General Fiction posted October 12, 2016

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Was my sister telling the truth?

Mum's The Word

by Maria Jose Garcia

When Mum died after two years of fighting lung cancer, my sister kept the house.

I never thought it should have been done differently. I never begrudged her the old pile of bricks. After all, I had a great apartment in the city and earned a lot more than she did.

My sister didn't really care about money. She was a bit of a hippy. Long hair, flowing skirts, herbs galore ... you get the picture. She also had a heart of gold. That didn't do her much good. She had an antique shop in the village and more often than not her clients didn't pay her.

Two weeks ago, I got the most extraordinary call from her.

'You have to come home, Heather.'

'You know I'd love to see you, but I'm terribly busy at the moment.'

'But I need you. Something weird is going on at the house. Mum is trying to contact me.'

'Come on, Rose. Don't be silly. I'll go and see you at the weekend. Just to prove you're imagining things. Okay?'

'Okay,' she said, her voice small and shrill with fear.

True to my word, I went to see her as soon as I finished work on Friday evening that week. When I got there, she was waiting for me on the porch. It was quite a picture. Her long red hair danced around her shoulders, her feet were bare. Behind her, the house loomed, grey and menacing. It needed a lick of paint, it needed so many things...

'Hi there! I'm so glad you've come.'

I was shocked by how changed she was. Her eyes had a glassy quality to them that had not been there before.

'Let's go in, you must be freezing out here.'

We went into the kitchen and I made tea for both of us. Holding the chipped mug in my hands, I looked around. Everything looked as it had looked when I was little, only a little bit older, a bit dirtier and much drabber.

'So tell me what's going on,' I said to Rose.

'At first, it was just little things. I turned off a light, and when I went back into the room it was on again. So I thought I was becoming forgetful.'

'Yeah, that was probably it. You're sad because of Mum's death.'

'No. Let me finish. Then it got bigger. Things started moving around. I would leave my computer in the living room and then find it in my bedroom.'

'But that's not possible, Rose.'

'It is! It's Mum trying to tell me something.'

'You know ghosts don't exist. Mum is dead, it cannot be her.'

'Well, just wait and see, Heather. Just wait and see.'

That night we went to the local pub for dinner. I thought my sister needed to go out to forget about her worries for a while.

The pub hadn't changed at all. John, the owner, looked older, but he was as cheerful as usual.

'Hello girls, long time no see!'

'Hi, John. How are you?'

'Good. I'm good.'

'I'm glad to hear that. Could we have a couple of menus?'

I ordered the poached salmon and Rose chose a Caesar salad. We shared a bottle of red wine.

'Aren't you hungry?' I asked her.

She kept on pushing a piece of lettuce around the plate and didn't put anything in her mouth.

'Not really.'

I felt deflated. I had wanted to cheer her up, but I had failed.

'Why can't you believe me, Heather?' she asked me over dessert.

'You know I've always been the rational one. Mum is dead and that's final. Even if it saddens us...'

She looked at me, tears in her eyes. She didn't talk much after that.

We went back to the house and sat down in the living room. I read The Girl On The Train and Rose stared into space. From time to time I lifted my eyes from my book and looked at her. I was worried.

'How would you like to come to the city with me for a week? I asked her.

'You know I can't, Heather. I need to take care of the shop. And I can't leave Mum alone.'

At ten o'clock, we decided to call it a day. I went into my childhood bedroom and smiled. It brought back so many memories!

I was drifting off to sleep when I heard a noise. Somebody was knocking on my door.

'Rose? Is that you? Come in!'

The door didn't open, so I got up and opened it myself. There was nobody outside.

It was chilly without the protection of my duvet. I shivered. And that's when I heard it.

'Heather, it's me.' Just a disembodied voice coming from nowhere.



I rubbed my eyes and shook my head. I must be dreaming. Ghosts didn't exist. Not even my mother's ghost.

'You're not dreaming, Heather. It's really me. I'm here.'

'So you were really trying to contact Rose.'

'No, not really. I was trying to scare her.'


'Your sister isn't as perfect and innocent as she seems to be.'

'What do you mean?'

'Remember how she looked after me at the end?'

'Yes. That was very good of her. I was very busy and could only come here at weekends.'

'Well, one day she put cyanide in my soup. A while after I ate it, she told me I'd soon be out of my misery. I didn't want to die, Heather. It was too soon.'

I walked about the room trying to calm my nerves. This could not be true.

'You don't believe me?' Mum asked after a while.

'It's difficult to believe.'

'Do something for me, will you? Go to see Inspector Suarez tomorrow. Tell him you suspect your sister of killing me and tell him to look for a bag of cyanide buried below the willow in the garden.'

After that, Mum left. I went back to bed and tried to sleep, but it was impossible.

The next morning I went to see Inspector Suarez and told him about the cyanide. I never told him what my source was, of course. I didn't want him to think I was crazy...

'I always had my suspicions, you know. After all, your mum wasn't that sick yet. I interviewed your sister, but there was no proof,' he said.

'You did? She never told me...'

Two days later, my sister was arrested and charged with murder. I never heard from Mum again so I guess she's at peace now.

As for the house, I had it demolished and sold the plot. They are building a small shopping centre on it now.


There's No Such Things as Ghosts writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write a story where a skeptic in the supernatural becomes a believer through a terrifying encounter with a ghost.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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© Copyright 2018. Maria Jose Garcia All rights reserved.
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