Do you believe in ghosts?
I don’t think I do. I like believing in the supernatural, but I’ve never been keen on ghosts. The idea of someone’s spirit hovering on earth—stuck somehow—never appealed much to me. People, whether dead or alive, should always be moving forward—making progress, or so it seems to me.
I think it’s the fault of my imagination. Whether or not I believe in ghosts—I certainly haven’t seen any–it’s fun to imagine them, especially in a place that looks as if it should be haunted. Duntulm Castle, a ruin on the Isle of Skye, is one of these. Duntulm clings to a cliff a bit of a walk from the road. There are no ticket wickets or museums—merely some meager stone remnants of the castle in a hauntingly beautiful setting. There is a sign warning visitors not to cross the fence because the ruins are dangerous, but people ignore it. The ruins are too tempting to resist. As far as I can tell, Duntulm isn’t haunted—there’s a story of an infant falling from a window and a nursemaid being set adrift as a punishment, but no mention of a resulting ghost. And although I understand the reason for the fence, it sort of detracts from the spooky potential!
My ghost story doesn’t take place in Scotland (although I may be tempted in future), but rather in Lancashire, England, in an imaginary early 17th century house with a ruined medieval tower. The ghost isn’t the hero or heroine (because I can’t envisage physical love between a living person and a ghost—although some authors do a great job of it), but she’s been hanging around for two hundred years, and she drives the story. She’s a feisty ghost with a tragic history, stuck on earth due to a curse, and I grew to like her very much.
Here’s a teeny taste. Edwina White is the governess of the children of Richard Ballister, a man she’d once loved. She’s awakened by the ghost in a very rough and ready way. 😉
~ * ~
Edwina scrambled up, cringing against the headboard. Her cheek stung. This time the presence in the bedchamber was almost palpable, and the voice cried inside her mind.
You ruined everything! He loved you. He would have made you the new mistress of the Grange… The voice died away on a string of bitter sobs.
Edwina got a hold of herself. She had overslept; a grey light told her the winter dawn was about to break. “You…you think he would have married me?” she whispered, and immediately sensed such fury that she put up her hands to fend off another slap. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
What use is sorry? the voice scoffed. Do you know how hard it is to make you mortals see and hear me?
“I’m listening now,” Edwina said, but the presence—the ghost—was gone.
She got out of bed, a hand to her still-stinging cheek, and stared into the dim room. Time to admit it to herself: she was as much in love with Richard as she’d been twelve years earlier. Far worse, she had just ruined her chances of rekindling that same love in him.
~ * ~
Aww… but no worries, this is a romance, so it has to have a happy ending.
Anyway, I have a question: Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not? Answer this one in the comments.
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