The store, almost 100 years old, on the ocean in Sechelt, had stood empty for a few years. We got it for a song. When we moved in, locals told us it was haunted by the ghost of an old woman who had died in the store. She hadn’t liked people when she was alive; she did not welcome us. After the store closed at 11 p.m., sitting downstairs, we could hear footsteps crossing the floor above. When we went up to check, no one was there. But once I felt a cold chill go up my spine and knew she was standing right behind me.
She would move things around on the shelves. I would go downstairs and find our unlucky “Wandering Jew” plant swinging in its alcove for no reason – no windows or doors open. One night, all of its branches pointed at the doorway, the message clear: get out! I decided to throw the plant away one windy night. It wrapped its tentacles around me and I had to fling it off me and down the bank.
Things got worse. We opened an arcade; things were too noisy for the fretful ghost. A huge crack! was heard one morning; the supporting beam showed a split all the way up. Talk was, the store might slide right down the hill. The footsteps at midnight continued. I would not give up. I could live with the ghost more easily than the man I was with at the time.
It did not end well. The store burned down under mysterious, suspicious circumstances while we were away in Vancouver. The insurance company didn’t pay. I was left with nothing. The four kids and I began a new life in Kelowna, my dream store on the ocean gone; my faith in humanity tested. But my belief in the existence of ghosts was alive and well.
313 words for Magaly’s Pantry of Prose prompt: Gothic. True story. There was much more to this story, but I only had 313 words. I wrote a bit longer version here.