Here is a short ghost story I wrote. Hope you like it.
Old wooden stairs creaked as I walked up them. A frail-looking woman, with a mass of wrinkles on her face, rocked on the porch.
“Time’s a wasting, child. Come on.” She poured a cup of coffee into a chipped china cup. “Cream or sugar?”
“Sugar, Mrs. Faye.” I cleared my throat. “Your son is concerned about your welfare. He’s too far away to check in on you. He’d like you to live at the Soldiers Home. What do you think?”
“My son said that? Well, I was born in Tennessee. My mama was born here. My grandmama was born here. Long ways back my family goes. I guess you could call me rootbound.” Mrs. Faye poured herself another cup of coffee and added some cream. “Nothing like a good cup of brew. Have you ever been to the opry?”
“No. Can’t say I have.” I sipped my coffee.
Mrs. Faye slapped her knee. “You don’t know what you’re missing, child. It’s the purtiest music you ever did hear. The whole town flocks to it. Yes sirree bob.” Forgetting completely about her coffee, she stared into space. A single tear ran down her face.
“What’s wrong, Mrs. Faye?” I asked.
“Call me Tansey. I haven’t been a Mrs. anything for a long time. You know my Mike fought in the war.”
“Yes, I know. Your son told me.”
“You know George? That’s nice.” Tansey hobbled inside the house. She wore two different pairs of shoes and a sweater as pants. A large wet spot spread across her buttocks. She mumbled, “Dang dog peed in my chair again.” She walked into the kitchen and I followed behind her.
A pile of newspapers stood in a corner. Half-filled cups of cold coffee littered the dining table. Tansey made another pot of coffee. I picked up a framed photograph off the buffet.
“Is this your husband?” I asked. I showed her the picture of a soldier.
“Yes, that’s my Mike. He was in the war you know. Be a good girl and get me a spoon from that drawer.”
I opened the buffet drawer and it was lined with pinecones amongst the silverware. I grabbed a spoon from the mess and headed to the kitchen sink. I turned the faucet on and rusty water dribbled out.
“Let the faucet run a spell, before the good water comes out,” Tansey said.
I wiped the dirty spoon on my slacks. I threw out my coffee in the sink, after realizing I drank rusty water. Ants and roaches climbed out of the drain. I shivered and jumped back.
“Don’t worry about those varmints. They’re just looking for a scrap of water,” Tansey said.
“How long have you been living in these conditions?” I asked.
“I’ve lived in Tennessee all my life, child. I was married here. Ask Mike. He’s sleeping in the bedroom.”
I opened the bedroom door and a horrible smell assaulted my nose. A room full of flies buzzed around. On the bed, a skeleton reposed, with pieces of flesh remaining on it and some rotten fabric. I gagged and fled the room. “Tansey? I agree with your son. You need help.”
“No one tells me what to do in my own home, missy. If you’ve come here to cause trouble…” Tansey grabbed a butcher knife. She had a crazed look in her eyes.
I stepped back. “Tansey, put the knife down. Your son sent me. He’s worried about you.”
“You saw George? That’s nice.” Tansey poured herself a cup of coffee. She added a drop of cream. “Where’s my manners? Let me fill your cup.”
“When was the last time you saw your son?”
“I don’t rightly know. I’ve been busy caring for Mike. My George followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the service. Time flies. Must have been a year or more.”
“Tansey, since your husband and son were in the service, you qualify to room at the Soldiers Home. Allow me to make the necessary arrangements,” I said.
“I told you, girly, I’m rootbound. I’ve lived here all my life. No one tells me where to go. Get out!”
I strode outside and placed a call to the local authorities. “I’d like to report a death. It’s at Tansey Faye’s house. 123 Maple Drive. The body has been here for some time. Yes, I’ll wait.”
The sheriff and the medical examiner arrived a few minutes later.
“Thank you for coming, sheriff. The body is in the bedroom,” I said. “Mrs. Faye’s son called me. He was worried about his mother’s welfare. He wanted me to see if she was a candidate for placement at the Soldiers Home. I’m a social worker there.”
“What was the son’s name?” the sheriff asked.
“George,” I said.
“Are you sure it was George?”
“He said his name was George Faye. Why?”
“George died during the Vietnam War,” the sheriff said.
My jaw dropped.
Tansey strolled outside in a pink chiffon dress and a straw hat. Pearls encircled her throat. “Are you trying to catch flies, my dear? I’m ready. The deputy told me I’ve been invited to the Soldiers Home, for a celebration, in honor of George. Isn’t that sweet?” She patted my arm. “I know it’s a shock, but George has been gone a long time.”