Okay, so what do you do when a ghost suddenly appears in your new home?

This is the opening scene from my cozy mystery book, Bones & Boxes.

I’ve always been a logical sort of woman. So when the ghost of a long-dead boyfriend turned up in my living room, it gave me a bit of a turn.

 “Come on, admit it,” he said. ”You’re glad I’m back.”

I pulled more yarn free from the skein and kept knitting. Behind me, the grandfather clock struck six. Outside, the wind howled past the corners of the house, while beside me, my teacup steamed.

He lowered his voice. “Hetty, please tell me you still care for me.”

I shook my head and counted my stitches. Ghosts didn’t suddenly appear in living rooms. This thing wasn’t real.

Still, there he stood, my first love, Andrew Peters, with his dark hair, dark eyes, and knock-me-dead smile. He looked exactly as he had all those many years ago.

The same couldn’t be said for me. I turned sixty-five next month and looked every day of it.

“You’re still beautiful to me,” Andrew said.

I blinked and glanced back up at him. Even in life he had almost always known what I was thinking.

Sighing, I slipped one needle behind the other and kept on knitting. Not only had I dreamed up a ghost to keep me company, but now I had him flattering me.

Could I be that desperate?

I’d doubtless spent too much time locked up in the house recently, but there had been all the unpacking to do. Plus, my cat, Blackie, had been terribly upset by the move. I’d devoted a lot of time helping him adjust to his new surroundings.

The ghost drew nearer.

My fingers faltered. My breath caught in my throat. Even though I knew he was only something I had dreamed up, I didn’t want him this close.

“I’m not your imagination,” he said softly. “I am here. I am real.”

I nodded. Right.

His words forced my gaze back to his. The sight of him pulled at my heartstrings. I had loved this man beyond reason, but shortly before college graduation, he had died in a fiery car crash. With his death, the course of my whole life changed.

Oh sure, I moved on. I had no choice. In my late-twenties I met and married a wonderful man. We raised three lovely children. There were moments, though, late at night, when memories of my dearest Andrew drifted back to me.

Beside me, Blackie sat bolt upright. His face jerked toward Andrew. I swallowed hard. Could Blackie see my hallucination, or  was it possible this thing was real?

The phone rang. I set my knitting aside and made for the kitchen.

“Hetty?” a woman’s voice asked.

“Rose, how are you?”

Rose Stark and I first met in the library a few days ago. It was my first visit there. She had guided me to the mystery section. As we’d chatted, I learned we lived only a few houses from each other.

“I’m a little stressed out,” she told me now.

“What’s the matter?”

“I’d rather not say on the phone. Can you come over? I know this is an imposition, but I haven’t been able to find anyone else home.”

I listened to the wind whistle past the edges of my house. It was bitterly cold outside. Then, I glanced back at the ghost. Its feet dangled about a foot above the living room floor. Suddenly, I decided an invitation to go out into the cold night had never sounded so good.  “I’ll be right there.”

Blackie sat on the floor staring up at me.

I frowned down at him. “Guard the house. And while you’re at it, chase that blasted ghost away.”

***

Thanks for reading,

Hetty

 

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