Wednesday, October 17, 2018

WEP: Deja Boo

Thought for the day: I shipped my characters to Alaska, but on second thought, maybe I should've sent them to Mali-boo...


Since this is my buddy/kid sister Renee's last month to be on the WEP team, and she said she'd really like it if I participated... how could I not?

So here it is... just for her. And the rest of you, too. I hope you like it.

To access the stories written by the other participants, please go
HERE



                                                   DEJA BOO


John sat rigidly erect in his recliner, deeply engrossed in Yolanda Renee’s latest murder-and-mayhem mystery. Nowadays, getting lost in her books provided just about the only spark in his otherwise meaningless existence.

“BOO!”

He dropped the book and gasped. Drowning in his own saliva wasn’t exactly the heroic demise he’d imagined for himself, but apparently, his dear wife thought otherwise. After his coughing spell ended, he regarded her through watery eyes. “I wish you wouldn’t do that, Gladys.”

The sound of her laughter echoed in the room. “I’m sorry, dear, but how can I possibly stop when you continue to make it so amusing for me?”

She perched on the arm of his recliner. “Don’t you miss me?” 

A smile toyed with the corners of his mouth. “How can I miss you if you never go away?”

“That’s a terrible thing to say! Haven’t I always been a good wife to you?”

He nodded. “The best.”

She left her perch to peer at their faded wedding picture on the mantelpiece. “We were so young,” she said with a sigh. Then she spun to face him, her alabaster skin nearly translucent in the lamp’s soft glow. “You haven’t taken me anywhere in ages!”

John closed the book and set it on the table beside him. “Gladys, sweetheart, I don’t know how to tell you this, but you’re dead. Remember?”

“Of course, I remember, you silly man, but just because I stopped breathing doesn’t mean I stopped thinking, and what I think is you need to take me on a trip.” She smiled. “It isn’t too late to take that Alaskan cruise we were always talking about.”

John wiped his hand over his face and shook his head. “Yes, Gladys, it is too late. You’re dead. D-E-A-D dead. Why aren’t you making mischief in Paradise?” He frowned. “That’s where you’re supposed to be, right? Not that… other place…”

“Oh, hush!” Gladys said. “Must you always belabor the point? So what if I’m D-E-A-D dead? I’m here now, aren’t I? So why not a cruise? You promised!”

“A cruise.” He shook his head again.

Gladys grinned. “And guess what, Mr. Tightwad? Good news! You only have to buy one ticket now.”



Against his better judgment, John made the arrangements. First class all the way, too. Maybe it wasn’t too late to keep at least one promise to her. On the other hand, maybe he was stark raving mad, and he was destined to be tormented by her imaginary visits until the day he died. Either way, he had to try.

He kept expecting Gladys to pop in at any minute to say how excited she was about the trip, so he spent the next week on full alert...  but she never showed. This cruise was supposed to be for her. So where was she?

When he boarded the ship, he scanned the crowd before rushing to his stateroom, but she was nowhere to be found. He stared despondently at the roiling gray water as the ship eased out to sea. What was the point? Where was she?



His stateroom might as well have been an outhouse for as little as he appreciated it. He forced himself to nibble some of the perfectly-prepared food, but without Gladys beside him, the chef might as well have served him a pile of sawdust.



The truth of it was, he wasn’t enjoying this cruise at all. It was meaningless without Gladys. Everything was meaningless without her. What he wouldn’t give to have her with him, making him laugh with her silly jokes and pranks, smiling at him, loving him. But now it looked like he wasn’t even going to have the freaky pleasure of sharing the trip with her ghost.

The last night of the cruise, John sat on the deck gulping bourbon. It was time to accept it: the party was over. Gladys was gone, and she was never coming back. It was just his guilty conscience over all his broken promises that made him imagine her visits. Nothing but wishful thinking, and he was a damned fool to ever think otherwise.

He snorted. Why would anyone leave Paradise to spend even a minute with the likes of him? He was a lousy husband, and she deserved better.

“Oh, you weren’t so bad.”

John’s eyes filled with tears at the sight of her standing on the railing in front of him. She smiled and executed a graceful pirouette.

 “I miss you so much,” he said. “God help me, I thought we’d have more time.”

“I know you did.” She hopped down and sat in the lounge chair beside him. “And now we do, sweetie. We have an eternity.”



She stretched her hand toward him, and he reached out to grab it. He touched nothing but moist salty air, but an intense coldness like he’d never felt before spread from his fingertips, up his arm, and through his entire body.

“BOO!”

John opened his eyes slowly. Where was he? It was hot. Hot as…

“Hi, sweetie,” Gladys said. “Welcome to the afterlife.”



Panic spread through him as he gaped at the abyss and  tall flames behind her. No, no, no, this couldn’t be. If the road to hell was paved with good intentions, he belonged here, but surely… not Gladys! She was an angel. An angel with a wicked sense of humor, but an angel, nonetheless.



Gladys giggled, and the flames disappeared. “Just kidding,” she said. “Now, let's go see Australia.”

                          ***********************************************

                           Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


[All images in this post are courtesy of the fine photographers at Unsplash.]

102 comments:

  1. Huge smiles. I am loving your WEP take. I am not even offended at the comparison between Hell and Australia. During the sweaty season it is indeed hell.
    And yes, Renee will be missed by the WEPpers.

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked it, but I didn't mean to compare Australia to hell. I should've made it clearer, but I guess it's against the rules to change it now. The "Just kidding!" ans disappearance of the flames was meant to be the indication of another one of Gladys' practical joke. They were in Paradise, but she was ready to do some traveling... to Australia, because that's where I'd love to go. :)

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  2. What a refreshingly different take on a ghost story! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    ....but I'm still deciding whether the REAL hell is Australia or Texas.....

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad ya like it. People have been telling me I'm "different" for as long as I can remember... :)

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  3. Great story, loved reading it. Well done! Hugs, Valerie

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  4. She did know how to scare him. Humorous and bittersweet all rolled into one.

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  5. oh you devil, you. I love that you always have a humor slant. Very clever little tale.

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  6. I like this so much! So very much. I'm glad they are together again too.

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. I like the idea of marriage extending beyond death. (And I fully intend to "haunt" my hubby if I go first!)

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  7. Everyone loves a good ghost story and that includes me. Boo! You never know where life may take you ...always a surprise!

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    1. Yep, those surprises keep us on our proverbial toes. :)

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  8. Love it!!! That was such a fun read :)

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  9. Lovely :-) Happy nearly Halloween!

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  10. Very good story! I really enjoyed it.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Thank you, dear lady. I'm glad to hear it! (Read it...?)

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  11. I am beyond honored and the smile on my face feels wonderful, thank you! You've made my day, Hell (I mean Heck) that's the best Halloween treat ever! :) I love how she waited until he truly missed her to appear again. We do that don't we, complain and grumble, whine and groan, but the truth is so much different!
    Truly loved it! Alaska, Paris, and then Australia... :)
    Thank you for making my last WEP challenge THE BEST!

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    1. If this story put a smile on your face, it was well worth the effort. :) I'm glad you liked it, kiddo.

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  12. Talk about loving an ending I like that last little practical jokes she pulled

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  13. Big surprise ending--I laughed out loud!! I loved the story, Susan.

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    1. Cool! I love to make you laugh. I'm glad you liked the story. :)

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    1. Thanks! I do enjoy those little twists at the end. :)

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  15. A charming story. Don't we all have broken promises to keep. At least he got to fulfill this one before the end.

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    1. Thank you. Unfortunately, most of us do have unfulfilled promises that haunt us.

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  16. I'd no idea your sister is an author, too. Way to rise to the challenge, my friend! I did grow a smidgen wistful that no-one's been by to visit me. Yet.

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    1. Actually, I don't have any sisters. Not by blood, anyway. But Renee and I have kinda "adopted" each other.

      No need to be wistful, dear lady! Here I come...

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    2. Aw, thanks! Actually, I should have said, a visit from The Other Side. :)

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    3. Ah, HA! Well that explains it. I've had a couple of those kinds of visits... one from my grandmother and another from a very dear friend. His widow and I were sitting on the steps, and he put his hand on our shoulders at the same time. We both felt it; we both turned around. And it made us both feel better. :)

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  17. Ah! Gladys, so very charming with her dark sense of humor... and a practical joker till the very end!
    I loved it!

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    1. Thanks> I'm glad you liked it. I'd like to think there's a wee bit of Gladys in all of us. :)

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  18. Hi Susan - oh so glad Australia comes next ... brilliantly told - well done; excellent tale - a really good ghost story - loved it ... Poor John he will have a heart attack soon ... what fun ... I shall spend the rest of the day thinking about this -just glad it wasn't the ocean waves he went to ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi-ya, Hilary. Thanks. I'm glad you liked it. No, I didn't want John to jump... although I'm sure he was tempted.

      Cheers back atcha.

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  19. Great little tidbit adding her book in there. haha she's really going to make him dead if she keeps scaring the old guy like that. I was ready for you to have her push him in, nice twist indeed.

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    1. Yeah, I thought Renee might get a kick out of that. :)

      Nah, she wouldn't push him in. She's a joker, not a killer.

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  20. There is nothing peculiar about ones imagination running wild, I often have a few words to my dear departed wife, in private of course.
    Lovely Story.:)

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    1. The departed may be gone, but they aren't forgotten. I think it's perfectly normal to communicate with them from time to time.

      Thank you. :)

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  21. Such a fun and clever story. For some having a good imagination is the only thing that keeps them going.

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  22. Hey Susan thanks for doing this for your 'sis' Renee. And loved the way you included her at the beginning. Brilliantly told. Loved the mystery, the humor and the ending. Not for a minute did I imagine you were comparing my Australia to hell, but if you visit midsummer, you may well think that's where you landed.

    Thanks for joining us at WEP. Loved your visit.

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    1. It was my pleasure. I did it for Renee, but I actually had fun with it.

      Hey! I live in Georgia... it feels like hell here a good part of the year, too. :)

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  23. I guessed she was dead quite early on, so I'm glad that reveal wasn't the punchline and you added a couple more twists instead. I loved her practical joke at the end :)

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    1. I figured most people would figure out she was dead pretty early on, but I'm glad I at least gave you a little surprise at the end. :)

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  24. Oh, that's marvelous! So glad you did come join us, and hope Renee persuades you to stick around!

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad I jumped it this time, too. It was fun, and as for the future? We'll see.

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  25. Lovely, ghostly surprise at the end! :-) I think I live in Mali-Boo!

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked it. Ah HA! If you live in Mali-Boo, that might explain your talent for writing humorous horror. :)

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  26. She is wickedly devious, lol. This showed what a great marriage they had, and gives hope for their continued relationship in the afterlife. Lots of fun to read Susan.

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    1. Yeah, she is, and I kinda hope to be a little bit like her after I kick the bucket. If I go first, my husband is in for some surprises. (Hey, if we can make 'em laugh now, why now after we're gone, too?) I'm glad you had fun reading it, because I had fun writing it.

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  27. You may have a wicked sense of humour too. A fun read with a nice nod for Renee. I also expected him to jump in the ocean so he could join her.

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    1. :) It's entirely possible...

      Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I'm glad I fooled ya, too.

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  28. This is a good Halloween tale. Women never forget promises not kept and will haunt their spouses/parataners even in the hereafter. I have already warned My Retired Man.

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked it.

      Yep. We can't let 'em off the hook that easily, can we? I plan to tease my fella long after I'm gone. :)

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  29. That is an excellent story! I really liked the part about only having to buy one ticket. That made me smile. You did a great job - love the mix of feelings you made me feel.

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    1. Thanks! I'm always happy to hear that something I wrote made someone smile. :)

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  30. A lovely mix of romance and the afterlife. I love your take on this.

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  31. This was awesome! So well written, it had me to the last word.

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  32. A lovely story . But some of us who remember or want to remember like myself have peculiar habits like saying 'Good morning Rosy' and 'Goodnight' as I turn off Her Image on the Screen. Memories; Lovely Memories.

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    1. Thank you. No, that isn't peculiar at all. It's very sweet. I'd like to think my hubby would do the same for me after I'm gone.

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  33. Oh wow, this was so good! I loved their relationship here. I could feel the love between them. Gladys does indeed have a wicked sense of humor, and I reveled in every second they spent together. And that ending? Amazing!

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  34. I enjoyed reading this.
    My thanks.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Have a super weekend.

      All the best back atcha.

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  35. Oh man, I want that gift when I'm gone. I'll scare the bejeesus out of everyone. "Let's go to the store..." Then poof: hell. "Just kidding!" LOL

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    1. Yeah, me, too! (My hubby had better mind his Ps and Qs...)

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  36. Light hearted and fun, Susan. The ending had a playfully sinister twist.

    Happy Halloween!

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    1. Hmmm, sounds kinda like a description of me... light-hearted and fun with a playfully sinister twist... :)

      Happy Halloween to you, too!

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  37. This was just beyond enchanting! Loved your refreshing take on the prompt. And the title is delightful too. Kudos!

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  38. I thoroughly enjoyed the more light-hearted, slightly romantic take on the prompt. Along with possessing a fantastic use of imagery throughout. Well done Susan.

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you did. Horror isn't exactly my "thing." :)

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  39. Oh, I liked that! The perfect mix of spookiness, humor, and romance!

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  40. What a fun story! I'm not sure if his wife is quite the angel he thinks she is, but they seem like a happy couple, even in the afterlife.

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    1. I reckon she's an angel with a bit of a devilish streak. :)

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  41. I enjoyed reading this very much, great story, loved the slight wickedness of the humour.

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    1. Thanks. Glad to hear it. I've always like a little bit of wicked in my humor... :)

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  42. I am glad she was just joking at the end there, phew! Even if he was sometimes inconsiderate I didn't think he deserved to be in hell. He dies at the end of the cruise though? I thought she was going to push him overboard for a bit there.

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    1. Yeah, he dies at the end, but their travels are just beginning. :)

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  43. What a fun tale and what a happy ending for such a treat loving couple. Love John's taste in reading matter. What was the title?

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked it. Any of her books would do... they're ALL good! :)

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  44. Loved the way you mixed humor and creepiness in this one. And what fabulous images to go with it!

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    1. Thanks! All creepy is a little too much for me, so there had to be humor. :) As for the images, Unsplash is a fabulous source for all kinds of terrific photographs.

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  45. That was horrible... JUST KIDDING... now off to Australia. Ha ha ha. What a great twist. I'm glad you made me laugh at the end because the middle there, when he was on the ship missing his dead spouse... someone broke into my home to chop onions. Onions, I say, onions!

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  46. I want to go on a cruise too. Don't want to die there though.

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    1. Well, if I've gotta go, I can think of lots worse places to do it than on some idyllic cruise... :)

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  47. Congratulations on your WEP award. I loved your quirky take - and others did too.

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    1. Thanks, Sue! I appreciate it. The challenge was a lotta fun.

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  48. Congratulations on your award. Great take on the prompt.

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    1. Thank you so much! I do appreciate it. This was a really fun challenge.

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  49. An award winning trip. Great ending.

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