Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Empty Chair

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.


Anita Davison said...

I'm enjoying your spooky October contributions, Ginger. This one is quite touching, although I have to say I have never brought a camera to a funeral.

Maryannwrites said...

That was a really neat story, Ginger. Did you say it was true?

Unknown said...

Glad you are enjoying the stories. I am, too. My neighbor took her camera because planned to take photos of relatives and friends she hadn't seen for year. She lived in California and the funeral states away. I don't think she took it to tape pictures of the funeral itself...although my mother-in-law took picture of her deceased husband in his casket. EWWWWW! Who wants to be remembered like that?

And yes Maryann...this story was true. I saw the pictures and the shock on my friend's face when she showed them to me. We compared the ghostly pics to other pictures she had of her BIL before he died, and in my opinion, here was no doubt it was his ghost. Still gives me goosebumps.

Elena Dorothy Bowman said...

He was just letting her know that he's still around and watching over her. But he took a really spooky way of doing it.

Anonymous said...

My brother in-law passed away 9/9/09...He always wore OLD SPICE...When we went to my sisters house after the funeral...A strong smell of OLD SPICE was present..No one was wearing OLD SPICE..Mind you he lived in a nursing home for the past seven years....He had no belongings in this house....He never lived in this house....The house he lived in was was lost to a fire and had to be rebuilt....

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