My neighbor, Hilda, had just returned from her brother-in-law's funeral. She and husband, Troy, had traveled from California to somewhere mid-US and the week had left both of them drained. They were a large family, and the sudden death of her sister's husband came as a shock to all.
I didn't see Hilda for a while, while she recuperated and rested, and I figured I should give her time to grieve her loss. When we finally did get together for coffee, she greeted me at the front door with a puzzled look while holding a photograph.
"What's wrong?" I asked, her confusion apparent in a raised brow.
"This. It can't be real." She handed me the photo, her hand trembling.
I stared at the images, but noticed nothing uncanny. A woman sat in a recliner, a rather sad smile on her face, while family surrounded her.
"It's a nice picture, but..." I handed the snapshot back.
She shoved it back at me. "You don't understand. My sister bought that recliner for her husband. It's practically new. All weekend, no one sat in it out of respect for him. When we got ready to leave, I wanted a picture of everyone, and I insisted she sit in the center.
"So," I held up my palms, waiting for the rest of the story.
"Look at my sister's face...the one sitting in the chair." Hilda's face paled.
I inspected the images a little more closely. Sure enough, superimposed, but oh so faintly, over the woman's face was that of a man's. I shrugged. "A quirk of development," I said, unfazed.
"B-but...that's my brother-in-law."
Not getting the inference, I continued with my uneducated guess. "Probably from another picture you took on the same roll. It happens often, or so I hear."
Hilda swallowed. "You don't understand. This is a new camera, and my brother-in-law was dead before we arrived and started taking pictures."
A chill ran up my spine. I finally got why she was so upset. The grieving wife sat in her deceased husband's chair, and had no idea she shared it with her beloved. Sort of a eerie romance tale, don't you think? True, too! Yep...Ghosts are around us.