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 Ghost - Challenge short (1400 words)

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Join date : 2016-10-21

Ghost - Challenge short (1400 words) Empty
PostSubject: Ghost - Challenge short (1400 words)   Ghost - Challenge short (1400 words) EmptySat Feb 18, 2017 8:08 am


by Cal


“What’s got you so all fired up Baby Jane? I could rest my cup on that bottom lip of yours.”

“It’s not fair Nana” the teen sulked. “Not fair at all.”

“Come give your old Nana a cwtch child.  Tell me what’s eating at yer”

“That’s it! That’s what’s eating at me.  I’m not a child!”

“You’ll always be Baby Jane to me and your Gran’pa, so no use fightin it.  What’s wrong? What’s HE said now.”

“Nana? …Can you you remember what it felt like the first time you fell in love?”

“Well …yes” Nana chuckled.  “I ain’t senile yet! I wasn’t much older than you.”

“Well then you know I’m old enough to know what love is …. It’s not fair.”

“Oh …you’ve fallen HARD have you?  That can be a mighty terrifying feeling... “

“I knew you’d understand! Is that what it was like for you …terrifying.”

“Oh Lord yes! But what was a girl to do?”

“Tell me Nana.  Tell me what it was like when you first met Gran’pa….”

“Gran’pa? oh…er….well yes. Of course Gran’pa…”

“Was he handsome?”

Nana’s eyes lifted from Jane’s angelic face, as she sat next to her on the porch, to the far horizon. 

“Yes child …he was handsome. I remember that first time I saw him like it was yesterday.  I was living in Wyoming then. My Pa was the Mayor of a little town called Benton. Like I said … I wasn’t much  older than you …but I was already set on being a school teacher.  I had a head full of books and arms full of supplies.  Your great Grandma was already sick by then and I was doing all the housekeeping for my Pa and the little ones.  I was just …doing everyday things… Just walking along the street… and there he was… I saw him.”

Nana sighed deeply and tears sprang to her eyes.  She blinked them away quickly and smiled at Jane who was watching the transformation of her old Nana’s face with awe.  Nana almost looked young there for a second.

“Herm… Yes …like I said.  There he was … stood out on the boardwalk …right in front of a SALOON!” laughed Nana. “Just stood there … hitching up his hat and taking in the view.  It was the way he stood there got me.  Like he owned the town.  He was tall …broad shouldered. He had on a white shirt and a leather vest.  In those days a man travelled with a pistol strapped around his waist, but he wore his low on slim hips.  I didn’t need to see his face I was already sunk.  I couldn’t move …thank goodness he wasn’t looking my way … or all he would have seen was a cod fish gawping at him…”

“Gran’pa!?” asked Jane incredulously.

“Gran’pa? Well yes …of course Gran’pa.  Oh he was a real looker in those days.  I came to my senses and realised I could be making a spectacle of myself …so I walked on a bit and looked in the window of the next store …so I could get another peek.” Nana chuckled. “Lord knows what he would have thought of me if he’d realised I was stood there looking at traps and fishing line!”

“Did he see you?”

“Not then. I got my look in first. Oh …and what a look.  He had the bluest eyes and he wore his hair long and in curls… golden curls… curled my stomach up to see them and set my heart a thumpin.  He had the sweetest smile …that set those eyes to twinkling.  When he turned that smile on me… I near melted to my toes…”

Another huge sigh escaped Nana’s lips.

“Did he ask you to marry him Nana?”

“What? Lord child …in those days you didn’t speak to a man less you’d been properly introduced! …No …we just looked at each other.   I looked.   And he looked.   But we both knew.   I saw it straight off …that jump in his eyes …he saw plain as day how it was for me …he saw clear through to my soul … and I knew …Lord did I know …I didn’t even want to know and I knew!”

“What did you know Nana?”

“I knew.  There wasn’t another man on God’s Earth better suited for me to spend the rest of my days with than this man here stood in front of me.  I knew for darn certain.  So certain it took my breath away. Terrified me …like nothing had ever done …. before or since.  I was so God’m sure before that moment that I was the master of my own fate.  I wasn’t no willowy maid looking for a husband, I had plans for myself …and a whole World to see!  And here he was… smiling… My whole World … just came out of a Saloon and knocked all my planning into a cocked hat!”

“What did you do?”

“Nothing.” Nana looked down at her hands for a second and blinked hard.  “Nothing.  I saw that look in his eyes too though.  I saw it plain as day like it was written on stone and handed down from a mountain.  He felt it too.  That jolt…” Nana looked off to the horizon again.  “I wonder if he was terrified too?”

“Why don’t you ask him?”

“What? …Oh Gran’pa… Well yes I … I should …but you know how he’s getting forgetful …best not to mention it to him… we don’t want to go getting him all riled up now do we…”

“What happened?  How did he ask you to marry him then?”

“Oh we looked some more.  I could see he wanted to come over and introduce himself… but his friend arrived … come to think on it … he was handsome too… He came out and saw…er… ‘Gran’pa’ looking… and he smiled this crooked, dimpled smile at me… and tipped his hat… funny… I can still see that hat… you know it had a bullet hole right in the crown!  Why would a smartly dressed man wear an old hat like that?  Well he tapped his friend on the shoulder and pulled him ‘round.  They talked some and his friend dragged him towards the livery stables.  Your …erm …’Gran’pa’…. hum…. He gave me one last look… that near broke my heart… it was an apology… a plea for forgiveness… a promise …” 

Nana put her hand to her face and this time she couldn’t stop the tears from flowing.  She lowered her hand to her beating heart.

‘How could it still hurt so much after all these years?’ she thought.

“Maybe they needed to be somewhere in a hurry” suggested Jane.  “It was alright though Nana… wasn’t it? He came back and asked you to marry him didn’t he!”

“Yes… yes of course he did.  Of course he did.  That was just the first time I met him …and he had to leave… just like you said.  He left riding up Main Street …next to his friend …and I like to think that the reason he didn’t look over to me …was because he was a little upset himself …that he didn’t have …the time …to come and introduce himself properly.”

Nana’s old eyes followed the ghost of her past as he rode past her and on out of town.

“I saw the way he carried himself in that saddle… I could see it was hard for him to leave like that…”

She whispered more to herself than to Jane.

“When did you see him again?”

“Oh…” Nana shook herself and plonked her hands into her lap, fixing Jane with a teary eyed blue twinkled smile.  “How did we get started on this silly story Baby Jane? Weren’t we talking about your new Beau?”

“Nana! When did you see him again?”

“Not errrr …not for a long time after that… I met your Gran’pa at a Halloween Party in Denver… He was all decked out in a ghostly mask…. Can you believe that? All I could see of him were his broad shoulders and his long golden curls…”

“And it was him! How romantic.  You must have been thrilled…”

“My papa sure was… your Gran’pappy was a fine catch for a Mayors daughter from Benton!”

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