Just in Time for Halloween: One Month of Ghostly Flash Fiction, Week 1, Neighborhood Grandma

dscn0886Flash Fiction is a ultra short story between 300-1000 words. I hope you enjoy my first story, Neighborhood Grandma, and please join me by sending in your own flash fiction ghosts, werewolves, vampires or other original Halloween tales. (no slashers though) Email them to me at franwiedenhoeft@gmail.com and I will post them up.

 

 

Neighborhood Grandma

“Wait for me Ben, don’t you dare cross that street by yourself!” Lilly yelled to her 3-year old son. “

“Might as well talk to myself.” She muttered as she watched him dart out like a baby squirrel.

David, her 9-year old, always the good oldest child, walked next to her bringing bread for the nightly visit to grandma Christine. They weren’t related, but it was nice for the boys to have an older neighbor they could help out and get that grandmotherly attention from.

“Hello, Christine, were here.” Lilly called as she let them in with her key. She barely got the door open before Ben was rolling on the floor next to Christine’s chair and wrestling with Flash, Christine’s miniature Chihuahua guard dog.

“See what you’ve got tonight grandma?” David said as he opened the dinner tray. “Roast beef and mashed potatoes, your favorite. Mom cut it up real small just the way you like it.”

They stayed and visited awhile. David told Christine about his day. Christine listened, exclaiming and questioning at all the right moments. Ben rolled and tussled from room to room, wearing dog and boy out for the night.

Finally, Lilly did her nightly check to make sure extra lights were off and doors were locked.

“Ben how many times do I have to tell you not to turn on every light in the house!” Lilly said exasperated.

“I didn’t do it mommy.”

They helped grandma into bed and left for the night.

The next night when they got there the light was on in the bathroom, but Christine was nowhere to be found.

“You’re not up running around the house by yourself again, are you?” Lilly called out.

“Are you playing hide and seek?” David added.

Just then from behind them in the living room Christine said, “What are you guys looking for, little old me?” Her voice, magnified ten times the normal volume, made the walls reverberate.

Christine was sitting quietly in her chair though, with her legs propped on a stool.

They stayed with Christine through dinner and got her ready for bed.

Lilly turned to check the back door. Every light in the house was on.

“Ben, you are going right into time out when we get home.” Lilly said sternly.

But just as he began his wailing, “Mommy noooo,” they all switched off.

Lilly would have doubted her own sanity if David wasn’t looking at her anxiously.

“We must have been mistaken, right mom?” he questioned.

That night they ran home, looking over their shoulders and jumping when the leaves rustled.

They got to Christine’s a little later the following night. The shower was running and every light in the house was on.

“You didn’t need to get ready for bed by yourself grandma, we were coming.” David practically had to shout over the noise from a TV.

Lilly and David searched room to room when they didn’t find her in the shower.

They got as far as the bedroom when the sewing machine, which Christine hadn’t used in several years, whirred to life at a superhuman speed. They ran to the living room and found it empty. Ben was in a closet in the hall looking for Flash when the house went dark. He started the ear-piercing scream of a terrified 3-year old.

Lilly groped down the hallway, flicking the light switch without success, and calling to Ben, “It’s ok, mommy’s coming,” as David held tight to the back of her shirt.

Lilly just reached the closet when the patio door slammed hard and they could hear Flash barking loud and fast outside.

“Momma, what’s going on? And where’s grandma?”

The three of them, Lilly fumbling through the dark, a boy attached to each leg, made their way to the patio door. Lilly felt a tingling prickle running up her spine. It lodged in her brain, and pushed the panic button. Still, she hoped she would get to the back door, Christine would be on the patio, and there would be a logical explanation for all of this.

She could feel the cool metal knob in her hands.

Before she even had a chance to turn it the door flew open. A cold, gale force wind knocked her and the boys flat on their backs. All the lights in the house blazed to life. They lay on the floor stunned and momentarily blinded.

“Mom, I don’t know where grandma’s at but let’s get out of here.” David shouted to be heard above the still driving wind as they crawled toward the front door.

Just as they reached the door the lights dimmed. The wind stopped. They stood up and straightened their shirts which had twisted in a corkscrew around their waists.

Lilly cautiously opened the door. A middle-aged man stood there, key in the lock, ready to come in.

Lilly put her arm out and before she could stop herself, squeezed his bicep. Her face turned red from embarrassment. It was firm between her fingers.

“What are you doing here?” the man said.

“We were bringing Christine dinner, like we do every night, but…” Lilly’s voice died in her throat. She wasn’t able to come up with an explanation of the night’s events. They felt ridiculous now, talking to this flesh and blood man.

“Ohhh, your Lilly. And you must be Ben and David.” The man knelt down and gave the boys a warm smile. “Thank you for taking such good care of mom all this time.

“But what are you doing here tonight? I thought you must have known by now, mom passed away 4 days ago. The funeral is tomorrow morning.

Lilly, Ben and David grabbed each other tight.

“We’re so sorry for your loss, Christine was like a grandmother to the boys, we just came by to pick up…”

By this time, they were out of earshot. They looked at each other, Lilly grabbed Ben and they sprinted all the way home.

When they were safely inside and had locked the door and turned on all of the first floor lights, David put his arm around Lilly in a half hug.

“I guess she just didn’t know how to say goodbye, huh, mom”

“No I guess she didn’t.”

 

 

 

About Frances Wiedenhoeft

After a lifetime in nursing, anesthesia and the Army I now write, blog, attend school for journalism and massage, and watch my 3 grandchildren. I am a veteran of Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan and try to serve other vets such as myself, and to work for peace.
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