On an old hill. In an old manor. In its old parlor. Sitting on an old chair. Miss Meesha, a woman widowed, wrinkled, and long past fear, listened to the specters in her dining room. It was a party, that was certain. Miss Meesha had not received an invitation. Glasses clinked, utensils clanged against her plates. The ghost of a woman laughed. A deep voice spoke, uproariously. The woman laughed her dead laughs, once more.
‘Telling jokes in my house,’ Miss Meesha mumbled. ‘No peaceful nights here anymore.’
Her parlor doors were closed. The phantoms turned on music. So loud. It reverberated through the wooden walls. The dead woman giggled, wild and full of life. And, her feet, which had surely decayed to dust by now in whichever coffin she claimed, tapped across the dining room floor. The ethereal man clapped, whistling along with the music.
Miss Meesha listened and scowled. She stood from her seat. Walked to the window facing the Atlantic. On and on, the apparitions caroused and rejoiced in her home.
Miss Meesha opened the window. The night’s breeze wrapped around her arms, held her in its chill. She clutched her sweater to her breast.
More laughter, more clapping, more rejoicing from the dining room. Singing now added into the ghastly mixture.
‘They rejoice over what?’ she asked the dark clouds. ‘They rejoice in death?’ Miss Meesha shivered. ‘This cold could kill an old woman like me.’
She walked from the window, left it open for the wind. Sat down, again, in her wide, sunken chair. Miss Meesha reached for her blanket. Then, decided against it. She would let the freezing night hold her for a bit longer. Just a little longer.
Miss Meesha closed her eyes, and after some minutes, drifted away.
Was this sleep? Something like that. . .
She awoke with a start.
‘My god,’ she said, coming to her feet. ‘So cold.’ Miss Meesha shuffled to the window, slammed it shut.
Her parlor was quiet. But, from within the dining room, still, music emanated. Although, softer, now. And, the phantoms did not speak. At least, not from what Miss Meesha could hear.
‘This is quite enough,’ she huffed. To the parlor doors she stomped, as much as a woman of her age could stomp.
Miss Meesha flung open the doors. She shouted. ‘What in the hell do you think –‘
Her husband, her mother. They sat at the table. As young as she always remembered them. Fresh candles were lit. A warm dinner waited to be eaten.
Her husband stood, and pulled out the vacant seat next to her mother. ‘Sit, honey,’ he said, glowing, smiling. ‘You’re right on time.’
He took her hand. His fingers felt just as they had, once before.
It was then that Miss Meesha seemed to shine.