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Ghost Story? – Patrick Kavanagh

Writing.ie | Magazine | Mining Memories

Patrick Kavanagh

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“Do you think they’ve got dogs?” Jimmy asked me in a whisper “They’d be barking by now if they had, “I replied. The blue summer sky we set out with was suddenly darkening. “This is much more the sort of weather ghost’s like, “said Jimmy. I nodded in agreement, one ear cocked for barking dogs.  We were Superhero’s, explorers, and adventurers. We had performed the blood brother ritual, a year ago on my ninth birthday, and since then were inseparable.

The Manor house stood imposingly at the end of a long drive behind double gates. The gates were
slightly ajar, just enough room for us to squeeze through. Crouching low we made our way up the drive to the big wooden door. “I’ve a strange feeling about this,” said Jimmy. “It’s almost like the house is waiting for us.” Superman and Batman put their shoulders to the door and heaved. It opened with the perfect creak.  We drew our water pistols and stepped inside.

A grandfather clock, twice our size, stood before us. The pendulum swung back and forth. The ticking echoed around the huge wall panelled hallway. Spooky paintings of people long dead hung on the walls their eyes following our every movement. “Who’s there,” an eerie voice came from above us. She floated down the wide staircase her feet not making a sound. A long white dress covered her from neck to floor. Coal black hair hung loose, framing her deathly pale face. A ghostly smile played around her blood red lips and dark shadows surrounded her eyes. She was beautiful and scary at the same time.

“Well who have we got here then, why it’s Mr. Superman and Mr. Batman, to what do I owe this pleasure?” she asked. We stood there with our mouths gaping. We must have looked like a pair of polo mints, with our superhero capes flapping around our knobbly bramble scratched knees. “Are ya a Ghost Missus?” asked Jimmy, his voice shaking, his face so white his freckles looked like somebody had gone mad with a brown marker.  “I am,” she said “but a good one.”” Would you like something to eat and drink?” she asked. “I’d love some milk and biscuits,” I replied in my brave Batman voice.

“Are you mad?” whispered Jimmy. “I’m not mad just hungry,” I replied. “Follow me then,” she said. She floated into the enormous dining room and seated us on chairs so high we had to scale them. The dining room was dark, the drapes were drawn and the lights were on.  She left the room to fetch the food.  “This could be a trick said Jimmy, “there might be Kryptonite under the table, the Joker might be hiding upstairs.”  He forgot his fear, as did I, when a big plate of biscuits and two big glasses of cold milk arrived.

Our hands shook as we raised our glasses to our milk coated lips and scoffed the Kimberley and Mikado biscuits   “Jimmy do you notice she is not drinking or eating anything,” I said, to which he replied, “that’s probably because it would flow out through her wounds if she did.”

Suddenly a clap of lighting and a roll of thunder so loud it shook the old house and rattled our glasses. Then the lights went out. This was breaking point even Superhero’s have limits. We ran rolling and tumbling through the front door, high pitched hysterical laughter following us. Superman took to the air and I ran to my orange box Bat Mobile, parked outside the front gates.  When Batman arrived home he burst through the front door.” Mum, Mum, you won’t believe what I’m going to tell you”.  My excitement gave way to tiredness. A warm wash, pyjamas and a dream awaited, tucked in by Wonder Woman. I was the Lone Ranger and Jimmy was Tonto. A Red Indian with red hair and freckles, how cool is that.

A few years ago while on business in Dublin I drove past our Ghost House. Needless to say it looked a lot smaller. I have not seen Jimmy for over forty years. We lost touch when my family moved to another part of Dublin. I smiled to myself and wondered if he remembered our Ghost hunt and if our Ghost Lady would offer me milk and biscuits if I knocked on the door.

About the author

(c) Patrick Kavanagh July 2011

Patrick Kavangh was born in Dublin in 1950 and grew up in Ballyfermot. He had various jobs in Dublin, including a two year stint from 1964 to 1968 as a proof reader’s assistant in the Irish Times. Patrick emigrated to England in 1972. He worked as a Retail Manager for 27 years in the U.K and returned to Ireland in 1999. Patrick met my wife, who is from Listowel, Co Kerry where they now live, in London in 1973. They have two grown up children. On his return to Ireland Patrick got a job as an auditor/stock-taker for an international company. He has always written be they poems, short stories or songs. 

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