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On 5th and Murchison


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“Hey.” I could hear it loud and clear, as if spoken directly into my ear. I sat alone in the dark, my eyes closed, taking in what people called ‘the hub of all activity’ in the haunted bank on 5th and Murchison.

I kept my concentration, keeping myself grounded and calm, then my spirit replied, “What’s your name?”

The energy in the vault shifted, churning like a potters hands on soft clay. The letter ‘K’ appeared in my mind, floating in a matrix of the mind. I looked at it, my eyes still closed, my mind wide open. It dissolved and reformed. A face, delicate and soft, like that of a child. Her eyes were a sparkling blue, and they spoke to me in visual words.

“I’m Katherine.”

She told me her story, yet she never once spoke. I lived her life, felt her emotions, and experienced her pain.

I saw a house, the kind of house you’d imagine when you think of a little prairie ranch. There was a family: her father, her mother, and her brother, one year younger than she. She was 12 in the scene, and she sat in her room alone, pushing a ball across the floor. The small blue ball rolled away from her hand, underneath a desk. It sat there, and rolled back. Another push, another wait, and back it came.

She smiled, and I smiled with her. Then, the scene changed. She was in another room. Darker, heavier, and surrounded with a feeling of hurt. My smile quickly faded at this change, and I watched as her father came in the room, unlodging a wooden door. The smell of whiskey was on his breath.

Staggering toward her, he spoke. “I, I don’t ‘ppreciate how you been behavin’ girrr…” His words slurred together. She scooted back. “Y-you shouldn’t be talkin’ all that shit now should ya!” He swallowed and took a large breath through his nose, then licked his lips. I could feel his evil now, spreading a blood-red energy throughout the room. She whimpered. “Shut up! Don’t ya be playin’ these games with me!” His voice calmed. “I’m yer Father. Now, I want you to tell me who that boy is.”

I could feel Katherine’s emotions spinning. I saw through her eyes, as this towering, drunk man looked down, his face scoured by the shadows that danced from the corners of the room. She shook her head, her lip quivering.

He crouched down in front of her, causing her to back away more, shoving herself against the wall. “Tell me who it is, sweetheart. Pleeasse…?” She shook her head again. “I’ve heard you playing upstairs before. You talk to him at night when you can’t sleep. What’s his name?”

She finally replied, softly muttering behind closed lips. I could feel her stress rise at the word. “Kam…”

“Who is he, sweetie? Is a friend from school?”

Katherine’s heart began to pump faster. I got the sudden feeling to throw up as I watched her frightened lips form the words. “No,” she said. “Kam’s dead.”

The scene changed one final time. I forced myself to watch. I saw Katherine, dead in the middle of the room. Her little blue ribbon dress stained with blood, seeping from a hole on her chest. I saw her Father, tears streaming down his face, the words ‘Jesus protect me. Jesus protect me.’ repeating again and again in his mind. He took the pistol and aimed it toward his face, the tip still hot from the last shot he fired. He shoved the barrel in his mouth, breathing heavily, closed his eyes, and pulled the trigger. The bullet came out the back of his neck, spurting blood onto his white cotton shirt. He stumbled over and slumped down dead.

My spirit returned.

I came back to my body, crying, sunk down, and clutching my stomach. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t speak. My eyes burned from the horror I had just witnessed. The door to the vault opened. Light flooded into the darkness, people rushed in.

“Tom! Tom!” They shouted at me, slapped me across the face in an attempt to ground me to reality. I couldn’t focus. Everything around me blurred and echoed. I looked off to the side at the two bodies that only I could see.

The chaos faded, and I left my physical vessel once again. Katherine stood before me, smiling.

“I miss you,” she said. She spoke it sweetly, softly. It was just as I remembered it was. I spoke back.

“I do too. How’s Dad?”

“He’s really sad. He’s sorry. He knows now.”

I smiled at her. Behind her was my Father, a nervous look on his face as his eyes darted back and forth. Next to him was Kam, the little boy Katherine befriended when we were young. I gave them both a smile. They smiled back, though my Father’s was rather forced.

I looked back down at Katherine. “I have to go now,” I told her. “But I’ll be back. I promise.” I made an ‘X’ over my heart. She hugged my leg.

“I love you,” she said. I kissed her on the head.

“I love you, too.”

I slowly retreated back to my body, away from them. I was left with a picture. Of my Father, dead in both body and spirit, slowly but surely finding his way. Of my sister, the sweet angel who taught me all. How to see, to hear, and experience life and what lay after. And the little boy, whom we named Kam, who lived there before us in the house on 5th and Murchison.

Copyright © Brendan Swogger 2013

First of all, let me say where I am now. I am at the Oregon Ghost Conference, an annual event held here in Oregon City. It’s a great event, and I highly recommend it. Being here around all these paranormal enthusiasts (and the real ghosts that haunt the building we’re in), it got me motivated to write a story going away from the demons and the monsters, and to the core of my love of horror: ghosts. So, here it is. This is a flash fiction story. I wanted to write something short and sweet, as I’m busy also manning the booth for NW Ghost Tours. However, I am extremely happy with how this piece turned out. Comment below and tell me what you think! Also, feel free to share this on Facebook, Twitter, or any of those other fancy social networking sites. You can subscribe to me at the bottom of the page and follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. You can also find more information on the Oregon Ghost Conference here and information on Northwest Ghost Tours here. Have an idea for a story? Click on Reader’s Request at the top of the page and send me a request! Your story may be used in a future post! Happy Reading! ;)

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