MARY HASTINGS Part Three

“Probably a case of nerves, Sis. Don’t worry. Besides, I can get over here in a couple of minutes.” He smiled.

“Yes, I suppose you’re right. Living out here in the country isn’t like the city. I guess I’ll have to get used to it all again. Want to stay for breakfast?”

“Naw, I’ve got to get busy. Betsy said she’d be over after a while, though.” Waving his hand he stepped out the door and walked to his truck.

The following days were filled with putting the house in order, spending time with family, and renewing old friendships. Mary had no more disturbances and slept like a stone for several nights running.

One night, however, a slamming door awakened her. She didn’t know whether the sound came from downstairs or the second floor. She only knew it wasn’t a dream—she had definitely heard it. She turned on her light, grabbed her pistol, and headed out the door. Turning lights on as she went, she walked through the whole house and found nothing. All the doors and windows were closed and locked. She could not explain the slamming door. Finally, she went back upstairs to bed, leaving all the lights on.

The noises continued on later nights and increased, doors opening and closing, footsteps on the stairs, and in the hall a man’s laughter. Mary began to think she was having mental problems—or was the house haunted? The first few times noises occurred, she’d phoned Travis, but he never found anyone or any evidence that someone had been there. So she stopped calling him.

One night as she slept soundly, something grabbed her big toe. Mary bolted upright. There at the foot of her bed stood Will, big grin, cow lick, and all. She couldn’t believe it. Will, her big brother. Of course, she knew it wasn’t actually him but his ghost. She wasn’t afraid. She was filled with peace. Will. Will. His image faded, and she flopped back to sleep, smiling.

Periodically over the next few weeks, she heard the usual noises, but they didn’t disturb her anymore. She knew Will was there, and most nights she slept straight through. Once she tried to tell Travis about Will, but she couldn’t quite bring herself to explain that their older brother’s ghost resided in the house. Travis seemed to be happy that she wasn’t bothered by inexplicable noises anymore.

Then one evening she awoke to the sound of breaking glass. She flicked on the light just as the bedroom door opened. There stood two men, one with a scraggly beard. They sneered and reeked of alcohol. Mary gasped and fumbled for her pistol in the night stand. Rushing forward, the bearded man yanked her out of bed and slammed her to the floor while the other grabbed the pistol out of the drawer. He knelt beside her and jammed the muzzle against her temple. She froze, her pulse pounding. Both men laughed.

At that moment a glowing apparition with a big grin and a cow lick appeared out of the wall and came toward the intruders. Screaming, the bearded intruder jumped up and raced out the door. The other man followed close behind, dropping the gun as he ran. The first man tripped and crashed through the banister. He landed on the floor below, his neck broken. Then the second slipped, his leg snapping as he tumbled down the stairwell. He lay whimpering at the foot of the steps as the smiling ghost stood over him.

Seconds later Mary ran into the hall, gun and phone in hand. The ghost evaporated. Travis arrived within minutes and took charge. The injured intruder kept babbling about being attacked by a ghost. No one took him seriously.

Nothing ever disturbed Mary’s sleep again. She lived for many years in the house and died of old age in her own bed overlooking the lake. She was buried next to her brother, Will, in the family cemetery.

Don’t forget 12-21-12. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

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