The voice echoes around the room.
    “What can I do, gran? I am alone?” I whisper to the foggy apparition before me.
    “You need to forgive, because I cannot,” she says. “Only then will you sleep.”
    My eyes are burning with forgotten tears for my past; for the elusive childhood that I never knew, and for the mother who deserted me. The whole room is a silver blur of regret for the things I cannot change.
    “Let her go, child, and sleep.”
    I close my eyes and fall into the deepness of my tortured soul, releasing the hate and fear and anger that drove me to the steely fiend that I believed would end it. I kick the sheet to the ground, and lie back into the comfort of pillows. The singing grows louder and is joined by the elegant tones of a distant harp. As the scent of rosemary fills my head, the soupy cloud envelops me, and I sleep.
    My grandmother retrieves her roast from the oven, and carefully places it on the kitchen table.

  20. TheWriteOne

    “Madea? Is, is that you?” My voice was shaking but not nearly as bad as my hands. It was her but then again it wasn’t her. There was a strong similarity but something was different. She stood near the door, never crossing the threshold. She beckoned for me to come to her but fear paralyzed me. She smiled and then beckoned some more. Suddenly, something down the hallway obviously got her attention. Whoever or whatever it was frightened her. This time her hand movements were more rapid and frantic. “Hurry sweetie! There is something you must know!” I pulled me knees up to my chest and buried my face in my hands. The only thing standing between us was just a few feet and some bedroom furniture. ‘This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening,’ I kept repeating to myself. “You must know! You are in great danger my child! Please!!!” He voice let out this ear rupturing scream. Once more she beckoned for me and this time I knew I had to do something. I was in fight or flight mode. I eased out of bed on my tip toes as if being on the balls of my feet would help me escape quicker. Just as I was passing by the dresser, it hit me. That’s why she couldn’t come into my room. That’s why she wouldn’t come to my bed. She would have to pass in front of the mirror! I remembered as a child she told me that if a spirit saw itself in a mirror it would be trapped between time and eternalty forever. I halted just steps away from the image that resembled my beloved grandmother. I looked in the mirror at the frail and frightened imaged that glared back at me and then I looked at the doorway that was consumed with the figure of my deceased grandmother. Deciding to take my chances, I stepped forward slowly, calf muscles still contracted. I reached out to touch her and that’s when I noticed her feet were hooves! I retracted my hand and my heart began pounding so hard I could hear it in my ears. “Don’t be afraid. You must know. I am….. we are not completely human.” And without another word, she was gone.

    1. Brian A. Klems Post author

      It’s mainly because I approve most of the comments and was out of the office at that point. I try to hop on several times a day (including the evenings), but don’t always get the opportunity.

      Thanks for the question,
      Brian

  21. Artemis1967

    It has been several days since my grandmother left me, alone and bereft. It has been two days since she chose to come back. Once she died, I, ever the agnostic, believed that night in the hospital would be the last I would see of my grandmother. Gammy was my family, my only family. It is only logical therefore that any unfinished business she had would fall to me. And it has.

    As I sat in Gammy’s chair in front of our stone hearth fireplace, the warmth of the crackling fire and the dullness of the book I was reading had lulled me into a dream-like state. It was then that I felt the hair on my arms rise, as if a breeze had softly wafted through the house. Opening my eyes, Gammy stood before me warming herself, it seemed, in front of my fire. Smiling benignly, her blue eyes, pale and calm, Gammy silently contemplated my shock.

    Finally, breathing normally, while the adrenalin still coursed through my body, Gammy spoke: “How are you, sweetheart?”

    “Gammy. Why are you here? Are you here?” I could only stammer inane questions as my logical mind attempted to grasp the fact that I was speaking to my dead grandmother.

    “Sweetheart, I have only a short time to speak with you. Please listen,” she began softly. “I didn’t want to leave you; I know you weren’t ready. I didn’t have time to tell you, but you must listen to me now.”

    I nodded my head dumbly. I don’t think she realized what a herculean effort it took for me not to crumple to the floor, grab her knees and hold on for dear life.

    “My darling, I left you something special. It is in the attic, in the large chest where I kept all of my dresses you used to play wedding with. Do you remember that?”

    “Yes, ma’am,” I mumbled as the tears streamed down my face.

    “Take everything out of the chest. In the bottoom, you will find a thumb hold. It’s very small; look carefully. Use that thumb hole to lift the bottom of that chest out, Underneath the bottom panel, you will find notes, documents, pictures. I am sorry I can’t explain more. Take them; read them; follow them. It is very important that you finish what I began years and years ago. Promise me, Shelly.” She seemed to become agitated.

    “I will. I promise, Gammy. I promise.”

  22. DLC

    “You have got to be kidding! Go away and leave me alone!” I shouted as I tossed the covers back. I had never felt so out of sorts in my life. Suddenly, I realized I was apparently shouting at the lingering memory of my dear grandmother! “I do not believe in ghosts!” I reminded myself. “I do NOT believe in ghosts!”

    For weeks now I’d been having a recurring nightmare each time I tried to get a good night’s sleep. It had started shortly after my Grandmere’ Alice died. She was one of those ‘true Southern ladies’ who never grew tired of manipulating her family. It seemed that even in death her technique had not changed.

    My dream primarily consisted of her touching me lightly on the shoulder. As I struggled to awake, she stood patiently; waiting for my full attention. Once she had it, she immediately urged me to take her pearl engagement ring to my brother Harry. In her sweet drawl, she would remind me that Harry surely needed a little help in coming up to scratch with his ‘almost’ fiancé.

    “Perhaps my ring will give him the push he needs.” She urged. “If you fail in this little request dear, I will be doomed to forever roam these halls. And, you will always be my bedfellow. Now darling, I don’t think either of us would wish for that!” she purred. I could almost feel the sweet threat as she strove to convince me to follow her wish.

    “Please understand Grandmere’, I don’t have your pearl ring. Leave me and let me get some sleep.” I mumbled. Then more alertly, “Why am I talking to a ghost? I truly must be losing my mind.”

    Smiling serenely, she tipped her head at me in her quaint little way. “Now, Sissy, you know exactly where my ring is. After all, you are the one who put it there. . .”

    It dawned on me that I was no longer asleep and Grandmere’ was sitting on the edge of my bed! “Oh my,” I whispered, “you really are here!”

    “Yes, my dear. Now go find the ring, please. I really do want to go home.”

    Searching my memory for where I might have put the ring – a ring I had not laid eyes on in at least 15 years. Suddenly it dawned on me. Grandmere’ Alice had given me a small packet of letters and a little box of keepsakes before she passed on. I’d not even thought to look through them as yet. Surely the ring was in that bundle.

    Rising from the bed I ran to the dresser across the room. Pulling the ribbon from the small box, I opened it. Lying inside was the beautiful old ring with its lustrous pearl setting; waiting to be claimed by the next bride.

    I glanced up, eager to show Grandmere’ the ring, but already she faded gently, like a sweet memory in my mind.

  23. JCBL

    Throwing back her covers for the umpteenth time, Alia flung her legs over the side of the bed, swinging into a sitting position. “This has to stop!” She grumbled. “A person can only go so long without blessed sleeping!”

    Raising onto his elbow Alia’s husband, Leif, scrubbed his hand through his hair. “What’s the matter? Can you not sleep again? You’re gonna have to try to get some rest.”

    Glaring over her shoulder, she said sarcastically. “Do ya think?”

    “Alia, I’m worried about you, but stop being hateful.” Leif lay back, staring at the ceiling.

    “I’m sorry; I don’t know what’s wrong. These nightmares just keep coming. You know they started the second night after Granny died. I figured they were from guilt since I despised her so much, but good grief; it’s been almost a month! I don’t feel that guilty!”

    “Oh come on, you know you miss the old thing.” Leif teased.

    Alia slammed her pillow into his face. Jumping astraddle her husband, she pretended to smother him. Moving the pillow enough to see his eyes, she giggled. “I’m going for a walk. Love ya.”

    Alia slipped into jeans and an old tee-shirt. Opening the front door, she stepped onto the porch that ran the length of her house. She loved this old house; it was the one her daddy had been born in. Since he was the oldest son, and she his only child, the ancestral home had passed to her.

    Her Granny and Papa had built it. People said it was haunted, but Alia wasn’t frightened. Old homes had pasts and those pasts often included left over feelings.

    Leaning against one of the big porch columns, Alia glanced toward the rocker sitting in the shadows. With a gasp, she straightened. “What are you doing? I should have known this was your doings; you are just too mean to go! You can’t stay here anymore, you’re dead. Go on wherever it is you’re going.”

    With her dry cackle, Granny just sat there; continuing to rock. “I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to child; you should know that by now. Fact is, I can’t go on. Believe me, I would if I could. I’ve had enough of the likes of you to last me beyond a lifetime.”

    Alia laughed. “Yep it’s you alright. Whatta ya mean you can’t go? Devil won’t have ya?”

    Granny stomped her foot. “Listen you, I need your help. I wasn’t so bad as to have ta go to hell, but God won’t let me in til I make something right, an you’re the one that has ta help me. If ya don’t I’ll be right here on this porch from here on out.”

    “Well Lord have mercy! Why would I expect otherwise from you. Fine! What is it I have to do?”

    “I have to tell you I’m sorry, Alia. I have to ask you to forgive me. Bad part is, you have to be able to.”

  24. chilo

    My grandmother died two days ago, but I don’t feel like the loss is great. Except, I keep having these recurring nightmares and am dealing with a bout of insomnia because they are the same dream. I just keep staring into the ceiling for affirmation that sleep will come. Suddenly, I see a ghost who claims to be my grandmother’s spirit.
    I didn’t believe it. Why would my grandmother come back? She waves her arms in the air like she always did when she witnessed me be totally abssurd. She begins to order me to take care of something she wasn’t able to before she passed. If I do, she’ll leave me alone and won’t haunt me forever. Which is good news. I wasn’t really close to her and wasn’t intending to spend the rest of my nights talking to her.
    And do you know what she wants me to take care of? She wants me to go down to the drugstore and tell the pharmacist who has some medication pending to cancel the order!!

  25. tim_tobin

    Amelia. That was my grandmother’s name. It still is her name I suppose. She visits me frequently, both in dreams and while I am awake. The visits started two days after her death seventy years ago. She died when I was a child and was the first dead person I had ever seen. The viewing is only a vague memory now but that didn’t seem to really be Grandma laying there. On the other hand, her ghost is quite real. After seventy years she has become my friend and confidant.

    Oh, sure, I was scared the first time she appeared. She had to be just a dream, I told myself. But with the soft touch of her hand, she reminded me of the stories she had read to me and of the lake and my father returning from WWII. She had to be my real grandmother.

    She told me I had to finish a job for her. The aneurism had taken her quickly, before she had a chance to return her library books. You must do this for me, she had told me back then. I cannot rest until they are back where they belong. It is the honest thing to do. If you forget, she smiled at me, I’ll come back and haunt you until you do. I promised her I would.

    The books were on her nightstand and were overdue by a couple of weeks. The fine was a penny a day so I would owe the library about twenty-five cents. I shook some coins out of my piggy bank and headed to the door. But then I thought better of it and put the books in my room.

    That night Grandma was back scolding me for not returning the books. So I made a deal with her. I’d take them back tomorrow if she would read me a story. Her eyes twinkled at my mischief but she read me my story. Naturally, I did not return the books the next day.

    That was seventy years ago. Grandma had been visiting me ever since. Tonight was different though. She took my old hands in hers and told me it was time. She had stalled long enough and if I did not take the books back, I might beat her home! I cried like a small child. She held me tight and hushed me. It won’t be too long she told me. She said she loved me and began to shimmer. And like a summer breeze, Grandma was gone.

    I dug the books out of an old box in the back of my closet. I chuckled when I thought of what the fine would be now. But I did take them back. Grandma was right. It was the honest thing to do.

    1. tlcall01

      Library books… at first I thought that was funny. Then I thought of my mother-in-law. She would be mortified to know she still had library books out, racking up a fine. The thought made me smile. I smiled more when I read the turn the story took, that the narrator purposefully held on to the books in order to keep his grandmother coming back… clever. And it ended sweetly, with grandmother saying it was time, nearly time for them both. Good story line.

      1. Artemis1967

        I like the idea of the library books. It sounds like something a child would experience on seeing his or her grandmother after her death. It is actually kind of a comforting, personal story. Very clever.

  26. MeltingMommy

    I couldn’t sleep. Insomnia in my family was nothing new but this was getting ridiculous. I sat in bed, my back against the headboard, staring blearily at the clock. I couldn’t make out the numbers, my glasses were still on the night table. I just couldn’t stop thinking about the nightmares that had been plaguing me since Grandma passed on. Goodness how I missed her. My last remaining grandparent and the only on I’d had to go to when my parents were too busy or tired to care about me. The dreams were terrifying. My heart pounded as I tried to recall the details. I felt a cool breeze coming in from the window. It felt good, refreshing after the 90 degree heat suffocating the night. I could feel the heat and humidity heavy in the air. The breeze continued. I sat up suddenly. The breeze, where was it coming from. And there she was, my Grandmother, standing next to my bed.
    “Grandma?” I asked in a small, frightened voice.
    “Hello Jilly,” she replied. “I need your help.”
    “But you left. You’re gone now,” I protested.
    “Jilly, this is important. There’s something I need you to do for me. If you don’t do it I’ll haunt you until the day you die.”
    What she wanted me to do is not important. I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to do it because she’s back and if I do it she’ll be gone again. She can beg and plead and threaten and whatever else she feels like doing. Bring on the nightmares. At least now I’ll never be alone.

  27. K.Nicole

    “Ginny… Ginny… Virginia Bridgeforth! Wake up, I know you hear me! Don’t put your head underneath that pillow! If you will just listen you’ll be able to go to sleep.”

    Virginia took her goose down pillow off of her head, took a deep breath, and looked around her bedroom, but just like last night and the night before that, no one was there. “Grandma, is that you?”
    “You know it is, stop asking silly questions and come downstairs. It is un-ladylike to have conversations in the bedroom. Talking is for the parlor and the kitchen.”

    Ginny walked downstairs and suddenly felt a chill. Those Ghost Hunter shows on TV always said that you feel a chill when a spirit is near, she thought. She walked to the kitchen and sitting there at her kitchen table was her Grandmother looking just like she did a week ago, fit as a fiddle. Ginny sat down at the table, then got up again to put on a pot of tea to calm her nerves.

    “Now Ginny, if you will just sit down and stop pacing all over the kitchen like a hungry alley cat I can tell you why I’m here.” Ginny sat down with her teacup at the ready like a talisman against the ghost of her grandmother. “Ginny, I hate that I left you and your ma so early. Shoot, I wasn’t even ready, but when the Good Lord tells you it’s time to come home, you just go. But, I left something undone and it needs to be fixed and soon. I’m asking you to do it because I trust you the most. You know your cousin Lucy can barely tie her own damn shoes without some help, so I knew I couldn’t ask her.”

    “So, wait let me get this straight…you are the ghost of my grandmother, you want me to do you a favor, and if I do I can finally get some sleep?”

    “Well yes, that’s the short version of it. But it’s not just any old favor. Your grandpa he killed someone a long time ago and I need you to find the family and apologize. Now, I know you didn’t know your grandpa and for good reason, he was a mean ol’ sucker, and he got his and got it early. When he was dying of that lung cancer he told me, he said, ‘Nancy, I know I ain’t been right to you and the kids, but I ain’t been right for a long time.’ And that’s when he told me that when he was twenty he killed a man during a bar fight. He asked me as his dying wish to find the family and apologize. Told me he didn’t think he could get to Heaven without things being set straight. And I agreed to do it, but time and priorities like raising your mom and Aunt Sharon got in the way and I never got around to doing it. Will you help me?”

    1. jmiff328

      I liked the story. Good use of Dialogue. I would like to see where the story goes from here. There are many good ways you could take it. i.e. The person that he killed was famous or related to national security and your protagonist finds herself in trouble by knowing the details of his death, or your protagonist falls in love with the son of the man who was killed before she gets a chance to tell him her story.

    1. tlcall01

      Huh, makes you want to read more and learn what happened. The 500 word thing is tricky, isn’t it? The description was good and it flowed well. Thanks for sharing.

    2. Artemis1967

      I like your story. Your use of detail conveyed well the trepidation and then horror you felt at your grandmother’s visit. Also, your articulation is simple, yet conveys realistic meaning. Thank you for allowing me to read your writing.

    3. tjmuta

      that was great, I love a good and clever twist! With the word limit that was balanced perfectly. For the sake of criticism I’d suggest watching parallel verbs, but outside of that it was textbook good.

  28. jmiff328

    The nightmares started a month ago and came about every third night. They were never the alike but never dissimilar. I was always being chased or cornered. I never saw what it was but I had a sense of dread that stayed with me long after I woke up. Then tonight there was no nightmare. I sat up awake knowing instantly I wasn’t alone. I know I’m conscious but what I’m seeing makes no sense. My Grandmother is sitting on the edge of the bed. She is staring down with her sapphire eyes. She no longer has the cataracts that plagued her late in life. Her hair is cut short and gray but still healthy as it had looked the year before she got sick. Her arthritis is gone as well, this is apparent by the way her hands are flowing liberally with a needlepoint craft that she always loved before the disease made her hands too dangerous to maneuver the needle. She didn’t look up at first. She continued with her art in silence while I watched. I’m not sure how long this continued but it seemed to drag on for hours before she looked my way. She spoke softly with all the care I remembered from my childhood.”I need your help baby boy. I want to move on but without you I cannot.” I nodded my head silently. She continued, oblivious to my shaking hands, “I have to tell you something that might upset you, but it’s true and you need to know it.” I leaned forward in bed with nervous anticipation. “Your Grandfather killed me and now my soul is trapped in this world.” My mouth lost all saliva and the ability to talk had evaded me when I needed it the most. My Grandmother observed me thoughtfully for a few seconds while I tried desperately to find the right words. “Child, I need you to avenge my death or I fear my soul will be trapped for all eternity.” As quick as she was there, there was a flash she was gone and I was alone in the room again, cold sweat covering my body. I found my voice and let out a feeble yell that was more of a whimper. The thought that scared me most was that I actually believed she had been murdered.
    My Grandfather had been a great man in his day but those days were long past. He was angry and mean most days and had complained of her incompetence while she was alive. We tried to explain the disease of Dementia but he stayed true to the belief that she was faking and causing him more harm than good. I knew then that she wasn’t lying. I knew what had to be done. I swung my feet off the bed and grabbed the needlepoint pillow that my grandmother had made me before she passed. I opened the bedroom door and headed towards the room where my Grandfather was sound asleep.

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