From my upcoming release: Musings From A Demented Mind
Willis sat at his desk looking at the photo album filled with pictures of his mother who had passed away several days before. He finally, after several days of dealing with contacting all his relatives, planning the funeral, and burying her body, had a chance to think about how his life would be without her. He was fifty-two years old and for the first time in his life, he would have to live alone in his mother’s house. He had lived with his mother for the past twenty years. He had an ex-wife and two kids living in Nevada he hadn’t seen since the divorce, but kept in contact with them through Facebook and Skype. He stared at the stacks of comic books sitting by his bed. Behind them were several stacks of paperback books ranging from horror and science fiction to nonfiction dealing with alien abductions and haunted houses and graveyards. Next to those were years’ worth of magazines dealing with the unexplained and ghostly encounters.
“Clean up this mess. You’re in your fifties. This isn’t a junk yard,” he could still hear his mother complain.
“Yes, mother,” Willis responded like he did every time. This time there wasn’t anyone there to respond.
He stared at the picture of his parents on their wedding day. He tried to hold back his tears realizing both of his parents were now reunited in the afterlife. The only family who lived close by was his sister, Gabby, who he barely spoke to. He turned to the page where his high school graduation pictures with his mother were. He was handsome back then with a clean shaven face and thin glasses. Now he had a large, unkempt, greying beard with thick glasses. He looked like he was a family member of the Duck Dynasty.
“You should shave! You’re not a hobo!”
He looked toward the hallway expecting to see her staring at him, but there was nothing. All he could see was the large bookcase filled with all of her favorite romance novels. His sister wanted to take the books away, but he wouldn’t have it. All of his mother’s possessions were precious and there was no way anyone was going to take them away from the house. Those items were his mom’s treasures which made them his treasures.
He closed the photo album and placed it to the left of his computer. He opened the writing program on the computer and worked on his science fiction novel he had been working on for several years. He wanted to finish it and get it published, but he could never keep his mind focused long enough to write more than a couple of pages a day.
“Willis, are you on the computer again? Being naughty aren’t you? You should get a girlfriend! That’s what a normal person would do!”
He looked at the bookcase again wondering why he was hearing her voice when she no longer was there. He tried writing some more of his novel, but he couldn’t get the voice of his mother out of his head. He slowly stood up and walked out of his bedroom toward the kitchen. He grabbed a potato off of the kitchen table, which was filled with cans of food he had bought at the dollar store the other day, and put it in the microwave. As he waited for it to cook, he read the morning’s newspaper. As he heard the beeping from the microwave, he put the paper down.
“Put the paper in the recycling bin when you’re done!”
After eating the potato, he walked back into his bedroom and grabbed a paperback off the stack of books he hadn’t read yet. He read several chapters and put the book down as he heard someone pounding on his wall. He slowly got up and walked into the living room, but no one was there. He heard the pounding coming from his bedroom and when he walked into it no one was there. He could hear the pounding again coming from the living room, but no one was there.
“Who is knocking on the walls?”
No one answered.
He sat down on his chair in the living room and turned on the television. He watched the news station until he dozed off. When he awoke, he could see sunlight through the faded blue curtains. He had slept the whole night through on his chair. He slowly pulled himself out of the chair and walked toward the bathroom. All the romance novels were scattered on the floor in front of the bookcase. He kneeled down and placed them neatly back onto the bookcase. All of his other stacks of books in his bedroom were still standing. He stared at the bookcase trying to figure out how those books fell off it.
He slowly walked up the stairs leading to his mother’s bedroom. On her bed was one of her romance books with her favorite bookmark of a cat hanging from a rope. He looked in shock since there wasn’t anything on her bed the day before.
“Mother?” he said, slowly stuttering.
He walked out of her bedroom and into the bathroom hoping a soothing bath would clear his head. He tried to reassure himself he was imagining things and the book had been on the bed, and he just hadn’t noticed it before.
“Make sure you clean the soap scum out of the tub when you’re done!”
After his bath, he scrubbed the tub and walked into his bedroom. He got on the internet and checked his Facebook page. It was filled with condolences from some of his friends who had recently learned of his mother’s passing. He checked on the statuses of his children and then went on a website dealing with hauntings of loved ones. According to the website, it was common for loved one’s spirits to linger around their homes after death, but only a few people possessed the ESP ability to sense their presence. He always felt a strange presence when he visited someone’s house like there was someone else there besides those he could see. It was worse when he visited cemeteries. He always sensed there was something paranormal haunting them which was one of the reasons why he became obsessed with books about ghosts and haunted houses.
He was startled by the sound of someone knocking on the front door. He slowly pulled himself out of the chair and walked into the living room. He looked out the window and saw his sister standing on the porch. He stood there debating if he should answer the door for fear she was going to try to take some of his mother’s belongings.
“She’s your sister! Answer the door!”
“Yes, mother!” he said as he opened the door.
His sister stared at him for a few seconds and spoke, “I thought you were going to leave me standing out here all day.”
“I thought about it. What do you want?”
“I was in the neighborhood, and I stopped by to check on you.”
“Can I come in?”
He turned around.
“Is there someone in here with you?”
He turned back around. “No, why do you ask?”
“It looked like you were waiting for someone to give you permission.”
“Sorry, habit. I’m used to making sure mother was decent for company. Come in.” He walked over to his chair and sat down.
“I met with our lawyer about mom’s will. As we all expected, she left you the house. She left me all of her collectibles in the display cases.”
“Gabby, those are mom’s collectibles,” he said in shock. “They belong in her house.”
“I want them. You get everything else in the house. I want those. I want something to remember her by.”
“No, you’re probably going to sell them for money!” He quickly jumped out of his chair like he had the strength from when he was in his teens. Gabby sat back in fear. His hands were shaking like he could attack her in his present mindset.
“I don’t need any money. Mom left both of us plenty of money. See for yourself.” She handed him a copy of their mother’s will. “She took care of us.”
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you,” he said, regaining his composure. “I’m just afraid if her things leave this house, I’ll begin to forget her.” He put his hands over his face trying to stop himself from crying. “Just take them now.”
“I brought some egg boxes from the grocery store. I’ll go get them.” Gabby walked out of the house to her car.
“You made the right decision.”
“Yes, mother,” he said softly, staring at the display cases.
Several hours after Gabby left with all the collectibles from the display cases, Willis sat at the kitchen table eating a bowl of beef stew and listening to a soundtrack score to one of his favorite horror movies. Once he was finished eating, he walked to his bedroom to read until it was time to go to bed. As he was dozing off, he placed the book on his nightstand and turned off the light. As he was sleeping, he began to feel like something heavy was pushing down on his chest. He snapped awake. Above him was a large, black apparition with glowing red eyes. He tried to move, but he was paralyzed. The paralysis was not from fear. He was not frightened by the apparition. Something was keeping him from moving, as if an invisible force was holding him down. Even in the darkness, he recognized the apparition’s face. It was the face of his mother. The apparition stared down at him for several minutes before vanishing. As it vanished, he could feel the pressure lessening on his body. He slowly crawled out of bed and turned on the light. He grabbed the towel he kept by the side of the bed just in case he got sick and couldn’t make it to the bathroom at night, and wiped the sweat off his forehead. He knew he hadn’t dreamed about the apparition. It was real.
He sat down in front of his computer. He felt all of his sadness leave his body, replaced with a sense of happiness knowing he was being haunted, not by some evil spirit, but by his mother. He sat down and for two days straight he wrote, only stopping to eat and go to the bathroom, and continued writing his science fiction novel until it was finally completed. Once he was satisfied the book was the best he could write it, he wrote one final sentence. I dedicate this novel to my loving mother. I know she will be with me always. I will never forget her.
With his dedication finished, he emailed his novel to his friend who worked at a publishing company and who had promised his novel would make it to print once he finally completed it. He lay down on his bed and closed his eyes. A couple of hours later he felt a sharp pain in his chest and when he opened his eyes, his mother was standing next to his bed all dressed in white with a bright light behind her.
“Willis, it is time to take you home,” she said with a smile and helped him out of the bed.
With his hand in her’s, he said, “yes, mother,” and followed her into the light.