15 October 2012

Ghost Stories

My grandmother had some of the best ghost stories and I was an eager listener.

There was the time that her favorite brother came to her in a dream. He was covered in dirt as if he was a child again rolling in a giant dirt pile. But he was no child, he was a young working man far, far from home.

"Cap?" she mumbled, using his nickname. "What are you doing here?" Wasn't he supposed to be in Alaska?

She could barely make out the whites of his eyes, widening in alarm. He tried to speak and puffs of dust spewed out, but no sounds. Only the dust. So much dust.

Terror seized her. "What's wrong? What are you saying?" 

His mouth opened and closed so quickly that it seemed he was smoking dirt. Choking on it. And his eyes. She'd never forget the anguish, grief, sadness swirling in her favorite blue eyes.

"Cap!" she screamed and woke herself up.

Later the next day when a messenger arrived, my young grandmother became distraught, crying and wailing before her mother could open the letter. She didn't need to read or be told that her sweet brother had been killed during a mine cave-in. She already knew. In the middle of the night he'd come to tell his favorite sister good-bye.

I've always wondered what my great-uncle had tried to say.

Happy Halloween.


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