This story is by Colleen Murphy and was part of our 2022 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Renee and Shannon dashed out of the diner’s back door. They were met by a dreary gray sky. Renee took off her messy waitress apron and threw it in her backpack as they walked through the parking lot.
“What a day. People just kept streaming in,” Shannon said while she opened her car door.
“At least the tips were good,” Renee replied.
“Any luck on the journalist job?” Shannon asked.
“Not yet. I thought I’d have it by now. It’s been 6 months since I graduated college,” Renee said.
“You’ll get it. It’s pretty dreary out. You want a ride home?” Shannon asked.
“No thanks. It’s not too far and I like to walk. Plus it blows the diner stink off me,” Renee answered and then plugged her nose.
A sudden loud crash of metal against metal rang out in the quiet town. People yelled. Then the sirens began.
“Wow! That sounded bad and close,”Renee said.
She waved to Shannon and stepped out onto the sidewalk. An ambulance whizzed by as she walked. After a few more steps she saw the accident.
Two cars were smashed. Plastic pieces were scattered all over the road. The pavement was sprinkled with glass shards. Renee’s eyes were drawn to a body in the road. She watched as a man checked the body and then shook his head no.
She’s just a kid, Renee thought.
She was about to continue her walk home when she swore she saw a movement from the body. She rubbed her eyes and looked again. A teenage girl stood over the body looking confused.
I can see right through her, Renee thought.
She watched the girl seem to float around as she tried to get anyone’s attention. Suddenly they were face to face. The girl seemed to sparkle as she asked excitedly, “Can you see me, hear me?”
Renee just nodded her head yes.
“Is this real?” Renee wondered aloud.
“Yeah, it is,” the girl responded.
“No, no. I don’t believe in ghosts,” Renee said in disbelief.
“Well, here I am and there I am. So,” the girl’s voice trailed off as she pointed toward her lifeless body. “Everyone seems okay, except for me. Hey! Why are they covering me with a sheet?”
Renee took a seat on a nearby bench. The girl followed her.
” I’m Molly. Am I…” she started with tears in her eyes.
“Dead? I think so,” she blurted out. “I’m Renee.”
Molly stared at her in silence looking puzzled.
” Get back in your body,” Renee suggested.
“I tried. It didn’t work,” Molly said and walked away.
My mind’s playing tricks on me. I just need some food and sleep, Renee thought.
Renee started her walk home again. She could hear Molly chatting away behind her. Renee heard a sniffle and turned to see Molly crying.
” I don’t want to be dead. There’s so much to do or there was,” Molly wiped the tears off her face, “What do I do now? “
Molly floated along, her feet not touching the ground. Renee just stood there bewildered. Molly Paced back and forth.
Poor kid. Why am I the only one that can see her? I have to help her, Renee thought.
“I’ll try to help you Molly,” she replied.
Immediately Molly was in front of her, smiling from ear-to-ear. She had a very bubbly personality which came through even in death. Renee couldn’t stop herself as she reached out to touch Molly. She was surprised when her hand went right through her. Renee pulled her hand back quickly.
“Sorry. Did you feel that?”
” I don’t think I can feel anything anymore,” Molly answered.
” Nothing personal but this is really weird. It’s my first time seeing a ghost,” Renee said.
” It’s my first time being a ghost. Should I be scaring people?” Molly asked excitedly.
They both laughed. Renee shrugged her shoulders and leaned against a tree. Then pulled her phone out and took a picture of Molly. All that she got was a misty, sparkly form.
“Maybe later. Sounds fun,” Renee chuckled, “tell me about you.”
“Me?” She thought for a moment before she answered. “I was getting my permit next month. Oh shit, I guess I’m not going to the dance next week. I have a date, my dress,” Molly let out a long sigh.
“You aren’t missing anything. Dances were usually kind of lame,” Renee responded.
“Listen. Do you hear chimes? I love chimes I have some outside my bedroom window,” Molly’s face lit up.
She ran over to the porch with many chimes hanging on it. In a few seconds all of the chimes were ringing. Molly danced around, repeatedly hitting the chimes. Renee noticed a few people looked out their Windows to see what all the noise was.
“I have to try something,” Molly yelled as she ran past Renee.
She ran over to the closest house. Molly slowly slid her hand into the wall. Then the rest of her went through.
“Look at me. Here I am,” Molly’s head poked out and disappeared, “over here now.”
Molly was skipping in and out of different houses. She ran around in a playful game of hide and seek, always giggling. After she played for a while Molly came back over to Renee. She plopped down next to her and sighed. Then Molly looked down the road and perked up again.
“Aww, look at the old couple out on a walk. So cute. Watch this.”
Molly floated over behind the couple. She mocked the way they each walked. Then she grabbed the man’s hat and squealed with laughter as he tried to get it back. The Hat appeared to dance on the Wind. After a few minutes she placed the hat back on his head. The couple stood there for a moment looking confused and then continued their walk. Renee watched with a grin. She smiled, waved and tried not to laugh out loud as they passed by.
Next Molly went over to where some kids were playing catch. She gave Renee a mischievous grin as she approached them. She skipped back and forth, knocking the ball out of their hands.
“What’s up with this ball?” A boy asked as he inspected it. Molly howled with laughter.
“The game is keep away,” she yelled and knocked the ball out of his hands .
When the ball hit the ground the kids ran over to it. One of them kicked the ball. Molly tried to stop it but the ball went right through her foot. Slowly it rolled into the road. A large pickup truck was barreling down the road also. One of the boys was about to run after the ball. That’s when Molly pushed the boy back. She threw the ball in the grass as the truck went right through her. Renee walked over to Molly.
“That was weird. Shake it off,” Molly said as she did a little dance.
“You saved that kid’s life,” Renee said full of pride.
” It was the least I could do after I played ball with them,” Molly shimmered as she danced.
” You are so much fun. I see you’re learning how to use your, um, powers,” Renee said.
” yeah. I’m glad you’re here with me but I’m sure you must have a life to get back to,” Molly said with a hint of jealousy.
” It’s okay. I want to help you. If I can,” Renee replied.
Renee wasn’t sure what to do next. She didn’t think she could bring Molly home with her. She wondered how she could possibly help her. Molly had gone off to perfect her ghostly powers with flower picking. Renee laughed when she looked up to see flowers floating in mid-air coming towards her. An image sparkled behind them. Then Molly appeared in her Misty form.
“I’m feeling like a pull. Like I have to move on,” Molly stated.
“Let’s go back to the scene. It might help,” Renee shrugged. Molly nodded and they headed back.
“What did you want to be?” Renee asked while they walked.
“A journalist,” Molly said confidently.
“Wow!” Renee exclaimed, “I just graduated college and hope to get a job in journalism soon.”
“You could write our story. Do you think people would believe it?”
“It’s one hell of a scoop,” Renee replied.
“Aspiring journalist befriends ghost on walk home,” Molly stated in her best newscaster voice.
“Story at eleven,” Renee chimed in to her imaginary microphone.
They approached the accident scene cautiously. It had all been cleaned up. Molly looked around. Then her face began to shine.
“Hey, I think I see that light we’ve all heard about,” Molly stared at one spot. Renee came closer to her but couldn’t see the light.
” There’s my grandma, my aunt. So beautiful. I think it’s happily ever after,” Molly said, happy tears streamed down her cheeks.
Molly gave Renee a quick kiss. Renee felt a wisp of air on her cheek. She waved goodbye as Molly ran and then disappeared. Renee processed what had happened as she walked home. She heard chimes with every step. She knew that Molly was fine now. She also knew that with hard work and patience she would find her own happily ever after here on earth.