Well, maybe it’s a ghost story…

It’s amazing how easily I can get inside Michael’s head now. When I briefly showed myself in the window last night, I could hear him so clearly… just as though he’d been right beside me: ‘She’s dead… I know she is. I attended her funeral… I paid for it!’

I had still been in high school when I met Michael, the experienced older man who swept me off my feet and away from all I knew. On my 18th birthday, he married me – he now had a license to maintain my indentured status.

He wanted to turn me into his version of the perfect wife. I certainly looked pretty enough, and in bed I kept him happy. But there were problems… “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear,” he told me.I knew nothing about the fancy cooking and the elegant decorating he wanted. I could not wrap my head around his system – he wanted everything lined up at right angles and polished ‘till the gleam hurt your eyes.

I didn’t know that I was pregnant until I started getting sick in the mornings. I didn’t tell Michael and he goaded me about how fat I was getting. I played dumb, but finally, I couldn’t keep the secret any longer and to my surprise, he seemed thrilled.

But two months later when Janet arrived, the New Order kicked up to hyper status. Michael believed that bacteria lurked everywhere – I had to clean still more meticulously and the baby could not be out of my sight for a second. By the time she turned six months old, I had reached the limit of my endurance. I took some clothes, diapers and the housekeeping money. Then I checked into a hotel.

He found us in just four days and hauled us back home. “We’re going to run away again,” I told him. In hindsight, that was my big mistake… my threat enraged Michael to the point where he lost his thin veneer of sanity.

He enjoyed hiking, and even though the May morning dawned damp and cloudy, he made me go with him. We drove silently to the state park. He put on Janet’s rain gear and lowered her into the Snuggie against his chest. He strapped on the day pack and we headed up the back trail. Once we reached the first plateau, the view across the misty valley seemed to thrill my husband. Although I carried nothing, I tired more quickly than he did. “Sit on that rock,” he commanded. As he walked away, I saw Janet’s little face, leaning to the right, looking back at me. When they disappeared from my sight, I presumed Michael had gone with our baby to the lookout.

Out of nowhere, a powerful hairy arm clamped a wet cloth over my nose and mouth. I had never smelled chloroform before but I knew that’s what I was choking on. Michael calmly sauntered back to where I lay, and from the steel in his eyes, I realized that he had planned this. He absolutely loathed me. Contrastingly, his arms tenderly cradled Janet, and he calmly told my assailant to carry on with the next step. Through the pounding pain in my head, I saw a fat envelope change hands.

The rough dragging deeper into the woods, revived me a bit, but I couldn’t speak or move at all. Without any fuss, the guy shot my poor body between the eyes and then right into the heart. He used a silenced gun and I couldn’t comprehend how those two whooshing sounds had ended my temporal life.

Immediately, I levitated out. It was pointless to stay in there and force the poor lungs suck in a few more breaths… It seemed beyond sad to unceremoniously leave the chilling, stiffening corpse lying there, but that’s what I had to do.

I felt myself floating over to where Michael stood shielding Janet’s eyes. I couldn’t make her feel or hear me, but on some level I could tell that she sensed my presence.

Michael calmly headed back down to the parking lot. He took some deep breaths, and dialed 911: “My wife is gone! She just disappeared! I can’t find her!” What an actor… even I nearly believed him.

There were some touch-and-go moments… Michael was nearly discovered but eventually he was exonerated of any involvement in my death.

I had a lot to get used to. I visited Janet in her dreams and I knew she cherished my memory. Michael treated her with love, but I knew that one day soon he’d start manipulating her as he’d done me. I did not want to pass over until I saw my daughter safely away from him.

After five years, I received permission to haunt. Things were about to change…

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7 Comments

Filed under Writing

7 responses to “Well, maybe it’s a ghost story…

  1. Jan Morgan

    EEEW! what;s going to happen next??

  2. I can’t wait for the next installment! Love it….

  3. Very good, Joanna. You’ve succeeded in tempting me to read my first mystery. No, I’m not a mystery fan, but there’s always a first time for most things.

    Incidentally, you might consider adding a WordPress copyright plugin
    to your offerings. I just read about it here (along with other interesting info about copyrights and blogs.)

    http://www.blogcatalog.com/discuss/entry/is-our-blog-copyright-protected

  4. Tonia Kimsey

    Dear Joanna, Great story………Can’t wait to read the book. Love, Tonia

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