The Crime Readers' Association

Mr. Who Passes Through by Alice K Boatwright

Flash fiction can be spooky too!

A suburban house with high ceilings and big windows, set in a spacious garden surrounded by fir trees, is not the sort of place where you expect to meet a ghost.  Or speaking for myself, where I would expect to meet one. Though I don’t know why I say that. The first ghost I ever saw was in a crowded café on a winter afternoon in Maine.

I saw Mr. Who one night just after turning off my bedside lamp. I was still fully awake, staring at the ceiling, considering the day now finished and the one to come, when the bedroom door opened, and a figure rushed across the room and out the bedroom window. He was dressed in a fedora and trench coat and had a briefcase under his arm. He was obviously in a hurry, and not the least distracted by me, lying there in the bed.

He was late for work. A train. A plane. And, in an instant, he was gone. The door and window were shut. Had he not been a ghost, he would have had a nasty fall going out that window. That’s why I know as unmistakably as I know I saw him that he wasn’t really there. In my sense of the word, that is.

All these months later, I still remember him, and this does not bother me in the least. I grew up in a part of the world where you live within the history of your home, your garden, your street. It is only here, now, in this suburb, where no one ever seems to be at home, that I feel the houses are empty not only in terms of the living, but also the lives once lived.

So, I am grateful for Mr. Who’s visit, and I wonder: Will we meet here again. . .or somewhere else?




Read more about author Alice K Boatwright here.

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