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The soft brown curls that framed her face cut at Fred’s heart as he felt certain that he was looking at his wife, but that couldn’t be. This woman resembled his wife, that was certain, but as he looked into the hazel eyes that had sat above a smiling, gap-toothed face in the past, eyes that had looked upon him in happiness and sadness alike, Fred felt his heart clench.

But he could say nothing. He opened his mouth, he tried to say something, anything, but it wouldn’t come out, not now when he really needed it.

“Dad? Is that you?”

He tried to nod, but something wouldn’t let him. Instead he did the only thing he could, he smiled.

“I heard stories about this place growing up you know,” the woman, his eldest daughter Katie, said with a mild grin and wide, sorrowful eyes, “I heard tell of a ghost that haunted this house, and I didn’t think it could be true. I,” she swallowed hard, obviously biting back emotion, “I wanted to think you were in heaven, with mom.”

Again his heart clenched. His wife was dead? When? How? There were so many questions he wanted to ask, but he could only close his eyes, feeling the pain more acutely now than when he’d been alive.

“Dad, can you talk to me?”

To his surprise, Fred found that he could mouth the word ‘no’, but couldn’t vocalize it. The sniffle and nod that he saw Katie give affirmed that she’d seen it at least.

“Then, can you listen? There’s a lot I want to tell you.”

He mouthed the word ‘yes’, finding himself pleasantly surprised again. Katie managed a smile as she said, “Let’s go sit down. You’ve missed out on a lot.”

(to be concluded)

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