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Childhood Ghost Story- The Prologue

June 22, 2020

(image via wikimedia)

This is a true story.  Yeah, I know; when a writer starts off by saying it’s a true story, you automatically think it’s a lie, but you’ll be able to tell this is true while you’re reading it.

I’m not crazy either.  Again, I know a narrator isn’t supposed to say that, but you might think I’m crazy while I’m telling this story, but I’m telling you I’m not.  Sometimes you just have to give a narrator the benefit of the doubt.

People will think I’m a liar or a crazy guy because I’m about to claim that I saw a ghost in my house when I was a kid.  At the time, I thought it might have been my imagination, but now I’m pretty sure I saw a ghost.  I couldn’t tell anybody at the time because I probably would have been punished or laughed at, but now I’m coming out and telling the truth.

There was a ghost in my house.  I’m saying it with certainty.  I’m 95% sure I’m right.  To me, that’s certainty.

I have to set up the situation a little bit, so please stay with me here.  When I was in 5th grade, my family lived in the rural south.  I’ve written about this time of my life before in a couple other stories on this blog, and I’ll probably write a few more.  It was an interesting time.

I was the youngest of four children.  My oldest brother had already graduated high school and had moved out (or had gotten kicked out, depending on which version you believe).  The next oldest was a senior in high school.  My sister was a tenth grader, so I was the youngest by five years.

Our small house wasn’t designed for a family of five, so my parents took a back living room and used that for their bedroom.  My older sister got the first bedroom down the hallway, while my older brother and I took the opposing bedrooms at the end.  The family room was at the front of the house so you could see down the hallway from there, but we had to go through our parents’ bedroom to get to the kitchen, and there was only one bathroom, which was opposite of my sister’s room in the hallway.  These details will matter later on.

Now that I think about it, having only one bathroom created more horror stories than the ghost did, but everybody believes the bathroom stories.  Trust me, you don’t want to hear the bathroom stories.

The major dynamic for me was that I was scared of my dad.  He was a drinker and could get violent (but not as bad as some drunks that I’ve heard about), and I’d seen him do some some bad stuff and heard him do some bad stuff.  I’ve always said that I learned from the mistakes of my older brothers and sister.  When I saw them do something that got them severely punished, I told myself not to do those things.

For example, I’d seen my sister and my oldest brother smart off and then get severely punished, so I knew not to smart off.  I’d seen my sister lie a few times, and I’d seen her get severely punished.  Even with my good behavior, I still got punished a couple times, but not as bad as my older brothers and sister.  The worst punishment I took was for something that didn’t even happen (I’m not going to explain it because it- the punishment- happened over 45 years ago, but I still remember it).

Day-to-day life was okay for me because my dad was trying quit drinking and his personality was mellowing out, but his temper could still flare up, and it was unpredictable.  My dad was charming when he was out in public, but I was always a little anxious around him in the house.  Even as an adult, I never really got over it.  Except he’s dead now, so I guess I’m over it after all.

We also had a really nervous hound dog.  She was a really cool hound dog.  She’d been a stray, and she’d obviously been abused because she was scared of almost everybody, but she trusted me.  She would come into the house only if I was with her.  If I wasn’t home, she’d refuse, even if you tried to lure her with food.

At night, she would sleep in my room, most of the time on my bed.  If I got up to go to the bathroom, she would follow me.  She would even follow me to school.  She wouldn’t wait for me all day, though.  She’d wander off and do dog stuff, but then she’d catch up with us on the way home.

One day she got hit by a car while we were walking home.  It all happened so quickly that I couldn’t react.  She got hit, and then she rolled around and got up and yowled and ran away from the scene.  With all the noise she was making, I thought she was like a headless chicken, running dead without even knowing it.  But when I got home, she was wagging her tail in the front yard.  She wasn’t even limping.

We couldn’t take her to the vet because she’d get car sick almost immediately.  We had learned that the first time when we’d had her checked for everything.  If she were going to the vet, she’d need pills and a 24-hour fast.  We only had one car, and dad wasn’t going to risk dog vomit in the car, even though he liked the dog.  My dad had to spend a lot of time driving that car.

At any rate, this dog was loyal to me.  I think the dog trusted me because both of us were nervous all the time.  Then the ghost showed up.

And I’ll get to that in the next episode.

To be continued in Childhood Ghost Story: The First Sighting !!

From → Dysfunctileaks

  1. I love that the dog was your shadow. Animals are the best.

    I like the way you write. Normally details about the set-up of a house would bore me silly, but because you told me it was crucial knowledge for the story (most authors wouldn’t – heck, I wouldn’t) I snapped to attention and tried to picture it the whole time I was reading it. Now I’m ready for part 2!

  2. You’ve got me hooked. No ghosts in my life but I love your writing and descriptions of the complexity of family life behind closed doors

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Childhood Ghost Story: 4 Rules for Living with a Ghost | Dysfunctional Literacy
  2. Childhood Ghost Story: Proof of Supernatural | Dysfunctional Literacy
  3. Childhood Ghost Story: Lying By Omission | Dysfunctional Literacy

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