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Wake Up Call (a ghost story in about 500 words)

The lake closed over her nose and mouth as Sara sucked in a lung-full of cold, black water. On her next breath, she opened her eyes and saw the red LCD shining: 12:02 AM. Again. Three nights in a row, same dream, same time. Sweat dripped from her hair and drenched her nightgown. Sara stumbled to the bathroom, turning on all of the lights to shake off the aura of the dream that still clung to her.

Steam from the shower filled the bathroom and Sara breathed it in deeply. She could still smell the dankness of her dream. She dropped her head and closed her eyes. They snapped back open as a hissing vortex suddenly sucked all of the steam into the drain at her feet. In the same instant, a fish-dead hand slid across her shoulder. She screamed and threw her body against the shower wall, turning the showerhead to the left. The water scalded her neck, shoulder and hand as she battled to stop the flow.

Adrenaline, pain and fear drove her stiffly from the shower. The room was bright. Normal. Her body shook convulsively and she reached for a towel to warm herself. The towel brushed her badly burned shoulder and she hissed in pain. It sobered her and she headed to the kitchen where she kept the emergency burn salve.

In the kitchen, the salve was already laid out, with fresh gauze, waiting for her. Normal went away again.

The old woman spoke warmly, “Here, let me get that for you. It was my fault – so sorry – but it IS awfully difficult to get your attention!” Sara was frozen in shock. The woman placed a cup in her hand. Here drink this. Coffee. You need it.” Sara sipped wordlessly, numb to the un-reality.

“I can’t stay long,” said the old woman. “Manifestation takes sooo much energy. Easier to show up in a dream, but you kept drowning on me!” She let out a little chortle.

Shock and disbelief turned to annoyance and the very-real pain in her shoulder made her angry. “Well, you’ve got my attention now – what do you WANT?”

“It’s not what I want, but what you want, my dear.”

“I want you to go leave me alone.”

“That’s one option. You’ve been given a choice. You are due to die.” The old woman let it sink in. “I’m here to prove that we do go on, after we die.”

“That’s supposed to be reassuring?” The hair on Sara’s arms stood up.

“For many people it is. Your choice is this: tell people what you’ve experienced here tonight – give them hope, or die at 12:02 tomorrow.” As the last word left her lips, the woman started to fade.

“It’s up to you, dear. . .”

For the first time in days, Sara felt calm. She placed a terry-cloth robe gingerly on her freshly-bandaged shoulder, took a sip of coffee and dialed the phone.

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Wake Up Call (a ghost story in about 500 words) by 


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