Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Ghost Stories: Words Left Unsaid, Abby Cohen

Three Stories
by Abby Cohen


This is a locked room. There is no escape. No windows. One door. They are coming back soon. There is no escape.

They think I did something wrong. Something bad. They came and took me from my home. No explanations. The neighbors saw me being taken away. How will I ever go home again? Will I ever go home again?

The light in here is odd. Not the one classic glaring light bulb. But diffused. It’s coming from the corners of the ceiling. Somehow I find that more alarming. I would rather the cliched light bulb.

There is no escape. I keep looking at the ceiling. But. This is not a movie. I can’t go up above the ceiling tiles. There aren’t any. It’s a solid piece. I don’t know what kind of material. Why am I thinking about this? Why do I care what the ceiling is made of? I need to get out of here.

There is no escape.

Can I talk my way out? They seem very grim, these people. No chitchat. Solemn forbidding faces and a gray pallor. They have spent too much time inside this building with no windows and strange light. I doubt they will talk to me of anything. If only I knew what I had done?

There is no escape.


What’s behind the door? Why is it closed? Is there something on the other side people are hiding? Or someone? A fugitive from justice or the law-not always the same thing.  A refugee from a bad marriage, bad parents, a bad life? What’s behind that door? Illegally gotten gains, paintings displaying a horrifying inner life, science experiments beyond all acceptable codes of ethics?

What’s behind that door, why is it closed? To keep us out. Some outcast of the freak shows at the circuses we no longer have. Someone who simply can’t cope with human contact and has arranged for his/her whole life through the mail and meals through a slot on the door.

What’s behind that door? Why is it closed? A visitor from outer space who controls the people of this house. Or are helping voluntarily keep it safe from the government or corporations who might do ghastly experiments on it.

What’s behind the door? Why is it closed? It might be mundane. Mounds of dirty laundry and so forth. But maybe not.

What is behind that door? Why is it closed?


The sound was faint but definitely there. It was hard to define. There were rustles coming from corners of the room, but nothing appeared when she looked. Not quite like the crinkling of leaves. More like the rustling of ladies dresses. Which was even more odd. Ladies never wore dresses like that anymore. Except to award ceremonies or fancy fundraisers. And less and less even there. And this was not that sort of place in any case. Just a little old house that had never seen anything fancy in its whole life. No lady with wealth had ever set foot in here. 

The old house had always been the domain of the working class. Both parents factory workers or a lady renting out the spare bedrooms for room and board; maybe even putting the odd stray in the basement for a lesser sum of money. Would those sorts of women have had dresses that rustled like this? And why was she thinking about it? 

It must be an odd noise coming from the ventilation system; maybe, some piece of paper stuck against a duct was making that whispery sound. It had to be. After all, she was a realtor and a realist. While she didn’t believe in ghosts, she knew some people did. She had done her research and no one had died here. No appalling crime had ever happened in this house.

Still this faint little noise continued. She whirled about and looked again. The rustling. She decided to wait outside for the client.


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