From SpiritKeep [now defunct]
When I was a small child, my parents would often pack up the family and whisk us of to our grandmother's house in a remote, but lovely countryside area of Michigan. Her home was very old and large. She had an old above ground well and pump house that drew water in from the nearby creek. The creek also had an underground spring, and the water at her home was so crisp and clean that we would use plastic milk jugs to fill up with the tasty water to take home with us.
I remember that my grandmother was terrified that we would fall into the creek or well and drown. Of course we knew better than to try to swim without supervision and we never tried to. Yet, at every visit, she would warn us not to go near the banks of the creek alone.
One particular day, when I was all but 4 years old, I met a boy and girl playing at the edge of the creek, and they invited me into the water to swim with them. I told them that I would have to ask my parents, and skipped off to do so. When I returned with my mother, they had gone. I remember crying, because I had so wanted to swim and have playmates at the lonely old house. My brother and sister were off visiting with other relatives and I was desparately bored. Alas, I swam alone that day, with my mother watching from the banks.
The next day, I went to the creek and the same children were playing at the water's edge. I asked them if they would swim with me, and they both said that the water was cold and they wanted to play with the kittens that my grandmother's cat had delivered only two weeks earlier. With that request, I led them to the old barn far from the house, where the kittens and momma cat were. I picked one small bundle of fur up and handed it to the little boy. It occured to me that I did not know their names, and asked. "Thomas and Ellie," came the reply from the boy, but his voice sounded weak, almost distant. I placed the kitten in his hands and the kitten fell to the dirt floor. I picked it up again and tried to hand it to the boy, but, again, the kitten fell to the ground. At that, he frowned and turned away from me.
Ellie said that since we could not swim with the water as cold as it was, maybe the kittens, would like to. She said they had fur, and they would stay warm. We went back to the creek, but she indicated that the pump house water would be more fun. I grabbed 4 kittens and trotted off with my new commrades to the pump house and down the steps we went. I placed the kittens in the water and watched them 'swim' (I didn't realize they were struugling to keep from drowning), when they suddenly stopped swimming. I heard my father call my name for luncheon, and yelled back that I was coming. I turned to lead my friends out of the pumphouse, but they were gone. I never heard them leave. My father appeared at the door of the pumphouse, and asked me what in God's name I was doing down there. He looked behind me and saw the four kittens in the water and rushed by me to grab them up. He took them into the house and laid them by the radiator in hopes that they would survive. Sadly, two did not. I felt terrible. I loved cats and would never harm one.
Later my Father asked why I thought that they would like to swim. I replied that my two new friends thought that the kittens would like to swim. He said there were no children or other houses for miles. I insisted that I had seen them twice, and he refused to believe me.
Later, when I was about twelve, my grandmother took me to my grandfather's grave to lay flowers and trim the grass around his headstone. I noticed a beautiful headstone about twenty feet away and went to investigate. On the stone read "Our Dear Children, God's Greatest Gift". Below were the names Thomas Worther and Ellie Worther, 1897-1906 and 1899-1906, respectively. My grandmother followed to see what it was that had engrossed my attention. She sat beside me and said, "What a horrible tragedy. Those two children drowned at the very creek that you play in. Their parents were so heartbroken that they sold their home to your grandfather and I for much, much less than it was worth, just to be rid of the place." I felt my heart drop into my stomach. I had never forgotten killing those kittens and the circumstances surrounding the incident. I am convinced, to this day, that I had been playing with the ghosts of two children. This story is true, and haunts me to this very day.