One day last year after learning of an online ghost story contest, I sat down at the dining room table to comprise my thoughts. I did have a story from my youth that I thought might fit the guidelines, the most significant being the story had to be a true happening and a personal happening. I had this one idea --
I had no longer than turned on my word processor when I found myself jumping to my feet.
To a loud crashing sound, to glass shattering, a sudden, loud, unexpected jarring to the otherwise quiet in the room.
Leaving the table immediately, I moved to investigate the cause and discovered the following:
It was glass for sure, a flat amber strip of it, or more precisely, a fragment about six inches in length of it had survived the cause of the noise. I recognized these glass shards immediately, and where it had all come from, looking up, for it was part of a much larger strip of amber colored glass that had served as a lens cover for a recessed light bulb; where it had sat snugly inside a sturdy wood housing made just for this illuminated top piece to what's really a very nice piece of fine furniture. A European style hutch.
I had purchased this heavy duty hutch while living overseas, it's comprised of six segmented large stand up decorative dark wood pieces, complete with glass shelves, a mixture of wood and wood framed crystal doors, with drawers of varying sizes; all intended as one large display piece; all that, and of course that built in light bulb enhancement, with amber glass covers that I now bring more to your attention. There are six of those enhancements, one each, sitting at top of each individualized piece.
And it might be of interest to know that these amber glass covers are extremely lightweight, and fragile, thin rectangular strips, three feet long and three inches wide, and no thicker than normal window glass. And because of this obvious fragility, I always took extreme care in handling. Once set in position, where human intervention is no longer a requirement, they remain securely protected regardless of said fragility.
To position this glass, is a onetime thing done at assembly or reassembly and then left alone. It's a very simple procedure where each glass strip is inserted, one by one, carefully, at a 45 degree angle or better, into their respective wood holder; and once fully inside the holder where it becomes parallel with the wooden rails, the glass is simply lowered by hand so as to lie flat against the rails. That very simple procedure, along with gravity, holds the glass securely inside their respective retaining rails. A flip of the light switch and light from these amber lenses cascades softly down and over the hutch giving a very nice mellow effect to the whole. Not that said mellow effect is important here, but what is, is where I've placed the hutch as it sits high upon the second floor landing, away from traffic, over looking the entire living area below.
Now please accept when I say I have always exercised extreme care in the shipping and preparation and handling of the individual hutch pieces. To attest to this -- The hutch was purchased in Belgium many years ago and shipped to my Heidelberg address where it initially rested in place for four years; I then moved it and reassembled same at yet another overseas address where it remained for one more year, and all without incident. I prepared the hutch pieces for its move subsequently across the ocean to my then stateside address in western Maryland, where it was once again reassembled, without incident, and where it remained all fine and dandy for nearly 18 years. And, then, finally, the hutch was moved to my current home here in Texas where it had been sitting, complete with amber glass, and all, undisturbed, for three years. Me saying closer to four years would be more correct, so four years.
Now all that might have been as boring as hell to come to learn -- but I'd like to say -- There's no damn way that glass rectangle just 'up and jumped' out of its protective housing!
Let's say that even if it had cracked from some unknown belated stresses, which I do not believe was the case, it would still have remained intact due those retaining rails. And just as factual it would be correct to say it would have to have come OUT just as it went IN; complete, first being raised at the necessary angle to allow for clearance, and then just as carefully removed. So how did it happen then, because it was certainly those shattered pieces there on the floor?
And the wood frame remains intact and in good working order doing their job just sitting there.
No one bumped the hutch (no one was up there on the second floor landing or nearby it to be able to disturb anything), and there was no earthquake, no vibration from a passing vehicle (my home sits a good distance from a less than busy street in a rural setting), no strong winds, no mice, no cats, no nothing as far as I can see other than turning to the supernatural, and me, coincidentally, then, in the beginning processes of a ghost story telling. There were and are five other similar amber glass covers, they are still in position where they remain today, with just one empty space to leave me wondering.
I have a feeling something (?) didn't want me to share the ghostly happening I was about to put into print. A story I eventually titled Coffin Nails. But whatever it was, whatever lifted that glass rectangle and allowed it to come crashing down, as it did, sure took my mind off any story telling... For awhile anyway.