Archive for short story

PLAYMATES Part Two

Posted in Afterlife, Entities, Ghosts, Hauntings, Kids, Paranormal, Saturdays, St. Augustine, Stories, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2012 by Dave Lapham

For Alice Sue’s part she enjoyed every minute with Rose Marie. In addition to coming and going through the closet, she asked some funny questions, like “What is that thing on the table next to your bed?”

“You mean the lamp?”

“Lamp?”

“Yes. Here, I’ll turn it on.” Alice Sue pulled the lamp chain and the light came on.

“Oh,” Rose Marie exclaimed and jumped back.

And there were the shoes. Rose Marie wore what seemed to Alice Sue old-fashioned handmade slippers. And Rose Marie was astounded by Alice Sue’s Skecher Twinkle Toes with pink laces and leopard spots and which lit up with every step. Alice Sue let her try them on, and the girl was so enthralled with them, Alice Sue gave them to Rose Marie.

But the admiration wasn’t one-sided. Alice Sue loved Rose Marie’s clothes, which were so well-made and so different. One day she came out of the closet wearing what to Alice Sue was a beautiful pink dress, with ruffles all the way down to the hem, a wide pink ribbon at the waist, and little pink bows all around the scoop neck. She had to have a dress just like it.

Weeks later as Alice Sue’s birthday neared, Betsy asked her daughter what she wanted. Immediately, she said, “A dress, a pink, full-length dress.” And she described Rose Marie’s dress in minute detail. Betsy thought it odd, but she told her that’s what she’d get, and she wrote down the description Alice Sue had given her.

Finally, the day came. Alice Sue and her mother knew no one in St. Augustine, so the “birthday party” consisted of just the two of them. First, Alice Sue opened her gifts at home—and immediately put on her new dress. Then they walked up the street for lunch at the Casa Monica Hotel. At the end of the meal, a waitress came out with a piece of cake, a candle burning on it, and all the wait staff sang “Happy Birthday” to Alice Sue. She laughed as she blew out the candle and ate the cake but soon was anxious to rush home.

She ran down the street ahead of her mother and was waiting at the door when Betsy arrived. Then she bounded up to her room and closed the door. Shortly after, Betsy heard squeals and giggles coming from upstairs.

When Alice Sue turned toward the closet she saw Rose Marie standing there—in her pink dress. Rose Marie’s jaw dropped and she broke into a big smile. The two little girls stood looking at each other, eyes glistening. Rose Marie reached out her hand and took Alice Sue’s. She led her to the closet, and the two walked in, closing the door.

Alice Sue was never seen again, but to this day one can hear two little girls giggling and laughing in the bedroom upstairs at the end of the hall in the old coquina house on Marine Street.

PLAYMATES Part One

Posted in Afterlife, Entities, Ghosts, Hauntings, Kids, Paranormal, Saturdays, St. Augustine, Stories, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2012 by Dave Lapham

Betsy Slavin knew the house was haunted when she bought it. The previous owners were candid about it. They’d told her about the little girl, Rose Marie Slater, who had died in the back bedroom upstairs in 1837, during a typhoid epidemic. They’d told her she was still there, not menacing, but present. Betsy didn’t care. She didn’t believe in ghosts anyway. She wanted to live in St. Augustine.

As a single mom Betsy had struggled for several years, until a long-lost uncle left her with millions. Tired of living out in the sticks in Hastings, she turned her eye toward St. Augustine and quickly found this fine, old coquina house on Marine Street. The asking price was $950,000, a little steep perhaps, but Betsy had the money. Why not? She could afford it. The house had been built in 1794 by Don Hector Vitorio Montalvo de Sevilla, during Spain’s last possession of Florida. It was one of the oldest structures in the city. The history of St. Augustine fascinated Betsy, and she snapped up the house as soon as she saw it.

Seven-year old Alice Sue loved the house, too. She ran through all the rooms, laughing, inquisitive, and instantly was drawn to the back bedroom. “This is my room, Mommy,” she shouted to her mother out in the hall. Betsy, knowing the room had once supposedly belonged to Rose Marie Slater, smiled and said, “Of course, sweetie. You can have the room.”

The property was narrow but ran from Marine Street all the way over to Avenida Menendez with a wall surrounding it. The previous owners had done a wonderful job of landscaping the back garden with little nooks and crannies, vine-covered pergolas, and hideaways. Betsy thought her daughter would be enthralled by it all, but from the very first Alice Sue preferred her own room overlooking the beautiful garden.

Alice Sue loved her room, because she had found a playmate there, another little girl about her age who arrived and left through the closet. Alice Sue thought that a bit odd, but the little girl was otherwise a wonderful friend. Her name was Rose Marie. She said her father was an American and her mother Spanish. Her black hair and dark complexion contrasted nicely with Alice Sue’s light skin and blond hair. And she didn’t come just to play. Sometimes she came at night and slept with Alice Sue, because she missed her parents.

Betsy often passed by her daughter’s door to hear giggling and laughing. She might have been concerned at least enough to look in on Alice Sue, but the child had always had imaginary playmates. Betsy thought this was the case again, just an imaginary playmate. She did think about Rose Marie Slater but quickly dismissed the thought. Besides, if Rose Marie was the “imaginary” playmate, what harm was there.

MARY HASTINGS Part Three

Posted in Afterlife, Entities, Ghosts, Hauntings, Paranormal, Saturdays, Stories, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2012 by Dave Lapham

“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.

RED AND BLUE

Posted in Stories with tags , , , , on August 26, 2012 by Dave Lapham

He whipped his big red Jeep into the parking space and hit the brakes. The Jeep was just a ragtop Wrangler, but he’d jacked it up on enormous tires and it looked like a monster. Wasn’t really a macho thing, but maybe it was. He grabbed his laptop and jumped down from the seat and strode into Borders. Ah, good, not crowded, plenty of seats. He dropped his laptop at a small table in the middle of the room facing the door and flipped his Boston Red Sox cap on a chair. At the counter he ordered a cup of coffee with an extra shot, then returned to his table and sat down to work.

She drove slowly through the parking lot, admiring the twinkling lights that seemed to drip from the surrounding trees. Ah, a space. She slid in next to a red Jeep that towered above her little blue Matrix. She checked her makeup in the rearview mirror, ran a brush through her hair, and decided not to reapply her lipstick. Gathering up her purse, books, cell phone, and laptop, she stepped out of the car and locked it. The late-spring air felt velvety on her skin as she crossed the lot and stepped into the bookstore.

A gush of air from the door. He looked up as the door opened and the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen entered. Face like an angel, long brown hair with a bit of bounce in it, a perfect figure, and those legs. He’d never seen legs like that. And set off by tight-fitting white shorts. He suddenly realized his chin was practically on his chest.

She took a seat in one of the big overstuffed chairs in the corner just inside the door, another girl next to her and a coffee table in front of them where she could lay out the books she was using. She didn’t know the girl. Good. They wouldn’t have to make conversation. And a girl, not a guy. Better. She wouldn’t have to fend off some idiot’s come-on.

He sat staring at her, his Google search forgotten. He couldn’t take his eyes away. And when she crossed her legs, his heart pounded.  Just then she looked up. He looked away.

He’s looking at me. Oh, my gosh, he’s gorgeous, totally hot. Her face flushed. She looked back down at her computer. She tried to concentrate on her work, picking up one of the books she had laid on the coffee table and flipped through the pages, raising her eyes often to see if he was looking at her. He was.

She shuffled through the pages of the book she had opened, stealing glances at the boy. Then their eyes met and held. Without thinking, she jumped up. “Would you watch my stuff?” she asked the girl next to her and walked toward him.

Oh, crap. She’s coming this way. His palms got sweaty. He could feel the blood pounding in his head.

Nearing his table, her heart began to race. She could feel her face getting red.

As she passed by, he smiled up at her and croaked out a weak “Hi,” trying to keep his eyes on her face and not her luscious body.

She smiled and practically whispered “hi” back, looking at him out of the corner of her eye.

He started to rise and go after her but sat back down. She’s going to the bathroom. I’ll wait a minute then catch her as she comes out. I have got to talk to that girl.

At the end of the coffee shop counter, she turned right and headed over to the information desk in the middle of the store. Calm down, she told herself. She sat on one of the benches near the desk.

One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three…he counted to one thousand sixty twice. Then he stood and looked around. No one was sitting near him. Guess I’d better take my stuff with me. He quickly packed up his computer, walked past the coffee shop counter and turned left into the hallway leading to the restrooms. He’d wait for her there.

This is stupid, she thought. I’ll just go over and say hello to him. So I’m embarrassed for a few seconds. Big deal. She stood and walked back to the coffee shop. She froze. Air rushed out of her lungs. Her smile sagged. His table was empty. He was gone. She walked slowly across the room, glancing around to see if he had just moved, touching the chair he’d sat in as she went by the table. No, he’d left. She picked up her laptop and books and started for the door, no longer in the mood to study. Outside her eyes filled with tears as she walked to her car, unlocked it, and climbed in.

He leaned against the wall for a time until another girl came by on her way to the restroom. Maybe this looks weird, he thought, and ducked into the Men’s Room and back out again. He paced up and down, walked out to the coffee shop counter and back to the restrooms again. Finally, he decided to sit down and wait for her to reappear. He sauntered back into the coffee shop and looked around the room. Her chair was empty. Crap. She’s gone. He stood there a few moments, shoulders sagging, then walked slowly to the door and outside. Why hadn’t he just gone over and talked to her? Why had he been such a dipwad? They could have been sitting there right now laughing about something if he’d only had the cajones to approach her. What a dumbass. He walked to his red Jeep, hardly noticing the blue Matrix next to it. As he reached the left rear side of his car, the Matrix started up. He lurched up into the driver’s seat as the Matrix backed out.

“Damn! Damn! Damn!” she said out loud as she drove slowly out of the parking lot.

“Son. Of. A. Bitch!” he muttered as he followed the Matrix ahead of him.

The traffic light on Orlando Avenue had just turned red as she pulled into the left turn lane. She sat waiting for the light to change. The red Jeep that had been parked next to her at Borders pulled up next to her. She couldn’t see the driver, because the vehicle sat too high.

The light was red as he pulled into the right lane. The blue Matrix waited on his left. He couldn’t see the driver, because the little car sat too low.

The light turned green and she turned south on Orlando Avenue. She sighed. What a handsome guy.

When the light changed he hooked a right and headed north. Shit, he thought. I blew it.