Fiction based on a true story
Something menacing awoke me from a sound sleep. I opened my eyes to see a cloud of darkness slithering up four steps, cloaking the hallway and my bedroom.
"Daddy, is that you?" Whether I said it aloud or why I sensed my Dad's presence, I'll never know, but the reply was silence for an instant, then a firm, "Of course, who else would it be? It was time I came."
His anger sent clawed fingers that reached out for me. My own daddy wouldn't hurt me…or would he? The last time we'd spoken had been bitter. Why should it be any different now that he'd been gone for six months? Buried in the family plot, even though he'd run away with that bitch.
And on the telephone, when he called to wish me happy birthday he had the nerve to ask me if I wanted to talk to her.
"No, I'm not ready for that," I said, wanting to scream it, but holding all the outrage inside. You left my mother for that bitch. I never spoke to him again in this world.
It's not unusual for me to talk to dead people. Those who've passed on that I've loved visit me with regularity. We have a great time in my dreams, laughing, playing, talking. But nothing with evil intent has ever manifested, and certainly not outside that nether world. Until this night. How dare he show up like this?
"What do you want?" I could barely speak for the fear that paralyzed me. We all have a fear of some sort. Mine has always been that the people of my nightmares will follow me into reality. And here I was experiencing just the opposite.
Before he could reply, explain himself, I jerked awake, kicking myself into a tangle of bedclothes. Thank God, it was just a nightmare. A manifestation of the guilt I felt. I opened my eyes to find that huge black cloud floating up the stairs. It was real. His displeasure dug around inside my brain, turning my stomach, stiffening my spine. The air around me grew cold.
Oh, come on. How clichéd can you get?
Still, I shivered in the blast and tucked my head beneath the sheet.
A hand gripped my shoulder and I let out a scream that the entire family, asleep in their own rooms, must have heard. Yet no one came to my door. I tried that again, then realized that though my mouth was open wide, no sound came out.
"You knew when you married him I wasn't pleased," he said. The bed shifted like someone was sitting beside me.
"Oh God, oh, God, please." I hugged myself.
"I've never laid a hand on you," he whispered. "You know that. I've always loved you."
"I know, but you deserted us."
He ignored the accusation. "So why would you think I'd hurt you now?" His voice, so soft and familiar. He was right about one thing. He never raised a hand to me.
"Then why are you here? Maybe to say you're sorry?"
Silence replied for such a long time that I thought he'd left. Floated away into the night. When at last he spoke I jumped.
"Well, yes. But something more. We only get one visit before we have to go on. I've been watching, and I was right about him. He's not good to you. You're not happy. So I'm here to fix that for you."
"He's out there, in his truck. All you have to do is say yes, and it's done."
Despite the situation, I laughed. A man who womanized during 40 years of his marriage, then ran away with a 23-year-old woman, and he wanted to punish my husband for not being good to me? Good grief. It was funny in a dreadful sort of way. Still, why not? He was right. I wasn't happy.
"What? What will you do?"
"You don't need to know. All you need to know is I love you."
I took a deep breath. "Yes, do it. I love you too."
The bed shifted, the room warmed and I opened my eyes to morning sunlight streaming through the window. Tears lay on my cheeks. Just a dream after all, a cruel one.
The phone rang and I jerked like I'd been shot at. Then I picked it up and listened to the voice tell me what I already knew. My husband was dead.
About the Author::
Find Velda online at
My website: http://www.veldabrotherton.com
Twitter is @veldabrotherton