by Meera Jhala
Folks in small towns love telling stories. Sometimes the stories are love stories and sometimes they’re ghost stories. Sometimes they’re both, because most often a ghost story is a love story, just gone terrible wrong. Some of them ghost stories are about our house. I’m awful glad for that, because I figure the taller the tales grow, the less the neighborhood brats will harass my Mabel.
The Social Services lady first planted the stories, after she went to check on Mabel and saw strange lights flickering in the house. Then came the break-in. That was Miracle-Gro; the stories got fatter and juicier after that. A local janitor, armed with a knife, had slipped into the basement of the house. When the Sheriff arrived, brakes screeching and siren blaring, there wasn’t anything much left for him to do but call the Coroner; the janitor lay dead in the cemetery across the street; ivory-pale, ivory-stiff.
For three days afterward, poor Mabel sat on a chair, rocking. All the detectives could get out of her was that she wanted her Ma, as though she didn’t know I was right there beside her. *** Read on! ***