Ghost Stories

Say Goodnight, Gracie

I needed a place to live in Houston, and my best friends' mother had a ground-floor duplex she wanted to rent. Nobody had lived in it since her father-in-law had passed away two years earlier. The neighborhood was nice and the property well kept. It was like practically renting a house, it was so much room.

My first night there, after an exhausting day of moving, I went to bed rather late. Everything around me was wonderfully quiet and I thought, "You know, I think this is gonna be a good place to live!"

Laying there, relaxing, clearing my head for sliding off into slumberland, I heard something. From the direction of the kitchen, at the other end of the hallway. I figured it was the refridgerator coming on. Rolling over to face the door that stood open to the hall, I realized I didn't own a refridgerator.

Still the noise continued, and was beginning to get louder, as if, I thought, it was coming down the hall.

As it drew closer, I had a mental picture. It was a skirt rustling, moving through the hall towards me. I could barely make out the sound of shoes, kind of like pumps, on the hardwood floor. Was the landlady coming to see me? Had she knocked and I didn't hear? Was she coming in to check on me since I hadn't heard her knock? But I've never seen her wear a skirt...

Then, at the edge of the door jam, I saw the pleats of a floral print skirt drift into view in the dim light of the hall. But there was only shadow under the bottom of the skirt, there were no feet nor shoes! My heart was racing a mile a minute!

I didn't want to see anything else, but I couldn't help myself. Above the skirt, my eyes saw a pale pink blouse, pearls, and, as my mind was screaming, "Don't look!", the face of an older woman with an old-fashioned hairdo. I could not believe it.

And she just stood there! The shock was beginning to wear off. Not only did she not have feet or footwear, she was translucent: I could almost see through her, but not quite. And she just kept standing there in the doorway. Like she was waiting for something. My brain started searching for an answer that would end this encounter. I finally said aloud, "Goodnight."

She suddenly turned and drifted back up the hallway, the sound of the rustling skirt and the quiet click of sensible shoes faded away. I lay still, trying to assess what had just happened. I just couldn't deal with it. So I put it out of my mind. Forgot it completely.

Until the next night. After I had laid down for bed, I heard the skirt and shoes drifting down the hall. I calmed myself as best I could and rolled over to face the open door. Just as before she drifted into view and stood there, motionless, quiet. Expectant. Time went by and she still hadn't moved. I remembered something from the night before and said, "Goodnight." She turned and glided back up the hallway.

As I lay trying to get a grip on this new reality, I wondered if moving here had been the best thing to do after all. Two nights in a row I had been visited. What else was I in for? I decided that it was just a fluke, a coincedence, nothing to really worry about. I rolled over and went to sleep.

The next night, I was visited yet again. And again, as soon as I spoke the word 'goodnight', she left. The fourth night, I just laid there for a very long time. Seeing if maybe she'd get tired and leave on her own. No such luck. I had to say "Goodnight," and then she left.

The fifth night I rolled onto my other side and faced the window instead. I heard her coming and she stayed in the doorway for a long time until I said the magic word. Then she left.

The sixth night I had had enough of this wierdness. I closed the bedroom door, wondering why my Einstein-like brain had not come up with the obvious solution before. I patted myself on the back for my enginuity and laid down, facing the door. Right on cue, even with the door closed, I could hear that rustle and the steps coming down the hall. I rested there, all smug as a bug in a rug. I had mastered the situation. I was looking at a blank door, not a ghost.

To my horror, pleats of flowers drifted [i]through[/i] the door and before I knew it, she was standing halfway into the closed door. I was in shock. There was a little black outline around where she penetrated the door. She stood there, waiting. I gave up early and said, "Goodnight." She left as usual. I got up and opened the door, defeated.

On the seventh night, I left the door opened and decided to try and find out who this lady is, or was. When she showed up on cue, instead of saying goodnight, I asked, "Who are you? What is your name? Why are you here?" There was no response. She just stood there. Waiting. I finally said the magic word and she drifted back to where ever she was coming from.

I went through another week, saying goodnight every single night to this apparition. My best friend came back in town and I asked him if he knew a lady I had seen and then described her to him. He looked at me funny and said, "You've seen her? That's not possible. She's been dead for years. She was my mom's mother-in-law. She became senile and one day her husband backed the car over her in the driveway and killed her. She used to call the police on him because she didn't know who he was. How can you say you saw her?"

I then told him about what I had been going through. He believed me, though he had never seen anything himself. As time went by, I got to where I could see her anywhere on the property, and always, always, every night to say, "Goodnight."