General Fiction posted October 6, 2016

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Maybe she shouldn't have...

Claire's Mistake

by Maria Jose Garcia

What had she been thinking? Oh my God! What had she been thinking?

She was forty-nine years old, married and had two kids. How could she have had an affair with a twenty-four year old patient? Ex-patient. That made a difference, didn't it?

She looked younger than she was thanks to her cheerful personality, perfectly groomed hair, unlined face and trim body. But still...

Her husband was a good man and she had always thought they had a solid marriage. However, after twenty odd years together, they didn't often surprise each other any more. If truth be told, she was bored to death. She longed for romance. But still...

A single drop of blood trickled down her cheek and onto the flowery pillow. Somebody had shot her dead. No pulse. She was totally and irreversibly dead. Claire went over her vitals in her head and realized there was no hope. Even if the paramedics arrived within five minutes they would not be able to resuscitate her.

Oddly enough, even though she had been killed, she was still able to think. She felt as if her consciousness had somehow escaped her body. How had she come to be here? Her life could not be over, she still had a myriad things to do. Her daughter, Susan, was expecting her first child.

She looked around the room. It didn't seem familiar, it didn't. Had she come here with Paul? Being on his first job, he favoured this kind of cheap motel... Had he killed her? But why would he?

She realized then that she could do more than think, she could still move. She wondered if people would be able to see her, or if it would be like those films in which dead people move around as ghosts and try to talk to their friends and relatives unsuccessfully while they go about their everyday lives.

The first thing she had to do was to get out of there, then she would drive home, or fly home, or whatever it was a dead person did. She had to talk to her husband. Poor Steve would be devastated when he found out. What would it be like? She pictured two police officers outside the white door of their suburban home. What would they tell him? Would they mention the body was found in a motel?

She had to hurry. She had to get home before the police did. Somehow, she would manage to talk to Steve and ask for his forgiveness. She was sure he would understand, he always did.

Claire moved towards the door and looked backwards. What on earth could have possessed her to come to such a seedy establishment in the first place? For God's sake, she had better taste than that! She tried to grab hold of the knob and realized she could not. So all that rubbish in films was true after all. Should she try to go through the wall then? Just the thought gave her goosebumps, but as there was nothing else she could do, she approached the door gingerly and pushed one of her hands against it and yesss, through it...
Before she knew it, she was outside the room and in the open air.

It was a chilly November day, but she didn't feel the cold. She looked around trying to locate her car but then realized she would not be able to drive it.

In a corner of the car park she made out a shadow inside a hatchback. She hurried towards it and looked inside. A young woman and a baby in a booster in the back seat. They would do. She got into the car and sat in the back. The baby whimpered and looked uneasy for a while, but other than that, it was obvious she had not been seen.

Impatiently, she waited for the woman to reverse and get out of sight of the motel and onto the highway, all the time praying that they were driving to New York.

As it turned out, that is exactly were they were headed. All the while, her mind was working furiously. Once she got to Manhattan, she would jump on a bus and then the train would take her near her home. She could be there in less than an hour if she was lucky. Would that be fast enough?

Nobody would discover the body till it was time for the chambermaid to clean the room. Then they would have to call the police and identify her.

The trip was as uneventful as she had painted it in her head. While on the train, she looked out at Brooklyn Bridge and wondered why she had never noticed how beautiful it was.

By now, she was sure that nobody could see her. Other than a dog sniffing at her feet, everybody else had acted as if she did not exist. And in fact she didn't, or did she?

That made her wonder, how long would this last? How long would she continue to move around? She still hadn't decided whether she liked it or not, but it was definitely better than the total void of death. She had been looking forward to the birth of her grandchild, but now she would never hold the little mite in her arms.

After a short walk, she was finally outside her home. It was a beauty. Well- tended lawn, flowers everywhere. An enormous porch with a wooden swing where Steve and she often sat and talked about their day.

She let herself into the house. Her husband would probably be in the den, writing an article for the next issue of the DIY magazine he worked for. So that's where she headed, not knowing very well how she would communicate with him. What had Patrick Swayze done in Ghost? She wished she could remember, but she had not seen the film for years.

However, when she got to the den it was empty. Where could he be? It was then that she heard a noise upstairs coming from their bedroom.

The door was open and she looked in. Steve was standing inside her walk-in wardrobe, his back to her. She moved towards him to face him and that's when she saw it. His face was pale, his eyes swollen as if he had been crying and in his hands he was holding a gun.

Ghost Story writing prompt entry
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Write a Ghost Story. No limit on the word count.
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