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Real Ghost Stories

A Parting Gift

 

My parents had the habit of moving every few years. Us kids were never privy as to why, for us it was just a fact of life. As a result we were rather use to being the 'new' kids, and in the interim of making friends, despite the difference in ages we were friends. Depending on where my parents had decided to go to, sometimes being my older brothers' 'friend' and not their younger sister lasted longer than others.

This particular move had set us in the middle of nowhere; 10 miles from town, 3 from the nearest neighbor. As luck would have it, instead of moving during the school year (as sometimes happened) it was at the start of summer. None of us kids stood a chance of making friends before school began. Not that far out from everyone.

At the time, there were five of us kids still living at home. Kevin was 13, Mitch 12, I was 8, and behind me a younger sister (6) and a baby brother (3). If I wasn't helping our Mom care for the younger two, then I was running with the boys. I was quite the tomboy in those days.

One day, my brothers decided they were going exploring in the nearby woods, and I tagged along. These woods were neither big nor deep, although I suppose it was large enough to get lost in, if you didn't pay attention, as it was thick enough you couldn't see through to the other side. Mitch had picked up a stick and was saying 'enguard!' as he lunged at various trees, as we traipsed through, while Kevin carefully marked our trail with chalk on their bark. This was done so we wouldn't get lost, after all we didn't know these woods and as yet, we hadn't seen any real paths. Except for the trees, and an errant rabbit or two we hadn't seen much of anything.

After awhile, I needed to pee, so I stepped away from my brothers. Glancing up from where I squatted, I could just see a house. It was a rather sad looking thing. Standing and pulling up my jeans, I called out,"Hey, guys? There's a house." Kevin asked where, and Mitch said he didn't see anything. "Are you guys blind? It's right THERE!" They squinted in the direction I pointed. Apparently, what was so obvious to me, was fairly camouflaged to them. It took a minute, maybe two before either of them saw it.

We decided to go check it out. Maybe we had neighbors closer than we thought (we were headed in the wrong direction for it to be the neighbors' we knew of). As we walked towards it, we stepped over a running rivulet, seriously not even a foot across.

Coming closer, it was apparent no one had lived there in a very long time. I can still see it in my mind's eye. A low single story structure, with a slanted porch. A broken window staring like a blind eye, with what remained so covered with dirt and dust as to be opaque. Here and there a glimpse of what had been curtains still hanging. The house's color was so faded, chipped and peeling, it seemed a non-descriptive grey. If from a distance it had seemed sad, up close it was down right depressing.

It was Mitch who had decided we should go inside. Kevin had his doubts, but then Mitch double dogged dared us. Everyone knows you can't back down from a double dog dare, unless you're just a chicken baby. (Ah, the rules of childhood and sibling rivalry.) At first the door resisted entry, but a few good shoves and it opened.

It was very dim and cool in the interior, and the air was heavy with that musty smell of being closed up way too long. We opted to leave the door open for some light and air. Kevin instructed me to stay close, and none of us should wander off on our own. The place was still furnished. If it hadn't been so thick with dust, and obviously falling apart, I would've expected someone to emerge and demand to know what we were doing there.

Almost as silently as the house itself, we wandered room to room, peering in cupboards and drawers. In each room, I felt as if something was missing. Sometimes, it was obvious, a pale rectangle on the living room wall indicated a picture once hung there, the lack of dishes and silverware in the kitchen, stuff like that, in others it was just a feeling. Kevin supposed that when the person had lived there passed, people took what was worth anything or wanted and left the rest to rot.

We found an old letter written to a Mrs. Penchant, apparently from her daughter, saying she was sorry, but it looked like they wouldn't be coming for a visit this year either. It went on about how she wished her mother would reconsider moving in with them, since she was now alone, with "daddy now gone many years, and Tom now having followed." Of course I'm paraphrasing, but I remember asking Kevin what that meant and he said that the dad had died, and this Tom apparently her brother was dead too, leaving the Mom alone. That saddened me to no end. I felt so bad for Mrs. Penchant, being all alone way out here. Kevin told me not to be sad, she was probably in Heaven with her family. Mitch, being Mitch chimed in either that or she was a ghost, just waiting for some little girl to get. Kevin told him to knock it off, just then a small ceramic puppy fell off the mantle.

I picked it up, brushing off the dust and cobwebs. "What a cute little puppy!" I smiled down at it, a tiny beagle looking thing, sitting up as if begging.

"You can take it if you want," Mitch said.

I was standing on tip toes trying to reach the mantle to put it back. I was tempted, it was such a clever looking thing, and I didn't have much to call my own. Especially when it came to 'pretties'. Still, I said, "It isn't mine."

"Old lady's dead. She ain't going to care."

"Mitch! That's called stealing! It's bad to steal, even from the dead." One of the lessons, Mitch never did learn, was taking what isn't yours is just flat out wrong. "You need to ask first!" Being all of 8, 'dead' was still an abstract idea for me, but I didn't see how that made taking their stuff okay, without permission. I still don't. Just then Mitch let out a yelp claiming that something pinched him.

Kevin kind of laughed saying maybe it was Mrs. Penchant's ghost giving him what for.

I remember Mitch saying something like ghosts aren't real, and she could just go suck an egg, or something like that. Another yelp and his hand flew to his face. "Someone slapped me! I'm not kidding, guys!" Even in the dim light, I could see he'd gone pale. Kevin said maybe we should go, all laughter leaving him and suddenly very serious. It was all I could do to nod agreement, my poor mind doing double time trying to process what was happening. Mitch had already fled out the door, and Kevin was heading towards it. I carefully, placed the puppy on a nearby table. "I'm sorry, if we upset you," I whispered. "Please don't be mad." I swear I felt a pat on my rear, like "a go on scoot" 'spank'. That was enough to set me in motion, and we ran.

After we were passed the tiny stream, we paused gasping for breath. Mitch had a bright red mark on his face. We walked home barely talking, except for their warning not to say anything about the house to anyone.

Later, I found that ceramic puppy in my back pocket. How it got there, I don't know. I like to think it was a gift from Mrs. Penchant. I still have it.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, valkricry, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

RedWolf (28 stories) (1248 posts)
+1
5 months ago (2017-06-18)
Val
I loved the story. This one especially made me chuckle.
At 12 my mother bought me 3 ceramic dogs for my 6th grade graduation. I of course wanted one of the real dogs the store was giving away. She decided to bring a puppy home. A Boxer Great Dane mix, my mother asked if the Boxer needed a step ladder to impregnate the Great Dane πŸ˜†.

Red
valkricry (39 stories) (2748 posts) mod
 
5 months ago (2017-06-17)
L_Melb,
I'm willing to bet others had the same question, just not the nerve to ask. 😊
L_Melb (198 posts)
 
5 months ago (2017-06-17)
Thanks Val,
I went and counted AFTER asking my question - like a twit 😳
Sure enough, they were all there!
valkricry (39 stories) (2748 posts) mod
 
5 months ago (2017-06-16)
L_Melb,
Questions are never ever a bother, but I see Martin has already answered 😊. I just wanted to add that the list of stories found on an individual's profile are active links; clicking a title will take you to that story.
L_Melb (198 posts)
 
5 months ago (2017-06-15)
Thanks Martin,
I had a feeling I was missing the obvious πŸ˜•
Informative and fast 😁
Martin (576 posts) mod
 
5 months ago (2017-06-15)
L_Melb, comments in profile pages have a display limit but stories don't, you should always be able to see them all πŸ‘
L_Melb (198 posts)
 
5 months ago (2017-06-15)
Hi Val,
I have a question for you, hope it isn't a bother.
I notice that you have 33 stories up here but after visiting your profile, I still can't seem to get to all of them (had this problem with some others too. As you're a mod, thought you may have some 'inside' info 😁)
Is there a way to get to the rest or have I been blind, not seeing what's under my nose (wouldn't be the first time!)
Thanks for any help, L
Melda (8 stories) (658 posts)
 
5 months ago (2017-06-14)
Martin - Thanks very much! I can imagine the comments section looking like a Christmas tree in no time at all πŸ˜†

Regards, Melda
Martin (576 posts) mod
+4
5 months ago (2017-06-14)
Melda, I was wondering who would be the first to make the observation, we have a winner! πŸ† 🎈 πŸŽ‚

Https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emoji

Do note that not everyone sees exactly the same icon, it's the same idea for all (ex: trophy), but it may be drawn differently on different devices, like Windows computers, or Mac, iPhones or Android smart phones, browsers, etc. So that trophy may have a different color, for example, on Chrome or Firefox.
Melda (8 stories) (658 posts)
 
5 months ago (2017-06-14)
Val and Miracles - Thanks very much. These things certainly light up a page πŸ˜†

Regards, Melda
Miracles51031 (36 stories) (4802 posts) mod
 
5 months ago (2017-06-14)
Melda - and as long as we're good and don't overuse the emoticons, we may be able to keep them. But, as with any other comment, we are probably restricted on the amount we can use. I have to admit, some of these can definitely get the point across LOL
valkricry (39 stories) (2748 posts) mod
 
5 months ago (2017-06-14)
Melda,
What new emoticons? πŸ€” (Just teasing.) Martin made some of his magic and the site now supports emojis. So now we can talk about πŸ‘»,πŸ‘Ή, and πŸ‘½ with a lil' added fun to our posts!
You can just copy and paste them into your posts. I get mine from: http://getemoji.com/
Melda (8 stories) (658 posts)
 
5 months ago (2017-06-14)
Val and Miracles - Totally off topic. Where can I find these new emoticons? I must admit they are a "bit in your face" but I love them πŸ˜†

Regards, Melda
valkricry (39 stories) (2748 posts) mod
+1
5 months ago (2017-06-13)
Miracles, Awww he looks a lot like my puppy! 🐢 Thank you!❀️😊
Miracles51031 (36 stories) (4802 posts) mod
 
5 months ago (2017-06-13)
val - what a sweet story even though Mitch didn't learn his lesson🐢
valkricry (39 stories) (2748 posts) mod
+3
5 months ago (2017-06-13)
Melda, Your father-in-law liked to quote Winnie the Pooh! How sweet!
My Mom favored Gelett Burgess. Especially Purple Cow. "I never saw a Purple Cow, I never hope to see one, But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one!" πŸ„ Lordy, how that would make us laugh.

Biblio! Wonderful hearing from you! Between you and Zaruje, I run the risk of getting a big head! Thank you both very much! πŸ€—
Zaruje (8 stories) (71 posts)
+1
5 months ago (2017-06-12)
Hello val! Nice story. Well written. Well narrated. I can imagine every single detail that you are describing. It's like I'm reading one of stephen Kings book. And after I've read your story, it's like "I want more". Thanks for sharing 😊
Bibliothecarius (5 stories) (745 posts)
+1
5 months ago (2017-06-11)
Greetings, Val:

Just a note to add my plaudits to the general acclaim. This is well written, with great narrative pacing, along with a touch of foreshadowing to round out the tale. (I'd go into Campbell's use of Jungian Archetypes in my praise, but I want to get to the next paragraph.)

The way you described the house made me visualize one of the "stern but fair" matriarchs of a family who'd endured tough times; pinafore over her skirt, hair up in a no-nonsense bun, strict with her rules and proud in distributing rewards to the child who'd earned them. (That was my impression *before* I read of how she treated your brother's statements and your determination to do the right thing.) I suspect that, like my maternal grandmother, she had endured too much to let go of her home when she should have been cared for by a relative. Never underestimate older ladies with a will of iron.

Best,
Biblio.
Darkangel73 (4 stories) (104 posts)
 
5 months ago (2017-06-07)
Valkricry- That story was awesome... It goes to show that a person who was once alive whether they are good or bad, has those same qualities in the after life. I used to do the exploring of vacant homes. We have an old school near the National Cemetery for the Vets. I want to go in an explore again. I did it many years ago, but the people that I was with one was a scared so we left.
Melda (8 stories) (658 posts)
 
5 months ago (2017-06-06)
Val - "Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits." That was one of my late father-in-law's favourite 'lines' and he said it to me quite often as he knew it amused me! (As I said to AzraelX, my weird sense of humour.)

But now, just having received your comment to me, I am sitting and thinking, as opposed to sitting with a blank mind!

I think I have mentioned to you before that you and I have a few things in common, ie your mother and I with similar experiences, kids who laugh at some of our experiences and now you with a brother called Kevin. I have a son called Kevin, who by the way we also call Kev. You left me a comment on one of my experiences, regarding Kevin, "My son who refuses to believe"

Just sitting and thinking πŸ˜†

Regards, Melda
valkricry (39 stories) (2748 posts) mod
+2
5 months ago (2017-06-06)
Melda,
Interesting question. I really don't know if she would have made herself known or not. Most of her actions seemed triggered by Mitch's disrespect in retrospect. (Geeze - wouldn't want to try saying that 3 times fast πŸ˜†!) Would he have reacted the same if I had not been there? Would they have even noticed the house if not for my pointing it out? Would I have noticed it if Nature hadn't called? Who knows?
Were my brothers prone to paranormal experiences... I guess it would depend on how you define 'paranormal'. Kev use to say (in later years) that the "weirdest, most interesting stuff" only happened when I was around, although he did have some experiences on his own, that I might relate one day. Mitch never said much about it, I think the idea that ghosts could be real bothered him. I know my abilities did.
Eh, don't worry about 'extras' on my thread... I kind of enjoy them! 😊
Melda (8 stories) (658 posts)
 
5 months ago (2017-06-06)
AzraelX - I honestly was not poking fun at you or your mother 😊

I tend to build up little pictures in my mind and I could just imagine Jesus and Mary having a committee meeting and deciding who deserved a slap and which one would be doling out the slaps on specific days.

I'll be the first to admit that at times my sense of humour runs away with meπŸ˜†

By the way, I was also raised in a staunch Catholic family.

Sorry for posting extras on your thread Val but I didn't want Azrael to think that I was being nasty!

Regards, Melda
L_Melb (198 posts)
+1
5 months ago (2017-06-06)
When I saw who the author was, I knew it would be enjoyable - and it was 😁
Thanks!
AzraelX (7 stories) (112 posts)
+1
5 months ago (2017-06-05)
[at] Melda - As with all catholic moms, she had to relate that incident with Jesus & Mary.
[at] Mack - I also concur that it is indeed the act of some entity.
Macknorton (5 stories) (533 posts)
+2
5 months ago (2017-06-05)
AzraelX - I'm sure the message was "Love Thy Neighbor", not "Slap Thy Neighbor" πŸ˜†

What your Mother experienced would have most likely have been a low-level, violent entity / spirit looking to harm someone I would imagine.

Regards

Mack
Fergie (36 stories) (1094 posts)
+2
5 months ago (2017-06-05)
I really enjoyed this, Val. 😁
Just deserts for your impudent brother, and a meek, sympathetic you. πŸ˜‰ Love it!
Melda (8 stories) (658 posts)
+1
5 months ago (2017-06-05)
Val - What an interesting life you have led (and obviously still do). I used to read your accounts even before I joined YGS.

I wonder whether Ms Penchant would have made her presence known if you were not there? I don't know whether your brothers were prone to paranormal experiences. In fact they didn't even notice the house until you pointed it out.

Perhaps Ms Penchant wanted you there because she felt an affinity with you even while you were playing around in the vicinity with your brothers! Just a thought I had.

Regards, Melda
Melda (8 stories) (658 posts)
+4
5 months ago (2017-06-05)
AzraelX - I don't want to offend you but I found your comment hilarious πŸ˜†. It never occurred to me that Jesus or Mary could turn violent. I'd have been slapped black and blue by now!

Regards, Melda
AzraelX (7 stories) (112 posts)
+4
5 months ago (2017-06-05)
Reading about the Ghost of Mrs. Penchant slapping/pinching Mitch reminded me of an incident, when my mom, my sister & myself were praying our evening prayers and suddenly my mom moves violently as if someone slapped her.

She was quite surprised and told us that she physically felt the slap.

Her reasoning was that either Jesus or Mother Mary had slapped her for some sin she had committed.

Who knows?
valkricry (39 stories) (2748 posts) mod
+2
5 months ago (2017-06-04)
πŸ˜† Oh my! That IS funny! Although after a hard day at work, I could use a good dusting. πŸ˜†
I probably shouldn't speak ill of her (she too has also passed) but in her adult years she did end up committed for awhile. So, you aren't far off on that call.
If anyone is trying to keep track, I'll save you some math; out of us 8 siblings only 3 of us (possibly 4) are still standing; 1 of the twins (18 years my senior), my youngest brother (by 5 years) and myself.

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