Ghostly Games (A Repeat)


Old glasses, old clock shelf

(Originally published Oct 2014 as an entry by the fictional Blondi Blathers)

I haven’t seen a ghost, and I’m not sure I want to. Even if it’s someone I know and love. Unless, I suppose, they approach from some distance instead of sneaking up behind me or jumping out from the dark when you’re alone, like ghosts always do in movies. That’s plain bullshit and any ghost who wants to hang with me had better not do it.

What should they do instead? Are they going to park their asses on a table in the front and wave me over with the coffee pot? I don’t know. I just know that in the weeks leading up to Halloween, I see things. I hear things. I feel things. I know things.

A man died in this building back when it was a grain elevator. Remember? Long before it was a café with spiffy living quarters above. One look at it from the outside and anyone who knows the difference between a barn and a granary sees it’s an olden-days elevator. Anyway, it was a gruesome death; he was a worker buried by collapsing grain when he fell into one of the full storage chambers. I get the heebie-jeebies imagining it. But long before I found out about its history, Stubblejumpers Café was a place of warmth and refuge for me and that never changed, no matter what I discovered. So bring it on, Ghost, if there is one. I expect you to be friendly and well behaved.

People still mention the sighting I had out at Sandy Lake. They’re kind about it mostly, at least to my face. If they know me, they know I don’t imagine things like that. But they also kind of chuckle as if I’m a bit of a character who is always good for a surprise, even if it’s only something that comes out of my mouth. They’re goodnatured about it, is what I’m saying; like they take it with a grain of salt. One of the oldtimers did point me to the local history book, which claims that the village itself was named after a murdered First Nations or Métis girl a way back when, in its early pioneer/settler days, and that she was killed down by the lake. Apparently no one ever reads the history book anymore. No one alive would remember. So what I saw isn’t exactly surprising — if you believe in that sort of coincidence.

My little dog Annie saw it too. Or smelled it. Or heard it. I don’t know, but she barked like the dickens at something, which is what alerted me in the first place. And I suppose the kafuffle did put Stubblejumpers Café on the map, what with the police divers and the lookyloos overrunning the place for those few days afterward. And then there were all the never-befores who stopped in on their passing-bys because they heard there’d been a commotion here once. Those were busy days all right, and they turned us from a sleepy hole-in-the-wall to a bustling diner. As far as free advertising goes, it’s as good as a sighting of the Loch Ness monster. I couldn’t have planned it better.

I do wonder why I saw her body floating there, face down in the shallow water. Why I saw her long dark hair streaming out around her and no one else saw anything, even after searching for days. I walk past the spot every morning when I make my loop past the lakeshore, and I wonder about that girl  —who she was and who hurt her— and I send a wish for safety and comfort back to her through time, to when she was still alive and before anything bad happened to her.