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Midnight
By: Bill Andersen



It was the kind of night you only hear about in the movies, or you read in books. Well it happened to me as well but it was more or less by accident. I had always been a civil war buff since early childhood. My father once took me to a reenactment when I was twelve and absolutely fell in love with it. It was then I decided to major in history and eventually went on to receive my masters in Civil War history.



Well I was supposed to be visiting a friend somewhere in Georgia, can’t really remember, but I had called her because my car broke down somewhere on a two-lane highway. I have the worst sense of direction, which is surprising because you would think someone with a college degree would know where he or she is. I even called a local towing service but they couldn’t get out until first light. So there I was, in the middle of nowhere and nothing to eat or drink. I looked at my watch. It was just past eleven at night. “Great,” I said to myself.



Before I got out of the car, it started snowing. I grabbed my coat, cell phone and headed up to the rod-ironed fence which blocked the remainder of the driveway. It was a gravel driveway, which led up to something and I really couldn’t tell what it was. I approached the fence, and pushed on it thinking it wasn’t going to open. To my surprise it swung back making a squeaking sound. I walked past the opened gate and tried looking further down the gravel path. It looked like an old plantation house but I could have been wrong too.



I had walked probably five feet or more when I noticed a light shining. I stopped and could feel the snow falling on my head. It was a wet snow, the kind of snow I don’t like. To be quite honest I don’t like snow. Now you’re probably wondering if it snows in Georgia? Well it has been known to snow but it’s on a rare occasion. The light seemed to be moving back and forth as I watched it. “Hello, is anyone out there?” I called out. I know sometimes college kids will play pranks around these places, so I didn’t really think anything of it.



The lantern moved again, only this time it seemed to move towards me instead of side to side. “Is anyone there,” I called out again. “If you’re some kind of college kid, tell me who you are before I call the police.” The lantern stopped moving the second I said that. I resumed walking and noticed the oak trees lining the path. I knew where I was then; at least I had some idea. It was an old plantation house, that much I could tell. Whether part of it had been burned was another question.



I happened to look up again and saw the lantern moving towards the front door. “Hey,” I called out and started walking faster. “Come back,” I didn’t want whomever it was to leave me. “Where are you going?” The motion stopped once again and for a second I thought I saw a person standing there. “Wait up,” I started into a slow jog by the time the figure appeared.



When I arrived at the front porch, the lantern and whatever it was carrying it had disappeared. It was bone-chilling cold too and I needed a fire. I walked up the steps which creaked and made my entire skin crawl. Once inside the foyer I frantically looked for the nearest fireplace. Standing there I heard soft laughter coming from upstairs. “Hello,” I called out. “Anyone there?” I stood, waiting for whoever or whatever it was to respond. “College kids,” I said to myself.



You’re probably wondering if I believe in ghosts? Well I think there are spirits out there but to be quite honest I do believe in them, just never encountered one myself. I know all about the Civil War, probably too much than I should and have heard stories that would make your skin crawl. I heard the laughter again and waited, goose bumps rising on my skin, for whatever it was to make it known. “Alright,” I said with a great fervor. I started up the steps and carefully walked up towards the landing. The laughter grew louder and I could hear movement.



The laughter stopped and I could barely move. Something was going on and I wanted to find out. I thought it might have been college girls because of the laughter. Something told me to keep going though and so I did. I walked towards one of the bedrooms and noticed the door cracked open. I could hear someone talking, and it sounded like women. So I slowly pushed the door open and noticed two attractive-looking women talking amongst themselves. I was wondering why two women were alone in a house like this one. They looked like average college women; young and vivacious that is.



“Oh hi,” the woman on the right said turning around. “Sorry,” she knew she had been caught. “We needed a place to stay the night too,” she seemed innocent enough.



“Same here,” my heart was still pounding from the rush. “Sorry,” I wanted to introduce myself. “Brad,” I said with my voice still shaking.



“Melissa,” the first woman introduced herself. “Nice to meet you Brad. “This is my friend Amanda,” she pointed to a strikingly beautiful woman next to her.



“Nice to meet you too Amanda.”


“Same here,” she didn’t seem very outgoing.



“So you broke down too huh?” I asked.



“What?” Melissa said. “What are you talking about?”



“You said you needed a place to stay tonight?” I was beginning to think if they even had a car. “You girls lost or something?”



“Actually we are,” Amanda let go of the window seal. “Is it snowing out yet?”



“It is now,” I said. The snow had melted in my hair and I could still feel it.



“So what’s a handsome guy like yourself doing in a place like this?” Melissa asked.



“Car broke down, and I had to call a tow truck.”



“I see,” Melissa walked towards me.



I couldn’t really tell what she looked like, only that she was about my height, beyond that I couldn’t distinguish her features. There was an oil lamp sitting on the nightstand burning, but it wasn’t emitting enough light. “How long have you two been here?”



“About an hour or so,” Amanda shivered. “We need to build a fire or something,” she suggested.



I proceeded downstairs to do just that. I knew both the women were probably freezing and so was I actually. I walked into the parlor and looked around. The furniture had been covered, and I couldn’t imagine why someone would still have furniture in such an old house. My only thought was someone owned the house and used in on occasion. It seemed to be in relatively good shape, considering the age. I could hear the two women upstairs laughing again as I built the fire.



It was blazing hot within ten minutes. I had already taken off my coat and settled down on the couch. The warmth of the fire had never felt so good to my hands. They were numb from the cold but were now coming back to life. I leaned back and heard footsteps coming down and softening. I turned to look and there stood Melissa, looking at me. “Hi there,” she spoke with a deep southern accent. “I’m glad you built us a fire,” she smiled. At least that’s the way it looked from where I was sitting.



“Mind if I sit with you?” she asked after entering the room.



“Not at all,” I moved over so she could sit as well.



“Hello again,” Melissa sat next to me.



I caught a whiff of her perfume. It smelled delicious but it was a kind I had never smelled before. “I like your perfume,” I commented.



“Thank you,” Melissa smiled and I know she blushed. She brought her right hand up to the top of her chest, took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “You’ll have to forgive Amanda,” she turned towards me. “She’s rather shy when it comes to meeting new people.”



“Don’t have a problem with that,” I really didn’t care much about Amanda. “Is she warm enough upstairs?” I asked.



“Oh she’ll be fine.”

There was something strange about Melissa but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I got up from the couch to poke the fire. It had died down by the time I sat down. I turned my back towards the fire. Heat had never felt so good. “How do you know each other?”



“We’ve known each other a long time,” she smiled. Melissa’s auburn hair glowed in the firelight, as she lay there stretched out on the couch.



“I see,” I didn’t know what else to say really. I had run out of words.



“What about you? Where are you from?”



“South Carolina,” I said proudly.



Melissa started funning her fingers through her hair. I knew that she was flirting with me. “Oh really,” she purred. “I’ve been there once, it was a long time ago though.”



I heard another noise in the foyer. This time it sounded more like children’s footsteps. Could this place really been haunted? I was almost convinced the place was haunted but Melissa rose from the couch as well. She went out into the foyer, looked around and came back inside.



“What was it?” I looked up at her.



“Oh nothing,” she sat back down and crossed her legs. “Why are you alone?”



“I was supposed to be meeting a friend and spending a few days with her,” I turned around and poked the fire again. “But I got lost, stopped at some off the wall service station and asked for directions.



“And you ended up here?” she must have known.



“Did the same thing happen with you?” I figured it must have happened to her as well.



“No,” she said shrugging her shoulders. “We’ve been here a long time,” Melissa stretched out across the couch again.



It was at that moment I realized something was wrong. I knew Melissa was a ghost and I could barely move when she said that. My heart started beating out of control, my palms became sweaty and I nearly passed out. I watched Melissa’s face as it turned an ashen color.



“What’s wrong?” she seemed genuinely concerned.


I had been sitting on the floor and tried standing, but my legs were too weak. My entire body had gone numb from the fear. “You’re,” I was trying to get the words out, but they weren’t coming. “You’re a,” I got a little further.



“A what?” Melissa giggled. “A ghost?” She smiled. “Well you could say that, but you’re probably wondering why I’m not wearing like a pretty gown or something?”



My breathing started getting faster and I felt like I was going to pass out. “You’re a,” I couldn’t get past that. “You can’t be,” I called her out. “You can’t be dead,” I pointed to her clothes. They were so modern, not from the Civil War.



“My sister and I were killed in a car wreck about ten years ago,” Melissa was now standing in front of the couch. She started walking towards the window. “It was a night almost like this,” she crossed her arms. “Amanda and I were supposed to be going to a party and found that same gas station,” she paused.



I grabbed hold of the table in front of me and managed to pull myself up. My knees were still weak, and my heart beating fast. I looked at Melissa standing by the window, arms crossed and I could hear sniffles. How do ghosts cry I wondered? I don’t know much about them, but I figured anything was possible. “What happened?”



“We stopped for directions,” Melissa turned around, and she had been crying. “We asked this really nice guy and we thought everything was fine but then,” she stopped. “Then,” Melissa couldn’t go on.



I didn’t know how to handle the situation because obviously I had never been in that type of situation before. I mean how to you console a spirit when you’re scared yourself? Well, I did what anyone would do, I walked up behind and touched her on the shoulder. Her body was as warm as a summer day. “I’m sorry,” I said in a low voice.



“He chased us down,” Melissa started crying again. “He ran us off the road,” Melissa dropped her hands beside her and turned around. “I’m sorry you had to meet us like this,” the tears rolled down her cheeks.



The tears were so real, her touch was real, even her kiss was real. Melissa stopped talking and leaned in to kiss me gently on the lips. It was a kiss that you only read about or experience once in your entire life. The whole thing was so real; I could have sworn she wasn’t dead.



“And you’ve been here all this time?”



“Yes,” Melissa’s voice cracked. “My sister isn’t very talkative as you can tell. She doesn’t take kindly to strangers. And I don’t know when we’ll ever get to leave. I don’t like it here Brad, I really don’t.”



“Come with me,” I reached out for her hand.



“Why?”



“Just trust me.”



Melissa was a bit reluctant but I figured it was a once in a lifetime experience. I took her hand gently. I looked into her eyes, which seemed to be so full of life. We kissed for the second time but the second time around had more meaning, almost as if we were becoming one.



The last thing I remember was lying down on the bed upstairs, kissing Melissa and falling asleep. When I woke the next morning I was alone but I could feel someone lying next to me. I sat up in bed, looked down next to me making sure I was indeed alone. Sure enough I was, and disappointed as well. After I dressed, I went downstairs looking for Melissa and Amanda. I didn’t find them anywhere. Maybe it was all a dream, or maybe it happened and they had gone away.



“I’ll never forget last night,” I heard a voice as I stood at the front door. I turned around. There wasn’t anyone there.



There was a knock at the door, which disrupted my attention from the voice. I went to open the door. There stood an older looking gentleman in blue coveralls. He had a nametag on which read BOB. “You alright in there?” he asked in a southern accent.



“Yeah I’m good,” I was looking out at the freshly fallen snow. My mind went back to Melissa. It had to have been real. “Are you from the towing company?”



“Yeah, you called us last night but with the snow and all we couldn’t get out till this morning.”



“Do you have my car ready?” I stepped out of the foyer and onto the porch.



“Sure do,” he tipped his hat and walked down the stairs. “Do you have any idea where you are?”



I stopped, turned around and looked back into the foyer. I thought I saw both Amanda and Melissa standing together, side by side. “Yes I do,” and I smiled.



As we drove away from the plantation, I closed my eyes and come to think of it, I hadn’t made a mistake. Maybe I was supposed to have stopped and met those two wonderful young women. It could have been fate, but as far as I knew it was one of the best nights of my entire life.






Comments

The following comments are for "Midnight"
by Novicewriter

Hey Bill
Tis me your 'morning chat buddy' I absolutely loved your story. It struck a chord with me as I too am a believer...Good job!!! Cannot wait for more of your stories.

( Posted by: CJHerlihy [Member] On: August 13, 2004 )





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