The Believer

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In 2006, I wrote a short story for a Halloween fiction contest on Xomba.com.  This was my first "winning" work as I proudly claimed bragging rights for a month.  Like most of the stories I write, it is based on a real-life experience that I used to inspire the tale.  Do you believe in ghosts?



THE BELIEVER


I was never a believer before, or at least not one hundred percent. Psychic phenomena and ghosts; that’s the stuff of a good scary movie but never real life. So I didn't believe and I didn't not believe, I just didn't think about it until it happened to me.

Mark was the love of my life. He was the kindest and sweetest man and he made me laugh. That was the best part. No matter what was going on in our lives; good, bad or otherwise, we would laugh. It felt great to know that I could count on him to put a smile on my face. He was the one. The one I was meant to marry, have babies with and grow old together, side by side in our little rocking chairs on the wrap-around porch as we watched the sun set. Things couldn't be more perfect than my plans to be with this man forever.

On Friday night, October 25th, we walked hand in hand into Blockbuster to find a movie to watch when we got home. He had just treated me to a wonderful dinner out where we dined al fresco. The air was cool that night but not yet cold. We had Italian food. Well, actually, I had plain old spaghetti with meat sauce and he had cantaloni. We shared a good red wine and during desert, as we shared a tiramisu, he asked me to marry him and pulled out a beautiful antiqued, white gold ring. It was beautiful. I cried for the first time with him but they were  tears of joy as I happily said yes. So we walked into Blockbuster, or should I say I floated on cloud nine into Blockbuster with my fiancé. Little did we realize that a robbery was in progress and our walking in, oblivious to what was happening, startled the kid holding the gun.

The shot blast was deafening and I don't know if I was even able to scream before Mark flung himself on me and we hit the ground. Everything went quiet for the briefest moment before all the sound returned at once and my ears were assaulted by screams; my own, and several others. The kid with the gun ran and jumped over me and Mark as he ran out of the store.
I grabbed Mark by the shoulders and tried to get us both up. He didn't move. I shouted his name but he remained flung over me, unmoving. Then I noticed the blood. It was almost pouring out of the wound in his back. It was seeping into my shirt and pants and my hands were covered in it as I tried to cover the hole. I screamed and screamed. I don't know how long I lay there screaming for him to wake up. “Don't leave me! Mark! Mark! Oh God...I love you, don't leave me!”

It seemed an eternity passed and then there were police and paramedics and someone pulled Mark from me and tried to perform CPR but he was already dead. And I was numb. I couldn't feel anything. My whole world had died in one, horrific instant. The man I was to marry, have babies and grow old with was suddenly gone.

Two weeks passed with the funeral, endless family visits and long, cold, lonely nights with nightmarish dreams of what happened; me waking up screaming, and then I would fall back to sleep and feel like he was right beside me telling me everything is okay. I dreamed he came to hold me and he told me where he was and that he would wait for me.

My best friend's mother, a psychic (and something I had not previously taken seriously) came to see me and told me Mark was okay. She said he was angry and frustrated at being taken away from me so soon but he is okay. I didn't believe her.


As I lay there one Sunday morning, three weeks later, trying not to wake up, trying not to face reality, I thought that my room seemed so very bright for 5:30 a.m. although I hadn’t yet cracked an eyelid.  I didn't want to open my eyes but it was like someone had turned on the light in my room. Finally, I peeked and the room was dark. I turned my head and looked at my phone on the nightstand. When I did, it rang. Somehow, I knew who it was. It was my friend's mother. I answered and asked her why she was calling me so early in the morning. She replied "Because Mark has been trying to wake us both up this morning....he wants to tell you he loves you and he is waiting for you....he says he has been turning the light on in your room for the past hour trying to wake you"

Now...I believe. I truly believe.


Author's Note:
The last paragraph of this fictitious tale is actually completely true except that the person trying to reach me was not a dead fiancé but my own father who had passed away from his one and only heart attack. It was explained to me by this extraordinary woman (my best friend's mother) that the dead know no sense of time so my irritation at being awakened at that ungodly hour of a Sunday morning would neither offend nor stall my father's spirit from delivering his message to me. After my encounter, my dad proceeded to deliver last messages to both my brother and my sister via different means and he even made an appearance one night to my mother, his ex-wife, while she lay in bed with her husband. When a spirit passes on, and they have unfinished business, they try very hard to resolve their issues one way or another. For me, it was to say something had gone wrong, investigate and also to say he loved me. For my brother, it was a great need to mend a rift as well as for my sister, the same rift. The appearance to my mother was an apology for abuse during their marriage. She did explain, through her fear and agitation, that he appeared in a green light and looked extremely sad as he looked at her. She felt he was saying he was sorry.

This was not my first encounter with otherworldly experiences but was certainly something I would never forget. Eventually, Dad moved on to where he needed to be. And I have always believed.....

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